In three weeks we will have regular season NFL football happening! Isn’t that ridiculously exciting?!
There are three weeks until the Steelers and Patriots game gets going, but an extra 72 hours until the one that really matters. That’s 24 days for all of the math whizzes out there, which means that we are going to continue our Countdown To Kickoff series with the Greatest 24 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Following Players Have All Worn 24 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Marion Barber III
The Dallas Cowboys thought that they addressed the future of the running back position when they found themselves with Julius Jones in the 2004 NFL Draft. It never hurts to have insurance so the Cowboys took a Golden Gopher out of Minnesota in the 4th round of the 2005 draft.
Barber had an interesting rookie year, but he really drew the eye of the NFL in 2006 when even though he only had 654 yards – he had 14 touchdowns. Marion became widely regarded as a goal line type of back that forced his way through tacklers in a barbaric fashion.
Marion The Barbarian
2007 was even kinder to MBIII as even though he didn’t start a single game, he recorded 975 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. The Cowboys enjoyed a lot of success that season, going 13-3, and a big reason why was they wore their opponents down throughout games.
Marion Barber was the reason that the Cowboys wore opponents down as while they were panting with hands on their knees late in the fourth quarter – Marion Barber got stronger. He gained energy as the game went on which made him one of the more incredible running backs at the time.
Marshawn Lynch gets a lot of hype for his style of running, but Marion Barber was just an earlier version of Beast Mode… even wearing the same jersey number. Unfortunately the Barbarian falls short of our Greatest 24 honor, but he is the proud owner of the Greatest 2-Yard Gain in NFL History.
Marion Barber's two yard run against the Patriots
There was a TCU Horned Frog hanging around on the Dallas draft board when the 12th round of the 1991 NFL Draft hit. The cornerback went by the name of Larry Brown and he fought hard to show what he was made of. He impressed everyone so much that he became the first Cowboy rookie to start at corner since Ron Francis in 1987.
From early on Brown showed that he had the goods to play in the NFL as he started 28 games in his first two seasons. That second set of 16 games led to the Cowboys winning Super Bowl XXVII, a game in which Larry had an interception in the second quarter.
Super Bowl XXX MVP
When the 1995 season started the Cowboys were a hot commodity. They had won two out of the last three Super Bowls and were in contention to sign a prize free agent – cornerback Deion Sanders. When Kevin Smith tore his achilles in the first game of the season Sanders became a priority for the team. With Deion’s signing the corner tandem of Brown and Sanders was born.
Deion Sanders is arguably the greatest defensive back to ever live. With talent like that on one side of the field opposing quarterbacks were forced to throw to Brown’s side… and he made them pay. 1995 was Brown’s finest season in the NFL as he reeled in 6 interceptions, returning 2 of them for touchdowns.
When Dallas reached its third Super Bowl in four years the stage was set, win and you’re a bonafide dynasty. Among a team of superstars at all positions, even his own, Larry Brown shined.
He picked off Steeler QB Neil O’Donnell twice in the second half, helping to set up touchdowns that put the game away for the Cowboys.
In fact after each of his interceptions, both times it took the Cowboys offense only two plays to get Emmitt Smith in the endzone.
After the victory was well in hand Larry Brown was named Super Bowl XXX MVP, the first and only cornerback to ever receive the award.
Larry Brown was a great Dallas Cowboy and holds a special place in both franchise and NFL History. Unfortunately there’s just one more corner who outdid him for the Greatest 24 in Dallas Cowboys History nod.
NFL scouts widely regarded Everson Walls as slow when he ran a 4.72 40-yard dash after his career at Grambling State. This caused one of the greatest cornerbacks in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History to go undrafted. Everson was born in Dallas, so fate rolled his way as his hometown Cowboys signed him and gave him a shot in 1981.
Teams may have avoided him on Draft Day, but Everson made himself known immediately as he led the NFL in interceptions… as a rookie! Walls hauled in 11 opposing passes as the Cowboys marched to the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. The game in question resulted in one of the most iconic moments in NFL History, known forevermore as “The Catch”, when Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark over Everson Walls for the go-ahead score.
Walls Of Interceptions
Sometimes after a star rookie season, players taper off. The NFL catches up to them and opposing teams target them more. After leading the NFL in interceptions in his first year… Everson Walls led the NFL in interceptions in his second year! It only took 7 games this time, but it was a strike-shortened season so there was less opportunity overall.
Everson Walls went to back-to-back-to-back Pro Bowls in his first three years as a cornerback in the NFL. It is widely known that corner is the most difficult position to transition to from college to the NFL so for Walls to do this so flawlessly was extraordinary. His First-Team All-Pro selection in 1983 was the cherry on top of a stout first three seasons.
