My first job -- I was a 16-year-old high school junior -- as a cashier at Office Depot (shout out to Store #372). It was a really fun and valuable experience I legitimately believe helped mold me into the person I am today. I'm grateful it all happened while I was still young and growing up (not that I've stopped in any way).
Remember, this is important, I was 16 years old. I didn't know a whole lot about anything really. It was my first job.
As the cashier, no big deal but I was Cashier #1, I had a few responsibilities besides running the register. I had to keep the front area tidy, re-stock certain supplies, and I was in charge of cleaning the Men's Room. Uh oh.
I learned of these responsibilities on my first day, and I learned when they asked me to go clean the restrooms. I do what I'm told... so I went. They told me everything I needed would be in the supply closet. Alrighty then.
Upon entering the supply closet I closed the door, pulled out my phone, and (really) called my Mom. I had no freaking clue what I was supposed to do here.
I was totally and completely lost.
Thankfully, Moms know everything and mine is the best one ever, so after a little bit of chuckling, she guided me through what cleansers to grab and told me to sweep, scrub, and mop. Bam.
The sweeping and scrubbing were pretty self-explanatory, but the mopping confused me.
The mop was in this gigantic yellow apparatus that I'd never seen before. There was this weird handle and bucket where I assumed the water went. I tossed in some high-quality H20 and, upon my Mom's recommendation, Pine Sol.
After mixing it up with the mop I assumed I was ready to go.
I just tossed the mop in and brought it out. It made a HUGE splat as water went everywhere, but I just brushed the mop around to spread it. Simple, right? When I was "done" mopping, the floor didn't have the same look I'd seen on freshly mopped floors. It looked like the sink had flooded in this bathroom! Water was everywhere!
I didn't know much, but I definitely knew this wasn't right.
I'm a pretty quick-thinker so, in a move of innovation, I found a way to "dry" the floor. I fashioned two stacks of, at least, 15 paper towels and put them on the ground. I then stepped on them and proceeded to literally skate around the bathroom to dry this bad boy up, so it didn't look like a swamp.
It took me a month to learn that the apparatus was the mop handle that you use to squeeze the excess water off the mop. Not my finest hour.
Sometimes in life we're accidentally bold, like the mop and I, and things ultimately work out for the best. That's the spirit this week. Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
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Ezekiel Elliott And Alfred Morris Both Have Over 100 Rushing Yards
Do you have any idea how the time of possession battle went last Sunday between the Cowboys and Giants? Dallas won 36:43 to 23:17.
This is how the Cowboys want to win games, and they damn near did it last Sunday before Terrance Williams had to go and ruin everything. They want to dominate TOP, obviously implying you score touchdowns instead of field goals.
If we're calling a spade a spade, then we need to admit the New York Football Giants beat us at our own game. Washington doesn't have the personnel to do that. They can, and will, be run on. Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pittsburgh's DeAngelo Williams strung together a measly 143 yards on 26 carries in Washington on Monday Night. Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris were likely watching and licking their chops. They're both far more talented than Williams and will get their carries.
The Steelers won the TOP battle 33:18 to 26:42 against the Redskins, and they manhandled them. In order for the Cowboys to carry out that same game plan, it'll require a lot of rushing, which will mean a lot of yards for Zeke and The Butler.
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Byron Jones Will Tip A Pass Intended For Jordan Reed That Will Be Intercepted
Jordan Reed really picked up a lot of attention on a national level last season. Through 14 games, he put together a nice 87 catch, 952 yards, and 11 touchdown season.
And that makes sense because that's impressive.
The most targets Reed saw in a single game was 11, the second most was nine, and the third most was eight. That's a lot of volume going one player's way, and again it makes sense that, as a result, Reed would have serious success.
Reed's worst statistical game came on one of the days he saw eight (or Ocho... which is appropriate considering who's penning this) targets. He only hauled in three of them for 33 yards.
What game was that, you ask?
The December 7th, 2015 Monday Night Football matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins in Washington... when Jordan Reed was covered exclusively by then-rookie Byron Jones.
I've decided we should call Byron Jones "Late Night Ice Cream" because he eliminates tight ends. That's his thing. He takes them completely out of the game.
While doing so on Sunday, he's going to get his hands on a ball that is floating up in the air, and a Cowboy is going to be there when it comes back down. It's the laws of gravity and Late Night Ice Cream going into action.
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Kyle Wilber Will Get A Sack While Lining Up At DE
I have this idea in my head that the Cowboys coaching staff just walked into a room one day and said, "Who thinks they can rush the passer?" and when Kyle Wilber raised his hand, he had no idea what he was getting into.
Rod Marinelli spent part of Week 1's Giants game lining up the linebacker at defensive end. I'm not a defensive guru like him, but I think I speak for all of us when I say - wut?
