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3 Plays that Changed the Cowboys’ Season

Kevin Brady



The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Packers

The 2018 offseason is underway for the Dallas Cowboys. Typically, this means we should look ahead to both free agency and the NFL Draft, something we've been doing and will continue to do on Inside The Star in the coming months. But it's time to look back a bit, and examine three key plays that changed the 2017 season -- for the worse.

Week 4: Ryan Switzer's Fumble

ryan switzer fumble - Streamable

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First, we go back to the fourth game of the year.

The Dallas Cowboys were 2-1 coming off two shaky performances in their last two games. They were playing the 2-1 Los Angeles Rams, a team which we didn't think much of at the time, but that turned out to be the NFC West champions.

Dallas controlled the first quarter and a half. The Rams defense couldn't stop Dak Prescott & Co. and the Cowboys defense was holding up against the dynamic Rams' offense. Up 17-6, they forced another Rams punt, and were getting ready to potentially put the game away.

Instead, rookie Ryan Switzer fumbled the punt away to the Rams.

Los Angeles took over with fantastic field position, and scored their first touchdown pretty quickly. This fumble changed the entire feel of the game, and contributed to a tough early-season loss for the Cowboys, knocking them down to 2-2.

Week 5: Terrance Williams. Ugh.

randall pick six - Streamable

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After that tough loss to the Rams, no one gave the 2-2 Cowboys a chance when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came to town. Most expected the Packers to roll over Dallas, but the Cowboys fought hard for four quarters.

In the fourth quarter, leading by just two points, the Cowboys got the ball in their own territory with a chance to drive down the field and seal the game. The Packers defense struggled with Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott all game long, and this drive would be no different.

Instead, early on in the drive, Prescott's pass bounced off Terrance Williams' chest and into the arms of Damarious Randall.

Randall took the interception back for a touchdown to give the Packers a late lead. The Cowboys would drive and score on their next possession, only for Rodgers to break their hearts moments later.

If Williams had caught this pass, however, it would've been really unlikely for Rodgers to even have the chance to win the game.

Week 16: Dez Bryant. Ugh.

dak dez seahawks pick - Streamable

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There were a ton of plays to choose from for this post, most of which came from this week-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. With Elliott returning from suspension and most of the early NFL games going the Cowboys way, all Dallas had to do to keep their playoff hopes alive was beat the reeling Seahawks.

Spoiler alert: they didn't.

I could've chosen Prescott's pick six or Dez Bryant's first fumble, but this play was really the end of the Cowboys' chances.

Following the best play of the night from both Prescott and Bryant, and down just 2 points in the third quarter, Dak's pass bounced off Bryant's hands for the interception.

This play felt like the dagger in the Cowboys' season, and in the end it probably was.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

I know this was probably depressing, but later this week I'll have the 3 best plays from the 2017 Cowboys season here on Inside The Star. Hopefully that will lift spirits a bit.

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.


Star Blog

Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady



Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.

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Star Blog

Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady



Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success.'s Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.

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Star Blog

Amari Cooper Says He’s Focused On Football, Not His Next Contract

Kevin Brady



Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks 1

It seems like all anyone has talked about this offseason is who the Cowboys should re-sign, and how they can go about doing so.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper, of course, is heavily involved in those conversations. The Cowboys used their 2019 first round pick to trade for the Pro Bowl wide out last season, and Cooper's emergence helped to turn their struggling offense around immediately.

In just 9 games with the Cowboys last season, he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. He quickly gained the trust of quarterback Dak Prescott, and exhibited a chemistry with the young passer that no one else really has to this point. Outside of maybe Cole Beasley in 2016, perhaps.

While the football world seems to be focusing on what Amari Cooper's contract will look like after 2019, the receiver himself claims to be solely focused on the upcoming season. Cooper spoke with ESPN's Todd Archer about this very subject, emphasizing where his mind lies at this time.

"I just handle my business...I'm more anxious about camp and actually playing football." - Amari Cooper.

Amari Cooper has just one year left on his contract as he plays under the fifth year option from his rookie deal. Cooper will make $13.9 million this season, putting him behind some of the league's other WR1s like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins.

There had been speculation around whether any of the Cowboys left with just one year on their contract would hold-out through parts of offseason activity, but Cooper alluded that it never seemed to cross his mind.

"I just want to get better and I love football. That's why I'm here" - Cooper.

Of course, Amari Cooper will play a huge role in the Cowboys offense in 2019. Combining him with a second year version of Michael Gallup, and new versatile threats like Tony Pollard and Randall Cobb, will help make the Dallas passing game as multiple as it's been in years.

The Cowboys will eventually need to get Amari Cooper locked up long term, but for the time being it seems like both he and the franchise are more focused on what will happen on the field in 2019 than in the negotiating room next Spring.

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