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5 Bye Week Decisions the Cowboys Hopefully Made

Brian Martin

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The bye week for the Dallas Cowboys quite possibly came at the perfect time. After two close games that probably should’ve gone in their favor, it was time to take a step back and regroup, while also evaluating everything in order to figure out exactly what’s working and what’s not.

The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff is probably going to have to make some tough decisions if the evaluation process turns out the way I think. It is not always easy to make these kind of decisions, but sometimes you have to do what is best for the team in order to get the right players on the field.

That is why I decided to put together a list of five bye week decisions I am hoping the Dallas Cowboys made in hopes of putting the best possible team on the field the remainder of the season. Continue to read below to see which five decisions I’m hoping the Cowboys made during the bye week.

WR Brice Butler

Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler

1. Promote Brice Butler over Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys fans have been hankering to see Brice Butler receive more playing time over Terrance Williams for a couple of seasons now. It has been a hot topic the last couple of off-seasons, but nothing has ever materialized. Hopefully, that may change if the Cowboys coaching staff sat down and really evaluated how both of these receivers have performed through the first five weeks of the 2017 season.

Butler has clearly outperformed Williams so far this season and absolutely deserves more playing time. He already has accumulated 207 receiving yards and two touchdowns compared to Williams’ 180 yards and ZERO TDs. Also, Butler provides something Williams doesn’t… big ability. It’s something the Cowboys offenses has been lacking and definitely something it needs.

It’s time that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan really opens things up for Dak Prescott and having Butler’s deep threat ability does just that. Opening up the entire offense for Prescott is even more important while Ezekiel Elliott serves his six-game suspension. It’s past time the Cowboys offense spreads things out and force opposing defenses to cover the entire field.

QB Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports)

2. Move the pocket for Dak Prescott

You may or may not have noticed, but Dak Prescott has been somewhat erratic with some of his throws this season. I honestly believe that has a lot do with the fact he has been asked to throw out of the pocket more often this season, whereas last season he threw on the move more. I think that is what the Dallas Cowboys need to get back to and where Prescott is the most dangerous.

The Dallas Cowboys need to move the pocket for Prescott coming out of their bye week. Opposing defenses know this is where Prescott is at his best, but it’s still difficult to defend. I’m hoping we see much more bootlegs, misdirection, and run/pass options (RPO’s) as the season progresses. Prescott is much more accurate when he is on the move and is a threat to pull the ball down and run with it on any given play. It really puts opposing defenses in a difficult situation.

5 Bye Week Decisions the Cowboys Hopefully Made

Dallas Cowboys LG Jonathan Cooper

3. Make Jonathan Cooper the starting Left Guard

If we are being completely honest with ourselves, neither Jonathan Cooper or Chaz Green have been overly impressive as the Dallas Cowboys starting left guard so far through the first five games of the season. There is no doubt they are the weak link along the offensive line, but it’s time for the Cowboys to settle on a starter and I think that is Jonathan Cooper.

I think Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green are both on equal playing ground so far through five games, but I’m giving Cooper the advantage because he has been the more healthy of the two. If the Cowboys coaching staff wants to create continuity for the OL, then Cooper without a doubt gets the nod. Green might be the more talented player with the more upside, but he simply can’t stay on the field.

DE Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

4. Replace Tyrone Crawford with Taco Charlton

To say Dallas Cowboys fans have been angry about the play of Taco Charlton so far through the first five games of the 2017 season would be an understatement. He has basically been in the visible and has had very little impact. So, why on earth would the coaching staff replace Tyrone Crawford with Charlton? Well, let me try to enlighten all of you.

Tyrone Crawford has been playing ahead of Taco this season, but it has been in large part to try to help the Cowboys’ porous run defense. In Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers, Crawford struggled against the run, and the Packers took full advantage of that and continuously ran the ball his direction. Crawford will also count $9.1 million against the cap next season in 2018 and likely isn’t in the Cowboy’s long-term plans any longer.

