We are just four Sundays away, people. Four Sundays separate us from the greatest experience of our lives… Dallas Cowboys football.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises throughout the entire NFL. Their players grace the pages of Pro Football History and are regarded as some of the best to ever suit up.
As we continue our Countdown To Kickoff series we look at a player who helped shape both Dallas Cowboys and NFL History during the days that he hit the field. Follow along as we unveil the Greatest 28 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Following Players Have All Worn 28 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
When Dave Campo took a scouting trip to Arizona State University in 1992 he spotted what he would later recount as, “a linebacker who looked like a safety in waiting.” This little nugget of information would come in handy during the draft that year, when in the second round the Dallas Cowboys selected someone who would become a cornerstone player on one of the most elite dynasties ever assembled in NFL History.
The former ASU outside linebacker who was regarded as too small for his position became larger than life at his new one – safety.
Woodson spent the majority of his rookie season in the NFL mostly in on nickel defense and special teams (he actually led the special teams in tackles with 19).
Adjusting to life in the NFL can be tough for a rookie. The game is played at a much higher speed than at the collegiate level, and the toughest position to translate over to has long been considered the cornerback spot. While Darren was only in on certain situations his rookie year he dove in head first during his sophomore season when he became the starting strong safety.
Already coming off of a Super Bowl victory his rookie year, Darren Woodson flourished in the starting role as he and the Cowboys repeated as Champions of the World. The star on Woodson’s helmet shined a little brighter than most as he set a Cowboys franchise record for tackles by a defensive back with 155.
Watch Out For Woody
By 1994 Darren Woodson, aka Woody, was a household name. For starters, he was a Dallas Cowboy. Beyond that Darren was a critical element to the best team in the NFL, and on top of that he was quickly becoming regarded as the best safety in the league.
Darren wasn’t just the best safety in the NFL; he was the best defensive back period. He could stop the run the way that you need your strong safety to, he could drop back into coverage like a stud free safety, but most impressively… Darren would line up in the slot in nickel packages on third downs and cover receivers inside.
There are players who spend their entire NFL careers, and actually their whole lives, trying to become even decent at just one of these positions. Darren Woodson's perfect permeability was the ultimate weapon as he could be lethal from so many different angles.
You know how on those mornings after a particularly great Cowboys victory you feel like a truck hit you? That’s literally how anyone who was ever tackled by Darren Woodson feels all the time.
Darren Woodson laid the wood. Hard.
Since he joined the NFL in 1992 Woodson was immediately recognized as one of the hardest hitting trucks, I mean safeties, in the league. He would just level guys - decimating all of their hopes, dreams, and nervous systems.
Tackle after tackle, victim after victim, Darren’s tackle total grew. One by one the hits were heard around the bowels of Texas Stadium.
The legend of Darren Woodson and his hard hits grew. On October 27th, 2002 – in a game where Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s All-Time Leading Rusher – Darren Woodson joined the record books himself.
Darren Woodson became the Dallas Cowboys All-Time Leader in Tackles.
This is an incredible record as it speaks to many qualities about the individual that holds it. To be a franchise’s leader in tackles obviously requires an incredible amount of skill at the game of football, but it requires levels of sacrifice and durability that only a player of Darren Woodson’s caliber could give.
Woodson would add to his tackle tally and retired with 1,350 – the most in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History.
#28: Darren Woodson - Ring Of Honor Class Of 2015
The career of Darren Woodson is so incredible that it must be honored in proper fashion. Jerry Jones and Co. decided on August 4th, 2015 that Darren Woodson would join the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
The honor is a long time coming for a player with the career resume of Woodson:
- 5 Pro Bowl Selections (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
- 3 First-Team All-Pro Selections (1994, 1995, 1996)
- 3 Super Bowl Victories (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
- 1,350 career tackles… the most in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History
The legend of Darren Woodson will live on forever as future generations of fans will surely still hear the crack of shoulder pads from Woody leveling somebody. The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 90s was built on the offense of the Triplets, but the defensive intensity that Woodson brought each and every play set the tone for that side of the ball.
Football fans can still enjoy Darren Woodson bringing his best to the game. He currently serves as an analyst on ESPN and most recently made an appearance at this year's NFL draft when he announced our second round pick, Randy Gregory out of Nebraska.
We will all celebrate on November 1st when Darren Woodson’s name finally does join the illustrious Ring of Honor. Today, with 28 days until the 2015 season, let us all celebrate the Greatest 28 in Dallas Cowboys History – Darren Woodson.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 27 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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