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Can Dallas Repeat as NFC East Champions?

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Can Dallas Repeat as NFC East Champs?
Luis DeLuca / Dallas Morning News

Only two of the eight division winners in 2015 made the playoffs in 2016 (Patriots & Texans). There hasn't been back to back NFC East champions since 2004, the last year the Eagles controlled the division, and for four straight years (2001-2004). The Dallas Cowboys haven’t had back to back 10-win seasons since the mid-1990’s.

Life in the NFL moves fast. Parity is the goal of the league. Repeating success is hard. So why am I so confident that the Dallas Cowboys will wrap up the NFC East again in 2017? Let’s dive in.

Stability

This coaching staff and front office have been together for a while now.

That sentence is so important. Read it again. Seriously.

It’s a relationship, just like having a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend. You know what they like, what they don’t like, how to make them happy. Consistency starts at the top, and all of these draft picks--this year, last year, etc.--were picked for this scheme and these coaches.

Veterans aren’t learning something from the ground up, they’re changing a few things and working on some new wrinkles, but they know the majority of the playbook. Not dealing with the fear or stress of being fired can do wonders for an organization.

The Jones’ may be set for years.

Young Talent

This early in the preseason we know little about how this most recent group of draft picks will perform in games. However, we do have an idea of how last year’s draft performed in year one, and therefore an idea of how they might perform in year two.

You hope to see improvement, which of course that doesn’t always happen, although you would assume not all of the talented players would have down years together.

There are a lot of talented players from last year’s draft too; if you follow me on twitter (@SingForTheDay) you probably know that I've mentioned how the 2016 draft could’ve produced 8 people making the 46-man game day roster if everything breaks right (Elliott, Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper, Dak Prescott, Anthony Brown, Kavon Frazier, Rico Gathers).

That’s insane.

Draft picks are gambles, lottery tickets. You don’t get eight players that work out from a single draft. No one gets that lucky, do they Mr. Jones?


Can Dallas Repeat as NFC East Champs? 1

Jerry Jones Hall of Fame Bust (Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

Dak as the Starter

Last year Dak Prescott was the third string quarterback. As such he was not getting many reps with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, or Jason Witten. Now they will have had a whole off-season and training camp to work together.

We saw a noticeable difference in Dez Bryant between the first half of the season and the second half. Dez is healthy, and he’s been working with his quarterback.

This bodes well for Cowboys fans, but should worry opponents.

The Goal is Set

This team has their eyes on the prize. They’re not rebuilding, they’re not trying to make the playoffs early in their careers. They know they’re a contender, they comport themselves as such. They practice like they are preparing for a run. Not at the division, at the whole caboodle. They have veteran players that know how fickle an NFL season can be.

Dez brings the passion, Witten brings the work ethic, Orlando Scandrick brings the dog, Sean Lee brings the hustle, and the offensive line sets the tone. They have the pieces, every team has its weaknesses, it’s about overcoming those. There is an urgency, this team is hungry for greatness.

Competition

The concerns about the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are well documented already, well before week 1 has kicked off. Pass Rush. Secondary turnover. “Sophomore slump.” A suspension that is still in the appeal process--and could be dragged out further in court. I can talk all day about those, it’s up to the players to prove people wrong.

What I would like to address here is that fact that every team has question marks. No one is exempt.

Let’s take a quick look at the NFC East competition:

  • New York Giants: Aging QB with a tired arm that needs to bounce back (no great backup either). Inconsistent offensive line play. Running game, what’s that? Can the defense repeat?
  • Washington Redskins: Dysfunctional front office. Offensive Coordinator change. Wide Receiver turnover. Offensive line and pass rush concerns. Running back having to lose weight to compete.
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Has the QB fixed his mechanical issues? Pass catcher and secondary concerns. Unproven head coach.

Point is, the whole division has question marks.

Who do you trust to answer the bell on the majority of issues, become NFC East Champions, and make a legitimate run at the Lombardi?

Let me know on twitter @SingForTheDay or in the comments below.


A third generation Dallas Cowboys fan currently residing in Alaska. I still manage to fire up the charcoals in below zero temperatures to get ready for 9:00 a.m. Sunday games. Father of two young Cowboys fans. An accountant by day, a photographer and baker by night.

