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4 Bold Predictions For The 2016 Dallas Cowboys

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Cowboys Headlines - 4 Bold Predictions For The 2016 Dallas Cowboys

The word bold and the Dallas Cowboys go hand in hand. From flashy draft picks to fancy helicopters, Dallas is always in the news. This year in particular reached new highs and lows in that category.

It has been a complete roller coaster.

Tony Romo got hurt... again. Three defensive starters are currently suspended. And rookie Dak Prescott has shined. If one offseason can be so crazy, it can be both fun and scary to try to predict the future.

Here are my bold predictions for the Cowboys this season.

Ezekiel Elliott Will Lead the League in Rushing

In 2015, Dallas was without arguably its two best players. Tony Romo played in a total of four games. Star wide receiver Dez Bryant played in nine, but was realistically healthy for none.

Despite this, Darren McFadden still finished fourth in rushing. Fourth! And this was all without starting a whole season. If McFadden was lead-dog from week one last season, he could have pushed for the rushing title. Just imagine what a superior talent like Ezekiel Elliott can achieve.

The talent and upside are there for this young man. Against Seattle's acclaimed starting defense in the preseason, he looked poised and explosive. But his situation may trump all.

We've all heard plenty about the offensive line. But, he plays for a team that has a dynamic rushing attack and the actual desire to run the ball heavily. In a pass-oriented league, that is almost non-existent these days. If Dallas has any success this year, running Elliott effectively is clearly plan A.

He will get the carries, and he has surrounding talent on offense. I expect Ezekiel Elliott to have one of the greatest rookie rushing seasons in league history.

Dallas' Secondary Will Produce Two Pro-Bowlers

2009 was the last year that a Dallas Cowboy made the Pro-Bowl (actual votes). That year featured two players, Terence Williams and Mike Jenkins. Seven years is a long drought, but this secondary is ready to make some significant strides.

In spite of the flack this defensive unit has received, I still have big expectations for their secondary.

Byron Jones quietly had a solid rookie campaign, flashing a lot of what the Cowboys hoped he'd be as a first round selection. He is a complete, versatile talent, possessing tremendous closing speed. He demonstrated plenty of this in the preseason this year.

Orlando Scandrick remains one of the most underrated corners in the game. Very few defensive backs have the ability to go inside and cover slot receivers like Scandrick. Healthy and with a lot to prove in 2016, expect him to return to 2014 form.

Mark Sanchez Never Takes a Snap

Dak Prescott will have his ups and downs, but I expect enough production from him to hold down the starting job. Barring injury, this is Prescott's chance.

Mark Sanchez will remain strictly a clipboard holder as Prescott is given a full opportunity to shine. Cowboys Nation is praying that Prescott is the real deal, and the organization will let him play for the majority of the season to get their answers. When Tony Romo comes back from injury, I fully expect him to resume starting duties. Unless Prescott is playing at a consistently elite level, Tony Romo gets one more crack at it.

Jason Garrett Coaches His Last Season in Dallas

I really hope this one isn't true, because by default, this means the Cowboys will have another bad season. The mediocrity of Jason Garrett's tenure as head coach cannot be denied. Specifically, this team has proven time after time totally inept without Tony Romo. I expect improvement this season with Prescott, but I'm still not convinced this team can win without Romo.

Is a record of... let's say 6-10 enough to keep Garrett around? Dallas still has enough to compete for a division crown.

How much longer can we sit here and blame backup quarterbacks for losing? Dak Prescott has looked great, and he has the talent to win in this league, but it's time for this coaching staff to start producing wins without number nine. Not to mention the Dallas Cowboys' 2016 schedule is pretty favorable.

Garrett needs to produce wins now.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Nothing about the Cowboys isn't bold, and I expect the trend to continue this season. Maybe Prescott is the second coming of Russell Wilson and Tony Romo comes back to lead the Cowboys to the promised land. But even I can't go there. Here's to dreaming.

Bold will always be relevant in Big D.



