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3 Dallas Cowboys Players Who are Performing at an Elite Level

Brian Martin



The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys against Detroit 2

Even though the Dallas Cowboys have pretty much looked like an average team through the first four games of the 2018 season doesn't mean there hasn't been plenty of bright spots to believe they can't be better than just a .500 team. In fact, they have several players performing very well this year and a few even playing at an elite level. The latter is what I want to talk about today.

Usually when we talk about elite performances in regards to Dallas Cowboys players it's in reference to their offensive lineman - headlined by their three Pro Bowlers - Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Surprisingly, the Cowboys OL hasn't been performing up to their normal standards, so that's not what I'm going to talk about today.

Today, I want to shine the spotlight on three Cowboys players who are playing at an elite level and at least one of them may shock you.

Running Back, Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

No shocker here, but Ezekiel Elliott is definitely performing at an elite level. He got off to a slow start this year, but exploded on the scene last week against the Detroit Lions when he rushed for 152 yards on the ground and also added 88 yards through the air. That dominant performance alone has him sitting atop the rushing leaderboard, almost 100 yards ahead of Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley.

Although some may debate the fact, Zeke is arguably the best RB in the league right now. In 2016 he led the league in rushing and probably would've defended his title in 2017 if not for his six-game suspension. But, even after missing six games last year he still finished in the top 10. If he continues to play like he did last week, he should have no problem regaining his rushing title crown.

Defensive End, DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

No, this isn't the shocker either. Dallas Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence has pretty much picked up where he left off in 2017 when he had a breakout season and finished the year with 14.5 quarterback sacks. Lawrence is on pace to not only match his QB sack record from a season ago, but smash it.

Through the first four games of the 2018 season, D-Law, a.k.a. Tank, every offensive lineman's worst nightmare, is leading the NFL with 5.5 QB sacks. He is absolutely dominating just about any OL who has the misfortune to try to block him this season. He may not continue to get multiple sacks a game like he did against the Lions last week (3), but it wouldn't surprise me. In fact, he's probably already licking his chops at this week's matchup against Houston Texans and their porous offensive line.

Cornerback, Byron Jones

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

Byron Jones? Playing at an elite level? Yes! The way he has been playing so far this season might be the biggest out of nowhere surprise for the Dallas Cowboys, if not the entire NFL. He has absolutely been shutting down opposing receivers and has graded out as the best cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 91.0.

Cowboys fans favorite whipping boy has finally found his home at CB and is without a doubt playing up to the first-round pedigree. Finally!

Unfortunately, defensive backs will always be judged by how many interceptions they accumulate. But, even though Jones doesn't have any yet this season, he's entering that "shutdown" talk and it's not going unnoticed. Quarterbacks around the league are taking notice as well. In fact, Matt Stafford didn't even attempt a single pass in Jones' direction last week. Shocking isn't it!?

What do you think? Are these three Dallas Cowboys performing at an elite level?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

  • Travis Diggs

    Where’s the byron haters now???

  • Sexcdex Xfact

    I’ve yet to see a film breakdown
    of the play where a Lion’s WR caught a pass on the left sidelines of apprx 20+ yards
    If Byron wasn’t targeted there, it was on his side & he came up to contest the catch
    Thus , I’m confused when I hear he wasn’t targeted once by Matt Stafford

    Who’s man was that? The other DB’s all had receivers they were covering

Game Notes

NFC East Showdown: Cowboys Offense Primed to Dominate Redskins

Brian Martin



Will Dallas' Recent Offensive Success Continue Against Washington?

The Dallas Cowboys are probably as confident as they have been all season as an offense after completely manhandling the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. They were able to put up 40 points on the Jaguar's top-ranked defense and now have to do the same against their division rival, the Washington Redskins.

I don't think there would be any argument if I were to say the Washington Redskins defense isn't nearly as talented as the Cowboys faced last week with the Jaguars. In fact, the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category, which should have Dallas' offensive players primed for this matchup.

As things stand right now, the Washington Redskins are giving up 21.2 points per game which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are also giving up 344 total yards (25th in the NFL) and 227.2 passing yards a game (24th). The lone bright spot of their defense is stopping the run, where they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL and are only allowing 116.8 rushing yards to opposing running backs.

Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott looked to have found a groove with their passing game last week against the Jaguars top-ranked passing defense. With the Redskins ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, I think the Cowboys should and probably will build upon the success they had last week.

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Now, I fully expect the Cowboys passing game to find success once again against the Redskins, but I also believe Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to dominate on the ground like he has in the past against Washington.

Zeke only played in one game against the Redskins last season, but absolutely dominated in that contest. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he is close to that milestone this week as well, even if it is against the strength of Washington's defense.

I'm really hoping I'm not a being a little overconfident here, but I guess I'm just buying into the success the Cowboys had on the offensive side of the ball last week. The offense finally started to do the things that have made them successful in the past and I'm expecting that to carry over into this week.

I believe we will see Prescott using his mobility once again, although I don't know if he will rush for 83 yards. I'm also expecting to see Wide Receiver Cole Beasley heavily involved in the passing game again because Washington doesn't have a defensive back who can cover him. Of course, let's not forget Ezekiel Elliott. I'm expecting him have a big game as well.

