This is the last Friday that we will have to endure without the NFL in our lives for the rest of 2015. Let that sink in.
The footballiest time of the year is on the horizon and it’s a great time to be alive. The Dallas Cowboys kick off their season next Sunday at home against the New York Giants. How many days away is that exactly? Tony! Tell us!
Thanks, Romo. I can’t wait to try a crownie or two, or seventeen, in 9 days.
That’s right, baby. 9 days. SINGLE DIGITS.
Our Countdown To Kickoff series here at Inside The Star has reviewed the Greatest Cowboys to wear each jersey number. We started 90 days ago with #99 so if you have some time on your hands (like 18 hours) go back and read them all! I’ll share my crownies with you.
I hope you practiced your spin move. We’re about to get going with the Greatest 9 in Dallas Cowboys History. Let’s roll.
The Following Players Have All Worn 9 For The Dallas Cowboys:
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game!” That’s why we’re all here, right? That’s why we lift all them weights. We spend each and every season believing that this is the year. This is our time.
The Greatest #9 in Dallas Cowboys History has played each and every snap of his career with a sense of greatness that exemplifies that exact hunger and drive. He has played not just as if this is the year, but also as if this snap, as if this throw, as if this is the moment.
He has given us his absolute all.
The next time that you see the Dallas Cowboys on a football field it will be for real. Games will count, statistics will be recorded, and the journey will officially begin towards Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California.
When the game is over and confetti rains down in Santa Clara, Jim Nantz is going to hand over the Vince Lombardi Trophy… to the Greatest 9 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Do you remember what you were doing on October 23rd, 2006? Let me remind you.
“Romo! Romo! Romo!”
The chants were deafening within Texas Stadium as the Dallas Cowboys trotted to the locker room at halftime on Monday night against the New York Giants. This was Monday Night Football. The New York Giants were in OUR house. The house of the Dallas Cowboys. Where we demand excellence.
The lives of each and every Dallas Cowboys fan were made better at halftime when then Head Coach Bill Parcells (now Pro Football Hall of Famer, mind you) decided to pull quarterback Drew Bledsoe in favor of Antonio Ramiro Romo.
Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2003, Tony Romo was relatively unknown. After failing to get drafted, two other Eastern Illinois alumni showed some interest in Romo: Mike Shanahan, then Head Coach of the Denver Broncos, and Sean Payton, then Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Romo felt that he had the best shot to make the Cowboys roster so he packed his bags and set sail for Dallas.
Tony entered that 2006 Monday Night Game against the Giants the same way that he runs out on the field today, with sheer joy and love for the game. That’s what has made Romo special all of these years, he plays the game the way that we all wish that we could, and with an attitude that we all wish that we had.
Teach Me How To Romo
The early days of Tony Romo were some of the most incredible games to watch for Dallas Cowboys fans. In his first career start at Texas Stadium he showed us the way that he can lead a team as the Cowboys gave the 9-0 Colts - and eventual Super Bowl XLI Champions, by the way - their first loss of the season.
Oh and a week later he threw for 5 touchdowns on Thanksgiving – no big deal.
Thrilling victories have become a staple of the Cowboy QB. Just a week after tossing those 5 touchdowns Romo went up to the Meadowlands and won a thriller against the G-Men. He has become synonymous with epic games.
In 2007, the Cowboys traveled to Buffalo for another Monday Night contest. Despite throwing 5 interceptions, Romo rallied the team and was able to put up 9 points in the final 24 seconds to squeak out a 25-24 victory. With Tony Romo as your starting quarterback, things are always interesting.
2007, St. Louis Rams, you know what play I’m talking about.
Sharing this clip bc Im a fan not because Im trying to get rich from highlight clips. The No Fun League is pulling all these clips off YouTube.
Tony Romo has demonstrated this uncanny ability to make plays when things seem like they’re about to come crashing down. It’s not a skill that can be taught, it’s just being special… and that’s what Romo is.
Consider that Tony Romo went from undrafted rookie to star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. How freaking incredible is that? It’s literally the American Dream.
There is a magic about Romo, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a combination of a lot of things, really.
There’s grit - and Tony Romo is a warrior. The guy suffered broken ribs AND a punctured lung and still came back to rally his team to victory over the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.
How about that time he actually broke his back against the Washington Redskins in 2013 and, with the season on the line, still threw the game-winning touchdown to DeMarco Murray? His will to win is unmatched.
If you’re going to go to battle, Tony Romo can lead you there.
Over the course of the last few seasons in Dallas he has really embodied the “C” that he wears on his chest. Dez Bryant, one of the most passionate players throughout the entire NFL, lays out for Romo. He's the type of quarterback that players want to fight for. He brings out the best in his teammates and raises the overall caliber of play.
As obvious as it is, there is a magic to Romo’s magic. You simply cannot explain some of the plays he makes or how he makes them. Need some proof?
This exhibit is a vintage JJ Watt from 2014, only last year’s Defensive Player of the Year. While he wasn't at the jugs machine catching passes for no reason at all he completely whiffs here when Tony puts on the classic Romo Spin Move.
Not enough for you?
How about when he put the same move on Bruce Irvin one week later?
This pass came on a pivotal 3rd and 20 which kept the drive alive, allowing the Cowboys to put the exclamation point on their signature win of the 2014 regular season.
So much is made about comparing quarterbacks to one another.
Super Bowl Rings, MVP trophies, and passing yard titles are always the determining factors, but I think we should consider something else.
Tony Romo has developed into one of the most dependable quarterbacks in the National Football League. With him under center, you always have a shot. Always.
Excluding 2010 (Romo only started the first 6 games before suffering a season-ending injury), with Tony Romo under center the Dallas Cowboys have never - not one single time - played a game where they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
That’s right, every single game that Tony Romo has ever played for the Dallas Cowboys has mattered. Among all other notable NFL quarterbacks, the same can only be said of Tom Brady and Joe Flacco.
Think about that. You have not once gone Christmas shopping with the Cowboys out of it. That is an incredible gift that Tony Romo has given us over the course of his career. He can never be counted out.
#9: Tony Romo
This era of Dallas Cowboys football will hold a special place in all of our hearts when it is over. Tony Romo has been the epitome of stability for the Dallas Cowboys since he stepped into our lives on the evening of October 23rd, 2006.
Among many, many others… Tony Romo’s Cowboy resume includes:
- 2,743 Completions (2nd in Dallas Cowboys History)
- 33,270 Passing Yards (1st in Dallas Cowboys History)
- 242 Passing Touchdowns (1st in Dallas Cowboys History)
- 257.9 Yards Per Game (1st in Dallas Cowboys History)
- 97.6 Career Passer Rating (2nd in NFL History)
October 23rd falls on a Friday this year, but guess who the Dallas Cowboys play two days later on Sunday? The New York Giants. It will mark the 9-year anniversary of when #9 marched his way into our lives.
When teams win championships there is always a certain magic that surrounds them, things that happen for no reason other than destiny. The Greatest 9 in Dallas Cowboys History, Tony Romo is that magic. This season feels like destiny.
Check back tomorrow to read about the Greatest #8 in Dallas Cowboys History!
2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1
Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.
Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.
Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.
The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.
Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas
Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.
Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.
The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.
Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.
Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial
Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.
Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.
Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.
Pues en Dallas, hoy dos jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.
Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.
Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.
Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.
Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.
Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?
Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.
The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.
The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.
Lock Down the Big Guns
Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.
Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.
As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.
Adding New Talent
One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.
Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.
If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.
Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.
Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.
The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.
As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.
Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.
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