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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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Dallas Cowboys

Don’t Forget Special Teams Value in Cowboys Roster Decisions

Jess Haynie

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C.J. Goodwin

Building a 53-man roster in the NFL is a complex formula, requiring balance between numerous positions on each side of the ball. But what often gets overlooked in our analysis as outsiders is special teams, and that's a huge factor for many of the Dallas Cowboys players hoping to make it past final cuts.

Some players have survived in the league by being just good enough at their listed positions but excelling in special teams roles. You may think of former Dallas safety Bill Bates, who was personally responsible for a special teams player being made part of the annual Pro Bowl roster. A more recent example would be Keith Davis, who was an adequate safety but a special teams ace for several seasons.

To be sure, someone is going to be on this 2019 Cowboys more for their special teams value than their actual offensive or defensive ability. Who might he, or they, be?

One candidate is veteran Cornerback C.J. Goodwin. He is considered an exceptional talent in coverage on punts, which is probably the only reason he's still in the NFL today. At age 29, Goodwin has never really emerged as a consistent contributor on defense.

Young players like Donovan Olumba or rookie Michael Jackson, if not already superior cornerbacks to Goodwin, have far more upside to keep on the roster. But

considering how little they may get on the field anyway as the fifth or sixth corners, you can see why special teams value becomes so important. It may be the only time you actually see them in the game.

If the Cowboys don't want to lose a young prospect but can't let go of Goodwin's special teams ability, it may prompt them to go long at the CB position. But that means taking a roster spot from some other position, and thus the balancing act continues.


Don't Forget About RB Jordan Chunn in the Cowboys Backfield

Dallas Cowboys RB Jordan Chunn

Another player to watch in this discussion is second-year an Running Back Jordan Chunn. He doesn't have Alfred Morris' experience or maybe Mike Weber or Darius Jackson's rushing talent, but he has been showing up on the special teams units.

Yesterday, Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus called Chunn "a better Rod Smith" in analyzing his chances of making the roster. If you don't recall, Jaylon's older brother was a solid RB but a standout special teams player in his few years with Dallas.

As we just mentioned with the 5th/6th CB slots, the third running back is not a guy you expect to see much on offense. That will be especially true this year as Dallas will be struggling just to give rookie Tony Pollard the touches he deserves as the number-two RB.

Given that, special teams play becomes vital for the value of whoever is behind Zeke and Pollard on the depth chart. If Jordan Chunn is superior to his competition in that regard, it could negate whatever he lacks as an actual running back.

This same conversation can be had throughout the roster. It's why Noah Brown might make the team over more traditionally gifted receivers, or why a certain linebacker or safety might be more valued than others.

We make the common mistake of referring to "both sides of the ball" when we talk about football teams. There are three sides; special teams can't be underestimated. It will certainly play a part in how the Dallas Cowboys finalize their 53-man roster this season and in years to come.


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Cowboys Preseason: Wide Receivers Power Rankings

Mauricio Rodriguez

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#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game 1

When cut-down day arrives for the Dallas Cowboys, the team's decision making ability will really be put to the test once they get to the wide receiver position. The Cowboys have plenty of young talent there and choosing the players that will make the 53-man roster won't be easy. Unfortunately, you can't keep them all.

With the Cowboys offense set to take the next step in 2019 under Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, the team has to get WR right. Since the offseason, we've seen many things from the team's wide receivers that make us wonder who's better than who and who should wear the Star once September comes around.

Today, I share with you my power rankings for the Dallas Cowboys' wide receivers.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

1.-3. The Absolute Locks

It's really not necessary to discuss the Cowboys' top three wide receivers. We know there is absolutely no way they fail to make the roster. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb are expected to be the team's starters. Cooper proved he can be a big-time threat as the Cowboys WR1 after many questioned his future following his struggles as an Oakland Raider.

Gallup has had an impressive offseason and preseason, building on his very solid playoff work from last January. This guy is poised for a breakout season and has even shown flashes of having WR1 talent. For now, though, he should be a great number two for Dak Prescott.

As far as Randall Cobb is concerned, he should be more than a decent slot receiver for Dallas replacing Cole Beasley.

Don't worry about the three starting wide receivers. They should be a very good unit.

4. Cedrick Wilson

I might be high on Cedrick Wilson, but I really believe he can be special for the Cowboys. I put him at number four because I believe he's the most balanced player among the other wide receivers. Before going down injured versus the San Francisco 49ers in preseason, he was having himself quite a performance, shadowing undrafted rookie Jon'Vea Johnson, who was supposed to steal the show at WR.