Overall, I really don't see the Washington Redskins defense giving the Dallas Cowboys any problems on the offensive side of the ball as long as they execute the way they did last week. I know when these two teams square off against one another it's usually a slobber knocker, but I think the Cowboys are the better team and is the one that comes away with the victory.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys offense will dominate the Redskins defense?

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Game Notes

Can Dak Prescott Continue His Washington Domination On Sunday?

Kevin Brady



Dak Prescott, Redskins

There has been a lot of change within the Dallas Cowboys since 2016.

Veteran playmakers like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are no longer around, Tony Romo lost his starting quarterback job, and Dallas has jumped from league best to worst to average seemingly every week.

One thing hasn't changed these past two years, however, and that is the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins. In fact, since Dak Prescott took over as the starting quarterback in Dallas the Cowboys are 4-0 against Washington. Even as the sky was falling in Dallas a year ago, and the Cowboys offense looked like the worst in football, they still found a way to dominate Washington 38-14 and snap their then-three game losing streak.

In his four career games against Washington, Dak Prescott has quarterback ratings of 103.7, 108.9, 82.2, and 93.4. To put this into context, Prescott's average quarterback rating this season is 85.5 and that is really driven by his outlier positive rating of 118.6 against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, however, his 54.5 rating against Seattle was also a heavy outlier.

Prescott isn't the only Cowboy who has exercised this dominance over Washington, though. As Staff Writer John Williams has pointed out, Jason Garrett is 11-4 against the Redskins since becoming the Cowboys head coach, and Dallas has won six of their last eight against Washington since 2014.

So heading into Sunday's rematch with their division foe, history says the Cowboys should be feeling rather confident, right?

Well there's another streak occurring the Cowboys will actually be looking to break on Sunday. That, of course, is their winless start on the road this season.

Ironically the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have actually been a good road team until now, going a combined 12-4 the past two seasons. And, since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Cowboys have been historically better on the road than at home, making this year's 3-3 start even more bizarre.

To put it simply, "somethings gotta give" on Sunday. Either Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to beat up on the Redskins and get a leg up in the NFC East, or this horrendous road start will continue for another week.

Either way, I'm sure the takes will be hot on Monday morning.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Face Latest Challenge Fighting for First Road Win at Redskins

Sean Martin



Cowboys Face Latest Challenge Fighting for First Road Win at Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars feels like just the introduction to this season's story. Whether or not the body of this story tells a disappointing tale or one of triumph can be revealed as early as this Sunday.

When the Cowboys travel to Washington, they'll be looking for their first road win of the season, and with it the NFC East lead over a Redskins team that would fall to 3-3 and 0-1 inside the division.

Early season losses at the Panthers, Seahawks, and Texans do little in predicting the Cowboys faith at the Redskins. These three teams are a combined 6-2 at home this season, with the Cowboys most recent loss in Houston falling much more on coaching than it did on-field execution.

Making their week six win over the NFL's top defense look extraordinarily easy, the Cowboys continued on a seemingly timeless trend under Jason Garrett. Returning to AT&T Stadium at 2-3, the Cowboys won their 12th game at one under .500 under Garrett.

Their 378 total yards on offense against the Jaguars brought their average in three home games up to 363.3, nearly 88 yards better than their road performances this season. The Redskins have allowed 326.2 yards per game this season, ranked fifth in the league just behind the Cowboys at 315.2 yards a game.

Garrett has gone 11-4 in his head coaching career against the Redskins, winning his last five at FedEx Field by an average of less than 10 points a game. The Redskins have turned the ball over just five times this season and allow a stout 90.2 rushing yards per game, meaning this game has all the makings of another classic between historic NFC East rivals.

In an ongoing effort to learn just who these 2018 Cowboys really are, a close win on the road would go a long way, beyond the slack they were afforded earlier this season to tighten up their game and make a serious push for the division.

The Cowboys will be on their bye week following Sunday's game. It comes at the perfect time for players like Sean Lee, Chidobe Awuzie, and Tavon Austin. With Austin struggling to make a sustained impact in the Cowboys offense, Awuzie conceding snaps to Jourdan Lewis, and Lee looking on at Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch dominate at LB, these three Cowboys among plenty of others know how important this game is for remaining relevant down the stretch.

Shortening this rivalry's history to just the games quarterbacked by Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are 3-0 with Prescott completing 65.3% of his passes - easily his highest mark against any NFC East foe.

The Cowboys confidence in getting to 4-3 should rest in Prescott using both his arm and legs to give the Cowboys the lead, than force Alex Smith to beat this defense.

The Redskins aren't a team that will beat themselves, leaving this one for the taking of a Cowboys team buried after week five's loss and crowned NFC East leaders 'elect' by week seven. A funny game this NFL is, and one the Cowboys don't want to play around with too much when considering Sunday's opponent - as well as the task at hand of earning a win on the road the latest in a season since 2013 for Dallas.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Face Latest Challenge Fighting for First Road Win at Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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