Listen to an audio version of this article on Bumpers!
Sunday, December 13th, 2015. You remember that day, even if you don't know it.
The Cowboys were in Green Bay for a date against the Packers, the final score of which isn't important, and it was their first visit to Lambeau Field since Dez Bryant heroically caught a brilliant pass from Tony Romo near the end of a game 11 months earlier.
There would be no Tony Romo this time, only Matt Cassel. There would also be Inside The Star Staff Writer RJ Ochoa (hey I know him!) in attendance, that's me! That's right. My Dad, some friends, and I ventured to one of the NFL's most iconic venues last December to watch America's Team (a trip that I wrote about here).
On gameday we decided that we needed breakfast so we went to IHOP. We feasted, in the middle of tons of Cowboys and Packers fans, and headed to the car so we could head to Lambeau. On the way we passed some little kids playing a friendly game of "Simon Says."
My Dad's best friend David was feeling good about this game, and he felt like letting the world know how good he felt. One of the kids began a new command, "Simon Says..." and David interrupted him.
"SIMON SAYS 'GO COWBOYS!'"
The kids screamed out, "NO!" but the damage was done. The world knew. The Cowboys are the best.
The world will be reminded this Sunday of that same sentiment. Simon Said the Cowboys had no shot this season, but here they are at 4-1... and they want more.
Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let’s roll.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Ezekiel Elliott Catches DeMarco Murray's 2014 Performance Through Six Games
The Dallas Cowboys enter Week 6 of the NFL season with the league's leading rusher at their disposal. This statement is as true today as it was two years ago at this exact same time.
When DeMarco Murray finished his sixth game in 2014 (a contest the Cowboys won in Seattle) he had 785 yards to his name. As it currently stands rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has 546. It's no secret that the Packers Offense has the ability to put points up, and the Cowboys will look to neutralize that with their best defense - their offense.
Ezekiel Elliott is the key to beating Green Bay, both offensively and defensively. This means that he's going to have a huge day on the ground. 240 yards, the last time an NFL RB had this many in a game was Doug Martin in 2012 with 251, would put Zeke ahead of DeMarco's 2014 through this point. It's happening.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Dak Prescott Will Have A Better Performance Than Brett Favre's Last One At Lambeau Field
In August we celebrated the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016, and among its members was legendary quarterback Brett Favre.
The career of "The Gunslinger" is quite the tale, but he's pretty relevant this week. First off, he came out and said that Tony Romo should let Dak Prescott keep playing. This
makes sense since this is the exact thing Brett Favre did with Aaron Rodgers is as stupid as it sounds. Stay classy, Favre.
Brett Favre is also extremely relevant this week because at halftime of this game he'll receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring. Good for you, Brett; however, the last time Favre was on this field as an actual player was not so good.
He was 16/29 for 212 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Dak Prescott is going to easily top that.
Also, it should be noted that the only stadium Brett Favre never won in was Texas Stadium. Huzzah.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Dan Bailey Amasses More Yards Via Field Goals Than Eddie Lacy Does Rushing
So much is made about the "Dez Catch" from 2015's Divisional Round at Lambeau, but there is another Cowboy besides Bryant that has a score to settle from that day - Dan Bailey.
That day Dan Bailey attempted the only field goal that he's ever kicked at the historic Lambeau Field, and he missed. That's right. Just like Favre never won at Texas Stadium, Bailey's never hit a 3-pointer in Green Bay.
Cowboys Nation held their breaths regarding Bailey last week because his back tightened up just before the San Francisco game. All signs at this point are positive, and he's going to be a big factor on Sunday... bigger than Eddie Lacy.
I've written before here at Inside The Star about how Eddie Lacy completely owns the Cowboys, and I believe that trend is going to halt. Eddie is going to have such a low day on the ground that the yardage added up from Dan Bailey's field goals are going to be more impressive. How do you like them apples, Eddie?
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Lucky Whitehead Takes A Jet Sweep Over 20 Yards
Death, taxes, and one Lucky Whitehead jet sweep play every Cowboys game.
Lucky has had a jet sweep in each of the last three games and they've gone for 3, 8, and 9 yards respectively. The Packers know this, but they also know that Ezekiel Elliott plays for the Cowboys and are far more concerned with that threat.
While Whitehead has yet to hit even the double-digit yardage mark when it comes to the jet sweeps he runs, he's going to double that with a run to the outside of at least 20 yards due to the lack of attention there since the bulk of it will be focused on Zeke. Vamonos!
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Rookie DT Maliek Collins Gets His First Career Sack
Three of the most impressive members on the 2016 Dallas Cowboys Roster are rookies: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Anthony Brown. Only one other rookie has even played snaps on the season - DT Maliek Collins.
Collins has played well so far, just not to the elite level of his rookie classmates. This is going to change on Sunday in Lambeau Field. The Cowboys Defense has been all about surprises this season as far as who steps up, and while that man has been Collins at times it's going to happen in a collision with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Bonus Bold Prediction #1
Remember, if you want YOUR Bold Prediction featured here, tweet it at me! It’s that simple! Here are this week’s contributions, thanks to all those who shared!
Donny is a fantastic guy and long-time contributor to our weekly Bold Predictions, so kudos to him on that.
Here we're saying that Dez Bryant is not only going to play, but he's going to hit a hat trick of touchdowns and that one of them wins the game. Goodness, this is spicy! Additionally the Cowboys Defense has six sacks on Rodgers, two interceptions from him, and Ezekiel Elliott crosses the 200-yard mark.
This is quite the hodgepodge of Bold Predictions. At this point it's not too farfetched to say that Dez plays, and Zeke crossing 200 amazingly seems so easy these days. If the Cowboys Defense balls out to this level then we need to make some more room around here because the bandwagon is going to be trying to join us in full force!