That is why I believe Taco Charlton needs to be promoted. He provides youth and length to the defensive line, and that something Rod Marinelli loves. The start to Charlton’s NFL career has been far from promising, but added snaps could help him find his groove. It’s not like Tyrone Crawford is tearing things up either. It’s time to see if Charlton can provide a boost at the DE position.

S Jeff Heath

Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath

5. Bench Jeff Heath for Chidobe Awuzie

I think we can all agree that the Jeff Heath experiment as a starting safety should come to an end as quickly as possible. Heath has actually been one of the worst Dallas Cowboys defensive players through the first five games of the 2017 season and it’s past time for a change. That is why I believe it’s time to bench Jeff Heath and insert Chidobe Awuzie into his place opposite Byron Jones.

Awuzie has struggled staying healthy so far this season due to a reoccurring hamstring injury, but hopefully the extra rest in the bye week solved that problem. Awuzie the has ability to play any position in the Cowboys secondary, but I think he fits best at safety long-term. He has the size and play making ability to be an upgrade. Unfortunately, the only thing holding him back right now is his health.

Of course, fellow rookie Xavier Woods is another option, but he has already been playing really well out of the slot, so I would keep him there for now. Whether it is Chidobe Awuzie or Xavier Woods, it’s time to move on from the Jeff Heath experiment as a starting safety. Hopefully the Dallas Cowboys came to that conclusion as well during the bye week.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know what you think in the comment section below or feel free to hit me up on Twitter @BrianMartinNFL.

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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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21 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    Since his arrival in Dallas I have often spoke out against Butler. Until this year he has been a disappointment in my eyes. There has been a BB bandwagon trying to leave the station since OTA’s and training camp but I’ve refused to get on it simply because a leopard seldom changes their spots. It’s easy to look at Williams, especially after that game changing bounce off the hands against GB but he still has a 76% catch ratio this year. That being said Butler has caught 8 of 11 for 207 yards and 2 TD’s. The problem is I don’t know that you can take that and substitute him for Williams and extrapolate that over the season. Butler may simply be that big play guy that does what he does and leaves you wanting more. Is it worth an experiment over a few games? Why not, something needs to change. On Taco, I think we ask and expect too much of him. It’s not his fault we took him in the first round. We knew he needed work and everybody has expected him to be a plug n play guy and he just isn’t yet. Personally I think he and Lawrence should swap sides. Taco would have a better chance against RT’s than LT’s who is usually the better player of the two. But I agree it’s time to get him in there and get the game experience. He only needs one…success begets success. It seems like everybody but the FO knows that Heath is a dime package guy and a ST guy. Whether it’s Awuzie or Woods one of them should be playing. Unless Cooper or Green can master that position Guard looks like an early priority in the draft next year. A guy like Quenton Nelson or Martez Ivey come to mind. And while we are at it, it’s time to be planning for LAD…life after Dez. He does not appear to be the game breaker he was with a team worst 43.8% catch rate. That is among the leagues worst for #1 receivers. I don’t think Db’s fear him any longer. Whether it’s these 5 or any 5 I hope they took some serious introspection during the bye week to look at changes because what they’ve been doing hasn’t been working.

    • Brian Martin

      Randy, thanks for commenting. I agree with everything you said. I’m not ready to completely move on from Williams yet, but benching him for Butler might be good for him. The Cowboys could see of Butler is the better of the two, while the benching could help modifier under Williams. I would personally give it a try to see what happens.

      I also agree with you about Taco. I always thought he was better as a LDE, but getting him reps on either side would be a good thing for him.I don’t think he would be any worse than Crawford, but you never know.

      I think finding a left guard is a priority, but I doubt it happens in the first few rounds of the draft. A WR1 might be a bigger priority, but they also need to upgrade the LB, DE, CB, and S positions as well.