Die hard Dallas Cowboys fan behind enemy lines here in New Jersey. CBS Sports employee and contributor for InsideTheStar.com.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. John Williams

    John Williams

    September 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Man I hope you’re wrong about Jason Garrett. I really think he has done a great job in creating a consistent environment. He has the trust of the owner/GM and has built a communication structure with Stephen and Will McClay that will benefit this team and gives us a glimpse of what the future holds post Jerry.

    • Bryson Treece

      Bryson Treece

      September 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      I hope he’s wrong too. Lot of people get up in arms over the 8-8 seasons, but not me. I’m more worried about the increasing character issues on this team. The more they happen each year, the more I wonder if Garrett isn’t doing something we don’t see that’s allowing these issues to crop up. That’s my only concern with Garrett, though I believe he has created a consistent environment and believes highly in having the Right Kind of Guys. Tough to know. Definitely don’t like seeing players having repeated drug issues year after year.

      • jgrohowski

        September 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

        Thanks for the input guys. I obviously hope I’m wrong too for the reasons listed above, but I think it is at least worth having a conversation about. Most head coaches would not have lasted this long with the record he has had during his tenure. It’s at least fair to say that, and that can be backed up when you look around the league. Also, the team could not close out games last year, and a lot of that could fall on coaching. I wrote about that last month. Sometimes last year it felt like we were the only team in the NFL that couldn’t win without their starting QB. At a certain point, when do we stop blaming it all on the actual starting QB that we throw out there, and start to put more of the blame on the coaching staff? That’s my main gripe with him. Romo has covered a lot up over the years.

        He was also stripped of his play-calling duties before the 2014 season, which just happened to be the best this offense has looked in the Romo era.

        Also, I agree with Bryson on his point. But I guess we really have no way of knowing what impact he does or does not have on that aspect of the team. I will just say it comes across as kind of phony when Garrett preaches “right kind of guy” and the team is then fined in the off season for having too many players suspended for issues relating to their poor character. But again, not saying that is his fault either.

        Good discussion guys.

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        September 10, 2016 at 9:48 pm

        I get that too. I think he has done the best job of managing Jerry Jones of any head coach in the Jones era that has kept his job.

        Campo, Phillips, and Gainey were too soft.
        Parcells and Jimmy were to tough.

        Garrett is just right and happens to be one of Jerry’s guys from the Super Bowl era. Much like Kubiak is Elway’s guy.

        I think Garrett is going to be here for a long time. They are still building something and at some point it’s going to deliver.

        To your comment on the RKG talk. I’m with you in that it seems hypocritical to preach RKG and then sign a guy like Greg Hardy. Problem is that the coach is rarely going to have the final say on the construction of the team. Usually he will play the players he’s given.

        Still good stuff man.

  2. Ethan Chazin

    September 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I think the prediction on ANY Cowboys HC is problematic BECAUSE of the Owner/GM situation. Garrett is clearly the most tenured HC of this Jerruh reign since ’89 BUT…you can’t argue .500 record is the definition of Mediocrity. BUT..is that because of the (lack) of talent? Were we fans spoiled b/c romo willed his teams to achieve higher than the talent around him? I am absolutely convinced if we consider Garrett’s tenure a failure it is because he lacks a fundamental understanding of and appreciation for how to build a top tier defense. I wish he had forced his will on Jerruh and Jerruh Jr. to go get better talent for our defense.

    • Justin Grohowski

      September 10, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Ethan, thank you for the comment, you bring up some great points. It’s tough to place blame on Garrett for not building a better defense over the years. I would personally place that blame on the front office. I fall somewhere in the middle on Garrett overall. On one hand I agree with your point about the talent on the roster over the years, but I also place a decent amount of blame on Garrett as well. What bothers me about him is that it’s hard to take him seriously as times. For instance, he preaches “Right kind of guy” philosophy, yet the team is constantly dealing with players with character issues, particularly over the last year. He also lost play-calling duties before 2014, the one season we happened to go 12-4 afterwards and reach a near elite level offensively. Hard to ignore the 1-11 record without Tony Romo last year as well. When do we draw the line and place some blame on the coaching staff when they look like the worst team in the league without number 9? This season could dictate his future, that’s all I’m saying here.

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams

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Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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