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Cowboys CTK: 21 Goes Primetime with Deion Sanders

RJ Ochoa

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Happy Dallas Cowboys Day!

That’s right, baby. America’s Team is playing in a 60-minute long game of football this evening. The game will take place at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, which will play host to the most primetime event of the 2015 NFL season… Super Bowl 50.

As we continue our Countdown To Kickoff series with the Greatest 21 in Dallas Cowboys History, the current Dallas Cowboys will hope to ride the waves of success generated by their current 21 into the primetime lights.

Part of that process will happen tonight as the Cowboys look to fine tune their roster and see which players they want to carry into the regular season on their quest to Super Bowl 50. Before that happens we’re going to establish just who is the Greatest 21 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All Worn 21 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • David Adams, RB
  • Dick Daniels, S
  • Doug Dennison, RB
  • James Dixon, WR
  • Glynn Gregory, WR/CB
  • Mark Higgs, RB
  • Carl Howard, CB
  • Mike Jenkins, CB
  • Adam Jones, CB
  • Julius Jones, RB
  • Billy Parks, WR
  • Joseph Randle*, RB
  • Derek Ross, CB
  • Deion Sanders^, CB
  • Lynn Scott, S

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

Deion Sanders

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: 21 Goes Primetime with Deion Sanders

The 1989 NFL Draft gave us the flashiest player to ever enter the NFL - Deion Sanders. The former Florida State Seminole was beginning a professional baseball career with the New York Yankees, but he was also one of the finest cornerback prospects to ever enter the NFL.

At the NFL Combine teams that are considering drafting players conduct interviews with them where they ask a series of questions, regarding football or anything in general. Deion famously would not show up to his interviews with teams not picking in the top 10 because they had “no shot at getting him,” as Deion was surely going in the top five.

The Atlanta Falcons did in fact spend the fifth overall pick on Deion Sanders and the lights of the NFL all gravitated towards its newest star.

Neon Deion

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: 21 Goes Primetime with Deion Sanders 1

Sanders paid off his high price when he returned the first punt that he fielded for a touchdown. That was the thing about Deion, he was so gifted as an overall athlete that he could do far more than just play the corner position.

Deion spent five years in the ATL establishing himself as one of the game’s biggest playmakers. He developed into the most feared corner throughout the league. He was so quick and so athletic that he literally took up an entire half of the field with his coverage.

The San Francisco 49ers signed Deion to a one-year contract entering the 1994 season. He brought his usual greatness as he returned three interceptions for touchdowns that season. One of the greater things about Deion, if you were on the right side of this, was his celebrations down the sideline. After he’d pick you off he would dance his way all to the endzone, high-steppin’ the whole way. He and his wild personality helped the 49ers beat the Cowboys in that NFC Championship Game and win Super Bowl XXIX.

Deion Sweepstakes

Entering the 1995 season Deion Sanders was yet again a free agent. He was the hottest commodity on the market and he was commanding amounts of money that proved that. The Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and San Francisco 49ers all wanted #21 on their roster.

Jerry Jones is a businessman like no other. When starting cornerback Kevin Smith was lost to injury early in the 1995 season, Mr. Jones knew that the acquisition of Deion would now be more than a prize… it became a necessity. Jerry wooed Deion down to Dallas, finally settling on a then-record seven year contract worth $35 million dollars.

Primetime

Deion didn’t make his Cowboy debut until Week 9 of the 1995 season, a game that was played against his original team… the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys trumped Atlanta and began to pick up momentum towards the playoffs.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: 21 Goes Primetime with Deion Sanders 2

Deion only recorded 2 interceptions in the 1995 season, but his effect was certainly felt. In Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers the mere threat of Deion forced Neil O’Donnell elsewhere… and in the direction of Larry Brown, who picked off O’Donnell twice.

Sanders and the Cowboys were champions, and in a Cowboy uniform Deion had developed into an even bigger megastar. Over the course of his career he seemed to have his biggest performances when the lights were brightest and the attention was highest. It was due to this that Deion Sanders generated one of the greatest nicknames in sports history… Primetime.

Primetime was one of the most fun players to watch in his career. He put together 14 interceptions in just 5 years with the Cowboys, but he brought a level of fear to the secondary that influenced the game far beyond any statistic can measure.

21st And Prime

Deion can currently be seen on NFL Network and CBS as he’s a part of the Thursday Night Game crew. His primetime persona has followed him into the tv studio as he’s always got something clever to say. Following all of the games on Sundays he usually picks his top 10 performances of the day and counts them down in his “21st and Prime” segment.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: 21 Goes Primetime with Deion Sanders 3

Deion Sanders is arguably the greatest cornerback to ever live, and while his most impressive run was with the Atlanta Falcons he did the number 21 proudly during his time in Dallas. 21 still has an air of “prime” to it and Cowboy fans everywhere are hoping that Joseph Randle can continue that trend as the Cowboys look to have a superb season with him running the rock.

Primetime was one of the greatest showmen that the NFL has ever seen. He is already a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2011, and will forever be someone that people remember across generations of football. 21 may not be a prime number, but the jersey is… and Deion Sanders is the Greatest 21 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 20 in Dallas Cowboys History is!


Want to share your opinions on who should be featured on our Countdown To Kickoff? Email me at rjochoa@insidethestar.com or Tweet @rjochoa.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys CTK: 21 Goes Primetime with Deion Sanders" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

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Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

It doesn’t take a lot to cause an overreaction in the NFL, and fans and the media alike can be very fickle. Thus, when the Dallas Cowboys were beaten by the Carolina Panthers in week one the discussions surrounding their title credentials began, and even more so because Dak Prescott and his Cowboys offense was only able to score 8 points. He left the stadium still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season and wondering what went wrong.

By all accounts, Prescott wasn’t great, and his quarterback rating of 81.1 reflects that. His performance left the fans concerned and some asserting there were no shades of the Prescott of 2016. Nonetheless, a quarterback has to be helped by his offensive line, and allowing him to get sacked six times shows that improvement is needed up front.

In week 2, against the New York Giants, Prescott started the game with a booming 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavon Austin on the first series of the game. It was a play four whole quarters of football in the making and made fans explode in celebration following the lackluster performance against CAR. Prescott's rating jumped to 95.4 and he wasn't sacked during the contest. Even still, he threw the ball for 10 fewer yards than in week 1 and was 1.5% less on his completion percentage too.

Prescott’s best defense is the Cowboys' lack of stand-out wide receivers. The loss of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant – neither of whom has adequately been replaced – is the biggest cause of this perceived fall from grace. Those departures have undeniably created a problem, but one that many great quarterbacks over the years have managed to overcome.

While the doom and gloom felt by Cowboys Nation after week 1 has abated some with a victory over New York, for a franchise that has enjoyed the often wow-worthy play of Tony Romo, Dak Prescott has a way to go yet, to say the least.

Dak Prescott's Top 10 Plays of the Dallas Cowboys' 2016 Season

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The current situation is difficult for the Cowboys, but there are also psychological mitigations. One of these is their presence in a division with the reigning Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles.

This has long since put the Cowboys on the back foot in the futures betting markets, with an average moneyline price of +210 that makes them the least likely team to win the NFC East division. Unlike betting on individual games themselves, the futures market is a starker reflection of a team's form, rather than the more reactionary moneyline prices on individual games.

Criticism, from experts and fans alike, always intensifies after a defeat, and starting the season off at 1-1 isn't always enough to overcome said criticism. So too will the moneyline price of the Cowboys besting the Eagles lengthen, although the rewards for keeping faith in the Cowboys to do that – if they somehow do – will be all the more greater if they proceed to underachieve.

NFC East Preview 2018 | T2F Podcast

On this episode, we are joined by Jon Cassel, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, to discuss each team in the NFC East (Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles) going into the 2018 season. SUBSCRIBE to T2F for more football content! SUPPORT us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Time2Football Follow us on social media!

Dak Prescott Needs Support Like Never Before

The likes of Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns aren’t going to be reaching the Hall of Fame, but they are more than capable of helping Dallas score more than 8 points in a game. Take away the opening-drive shot from week 2, the only TD pass Dak has thrown in 2018, and the Cowboys scored just 13 points against the Giants. It's hardly confidence inspiring, yet.

There have been numerous points so far where the Prescott of 2016 would have found the receiver, but for whatever reason, those throws just aren’t being made with any consistency right now. That is especially bad considering the breathing room that is given by an elite level running back, which can be found in the form of Ezekiel Elliott.

Zeke got the ball 15 times for 69 yards against CAR and 17 times for 78 yards against NYG, both of which have to be less than he would have liked. Yet, the Panthers were out to stop him, specifically, and the Cowboys offensive line couldn’t cope, which allowed Elliott to lack effectiveness and their quarterback to be put to the ground half a dozen times. The opening drive against the Giants certainly helped alleviate pressure on Prescott, but it's clear that the defense beat the Giants, overall.

These, however, are problems that an offensive coordinator needs to overcome, and Scott Linehan didn’t cover himself in glory either.

Ultimately, above all else, there seems to be a bit of disunity within the offense. The receivers feel unloved, the running backs face a lot of defenders on each play, and the quarterback must improve his accuracy.

These situations are where you need creative play calling and a unique approach.

Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott: Top 5 Moments of The 2016 Cowboys Season

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Spirit of 2016 Can Still Make an Impact

With every defeat, the next game is hugely important, in the mind if not on paper. If the Cowboys can step up and convincingly rack up some wins, then – as ever – it will start to go quiet.

One aspect that sometimes goes overlooked is the defense. Conceding 16 points against Carolina and 13 against New York should usually be more than low enough to secure a win. Thus, if the Cowboys keep up that level of performance, then they should win a lot more games than they lose. But that's because most offenses in the NFL are capable of scoring 20-or-more points a game. With the Cowboys defense performing as they have been thus far, the onus is on the offense the close out games.

There's a reason the quarterback position is regarded far above all others, and Prescott needs to carry the team with him to keep that winning feeling in the Cowboys’ locker room.

He needs to give the opposition’s defensive line more to think about, and make them fear the pass as much as Elliott’s or his own rushing ability. That will give his receivers more confidence and Elliott more space. If his offensive line isn’t doing its job then he and Linehan need to think of ways to get the ball out quickly and on target.

