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Are Dallas Cowboys Fans Being Overly Optimistic?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Are Cowboys Fans Being Too Overly Optimistic?

The Dallas Cowboys have long been known as America's Team. This distinction is in large part due to the fact that the organization has one of the largest fan base in not only Northern America, but the world.

I always think it's really cool when I get a comment or even a tweet from a fan living in a different country. It really hits home just how far the Cowboys brand reaches and how popular the sport of football actually is.

One thing that I've noticed here recently is how optimistic the Cowboys fans are heading into the 2016 season. It's almost like they have completely forgotten that their starting quarterback (Tony Romo) and projected backup quarterback (Kellen Moore) are both out for an undetermined amount of time.

Don't get me wrong, but when your top two QBs are injured, it usually falls into the category of worst thing that can possibly happen to your team.

Now, I'm a glass half full type of person, but there are still a lot of unknowns in regards to the Cowboys roster and how certain players will perform heading into the Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants.

Optimism is always a great thing to have, but sometimes we have to come back down to earth and look at things realistically. As a Cowboys fan myself, I like to expect the best, while preparing myself for the worst.

Please bear with me while I try to share why we should all be cautious with our optimism heading into the 2016 season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Is Dak Prescott the real deal?

Cowboys Headlines - Are Dallas Cowboys Fans Being Overly Optimistic?Dak Prescott has been just short of perfect in a Dallas Cowboys uniform as a rookie. His impressive performance alone is the reason why there is so much optimism heading into the season opener, despite Tony Romo's injury.

If Prescott can continue to play the way he has been so far, then the Dallas Cowboys and their fans should have nothing to worry about.

Part of me wants to believe that this is the real Dak Prescott, but there's another side of me that worries that what we have seen is just a flash in the pan.

There is no way of knowing for sure what he will look like once he squares off against a defense that has actually come up with a game plan for him and the Cowboys' offense. We will have to wait and see if he is the real deal or not.

Can he continue to impress when the pressure is on? I sure hope so.

Can Ezekiel Elliott live up to expectations?

Cowboys Headlines - Are Dallas Cowboys Fans Being Overly Optimistic? 1There's probably not another player on the entire Cowboys roster that can help Dak Prescott more than Ezekiel Elliott.

I think we can all pretty much agree that a successful running game can help open up the entire offense, thus taking the pressure off the QB from having to carry the team on his shoulders.

Elliott is still just a rookie, but there have already been expectations placed on him that he will be one of the top running backs in the NFL. Can he live up to these expectations?

Well, if the small sample size we saw against the Seattle Seahawks is any indication of the type of RB he will be, then the Cowboys running game should once again be the driving force of the entire offense.

Still, like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott is still just a rookie and we should all be a little cautious with our expectations for him in 2016.

Will the pass rush come out of hiding?

Cowboys Headlines - Are Dallas Cowboys Fans Being Overly Optimistic? 2

Photo by Stephen Dunn

Come out, come out, wherever you are. Is the pass rush for the Dallas Cowboys playing hide and seek or what?

Okay, maybe it's not the entire defense because there has been pressure provided by the defensive tackles, but the Cowboys defensive ends has to be a major concern, especially if you have been paying attention to any of these preseason games.

I don't think anyone can say at this point who the starting defensive ends will be or even if the Cowboys actually know, but something needs to be done and pronto.

David Irving has shown promise, but his best position is at defensive tackle. Benson Mayowa has only played a few snaps against the Seahawks, so he's still a little bit of an unknown. Unfortunately, nobody else has really answered the call.

I guess the phone will just continue to ring until somebody finally answers. HELLO… Is anyone out there?

Are the young linebackers ready to step up?

Cowboys Headlines - Are Dallas Cowboys Fans Being Overly Optimistic? 3With the exception of Sean Lee and to a certain extent Anthony Hitchens, the Dallas Cowboys linebackers are all pretty much young and unproven players.

I wouldn't be one bit surprised if the Cowboys added a veteran middle linebacker sometime soon. The majority of the LB's on the roster are more of the weak side type, so the team is thin at the MLB.

They tried to address this when they brought back Justin Durant, but he hasn't looked at all like the player he was the last time he wore a star on his helmet.

Of course, if Damien Wilson or Mark Nzeocha can step up and earn the coaching staff's trust, then all of this talk is for nothing.

✭✭✭

Well, there you have it. Although I'm an optimist at heart and have a half glass full point of view on most things, I'm taking more of the cautious approach until some of my concerns can be answered.

I won't hold anything against you if you are one of the fans that are overly optimistic that everything will work out just fine (I wish I was), but if you share any of my concerns, you might want to curb your expectations just a little.

Do you agree or disagree with my concerns?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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8 Comments
  • Billy Bell

    I think it’s going to be a long season for the home folks !

    • Brian Martin

      I hope not Billy. I think I’m just being cautiously optimistic

  • Bigdaddydave

    2014. That’s why I’m not worried. If dak can keep the ship afloat..(weak nfc east) before Tony gets back we all the chance in the world. Tony is still on a mission, and believe it or not our running game can be better then 2014. Scandrick is back, it just feels different in a positive way. Don’t worry my friend.