I liked him as a prospect coming out of Boise State last year and I still do. I believe he'll make the roster. He's also shown he could have a role as a returner on special teams.


Who Will be Cowboys' Main Punt Returner in 2019, Tavon Austin?

5. Tavon Austin

Austin didn't have a chance to prove his worth in 2018 after being out most of the season due to injury. With him returning and being in the thick of the WR battles, he'll likely have a spot on the roster. He has potential to play in the slot and steal a few snaps from Cobb while also being a threat for opposing defenses in the deep game thanks to his speed. Not to mention, he's expected to be a contributor on special teams.

6. Noah Brown

Often, I'm surprised by how many in Cowboys Nation feel about Noah Brown. However you may feel about the team's 23-year old receiver, don't expect him to be cut from the team.

We know the coaching staff values his blocking skills very much. Plus, he has upside as a receiver and could develop into a more serious weapon on offense. With the Cowboys set to carry only three tight ends, Brown is an important player for this football team.

7. Devin Smith

I expect the Cowboys to carry six receivers on their roster, so this would be where I expect the front office to start making cuts. Devin Smith has shined lately, specially against the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday when he hauled in a TD pass from Cooper Rush.

He has a chance to make the roster if he keeps turning heads, but right now, I have him in the outside looking in.

Cowboys WR Jon'Vea Johnson's Stock Drops After Preseason Opener

Dallas Cowboys WR Jon'Vea Johnson (Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News)

8. Jon'Vea Johnson

The undrafted rookie from Toledo was having a very strong offseason but his stock has been falling since preseason began. Unfortunately, Johnson's route running and ability to create separation aren't enough if his drop issues continue.

Hopefully, the Cowboys can keep him for the practice squad and continue to develop him because he really seems to be a special player. Right now, though, there are other guys the team should get on the team.

9. Jalen Guyton

Another undrafted rookie that made plenty of noise in the offseason. Sadly, we didn't see much from Guyton in preseason. This is another guy who could make the practice squad, but his chances of making the 53-man roster seem almost nonexistent right now.

10. Reggie Davis

Davis' chances of making the team took a huge hit when he muffed fumbled a punt versus the Rams last week. When you're fighting for those final spots, you can't make those mistakes on special teams.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Preseason: Wide Receivers Power Rankings" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Cowboys S Donovan Wilson’s Stock Continues to Rise

Matthew Lenix

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Cowboys S Donovan Wilson's Stock Continues to Rise

It's been no secret that the safety position for the Dallas Cowboys has been one of frustration in recent years. They've locked down the free safety spot with rising star Xavier Woods, however, the strong safety role hasn't found it's true ruler as of yet. Jeff Heath has started 31 of 32 games the last two seasons at strong safety but continues to be a liability in coverage and making tackles in the open field. Veteran George Iloka was brought in during free agency but still hasn't surpassed Heath as the number one. But the best attempt to shore up this particular position was made when the Cowboys took rookie Donovan Wilson in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

In the Cowboys first preseason game against the 49ers, Wilson got his first interception on the pro level. If you watch the video below, he does a fantastic job of reading the eyes of the quarterback and doesn't allow himself to be fooled when he tries to look him off. He sits on the route perfectly and creates the turnover. This is the kind of discipline you want to see from a rookie defensive back.

Tom Downey on Twitter

Rookie Donovan Wilson with the INT for the #Cowboys! Makes it a lot easier when the QB (C.J. Beathard) throws it right to you https://t.co/EIcACB6TSR

According to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, Heath missed last weeks game against the Rams due to a neck stinger. This made his participation in practice limited for a few days and allowed Wilson to get some work with the first-team defense this week. He also split reps with Xavier Woods as the down safety in the box. A box safety's responsibility is to give support in the run game as well as jamming receivers/tight ends off the line, blitzing the quarterback and providing coverage in the flat.


Another added dimension for Wilson is that he had two years of nickel corner experience at Texas A&M. Anthony Brown is the starter at the position currently but having another guy with this skill set provides the Cowboys with the all-important position flex.

Wilson had 8 interceptions in college so he has some ball skills. His 21.5 tackles for loss at proves how effective he was in run support in the box safety role. With the help of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, who developed top talents like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, Wilson could see himself with a huge role on this defense fairly quickly. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if by seasons end he's the permanent starter at strong safety.


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