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Changing of the Guard: Dallas Cowboys Elect Captains for 2019 Season

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

Ahead of their first game of the season on Sunday afternoon against the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys released their newly elected captains for the 2019 season. It's a veteran group, evenly dispersed between the offense, defense, and special teams. While there are a couple of carryovers from the 2018 group of captains, there are four new faces representing the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.

Per Jon Machota of The Athletic, these are the Dallas Cowboys captains for 2019.

There's no change on the offensive side of the ball with Dak Prescott and Zack Martin taking the mantel for that group for the second year in a row.

Dak Prescott has been one of the emotional and vocal leaders of the team since taking over as a rookie in 2016. His ability to shrug off adversity and help lead the team to victory has been tremendous. From the ownership and front office, the 53rd player on the roster, everyone believes in and follows Prescott. He's been a leader on and off the field and being the quarterback of the team, everyone takes their cues from Dak Prescott.

Something interesting to note among the offensive group is that Jason Witten wasn't elected a captain for 2019. Witten sitting out 2018 during his brief retirement allowed some of the younger players to become leaders on the team and it's no surprise that the team has turned to Dak Prescott and Zack Martin.

Along the offensive line, Martin is a more vocal player than fellow All-Pro Tyron Smith. With Frederick also sitting out 2018, Martin became a leader in the offensive line room.

On the defense, the Dallas Cowboys are experiencing a changing of the guard with their captains. Jaylon Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence take over for long-time Dallas Cowboys Sean Lee and Tyrone Crawford.

DeMarcus Lawrence has been a vocal leader of the team. His words in the week leading up to the New Orleans Saints game in 2018 rallied the defense to pull off an incredible defensive performance against one of the NFL's best offense. Over the last several years, Lawrence has become a tone-setter for the defense. His passion, energy, enthusiasm, and belief are infectious. When DeMarcus Lawrence speaks, everyone listens. Even those of us who follow him on Twitter can't get enough of Tank. As one of the founding members of the Hot Boyz (the nickname given to the defensive line and a select few) Lawrence has helped to mold an identity for this defense.

Jaylon Smith taking over for Sean Lee shouldn't come as a surprise either. Smith has an infectious faith and optimism that bubbles over when he speaks. His mantra of "Clear eye view" helped inspire his comeback from the devastating knee injury he suffered in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.


Both Lawrence and Smith have faced adversity in their careers, both with injuries, and both are considered tireless workers at their craft. The two of them make big plays for the defense on a regular basis.

On Special teams, Chris Jones returns as a captain. His ability to run fake punts and to lay physical hits on returners is pretty impressive. There aren't many punters in the NFL that can do what Chris Jones can do. Also, he's pretty good at his craft.

The inclusion of Jeff Heath on this list may come as a surprise to fans, but it shouldn't be. Despite the calls for the Dallas Cowboys to move on from the hotly debated safety (and I've even argued for Donovan Wilson to start), the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff really likes Jeff Heath. They trust him in-game. Yes, he missed a lot of tackles in 2018 and his misread on the Jared Goff play-action bootleg allowed the Los Angeles Rams to pick up the first down and win the playoff game, but Heath is a trusted player among the veterans on the team.

Though he may have been overexposed in 2018, Heath has shown to be a playmaker in his career.

The youth movement in Dallas is thriving. Of the 53 players on their roster heading into week one, the Dallas Cowboys only have eight players over 30 years old. All six of their captains are 30 years old or younger with Chris Jones the oldest captain at 30. Chris Jones is the oldest captain at 30 years old and Zack Martin is right behind him at 29.

With this selection of captains, it's clear where this team is heading in the future. DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and Jaylon Smith are all locked up through the 2023 season and Martin and Smith through 2024. With reports that the Dallas Cowboys and representatives of Dak Prescott may reach an agreement before Sunday's week one opener, it's possible that the Dallas Cowboys offensive and defensive leadership group will all be under contract through the 2023 season. That kind of leadership continuity is huge for a team with championship aspirations.