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Urban Meyer Says He’d “Absolutely” Take Cowboys’ Head Coaching Job

Kevin Brady

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Urban Meyer Says He'd "Absolutely" Take Cowboys' Head Coaching Job

Typically, when a coach is asked about a potential future coaching job that is currently occupied, he'd never openly admit to eyeing that position. He'd dodge the question, lie, and say he's enjoying his time away from the game at the moment.

Former college coach Urban Meyer, however, was extremely clear in how he feels about the potential opening at head coach in Dallas with the Cowboys.

Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd asked Urban Meyer outright if he would take the job if offered, and Meyer made no mistake about it.

"Absolutely."

While it feels to me like Meyer is breaking some sort of unspoken code between coaches with these comments, it wouldn't be the first time he operated in shady waters.

But I digress.


Of course, Urban Meyer had incredible success at the collegiate level. He won multiple national championships and did a lot of winning at multiple programs. In addition, he was the college coach of Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who the team just extended with a monster contract. Meyer also won with quarterbacks who can utilize similar skill-sets to Cowboys starter Dak Prescott, something Jerry Jones and company would want to see in any potential head coaching candidate.

With all that being said, though, it's important to mention the Cowboys head coaching job is not open. At least not yet.

Jason Garrett's contract expires at the end of this season, and unless he can make sure that he continues coaching this team through January, it's seeming increasingly likely that this will be his final contract with the team.

Garrett's Cowboys face their biggest test of the season on Sunday night, with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to Arlington and looking to take first place from their grasps.

This will be the first step of many that Garrett will need to take if he wants to keep the Urban Meyers of the world from coming for his job.


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QB Dak Prescott Confident Cowboys Can Right The Ship Sunday

Kevin Brady

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Could Dak Per
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dak Prescott is a warrior.

The Cowboys starting quarterback has spent his entire NFL career proving doubters wrong. From fourth round compensatory pick to Pro Bowl quarterback and the leader of America's Team, Prescott has come a long way in just four years. And he hasn't gotten here by giving up nor giving in.

This week, to put it lightly, Prescott's Cowboys are in a tough spot. Having lost three straight games the Cowboys have fallen back to earth quickly, and now sit tied for first place in their division with this week's opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. They're also only a game up of the 2-4 New York Giants, who are favored at home against the Cardinals this very Sunday.

Dallas has to have this one at home. And despite the team's recent struggles, Dak Prescott remains confident that his bunch can get it done.

"We're right there," Prescott told the Dallas media Thursday, "We’re a good team that hasn’t been getting it done."

Prescott certainly isn't incorrect in his evaluation. He and this offense were flying high the first three weeks, and although they've taken a step back in recent games they still sit 2nd in offensive DVOA this season.


They have gotten off to slow starts in each of their last two losses, however, scoring just 9 points over their last 4 first half quarters. This first half output is unacceptable, but Prescott remains confident that the Cowboys are going to get things right on Sunday.

The biggest factor holding the Cowboys back? According to Prescott, it's themselves. Dak also told the media that the offense just needs to "get out of our own way," referring to the penalties, sacks, and general mistakes this team has made in seemingly every key moment during this losing streak.

Luckily for Dak Prescott, he should be getting some reinforcements to protect him from the Eagles fearsome front. Both La'el Collins and Tryon Smith have been active at practice this week, and even wide receiver Amari Cooper remains optimistic despite not practicing yet since his quad injury.

It feels like Cooper will likely be out on Sunday, but increasing their help across the offensive line will be a massive boost for this offense.

Still, in the end, it's the Cowboys defense which needs to step up and play better than they have on Sunday. Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense have been strong in recent weeks, and they are looking to take over first place in the NFC East in primetime.


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Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Status de Jason Garrett

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Jason Garrett

Estamos aquí de nuevo. Con los Dallas Cowboys y un récord de 3-3 después de seis semanas y tres derrotas consecutivas, el Head Coach Jason Garrett es la conversación principal entre aficionados de los Cowboys. Tras iniciar con el pie derecho esta temporada, las cosas han tomado un giro muy desafortunado para el equipo.

Desde que se convirtió en el head coach del equipo en 2010 (cuando se volvió el head coach coach "interino"), los Cowboys de Jason Garrett tienen un récord de 80-62 (56.3%) en temporada regular y un triste desempeño de 2-3 en postemporada. Tiene un premio de Coach del Año en 2016. No hay manera de negarlo... Algunas cosas han sido buenas durante la era de Garrett.

