With each season that passes, old records fall by the wayside as players embark on the adventure of etching their name into the Dallas Cowboys record books. As the NFL has evolved into a passing league, a lot of the records from the early days through the 90s dynasty are falling by the wayside.
In 2019, five Dallas Cowboys will have the opportunity to reach new heights with their work on the field.
1. Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott has done a lot in his first three seasons in the NFL. Among players with at least 1,000 pass attempts in their first three seasons only Dan Marino and Russell Wilson have a better passer rating than Prescott's career rating of 96. He already owns the highest career completion percentage of any of the Dallas Cowboys franchise quarterbacks in team history.
In just a short time, he's ascended the Dallas Cowboys record books and finds himself on the verge of joining some historic names in Dallas Cowboys lore.
With just 14 more touchdown passes, Dak Prescott will pass Craig Morton for sixth on the Dallas Cowboys all-time leaderboard. Prescott has averaged just over 22 passing touchdowns per game through his career, so getting that 14 should be a piece of cake.
Prescott has a long way to go to break into the top five among the Dallas Cowboys all-time touchdown leaders as Don Meredith sits in fifth place with 135 touchdowns. I'd imagine that Dak will break into the top five sometime in 2021.
Prescott's ability to run the football has been one of the attributes that has made him so good in his three years in the NFL. He's averaged six rushing touchdowns per season and with three more will pass Roger Staubach for first all-time in rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks and 13th overall regardless of position.
It may have taken a few years for him to get healthy and reach the potential that the Dallas Cowboys expected when they drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he's now on a really nice trajectory. Despite what any top 100 lists have to say, Lawrence is one of the very best edge defenders in the NFL.
He's done enough in the last two years that he'll soon be joining some of the iconic Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen.
With DeMarcus Lawrence's next sack, he'll pass Hall of Fame Defensive End Charles Haley for sole possession of seventh place in sacks for the Dallas Cowboys. Haley did a lot of damage with the San Francisco 49ers before joining the Cowboys midway through his career, but Lawrence has only really had three productive seasons for the Cowboys. So to be at that spot despite missing a year due to injury, is pretty impressive.
DeMarcus Lawrence has a strong chance to continue to climb this list, though it will likely take him two to three more seasons to pass the likes of Randy White (52), Ed "Too Tall" Jones (57.5), and Tony Tolbert (59).
Tackles for Loss
In order to pass Anthony Spencer for fourth all-time among Dallas Cowboys in tackles for loss, DeMarcus Lawrence needs just six tackles for loss. Depending on the health of Sean Lee in 2019, Lawrence has an opportunity to pass Lee in this same category for third on the Dallas Cowboys all-time list.
*Now tackles for loss and sacks (1982) haven't always been kept as official statistics. So some of those elite players that the Dallas Cowboys had during the "Doomsday Defense" years won't have as many recorded as they possibly could.
3. Byron Jones
Byron Jones needs just eight more pass deflections to move into the top five on the Dallas Cowboys all-time list. Through his first four sessions in the NFL, Jones has averaged 8.25 pass deflections per season. If he hits his career average, he'll pass Brandon Carr (44) for fifth on the Cowboys all-time list.
4. Jason Witten
Jason Witten holds every Dallas Cowboys receiving record except for receiving touchdowns, which is held by Dez Bryant(63). All Jason Witten needs is just six more receiving touchdowns to pass Bryant for first all-time on the Dallas Cowboys receiving touchdowns list.
Witten hasn't had more than five touchdowns in a season since he had eight back in 2013. Over his last four seasons, he's averaged four touchdowns a year. In 2017, his last season before retiring, Witten had five touchdowns.
It's not outside the realm of possibility that Witten could get the six touchdowns he needs to pass Bryant on the Dallas Cowboys all-time list, but he'll need to have a better than average year to make that happen.
Elliott has averaged 1,349 rushing yards per season through his first three years in the NFL. He currently sits eighth all-time among Dallas Cowboys rushing leaders, just behind Marion Barber who is in seventh place.
The Dallas Cowboys starting running back can get as high fourth place on the Cowboys all-time list. In order to get to that point, Elliott needs just 962 rushing yards to pass Calvin Hill for fourth place on the all-time list.
Of course, a lengthy hold out could hurt Elliott's chances to climb the ranks of Dallas Cowboys rushers. However, even if he misses a couple of games, Elliott should be able to rush for the total needed to climb the list.
When Elliott missed six games in 2017, he rushed for 983 yards and averages 101.2 rushing yards per game for his career through 40 games.
When a deal gets done, it will lock Elliott up for the final two years of his rookie deal and probably three to four more years on top of that. If he averages 1,000 yards a season for the next four to five years, he'll end up as third on the Dallas Cowboys all-time rushing yardage list. If he continues to maintain his career average for the life of his contract extension, the Dallas Cowboys will have another 10,000-yard rusher, joining Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.
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It could be quite a year for some of the elite players for the Dallas Cowboys. Though individual success isn't as important as team success, if these players have the seasons that they've shown capable of, then the Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of success as a team as well. This is the deepest and most talented team they've had during the Jason Garrett era. On paper they should have a chance to win every game on their schedule. With a little luck (on both the injury and in games), the Cowboys will be making a deep run in January on their way to their sixth Lombardi trophy.
Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.
However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.
That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.
With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.
One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.
Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.
Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?
Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?
Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.
Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.
Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.
Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.
Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.
An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.
Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.
No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.
But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.
HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.
The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.
Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.
The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.
Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.
Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.
Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.
Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.
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