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Anything’s Possible for 2017 Cowboys, Even 16-0, and Here’s How

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys Well Represented In 2017 ESPY Awards
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Recently USA Today released its predictions for the 2017 NFL season. A lot of it seemed reasonable, though there were a ton of teams with 10 wins or more, including your Dallas Cowboys at 12-4.

Here's the summary of their Dallas Cowboys prediction.

"Dallas Cowboys (11-5): The league should be ready for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott — assuming he isn't suspended — this time around; that celebrated O-line is breaking in two new starters; and the defense could be a hot mess. Still, there's no denying this club's offensive firepower. The Cowboys play four of their five November games at home, a good point to make a move in the standings."

There are some things I disagree with here, but that is another discussion for another time. However, that seems a reasonable expectation for America's Team.

One surprising prediction was where they put the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Many, including Las Vegas, have the Pats as the favorite to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for Tom Brady's record-breaking 6th time. It's a bold prediction, considering only two teams have ever gone undefeated in the regular season. The 2007 Patriots and the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Their prediction got me thinking, what would it take for your Dallas Cowboys to run the table in 2017.

Now you might be saying, the Dallas Cowboys are nowhere near what the '72 Dolphins or '07 Patriots were, but you might be overlooking one thing.

The Cowboys offense will be a juggernaut in 2017.

Like the Patriots and the Dolphins before them, the Dallas Cowboys will be extremely difficult to slow down, let alone stop on offense.

Here are six things that need to happen for the Dallas Cowboys to go 16-0.

Dak Prescott, Tom Brady

Oft-compared QBs Dak Prescott and Tom Brady.

1. Dak Prescott Makes Elite Leap

What occurred in 2016 with Dak Prescott was extraordinary. His season was one of the best two or three rookie seasons of all-time. Even among all NFL quarterbacks, his first season as a pro stands out as a great season.

He was great in 2016, but if the Cowboys want to win every game this season, then Dak Prescott needs to join the elite ranks of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees.

The offense is one of the best in the league already and were nearly unstoppable in 2016. If Dak and the Cowboys can get off to fast starts against teams and give the defense and running game a lead early, there is no reason they can't become an elite offense.

2. Defensive End Becomes Elite Pass Rusher

A lot of the 2017 season will hinge on the offense continuing to get better and better, but the defense also needs to make improvements.

As a team, they were about average at rushing the passer. Where they were really good was in the fourth quarter when the team had a lead. The problem last season was consistency. We never knew where the pressure was going to come from, or who would come up with the big sack.

Maliek Collins appears to be the elite 3-technique tackle that the team has been looking for. Now they just need to find that defensive end that can take a game over.

We've seen flashes from DeMarcus Lawrence, Benson Mayowa, and David Irving. Damontre Moore has had his moments in the past, but will start the season suspended by the NFL.

Dominant defenses have at least one guy who can consistently get pressure or at the very least command the attention of the offense.

DeMarcus Lawrence is in a contract year.  All the tools and skills are there, it's time to put it together. All he needs is a little luck on the injury side of things. 2017 may be the year of his breakout.

2017 NFL Draft Class Lines Up With Dallas Cowboys Needs 3

Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys free safety Byron Jones (31) reacts to breaking up a pass in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

3. Byron Jones Becomes a Turnover Machine

On the great defenses of the past decade plus, players like Ed Reed for Baltimore, Troy Polamalu for Pittsburgh, John Lynch and Ronde Barber for Tampa Bay, there were guys who could create turnovers.

Dallas has lacked a guy who can consistently intercept the ball.

Byron Jones has the athletic ability and football awareness to be a five interception a season guy, but has yet to put it together. Already adept at deflecting passes away, Jones is working on tracking the ball in the air this offseason.

His work with the Frisco Roughriders seems to have paid off. It's been reported that he's been creating turnovers and being a force in the secondary in the early part of training camp.

While the defense hasn't had their pass rushing sack artist, they've made do with a bunch of guys being able to create pressure.

The one thing they haven't been able to find is the guy who consistently creates turnovers.

In 2017, expect Byron Jones to be that guy.

4. Dez Bryant Plays 16 Games

In the second half of last season, Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant displayed great chemistry.

After starting off the season a bit slow, then being injured, Dez came back with a fury in the last 10 games he played.

If we project the last ten games of the season over 16 games (not counting week 17, where he played one series), Bryant would have had 76.8 receptions, 1,244.8 yards, and 14.4 touchdowns.

Those are dominant numbers for a receiver in a run first offense. If Dez plays 16 games, and there's no reason to believe he won't, look for him to produce similar numbers to his All-Pro 2014 season.

5. Clear Eye View

If the early returns from training camp are any indication, the Dallas Cowboys have found their Brian Urlacher.

Since making the move to the 4-3 under Monte Kiffin a few years ago, all eyes have been focused on the health of Sean Lee at the all important weak side linebacker spot.

The middle linebacker spot is just as important. For years it's been average to good play at MLB, but with Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have finally found that fearsome MLB that 4-3 teams crave.

If the 2006 Chicago Bears are any indication, having an All-Pro middle linebacker like Urlacher next to Lance Briggs (at WLB) is monumental. That tandem helped carry the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance with Rex Grossman at quarterback.

Smith is already showing the range and play-making ability that made him an All-American at Notre Dame. He has the talent, awareness, and even with only part of a nerve is looking explosive.

It's only a matter of when with Jaylon at this point. All indications are making week one more and more likely.

Dallas is on the verge of having several playmakers at all three levels of the defense. Smith and Lee would form one of the most dynamic and dangerous 4-3 linebacker tandems in the NFL.

Cowboys en Español: La Línea Ofensiva

Nov 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive guard La'el Collins (71) and center Travis Frederick (72) and guard Zack Martin (70) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

6. Dominant Offense Ready to Roll

Like the dominant Patriots offense of 2007, the Dallas Cowboys have the makings of a deep and dominant offense.

Starting with Dez Bryant, then Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown or Andy Jones make this wide receiver group one of the deepest and most versatile groups in the league.

The tight end group can perform as well. Jason Witten, though is getting aged, can still be a reliable weapon in the short to intermediate passing game.

James Hanna and Geoff Swaim are under the radar guys who can make a play through the air when called upon. If Rico Gathers is making the progress that it seems he's making (we'll know more during the preseason games), then he may be ready to contribute in some two and three tight end formations.

This doesn't even begin to mention the pass catching abilities of Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden, who can both hurt you in the passing game.

They have more than 10 guys on offense that can hurt you in the passing game. If for some reason you are able to cover everyone and take away all of Dak Prescott's options, which is unlikely, he has the athletic ability and awareness to make you pay with his legs.

We all know the dominance that the run game brings Ezekiel Elliott behind their All-Pro offensive line. They were difficult to stop last year and will be incredibly difficult to slow this year.

If you focus on the run, Prescott has shown he can win through the air. If you play coverage, you're going to get gashed by Elliott and the offensive line.

The offense is poised to be elite in 2017. They have too many weapons to slow down, let alone stop.


There isn't a weakness on the Dallas Cowboys offense. If Byron Jones, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Jaylon Smith can play at a high level in 2017, there won't be many weaknesses on the defense, making 16-0 a real possibility.


I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

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2 Comments
  • OGHailMary

    People are gonna dog you out, you nutcase. But John Williams, I GET YOU. I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK! 19-0, baby! It can happen!

    • John Williams

      Yeah, it didn’t go over well. People missed the part where I said that it’s unlikely but if it were going to happen this was going to be how.

      I’m definitely an optimist for sure, but certainly realize that it’s the longest of shots.

Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys “All or Nothing” Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys "All or Nothing" Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett

You likely already know by now that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys season -- by all accounts, a forgettable one for fans, coaches, and big-name players -- will be documented forever thanks to NFL Films' latest All or Nothing series.

Effectively, All or Nothing is a new spin on the popular Hard Knocks series with one major difference. This Amazon Prime exclusive doesn't just follow a team through training camp, as NFL Films gets inside team meetings and games throughout the entire season.

The 2017 Cowboys yielded just nine wins, creating more than enough drama for television along the way. This was yet another season where Head Coach Jason Garrett's job was put on the line, although early reviews of All or Nothing (available to the public April 27th) paint Garrett as the lead antagonist.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett drops at least 10 f-bombs in the first show. Before the Broncos game in Week 2: "You want to quiet the game down? Hand the f---in' ball to 21 and knock their ass off the ball.

Watching the Titanic and expecting a different outcome is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment, as will be reliving a frustrating season in Dallas. By the end though, Cowboys fans will have a much better understanding of where the 2018 team stands - particularly in the eyes of a Head Coach they looked to fire once again this offseason.

Jason Garrett has long been described as a "players coach", one that his Cowboys teams want to fight for. Whether or not the Cowboys have gone too far in constantly churning their roster in Garrett's image for little end result will likely be determined this season.

This is a Head Coach that has been in place for the departure of DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo (serving as a pivotal decision maker for the Cowboys choosing Dak Prescott as their full-time starter in 2016), and most recently Dez Bryant.

An added bonus to All or Nothing will likely be that it captures Dez Bryant's final moments with the Cowboys.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Garrett to Zeke at practice after Broncos loss: "I want that f---in guy at Ohio St. who was running down on that kickoff. Remember after you played your 2nd play in the NFL against the Seahawks, you came over to me and you said, 'Give me the f---in ball!'

The Cowboys did not just lose Ezekiel Elliott in 2017 (serving his six game suspension), and All or Nothing will remind every one of just how much talent came off the field for Garrett's team last season. Coming out at the same time as the Dallas hosted 2018 Draft, Cowboys fans can build their excitement for a 2018 triumph back to the playoffs.

Anything short of this likely costs Jason Garrett his job, although everything he means to the Dallas Cowboys will be put in better-than-ever perspective by All or Nothing.

David Helman on Twitter

I don't wanna spoil the "All or Nothing" TV show more than what you've already seen or heard. But if you watch it, you're going to get a great look at: 1. Jason Garrett's actual persona 2. The dynamics of Dez's relationship within the team 3.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys “All or Nothing” Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Definiendo la Urgencia por un WR este NFL Draft

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Pre-Playoff 7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft
Andrew Dieb / USA TODAY Sports

El líder en recepciones de anotación en la historia de la franquicia más emblemática en la historia de los Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant, ha visto su tiempo portando la estrella solitaria llegar a su fin. Un fin, por cierto, que dejó a algunos cuantos aficionados, administrativos y jugadores en un estado de descontento.

Por más que me gustaría entrar a detalle de si el veterano receptor merecía ser recortado o no, si el equipo tomó la decisión correcta o no, el NFL Draft está a menos de una semana de distancia. Así que, en vez de hablar de lo que pudo haber sido, hablemos de lo que puede ser. 

Los Cowboys, a pesar de ser conocidos como una potencia ofensiva en las últimas temporadas, necesitan a un wide receiver. Sí, Dallas consiguió al agente libre de Jacksonville Allen Hurns, pero siendo honestos, no parece ser suficiente talento para un equipo que quiere construirle una ofensiva amigable a su quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Si el roster sólo tiene a Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown y Deonte Thompson; se necesita un WR. Incluso con Bryant en el equipo, se necesitaba un receptor. Lo cual lleva a la gran pregunta: ¿el despido de Dez significa que a los Cowboys les urge aún más un receptor? ¿Significa que definitivamente buscarán mejorar la posición con su selección de primera ronda?

Algo queda claro, la administración sabía lo que sucedería. Dez Bryant no estaba en los planes para el 2018 y claramente sus planes para abordar el NFL Draft no se verán cambiados por la partida del apasionado #88.

Estas estrategias se plantean por meses y más meses. Los Cowboys se han fijado mucho en la posición de receptor, desde que fue el NFL Combine hasta las visitas privadas que toman lugar a lo largo de Abril.

Es un hecho que tienen en la mira a los receptores. Claramente, quieren añadir más talento a la ofensiva para Dak Prescott.

En una clase de prospectos que cuenta con bastantes receptores, otra pregunta naturalmente, es ¿lo harán en primera ronda o más tarde? Me sorprendería demasiado si el equipo espera hasta la tercera ronda. Sin duda, es algo que tienen que atender con una de sus dos primeros picks.

 1

En el primero, la selección #19 global, podrían encontrar a uno de los tres mejores receptores del año. Calvin Ridley, de Alabama; Courtland Sutton, de SMU; DJ Moore, de Maryland. Si buscarán el "remplazo" de Dez Bryant en uno de estos tres jugadores, definitivamente será uno de estos tres prospectos.

