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3 Things the Cowboys Should Learn from Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII Victory

Jess Haynie



Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett

After last night's victory, the New England Patriots have won six Super Bowls since the Dallas Cowboys won their last one in 1995. The Patriots' success the last 18 seasons is a sobering thought for any NFL franchise, but especially those who haven't had much success during their run.

The Cowboys have already started doing things "The Patriot Way" these last few years. They have moved to a much more conservative model of handling their salary cap, refusing to pay big money for older players who are on the decline or even getting close to it. They have also improved their drafting and found more capable players in later rounds, filling out the depth chart more organically.

Beyond these more broad philosophies, though, Dallas should learn a few very specific things from how the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams last night. After all, it was the Rams who knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs in the Divisional Round.

Today we're going to look at three lessons that Dallas could take from New England's Super Bowl win. The first involves the Most Valuable Player from last night's game, and what his performance might tell the Cowboys about one of their most important free agents.

Julian Edelman

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman in Super Bowl LIII

Julian Edelman & Cole Beasley

Tom Brady threw to his favorite receiver 12 times last night, resulting in 10 catches and 141 yards for Edelman. It earned Julian, at 32 years old, his first MVP award in his three Super Bowl wins.

The comparison between Edelman and Dallas' Cole Beasley goes beyond their size and skin color. They are both devastating route runners who few can cover. They get open in the short and mid-range passing game as well as anyone in football.

Last night we saw the value of that to the Patriots' offense as they were able to control the ball and avoid turnovers, keeping the Rams' offense off the field. Brady was able to play his kind of game, ugly and conservative, utilizing his go-to guys in Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. They combined for 16 of the New England's 21 receptions.

Some have argued that Dallas doesn't need to re-sign Cole Beasley this offseason because they already have Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. But last night's game showed the value of having two proven receiving threats, as Gronk seemed to be getting keyed on by the Rams' defense and allowing Edelman to take advantage.

Gallup, despite having a solid rookie year, is far from a bonafide threat at this point. And right now Dallas has no tight end of consequence, and even a high draft pick may not yield one in 2019.

If re-signed, Beasley would be one of Dallas' top two receivers in terms of talent. He would need to be properly utilized, of course, which hopefully would get fixed by the recent change in offensive coordinator.

Last night showed how much damage a guy like Cole can do when used correctly. And if defenses start to pay him more attention, then you hurt them with Cooper, Gallup, and others. Dak Prescott doesn't want to throw into double coverage or tight windows, so give him a WR who gets himself open as good as anybody in the game.

Rams, Patriots

Rams QB Jared Goff gets hit by Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower in Super Bowl LIII

The Rams Offensive Line Was Beatable

A few weeks ago, the Cowboys' defense got manhandled by Los Angeles. They ran for 273 yards and didn't allow Jared Goff to get sacked once. In fact, only one QB hit was registered by Dallas in that game.

Last night, the Rams only mustered 62 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Goff was hit twelve times, four of which were sacks.

Sure, everyone can have a bad game. The Rams' offensive line did grade out as the best group in football overall for 2018. But last night showed they weren't invincible, and that perhaps Dallas' defense isn't as strong as we thought earlier in the season.

Even after re-signing DeMarcus Lawrence this offseason, as the Cowboys should and likely will do, they still need to give attention to other areas. They need more consistency across the defensive line, with upgrades possible at every other spot.

Dallas has plenty of solid guys; Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods. But where were they when the Rams were running all over the Cowboys a few weeks ago?

Lawrence can't do it alone as a pass rusher, either. Randy Gregory had some good games, but where is a guy who consistently takes advantage of going against a single blocker?

Last night reinforced what some have already said about the Cowboys' 2019 offseason; re-signing DeMarcus isn't enough. They need to make another significant addition on defense, most likely at defensive tackle, to take the group true championship level.

3 Things the Cowboys Should Learn from Patriots' Super Bowl LIII Victory 1

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel in Super Bowl LIII

Versatility in the Run Game

Even with Brady, Edelman, and Gronkowski out there as the offensive figureheads, the Patriots didn't neglect their rushing attack. Sony Michel had 18 carries for 94 yards and the game's only touchdown, while Rex Burkhead threw in 43 yards on seven carries.

Dallas can learn two things from this. One; Ezekiel Elliott is better than just about anyone that's ever played RB in New England (the exception being Curtis Martin). He's the best offensive weapon that Dallas has and he should be leaned on in just about any situation. Scott Linehan seemed to forget that at times last year.

But more importantly, there's a need for some variety in the run game. Rod Smith is basically a lesser version of Zeke, and what Dallas needs going forward is someone who brings a true change of pace.

Elliott can do it all, even go line up at receiver, but he still has a specific kind of athleticism. Having a guy like Burkhead who offers a different style of running from your lead back brings new wrinkles and works against the expectations that defensive players build up throughout a game.

Granted, Dallas needs more from its passing game at times to open up the run. There's only so much Elliott or anyone else can do if defenses are happy to load up the box and force Dak Prescott to beat them.

This season it felt like Dallas suffered some identity crises at times on offense. Part of that was due to health issues on the offensive line, with All-Pros missing time and limiting their typical rushing dominance.

But there were several games were Zeke was averaging 5.0 or more in rushing and then wasn't getting the ball, leaving us all shaking our heads and calling for Linehan's.