Doom and gloom often surrounds any first loss of a season, but if Prescott and Elliott can work together as they did in their first win of the season, then it’s going to be very hard to beat them, especially if their defense keeps playing to such high standards as they have.

Regardless, the Super Bowl is anything but a lock at this point, and the problems need to be fixed quickly, before "distant" becomes mathematically "impossible."



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Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

Brian Martin

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Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

In a somewhat confusing move, the Dallas Cowboys decided to re-add Wide Receiver Brice Butler to the roster in order to get something more out of the passing game, which to be honest has been pretty putrid in the first two games of the 2018 season. Something needed to be done, but I'm not sure that Butler is the answer.

I'm going to agree with my fellow Staff Writer, Jess Haynie, in saying that the Cowboys decision to reunite with Brice Butler makes no sense. Jess is actually much more polite than I would've been when I initially found out about this transaction. I personally hate the move and I'm not afraid to say it. But ultimately, it wasn't my decision to make and the only thing that really matters here is whether or not Butler can help improve the passing game?

With all of the questions surrounding the Cowboys receivers, Butler's addition just adds another one. Unfortunately, we are two games into the 2018 season and the receiver position still remains the biggest unknown. No one has really stepped up their game and with the exception of Tavon Austin's touchdown catch last week, there hasn't been any big plays in the passing game.

I don't really know how Brice Butler is supposed to improve things. Is he supposed to be the "go to" receiver now? Is he any better than what the Cowboys already have on the roster? Or, will he end up being more of a progress stopper? Like I said, he just adds more questions to be answered.

I for one don't see any upside in adding Butler. Yes, Quarterback Dak Prescott has a bond with him, but nothing ever really materialized there when #19 was here previously. He showed flashes, like he has at all of his stops in the NFL, but his inconsistencies couldn't convince the coaching staff to play him more. So, what's changed?

Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler

The obvious answer here would be the subtraction of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the passing game. That's quite a bit of production missing that has yet to be accounted for. But again, I am still not buying into the Butler addition as a solution.

I know it sounds like I'm slamming Brice Butler pretty hard, but there was a time when I wanted to see him on the field more. Like many of you, the past few seasons I wanted to see him receive a promotion over Terrance Williams, but unfortunately that never happened. But, that was then and this is now.

Personally, I would much rather see Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, or Michael Gallup be worked more into the offensive game plan. I just feel that we have already seen what Brice Butler has to offer and it just wasn't good enough for him to stick around before. It's time to move forward, not back.

There is a reason Butler was a free agent. I mean, he wasn't even good enough to stick with Arizona Cardinals, who probably have more problems at WR than the Cowboys. But who knows? Maybe I'll end up being wrong and he'll finally play up to his true potential and talent. Wouldn't that be great?

Now, this is just one person's opinion, but I just don't see Brice Butler improving the passing game for the Dallas Cowboys. I think the only way that happens is if Dak Prescott reaches the next phase in his development. Until then, I don't see things improving much. But, that's an article for another time.

How do you feel about the Dallas Cowboys reuniting with Brice Butler?



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Despite Seattle’s Record, Sunday Is No Cakewalk For Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: DT David Irving 2

As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a game-ending pick six on national television Monday night, all of Cowboys Nation was suddenly giddy.

Somehow, the team which looked completely lost and inept offensively to open the season was now staring down a chance at a 3-1 start if they could take care of back-to-back winless teams.

The first of those winless foes being the Seattle Seahawks.

Though the last 5 years or so have conditioned us to believe that Seattle is a defensive minded, physical football team, more recent history suggests they’ve fallen off quite a bit. No longer are prime Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor patrolling their secondary, or are waves of top tier defensive linemen cycling through during the game.

Now, the Seahawks are defined by a shaky offensive line, a lack of playmakers on the perimeter, and Russell Wilson hero-ball.

It’s an odd, and typically ineffective formula for winning games, but it’s the one the 0-2 Seahawks are currently stuck with.

Despite all of this, however, Sunday’s game will be an important test for the Cowboys. Though they were favored by 3 points last week, this game is the first time in 2018 that Dallas is truly “expected” to win. Ironically, they come in as Vegas underdogs, but it’s difficult to find informed football analysts who are on Seattle this Sunday.

This, of course, has more to do with how poor Seattle has played to open their season, but they’ve still been incredibly competitive in both losses, losing both games by just one possession.

Going to Seattle and getting a win is a task teams have dreaded for years, even before Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom brought the Seahawks back to relevancy.Earl Thomas, Seahawks

Now when you add in factors such as this being Seattle’s home opener, and that they will be desperately fighting to avoid a potential season-killing 0-3 start, this is shaping up to be a very tough test for the Cowboys.

The young Cowboys need to handle their business the next two weeks and take advantage of 0-2 conference foes. These games will be huge down the stretch for potential playoff tie breakers and give them a chance to “fatten up” before entering the more challenging parts of their schedule.

Like two match ups with the Philadelphia Eagles, and running the rest of the NFC South gauntlet during the later months of the year.



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