I recently got into a conversation about breakfast cereals. Let’s be honest here there are some that you love and some that you hate. Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Excellent. Honey Combs? Not so much. Ultimately we decided that Apple Jacks are pretty universally well liked and if you disagree well then you are obviously wrong.
Hopefully we can all agree on who the Greatest 54 in Dallas Cowboys History is. The list is a little shorter than most, but there are two here who we all know and love.
The Following Players Have All Worn 54 For The Dallas Cowboys:
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
This might be our most loaded list yet, and I’m just talking about two guys: Chuck Howley and Randy White. Between these two Cowboys we’ve got:
- 27 seasons played for the Dallas Cowboys
- 137.5 Sacks
- 15 Pro Bowl Selections
- 14 First-Team All-Pro Selections
- 5 NFC Championships
- 2 Super Bowl Victories
- 2 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Awards
- 2 Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Memberships
- 1 Bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH
1959 was not kind to Chuck Howley of the Chicago Bears. He suffered what appeared to be a career-ending knee injury and he thought his football days were over. Howley decided to make a comeback in 1961 and Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys thought he’d be a perfect fit for his “Doomsday Defense”.
It wasn’t until 1963 when Chuck moved to the weakside linebacker spot. It was here that his incredible speed, since healed from his injury, allowed him to shine. Howley had a knack for being around the ball and became quite the interception artist.
Super Bowl MVP
Howley’s finest hour perhaps came on the Sunday of Super Bowl V. This #54 had two interceptions AND recovered a fumble…all in a losing effort as the Baltimore Colts outlasted the Dallas Cowboys. In response to his incredible performance, Chuck Howley was named the MVP of Super Bowl V…despite playing for the losing team. This was the first time in the Super Bowl era that a defensive player was graced with the award and is still the only time in NFL History that a member of the losing team received it.
Chuck Howley and the Dallas Cowboys showed extreme resilience the following season and made it back to play in Super Bowl VI. Howley of course played brilliantly, recovering a fumble and returning, surprise, another interception 41 yards.
Chuck Howley: Cowboy Legend
All in all the Cowboys had 13 wonderful seasons with Chuck Howley on the roster. He gave them an extreme defensive effort and was a ball hawk in an era where passing wasn’t done at the volume that it is today. He was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1977 (the year the Cowboys won their second Super Bowl) and has yet to receive his well-deserved Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket.
In 1975 Gil Brandt and the Dallas Cowboy group had a lot of thoughts regarding the second overall pick in the draft. It essentially boiled down to two options, Jackson State’s Walter Payton or Maryland’s Randy White. The Cowboys went with Randy (and ended up with Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett in 1977 so it all worked out) and never looked back.
Randy White started his Cowboy Career backing up the Greatest 55 in Dallas Cowboys History, Lee Roy Jordan, at middle linebacker. Randy hadn’t necessarily lived up to expectations and Tom Landry decided to put his hand in the dirt and move him to defensive tackle in his third season.
Half Man-Half Monster: The Manster
Holy all things football did Randy White belong at defensive tackle. Nicknamed “The Manster” Randy White was indeed half man and half monster. The Manster was fully on showcase in 1977…he was named to his first All-Pro Team, took a trip to the Pro Bowl, AND won Super Bowl XII. Randy’s performance in the Super Bowl was so incredible that, on his 25th birthday, he was named Co-MVP with teammate, the Greatest 79 in Dallas Cowboys History, Harvey Martin. This is the only time in NFL History that two people have shared the Super Bowl MVP award, which adds another sense of uniqueness to Randy’s career.
Randy White: Cowboy Legend
White would go on to continue to flourish in the blue and silver. In 14 seasons he missed only one game and accumulated over 1,100 tackles (701 solo). The Manster retired after the 1988 season, which ultimately also proved to be Tom Landry’s last, and rode off into the NFL sunset. In 1994 Randy White joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his legacy was immortalized.
The Greatest 54 In Dallas Cowboys History
It’s very obvious that there is a lot to consider here. Both of these gentlemen gave the Dallas Cowboys all that they had and earned an enormous amount of accolades along the way. Well here’s one more.
Chuck Howley and Randy White are BOTH the Greatest 54 in Dallas Cowboys History
The number 54 is arguably, save for 88, the greatest number to ever be worn in Dallas Cowboys History. Chuck Howley and Randy White each established their own legacies in the number and both put it on the level of greatness that it resides. Like Randy White’s Super Bowl MVP it only felt right to have Co-54s as Chuck Howley has his own MVP. They each have unique circumstances regarding those awards with Randy sharing his and Chuck being the only player to receive it on a losing team. Let’s add one more level of unique and have these two share the number for all of time.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 53 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
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