In their selected captains, the Dallas Cowboys have a group of guys that the rest of the team rallies to and follows. They have arguably the two best players on the team in Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence and the two most inspirational players on the team in Jaylon Smith and Dak Prescott. Their special teams captains are a couple of playmakers.

Optimism about what this team can accomplish in 2019 is soaring and with this group of captains leading them, there's no reason to doubt that they can return the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl glory.


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Dallas Cowboys

Loss to Minnesota Could be the Final Nail in Jason Garrett’s Coffin

Brian Martin

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Vikings Loss Could be the Final Nail in Jason Garrett's Coffin

The 2019 NFL season kind of seemed like a do or die situation for the Dallas Cowboys current Head Coach Jason Garrett. He is currently in the last year of his contract and his future with the Cowboys organization could be hanging in the balance, especially after the devastating loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

If Jason Garrett isn't extended beyond this season, this loss to Minnesota could possibly be where his career with the Dallas Cowboys started to circle the drain. There are still several games left on the Cowboys schedule this season, but this one loss could be the one that ends up knocking them out of the playoffs. If that's true, it's hard to believe JG will be retained.

Jerry Jones, and son Stephen, have both fully supported Jason Garrett since he became the Cowboys full-time head coach back in 2011 after serving as the interim HC for Wade Phillips in 2010. That's nearly a decade of the Jones' sticking by JG through all of the thick and thin over years. That unwavering support however could be coming to an end though.

The proof is in the pudding as they say. As a head coach Jason Garrett is slightly above average according to his all-time win/loss record. His regular-season record as the HC with the Cowboys is 82-62 (.569) and he's 2-3 (.400) in the postseason. Add all of that up and he's 84-65 (.564) in his career… slightly above average.


Jason Garrett

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

If I know anything about the Jones', I know getting the Dallas Cowboys back to the promised land as one of the best teams in the NFL is at the top of their list. That's why we've seen them over the years take chances on players other teams wouldn't in order to put together the most competitive roster they possibly could. Now that attention might need to be shifted from the players to the head coach.

Much like the Jones', I've supported and stood by Jason Garrett over the years. That support is dwindling though after each and every loss this season, at least on my part. Personally, I'm ready to find some new blood and move on. What the Jones' end up doing though is completely up in the air.

I want to believe the Dallas Cowboys are ready to move on from JG, but I'm not completely convinced. The fact that his current contract is about to expire after the season suggests they're at least considering parting ways, but that's all it does. I think how the rest of season turns out after the devastating loss to the Vikings will end up determining his fate.

If JG somehow sneaks the Cowboys into the playoffs it could save his job. That unfortunately is no easy thing to do with the teams they have left to play this season. Because of that, the Week 10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings could end up being the final nail in Jason Garrett's coffin.

What do you think? Is it time to part ways with Jason Garrett?


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Game Notes

Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s Status Still Unknown for Cowboys Game

Jess Haynie

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Matthew Stafford, Lions

The Dallas Cowboys are headed to Detroit this Sunday for a Week 11 meeting with the Lions. As Dallas tries to get back to winning games, they may get a boost from the absence of Lions' Quarterback Matthew Stafford. After missing last week's game with a back injury, Stafford's status for this week remains unclear.

Stafford was a limited participant in practices all of Week 10 for Detroit and went into their game with the Chicago Bears as a game-time decision. He was ultimately ruled out due to fractures in his back; the first start Stafford's missed for the Lions since the 2010 season.

Jeff Driskel got the start as the Lions fell in Chicago. He is 1-5 as an NFL starter overall, going 1-4 in games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.

The Lions are now 3-5-1 on the year and at the bottom of the NFC North. They are also far behind in the Wild Card race, which leads to speculation that they could shut Stafford down for the season to preserve his long-term health. Based on Matthew's contract, the earliest Detroit can easily get out from his contract is after the 2020 season.

