Por fin tenemos una respuesta respecto a la elegibilidad de Ezekiel Elliott. Des Desafortunadamente, no era lo que queríamos escuchar. El corredor de los Dallas Cowboys ha sido suspendido seis juegos por la NFL y después de perder la moción que Zeke y compañía para evitar que perdiera juegos mientras se resolvía su caso, la suspensión comenzará inmediatamente.
Y esta vez, no será como la semana pasada, cuando Elliott terminó jugando después de que el viernes consiguió una restricción administrativa temporal. Esta vez, Elliott no tiene opciones.
Es necesario mencionar que la apelación que perdió el jueves, era una apelación específicamente sobre su elegibilidad en el periodo antes de que se escuche su caso. Intentando evitar que Zeke sufra "daño irreparable." Todavía ni siquiera empieza la apelación del caso real.
Eso será hasta el primero de diciembre. Para entonces, Ezekiel Elliott ya habrá servido cuatro juegos de suspensión.
Para Elliott, ya no hay esperanza de evitar la suspensión que se le fue, en opinión de muchos (incluyéndome), injustamente otorgada al corredor.
Los Cowboys están en una posición en la que casi todos sus juegos son partidos que deben ganar. Con Philadelphia dominando la división 8-1, Dallas necesita todas las victorias para mantenerse con el puesto de comodín que necesitan para entrar a playoffs.
Robarse la división era un reto con Zeke... sin él será casi imposible.
Pero durante los próximos partidos, estoy convencido de que Dak Prescott y compañía encontrarán la manera de mantenerse en la pelea. Los siguientes seis rivales no representan un gran problema como se hubiera pensado al inicio de la temporada.
- Semana 10: @ ATL Falcons
- Semana 11: vs PHI Eagles
- Semana 12: vs WAS Redskins
- Semana 13: @ NY Giants
- Semana 14: vs OAK Raiders
Si hubiera visto ese calendario en la semana uno de la temporada, hubiera temblado de miedo. Pero aparte de los Eagles, no hay un rival en esa lista que realmente de miedo.
Excluyendo a Philadelphia, ninguno de estos equipos tiene un mejor record que 4-4. Ni uno solo tiene récord ganador. Sólo Philadelphia se encuentra con un récord de 8-1, el mejor de la liga.
Y aunque no lo parezca, Dallas es un equipo de elite. Muchas cosas han cambiado para este equipo desde la semana de descanso. Este equipo es contendiente para el campeonato. El reto será entrar a playoffs sin su corredor estrella.
Y los Dallas Cowboys tendrán suficiente para lograrlo.
Para empezar, el comité de corredores con el que cuenta Dallas es bastante profundo. Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden y Rod Smith competirán por los acarreos durante todos los juegos de aquí en adelante.
En lo personal, a pesar de que sé que Morris será el "titular", me encantaría ver a este equipo darle una oportunidad a Rod Smith. No creo que haya un RB con más potencial en el equipo y Smith podría terminar siendo el banca del futuro para los Cowboys.
Dak Prescott está teniendo una temporada completamente diferente a lo que muchos esperaban. Después de hablar todo el año sobre como Prescott tendría una regresión inevitable en su segundo año en la NFL, el QB está jugando a un nivel altísimo.
Va rumbo a los 40 touchdowns totales al terminar la temporada. Es el tercer mariscal de la liga con más anotaciones, incluyendo TDs terrestres. De hecho, Dak tiene una oportunidad de oro para competir por el MVP del año.
Otra de las cosas que ha cambiado radicalmente para los Cowboys, es el juego de la línea ofensiva. Una de las fortalezas más grandes del equipo se estaba convirtiendo en una de las debilidades.
Sin embargo, después de nombrar a Jonathan Cooper como el guardia izquierdo titular del equipo, esta línea se ha acercado al nivel que tenía en el 2016. Entre Cooper y Collins, han encontrado la manera de acoplarse a la mejor línea ofensiva en la NFL.
Mientras es muy fácil fijarnos en como los números de Elliott han mejorado las últimas semanas y pensar "Ezekiel está de vuelta"... es más que justo darle crédito a Cooper por el impacto que ha tenido en el juego terrestre en tan sólo tres juegos que tiene como titular.
Del lado de la defensiva, David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence siguen dominando a líneas oponentes, dándole miedo a los QBs que se enfrentan a los Cowboys. Pero no sólo es la línea defensiva la que esta sorprendiendo.
Sean Lee y Anthony Hitchens han demostrado ser un duo de LBs más que capaz en el campo, e incluso sostuvieron a Kareem Hunt abajo de las 40 yardas por tierra. La secundaria mejora semana tras semana, y falta ver que puede hacer Chidobe Awuzie cuando vuelva de su lesión este domingo.
Sinceramente, creo que los Cowboys tienen un equipo muy fuerte que puede terminar esta racha sin Elliott con una marca ganadora.
Mi predicción es que los Cowboys terminan con un récord de 4-2 durante las próximas seis semanas. Creo que definitivamente perderán contra los Eagles, pues sin Ezekiel Elliott será muy complicado vencer a un equipo que está dominando a la NFL en todos los aspectos del juego. Quizá en la semana 17, veamos otra historia.
