The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most recognizable sports franchises in not only the United States, but the entire world. As such, global Cowboys' fans love to show their support for their favorite players, but they can also be relentless in their hatred for those who they deem unfit to wear the star.
It doesn't usually take very much for Cowboys' fans to put certain players on their "shit list", and once there it's nearly impossible to redeem one's self. Fair or not, that's just the way things go sometimes.
There is not much to dislike about how the Dallas Cowboys organization has gone about building their roster and the team that they will field in 2017. But, I believe there are 3 current starters Cowboys' fans hate, even though they shouldn't. These 3 players are expected to play a large role in 2017, so it might be time to let the past go and focus on what they can do now and in the future.
#38 Jeff Heath, Safety
It's looking more and more as if Jeff Heath will be the starting safety opposite Byron Jones in 2017 after the departures of Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. This has a lot of Cowboys' fans in an uproar, because for some reason or another there has been an unwarranted hatred for #38 since joining the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2013.
Maybe this all started in 2013 when Jeff Heath was forced to start nine games as a rookie due to injuries. He had a few good moments, but for the most part he struggled, which probably left a bad taste in a lot of Cowboys' fans mouths. But, it's time to move on and rinse your mouths out if that is what it takes.
Heath has been a solid reserve safety and core special teams player, but he is expected to take on a much larger role in 2017. I for one am excited about his opportunity and believe that the Cowboys' defense won't miss Church or Wilcox at all. He is more than capable of starting at strong safety and his playmaking ability could be a welcomed addition.
#83 Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver
Terrance Williams making this list shouldn't be much of a shocker. He is arguably the one player that Cowboys' fans love to hate the most, even though he really shouldn't be.
Williams is a frustrating player to watch at times, because he has a tendency to run hot and cold throughout the season. This in large part has led to the wrath that has been brought to down on him from Cowboys' fans. I myself have been frustrated at times with Williams, but when you look at the bigger picture, he is still an integral part of the offense.
Williams is never going to be a #1 wide receiver in the NFL, but he is a really solid #2 WR. Since joining the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, he has put up respectable numbers that would rival just about any #2 WR in the NFL. But, it's not all about his numbers. He also does a lot of the dirty work that he doesn't receive recognition for.
The Dallas Cowboys are fortunate to have Williams returning, especially after the hometown discount he gave Dallas in the off-season. #83 may never live up to a lot of our expectations, but that doesn't diminish his importance to the Cowboys' offense.
#31 Byron Jones, Safety
This is one I don't really understand. I am a huge fan of Byron Jones and am baffled that there are Cowboys' fans out there who hate him. I think I would have to chalk this one up to fans not really understanding what Jones does for the backend of the Cowboys' defense.
Byron Jones, a former first-round draft pick in 2015, has really helped solidify the secondary for the Dallas Cowboys. He had a lot thrown at him in his rookie season and was forced to play several different positions in his first year in the NFL. But, he has finally found a home for himself at free safety and his future is looking bright.
Jones' versatility to play anywhere in the secondary is a huge asset, but it's his ability to match up with tight ends that has really helped the Cowboys' defense. I believe this makes him arguably one of the most important defensive players the Cowboys have on the roster.
The only reason I can think of that Cowboys' fans love to hate Byron Jones is his lack of turnovers. Jones' playmaking ability hasn't really shown up yet, but I think that will all change in 2017. This will be his second full season at free safety and he should be much more prepared to be the player we all thought he was when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the first round in 2015.
What Cowboys' players do you love to hate?
QB Dak Prescott Continues To Come Through In Clutch Situations
Dak Prescott is possibly the most criticized quarterback in all of football.
Of course, this comes with the territory of being the Cowboys starting quarterback, but each throw Prescott attempts is placed under an intense microscope, even by NFL standards. We analyze every snap of every game, looking to find where Dak was right or wrong with this reads.
There's no question, though, that Prescott has been inconsistent throughout his young career. Week to week, drive to drive, and even play to play, we seemingly have no gauge on just how Dak Prescott will perform.
One scenario where we can say with confidence he will come through, however, is when it matters most. Last Sunday, in yet another must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott orchestrated a game winning drive to lead his team over the favored Atlanta Falcons.
The Cowboys offense was pedestrian for much of the afternoon, but when Prescott got the ball in a tied game, I felt confident he would give Brett Maher a chance to win the game. Even on the road, and even after the offense had struggled a bit through the air all day.
Prescott got the ball late in the fourth quarter, looking to answer former NFL MVP Matt Ryan's game tying touchdown strike to Julio Jones. Dak went for it all on the first play, looking for Michael Gallup deep down the sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. After that throw, Prescott went 4/5 for 45 yards, including a huge completion to Cole Beasley, putting Dallas in game winning field goal range.
This confidence in Dak Prescott is justified, as is shown by his numbers in late game situations. Prescott now has 12 game winning drives, tying him for the league lead over the last three seasons. For comparison sake, Eagles starter Carson Wentz has just 3 game winning drives over that same stretch.
Overall the box score shows a rather quiet day for Prescott, but it was exactly the kind of Sunday they need from him. He completed over 60% of his passes, ran for a touchdown, and avoided the key turnover which could have sung this close game.
He played efficient football, and gave the Cowboys a chance to win it late. Then, he did what he does best, making plays in clutch situations and coming through in the 2 minute drill.
For all of Dak Prescott's flaws, those end-of-half and end-of-game situations have been a clear strength for the young quarterback, and continued to be this week.
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
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