Thursday is one of the better looking days of the week. We’re past the midpoint, tomorrow is Friday, and I have my weekly kickball game tonight so I know exactly the pressure that those LLWS kids are going through.
One thing those kids like to do on social media is a dealio called “Throwback Thursday” where they pay homage to something that happened last year, last month, last week, or two minutes ago with a picture.
Welcome to the Throwback Thursday edition of our Countdown To Kickoff series here at Inside The Star. Today we are throwing it back with the Greatest 17 in Dallas Cowboys History – a player who did his fair share of throwing forward.
The Following Players Have All Worn 17 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys Roster/Staff
The current head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett, wore the number 17 proudly for a few years in the 1990s. While Coach Garrett is an all-around star, today belongs to someone else.
The admittance of the Dallas Cowboys into the National Football League happened a little too late to allow them to participate in the 1960 NFL Draft. Imagine that, becoming an NFL team but not being allowed to participate in the annual drafting of players… how hard would that be?!
Clint Murchison, owner of the Cowboys, had his eye on a former SMU quarterback who he thought could put the right touch on his brand new team. When Murchison signed this fella he didn’t technically have his team yet.
“The contract read, ‘If we get a National Football League franchise, we’d like for you to play quarterback,'" spoken in the words of the Greatest 17 in Dallas Cowboys History… the legendary Don Meredith.
The Original Cowboy
On November 28th, 1959 Don Meredith signed a personal services contract for the would-be Dallas Cowboys. If they happened, he happened.
As fate would have it the Dallas Cowboys officially joined the NFL for competitive play in the 1960 season. Fate also allowed for Eddie Lebaron to get the starting nod at the most important position on the team, making Don the backup for two years.
After splitting time in 1962, Don Meredith became the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in 1963… and put them on the ride of their lives.
Meredith Makes The Cowboys
Don Meredith helped the upstart Cowboys improve year after year starting in 1963. 4 wins in 1963 turned into 5 the next year, and 7 followed in 1965. When the 1966 season hit they were ready to compete at a high level.
The Cowboys rode the arm of Pro Bowler Meredith in 1966 as he passed for 24 touchdowns and a career-high 2,805 yards. They made their way to the NFL Championship Game… the winner of which would advance to the firs ever “Super Bowl.”
Don fought valiantly against Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, throwing for 238 yards and a score, but the Cowboys lost on New Year’s Day, determined to bounce back in 1967.
Fast forward one year and you’d find the Cowboys and Packers squaring off in the NFL Championship Game yet again… at the literally frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The famed “Ice Bowl” saw Meredith and his Cowboys lose yet again, but established Dallas as one of the elite teams in the NFL.
If there were ever a hometown hero, it was Don Meredith. He hailed from Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Texas and played collegiately at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
As a result of his Texas roots, Cowboy fans universally adored Dandy Don. He had an incredible charm about him and was such an outgoing person that people gravitated towards his energy. This energy was apparent on the football field as well; Meredith had a level of grit and toughness that was rarely seen during those days, earning him 3 Pro Bowl nods from 1966-1968.
Don Meredith was the life of the party whether on the field, with the fans, or as it would be later… in the broadcast booth.
Turn Out The Lights
The NFL-AFL merger became official in 1970 and so did Don Meredith’s spot in the broadcast booth for ABC’s Monday Night Football. He worked with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, applying his lighthearted touch to the call which made for legendary broadcasts for fans everywhere.
When a game seemed to be put away Don Meredith would add the cherry on top of another great call with his rendition of a classic Willie Nelson tune.
“Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”
If you watched Monday Night Football in those days then you know that it wasn’t complete until Don Meredith serenaded us in his usual charismatic fashion.
I was at the last game ever at Texas Stadium. They literally turned out the lights, played Meredith’s rendition, and it was one of the most spectacular things that I’ve ever been a part of.
#17: Don Meredith
The Original Cowboy helped the team survive the 1960s and reach a level of respect throughout the National Football League. Don Meredith was one of the more charming football players of his era, leaving his mark on both the game and in the booth. A member of the Ring of Honor (enshrined in 1976), Don Meredith is one of the most revered Dallas Cowboys of all-time.