No me sorprendería si los Cowboys también pierden contra otros rivales de división, los Washington Redskins.
Dallas batalló contra este equipo a pesar de que cuando se enfrentaron los Redskins estaban plagados de lesiones. Sin Elliott, creo que Washington logra sorprender en un juego de absoluta rivalidad.
No creo que este equipo pierda tres partidos durante este periodo. Y ciertamente, creo que se llevan dos victorias en las últimas semanas de la temporada una vez que Elliott regrese... porque regresará hambriento.
Realmente creo que los Cowboys tienen una oportunidad muy grande de cerrar la temporada dentro de los playoffs. Sin embargo, más vale que Dak Prescott se ponga a la altura de un QB MVP, y se eche el equipo a los hombros.
What’s the Next Move for Cowboys in Free Agency?
After sitting out the first wave of free agency, the Dallas Cowboys finally dipped their toes in the free agent pool and signed linebacker Joe Thomas and wide receiver Deonte Thompson.
Signing these two free agents will be viewed as somewhat insignificant moves by the majority of Cowboys fans, but it does prove that the organization isn't sitting on their hands. In fact, they have been bringing in a number of free agents for visits, but haven't been able to close the deal with any of them as of yet.
We are still about a month away from the start of the 2018 NFL Draft, which means the Dallas Cowboys will more than likely sign a few more free agents. They would like to fill as many holes as possible heading into the draft so that they aren't pigeonholed by any specific position.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the next move the Dallas Cowboys could make in free agency and the positions they could be targeting.
It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are interested in upgrading the safety position. There is a definite hole to fill now that Byron Jones is moving back to cornerback and I wouldn't be surprised if Jeff Heath's job is secure either.
This is why the most popular topic of discussion this offseason has centered on the possible acquisition of Earl Thomas. Unfortunately, the Seattle Seahawks asking price is simply too high and likely means the Thomas and Cowboys union is nothing more than a pipe dream.
But, there are still several free agent safeties who they could show an interest in and could upgrade the position. Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro, and Eric Reid are all still available on the open market and could come in and be immediate upgrades for the Cowboys.
Personally, Tre Boston is the safety I would target if I were the Dallas Cowboys. He had a breakout season in 2017 as a member of the San Diego Chargers in Gus Bradley's defensive scheme. Bradley's scheme is similar to the way Kris Richard will use the Cowboys secondary players.
The Dallas Cowboys have already brought in several offensive lineman free agents, which would indicate they are serious about not only finding a new starting left guard, but adding some much-needed depth. Their lack of depth really hurt them in 2017 and they definitely don't want that to happen again moving forward.
Marcus Martin, Cameron Fleming, and LaAdrian Waddle have all reportedly met with the Dallas Cowboys. Martin and Fleming are currently still free agents, but Waddle recently re-signed with the New England Patriots.
Both Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming makes sense for the Cowboys and would be a welcomed addition to the roster. Martin would likely take over Joe Looney's role as the backup center/guard, but could compete for the starting LG position. Fleming could start at right tackle, but would also be an immediate upgrade at the swing tackle position
There are other options still available, but hopefully something can materialize with Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have enough bodies to deploy along the defensive line if the 2018 season were to start today, but they could definitely stand to upgrade the 1-technique. It's one of the reasons why Vita Vea has been mocked to the Dallas Cowboys as a potential first-round pick on a regular basis.
The Cowboys have shown in the past that they don't particularly value the 1-tech position very highly, which means they will likely be bargain shopping in free agency and possibly wait until the middle rounds to draft one.
There are a few free agent DTs who I believe they should target, Jonathan Hankins and Bennie Logan. Both players would definitely be an upgrade over what the Cowboys deployed last season and probably won't break the bank to acquire.
Unfortunately, they might not be very high on Hankins since he wasn't even on their draft board back in 2013, but he still makes sense nonetheless. I believe they had a third-round grade on Logan however, so they could still be interested in bringing him aboard. Regardless, finding another big-bodied/space eating DT in free agency could be a priority.
The Dallas Cowboys already added some much-needed depth by signing Joe Thomas, but I don't think they should stop there. Thomas is more of a weak side linebacker, but the Cowboys could still definitely use someone to backup the middle and strong side positions behind Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson.
Unfortunately, the linebacker position has been depleted significantly already in free agency. The only option that really makes sense is Navorro Bowman, who the Cowboys showed interested in bringing aboard last season after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers.
If the Dallas Cowboys were somehow able to convince Bowman in signing, then they would likely have already improved not only the depth, but talent from last season. Add another rookie LB at some point in the draft, and the weakness suddenly becomes a strength.
The Cowboys are reported to have an interest in Bowman, but that's as far as it's gone so far. It might be time to make something happen before someone else snatches him up.
Which position or player would you like the Cowboys to target next in free agency?
Sean’s Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Cowboys D
It took some time, but the Dallas Cowboys have their first outside free agent of the offseason, signing Linebacker Joe Thomas to provide depth at a position where Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber have already signed elsewhere.
