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3 Things Cowboys Should Learn From the Super Bowl Champs

Brian Martin

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3 Things Cowboys Should Learn From the Super Bowl Champs

Like it or not Cowboys Nation, the Philadelphia Eagles are now the latest Super Bowl champions after their 41-33 victory of the New England Patriots. Despite a close game, things just fell the Eagles way. It's a hard pill to swallow for a lot of Dallas Cowboys fan, but swallow it we must.

Although I wasn't personally rooting for the Eagles, I'm not all that upset they were the Super Bowl victors. They've been one of the best teams in the entire NFL throughout the 2017 season and were able to overcome several obstacles placed in the way.

Now, I don't want to give the Eagles too much credit, because there were a few touchdown catches that probably should've been overturned. Luckily for the Eagles though, the officiating thought otherwise. We as Cowboys fans could only sit back and watch in disbelief plays that were oddly similar to the Dez Bryant "catch" against the Green Bay Packers a few seasons ago.

But, I'm not here to rehash what should've/could've been. I'm more focused on the Dallas Cowboys and what they can possibly learn from the now Super Bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Continue to read below to see the three things I believe the Dallas Cowboys could learn from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Become more of an Aggressor

Nick Foles

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles

The Philadelphia Eagles had the mindset of being the aggressor against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl and it ended up working in their favor. It was really no surprise because that's just the way the Eagles played the entire season.

Doug Pederson was aggressive all season with his play calling and didn't back down against the Patriots in the Super Bowl either. His fourth-down trick play touchdown pass to Nick Foles was proof of that and it was arguably the turning point of the game.

On the other side of the ball, Jim Schwartz operated an aggressive/attacking defense. The Eagles defense was one of the better units the entire season, and they eventually wore down the Patriots and started getting to Tom Brady.

The Dallas Cowboys could definitely adopt some of this aggressiveness in all phases of their game. They have been pretty simplistic and predictable on both offense and defense since Jason Garrett has taken over as head coach. It might be time to take a page out of the Eagles book and incorporate it in Dallas.

This also spills over into the Cowboys approach in free agency. They need to be more aggressive going after free agents who can actually contribute to the team. They can't continue to sign players who don't even make it through the season.

Adequate Roster Depth is a Must

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

One of the most important things the Dallas Cowboys could have possibly learned from the Philadelphia Eagles is how important roster depth is in order to overcome injuries.

The Cowboys 2017 season was pretty much derailed when some of their key players were out due to injuries. They didn't have an adequate replacement in place for Tyron Smith, which caused a breakdown in protection and it had a ripple effect throughout the offense. The same can be said for Sean Lee as well.

The Eagles however were able to overcome injuries to quite a few of their key players and not have it affect them negatively. They lost their starting left tackle (Jason Peters), starting linebacker (Jordan Hicks), and their franchise quarterback (Carson Wentz) and didn't really skip a beat.

The Dallas Cowboys absolutely have to do a better job of addressing their depth, especially at key positions. It's unfathomable to think that injuries to just a few players can derail an entire season, but that's what happened. It can't continue!

Play Calling Should Highlight Strengths of QB

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys play calling was obviously an issue this last season. It was still pretty much the same offense Tony Romo operated, with a few run/pass options (RPOs) thrown in here and there. This is something that absolutely needs to be addressed this off-season.

Doug Pederson did a masterful job playing to Carson Wentz's strengths in 2017 and it was one of the reasons he was in the MVP discussion prior to his injury. Pederson incorporated a lot of RPOs and even added a few of Wentz's favorite plays he liked from college. He did the same thing once Nick Foles took over.

The Cowboys need to follow suit and do the same thing with Dak Prescott going forward. They need to get back to the drawing board and sit down with #4 to figure out what he likes and what he doesn't.

I think it should look much more like a college style offense where they spread things out and run a lot more RPOs, while still relying heavily on the running game. Prescott is at his best when he is throwing on the run and using his legs. That hopefully means moving the pocket much more in 2018.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys will learn anything from the Super Bowl champs?



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.

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. William Pep Hatcher

    February 6, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I hope that they sign Jarvis Landry and draft two speed WR’s and a Speed TE. It’s rd must be a DT and second rd must be an OG.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      I think there is a 0% chance they sign Jarvis Landry. They already have more than enough slot WRs. I kinda doubt they draft a TE either. As far as a speed WR, DJ Chark is on my wish list for the Cowboys. I can also see them drafting a DT or OG/OT in the first couple of rounds.

