The countdown for Thanksgiving is underway, and in case you didn't know or might have forgotten, the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins while the majority of us are sitting down to eat with our families.
I was thinking about Thanksgiving and some of the traditions that families share during this holiday, which led me to the idea of compiling a list of things I'm thankful for in regards to the Dallas Cowboys. Whether it is a good idea or not, has yet to be seen.
In all honesty, my family has never been one of those that go around the table and share what we are thankful for, but maybe yours is. It's always felt like it was a little bit forced to me.
I'm sure we can all agree that sending it 9-1 is something to be grateful for, but below are five other things I'm thankful for this season for the Dallas Cowboys. I hope you enjoy.
A dominant offensive line
The Dallas Cowboys have The Best offensive line in the entire NFL. That's not an opinion, that is a fact.
Jerry Jones had never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL Draft before drafting Tyron Smith, but I think we're all glad that particular trend ended.
Smith was the first, followed by Travis Frederick, and then Zack Martin. All three of these offensive lineman not only anchor the best unit in the league, but are arguably the best players at their positions.
This season they are responsible for opening up the running lanes for the league's leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott, and have also had the privilege of giving rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott, all the time he needs to throw the ball.
Honestly, I don't know what more you could ask of this unit.
The 2016 draft class
Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but the Dallas Cowboys 2016 draft class is already shaping up to be one of the best the team has had in probably a decade.
Ezekiel Elliott is the league's leading rusher and has made just about everybody forget who the Cowboys could've drafted #4 overall instead.
It was pretty much pure luck the way things fell into place for Dak Prescott, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys have found their future signal caller for years to come, and in the fourth round surprisingly enough.
Cornerback Anthony Brown and defensive tackle Maliek Collins also look to be future starters for the Cowboys the way they have filled in and played so far this season.
These players alone would be reason enough to celebrate, but it looks as if Jaylon Smith is on the road to recovery. Smith probably would've been a top five pick in the draft if not for his knee injury.
Anything else they get from Charles Tapper or Kavon Frazier would be an added bonus.
Do you want to know why the Dallas Cowboys have been so good at putting together a competitive roster these past few seasons? Look no further than the man behind the scenes, Will McClay.
McClay might not hold the official title of general manager with the Cowboys, but he is the meticulously detailed person behind the scenes that makes sure the draft board and scouting department are on the same page when evaluating these potential prospects.
McClay's work has been noticed around the league and has already earned him job offers to become the general manager for several different organizations. Fortunately, he has turned those down to remain with the Dallas Cowboys.
It may just be a matter of time until he is offered a job he can't turn down, but you can bet that the Cowboys are thankful for the work he has put in.
Tony Romo might not have played in any of the regular-season games this season, but he is still a big reason why this team is 9-1.
Romo took on a mentor role with Dak Prescott while rehabbing from his back injury and I think Prescott will be the first to tell you how much it has helped with his preparation/development.
Romo is a team first guy and did everything in his power to help Prescott prepare week in and week out, but probably helped the organization the most by not becoming a distraction and stepping aside for the rookie QB.
I don't know about you, but I am thankful with the way Romo handled this entire situation. He could have handled this an entirely different way, but decided to swallow his pride and do what's best for the entire team.
You hate to see this be the way Tony Romo's time ends with the Cowboys, but unfortunately that's just the nature of the NFL.
Rod Marinelli might just be the unsung hero for the success the Dallas Cowboys are having so far this season.
Marinelli has pretty much taken a group of unknown players and turned them into a unit that has surpassed anyone expectations.
Sean Lee is the only Pro Bowl player on the defense for the Cowboys, but even he can't carry the team by himself.
To date, the Cowboys defense has yet to allow a 100 yard rusher and has only allowed one 100 yard receiver (Antonio Brown). That's an impressive feat for any defense in the NFL, especially for a group of guys that are not really household names.
I'm sure we can all be thankful for how Rod Marinelli has been able to get this defense to bend and not break so far this season. Let's just hope that he can continue getting these same kind of results from his players.
What are you thankful for?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share what you are thankful for so far this season in regards to the Dallas Cowboys.
Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, keeping playoff hopes alive on the road with a 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering the hostile home of the defending Super Bowl champions with three previous road losses already on their record, the Cowboys performance on Sunday night was truly about getting back to their roots. In their second week with Marc Colombo as the Offensive Line Coach, the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards and protected Dak Prescott very well. It was revealed after the game that Frederick was on a coaches headset with Colombo and his new assistant Hudson Houck.
Travis Frederick just told @BenRogers on @1053thefan that Marc Columbo has him on a coaches headset now helping him and Hudson Houck. That's a smart move from Columbo. Smartest guy on the line
The anchor of the Cowboys offensive line since being drafted in 2013, Frederick is regarded as the smartest linemen on the team. It's his mental edge that's made up for a slight lack of size at the position, regarded as one of the worst first round picks in his draft because of this oversight.
Not only is Frederick a welcome addition to the Cowboys brain trust at offensive line, but he did receive some great news on his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) that's kept him out this season. Frederick was placed on injured reserve on October 6th, announcing publicly his GBS diagnosis on August 22nd.
