Due to the devastating loss on Christmas Eve to the Seattle Seahawks last week, the Dallas Cowboys don't really have anything left to play for in the last regular-season game of the year. With nothing on the line, this provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate some of the players on the roster. But, which players should play and who would the coaching staff decide to sit in order to get them on the field?
Those are the questions running through my head right now. I'm a firm believer of getting players on the field in situations like this when there is nothing left to play for. Yes, you want to see the Dallas Cowboys finish the season strong, but you don't get very many opportunities like this to get some game film on some of your backup players.
I believe this is an opportunity the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has to take advantage of. I mean, why not go ahead and get a jumpstart on the evaluation process to get a better understanding of your roster heading into the off-season?
Today, I'm going to share with you five players I am hoping the Dallas Cowboys choose to sit this week in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. I'm hoping I don't see any of these players suited up, and I wouldn't be too upset if they didn't even make the trip with the team to Philadelphia.
I honestly don't believe there is any way Tyron Smith suits up this week, especially since he existed last week's game against the Seahawks so early and didn't return. But, I still wanted to make it abundantly clear. In fact, I don't want to hear anything about Tyron Smith unless it's how he's planning on getting back to 100% before the season starts next year.
I'm hoping that he doesn't even make the trip to Philadelphia and he spends his time getting treatment on his injuries, especially trying to find a way to prevent his back from flaring up. Maybe he can find the fountain of youth this off-season or find a time machine to take him back a few years to the dominant left tackle we all know and love. He is just too important to this organization to have recurring injuries like he battled through this year.
You may not have been fully aware, but like Tyron Smith, La'el Collins was also battling a back injury that kept him out of practices in the later part of the season. Collins didn't miss a game, but it's something that he needs to get taken care of before it gets worse. That is why I would personally sit him this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Surprisingly enough, Collins has really solidified and upgraded the right tackle position for the Cowboys. But it's his versatility that really makes him valuable next season and for years to come. For instance, if the Cowboys draft another tackle in the upcoming draft, they could kick Collins back inside to left guard. But for now, Collins has really solidified that right tackle position, which makes his future health important to the organization.
This is a meaningless game for the Dallas Cowboys, which means I don't want to see their starting quarterback Dak Prescott on the field at all. This is especially true since I think it would be a smart move to sit both of their tackles (see above). Without the offensive lines bookends, I'm expecting to see a lot of pressure applied to the QB. That doesn't benefit Prescott's development at all and opens him up to a possible injury.
I would really like to see how Cooper Rush performs against starting caliber players in a game type situation that's not preseason. The Cowboys need to figure out if Rush is capable of being their backup QB next season and what better way to do that than to get some actual game film of him. Plus, Prescott seems to perform better when he's being pushed like he was last season when he had Tony Romo breathing down his neck.
I fully understand that Ezekiel Elliott just returned last week against the Seahawks from his six-game suspension, but there is nothing to gain by having him on the field this week against the Eagles. If we learned anything during his absence it is that the Cowboys offense is a different animal when he is on the field and they struggle without him.
I think the Cowboys should get Rod Smith more involved and allow him to carry the heavy workload against the Eagles. He has already proven to be a weapon in small doses this year, but I would really like to see how he performs when he handles the majority of the workload. The Cowboys will probably need to find a RB2 next year, so it would be wise to see how Rod Smith performs as the primary guy.
Sean Lee is another player I absolutely don't want to see in pads against the Eagles in the season finale. He unfortunately has a tendency to sustain injuries at the worst time and I don't want to put his 2018 availability in jeopardy. Like Ezekiel Elliott does for the offense, Sean Lee dramatically changes how the defense performs when he is not in the field.
I would like to see some of the younger linebackers the Cowboys have on the roster. They have received very little playing time this season, but this is a perfect opportunity to get them on the field. The linebacker position is arguably one of the Cowboys top priorities this off-season and without a doubt could use some new blood. Evaluating their current LBs is a good way to determine just how big of a need that actually is.
Who do you think the Cowboys should sit in the season finale?
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
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