After a season full of depressing rumors and poor performance, we finally heard a good rumor yesterday. Apparently the Dallas Cowboys have made it known that they plan on applying the full court press to acquire Ray Lewis! The story broke yesterday by the Baltimore sun you can read that story here!
I am sure as this story gains more momentum their will be plenty of stories out there claiming that this is just a move by Jerry to collect another "name" or that it is just Jerry at work again trying to make headlines. All of this may be true, but with the state that the Cowboys locker room is in right now, this one guy could do more for the mentality, and repairing of the locker room fracture than anyone currently employed by the Dallas Cowboys. So would it not be worth whatever it took to get that guy? I absolutely think it would!
Ray Lewis is a football player, that is all he knows, and that is all he wants to know! There is not another player in the league that plays the game with more energy, fierceness, and enthusiasm. From the moment this guy steps into the locker room he is all business! He does not allow his teammates to give excuses, and he holds them all accountable. Take a look at what I wrote again! Tell me one player on the Dallas Cowboys roster that can even pronounce those underlined words? You can stop looking because you will not find anyone!
All we heard, all year long from the individuals in the Cowboy locker room were excuses and a whole lot of he said, she said crap! Not one player stood up and said "it is not anyone's fault but our own, we the player's did not do our jobs!" Instead all we heard was "I am not getting the ball, when I get the ball things happen", or "I don't know what happened we just did not make the tackle" or "I don't call the plays". I would love to see someone talk that kind of garbage on a team that Ray Lewis was on.
The rumored offer that the Cowboys are willing to give is somewhere around 3 years and 27 to 30 million with 25 of it guaranteed. That is a big figure for a 34 year old linebacker. With that kind of guaranteed money the Cowboys would be taking a large risk.
I am tired of looking at stats and trying to determine whether someone would be a good statistical player for the Cowboys. This group of individuals on paper is the best team in the NFL and what has that gotten us? Absolutely nothing! It is now time to look at players from a different vantage point. How about we start looking for specific attributes? How about we start looking for players that bring things like enthusiasm, energy, fierceness, locker room presence, accountability, maybe one that does not make excuses, maybe even one who is all about business! Wow that would be a novel idea!
Through this entire article I have not mentioned one time about Ray Lewis' actual football record. While everyone wants to say that the guy is on the downhill slide, I see quite a different picture. The picture I see, is one of a outstanding football player that is still as good as any other inside linebacker on the team currently. Here are some stats to prove my point!
The following stats are career averages of two 2008 Dallas Cowboy ILBs and Ray Lewis. Which one is Ray?
|Sacks P/Y||Int. P/Y||Pass Def.||FF||TKL.||Assists||Total Tkl|
For those of you who said "Player A" you would be incorrect! Player A is none other than Bradie James.
For those who said "Player B" you also would be incorrect! Player B is Zach Thomas.
The correct answer is "Player C"!
Ray Lewis on an average is better than both of those players in almost every category! Now for those of you who will say things like "those are not good comparisons because of the length of Thomas and Lewis' careers" look at this. The following stats are the average of the last 3 years of each player, this is the truest measure of each player. If you also remember the year that Zach Thomas led the NFL in tackles, that year is in these figures.
|Sacks P/Y||Int. P/Y||Pass Def.||FF||TKL.||Assists||Total Tkl|
As you can see Ray Lewis can still play football! Will he play for another 10 years? Not a chance! Can he play 3 more seasons? Yes and at a high level! Ray Lewis is better than any other option we have on the current roster, and in many ways!
The signing of Ray Lewis would be one of the smartest moves Jerry Jones has ever made. It is time to get a voice for the locker room, other than the slime that is already in their! Some of you may disagree, and you have every right to! All I ask is that before you criticize, take a second and really think about it. Then let me know what you think!
Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition
In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.
Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!
Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot
Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.
If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.
Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting
The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.
His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.
Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again
Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard
stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.
While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.
Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer
Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.
But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.
Cowboys’ Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans
With only two preseason games remaining, opportunities to make a statement are growing thin. The Dallas Cowboys have very few spots on the roster available, especially at the tight end position where Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz appear to have the depth chart locked down. The problem is, Jarwin and Schultz have been dealing with injuries and missed the second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams and probably won't play against the Houston Texans tonight.
Enter Marcus Lucas.
Marcus Lucas hasn't been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for very long, but he's already made an impact.
In his first preseason game with the Dallas Cowboys, Lucas caught four passes on four targets for 20 yards. His receptions went for two, seven, five, and six yards for an average of five yards per reception. He did have a holding penalty that cost the Dallas Cowboys 10 yards on a first down play that didn't go anywhere anyway.
