Año tras año, los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys se sientan a ver a otros equipos hacer todo tipo de movimientos durante la agencia libre en Marzo, y se preguntan: ¿Firmarán los Cowboys a algún agente libre codiciado? ¿Realizarán algún trade por otro jugador? ¿Harán algo sorprendente?
Frecuentemente, la respuesta (para bien o para mal) es no. Por alguna razón, esta administración ha adoptado la filosofía de construir un equipo casi exclusivamente por medio del NFL Draft.
Hasta cierto punto, esto ha sido bueno. Pero llega un momento en el que vemos equipos como los Jaguars o incluso a los Eagles, que han logrado balancear ambas estrategias y han logrado construir un grupo de contribuidores que han sido seleccionados en el draft y otros que han llegado como agentes libres.
Sin embargo, muchas veces hay un malentendido entre aficionados del equipo de la Estrella Solitaria. A veces, se le culpa a esta administración de no querer gastar. Muchas veces ignorando el hecho de que ni siquiera se trata de que no quieran gastar... si no de que, no pueden.
Claro, se merecen la culpa por malas decisiones en contratos y dinero que los puso en esta situación. Algunos contratos como los de Dez Bryant y Tyrone Crawford han afectado a este equipo más de lo que nos damos cuenta.
Comparado con otros años, los $18M que se proyecta que tendrán los Cowboys en el tope salarial parece un número bastante cómodo. Sin embargo, con los movimientos que Dallas tiene que hacer, esos 18 millones pronto no parecerán nada.
Los Cowboys tienen que extender o darle una etiqueta franquicia a DeMarcus Lawrence, lo cual parece lo más conveniente. Pero, sorpresa sorpresa, esa etiqueta franquicia valdrá aproximadamente $17.5M... y no es la única tarea que tendrá Dallas durante este offseason.
Así que este 2018, quizá antes de hacernos la pregunta "¿Firmarán a alguien en la agencia libre los Cowboys?", quizá deberíamos de estar más preocupados con la pregunta: ¿Se podrán quedar a todos sus jugadores?
Definitivamente no será un trabajo fácil, y los comentarios de Stephen Jones respecto a David Irving son prueba de ello.
Hemos hablado y discutido mucho sobre jugadores como el Safety Earl Thomas vistiendo la estrella la próxima temporada. Si llega a estar disponible, tendrá que haber movimientos de parte de los Cowboys para poder perseguir a un agente libre como él.
Lo mismo si deciden buscar un receptor en el mercado en vez de esperar al Draft.
Inevitablemente, eso nos hace pensar en jugadores que podrían ser cortados para crear espacio en el tope salarial. Es por esto que Dez Bryant y su futuro en Dallas ha sido tan discutido. Es por eso que nos preguntamos por el futuro de incluso Cole Beasley.
Y ni siquiera se trata de irnos con jugadores tan importantes, pero ¿qué pasará con Benson Mayowa, Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford?
Si los Cowboys no están dispuestos a hacer este tipo de movimientos drásticos, no sucederán cosas en Marzo. Y será otro año de ver a jugadores salir por la puerta principal, y tiempo de esperar a Abril para ver caras nuevas en Dallas.
Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern
What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.
Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.
The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.
That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.
With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.
There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.
The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.
Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.
I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance
A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.
It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?
Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.
It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.
Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.
Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.
This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.
Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.
Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."
Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.
It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.
Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.
Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC
2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.
Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.
The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.
Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.
The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.
For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.
Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.
For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.
Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?
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