    • Brian Martin

      I completely agree with everything you said. I think we will see the Cowboys get back to the 2014 blueprint that worked so well for them.

  • George Johnson

    Dak Prescott is a rookie/greenhorn and should have a lot to learn and develop. He has played outstanding in preseason, but it is very unlikely he can continue his outstanding play during season games. If he can continue even close to what he has done so far he will likely be the next franchise QB and a future elite QB because he should get a lot better with more experience/reps/coaching, etc. I think the coaches can help him be successful by simplifying the offense/playbook and calling plays that consider his strengths and weaknesses until he gets more experience/reps. Also, relying heavily on the running game and the outstanding offensive line can also help Dak until he can get more experience/reps and develop more confidence. I just learned that Dallas will be signing Mark Sanchez to backup D Prescott. They needed to sign a veteran QB that can play if Dak Prescott doesn’t do that well or gets hurt. Hopefully Sanchez is that guy. I am not sure because he keeps getting cut. He does have a lot of experience. Dallas needs to win at least half the games if not more, until Romo gets back if they want to get to the playoffs.

    • Brian Martin

      Hello George, it’s always nice to receive a comment from you. I can’t find any faults with anything you said. I agree the coaching staff should simplify things to help build up Prescott’s confidence and minimize mistakes. I’m really looking forward to see if he can continue his play on the field.

  • karabo

    hello my name is Karabo, All the way from South Africa. It’s a shame they don’t televise the NFL games anymore but i still follow everything ‘boys related… I am optimistic about the season as always. How about them boys!!!!!!

    • Brian Martin

      Hello from Texas Karabo. I appreciate you taking the time read our articles here at Inside The Star and commenting on them. Like you, I am optimistic as well, but cautiously so.

Player News

Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room

Sean Martin

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Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room 1

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.

Jane Slater on Twitter

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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.

Tell us what you think about "Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Playoff Scenarios; Week 11 Impact Games

Jess Haynie

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Dak Prescott, Redskins

We've reached Week 11 and the playoff picture is continuing to be unveiled. Most of the NFC has seven games to go, and there's still a lot of ways each week can impact the overall landscape.

The Rams and Saints are the clear runaway teams in the conference this year. After them, though, a lot of up for grabs both in division races and the Wild Card spots.

We're not including Detroit and Tampa Bay, both 3-6, given the strong unlikelihood that they will turn things around. Detroit is the worst team in a stacked NFC North and will likely keep losing, and a head-to-head loss to the Cowboys will be tough to overcome. The Bucs can't decide on a quarterback right now and are going nowhere.

If the season ended today, these would be your NFC playoff standings:

  1. Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
  2. New Orleans Saints (8-1)
  3. Chicago Bears (6-3)
  4. Washington Redskins (6-3)
  5. Carolina Panthers (6-3)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)
    ----------------------------------
  7. Green Bay Packers (4-4-1)
  8. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
  9. Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
  10. Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
  11. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)

TIEBREAKERS

  • The Bears are ahead of the Redskins thanks to a better record against NFC opponents.
  • The Falcons are ahead of the Seahawks and Cowboys thanks to a superior record against NFC opponents.
  • The Seahawks are ahead of the Cowboys thanks to a head-to-head victory.
  • The Cowboys are ahead of the Eagles thanks to a head-to-head victory.
  • The Eagles' tiebreaker loss to Dallas, because it occurs within the division, drops them below the other 4-5 NFC teams automatically. Their head-to-head win over the Falcons this year is invalidated.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how winning the NFC East would likely be Dallas only road to the playoffs. That is still the case; the Cowboys are three games behind the Panthers (they lose in a tie because of their head-to-head loss) and two games behind the Vikings for the Wild Card spots.

It will be much easier for Dallas to catch Washington, who are more lucky than good with their 6-3 record, than either Carolina or Minnesota.  The Cowboys can still hang a loss on the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day, plus Washington has both games with the Eagles left to play.

Those opportunities are further down the road, though. For now, let's see how the Week 11 schedule can help improve the Cowboys playoff positioning:

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

With a head-to-head loss to Seattle this year, Dallas needs the Seahawks to keep losing. Both teams are currently 4-5, and the Cowboys don't need that tiebreaker hanging over them at the end of the year.

But a Seattle loss means a Green Bay win, and that doesn't do much to help the Cowboys either. The Packers's tie gives them a slight edge on the 4-5 teams, and that advantage could keep them ahead of Dallas the rest of the way.

You could argue that the Packers are a team more likely to make a late-season push than the Seahawks, so a Green Bay loss here could ultimately benefit the Cowboys more than Seattle. It really  comes down to which team, between the Packers and Seahawks, you have more faith in the rest of the way.

Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons

This is obviously a huge game for both teams. Both are 4-5 and trying to stay in the conversation, and a loss here could be a death knell for either. It would also create a head-to-head tiebreaker for the winner over the loser; essentially a two-game swing.

The Cowboys won their first road game all season last week in Philadelphia. They have some good vibes and momentum headed into Atlanta, who are coming off an ugly loss to the Browns.

Will Dallas ride their positive wave for another week, or will the Falcons be hungrier and enjoy returning home? The answer could be season-changing for both teams.

Houston Texans @ Washington Redskins

The Texans have won six straight and the Cowboys hope they can keep it going. A Washington loss, coupled with a Dallas win in Atlanta, would narrow the gap between them to just one game. It would also make next week's Thanksgiving matchup in Dallas a chance for the Cowboys to pull even for the NFC East lead.

As I said before, the Redskins aren't as good as their 6-3 record indicates. They have only a +1 point differential in 2018, having scored just one point more than their opponents all year. Comparatively, the Cowboys are a +10 despite the losing record.

A few weeks ago, the Redskins got pounded 43-19 by the New Orleans Saints. The Texans are arguably the next-best team they've played this year. Hopefully, we'll see a similar result.

Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions

The Panthers' slipping would be nice for the Cowboys, though they'd have to fall hard the rest of the way for Dallas to catch up in the standings. With the Cowboys having a head-to-head win over the Lions, a Detroit win here wouldn't hurt us nearly as much as a Carolina loss helps.

Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints

New Orleans appears set on being one of the top two seeds in the NFC this year, which puts them well out of Dallas' range. As such, an Eagles loss is clearly better for the Cowboys in terms of our own playoff positioning.

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

The Packers and Vikings are both slightly easier to catch than the Bears. The best scenario for Dallas is for Chicago to keep winning and take the NFC North, hanging losses on their division rivals on the way and making things easier for the Cowboys in the Wild Card hunt.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Rams

This one is almost irrelevant from Dallas' perspective. The Rams will probably clinch their division soon and should have a first-round bye. But the Chiefs are in the other conference, so there's absolutely nothing to be gained by them losing.



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Game Notes

#ATLvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

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1
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This week's gambling preview focuses on the Cowboys week 11 opponent, the Atlanta Falcons. Dallas beat the now 4-5 Eagles last Sunday to improve their own record to 4-5. Atlanta lost on the road to Cleveland last week to drop their record to 4-5 on the season.

It's an 8-8 league, isn't it?

Dallas returns to the scene of the 2017 crime this Sunday, traveling to Atlanta where Chaz Green and Dak Prescott were destroyed almost exactly one year ago. Let's take a look at the line and the quality of these teams to see which way it could go.

The Line

Cowboys +3, O/U 48 points. 

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas saved their season on the road last Sunday night, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles and getting right back in the thick of things in the NFC East race. Still, we can't simply ignore what the other 8 games of data have told us about the Cowboys and their offensive quality.

The addition of Amari Cooper has clearly helped the offense, opening up the passing game a bit and allowing for Dak Prescott to have a reliable "number one" receiver. The team's results overall have been mixed the first two games of the Cooper-era, but he has been consistently good in both match-ups.

Defensively the Cowboys continued to impress last week, though "cornerback opposite of Byron Jones" is quickly becoming a potential need. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith stole the show last Sunday, and both the present and the future of the Cowboys' linebacking corps is strong. It could be argued the Cowboys have yet to see a passing attack like the one Atlanta brings, however, making Sunday a big test for them defensively.

Atlanta Falcons

Similar to the Cowboys, Atlanta has been very much up-and-down this season. In a way, though, they are just the opposite-day Cowboys, with their offense putting up insane numbers most weeks and their banged up defense often letting them down.

Though it looked like they were turning it around in recent weeks, Atlanta had probably their most disappointing loss in quite some time, losing at Cleveland to the young Browns. Still, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones lead a prolific passing attack which can strike fear in any defense.

Byron Jones and company will have their hands full with the Falcons' cast of skill players on Sunday, and as usual, stopping their passing attack will all begin up front with the pass rush. Hopefully Randy Gregory can build on his week 10 performance to produce even more results this week.

Trends

  • Surprisingly, the score total has now hit the over 4 of the Cowboys' last 6 games.
  • The Cowboys are 2-5 against the spread their last 7 games against the Falcons.
  • The Cowboys are also 2-4 against the spread their last games at Atlanta.
  • Dallas is just 1-4 straight up on the road this season.
  • The score total has gone over 4 of Atlanta's last 5 home games.
  • The Falcons are just 2-5 against the spread their last 7 games.

Prediction

Who the hell knows, man.

This team is incredibly difficult to project week to week, probably about as volatile as they've been since all those 8-8 seasons. This line started at Cowboys +4.5 and has since moved down to just +3, meaning they are valued as a pick 'em on a neutral field.

Given how inconsistent, yet talented, both teams are this line feels exactly right. I'll take the Cowboys and the points because why not? I expect this to be a tight game throughout, and could come down to the kicking game in the fourth quarter.



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