      • William Pep Hatcher

        February 6, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        We have to sign Jarvis Landry if we are to be Dak Friendly. He’s a great route runner that knows how to make the smart read. Dez has to go because we can’t afford both. Witten should be TE asst coach but he is too slow to continue to start. Swarm and RICO should be the first options to replace Witten. He can go get sized for his gold jacket.The TE from Penn State should be available in the third as long as we don’t use it to trade up in the first or second round.

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          February 6, 2018 at 3:50 pm

          Dez isn’t going anywhere this year. The Cowboys will likely draft a WR, but no chance Landry ends up in Dallas. 82 will also remain the starter because there’s nobody to challenge him. Swaim and Gathers simply aren’t good enough. I’m not even sure the Cowboys coaching staff trusts Gathers. There are several TEs in this draft class who could eventually replace Witten.

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      • Brian Martin

        Brian Martin

        April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

  2. Hector Espindola

    February 6, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I think the play calling would be adjusted, but anything so far to be labeled as “aggresive”, It is not in the nature of our OC. However, I believe firstly it would be “friendly” for Dak, in order to rebuild his confidence. And talking on roster depth, I doubt any splash signing at FA, they will keep buiding from the draft. My wish list says: 1st round OG Isaiah Wynn, 2nd DT Da’Ron Payne and 3rd WR DJ Chark.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 6, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      I doubt we have any splash FA signings either, but they definitely have to do a better job of signing players who can actually contribute. Also, your wish list looks pretty much like mine. I would absolutely be on board if that’s the way the first three rounds turn out for the Cowboys.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

  3. Hobbes49

    February 6, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    I agree with all three of those things. It was easy to see the difference between the ‘Boys and the Eagles through this playoff season. The Eagles covered every player loss adequately, made great in game adjustments, and were aggressive start to finish. We have the roster for the most part to maintain that aggressive nature, we need to stock the roster and get Dak friendly quickly.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      I think the roster is already “Dak friendly”, the playcalling just needs to help him more. They are pretty much operating the same system is when Tony Romo was QB. Need to play to Prescott strengths more moving forward.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

  4. William Pep Hatcher

    February 6, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The Eagles free agent signings made plays in the Super Bowl. If we refuse to utilize free agency as an additional option to get better then we won’t be able to catch the Eagles.

  5. William Pep Hatcher

    February 6, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    We lack speed at the TE, we lack speed at WR and we lack speed in the slot with our starters. I don’t see how you win a Super Bowl like that.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Unfortunately, that’s just the way things are right now. We will have to wait and see what they do in free agency and the draft. But, adding speed doesn’t necessarily correlate with winning the Super Bowl. With the exception of TE, the Eagles don’t have a lot of speed on offense.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

Brian Martin

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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season 2

I know we are all still little disappointed with the way the Dallas Cowboys 2018 season ended, but if we are completely honest with ourselves it ended a lot better than we initially thought it would. With the season officially over, it's time to start the evaluation process to see what went wrong and what right this past year.

I don't know about you, but I started the evaluation process a lot earlier this year than I have in years past. That is why today I want to share with you five of the Dallas Cowboys players who I believe had a fantastic 2018 season and five that unfortunately didn't quite live up to expectations.

Before we get started, I want to let you know that I tried to stray from pointing out the obvious, especially in the stud category. Instead I went with players who kind of came out of nowhere to have a really good season. I thought that would make it a little more enjoyable instead of pointing out the obvious. I hope you enjoy.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Studs ✭

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

CB, Byron Jones

Byron Jones completely turned around his career this season with the Dallas Cowboys after being moved from safety to cornerback, his more natural position. Many had him pegged as a first-round bust, but he definitely quieted his critics by making his first Pro Bowl and becoming a Second-team All-Pro. I would say that qualifies as stud status.

The Predator and Wolf Hunter

You can't really mention one and leave out the other, which is why you're getting a two-for-one special here with Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. This dynamic duo arguably played like the best LBs in the league, although it's Vander Esch who has received the majority of the attention and got the Pro Bowl not as a replacement. Both definitely had Pro Bowl caliber seasons and that alone speaks volumes to how they played in 2018.

C, Joe Looney

No one could've possibly predicted the kind of season Dallas Cowboys backup Guard/Center Joe Looney would have in 2018 after replacing Travis Frederick in the starting lineup. He became somewhat of an afterthought this past season, which is pretty impressive in itself considering he was replacing one of the best centers in the league. What's even more impressive is the fact he played every single snap on offense. No other Cowboys player accomplished that feat on either side of the ball.