      • DevilDog58

        LDE would be going against their ROT, right? If so, then I whole-heartedly agree. Having ANY rookie going against team’s best pass protector week after week is just lame and a great way to destroy a rook’s confidence. As to Brice, the one thing he brings that NO other WR brings is Take-The-Top-Off speed. Even if he and Dak don’t connect on a deep pass, we should try 2-4 of them per game just to give the opposition something else to prepare for. The more looks/plays you throw at a team the more they have to spend valuable practice time covering them. To me that’s much smarter than the over confident practice of letting a team know EXACTLY what you’re going to do every week like running the ball and saying, “This is what we’re gonna do, now try and stop us.” Or just using the same pass plays and formations each week. Garrett and Linehan need to open up or expand the playbook not just for the opposing team’s detriment but for Dak’s benefit. He’s a second year pro now and with his brains there’s no doubt in my mind he can handle it. Plus, let the guy run the ball when he’s wide open. They obviously didn’t learn from Romo taking a beating trying to stay in the pocket when he was younger and getting the sh*t kicked out of him. If you remember, he was a fair scrambler when he was younger but was never close to Dak’s ability to create in that sense, not to mention Dak has tree-trunk legs and resembles Cam’s whereas Tony was more in the mold of Roger but they took that option away from him, just like they’re doing to Dak. At least when a QB is running he can slide or run out of bounds to protect himself vice standing tall in the pocket when no one is open and having a 4.5, 250 lb. LB running full speed and just laying the wood on a stationary target. It’s every defensive player’s dream scenario while watching a QB run for a first down when your Secondary has shutdown all his receiving options is not only frustrating but can be downright disheartening.

    • Russ_Te

      “It’s not his fault we took him in the first round”

      Hilarious…

      ;^)

  • Hobbes49

    I agree with 4 of the 5 observations completely, and see your point on the Taco over Crawford. To me the Heath change is a stone cold no brainer, I will be truly mystified if they don’t change to either Woods or Chido. Cooper has looked a little better each week, and you hope the osmosis of playing with the other studs continues to develop, as does the line continuity, which is critical. Butler definitely has earned more reps, and Dak has shown how downright dangerous he is on the move, so that seems a no brainer as well. Taco needs more consistent snaps,but I don’t don’t believe the staff is going to make that happen. If they won’t replace Heath, no way they replace Crawford. Hopefully they will do both. Time for change has arrived, and your suggestions are solid!!

    • Brian Martin

      Yeah, I kind of doubt the Cowboys replace Crawford with Taco either. They seem to stick with their veteran players too long, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they start increasing Taco’s reps. I actually think Taco could be just as good, if not better than Crawford as he grows more comfortable with what he’s asked to do. Only time will tell though.

      • Hobbes49

        You drafted him in the first round, you really have to give the guy a legit shot. To me, this is partly the failure of the coaching staff to get him ready to go as well. We shall see what happens.

        • Brian Martin

          I don’t mind him being in a rotation as a rookie, but even in the rotation he is not seen very many snaps. I think that should change.

  • DevilDog58

    I have to say that I pretty much agree with you in this article. The way the team is playing now we’ll never see the post season. First off for me is Heath. He has been absolutely dreadful and his terrible play is affecting the whole D. I’ve also never been a big fan of the huge contract they gave Crawford. He has never played well enough to rate such big bucks. As a number one pick, Taco needs to be put in a position to suceed, wherever that is on the D-Line. I also agree with giving Butler more chances for the ball since Williams seems to have disappeared this year, much like he did when Dez was injured in years past. Dez has lost something although I am not sure what it is. I don’t think it’s a step as he’s never been a burner. It really could correlate directly to Linehan’s penchant for trying to keep Dak in the pocket instead of letting him do what he does so well which is throw on the run or tuck and run or juse roll out and create. Why anyone wants to take the nightmare of facing that possibility away from opposing DCs is beyond me. The OL has struggled but I think with continuity (as you pointed out) they’ll be OK. One thing no one is talking about is the fact that Witten is finally showing his age. One of the greatest TEs of all time seems to have lost two steps, plus he’s either not sitting down in the seam past the first down markers like he used to and he’s actually dropped a couple of passes. Again, this also could be traced back to the head-scratching move of reining Prescott in. I’d also offer up the fact we just aren’t using our players that we’re drafting in the ways they should be used. Instead of just returning punts, Ryan Switzer should be another Danny Amendola or Cole Beasley (which is another player who seems to have disappeared). I’m kinda wondering what’s going on with our OC and why or run defense has gotten so bad so quickly while we finally found a pass rush(er). I knew there would be growing pains on defense but this has just been a strange season. Yet, I will stay eternally optimistic until I know we’re done.