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Bonus Bold Prediction #2
@rjochoa Bold Prediction: Jason Garrett goes for a 2pt conversion when it is not necessary #AgainstTheOdds #GamblinGarrett
I love this, and it makes a lot of sense when you really think about it.
Jason Garrett has shown a new sense of boldness in 2016, and he hasn't played that hand in the last two games... mostly because he hasn't had to.
The Packers present a tough test for the Cowboys, and that might require something different. Thankfully it appears Coach Garrett is willing to be different.
Bonus Bold Prediction #3
@rjochoa Bryon Jones gets a pick of tip ball. Dez get a TD. Dak runs it in to for TD. #BOLDpredictions
Dez Bryant catching a touchdown isn't the strangest sight in the world, although it's been a while since it happened on a consistent basis, and obviously this is contingent on him playing. Should Dez suit up then I have no doubt that he hauls one in for six.
Dak Prescott has a rushing touchdown in three games this season, that's 60% of the time. Those are pretty good odds on anything in life so I like where Chris' head is at! In terms of Byron Jones... we've been looking for The Senator to snag an interception ever since he first put on the Cowboys uniform as he has zero for his career. He's due. It's time. Bring it!
Cowboys’ Patience With DE Randy Gregory Finally Paying Off?
Say what you want about Randy Gregory and his past struggles, but he might just be turning into the player the Dallas Cowboys envisioned when they drafted him in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. All I can say is, it's about time!
Randy Gregory is just one of many players Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones has gone out of his way to help in the hopes of improving his football team, but very few have received as much patience and personal attention as Gregory. Jerry has continued to stand by him through all of his off the field issues and suspensions, despite not getting much in return.
It's been somewhat confusing for a lot of Cowboys Nation. Many fans have been ready to move on from the troubled defensive end, but not Jerry Jones. This was his pick back in 2015 and he was bound and determined to see it through. That's exactly what he's done and he might actually see some return on his investment.
Randy Gregory isn't exactly blowing things up like Linebacker Leighton Vander Ecsh or some of his other defensive teammates, but he's quietly strung together some good games these past several weeks. In the last four games he has three quarterback sacks, three quarterback hits, and a tackle for a loss. That's not even mentioning how he's consistently applying pressure to the QB as well.
I know it doesn't look like much from the outside looking in, but to me he's starting to look like a player who's finally finding his groove. I don't know about you, but I will take any silver lining I can get when it comes to Randy Gregory. Even if it is the small sample size.
We all knew it might take him a while to get things going after missing all 2017 and parts of 2016 due to suspensions. That's a lot of football to miss for a young player and it's kind of hurt his development. That's probably one of the reasons the Cowboys brought him along a little slowly this season.
I don't think there's any reason to pull back the reins any longer though. Gregory looks as if he has acclimated to the game once again and is ready, willing, and able to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence from here on out. The Cowboys defense is just better with him in the lineup.
Randy Gregory has had to overcome a lot of personal demons to reach this point in his career, and for that I commend him. It couldn't have been an easy road to go down, but the work he has put in is paying off and he can finally see the fruits of his labor for himself. That could pay huge dividends not only from a confidence standpoint, but also as a sense of validation.
Now, he just needs to keep his nose to the grind stone and continue to do what he's been doing. I think everything else will work itself out and both he and the Cowboys will be better for it.
Do you think Randy Gregory is finally hitting his stride?
QB Dak Prescott Continues To Come Through In Clutch Situations
Dak Prescott is possibly the most criticized quarterback in all of football.
Of course, this comes with the territory of being the Cowboys starting quarterback, but each throw Prescott attempts is placed under an intense microscope, even by NFL standards. We analyze every snap of every game, looking to find where Dak was right or wrong with this reads.
There's no question, though, that Prescott has been inconsistent throughout his young career. Week to week, drive to drive, and even play to play, we seemingly have no gauge on just how Dak Prescott will perform.
One scenario where we can say with confidence he will come through, however, is when it matters most. Last Sunday, in yet another must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott orchestrated a game winning drive to lead his team over the favored Atlanta Falcons.
The Cowboys offense was pedestrian for much of the afternoon, but when Prescott got the ball in a tied game, I felt confident he would give Brett Maher a chance to win the game. Even on the road, and even after the offense had struggled a bit through the air all day.
Prescott got the ball late in the fourth quarter, looking to answer former NFL MVP Matt Ryan's game tying touchdown strike to Julio Jones. Dak went for it all on the first play, looking for Michael Gallup deep down the sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. After that throw, Prescott went 4/5 for 45 yards, including a huge completion to Cole Beasley, putting Dallas in game winning field goal range.
This confidence in Dak Prescott is justified, as is shown by his numbers in late game situations. Prescott now has 12 game winning drives, tying him for the league lead over the last three seasons. For comparison sake, Eagles starter Carson Wentz has just 3 game winning drives over that same stretch.
Overall the box score shows a rather quiet day for Prescott, but it was exactly the kind of Sunday they need from him. He completed over 60% of his passes, ran for a touchdown, and avoided the key turnover which could have sung this close game.
He played efficient football, and gave the Cowboys a chance to win it late. Then, he did what he does best, making plays in clutch situations and coming through in the 2 minute drill.
For all of Dak Prescott's flaws, those end-of-half and end-of-game situations have been a clear strength for the young quarterback, and continued to be this week.
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.
Star Blog7 days ago
Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard?
Star Blog6 days ago
How Cowboys Could Regain a 2019 1st-Round Draft Pick
Player News1 week ago
Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys3 days ago
4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Next Day Rant: Dak Prescott Shows Big Flaws in Big Win
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Is Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones to be Trusted?
Player News5 days ago
Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room
Star Blog1 week ago
Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time