Though Lucas has bounced around NFL practice squads, he's never really found a home. After going undrafted in 2014, Lucas was signed by the Carolina Panthers in May of that year but wasn't able to stick on the 53-man roster and was released and placed on the practice squad. In 2015, he was on the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears practice squads. In 2016, the Panthers brought him back in the summer after the Bears released him from their 90-man roster. That September after cut-down day, the Seattle Seahawks signed Lucas to their practice squad where he spent all of 2016. From 2017 to the end of 2018, Lucas spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, the Seattle Seahawks again, and the San Francisco 49ers. He was with the 49ers in 2019 before joining the Dallas Cowboys about two weeks ago and will get an extended run in these final two preseason games.
At Thursday's practice, Lucas was the only tight end available with Jason Witten getting a rest day and Jarwin, Schultz, and fellow Tight End Cody McElroy dealing with injuries.
With Jason Witten getting a day of rest, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Codey McElroy injured, the Cowboys have one tight end practicing today: Marcus Lucas, who has been with the team for about two weeks.
It's possible that Lucas may get an extended amount of playing time tonight with an opportunity to show the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL that he's ready to land on a 53-man roster. With likely only Jason Witten being the only other tight end active for the game against the Houston Texans, Lucas will get a lot of playing time. If his last preseason exposure is any indication, he'll get the chance to display his receiving prowess.
At 27, Lucas likely has few opportunities left to make his mark for an NFL franchise. On a team that proclaims the "next man up" as a battle cry, after Witten, Lucas is the next man up for tonight and depending on his performance could make the Dallas Cowboys front office or another front office around the league take notice.
Depending on the long-term health of the Dallas Cowboys' tight end position, Lucas may find his path to a roster spot simply dependent upon the health of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. Though a job may not come with the Dallas Cowboys, tonight is an extremely important audition for his next suitor. How he performs tonight could land Marcus Lucas a job after the Dallas Cowboys trim the roster to 53 next week.
They say "preseason games don't matter," but to Marcus Lucas, this might be the most important game of his career.
Don’t Forget Special Teams Value in Cowboys Roster Decisions
Building a 53-man roster in the NFL is a complex formula, requiring balance between numerous positions on each side of the ball. But what often gets overlooked in our analysis as outsiders is special teams, and that's a huge factor for many of the Dallas Cowboys players hoping to make it past final cuts.
Some players have survived in the league by being just good enough at their listed positions but excelling in special teams roles. You may think of former Dallas safety Bill Bates, who was personally responsible for a special teams player being made part of the annual Pro Bowl roster. A more recent example would be Keith Davis, who was an adequate safety but a special teams ace for several seasons.
To be sure, someone is going to be on this 2019 Cowboys more for their special teams value than their actual offensive or defensive ability. Who might he, or they, be?
One candidate is veteran Cornerback C.J. Goodwin. He is considered an exceptional talent in coverage on punts, which is probably the only reason he's still in the NFL today. At age 29, Goodwin has never really emerged as a consistent contributor on defense.
Young players like Donovan Olumba or rookie Michael Jackson, if not already superior cornerbacks to Goodwin, have far more upside to keep on the roster. But
considering how little they may get on the field anyway as the fifth or sixth corners, you can see why special teams value becomes so important. It may be the only time you actually see them in the game.
If the Cowboys don't want to lose a young prospect but can't let go of Goodwin's special teams ability, it may prompt them to go long at the CB position. But that means taking a roster spot from some other position, and thus the balancing act continues.
Another player to watch in this discussion is second-year an Running Back Jordan Chunn. He doesn't have Alfred Morris' experience or maybe Mike Weber or Darius Jackson's rushing talent, but he has been showing up on the special teams units.
Yesterday, Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus called Chunn "a better Rod Smith" in analyzing his chances of making the roster. If you don't recall, Jaylon's older brother was a solid RB but a standout special teams player in his few years with Dallas.
As we just mentioned with the 5th/6th CB slots, the third running back is not a guy you expect to see much on offense. That will be especially true this year as Dallas will be struggling just to give rookie Tony Pollard the touches he deserves as the number-two RB.
Given that, special teams play becomes vital for the value of whoever is behind Zeke and Pollard on the depth chart. If Jordan Chunn is superior to his competition in that regard, it could negate whatever he lacks as an actual running back.
This same conversation can be had throughout the roster. It's why Noah Brown might make the team over more traditionally gifted receivers, or why a certain linebacker or safety might be more valued than others.
We make the common mistake of referring to "both sides of the ball" when we talk about football teams. There are three sides; special teams can't be underestimated. It will certainly play a part in how the Dallas Cowboys finalize their 53-man roster this season and in years to come.
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Zeke Holdout: Remember, Owners Agreed to Renegotiating Contracts
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Michael Gallup Showing WR1 Talent in Amari Cooper’s Absence
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Dallas Cowboys Backups Who Have Earned More Playing Time
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Looking Absolutely Stacked
Player News2 days ago
Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL’s Second Highest-Paid RB
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 3
Game Notes2 weeks ago
3 Studs and Duds From Dallas Cowboys Preseason Week 1 Matchup
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2