For his part, Matthew Stafford has said he has no plans on staying out this season as long he's medically cleared to play. He certainly would love to be active this Sunday against the Cowboys, the team of his youth, after playing his high school football in Dallas.


Even if Stafford plays, Dallas has done solidly overall against opposing quarterbacks in 2019. They are sixth in passing yards allowed per game and 14th in opponent passer rating.

Detroit is fourth in passing offense right now in the NFL but that was based on eight games with Stafford at QB. Jeff Driskel will not perform at that same level, and the Lions' rushing attack has been very weak since Kerryon Johnson went on injured reserve.

We'll see in the coming days if Matthew Stafford is at practice for Detroit and to what extent. But even if he does practice some, as he did last week, it could once again be a last-minute decision for the Lions if Stafford actually plays on Sunday.

With the Cowboys desperate for a win, they'll take all the help they can get.


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Dallas Cowboys

The Time has Come to See More of Tight End Blake Jarwin

John Williams

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Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin Owns the New York Giants, Again

When Jason Witten made his triumphant return from the Monday Night Football booth to the Dallas Cowboys' locker room, the addition was met with a bit of reserved optimism. On the one hand, it was awesome to get one of the best players in the history of the franchise back on the field and in the locker room. On the other hand, it meant that he would eat into the snap counts of Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz, or any rookie they potentially drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Though, upon arrival, the Cowboys and Witten stated the future Hall of Famer would only play roughly 25 snaps a game, it didn't take long to figure out that Witten was the starting and full-time player at tight end. In training camp, Witten got a majority of the first-team snaps. In the first nine games of the 2019 season, Witten's played nearly twice as many snaps as Blake Jarwin.

It's an unfortunate turn from the narrative we were being fed in the offseason as Blake Jarwin provides a receiving dynamic that no other tight end for the Dallas Cowboys can. He's quicker, more agile, and has much more athleticism than Jason Witten.

On a per snap basis, Blake Jarwin is offering more in yards per snap and in yards per route run. Jarwin has accrued 0.811 yards per snap to Jason Witten's 0.711. Basically, if you prorate Jarwin's yards per snap total of 0.811 to Jason Witten's snap count of 475, Jarwin would theoretically have nearly 50 more receiving yards than Witten while providing another downfield threat to the passing game.

If we look at yards per route run, Jarwin's outpacing Witten 1.97 to 1.37 per Pro Football Focus. If you were to give Jason Witten's number of routes run to Blake Jarwin and prorated based on Jarwin's production in 2019, he would have roughly 484 receiving yards or 150 more receiving yards than Jason Witten.


Obviously, Jarwin's still got some development that needs to happen as a run blocker to be able to get on the field more. The Cowboys coaching staff, however, has still elected to roll with Jason Witten over Blake Jarwin even in pass-heavy situations as we saw on Sunday Night Football. This is the first game of the year where the Cowboys needed to be in heavy passing mode, but they continue to keep one of their more athletic weapons on the sideline when they need to get chunk plays.

Jarwin's ability to attack up the seam can help open everything up for everyone else in the offense. Just having another vertical threat on the field can create space for Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb underneath.

Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff isn't going to flip their snap counts anytime soon, but the time has come for Blake Jarwin to get more of the situational passing work. When the Cowboys get into obvious passing situations -- 3rd and longs or in two-minute situations -- Blake Jarwin needs to be the tight end on the field.

We've seen each of the last two weeks what Jarwin can do once he gets the ball in his hands. Against the New York Giants, he ripped off a game-changing 42-yard touchdown run and catch. On Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, Jarwin had a big 26-yard reception that helped get the Cowboys going offensively.

Jason Witten will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. It's time he and the coaching staff recognizes that the Dallas Cowboys could be an even more dynamic offensive team by getting the more athletic Blake Jarwin on the field more.


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