Frederick has a long way to go before he's playing football again, not eligible to do so until week 14 at home against the Eagles. Regaining feeling in his hands is about the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee getting as healthy as possible away from football. If a return to the Cowboys is possible through his recovery, the team would of course welcome Frederick.
Travis Frederick regains sensation in his hands: "There is some light at the end of the tunnel" https://t.co/wvQhB6KUQp
What Frederick has gained in upper body strength, he must remain patient for in the lower body. While pointing out that over 95% of patients make a full recovery from GBS, Frederick is still waiting to feel sensations in his feet.
The Cowboys have been optimistic that Frederick's condition was caught early enough for a full recovery to be probable.
Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier following their uplifting win. Returning to the site of last year's demoralizing loss at the Falcons, Frederick likely wishes he could make a miraculous return just a bit more this week.
To make matters worse, Left Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to back spasms. It's unknown if rookie Connor Williams will reclaim his starting left guard spot on Sunday, or if Xavier Su'a-Filo has earned another opportunity.
Despite the patchwork nature of a Cowboys offensive line once regarded as the best in the league, and still vital to the entire team's success, Dallas has an abundance of hope that Sunday in Atlanta can be much better than 2017. This starts with Frederick's strength to fight GBS and attempt to rejoin his teammates, wisely given some added game day influence on them by Colombo.
If elevating their level of play up front was all it took for the Cowboys to play up to their potential and pull off an upset on prime time last week, the NFC East is certainly still within reach for a team that must now sustain the level of play on offense to match what this defense has given all season.
Cowboys LB Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Against Eagles
You already knew that Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker, had a great night last Sunday in Philadelphia. Apparently the rest of the football world agreed, and now he's been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
The award is the first of what could be many for Leighton, who has emerged as a defensive leader for the Cowboys. He's been playing more in the absence of veteran Sean Lee, who has been battling hamstring issues all season.
THE. WOLF. HUNTER. Congratulations to #DallasCowboys rookie LB @VanderEsch38 on being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week! → https://t.co/XeSTt2tIpX
This is the second Player of the Week award for a Dallas Cowboys this season. Kicker Brett Maher won the Special Teams version in Week 4 after going 4-for-4 and hitting a game winner over the Detroit Lions.
The Defensive Player award hasn't gone to a Cowboys since Week of 2017, when DeMarcus Lawrence put up three sacks against the Arizona Cardinals.
Leighton's recognition is also well-earned. He led Dallas with 13 tackles and an interception in a pivotal road victory against a division rival. In what was arguably a "must-win" game for the Cowboys, their first-round pick stepped up and stood out.
A few more games like this, and Vander Esch could be in the running for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. But even above personal accolades, Leighton's play could help the Cowboys make a push in the NFC East.
If nothing else, he's making that first-round pick look smarter every week.
Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott
Things have not gone well for Dak Prescott this season. His play has been up and down and he hasn't given the team or Cowboys Nation much reason to believe that he's the future at the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys. Speaking to 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas today, Legendary Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Roger Staubach offered support for the Cowboys current quarterback, Dak Prescott.
Staubach had this to say when asked about Dak Prescott.
Roger Staubach on @1053thefan said #Dak is a part of the problem with the #Cowboys offense, but he is not the problem.
Roger Staubach didn't start in the NFL until the third year of his career and thinks that's a good time for the quarterback to make the jump. At this point, we are 40 games into Dak Prescott's NFL career and we can see some of the things that he's good at as well as some of the things that he struggles with.
As Staubach points out, Dak Prescott has the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback, even if his play hasn't been what you'd want at the position. Roger admits that Dak shoulders some of the blame for the offensive woes of the last 16 games, but realizes that there are many reasons for the Cowboys offensive failures this season.
Roger Staubach believes that the Dallas Cowboys can win with Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback despite some of the flaws that have crept up over the last 16 games. He's not wrong.
Staubach's pretty accurate in his assessment that there's been more good than bad. If you look at the first 24 games of Dak Prescott's career, he was really good. Through the last 16 games, he's struggled at times. So technically there's been more good than bad. The problem is that over the last 16 games, there's been more bad than good. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league and lately Dak hasn't done much. We can debate all day on how much of the struggles Prescott's faced are on him, but everyone should be willing to admit that some of the struggles are on him.
It's plausible that the confidence in Prescott that Jerry Jones has comes from Roger's belief that the Cowboys can win games with Dak Prescott at quarterback; and they have. In Prescott's career, the Dallas Cowboys are 25-15. Though wins are a team stat and not a quarterback stat, it just goes as evidence that Dak Prescott can be a winning quarterback in the National Football League.
Dak has some flaws, but the offense and its play caller haven't helped Prescott much this season. We should be critical of Prescott because he has a big pay day coming, if you believe Jerry Jones. While Dak has some flaws, he also has some traits that can make him a good quarterback in the NFL with the right coaching situation behind him. 2018 may be running out of time for the Dallas Cowboys and their playoff prospects, but the Cowboys have time before they have to make a decision on Prescott.
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