I see you walking with that extra spring in your step! You’re beaming from ear to ear! And we all know why…
Dallas Cowboys football is back, baby!
The Dallas Cowboys got things started in the 2015 preseason last night against the San Diego Super Chargers (that song is so awesome). It was a fun contest and a great glimpse into what the 2015 season is going to hold for us.
That 2015 season is 30 days away. We’ve been counting down to kickoff here at Inside The Star since 99 days till kickoff with the best Cowboy to wear each corresponding jersey number. The countdown continues today as we, with some Cowboys football in our tummies, discuss the Greatest 30 in Dallas Cowboys History!
The Following Players Have All Worn 30 For The Dallas Cowboys:
It seems fitting that on the day after the Cowboys played what could possibly have been their last game in San Diego (the Chargers are widely speculated to be moving to Los Angeles as early as 2016) that the player we are highlighting was actually offered a contract by them.
He ultimately signed with the Cowboys, don’t get me wrong, but this was a time before the NFL/AFL merger. So after going undrafted in 1965 Daniel Edward Reeves’s services were sought after by both the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers.
During his time at the University of South Carolina Dan Reeves was actually a quarterback. When he got to Dallas it only made sense to play him at… safety? Yes, the great Tom Landry put Reeves in the defensive backfield to see what he was made of.
After training camp injuries decimated the depth of the halfback position it only made sense to take the former quarterback turned safety and hand him the ball! Welcome to the running back position, Dan.
1966: Arrival Of Dan Reeves And The Cowboys
Tom Landry was one of the most innovative people to ever dial up the Xs and Os on a chalkboard. Some of the things that he implemented are still used in the NFL today and will be forever. Some of the things that he implemented… didn’t make a lot of sense.
While he was looking for more speed in the backfield Tom Landry moved future Pro Football hall of Fame cornerback to the spot. When Renfro was injured against the G-Men, Dan Reeves stepped in and everything changed forever.
In 1966 Dan Reeves had 757 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 557 receiving yards, and 8 receiving touchdowns… all career highs. He played valiantly as the Cowboys finally found their form and marched all the way to the NFL Championship Game. The victor would go on to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the first ever Super Bowl, so needless to say there was a lot on the line. The Cowboys ultimately lost to the Green Bay Packers, but their presence in the game cemented their place as one of the elite teams in the National Football League.
Dan Reeves Runs Through The 60s
Number 30 would have a similarly great 1967 as he had 603 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 490 receiving yards, and 6 receiving touchdowns. Dan had two notable games that season as in week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles he ran in a touchdown, caught a pass for a touchdown, and even threw a touchdown! Talk about a hat trick. Reeves also set a team record when he rushed for 4 scores in a single game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Cowboys found themselves once again in the NFL Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers and lost in one of the most iconic games in NFL History… The Ice Bowl.
1968 wasn’t as friendly to Reeves as four games into the season he suffered a right knee injury and missed the rest of the year. This injury, while obviously devastating, is arguably one of the greatest things to ever happen to Dan Reeves. Coach Landry began to utilize Reeves as a player/coach while he molded his new running back corps (which included players like Calvin Hill and Duane Thomas).
Dan Reeves served in his player/coach role from 1968 all the way through the rest of his playing days in Dallas (Reeves retired from playing after the 1972 contest).
As a player he amassed 1,990 rushing yards, 1,693 receiving yards, and 42 total touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys made the playoffs every year while he was on the roster, and he was a member of the first World Champion squad that the Dallas Cowboys fielded in 1971.
In 1977 Dan Reeves was named the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. He had served, as a protégé of Coach Landry’s and this was a move, which, at the time, seemed natural and inevitable. The Cowboys won their second Super Bowl in franchise history that season, giving Dan Reeves his first (and what would be only) ring as a member of a coaching staff.
Reeves would coordinate the Cowboys offense all the way through the 1980 season, before becoming the then youngest head coach in the NFL… taking over the Denver Broncos. Reeves and his staff would come across one of the finest quarterbacks to ever play the game, John Elway, in 1983. Reeves took the Broncos to the Super Bowl for the second, third, and fourth times in franchise history in 1986, 1987, and 1989… losing all three games.
The Giants called upon his services in 1993 where Coach Reeves enjoyed a four year run, but it was in 1997 when he reached the Falcons that he found serious success again. Dan Reeves would take the Falcons to the Super Bowl in his first year as their head coach, the first and only Super Bowl appearance in Atlanta’s history, and ultimately lost the game to his former team… John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
#30: Dan Reeves
Dan Reeves exemplified all of the qualities that people affiliate with Tom Landry. Considering that Reeves served as a coaching apprentice of Landry, it was never shocking to see him have success at a high level.
Dan Reeves the player was quite extraordinary as he was one of the premier running backs on the Dallas Cowboys roster in the early to late 60s. He helped them establish an identity of running the ball, and his contributions as a player/coach were a key element in the Cowboys winning two Super Bowls in the 1970s.
Among all things Dan Reeves is remembered as an outstanding player and an incredible head coach. I implore you to remember Dan Reeves as one more thing – the Greatest 30 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 29 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?
Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.
Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli
El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.
Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.
Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.
Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.
En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.
Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan
Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.
Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.
A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.
Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.
Head Coach Jason Garrett
El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.
Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.
Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.
Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.
Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.
2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch
As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.
It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.
Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.
No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.
This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.
There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.
Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.
Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.
What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?
Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.
Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.
They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?
Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.
Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.
Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.
Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.
Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.
This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.
The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.
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