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5 Players Cowboys Should Sit In 2017 Season Finale

Brian Martin

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2017 Dallas Cowboys: Who's The Most Indispensable Offensive Player? 1

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.

Tyron SmithTyron Smith

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.

La'el CollinsLa'el Collins

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.

Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott

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.

RB Ezekiel ElliottEzekiel Elliott

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.

LB Sean LeeSean Lee

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.

Honerable Mention: Sit Dez Bryant and play Noah Brown in his place. Sit Cole Beasley and play Ryan Switzer in his place. Sit Jason Witten and play Blake Jarwin in his place.

Who do you think the Cowboys should sit in the season finale?



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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5 Comments
  • tjones122

    I would sit Beasley and dez too and witten let’s see switzer, brown, and the young tight ends. We’ve seen the shit show long enough. I wouldn’t mind seeing Dan skipper in action on the online as well

    • Charles

      Dan Slipper is no longer on the practice squad

  • Jorge Sure

    those who should not travel is Jason Garret and the other 2 useless who do not have a game plan in situ to win or win, that’s what they should do.

  • EverybodyTalks

    There are a few that can’t play. Scandrick and Irving, plus Tyron and Butler — that’s 4 right there, who will probably be on the inactive list. Zeke will want to go because he hasn’t played and still has a shot at 1,000 yards for the season. If you don’t want Sean Lee to play, hide his helmet. If you sit La’el, then you have Byron Bell and Chaz Green attempting to block — Good GOD!! If that is the case, you need to treat it like a preseason game. No Dak, Zeke, Dez, Beaslley or Witten. BRING in the ALTERNATES!!

  • Russ_Te

    Check on all of those. Too much downside vs no upside, and vs upside in playing their backups.

    Unfortunately coaches start their nucleus in meaningless games to pad their W-L, when they are on any hot seat kind of status. That move has Garrett’s name on it this week.

    Regardless if he’s 9-7 this year, Jones needs to realize Garrett is 0-4 in late season elimination games – none worse than the chip shot he missed Sunday. I think everyone has seen enough.

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Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018

Jess Haynie

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Amari Cooper

For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote

As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.

Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.

Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.

His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!



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Cowboys Playoff Scenarios: Week 15 Impact Games

Jess Haynie

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Making Sense of the "Garrett Guys" Behind Cowboys Dez Bryant Release

It's hard to believe that we're looking at the Dallas Cowboys potentially clinching the NFC East this week, but that's how dramatic the turnaround has been over the last five games. Week 15 could lock Dallas into the playoffs and give them a lot of freedom over their final two games.

If the season ended today, these would be your NFC playoff standings:

  1. New Orleans Saints (11-2)
  2. Los Angeles Rams (11-2)
  3. Chicago Bears (9-4)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (8-5)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1)
    ----------------------------------
  7. Carolina Panthers (6-7)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
  9. Washington Redskins (6-7)

TIEBREAKERS

  • The Cowboys lost to Seattle earlier this year, but still remain the 4th seed as a division winner over a wild card team.
  • The Panthers are ahead of the Eagles thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker.
  • The Eagles are ahead of the Redskins thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker. They play each other again in Week 17.
  • The Redskins beat the Panthers earlier this year, but their loss to Philadelphia within their own division negates that tiebreaker.

In truth, there's not much intrigue left for the Cowboys in this regular season. One win gives them the NFC East, and it would take the Saints or Rams dropping all three of their remaining games for Dallas to have a shot at a top-two seed.

So, barring the nearly impossible, Dallas is locked into either the 3rd or 4th seed. They will host one of the Wild Card teams in the first round of the playoffs.

The biggest thing to watch now is how the seeding shakes among the bottom four playoff teams. The Seahawks seem a cut above the likes of Minnesota, Carolina, or one of our NFC East friends, so avoiding them in the first round would be lovely.

Here are this week's games involving the NFC playoff contenders:

Dallas Cowboys @ Indianapolis Colts

We've already discussed what the Cowboys need to do, so let's talk about the Colts. Not only do they have home field advantage this week, but they are fighting for their playoff lives.

Indianapolis is one of four teams with a 7-6 record battling for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos are also in the mix at 6-7, giving none of these teams any cushion for losing.

Dallas has its own incentive to win, though. If they want to avoid Seattle in the first round, they probably need to take the #3 seed from the Chicago Bears. They need to keep winning and hope for the Bears to drop a game or two.

Ultimately, getting into the playoffs and starting at home is a huge reward. But anything that can help make the road a little easier is worth pursuing. It's no time to rest on your laurels.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

As we just discussed, we'd like to see Chicago drop a few games to give Dallas a shot at the #3 seed. This week isn't the worst opportunity, with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay still not completely eliminated from playoff contention.

Expecting much from the Packers here is unwise. They've had a coaching change and appear to be in a state of organizational disarray. But they still have Rodgers, and crazy things always happens in rivalry games.

So while these are two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions, you never know what could happen given the variable elements. By all means, root for the Cheeseheads.

Miami Dolphins @ Minnesota Vikings

Your rooting interest here comes down to a simple question; who do you prefer to play among that last bunch of Wild Card teams? Who does Dallas match up best against between the Vikings, Panthers, and Eagles?

