[pull_quote_right]Yeah it was a pretty scary situation my freshman year. I didn't know what was going on. It came really quick, you know.[/pull_quote_right]On April 19, 2015, recently signed linebacker of the Dallas Cowboys, Andrew Gachkar sat down with Bobby, Jared and Josh on Cowboys Cast to talk a little about his life before signing with Dallas and his role moving forward.
If you haven't listened to the show yet, you can find it at listen.cowboyscast.com/ep2
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Andrew, How are you doing, man?
Andrew (@theGACH): I'm doing good. I'm having a good Sunday, and I'm on my way back down to Dallas right now to get started for the first day of me being a Cowboy.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Wow, that's great. So you're coming from San Diego and this is I think the most crucial question to see how Cowboys Nation receives you. So coming from San Diego, into Dallas, Whataburger or In-N-Out?
Andrew (@theGACH): You know what? I have tweeted about Whataburger, and I do like Whataburger, but I also like In-N-Out. But I honestly would choose Smash Burger.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Oh! There you go. Smash Burger's a good call. We've got former Cowboys running a bunch of those franchises out here, actually. Leonard Davis, Colombo and a couple of other guys.
So let's jump right into this. In the discussions you had with the team leading up to this point, what's your understanding of your role heading into this season? You know, from your time in San Diego you had special teams proficiency, but are you coming in here looking to fight for one of the starting linebacker spots or what's your understanding of what's coming into 2015?
Andrew (@theGACH): Oh, absolutely! I did a good job playing linebacker last year and speaking with the team, I think my role is definitely to find my niche in the linebacking core. They're gonna give me, I'm sure, every opportunity to try and fight for a starting role. Where that is, I'm not sure yet.
Obviously, with Rich Bisaccia I definitely have a role in the special teams game and that's kind of where I started my NFL career off but, definitely I'm gonna be fighting for a starting role on defense.
If not there then maybe a nickel situation like I was with the Chargers. Wherever I can find my spot is where I want to help the team, honestly. That's really the main goal is giving the team exactly what my best abilities are to help them win.
Josh (@JoshWingate_302): Let's say May 1, Dallas is looking at a second round, and they pick a linebacker the first round, does that change your mentality for the 2015/2016 seasons?
Andrew (@theGACH): It doesn't change my mentality at all. I mean, you come in prepared, you know. Rookies aren't always ready to play or an injury happens here and the entire season completely changes, you know what I mean? So, I'll always be prepared. I mean that's always been my role the last four years. Just be prepared, be ready.
That's what happened to me last year. We got to about game three and then from then on I played the entire season. So, however it works out, it works out. I'm just excited for the opportunity to be a Dallas Cowboy, and I keep getting better at my position and I'm excited to show the fans exactly how I can play.
Jared (@Jared_Katz30): Hey Gach. So we know that Dallas jumped on you fairly quickly in free agency so did you really get a chance to talk with any other teams, or were you looking to come to Dallas right away?
What was that whole process like for you?
Andrew (@theGACH): I think me and my wife knew in the beginning that Dallas was definitely going to be one of the areas we wanted to go to. We definitely had five or six other teams that would like me there.
It came down basically in the end to New England and Dallas and with the same offers on the table, we really felt like Dallas was gonna be a good fit for us. My wife being from Dallas and a couple of coaches on the staff and already knowing them; It was really gonna be a good fit for me.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Now there is one thing that Cowboys fans already, without having seen you play a snap with a star on your helmet yet, there's one thing Cowboys fans can know for sure about you Andrew, and that's you're one tough son of a gun.
Alright, it takes real toughness to play on a special teams unit to begin with, but it's also pretty incredible that you managed to continue your football career after a pretty serious health scare your freshman year at Missouri.
Can you talk about what happened there and your process of recovery just to get back to playing football at Missouri, much less make it to the NFL?
Andrew (@theGACH): Yeah it was a pretty scary situation my freshman year. I didn't know what was going on. It came really quick, you know. I was playing some basketball one day and I just, later that afternoon I'm in the hospital for a good month after that and had a bunch of surgeries and it wasn't fun.
Coaches seeing me afterwards, being like 180lbs, not ever thinking I'd... Not playing football was in the question. We had no idea.
So it was definitely a life changing experience but then I actually came back later that year - probably six months later - and it wasn't the season I exactly wanted, you know. But I eventually got over it and moved on from the situation.
Josh (@JoshWingate_302): I heard you have a newborn and how much Red Bull are you drinking so far?
Andrew (@theGACH): I got a lot of time off right now, so it's not too bad. She's actually a really good baby. She sleeps throughout the night and she doesn't cry that much. She may have like one period a day where she's crying...
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): You're a lucky man, Andrew.
Andrew (@theGACH): I'm pretty lucky. Yeah, I think we are.
Jared (@Jared_Katz30): Obviously we have to ask you the big draft question: who would you take first overall between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, if you were the Buccaneers?
Andrew (@theGACH): I guess if I'm the Bucs, I'd probably take Jameis Winston. But I guess I can't say that I'm too convinced on that.
