Connect with us

Star Blog

3 Players Who Need To Step Up Vs. Cardinals

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Sean Lee Named To Pro Bowl 3

Tonight the Dallas Cowboys have a chance to get back on track. Following an embarrassing loss to the Denver Broncos a week ago, Dallas now travels to Arizona looking for some measure of redemption.

If they are going to win this game, and get themselves back over .500, three players in particular must vastly improve on their performances from week two.

Ezekiel Elliott and The Offensive Line

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Giants 4

Sep 10, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs with the ball off a block from guard Chaz Green (79) against New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas (52) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I mean, duh, right?

Running back Ezekiel Elliott had the worst game of his career last week, rushing for under 10 yards on under 10 carries. It was such an uncharacteristically bad game for Zeke that it's hard to imagine he struggles that much ever again. But the Cardinals defense is a tough unit which will definitely put an emphasis on stopping Elliott tonight.

Elliott was also criticized for his "lack of effort" during the fourth quarter of last week's blowout loss. A big game from Zeke today would go a long way to silencing all of those critics.

The unit which must improve the most, however, is that offensive line. For the first time in about three years, the Cowboys o-line was physically beaten for four quarters. It was a rare sight to see, and the Cowboys have to be better upfront if they plan on winning this week.

Sean LeeSean Lee Receives High Praise From Pro Football Focus

The best player on the Dallas Cowboys defense was downright bad last Sunday afternoon. Linebacker Sean Lee is the leader of a unit which will be undermanned Monday night, meaning that he must lead by example for all four quarters.

Lee missed several tackles last week and just seemed to be a step slow against both the run and pass. Of course, the entire Cowboys defense missed tackles and looked to be playing catch-up, but they seem to go as Sean Lee does.

If Lee can do a better job getting off blocks and making tackles Monday night, I'd expect the rest of the Cowboys defense to do the same.

Byron Jones

Cowboys FS Byron Jones Works With Frisco RoughRiders To Improve Hands

Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) during the second half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Eagles won 33-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone familiar with my previous articles knows how much I love Byron Jones. To me, Jones is clearly the second best player on this defense, and is the general of the secondary the way that Lee is the leader of the front seven.

Byron Jones has the ability to be a top-flight safety in this league, and though he has been a model of consistency through most of his young career, he was simply not good enough in Denver last week.

Now, I'm not worried about Byron Jones, just like I'm not worried about Sean Lee, Ezekiel Elliott, or this offensive line. These players are supposed to be the strength of this team as they are all clearly among the best players on the roster. Tonight they need to play like it. Just like they did last year, and just like did against the New York Giants.

Hopefully, for the sake of Cowboys Nation, these players can step up and keep the Cowboys in pace with the rest of the NFC East.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

Advertisement
Comments

Star Blog

WR Tavon Austin Named Veteran “Most Likely To Be Cut”

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Who Will be Cowboys' Main Punt Returner in 2019, Tavon Austin?

The Dallas Cowboys spent the 2019 offseason looking to add new dimensions to their offense.

They went out and signed Randall Cobb, the veteran receiver who made his name in the slot for the Green Bay Packers. They then drafted Memphis running back Tony Pollard in the fourth round to add a versatile weapon to their offensive backfield.

They also promoted quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator, hoping he can bring a fresh perspective to an offense many labeled stale over the course of 2018.

All of these changes could leave members of that "stale" 2018 offense in the dust, and Todd Archer believes wide receiver Tavon Austin could be one of those casualties.

Veterans who could be cut by each of the NFL's 32 teams

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Richie Incognito are new to their teams, but will they still be there on opening day? Can Pittsburgh Steelers corner Artie Burns stay out of the doghouse and fight his way back up the depth chart?

Archer named Tavon Austin the veteran most likely to be cut by the Cowboys, and roster math does somewhat point to this prediction coming true. If the Cowboys were to only take 5 receivers, as ESPN is suggesting in their latest roster projection, then it's hard to see a perfect spot for Austin.

Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are complete locks. Randall Cobb is about as close to a lock as you can imagine. That leaves two spots for a lot of talented players, including Austin, Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, and Cedrick Wilson.

It's certainly possible, and more than likely, that the Cowboys go with more than just 5 receivers however. This way they can keep a young hopeful like Wilson around while still maintaining the explosiveness that Tavon Austin can bring them in 2019.

Of course, the Cowboys are not afraid to cut veterans. Just last year we saw Dan Bailey get the axe after training camp, and Dez Bryant get released prior to any offseason activity even began. Tavon Austin is still of cheap value to Dallas, however, and when healthy he was an impressive weapon both on offense and special teams in 2018.

I actually do expect Tavon Austin to survive final cuts in Dallas, mostly because I anticipate they keep more than just 5 receivers on the roster.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Cowboys Twitter Tuesday: Addressing the 2019 53-Man Roster

John Williams

Published

on

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

For the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL, and the NFL fanbase, the waiting game for the start of training camp has begun. As Tom Petty says, "the waiting is the hardest part." The Dallas Cowboys go open training camp in about five weeks. The first preseason game is 53 days away and week one is less than three months away at this point. It's so close we can taste it.