    • Hammer33

      This isn’t the first time I’ve read someone say Heath’s play has effected the entire defense, and in defense of Heath this is absolutely absurd. First let’s deal in facts, them opinion.

      Heath’s ranking is often stated. I’m assuming this comes from PFF since that’s the only place that publishes rankings. But up until LA they had him in the top 30. He played well against Green Bay, but that seems to have been overlooked by many here and on fan blogs.

      What PFF doesn’t seem to track are targets and completions per target. Wonder what that grade would be for Brown or scandrick. Even jones who has real trouble with zone concepts and that’s troubling for a safety.

      You’d also need to know the coverage calls which seems to be tough for the press. An example being the TD against AZ, which everyone said Heath should have been on top of. That wasn’t the call, and if brown wasn’t going to honor Fitzgerald then Heath had to. They were in quarters if you didn’t know. Judging by most of what’s written, I’m going to assume you don’t.

      Chido proved Sunday he can miss a tackle in the open field as well a Heath. Nothings said. Jones is not where he’s supposed to be on the Nelson TD, nothings said. Brown?? Nothings said.

      So heaths had a couple of coverage mistakes, but not as many as people believe, missed a few tackles, as has everyone on D, including Lee, and generally played better than or worse than everyone else. But let’s name him the culprit. Everyone else gets a pass.

      If you choose to have an opinion try to be fair. That doesn’t seem possible with Heath. I’ve read the press and I’ve followed the entire D. I know some about the game. I also know when someone’s getting the shaft. Not only from the fans but the press as well. If you think anything I’ve said is untrue may I suggest you take another look. Especially the coverage lapse’s. Aside from the Two or possibly 3 man errors, like falling down, wait, didn’t Lewis do that in Denver too? You’ll find he’s been solid on the back end. Sacks are caused by coverage too. Doubt heaths guy or zone was open but the QB didn’t see it.

      And by the way. Woods has looked good in a very limited man/zone window. He’s being protected in coverage. That’s why he’s not in front of Heath. He’s not better.

      But of course, what do coaches know.

      • DevilDog58

        How you came up with me laying the entire blame of the Defense’s poor play entirely on Heath makes me think you read the first few sentences of my post and stopped. I said it AFFECTS the entire Day just as any other player’s poor play affects the entire D. I don’t go by what PFF or any other ranking organization writes, I go by what I observe when watching the games. Except for Lee and Lawrence, nobody on the D is beyond reproach. And since I don’t know what each player’s responsibility is on every play, I can’t speak to that. Only the coaches can, IMO. All I’m observing is a lack of a nose for the ball. Heath, whatever his responsibilities on a given play does not demonstrate one. Sure, even Lee misses tackles, but not often. I don’t come on here to argue with anyone or start fights, just give my opinion on what I see which I freely admit doesn’t make me right. We do have a young Defense and Lee is a young guy (at 26) but I’ve yet to see him play a dominant game like Lee in the 4+ years he’s been playing. Still, there’s plenty of blame to go around. I’m just saying the same thing I’ve been saying for years and that is that we need two good to outstanding Safeties in the Backfield.

