The Dallas Cowboys put together a pretty impressive four quarters against the New York Giants last Sunday night. They now need to carry that momentum on the road for this week's matchup against the Denver Broncos. This will mark the first road trip of the 2017 season, so we will find out pretty soon how well this team travels.
I think we can all agree that the Denver Broncos are much more talented team than the New York Giants. So, every single Dallas Cowboys player is going have to step up their game in order to put another W in the win column. I don't really like to single out individual players, because this is ultimately a team sport. But, I think there are 5 Cowboys who need to step up their game this week if Dallas wants to get to the 2-0 mark.
Continue to read below to see who I believe needs to step up just a little bit this week against the Broncos. As always, use the comment section at the end of the article to express any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
Dez Bryant didn't have a terrible game against the New York Giants, but as a fan we always want more. The Giants defense did an excellent job of shifting an extra defender in his direction pretty much every time he was on the field to make it even more difficult for him to get involved. Janoris Jenkins also made it difficult to get Bryant the ball with his sticky/grabby coverage Sunday night. But, there is no doubt that Bryant needs to be more involved on offense.
This is probably less about Dez Bryant needing to step up as it is with Scott Linehan finding a way to get their best playmaker the ball. Denver has a pair of good CBs in Chris Harris Jr and Aqib Talib, so it could be tough going for Bryant once again. However, if Linehan would move him around the formation more to create favorable matchups, it should help improve the chances of Bryant having a big game against the Broncos.
Chidobe Awuzie could possibly be looking at earning his first start in the NFL against the Denver Broncos if Orlando Scandrick has to sit out this contest. I would imagine that Nolan Carroll will start at the opposite outside CB position with Anthony Brown in the slot, leaving Awuzie as a next likely option.
Awuzie should feel right at home in the Mile High City, since he played his college ball at Colorado. The atmosphere shouldn't be too much for him and he should be ready to step up and make his presence felt on the field.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli usually doesn't have his CBs shadow any particular receiver, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see Awuzie covering Demaryius Thomas more times than not. He has the size and athletic ability to match up well with the talented WR.
La'el Collins in my eyes has already proven to be an upgrade at the right tackle position for the Dallas Cowboys. I'll admit that I was a little worried how he would stand up against Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, but he held his own and won the battle more times than not. Unfortunately, neither Vernon or JPP come close to Von Miller's abilities, so Collins will have to keep on his toes so to speak.
Von Miller's a different animal than Collins has faced as a pass rusher. Miller's able to play with strength, speed, and agility and you can bet he will be looking for a favorable matchup against the Cowboys. That could mean that Collins could be seeing Miller more than he would like to and he will have to be on the top of his game to keep the talented pass rusher at bay. The Cowboys may wait and see if Collins can hold his own, but it wouldn't hurt to get him a little help from time to time.
I'm hoping that last week was just a rarity we can chalk it up to early-season jitters, but Dak Prescott didn't quite look like himself early in the contest against the New York Giants. He was uncharacteristically inaccurate with a lot of his passes and missed a few chances for what should've been a sure fire touchdowns.
Prescott can't afford to miss those throws against the Broncos talented secondary. He is going to have to be at the top of his game, especially when he gets down the red zone. Walking away with a field-goal instead of a touchdown this week could cost the Cowboys the game. Fortunately, I think he will rebound after getting the first game of the season under his belt.
Cowboys' pass rushers
In all honesty, the Dallas Cowboys pass rush was pretty impressive against the New York Giants Sunday night. They continued to make plays behind the line of scrimmage and fluster QB Eli Manning the entire game, but everybody needs to step up their game this week against the Broncos.
The Denver Broncos have a better offensive line than what the New York Giants have patch worked together. It probably won't be easy for DeMarcus Lawrence and the rest of Rod Marinelli's "rush men" to get home this week. They are all going to have to dig deep and be relentless in their attack in order to hopefully force Trevor Siemian to a mistake or two.
Who do you think needs to step up against the Denver Broncos?
5 Dallas Cowboys Make 2019 Pro Bowl Roster
The Dallas Cowboys will be well represented in the 2019 Pro Bowl. Last night, five players were named to the NFC roster: RB Ezekiel Elliott, OT Tyron Smith, G Zack Martin, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, and CB Byron Jones.
Dallas tied the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints for the most players to the NFC team. However, the Los Angeles Chargers led all teams with seven players making the AFC squad. The Chiefs and Steelers had six players each.
Congratulations to #DallasCowboys @Byron31Jump, Tyron Smith, @TankLawrence, @thegob70 and @EzekielElliott who are #ProBowl Bound!
Byron Jones is the only first-time Pro Bowler among the Cowboys. He's been one of the best cornerbacks in football this year, switching back to the position after a few years playing safety.
This will be the second-straight Pro Bowl for DeMarcus Lawrence, who remains among the league's most feared pass rushers. It's also the second trip for Ezekiel Elliott, who went as a rookie but missed last year's game with his suspension issues.
Pro Bowl fixtures Tyron Smith and Zack Martin return for the sixth and fifth-straight years, respectively. For Martin, it preserves his streak of making the team every year since he came into the NFL.