It is without question, without a single doubt in my mind, and with a twang in my voice that I propose a toast to the Greatest 17 in Dallas Cowboys History - Don Meredith.
Cheers to you, Don. We’ll turn out the lights when the party’s over.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 16 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
How The Tables Have Turned for 2019 Dallas Cowboys
The 2018 season was a two-part tale for the Dallas Cowboys. The first is the story of a mediocre 3-5 team that couldn't get it going offensively. The second part is about a football team that turned its season around, made the playoffs, got a win in the postseason and ultimately lost to the team that ended up representing the NFC in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams.
Surely, 2018 didn't go as planned. The storylines leading to last season are actually very different from the ones we're hearing today. Let's take a look at a few examples of how the tables have turned for the Dallas Cowboys.
The need for a true WR1
Last season, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys preached the philosophy of not needing a #1 wide receiver. While that could've sound encouraging at the time, once the season began the team was proven wrong. They did need a WR1. Fortunately, this season we won't have to worry about it. This year, Dez Bryant shouldn't be a discussion topic among Cowboys' fans.
Amari Cooper is in the house. And he's been pretty good since he started playing with a Star on his helmet. If we have conversations about the WR position, they will not be about who's the #1 guy. With Michael Gallup showing up late in the season, it probably won't be about who is #2 either.
Back on top of the NFC East
Last year, the Dallas Cowboys were not really the favorites to win the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles had just made history by winning their first Super Bowl ever and it seemed like the Cowboys would have to get a wildcard spot to play in January. Now it's the Cowboys back on top after sweeping the Eagles and turning their once 3-5 season around.
That of course, means a tougher schedule next season. However, it's nice to be back on top of the division. These two teams will surely have an intense race for the division title next season. Maybe we even see them both in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Sean Lee's uncertain future
I'm pretty sure no one expected Sean Lee to be considered a potential cap casualty for the 2019 season. Even if he was, it would've probably been anticipating an injury or something like that. No one would've imagined that Leighton Vander Esch would be so good to take Sean Lee's job.
The Cowboys' first round rookie truly earned the starting role as the defense's weak linebacker and he should keep it. With Sean Lee set to return to the field, I'm sure we didn't expect him to be a backup by now. We'll have to wait and see if the Cowboys decide to part ways with him. As a fan, it would certainly be painful. But we can't deny it would be a move that makes sense.
It's a crazy franchise on a crazy league. Who knows how things will go from now on, but the Dallas Cowboys certainly look like a promising team heading into the 2019 offseason. Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue to update you with the latest on your favorite NFL team.
Cowboys en Español: Volviendo a la Idea de Earl Thomas
El año pasado, Earl Thomas fue uno de los temas de conversación más frecuentes para los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys. Después de que los Seattle Seahawks no le dieran su deseada extensión de contrato, Thomas se convirtió en un candidato a ser intercambiado de su equipo. Entre los favoritos estaban los Cowboys, quienes tenían una necesidad en su defensiva secundaria. Ahora que la temporada 2018 llegó a su fin, la misma necesidad por un safety de calidad está presente en Dallas.
Sólo que en esta ocasión, Earl Thomas no está bajo contrato con ningún equipo. Su último momento con el uniforme de los Seahawks fue en un carro de lesiones, donde salía lesionado en dirección a su vestidor. Esto mientras se despedía de su equipo con el dedo de en medio extendido hacia sus entrenadores y compañeros. Así concluyó su temporada y su carrera en Seattle.
Ahora, listo para cumplir los 30 años en mayo, Earl Thomas probará la agencia libre cuando comience en marzo. Y sin lugar a dudas, uno de los equipos candidatos a firmarlo serán los Dallas Cowboys. Es un equipo que a pesar de tener una de las mejores defensivas la temporada pasada, se vería muy beneficiada con la llegada de un profundo del calibre de Thomas.
A pesar de su edad y las lesiones, Thomas continúa siendo uno de los mejores en la liga. Su talento es innegable y tendrá toda la disposición de demostrar lo que vale cuando tome el campo la próxima temporada. Cuando llegue el momento, podríamos ver una guerra de ofertas entre varios equipos de la NFL para llevarse al veterano a sus respectivas ciudades.