        • Michael Barthel

          He really just took up for heath. Wow heath is terrible always has been had a couple good games and plays then all of sudden he should be starting and church gone. Church was so underrated and I miss church he is balling in Jacksonville. Woods and Jones need to start at safety. Lewis and scandrick start at corner. They should go out and sign perry riley Jr to help the linebackers he’s a good run stopper and been a good player in this league. Carr Claiborne and church all left and are playing better than their replacements here in Dallas. We always screw up on defense with draft picks n stuff on defense. Gregory was a mistake. Claiborne couldn’t stay healthy and we traded a decent amount to move up to get him. Marquez white needs to be brought up from the practice squad dude only gave up 2 tds at Florida State. He’s tall physical corner we need that right now. We need to go sign Darrelle Revis or a proven veteran to help these young corners. Scandrick is not helping the way we thought. It’s time to see a big change with this defense us fans are tired of seeing this defense get man handled every week. We haven’t had a respectable defense in 10 years plus. Marinelli is the problem and I don’t think he is with us next year

          • DevilDog58

            Yeah, I see what you’re saying about his sticking up for Heath, I guess I just don’t get why. I thought Church started well at Safety but then slowed down. But you are right, like so many other Defensive players we draft they seem to thrive once they’re on different teams/under different management/coaching. I always liked Marinelli but maybe the game HAS passed him by. I don’t know. I was pissed when they let go of Mike Zimmer, who I always knew was an excellent coach. Look at how he’s turned around the Vikes. I think Jerry and Co. blamed him for his porous defenses but it turned out he was coaching the crap out of some pretty average players (mixed with a few good to very good ones) as we found out. I believe the same situation exists today. I keep getting the feeling that we’re good at drafting Offensive players but not so successful at drafting Defensive players. And I’m not sure it’s the Coaching Staff as much as it is the owner/GM staff. It seems since Jerry and Jimmy broke up Jones has created a losing atmosphere much like the Redsocks and Cubs had for years. The same situation seems to exist in Cleveland. It could be the only answer is new ownership and we all know that will NEVER happen.

          • Michael Barthel

            Also because Garrett is a offensive minded coach. I was pissed when Zimmer left as well but they should of moved wade Phillips to dc instead of completely firing him. Garrett is an average coach if that. 4 8-8 seasons. 1 4-12 and 2 seasons with 12 plus wins. 1 playoff win. I mean we can’t have that at all. They love picking offensive players but every year you hear analyst say well they have a great offense but I’m worried about that defense. Every single year. They think oh well if we control the ball 35 minutes a game we will win alot of games I understand that but what happens when a team shuts you down like Denver did and you can’t do anything on offense well your defense suffers and gives up points. We have given up 34 plus points in the 3 losses this year. If they ever want to win anything you need a good defense. Even new England last year had a pretty good defense. Also Seattle Carolina Denver Atlanta Kansas city etc. Have all proved you need a defense to make it far in this league. To much pressure on dak Elliott dez and this offensive line. When u have a good defense you can say oh ok well we didn’t get it done that drive but our defense won’t allow them to score. When our defense goes on the field it’s oh damn here we go there going to score and were going to lose. It’s not good and if Garrett finishes with 8 or less wins this season we need a new coach. I’m so sick of his damn hand clapping when things go wrong. If you are scoring 30 plus points at home you should not lose period. Marinelli Garrett and linehan should all be fired if we finish with less than 8 wins and be average

          • DevilDog58

            I feel just like you do on so many of these topics. A team with a great defense and a decent offense can win a SB. A team with a great offense and a decent defense probably won’t. A team with a great D and a very good offense like ours could win multiple SB’s. I think Jerry is trying to keep coaching continuity, which is a good idea, as long as you improve each year. It’s not such a great idea when the team yo-yo’s constantly, season after season. Bottom line is you and I are right: to be a consistent SB contender you MUST have a great defense, period. If we had the same picks Cleveland has had for the past 8 or so years I think we’d be in a SB. They keep changing Head Coaches which is why I think they aren’t. Jones has tried to avoid that but it’s not working. It too Coach Landry 11 years to win a championship. But his teams improved each year, ESPECIALLY after he drafted Staubach in the last round of the draft.