Even with these five players being named, you could argue that Dallas deserved a couple more. Rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch has been one of the top defensive players in the league this year. And WR Amari Cooper, once he got to Dallas, has been as productive as any receiver in football.
That aside, congratulations to Zeke, Tyron, Zack, Tank, and Byron for making this year's team!
Should Cowboys Claim WR Pharoh Cooper Off Waivers?
In a somewhat surprising move the Los Angeles Rams have decided to part ways with Pharoh Cooper, who not only made the Pro Bowl last year in 2017, but was also a First-Team All-Pro as a return specialist.
The Rams have waived kick returner Pharoh Cooper. He was named a first team All Pro in 2017 after ranking second in the league in kickoff return and punt return average.
Pharoh Cooper is now subject to the waiver wire, meaning anyone of the other 31 teams around the league can put in a claim to acquire his services. If he goes unclaimed however, he will become a free agent and is free to sign with any team of his choosing.
As one of those 31 teams, the Dallas Cowboys could be one of the interested parties in acquiring Cooper's services. After all, adding Amari Cooper worked out pretty well, so why not kick the tires on another Cooper.
With just two regular-season games remaining in 2018, many teams would view bringing aboard Pharoh Cooper as a move with the future in mind. But, with the Cowboys he could literally hit the ground running and contribute right away in one of their weakest areas, as a return specialist.
The Dallas Cowboys are currently deploying Cornerback Jourdan Lewis as their kick returner and Wide Receiver Cole Beasley as their punt returner. Neither is making any kind of impact in the return game, meaning the Cowboys could definitely use an upgrade at both spots and Cooper could be just the man to provide that service.
Like I mentioned earlier, Pharoh Cooper was a Pro Bowl/First-Team All-Pro return man just a season ago. He did most of his damage as a kick returner, averaging 27.4 yards per return. The Cowboys just so happen to fall victim to one of his returns for 66 yards last year. So, they know all too well what he is capable of.
I personally like the idea of the Cowboys bringing in Pharoh Cooper, and not only as a return specialist. After this season their WR depth could be depleted quite a bit. Cooper would provide insurance for depth purposes, even though he hasn't made much of an impact in the passing game yet in his young career.
Now, I have no idea whether or not the Cowboys will show any interest or put in a waiver claim for the former Pro Bowl return man, but it sounds like a good idea to me. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if another Cooper somehow makes his way to Dallas.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should put in a waiver claim for Pharoh Cooper?
Takeaway Tuesday: Scott Linehan’s Job Shouldn’t Be Safe
The Dallas Cowboys didn't look like they did during their five game winning streak when they entered Lucas Oil Stadium to face a hot Indianapolis Colts team. In fact, they had one of their poorest showings of all season, failing to score a single point all game. Heading home after being shutout 23-0, there isn't much to be said about the Cowboys' performance.
Here's this week's Takeaway Tuesday. This time, instead of talking about many takeaways, I needed to get one big takeaway off my chest. I hope you enjoy. Make sure to let me know how you feel about this topic in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL.
Scott Linehan's Job Shouldn't Be Guaranteed Going into the Playoffs
As tough as it is to fire one of your three main coaches when your team is headed into the postseason, the Dallas Cowboys should not rule out moving on from Scott Linehan. One win away from clinching the NFC East, it's not something you easily pull off but Linehan's play calling has been terrible all year long.
The truth is, despite Dak Prescott's struggles and a disastrous offensive line, the offense shouldn't be as inefficient as it is.
Watching a unit that counts with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott run a screen pass to Allen Hurns on fourth down and 14 was truly a microcosm of what this year has been for the offense.
Despite having a playoff berth practically clinched, the Cowboys should consider a change at offensive coordinator. Even if they don't fire Linehan, it's clear his play-calling is not good and could cost this team a real opportunity at a legit shot in the postseason. It would be an aggressive measure, without a doubt. The Minnesota Vikings did something similar by firing John DeFillippo a week ago. Based on their 41-17 win over the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, being aggressive sometimes pays.
The Cowboys have arguably the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott and yet they continue to misuse him. Whether it's turning their backs on their star tailback or over-using him, this offense has a hard time reaching balance. Dak Prescott's strengths could be exploited even more, but this OC refuses to do so.
As hard as it is to make a drastic change in coaching two weeks before the regular season ends, it truly could end up being a great move by the front office. Sure, Amari Cooper has had monster games since joining the Cowboys, but he could be even more dangerous under another coach.
Cowboys versus Colts was a coaching battle between Scott Linehan and former Dallas Cowboys LB coach, Matt Eberflus. It was the matchup of the week, and one we expected to be fun. Instead, we saw one side completely dominate the other. In the NFL, coaching matters. Probably even more than talent on a roster.
The biggest problem would be, who'd take over play-calling?
Since there isn't a promising candidate within the team, the team's only option would probably be letting HC Jason Garrett take over. It may not be ideal, but it could end up being an improvement over Linehan. Of course, it could also let the front office see what Garrett has to offer as a play caller and consider that when deciding how this coaching staff will look like in 2019.
It's unlikely that we see such a thing occur for the Cowboys, but if the offense has another letdown game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I don't see how the front office doesn't at least consider this. They should.
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