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!
Was Sunday A “Wake Up Call,” Or Were Cowboys Exposed?
Entering last Sunday's game in Indianapolis, the Dallas Cowboys were riding high. Having won five straight games, including key victories over the top seeded Saints and division rival Eagles, everything seemed to be breaking right for the Cowboys heading into the home stretch.
Their defense was playing like one of the best in football, and after firing Paul Alexander and trading for Amari Cooper their offense was clicking just as they'd hoped. They needed (and still need) just one win to officially close out the division and clinch a home playoff game in January.
Instead, the Cowboys got absolutely demolished by the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, there's no shame in losing a road game to an 8-6 team in the NFL, but the way in which they lost certainly deserves some shame. Not even the 23-0 score can encapsulate the complete butt-kicking Dallas received at the hands of the Colts, and it was the type of loss that can sometimes make you question the blueprint.
The Cowboys, however, are not looking at it that way. Multiple leaders in the locker room have spoke this week about how they "needed" to lose like that. Running back Ezekiel Elliott called the loss embarrassing, but also said it is better for Dallas in the "grand scheme of the season."
Clearly, the leaders and coaches are calling the putrid performance a wake up call, something that will galvanize them and reset their win streak heading into the postseason. But is this really the case, or was the shutout defeat more of a sign of things to come?
Obviously it's too early to say for sure, but I do think it can be a little bit of both.
No, the Cowboys are not the class of the NFC, despite beating what can be called the best team in the same conference a couple weeks ago. There probably will prove to be some drop-off from the top 3 seeds in the conference and the Cowboys, if for no other reason than Dallas will have to go on the road to play those teams in the playoffs. It's really hard to win on the road in the NFL, especially with the increased wackiness of 2018.
The Cowboys offense is far from perfect or prolific, though if clicking they now have the skill talent to drop 30+ points any given Sunday. Their defense is talented, has a high ceiling, but is still very young and inexperienced. Though they've played elite level games before, they've also had some stinkers against the Colts and Titans during the same season.
All of this can be true. The Cowboys can be a team deserving of the playoffs, a team we should not be panicking over, but still a very flawed football team. They can be a team that if "hot" could make a run through the postseason, but also will have to answer some tough questions about coaches and players during the next two offseasons.
After all, who isn't greatly flawed in today's NFL? Hell, we just saw the beloved Rams lose two straight games.
Is it Too Late For Dallas to Fire OC Scott Linehan?
Grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to run the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan out of town. His playcalling has been absolutely atrocious season and it's time for him to hit the road, even if there are only two regular-season games left on the schedule.
It's completely unorthodox for an NFL team to fire an offensive coordinator this late in the season, but just last week we saw the Minnesota Vikings do just that when they parted ways with John DeFilippo. It was definitely a bold move to make considering the Vikings are still in playoff contention, but it was something they believed was in the best interest of their team.
I believe if the Dallas Cowboys want to do what's best for their team right now and not later, then they should go ahead and cut ties with Scott Linehan. His predictability and un-creativeness as a play caller is holding back a talented offense, which is hurting the overall team as a result. He's been given every opportunity to turn things around, but enough is enough.
I'd personally be on board with Jason Garrett taking over the playcalling duties. He has the experience and held the position with the Cowboys from 2007 until Linehan was hired. I'd even consider giving Kellen Moore a shot as the OC. He knows the system and has worked closely with Quarterback Dak Prescott. Regardless, the Cowboys need to find some way to increase their offensive productivity.
Right now the Cowboys offense is the 26th scoring offense in the NFL and are averaging just 19.7 points per game. To make matters worse they are the 31st ranked Red Zone offense in the league. I don't know about you, but I think that is completely unacceptable with the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball.
Firing Linehan has been a long time coming. The Cowboys flirted with the idea earlier this season during the bye week and should've pulled the trigger then, but for some reason or another decided to let him stick around. They are definitely still paying for that mistake now.
The Cowboys mistake not to replace Linehan could mean yet another early exit in the playoffs, something we have unfortunately become accustomed to. Scoring just 19 points a game isn't going to get them very far, which is truly unfortunate considering the talent they've acquired this season.
Unfortunately, as much as we would love to see Scott Linehan tarred and feathered and run out of town, I just don't see the Cowboys doing that before their season is officially over. But, in no way should he be allowed to retain his position beyond this season. He clearly isn't the answer any longer.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should fire Scott Linehan?
Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern
What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.
Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.
The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.
That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.
With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.
There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.
The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.
Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.
I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance
A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.
It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
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