La pregunta es: ¿estarán los Dallas Cowboys en esa guerra de ofertas?
Los Cowboys tienen espacio en el tope salarial. Sin embargo, este no durará mucho considerando que DeMarcus Lawrence está esperando su merecida y cara extensión después de jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia en 2018. Además, jugadores que aún están bajo contrato también estarán buscando ofertas este offseason.
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, y Byron Jones están en la lista de quehaceres de la administración. Eso sin mencionar a Cole Beasley, cuyo contrato ya expiró y podría llegar a la agencia libre en marzo.
A pesar de esta complicada situación, los Dallas Cowboys deberían buscar conseguir a Thomas. Siendo sinceros, la defensiva tiene mucho talento y podría mantener su nivel en 2019. Pero hace falta un jugador en la posición de safety para llevar a esta unidad a otro nivel. Un nivel realmente capaz de ganar en postemporada enfrentándose a cualquier tipo de ofensiva. Sin importar que tan explosiva sea. Y además de esto, un jugador que sea capaz de robar el balón y hacer jugadas de impacto constantemente.
Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a Seahawks en temporada regular, Thomas dio un buen ejemplo de esto interceptando en dos ocasiones a la ofensiva de Dak Prescott.
A pasos de un equipo de campeonato, un movimiento agresivo para obtener a Earl Thomas sería algo genial para Dallas. Vimos como los Rams de Los Angeles fueron agresivos al construir su equipo y llegaron hasta el Super Bowl este febrero. Quizá es tiempo de que Jerry Jones y compañía sean igual de agresivos y vayan por ese safety elite que la afición lleva pidiendo desde el offseason del año pasado.
Slot Machine: Amari Cooper in the Slot Could be Even More Dangerous
Amari Cooper was a dangerous man with the Dallas Cowboys after he arrived via trade from the Oakland Raiders last season. He was one of the big reasons why they were able to turn around a season that looked as if it was circling the drain and I don't think anybody would argue the point. But, I think he could be even more dangerous in 2019, especially if Cole Beasley departs via free agency.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you pretty much know the topic of the Cowboys offseason so far has centered around Cole Beasley and his future with the organization. He has been invaluable in Dallas since arriving as an undrafted free agent in 2012, but it's looking more and more as if he could be taking his talents elsewhere in 2019.
With Beasley more than likely moving on, the Cowboys will need to find someone who can replace his production in the passing game, especially in the slot. Everybody assumes Dallas needs to go outside the organization to find that player, but I'm not so sure. I think they already have a wide receiver more than capable of stepping in, and he just so happens to be there first-round draft pick this year.
In case you haven't figured it out already, I'm talking about Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. He has mostly been used as an outside receiver in his professional career, but he does have the skill set and route running ability to be a really dangerous out of the slot. I'm not talking about a full-time move into the slot or anything, just a marginal increase in snaps.
According to Rotounderworld.com, only 12.6% of Amari Cooper's snaps in 2018 were out of the slot. For comparison sake, Cole Beasley's snaps in the slot was 85.9%, the highest of any receiver in the NFL last season. That's a huge difference, not one the Cowboys should try to match with Cooper or any other potential slot WR replacement.
Personally, I'd like to see Cooper's snaps playing out of the slot increased to around 20%. That would put him in Odell Beckham Jr. territory (19.9%), and we all know how difficult he is to cover all over the field. It would likely do the same for Amari Cooper.
I just really like the idea of him having the entire field to work with and the favorable matchup it creates with slot/nickel cornerbacks around the league. Can you imagine opposing defensive coordinators trying to figure out how to contain a player that has the kind of speed and route running ability that Amari Cooper has? They better stock up on Tylenol, because that is a surefire way to get a headache.
This is course is just speculation at this point, especially since we don't know what the Cowboys offense will look like with Kellen Moore taking over the playcalling duties. But if it was me, I'd be doing everything in my power to get the ball in the hands of my best WR, Amari Cooper, and that might mean increasing his snaps out of the slot.
What do you think about using Amari Cooper out of the slot more often in 2019?
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