Sin embargo, no ha sido lo suficiente. Los Dallas Cowboys siguen buscando su ansiado regreso al NFC Championship Game y por supuesto, al Super Bowl. Año tras año, el equipo "se ha quedado corto." De todas las estadísticas que pueden definir lo que ha sido Jason Garrett en Dallas, mi favorita es la siguiente: En la era de Garrett, los Cowboys no han estado en los playoffs en años consecutivos. Insisto, buenos, pero no lo suficiente.

Will, Should Jason Garrett be Coaching for His Job vs the Eagles?

Este 2019, los Cowboys están en riesgo de perderse los playoffs esta temporada. Este domingo pelearán por el liderato de la división contra los Philadelphia Eagles en lo que debe de ser uno de los duelos del año. Ambos equipos tienen talento y han decepcionado tras sus primeros seis partidos. Los dos tienen una oportunidad de remediar sus defectos. A pesar de que empezaron con una marca de 3-0, Cowboys se encuentra en modo de pánico rumbo a la semana 7.

Tras perder contra los New York Jets - quienes no habían probado la victoria antes de enfrentar a Cowboys  - la afición vaquera llegó a conclusiones a las que ya ha llegado anteriormente. "¡Jason Garrett se tiene que ir!" "Ahora si no terminará esta temporada en Dallas." Y más.

Pero, ¿en qué riesgo está realmente Jason Garrett? Los Cowboys han estado en situaciones similares antes, solo para mantener a Garrett a la cabeza del equipo. El año pasado, Dallas llegó a tener un récord de 3-5 antes de terminar la temporada con diez victorias y un pase a playoffs. Una y otra vez, la directiva ha confiado en Garrett.

Pero ahora la diferencia es fácil de identificar. Este año, los Cowboys tomaron una decisión a consciencia de no extender a su head coach. El simple hecho de estar bajo contrato de un año significa que está en el denominado "asiento caliente." No importa lo que los Jones digan en la radio. Las acciones dicen más. Si Jerry Jones dijera la verdad cuando dice que ni siquiera ha pensado en ello, Garrett tendría un contrato más amplio.


No hay que cuestionar la culpa que tiene Jason Garrett de la situación actual del equipo. La planeación de juego ha sido claramente un problema, con un plan ofensivo que cambió drásticamente tras las primeras tres semanas, renunciando a la agresividad y al play-action que tanto les había funcionado. El equipo una vez más ha demostrado no estar preparado para cada partido, iniciando lento en cada uno de ellos esta temporada. Y por supuesto, no han sido capaces de superar la ausencia de jugadores clave como Amari Cooper, Tyron Smith y La'el Collins. El coacheo ha sido incapaz de compensar la falta de estos jugadores.

De que hay un problema en la cabeza del equipo, la hay.

Is the Cowboys 2018 Season Circling the Drain? 1

Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports) 

Pero en caso de que Jason Garrett fuera a ser despedido, ¿cuándo llegaría la noticia? Sería una sorpresa que ocurriera como muchos lo han sugerido: a media temporada tras una derrota ante Eagles. Por supuesto que aún no sabemos quien se llevará la victoria este domingo por la noche, pero asumamos lo peor por un momento.

Si bien caer a un récord de 3-4 sería difícil de superar, los Cowboys aún tendrían esperanza. Si la tuvieron hace un año con tres victorias y cinco derrotas, también la tendrían esta temporada. Más aún si consideramos que sus jugadores terminarán por sanar y regresar a la alineación. En tal caso, el talento será mucho como para quedarse sin victorias.

Mientras los Cowboys tengan vida esta temporada, muy probablemente Jason Garrett continuará con el control. A pesar de las frustraciones de muchos respecto al head coach de Dallas, no veo al equipo renunciando a Garrett a media temporada. Menos aún considerando que no hay una opción para reemplazarlo en seguida.

Y finalmente, aún queda otra alternativa. ¿Qué si los Cowboys terminan jugando en enero? Al final de cuentas, no es nada descabellado. Este equipo podría darle la vuelta a su temporada rápidamente y llevarse la división, incluso si no ganan contra Philadelphia. Pero digamos que terminan en playoffs, ¿cuánto es suficiente para que Jason Garrett se gane el derecho de quedarse al mando? Sin duda alguna, su trabajo esta en riesgo. Pero contar con que lo perderá si los Cowboys caen en la semana 7 parece prematuro.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Status de Jason Garrett" 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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