DE, Randy Gregory

You may disagree with me here, but the way Randy Gregory played in the second half of the 2018 season earned him stud status in my opinion. If he would've played that way for the entire year he would've joined DeMarcus Lawrence with double digit quarterback sacks. His ability to turn his speed into power gave opposing left tackles fits. He ended up being among the best at pressuring the QB in the latter part of the season.

DT, Antwaun Woods

Antwaun Woods was viewed as nothing more than a camp body when the Dallas Cowboys picked him up in the offseason after being released by the Tennessee Titans, but it's not always where you start it's where you finish. He went on to earn the starting gig at the 1-tech or nose tackle this past season and was largely responsible for the success Dallas had at shutting down opposing offenses rushing attacks. Unfortunately, as well as he played all season it will probably be forgotten after the way the LA Rams completely dominated Woods and the rest of the Cowboys DL in the playoffs.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Duds ✭

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

LB, Sean Lee

The Dallas Cowboys wisely drafted Leighton Vander Esch as insurance if Sean Lee couldn't remain healthy in 2018, and thank the heavens they did. Vander Esch was supposed to be Lee's backup this season, but it ended up being the other way around after #50 once again missed quite a bit of the year with injuries. It looks like the torch has already been passed, making Sean Lee's future in Dallas a mystery moving forward.

DT, David Irving

Remember last offseason when the Dallas Cowboys decided to place just a second-round tender on David Irving and we were worried some other team would snatch him up? Yeah, well it looks as if the Cowboys are the ones who paid too much to keep him around because did basically nothing in 2018 despite all the high expectations we all had for him. After he sustained a high ankle sprain he pretty much went M.I.A. and no one really knows what the heck is going on or what his future holds.

WR, Allen Hurns

The Dallas Cowboys signed Allen Hurns this past offseason to help replace some of the lost production in the passing game after they decided to release Dez Bryant. Unfortunately, he never found his footing in Dallas and finished the year with an unimpressive stat line of 20 receptions for 295 receiving yards and two touchdowns. To add insult to injury (pun intended), his gruesome leg injury might be the only thing we remember about his 2018 season.

S, Jeff Heath

I'm actually a fan of Jeff Heath's, but he didn't particularly play very well this season. He ended up grading out as one of the worst tackling safeties in the NFL this past season. I don't know if it was some kind of fluke or what, but the Dallas Cowboys will surely be looking to upgrade the safety position this offseason either through free agency or the draft, perhaps both. Regardless, his days in the starting lineup may be all but over.

RB/WR, Tavon Austin

There were a lot of high expectations for Tavon Austin when the Dallas Cowboys added him via trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Austin was supposed to provide a different dynamic to the Cowboys offense and help improve their return game as well. Unfortunately a groin injury pretty much wiped out the majority of his season, but even when he was on the field he wasn't as impactful as we'd all hoped. He did show a few flashes of his talent, but for me it wasn't enough.



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Report: Antwaun Woods Played with Torn Labrum in Loss to Rams

John Williams

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HOU 19, DAL 16: Cowboys Lose Tough Defensive Battle in Overtime

Late last night, Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported yesterday that Antwaun Woods suffered a torn labrum in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams and proceeded to play with the injury for the rest of the game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DT Antwaun Woods tore his labrum during the second quarter of the #Rams game and had surgery today to repair it, source said. He played the rest of the game with the ailment. One of Dallas' young talents on the mend.

Woods is a tough player, but there's no way that it didn't affect his play. The labrum is the cartilage in the socket of your shoulder joint. It acts to protect the bones from rubbing together and allows a smooth surface for the shoulder to rotate and extend. The labrum also serves as the location where the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff attach.

A torn labrum will effect the range of motion and will be painful to use when attempting to perform range of motion. Also, any blows to the shoulder, which is always for a defensive tackle will be painful as well, and it will limit his play strength.

https://twitter.com/AntwaunWoods_/status/1086089237785653248

Antwaun Woods responded to Rapoport's report with confirmation of the injury and surgery.

Woods was a highlight of training camp and a standout this season. His play at the 1-technique defensive tackle position helped the Dallas Cowboys become a top 10 rushing defense and gave the Cowboys something they've struggled to find for years; a penetrating 1-technique defensive tackle.

Woods finished the season with 34 total tackles (15 solo), two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits according to Pro Football Reference. He also had 16 stops, which Pro Football Focus defines as a play that resulted in a loss for the offense, which was second on the team at defensive tackle to Tyrone Crawford.

Things are looking up for Woods as he'll likely be back with the Cowboys in 2019 and manning the nose tackle position for a defense that is on the rise in the NFL. Injuries are never a good thing, but the Cowboys and Cowboys Nation just learned how tough Antwaun Woods is and how much he's willing to give for his teammates.



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