The fifth-year pro has played exclusively with the Green Bay Packers, but the Cowboys do have some familiarity with Thomas as he spent part of 2015 on their practice squad.
Joe Thomas has served as a core special teams contributor and sub-package LB for the Packers out of South Carolina State, and will now look to bring these services to a Cowboys team in need of play making ability on both defense and special teams.
Using film from this past season, here is Joe Thomas' full scouting report.
LB Joe Thomas: Strengths
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Joe Thomas lined up at all three LB positions for the Packers, taking the majority of his snaps on defense at MIKE or WILL. The WILL position is where Thomas should fit best in Dallas.
Not overly physical with a shorter but square frame, Thomas is a rangy player with light feet and fluid movement ability. Shifting laterally along the line of scrimmage to "pick through trash" is not a problem for Thomas, nor is flipping his hips and running to the football.
It may take Thomas more effort than it should to get in position on most plays, with false steps and late reads being an issue, but once he establishes his sight on the point of attack this is a downhill missile of a player.
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Joe Thomas uses his length well to disengage from blocks and finish off plays, doing a nice job of not allowing blockers into his chest consistently.
With Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith expected to be the Cowboys' primary starters at WILL and MIKE respectively, Thomas could supplement these two physical, well-rounded players extremely well given his athleticism.
LB Joe Thomas: Weaknesses
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There is a reason a player with the raw traits of Joe Thomas goes un-drafted, and in this case it is because of awareness and anticipation issues in Thomas' game.
Far too often on tape, Thomas is forcing himself to recover from false steps against the blockers in front of him. I would have loved to see a player with this movement ability get more clean opportunities to finish at the football, but it was simply not there for Thomas.
When Thomas wasn't late to the ball against the run, he was getting caught flat-footed in space trying to compensate for this reactionary ability. This led to Thomas' fair share of missed tackles, where the LB failed to break down correctly.
Overall, Thomas did a decent job of avoiding blocks and disengaging, and does play with better-than-expected stopping power. The strength and technique to shed blocks was rarely seen though, relying on his quickness to outrun opponents to the spot.
LB Joe Thomas: Summary
This is a player that should help the Dallas Cowboys in two phases of their game this season.
Signed for both 2018 and 2019, the Cowboys have clearly seen enough from their former practice squad linebacker in Green Bay to bring back an athletic ST ace with upside on defense.
Joe Thomas shouldn't be taking Lee or Smith off the field regularly this season, but at his best he will factor into Rod Marinelli's defense on passing downs.
Thomas gives a unit predicated on flowing to the ball even more speed on the field, and is an ideal depth signing with the versatility to cover punts and kickoffs.
Could a Special Coach Help Dez Bryant’s Route-Running?
Dez Bryant's career with the Dallas Cowboys may be in limbo, but that's not stopping him from trying to improve his game and on-field performance.
Bryant will reportedly train with personal wide receivers coach David Robinson, who specializes in route-running, according to reporter Jane Slater of NFL Network. This should come as good news to a lot of Cowboys fans, because Dez Bryant has often been criticized throughout his professional career for his route-running.
If anything, this news should indicate that Dez Bryant is more determined than ever to rebound from his disappointing 2017 season and prove his critics wrong that he is no longer one of the top receivers in the league. I for one am not going to bet against him.
Bryant's work ethic and passion for the game have never been questioned. His desire to be the best is evident anytime you turn on his film, whether it is in a game situation or on the practice field. He takes the "practice like you play" mantra to heart.
Everybody should be encouraged that at this point in his career, Dez Bryant is still looking at ways to improve his game and seek help. Hopefully, working with a well-known receivers coach like David Robinson can take Bryant's game to the next level.
You may not know who David Robinson is (I certainly didn't), but he is well respected around the league and has helped other receivers under his tutelage. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Reed, and even Cowboys former WR Brice Butler have all benefited from Robinson's coaching.
Dez Bryant has always been regarded as one of those types of receivers who is always open regardless how tight the coverage is around him. His ability to go up and snag the ball out of the air is arguably his best trait, but he could become more dangerous if he can create separation on his own with better route-running.
Unfortunately, Bryant is entering the stage in his career where age becomes a factor and some regression is to be expected. This is why improved route-running could improve any deficiencies Bryant maybe dealing with.
But, what exactly will David Robinson be working on with Dez Bryant?
Robinson told Jane Slater that in his workouts with Dez Bryant, he will concentrate on the expansion of Bryant's route tree, shaking defenders at the line of scrimmage, and improving footwork technique to compensate for any natural loss of speed due to age.
I don't know about you, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing how Bryant responds to Robinson's coaching, hopefully still as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
We all know that Bryant's status with the Cowboys is unknown, at least to those of us on the outside looking in, but I don't see him going anywhere in 2018. There just aren't any vet WRs or rookies who I can see replacing his production. Of course, I could be wrong.
One thing is for sure though, Dez Bryant isn't going to sit on his hands while he waits to find out what his future holds.
Do you think improved route-running will help Dez Bryant's game?
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