Like the Patriots did last night, Dallas needs to remember to lean on its strengths more. Remember who your RB and QB are, and find the right mix again to make both effective. They haven't really had that since 2016.

Hopefully Kellen Moore will do a better job.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.

The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.

Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.

These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.

Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.

Should a veteran TE be an option?

This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency? 1

TE Tyler Eifert (Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports)

Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.

The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.

Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.

There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.

We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.

Tell me what you think about "Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Cornerback

Jess Haynie



Byron Jones

Unlike other positions on their roster, cornerback appears ready to off the Dallas Cowboys stability in 2019. However, that doesn't mean the team can just ignore it this offseason. There are still a few decisions to be made.

Thanks to a shrewd move in April of last year, Dallas will be enjoying Byron Jones' services at a bargain. They picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and will be paying him just $6.3 million next season.

That's a steal for a Pro Bowl corner, who generally make more than double that amount in a single year. But the Cowboys are still left the decision of whether or not to give Jones a long-term deal now or wait until he hits free agency in 2020.

It's easy to say that they should enjoy the discount and worry about it next year. But then you risk a second Pro Bowl trip and the lure of the open market. Byron's asking price could only go up.

Of course, Dallas could then also have the option of using the franchise tag.

Keep in mind that Jones will turn 27 this September. Dallas could decide that it makes sense to play through the rookie deal this year, franchise him in 2020, and then reassess when he's about to turn 29 years old.

If they give Byron a long-term deal now then they'll have to pay him like one of the top corners in football. It may be wise to wait.

Chidobe Awuzie, Giants

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

Another decision facing the Cowboys is if they think they can improve at the second starting position. It was an up-and-down year for Chidobe Awuzie, but he was playing his best toward the end of the season. Dallas could hope that a second year with Kris Richard's coaching, and just more general growth for a third-year player, will elevate Awuzie's game.

However, with plenty of cap space to work with, Dallas could pursue a solid veteran option and then allow Awuzie to play the nickel role. It would not only perhaps improve the CB2 position but also bolster depth overall.

Speaking of depth, Anthony Brown returns for the final year of his rookie deal. While never spectacular, Brown has been a gem as a former sixth-round pick with 29 career starts. He brings exceptional value and may even compete with Awuzie for the starting job.

While arguably the team's best young corner in 2017, Jourdan Lewis comes into this season with a lot of uncertainty. He fell out of favor last season, perhaps for not fitting the physical style that Richard likes. But he did manage to snag the game-clinching interception in Dallas' upset win over the New Orleans Saints.

If a scheme mismatch is the issue, the Cowboys could look to trade Lewis this offseason. He still has two years left on his rookie deal and was considered a first-round prospect by some in 2017. A cornerback-needy club might have more use for him than Dallas seems to.

If they did move Jourdan, the Cowboys might turn to Donovan Olumba to fill out the depth chart. He was one of their surprising performers in last year's training camp and spent the year on the practice squad. At 6'2", he has the size that the team seems to be looking for now in its corners.

More than likely, Dallas will ride with this group in 2019 with no big changes. I do think a Lewis trade is possible, especially with the Cowboys short on draft picks this year. But don't expect any major cap space or draft capital to go at one of the team's more solid positions.

With all the other work Dallas needs done this offseason, a little stability at cornerback is a luxury.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Even with Dez Bryant's release and Jason Witten's retirement, the loss of Travis Frederick last season may have been the most damaging to the Dallas Cowboys. The team looks forward to getting their All-Pro center back in 2019 while also having a reliable backup still under contract.

Just within the last few weeks, Frederick has provided encouraging updates on his status for next year. It looks like he'll be able to participate in all offseason activities, but the Cowboys would settle for Week One. There appears to be plenty of cushion for that to happen.

Travis' absence in 2018 was seen in various ways. Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times, second-most in all the league, after just 32 and 25 times the previous two seasons. Part of that is missing Frederick's blocking ability, but also the way he would assist with reading the defense and making pre-snap adjustments.

Dallas would've loved having Frederick out there to help Guard Connor Williams, who worked with Travis throughout the offseason only to lose him in late August. It was not an easy way for the rookie to start his career.

We also saw issues in the run game. Even while Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing, short-yardage situations weren't as easy as they used to be. The Rams were able to neutralize the Cowboys' rushing attack in Dallas' playoff loss, something that Frederick might have helped overcome.

Joe Looney

Dallas Cowboys G/C Joe Looney

This isn't saying that Joe Looney did a bad job. On the contrary, Looney was more than adequate and helped keep Dallas from suffering far greater damage without Frederick.

After Joe's work in 2018, Dallas won't blink at keeping him on the $1 million salary he's due next year. It's a bargain for a backup of his quality, and especially given his versatility as an option at guard as well.

Not only are Frederick and Looney locked in for 2019, but Dallas also still has backup Adam Redmond under contract through next season. He was added after final cuts last year to be Looney's backup and should return to at least help the team through July and August.

With these guys already in place, there's no reason to think that Dallas will give much attention to the center position during the offseason.

At most, a mid-round draft pick might be used on a player who could potentially replace Looney in 2020 as the backup. Joe's contract ends next season, and he could be competitive for starting jobs with other teams at that point.

With lots of other concerns throughout the roster, Dallas is fortunate to have so much security at center. All signs are positive on Travis Frederick's return, and that is a huge boost to the team as it looks to push forward from last year's playoff run.

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