Each week, I'll gather questions from you the Cowboys Nation community. Each week, we'll hone in on a specific topic based on your questions. So whether it's roster related, salary cap focused, or you have a fantasy football question, don't hesitate to send it to me on Twitter.

This week, we're going to take a look at the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster.

jesus flores on Twitter

@john9williams Who contributed to last year's team that won't make this year's team?

The 53-man roster will be one of the more debated topics over the next couple of months as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for training camp and the preseason. Every year there are surprises and we should expect the same this year. The Dallas Cowboys have incredible depth through the roster and so there will be at least one name that doesn't make the final 53-man roster who had an impact in 2018.

To answer Jesus' question, I think the easy answer is one of the wide receivers be it Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, or Tavon Austin. This might be a hot take, but I'm going to go a different direction and say guard Xavier Su'a-Filo.

In 2018, Su'a-Filo started eight games for the Dallas Cowboys and though he started out strong for them midseason, his play tailed off before he was injured allowing Connor Williams to regain his starting spot at left guard. The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff loves position flexibility, especially along the offensive line. Su'a-Filo, though he's a solid backup guard option, doesn't have the ability to play multiple positions along the line like his teammates.

Connor Williams can play guard and tackle. Connor McGovern will get snaps at guard and center, and to hear him talk, he can play tackle as well, though that's probably a bit of a stretch. Joe Looney, the Dallas Cowboys starting center for 2018, has the ability to flex out to guard if you need him to.

Because the Dallas Cowboys will have difficult decisions to make at wide receiver and defensive line, they can afford to go light along the offensive line because of the flexibility of players like Williams, Looney, and McGovern.

Tommy on Twitter

@john9williams #CowboysQuestions do we extend Dak before game #1? How many WRs on 53?

I'm gonna leave the Dak Prescott question for another day and address the wide receiver question as several people asked about that position group in particular.

The wide receiver group is a really deep group. With Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Allen Hurns, it features three guys who've had at least one 1,000 yard season in their career. Michael Gallup is an ascending player. Tavon Austin is a really nice punt returner and offensive puzzle piece that can take the top off the defense with his downfield speed. I think four of those five are locks to make the roster.

According to Jeff Cavanaugh from 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the team really likes Allen Hurns and his ability to play inside and outside in the formation. He's solid veteran depth at a low cost.

Then if you include Noah Brown's ability as a receiver and as a blocker, I think you have a very versatile and dangerous group in the passing game. Though the coaches really like Brown's ability to block in the run game, if they don't use him in the passing game, it tips their hand to the defense that the team is going to run. If they're going to keep him on the roster, they have to use him. It's a waste otherwise.

Brown and Hurns to me are on the roster bubble at wide receiver. Talented players like Cedric Wilson, Devin Smith, Jon'vea Johnson, Jalen Guyton, and Reggie Davis have all stood out at one point in time or another during OTAs and minicamp and will make the decision difficult for the coaching staff.

In my most recent roster projection, I had the Dallas Cowboys keeping six wide receivers; Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Being a team on the verge of contending for a Super Bowl, I think they go with veterans who can help them win now.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

That'll do it for this week's edition. Make sure to get your questions in via Twitter, or you can leave them in the comment section for next week's post. Also, don't forget to check out Inside The Star's newest podcast, Cowboys Weekly featuring Managing Editor Bryson Treece and Senior Writer Jess Haynie.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Does Darius Jackson Have A “Puncher’s Chance” Of Landing On Final Roster?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Darius Jackson, Bengals

Remember Darius Jackson?

The sixth round running back was an instant fan favorite of Cowboys Nation, as the fanbase hoped Dallas had found the explosive RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott they needed in the very same draft. Jackson, however, had an up-and-down preseason in 2016 and ended up being waived from the team to make room for Darren McFadden later in the year.

Jackson has bounced around the league a bit since then, joining both the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers at different points. He's back with the Cowboys, however, looking to fight his way onto the team's final roster.

But does the fourth year running back have more than a puncher's chance to do so?

The Cowboys spent much of the 2019 NFL Draft rebuilding their running back depth. First, they drafted Memphis back Tony Pollard hoping to find a versatile and dynamic threat to compliment the workhorse that is Ezekiel Elliott. Then, in the seventh round, Dallas took another Ohio State running back in Mike Weber who fits more of the "traditional" running back form.

So with two new touted rookies behind the veteran Elliott, and fullback Jamize Olawale more than likely having a roster spot as well, there doesn't seem to be room for Darius Jackson on the Dallas Cowboys.

That didn't stop him from competing at OTAs, however. DallasCowboys.com named Darius Jackson one of their top ten "head turners" from the OTA practices, and considering that Mike Weber is banged up at the moment, Jackson will certainly have his opportunities to fight for that spot.

Still, the odds suggest that Darius Jackson will not be with the Cowboys come the Fall of 2019. Though he entered the league with some fanfare for a day three pick, his production has been more fitting of his draft grade than of his fan hype.

Jackson hasn't been the explosive player/receiving back that they're hoping Tony Pollard will be, nor has he been the every-down type backup runner that they seem to hope Mike Weber will be.

In the end, the Cowboys-Darius Jackson story is likely to close during this year's training camp.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending