The last two successful seasons the Dallas Cowboys have been able to put together have both been years in which the team was a big underdog heading into the season. In 2014, the Cowboys were expected to have a bad season with one of the worst defenses in NFL history after losing DE DeMarcus Ware. In 2016, the Cowboys were basically scratched off after Tony Romo went down in preseason. After all, we saw what happened in 2015 without #9 and no one expected Dak Prescott to have the impact he had as a rookie.
In 2018, the Dallas Cowboys seem ready to take on as one of the NFC underdogs once again. Although they're recognized as an above-average team, many doubt their ability to win enough games to make the postseason the year after a disappointing 9-7 record.
With the Philadelphia Eagles being the clear favorites to win the NFC East as the defending Super Bowl champions, many have forgotten about the team that took the league by storm in 2016. Now without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, the passing game's future is uncertain. You need a passing game to win in the NFL.
In a conference that basically has three contenders per division, it will be a challenge for the Cowboys to earn a playoff berth. The NFC West has the Rams, the 49ers and maybe the Seahawks contending, the North has the Vikings and the Packers while the Lions and Bears seem like potential surprises and the South has the Panthers, Falcons and Saints who were all contending for the playoffs in week 17 last year and will likely be in a similar scenario this year.
There are many reasons to be excited about the Cowboys' upcoming season, such as Dak's third year, Kris Richard's arrival and a promising offensive line with rookie Connor Williams fixing the one question mark in the unit.
Hopefully, this reasons outweigh the causes for concern. Such as big question marks at the wide receiver, tight end and safety position. On top of it all, the Cowboys' schedule isn't an easy one. They'll face quite a few contenders throughout the season and unlike the AFC, any NFC team that plans to play in January must have a very good record.
With so many talented and promising teams, the race for the Wildcard playoff berths will likely be the most exciting one in the entire NFL this year.
The big question here is, will the Cowboys be able to have success as an underdog in the conference once again in 2018? Personally, I even feel that said "underdog" status will help spark a fire in the play of a team with so many young and hungry competitors.
This is a young team, one with few experience at various positions. However, it's a good team. Although the pass-catchers department is questionable, Dak Prescott might have the best season in his career and Ezekiel Elliott will be back without any off-field issues behind an improved offensive line.
The defense is also promising at every spot except for safety, which despite having decent starters, it's probably the most questionable position on the team. At the very least, it looks like a better unit that 2017's.
If being an underdog the entire season results in a successful year, then bring it. Besides, everyone loves the underdog.
Maliek Collins Activated From PUP, Cowboys’ Front 7 Looking Great
There are tons of reasons to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys' defense with the regular season less than a month away. The most recent one is Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is coming off the PUP list after passing his physical and is now activated and practicing.
After suffering another foot injury in May, Collins had to undergo surgery and his return to the roster before the season began was questionable. But things are looking good now as the Cowboys expect him to be ready for week 1 versus the Carolina Panthers.
On the same day he was taken off PUP, Maliek Collins is participating in pre-practice walkthrough. Not sure what that means for his practice regimen, but that's a positive sign #cowboyswire
Collins missed quite some time, so one has to wonder how fast he will be reincorporated to the defense and whether or not he'll get back his starting role or not. The defensive tackle room seems to be loaded with various talent that should be capable of at least giving #96 a tough competition before he can reclaim his spot as if he hadn't been missing any practices.
David Irving may not be a factor on the roster until he comes back from suspension prior to week 5's match-up against the Houston Texans, but there are other young players Collins should be expecting to fight for the starting role.
Antwaun Woods, Jihad Ward, Brian Price and Datone Jones will provide this team with an interesting debate going forward. But even if not one DT emerges as a clear-cut starter above the rest, the Cowboys have serious depth at the position.
To be honest, the entire front seven is very exciting. Not only do the Cowboys count with good DTs, but just take a look at the defensive end room. Led by 2017 second-team All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence, there is also a deep group of DEs.
Randy Gregory is coming back after a long comeback journey and should earn a lot more snaps as the season progressing. Taco Charlton has made a ton of progress and fourth-round rookie Dorance Armstrong isn't far behind. Not to mention captain Tyrone Crawford, who despite being criticized by many due to his huge contract, is a more than decent DE.
Now, let's talk about the linebackers for a moment here. Before the 2018 NFL Draft, this was seen as one of the weakest units on the team. Fast forward to mid-August and this should be one of the most exciting groups on the team.
Sean Lee will be playing alongside a Jaylon Smith that we've never seen before. Smith is doing things that he wouldn't been able to do a season ago. What he's shown in training camp and through one preseason game should have any Cowboys' fan eager to watch him play in a regular season game. The Jaylon Smith the front office envisioned when taking a risk on him in the 2016 NFL Draft has arrived.
Also in the mix is first round pick Leighton Vander Esch. We haven't been able to watch a lot of playing time from him but we'll sure do pretty soon. He's a week 1 contributor who will play behind what could be one of the best LB duos in the entire NFL.
And just like in the defensive line, the depth seems to be great. Joe Thomas and Damien Wilson have shown what they're capable of and they could be more than special team bodies when needed.
The Dallas Cowboys shouldn't be very concerned about their front seven going forward. It's loaded with talent and even if they rotate their players a lot, this seems like a group that will give any offense a big headache.
Dallas Cowboys Sign WR Darren Carrington Following Workout in Oxnard
The Dallas Cowboys have signed another one of the six players worked out on Monday in Oxnard, adding to their already deep group of wide receivers. Most recently with Utah, Pac-12 Wide Receiver Darren Carrington has signed with the team.
Carrington began his college career at Oregon, where he was on track to make it to the NFL before being dismissed from the Ducks for a DUI. This led Carrington to Utah, where he played as a graduate transfer and put up a team high 908 yards and six touchdowns on 70 receptions last season.
Cowboys signing former Utah WR Darren Carrington, per source.
At 6021 (6' 2 1/8") and 199 pounds, Carrington is yet another athletic target with long speed for the Cowboys to work into their new-look offense. He joins Ricky Jeune as the second receiver added to the team in training camp, bringing the number of WRs on the roster to 11.
Marchie Murdock, who had two catches for the Cowboys in their preseason opener, was waived (with an injury designation) prior to these roster moves.
Dallas Cowboys Workout 6 Players, Sign OL Jacob Alsadek
The Dallas Cowboys did not receive good news on first-year offensive lineman Marcus Martin, as his injury suffered in San Francisco will likely require season-ending surgery. Martin was signed this offseason as a backup guard/center, and without him the Cowboys have a need for further depth up front. Working out six players at positions of need today, the team has signed former Arizona lineman Jacob Alsadek.
Congratulations to #TeamDEC client @jacobalsadek on signing with @dallascowboys
This is Alsadek's second stop in the NFL, as he spent most of May with the Green Bay Packers before being released. Alsadek was the cut when the Packers signed former Cowboys Tackle Byron Bell.
Players Cowboys worked out today: Darren Carrington, WR Jacob Alsadek, OL Daronte Bouldin, OL Dominick Sanders, S Ryan Murphy, S Deron Washington, S
The 6'7", 312 pound guard went undrafted in this year's AT&T Stadium hosted draft. He was set to play in the Alliance of American Football League, with an inaugural season scheduled for February.
Now, he's a member of America's Team with a real chance to compete for a backup spot on the best offensive line in the league.
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