I'm not a draft expert or anything like that but if I had to say, he's probably the most pro-ready looking quarterback out of them. But I'm not sure how ready quarterbacks are coming out of college anyway, so good luck to them, I guess. I don't really know.
Jared (@Jared_Katz30): Good point.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Well here, let's jump on something a little bit different.
I know just from checking your Twitter and following you on there, and for those of you who want to go follow him it's @theGACH - I know from following you there, you seem to be a pretty big avid TV watcher during the offseason.
So what are you and the wife watching right now?
Andrew (@theGACH): Yeah, we are. We've been keeping up all of our... I mean, every show we watch usually is on Netflix. Couple of weeks ago we finished out the (House of) Cards season and we keep up with our Scandal every episode. Now we're just starting the Game of Thrones back up. We're big fans of Homeland too.
Andrew (@theGACH): Not this season, no. We kind of put that on hold because we're moving and stuff.
What's your game day playlist sound like, Andrew; what do you listen to to get pumped up before a game?
Andrew (@theGACH): I'm a little weird, I guess. I don't listen to that much music before games. I'm more of a levity guy. I'm telling jokes and stuff in the locker room and I'm keeping it real light. That's kind of how I am. I used to - back in high school - be banging my head against lockers listening to music and stuff but then I figure, you know what? You're just wasting energy. Just save it for the game.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): So then I guess it's just the thought of being able to throw Eli Manning to the ground that's enough to get you pumped up? You don't need to worry about music.
Andrew (@theGACH): Exactly. I like to be loose, and then get serious once that game starts. I mean I'll listen to what everyone has in the locker room but I'm not picky. I'm more of a country guy anyway and most of the time they're not...
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Hey, well that'll fit here, man.
Jared (@Jared_Katz30): Sure will.
Josh (@JoshWingate_302): What kind of music do you listen to, as far as country... who's your artist right now?
Andrew (@theGACH): Well I got Florida Georgia Line on in the car right now. Well, it's kind of on silent but I'm more of a today's country kind of thing. My wife turned me on to it about ten years ago anyways.
But yeah, I like Blake Shelton and stuff like that.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): You sound like you got a great wife, man. She's from Dallas. She's getting you turned on to the right music already. I think you've got a keeper there.
Andrew (@theGACH): Oh yeah, she's pretty special.
Bobby (@SportsByDallas): Andrew, we've just about got a few seconds left here, but I know everybody in Dallas is really excited to have you here.
We've all kind of been checking out the game film, we've seen you shoot that gap and get past the guards. So I know we're all excited to see what you can do on the football field.
But best of luck this season and here's to Super Bowl number six.
Andrew (@theGACH): I appreciate you guys having me on. I'm excited.
Be sure to follow Andrew Gachkar on Twitter at @theGACH and give him a warm welcome to Dallas!
Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern
Playing in the National Football Conference, the Dallas Cowboys have a difficult task ahead of them if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Even still, they've become a very underrated football team due to their 9-7 record last season. The Cowboys struggled in many areas and with the Philadelphia Eagles crowned as Super Bowl Champions, everyone has forgotten about America's Team.
2017 was an awful year for the Cowboys. It seemed like a roller coaster of success, putting up an impressive performance one week only to disappoint the next one. Let's be honest with ourselves here and talk about what really ended the Cowboys' last season.
As much as we talk about how there shouldn't be any excuses in football - the Eagles made a huge statement by winning it all with a backup QB and other key starters missing - we can't deny the impact of these injuries.
Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott all missed some time last year, affecting the team's performance week in and week out. Had the starters been healthy, the truth is this team would've been in the playoffs.
Heading into 2018, the Cowboys will face a very similar situation. This year, starters make Dallas a serious contender. Even if they're playing in a conference that will feature a lot of quality teams, the Cowboys are a team that could beat any team in the league if healthy.
Even the dreaded wide receiver position - which has been famous this offseason for the lack of a #1 receiver - won't be as bad as we make it out to be starter-wise. A starting trio of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley doesn't really sound bad.
Heck, not even Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods starting at safety is concerning. They have what it takes to be decent starters. Sure, Heath isn't a guy who will make the Pro Bowl, but his skills will show on the field once the season starts in September.
The Cowboys' starters will do just fine this season. If the team's fate is up to them, they are in a very good spot. The same can not be said about depth, though.
Except for the defensive line, every other position lacks depth. If Sean Lee goes down, the linebackers stop looking like a three-headed monster. Same goes for the cornerbacks. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis seem like a good group but as soon as one of them suffers an injury, the Cowboys will be in trouble.
We're in for an exciting season with a lot of young talent waiting to breakout. The Cowboys are underrated this year. They may not be among the NFC's favorites, but they truly have what it takes to replicate the success they had in 2016. However, it seems like circumstances have to be ideal for them to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.
With a little bit of luck, they'll bounce back this season.
The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up
Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.
The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.
As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.
Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.
Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.
Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.
Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.
I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.
All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.
How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?
Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?
With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.
Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.
I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.
I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?
Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.
Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.
Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.
Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?
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