I think we'd all agree that we don't want to see the Eagles a third time. Beating a team three times in one year is tough to do, and especially given how close last week's meeting was.

The Panthers beat Dallas in the season opener, but that was in Carolina and well before the Cowboys were playing at a high level. A second meeting could go very differently, especially with the recent slumping by the Panthers.

Both Carolina and Minnesota are struggling, with one on a five-game losing streak and the latter having lost their last two. The Vikings just fired their offensive coordinator, so neither of these teams appear to be going into the postseason with any real momentum.

At this point, I'd say it's a toss-up between the Panthers and Vikings. Both are much preferable to seeing the Eagles again, so I would just keep rooting for both to win. In either case, they knock out Philadelphia.

We'll reassess the threat level of Carolina and Minnesota as playoff opponents in a few weeks.

Washington Redskins @ Jacksonville Jaguars

I didn't mention the Redskins among those last three teams because they may not win another game this year. Their QB situation is so bad that even the Jaguars look good by comparison.

Granted, Jacksonville is lousy right now. Washington might be able to go down there and get a win, but neither team has anything to play for now. This one may come down to whether or not the Jaguars have gone into tank mode.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

Seattle just walloped the Niners 43-16 a couple of weeks ago, and changing venues is unlikely to make that much difference. The Seahawks are a legit NFC contender and San Francisco is already thinking about the offseason. A Seattle loss would be great, but it ain't happening this week.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams

While catching the Rams and getting a top-two seed would be great, it's barely plausible. The far more concrete benefit here is seeing the Eagles lose and getting them further away from a possible Wild Card spot.

In fact, an Eagles' loss this week would give Dallas the NFC East even if the Cowboys fall in  Indianapolis. That's not the way we want to win the division, but you take what you can get.

With the breaking news that Carson Wentz is unlikely to play this week with a back injury, you'd generally think this suits the Cowboys' interests. But Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is still the backup in Philadelphia, so is anything really for certain?

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

We have every reason to root for Carolina here. For one, it helps the Panthers stay ahead of the Eagles in the Wild Card race. Also, it brings the Saints one loss closer to possibly being caught by Dallas. A Saints win doesn't really benefit us all.



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Ezekiel Elliott has Huge Day vs Eagles Thanks to Receiving Prowess

John Williams

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Ezekiel Elliott has Huge Day vs Eagles Thanks to Receiving Prowess

The Dallas Cowboys came away with a huge win against their division rival Philadelphia Eagles, putting them in a commanding position in the NFC East. They're up two games in the division and one of the more underrated story lines from the victory is Ezekiel Elliott's game. He had a huge day that no one is talking about.

Elliott had 28 carries for 113 yards and then caught 12 passes on 13 targets en route to his big performance in the 29-23 win over the Eagles. That's probably the quietest 40 touch, 192 total yard game you'll ever hear about. And yet, that's where we are. Please read that stat line again, because in all of our talk about Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and the defense, Ezekiel Elliott's stat line is absolutely ridiculous.

The receiving element that Elliott is providing the biggest difference to the offense this season. He's been a huge asset to Dak Prescott in the passing game as both a primary target and a check down option in the short part of the field. If Elliott isn't showing that he's the best running back in the league, with what he's doing with a broke down offensive line, then people will never give him the credit he's due.

For the last three years, the Dallas Cowboys and their fan base has known what an elite player the Cowboys have in Elliott. He's easily one of the best runners in the NFL, but if you talk to the general NFL fanbase or analysts around the league, Elliott doesn't get the same kind of love as players like Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell receive from the national media. The knock against Elliott has been that he doesn't bring the same value as a receiver. With what he has done over the last six weeks, and really all season long, it's safe to say, that won't be a knock against the Cowboys All-Pro running back.

Among running backs this season, Ezekiel Elliott ranks sixth in targets (77), fifth in receptions (65). seventh in yards (502), and is tied for 12th in receiving touchdowns with three. Elliott is the seventh highest rated running back when targeted among running backs with at least 50 targets this season.

Over the last six weeks, since the Amari Cooper trade, only Christian McCaffrey has more targets, receptions, and yards than Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott's previous career high was in 2016 when he caught 32 passes on 39 targets. With three games left in the season, Elliott has more than doubled his previous career high from that season. Over the last six weeks, he's caught 40 passes with an average of 6.7 receptions per game.

Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for his best total yardage season in the NFL. If he continues at his current per game averages, Elliott would finish the season with 330 carries for 1,553 rushing yards, 80 catches on 100 targets for 618 yards and 10 total touchdowns. He's been great this year, but he's been even better over the last six games. At his per game averages for the last six games, over a 16 game season, Elliott's numbers would look like this; 363 carries for 1,715 yards rushing, 107 receptions on 120 targets for 872 yards, and 13 total touchdowns.

It's rare that Ezekiel Elliott has a game like he did on Sunday and it goes largely unnoticed by Cowboys Nation, but that's just how tremendous Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper were. In a game where the Cowboys got big games and big plays through the passing game, it was Elliott's steadiness that held things together and helped sustain drives like the fourth and one conversion in overtime. Even with Amari Cooper elevating his game since coming to the Cowboys, there's no question that Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys best skill position player. Expect more big games for Elliott as the Cowboys continue to "Feed Zeke."



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