          • Hammer33
    • Russ_Te

      I used to think Taco would end up at DT because of the players ahead of him at LDE. But he seems to have trimmed up since draft day, and with Lawrence now the anchor at LDE, it’s best to use Irving next to him at LDT. You can’t double both of them, and that should result in more pressures.

      Which leaves Taco looking for a role. I agree he’s probably not a downgrade from Crawford at RDE, but I would be shocked if he could beat starting LOT’s with any regularity as a pass rusher.

      He has straight-line burst but not much first-step, and less agile than Lawrence to my reading. You’d like to use his arm span to obstruct throwing lanes. I think this year is a bust for Taco, and he should bulk up to move inside for 2018.

      • DevilDog58

        I would like to see them trying flip-flopping Taco and Lawrence. I thought I read somewhere that Taco’s natural position is RDE. Whatever it is the Cowboys need to find it fast and put that kid in a position to succeed. It takes an extremely tough minded man to be labeled a bust and then come back from that and play at a Pro Bowl level (which is what you want from ALL1st round picks. Didn’t he play DE at Michigan? Was he called a “Tweener” or what they are now calling an “Edge” player when he came out? After thinking about my last post above, I’m more and more concerned about our coaching staff putting players in their correct or “best chance to succeed” spots.

        • Russ_Te

          Right, DE at Michigan. He only started as a senior according to his Wikipedia page. Taco is definitely looking like a reach now as a #1, but probably has enough physical attributes to develop a game at LDE or inside at DT. He just has to tune out the noise and keep working IMO. If Lawrence is not re-signed, he’ll get a chance at LDE.

          • DevilDog58

            Thanks Russ. Appreciate the help. I definitely think they should be putting this kid against the weaker pass-protectors the DL faces each week (if they’re not already). To me, building a rookie’s confidence is the best thing a team can do for him. He should be playing opposite DeMarcus for as many snaps as is feasible every week IMO.

  • Jerry Norman

    cheeto

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Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

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Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

For the Dallas Cowboys, the playoffs have begun a bit earlier. After putting themselves in a tough position, they need to win out in order to have a shot at playing in January… and even then, they need a ton of outside help to make it.

Less than a year ago, we saw the Cowboys become the #1 seed in the conference with a 13-3 record under rookie QB Dak Prescott. So naturally, it’s fair to say that the fact that after 14 weeks the record of this football team is 7-6 is very disappointing.

Some have even questioned, are they even worthy of being a playoffs team? 

Despite suffering from some key injuries and well… suspensions, the Cowboys shouldn’t be left off the hook. Players and coaches should be blamed. But even still, it’s hard to believe that Dallas wouldn’t have win at least one more game with Tyron Smith, Sean Lee or Ezekiel Elliott available.

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

I’m convinced that if Zeke hadn’t been suspended, the Cowboys would at least have one more win. If that were the case, we probably wouldn’t be suffering thinking about what combinations would get our favorite team in the postseason.

All of this makes me wonder… Do we know what this team is capable of? 

I think not. Let’s take a quick look at the games Dallas has lost this year.

  • @ DEN Broncos 
  • vs LA Rams (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 35 points)
  • vs GB Packers (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 28 points)
  • @ ATL Falcons (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored seven points)
  • vs PHI Eagles (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored nine points)
  • vs LA Chargers (No Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored six points)

I believe in the “next man up” mentality. But not when you’re talking about going from Tyron Smith, who is arguably the best LT in the league to Chaz Green and Byron Bell. Sure, the coaching staff should’ve made a change earlier when Green was getting Dak killed, but Bell wasn’t much better.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make excuses for this football team at all. In fact, it’s the same thing when you take a look at wins. Through 14 weeks, the Cowboys have just been able to beat one NFL team with a winning record: The Kansas City Chiefs. The thing is, despite being 7-6, the Chiefs are 2-8 since week 6. I’m not sure I’d qualify that as a winning team.