Last season's Cowboys/Redskins matchup in Washington was kind to America's Team in the sacks department as Dallas roped up a hat-trick on the night. There's something about playing at FedExField, the site of the last Dallas victory, that gets our 'Boys riled up.
Kyle Wilber will line up at defensive end again on Sunday.
He's going to get a sack.
We are going to go wild.
It's going to be incredible.
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Dez Bryant Will Have No Fewer Than 3 Catches For 40 Yards And 1 Touchdown
Counting last Sunday, Dez Bryant has had precisely one catch in a game six times. This is a list of the games he had following his one-catch performances:
Dez Bryant doesn't like only having one catch in a game. He goes out and proves it the following week, each and every time.
So much has been made about the five targets Dez saw and how insultingly low it was. If the Cowboys want to win, and they do, they know they have to rev this engine up.
Vroom vroom goes the Dez.
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Dan Bailey Nails A 60-Yarder To End The First Half
The golden foot of Dan Bailey is a perfect 24/24 when counting both extra points and field goals in FedExField. He owns that joint.
He's so good, Cowboys Nation had full confidence in his ability to win us the game with a potential field goal over 60 yards during the final moments of last week's contest against the Giants.
I'm here to say Dan Bailey is going to get his chance, and he's going to dominate, like he always does.
Envision the Cowboys getting the ball on their own 20-yard line with 47 seconds left. Dak Prescott leads a charge. Terrance Williams gets out-of-bounds. With a poetic five seconds left, Dan Bailey comes in -- on a prayer -- and boots it through.
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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!
@rjochoa bold prediction: Alfred Morris rushes for 122 yards and a long touchdown.
The subject of Alfred Morris' domination, specifically against the NFC East, is one I tackled on Thursday here at Inside The Star. So I dig this.
The Butler has crossed 122 yards three times in his career; however, he has never had a long touchdown run in any of these contests. What's worth nothing is that in two of these three instances Alfred had a 1-yard touchdown.
Is that a sign? Is Johannn predicting the future?!
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Bonus Bold Prediction #2
ATXCOWBOYSFAN and I park our cars in the same garage. We both think Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred are going to have big days on the ground as far as yardage is concerned. What I really like about this Bold Prediction is the Dez element.
I've said before -- on OchoLive -- the last time we truly saw Dez be Dez was the 2014 game in Washington. He caught 4 passes for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns. This also happens to be the last instance where Dez had at least two touchdowns. History is repeating itself!
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Bonus Bold Prediction #3
@rjochoa Dez Bryant has more than one reception against the Redskins #BoldPrediction
Armond is a loyal Inside The Star reader and Twitter follower. After a rough week and loss against the Giants... this was a much-needed chuckle.
You can slam dunk this one.
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Bonus Bold Prediction #4
Sean Lee has indeed picked off the Redskins before (9/26/11), but he did it at home in Arlington. The only division rival Sean has intercepted in their house is actually the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lee made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, and he did so partly due to the monster game he had in our nation's capital. It's time for him to add Washington to his list of houses he owns, and it's time for Byron Jones to get his first career interception as well.
Terrence... please don't be out-of-bounds here.
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Bonus Bold Prediction #5
@rjochoa Dak 3 td passes in cowboys win
Considering Dak Prescott has only played one NFL game and still hasn't thrown a touchdown... this is pretty bold.
It's worth nothing, this past Monday night Ben Roethlisberger did toss a hat-trick of TDs against the Redskins. I happen to see this game as a high-scoring affair myself, and I like the confidence Chase has in our QuarterDAK... I can get on board with this! Bold!
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Bonus Bold Prediction #6
The latest Tweets and replies from Jones (@aj_bryant5188).
The very first touchdown Dez Bryant scored with a Star on his helmet was actually a punt return, and as a fan of nostalgia I am ALL ABOUT this Bold Prediction.
That was all the way back in 2010 and, for what it's worth, Dez did it again four weeks later, and it hasn't happened in any other calendar year since. That's the kind of bold we were missing today!
A punt return played a big part in last season's Cowboys win in Washington (love you DeSean Jackson), maybe Jones is onto something here and it's about to become a tradition!
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.
Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.
A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.
Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.
First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:
- Earl Thomas
- Landon Collins
- Lamarcus Joyner
- Tyrann Mathieu
- Adrian Amos
- Clayton Geathers
- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
- Glover Quinn
- Tre Boston
- Kenny Vaccaro
- George Iloka
- Jimmie Ward
- Adrian Phillips
Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.
With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.
Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.
Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.
The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.
Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?
Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors
What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.
Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?
As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.
Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.
Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.
That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.
However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.
Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.
Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.
The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.
Just something to think about...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.
As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.
Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.
These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.
Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.
Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.
Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.
Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.
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