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Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28

RJ Ochoa

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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:

  • Alvin Blount, RB
  • Norm Granger, RB
  • Felix Jones, RB
  • Robert Steeples*, CB
  • Curtis Stewart, RB
  • Tyson Thompson, RB
  • Darren Woodson, SS

*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.

Darren Woodson

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28

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.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28 1

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.

1,350

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.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28 2

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.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28 3

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.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28 4

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.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28 5

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!


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: New Ring Of Honor Member Darren Woodson Tackles #28" 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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