We haven’t seen this team face a strong, winning opponent and actually beat them. The Cowboys have one more game to win without Zeke, and then they’ll be on to face the Seattle Seahawks. If Dallas gets to that game with an 8-6 record, the outcome of the Seattle game could define the Cowboys’ 2017 season.

With Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith all ready to go, it’d be the first time this year we see the Cowboys go against a quality opponent with all of their star players. Will this defining game come too late? Perhaps. It’s no secret that the Cowboys need a ton of outside help in order to get into the playoffs with 10-6 record.

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Denver Broncos 1

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten #82, QB Dak Prescott #4. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

But at least, it’d be nice to see our team at least doing the job they can control and winning out. Even if it’d be painful to see them go 10-6 and still miss the playoffs… as fans, we probably want to see them doing their job.

For now though, it’s all about the Oakland Raiders. One more week without Ezekiel Elliott. After surviving a trap game against the Giants, the Cowboys must do the same again as they prepare to face a football team that has also been disappointing this season but still has dangerous play-makers, such as Derek Carr.

And then, we might find out just how good the 2017 Dallas Cowboys really are.

Tell me what you think about “Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott's Future?

It’s funny how quickly some players are able to establish themselves as professional athletes and grow their fan base. That is exactly what Ezekiel Elliott has done in just a little over a years time since becoming a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, given his current situation, it’s that fan base that might be starting to turn on him a little and doubt his long-term future in the NFL.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are fully aware of the six-game suspension the NFL slapped Ezekiel Elliott with based on nothing more than accusations of possible domestic violence. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, it happened and there is no taking it back. But unfortunately, because of the suspension Elliott will now have to walk the straight and narrow if he wants to have any kind of career in the NFL.

I honestly don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is a bad guy, but the slightest slip up will more than likely put his career in jeopardy. It doesn’t matter how big or small the infraction, the NFL has already decided they are going to make an example of him.

RB Ezekiel ElliottFrom here on out, Elliott is going to have to live like he is under a magnifying glass. Any kind of slip up, big or small, will likely cause the league to suspend him an entire season. This unfortunately has been weighing on the minds of a lot of Cowboys Nation and has to be at least a little bit concerning for the Cowboys organization.

You see, the Dallas Cowboys have Elliott under contract for at least three more years after this season. He has already proven how important he is to the offense and how much production dips without him in the lineup. They absolutely want him on the field because he makes them better. But, any kind of slip up would pretty much erase one of those three years. Look no further than what has happened with Randy Gregory.

I’ve heard many fans voicing their concerns about Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term availability with the Cowboys. They are afraid Elliott’s immaturity will end up getting the best of him and Zeke unfortunately has done nothing to ease those concerns so far.

I for one am not all that concerned about Zeke’s future in the NFL. I think his six-game suspension has served as an eye-opening experience and that he will do better from here on out to put himself in better situations and surround himself with better/more trustworthy people.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel ElliottYou can see anytime Zeke is on the field his passion for the game and how much he enjoys it. I don’t think he’s going to put something he cares so much about in jeopardy. But unfortunately, he already has a bull’s-eye on his back and can’t afford to take a misstep. That will without a doubt put his future career in jeopardy.

I personally can’t wait to see how #21 responds when he is able to suit up once again next week against the Seattle Seahawks. I think he is going to play with a chip on his shoulder and run angry. That is the best way he can stick it to the league for suspending him based on accusations and another reason why I’m not concerned about his future in the NFL.

I know if it was me, my mindset would be to turn myself into the best player possible and once again become one of the more popular athletes in the league. That is about the only way he can say “F U” to the league, and I think that’s exactly what he will do.

Are you concerned about Ezekiel Elliott long-term?

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