Todos tienen lo suyo. Sutton es un receptor estilo "X" (como Dez Bryant) mientras Ridley, por ejemplo, es claramente un receptor "Z" (como Terrance Williams). DJ Moore brinda un poco de versatilidad entre ambos roles, y podría ser un jugador de impacto en cualquiera que se le juegue, aunque probablemente brillaría más si se le permitiera jugar como un "Z."

Afortunadamente para Dallas, el recién firmado Allen Hurns también es capaz de tomar cualquiera de los dos roles. Esto le da flexibilidad a los Cowboys de tomar al que más les guste, o en su defecto, a quien esté disponible.

En mi segundo Mock Draft del año, simulé a Courtland Sutton, producto de SMU a los Cowboys con el pick #19. Los coaches de la Estrella Solitaria han mostrado bastante interés por el producto local y no me sorprendería nada verlos aterrizar un receptor como él la próxima semana.

Ahora bien, si Dallas decide esperar hasta la segunda ronda para conseguir a un par de manos confiables, encontrarán talento. Definitivamente. James Washington, DJ Chark, Michael Gallup, Anthony Miller, entre otros podrían estar ahí en la selección #50 (segunda ronda).

Cowboys Draft: Should Cowboys Consider WR James Washington?

Oklahoma State WR James Washington (Rob Ferguson / USA TODAY Sports)

Si el equipo quiere tomar talento para otra posición en la primera, lo podrán hacer sabiendo que encontrarán un WR talentoso al día siguiente.

Afortunadamente, esta ofensiva se basa en Ezekiel Elliott y el juego terrestre detrás de la línea ofensiva. Los receptores son importantes, por supuesto, pero no es necesario tener algo tan dominante como lo fue Dez Bryant en el 2013 y el 2014, por ejemplo.

Por ahora, sólo falta esperar como abordan los Cowboys esta necesidad la próxima semana cuando el NFL Draft del 2018 tome lugar en el mismo lugar en el que este equipo juega sus partidos e intenta pelear, el AT&T Stadium.

Con un poco de suerte, estrenaran el campo este 2018 obteniendo su primer victoria del año la próxima semana.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Definiendo la Urgencia por un WR este NFL Draft" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Star Blog

Kris Richard Taking Over For Rod Marinelli Earlier Than Expected?

Brian Martin

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How Much Input Will Kris Richard Have in Cowboys Draft?

Believe it or not, a lot of Cowboys Nation has grown tired of Rod Marinelli's simplistic and predictable 4-3 defensive scheme. Dallas Cowboys fans are ready for a change and quite a few of them believe that Kris Richard is the answer.

The Dallas Cowboys hired Kris Richard earlier this offseason to become the new defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator. Almost immediately, rumors and speculation began to circulate that he would be the next defensive coordinator, taking over for Rod Marinelli once he retires.

It's really not that big of a reach to see such a promotion happen, especially since Richard has found previous success as a defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks. But, as things stand right now, Rod Marinelli still has the title of DC in Dallas, but for how long?

Rod Marinelli

Dallas Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli

We have already seen a few changes being made to the Cowboys defense that seem to have Kris Richard's fingerprints on them. Moving Byron Jones from safety to cornerback for instance is a perfect example.

Of course, we could see even more of Richard's imprint on the Cowboys defense next week when the 2018 NFL Draft gets underway. I think he will have a big say in the types of players they select if he is indeed expected to become the next defensive coordinator.

Further evidence Kris Richard will have quite a bit of input on the Cowboys defense this season is the fact that a lot of players have been watching game film of the Seahawks' defense.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Sean Lee said the Cowboys have been watching film of the Seahawks' defense. Said it's been fun being around new DB coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard

I don't know about you, but for me this is pretty solid evidence the Dallas Cowboys are going to make some changes on the defensive side of the ball and that Kris Richard will have a lot of say in those changes.

I may be reading too much into all this or I may be hitting the nail right on the head. But, there's no denying there seems to be a renewed energy from the Cowboys defensive players. Maybe it's the hiring of Kris Richard or something else, but I personally find it intriguing.

I'm really looking forward to finding out how all of these pieces end up falling into place. I really don't care who holds the title of defensive coordinator in 2018 as long as we see improvement from the Cowboys defense.

For the Cowboys defense to improve from last season it's going to take a collaborative effort from the entire coaching staff, not just Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard. That's just the way things work in the NFL, but it's never going to stop us from speculating when some new blood is brought in.

Do you think Kris Richard is taking over for Rod Marinelli earlier than expected?


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