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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.

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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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Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke

John Williams

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New York Giants are 2-1 Against Cowboys With Ezekiel Elliott

It's a debate that has raged on social media for some time now and it likely won't slow down as the offseason progresses and the Dallas Cowboys begin to hand out massive contracts to their top players. Pay Ezekiel Elliott? Pay Byron Jones? If you could only pay one, which would you pay?

This week fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer, Kevin Brady took to Twitter to poll the populous and his results were a bit surprising to me.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

if you can only pay one it should be

The results inspired me to see what would happen if I put the same poll on my timeline.

John Williams ✭ on Twitter

Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?

On Monday, Kevin wrote a piece looking at one of the difficult decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys this offseason or next. If the Cowboys could only extend Byron Jones OR Ezekiel Elliott, who should they choose? Kevin, as am I, is a firm believer in Byron Jones ability and says the Cowboys should extend them, and I agree. But let's look at the other side of the argument.

To begin, the Cowboys should and probably will get both guys contract extensions either this offseason or next. It's not impossible with the cap continuing to increase at a rate of about $8-12 million per year that the Cowboys will have the space to get the deals done that they need to get done. Ezekiel Elliott and Byron Jones included.

Byron Jones settled in nicely at cornerback during his first full season at cornerback and knowing what we know about Jones, he won't be satisfied with a second team All-Pro appearance. Expect him to get better. However, if there's a single player that represents the current identity of the Dallas Cowboys, it's Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.

The Cowboys made him the fourth overall pick in 2016 and haven't looked back in their plan to establish the running game. For his career Elliott has averaged 26.9 touches per game over the course of his 40 games.

Here's a look at what Elliott's per game and per 16 game paces look like through the first three seasons of his career.

As you can see from the table above, Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 131.2 total yards per game for his career. In his rookie season he had 1,994 total yards and he sat out the week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cowboys had the NFC and home field advantage locked up. In 2017, Elliott sat out six games and still had nearly 1,000 yards rushing. In 2018, Elliott broke through the 2,000 total yard barrier after seeing a huge increase in his targets and receptions.

Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Dallas Cowboys could have hoped for and more. With the leadership role he's taken with the team, he's a player that leads both vocally and by example. There are few players on the Dallas Cowboys that give as much effort as he does each snap. How many times has it looked like Elliott was about to get dropped for a two or three yard loss only to grind through tackles to pick up a four yard gain? How many times has he bounced off tacklers to get to the first down marker? Ezekiel Elliott is the human personification of dirty yards, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Elliott can't take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Elliott's is a game breaker who threatens the defense every time he steps on the field.

In 2018, Elliott led the NFL in yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. His 949 yards after contact in 2018 would have ranked 13th in the NFL in rushing, which was better than David Johnson's 940 yards rushing last season.

Not many running backs effect a football game like Ezekiel Elliott does.

Few players outside of the quarterback position are as much of a focal point for their offense while being an attention grabber for opposing defenses like Ezekiel Elliott is. In 2018, he saw eight or more men in the box on nearly 25% of his carries in 2018. Some of that is related to the Dallas Cowboys insistence on using two tight ends on 50% of their running plays (per Sharp Football), but the other aspect is related to how much they respect the Dallas Cowboys running game. Since the 2014, the Cowboys have been synonymous with running the football. DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, and now Ezekiel Elliott have been the faces of that running game behind the Cowboys elite offensive line.

Even in a down year for offensive line play from the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott still managed to lead the NFL in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott made the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years as well. Were it not for the railroad job done by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2017, there's a really good chance that Elliott leads the league in rushing three years in a row and that the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs all three seasons.

Sure, the running back position is undervalued in the NFL and rushing yardage can be replaced, but there are intangibles to Elliott's game that are very difficult to replace. His ability to grind out the dirty yards, break big plays, create yards after contact, pass protect, be a threat as a receiver, and his leadership make him a player that is difficult to replace.

Yes, Byron Jones was really good in 2018 and deserves to get paid by the Dallas Cowboys as well, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player on the Cowboys roster who has been as consistent and dominating week in and week out as Ezekiel Elliott has been over the last three years.



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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T

The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.

During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.

After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.

This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.

Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.

Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e

Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.

Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.

Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.



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