Walls would lead the league in interceptions again in 1985, which made him the first player in NFL History to do so three times, Ed Reed has since done it as well. Within the franchise of the Dallas Cowboys Everson led the team in interceptions 5 times, which is tied for the most with Terrence Newman.
Everson The Teammate
In 2004 former Dallas Cowboys running back Ron Springs’ Type 2 Diabetes had left him in drastic need of a new kidney. His son Shawn Springs, then starting at cornerback for the Washington Redskins, offered to give up his NFL career and volunteered his. Ron refused.
Right around 2006 Everson Walls, Ron Springs’ old teammate and best friend, had had enough. He volunteered his kidney to Ron and refused to take no for an answer. It was the first time that a former U.S. professional athlete had donated an organ to an ex-teammate.
The surgery went off smoothly and Ron was able to continue enjoying the beauties of life until he passed away on May 12th, 2011.
#24: Everson Walls
The number 24 became a nightmare for quarterbacks who had to face it under the watch of Everson Walls. Throughout the 1980s Walls was arguably the most feared cornerback in the entire NFL.
Everson’s 44 career interceptions are second all-time in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History. He entered the NFL with one of the biggest bangs that anyone ever has and he exemplified the teammate aspect of life in everything that he ever did. Everson Walls personified excellence both on and off the field, and he is without a doubt the Greatest 24 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 23 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same
The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East at 1-1, and have a favorable schedule ahead of them. With such an inexperienced roster, early season growing pains were expected, and likely should be still as the team comes off their first win to play in Seattle on Sunday.
Through a season opening clunker in Carolina and hard-earned divisional win against the Giants, the Cowboys have exceeded already high expectations on defense.
With the currently 0-2 Seahawks, Lions, and Texans awaiting Dallas, the time is now for Scott Linehan's offense to hit their stride. It will take more than a five week assessment to determine if the Cowboys are truly playoff contenders for 2018, but it could take even less than that for Cowboys Nation to realize this team is fighting an uphill battle at QB and WR.
Following Dak Prescott's 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin against the Giants, the Cowboys punted on four of their remaining seven drives. The Cowboys did a better job mixing up their early down play calling to remain ahead of the chains for most of the night, but even still their execution was lacking. Finishing three of ten on third downs, the Cowboys didn't sustain the type of originality on offense that earned them an early cushion.
Thankfully, the Cowboys turning back the clock to 2016 on a clinching touchdown drive of 14 plays would be all the defense needed. Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would both convert a pair of first downs on the ground. The Cowboys took a 20-3 lead, and more importantly the game clock down to 5:45 with an eight minute and 23 second march.
As such, the Cowboys offense is an enigma. With the return of Brice Butler, the team is currently carrying seven wide receivers and four tight ends.
On defense, the Cowboys are expecting reinforcements in Xavier Woods, Randy Gregory, and David Irving to further bolster this aggressive, blitzing unit in the coming weeks. For the offense, Dallas must make the most out of the unknown depth they have, without any drastic change in style around the corner.
The Cowboys record under Prescott proves they're at their best when Dak is efficient. The ceiling for a new-look Cowboys offense built for Dak is not as high for this reason. Through just two weeks, it's clear that the Cowboys offense will be as good as the sum of its parts - instead of relying on any individual talents.
Cowboys' record when Dak Prescott ... Doesn't throw an interception: 20-4 Records at least a 100.0 passer rating: 15-1 Commits no turnovers: 18-1
After a strong preseason from rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, the third-round pick has played less than half his team's offensive snaps through two games. Cole Beasley has seemed to regain his connection with Prescott, snagging a team high nine catches so far. Terrance Williams has been a non-factor, and the same is surprisingly said about FA acquisition Allen Hurns.
Regardless of what the Cowboys do over the coming weeks, a few narratives and lingering questions about the team feel evident. With the defense set to tee off against the Seahawks sub par OL this week, Rod Marinelli's unit will still likely not receive the credit it deserves heading into week four.
With the task at hand being maintaining their standing atop the division, the Cowboys must also be out to prove they can sustain success without a consistent passing game.
All of this to effectively say, the Cowboys are going to Seattle expecting to control the game on defense. To finish off Russell Wilson in his home opener (already at 0-2), it will take a sharper performance for a full four quarters on offense too.
A win at the Seahawks might not mean as much as it has in past seasons, but in improving the Cowboys record to 2-1 on the way back to AT&T Stadium, it could be all the confidence they need to understand the NFC East is theirs for the taking while continuing to truly find their identity.
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Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next
Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.
The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.
However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.
As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.
Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.
The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.
The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.
The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.
Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.
If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.
Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.
Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.
Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.
I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.
In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.
Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.
Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.
In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.
If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.
If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.
What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?
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