Como aficionados empedernidos a la NFL y a nuestros Dallas Cowboys, conocemos la situación en Dallas y sabemos que no es fácil. Muchos hemos visto el juego de esta semana contra los Philadelphia Eagles como el juego que tienen que ganar, aunque la diferencia entre ambos equipos es mayor a la que esperábamos.
En retrospectiva, el juego contra los Atlanta Falcons era mucho más importante de lo que llegamos a pensar, pues en este momento los Cowboys están en una situación en la que parece que perder dos juegos más los pondría en un escenario difícil para alcanzar a entrar a los playoffs.
Obviamente, la adversidad para este equipo es enorme.
Como todos sabemos, Ezekiel Elliott está sirviendo su suspensión, Sean Lee sufrió una lesión y se espera que se pierda tres partidos, no sabemos si Tyron Smith jugará, y según reportes, no lo hará... y claro, Dan Bailey continúa lesionado.
No, nada ideal.
Menos aún cuando se preparan para enfrentar a un equipo que ha perdido sólo un juego en la temporada y que se ha visto muy bien en todos los aspectos.
Naturalmente, todos tenemos el recuerdo de reciente del equipo que vimos el domingo pasado en Atlanta... pero ese no será el equipo que veremos en esta edición del Sunday Night Football.
Para los Cowboys, Es Ahora o Nunca
Jason Garrett y compañía se complicaron la temporada después de perder tres de los primeros cinco enfrentamientos de la temporada. Con una línea ofensiva que no encontraba forma de carburar y un grupo de linebackers lesionado, están sentados con un récord de 5-4, casi no hay lugar para equivocaciones de aquí en adelante.
Los Cowboys no pueden cerrar la temporada con menos de 10 victorias si quieren seguir en la pelea.
Y a pesar de ser un juego más que complicado, esto les puede ayudar.
Mientras los Eagles llegan cómodamente a Dallas, con la clara ventaja sobre la división y con el jugador favorito para el MVP, Carson Wentz, los Cowboys tienen que tomar provecho de una cosa...
No sería la primera vez que lo vemos pasar en la NFL. Un equipo que ha tenido una gran temporada se enfrenta contra uno que no es débil, pero que ha tenido semanas difíciles y necesitan una victoria urgentemente y de alguna manera logran sorprender al mundo.
La pregunta es, ¿pueden lograrlo?
Los Cowboys probablemente no tendrán a Tyron Smith este domingo, y todos vimos lo que eso significó para Dak Prescott hace menos de una semana. Chaz Green permitió que Adrian Clayborn terminará la noche con seis capturas.
Esta vez, Byron Bell será el seleccionado para suplir a Smith. Sinceramente, no creo que vaya a hacer un papel genial, pero definitivamente creo que Prescott no sufrirá tanta presión como la semana pasada. Esperen ver muchos cambios como un ala cerrada bloqueando del lado izquierdo casi todo el partido, o incluso los corredores apoyando constantemente el bloqueo de pase.
A pesar de que contra los Falcons, la ausencia que más pesó fue la del LT Tyron Smith, no creo que vaya a ser el caso este fin de semana.
El LB Sean Lee no jugará el domingo, y la verdad esto es lo que más me preocupa. Sin Lee, esta defensiva no es efectiva. La diferencia que hay cuando el #50 está en el campo es increíblemente enorme.
Sobre todo cuando la posición de LBs no es nada profunda y Jaylon Smith ha demostrado una y otra vez que aún no está listo para jugar una gran cantidad de jugadas. Las veces que ha sido efectivo, ha sido porque ha estado presente en menos de la mitad de las jugadas.
En un juego en el que se espera ver a Chidobe Awuzie y a Xavier Woods mucho más, la secundaria tendrá un tiempo difícil frenando el juego aéreo de Philadelphia.
Para que la defensiva pueda ser efectiva, tanto David Irving como DeMarcus Lawrence tienen que tener uno de los mejores juegos del año y lograr presionar a Carson Wentz. La presión al QB será la clave del lado defensivo si los Cowboys quieren irse con la victoria.
Del otro lado del balón, la clave es clara.
El QB de segundo año, Dak Prescott tiene que tener un juego digno de un MVP para ganar este duelo. Aún con un comité de corredores sólidos, creo que Scott Linehan y Jason Garrett tienen que darle la oportunidad a Prescott de que el juego ofensivo dependa de él.
Sinceramente, creo que sería un mejor plan que aferrarse al juego terrestre como ataque principal sin Ezekiel Elliott.
Es un juego difícil, y mi predicción es que Philadelphia se llevará la victoria con un marcador de 27-20. Sin embargo, es la NFL y todo puede pasar.
Este domingo, en "Jerry World", los Dallas Cowboys estarán desesperados por una victoria. El escenario es grande. Sunday Night, rival divisional y en casa... Si los Cowboys consiguen una victoria, le podrían dar la vuelta a su temporada de un momento a otro.
Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN
ESPN has long been considered "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," and for a long time that title was justified. If you wanted your national sports news, where did you turn to but the cable sports channel to watch that day's episode of SportsCenter. But over the last few years, it's become more and more clear that it's "The Worldwide Leader" in name only.
The ratings are dropping and the network has had to make a lot of business decisions as it relates to much of their on-air talent over the last several years. With their latest under 25 starting 22 -- ahem, troll job -- they seem to have finally come to terms that they are basically First Take.
Noah Brown put it best in his reaction to the ESPN "Insider" voting that led to Saquon Barkley being named to the starting 22 ahead of Ezekiel Elliott. Brown, Elliott's teammate when both were at Ohio State University, came to his defense upon seeing the list.
And here is the ESPN list:
43 of our NFL Insiders voted. Here's their best starting roster under the age of 25.
I'm sure there could be debates about different positions on the squad. Personally, quarterback is one where an argument could be made for Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott over DeShaun Watson, but that's for another time.
But to have a rookie, who has never played a down in the NFL ahead of the NFL's league leader in rushing for 2016, Ezekiel Elliott, is laughable.
The fact that they had 43, again I use the quotations, "Insiders" vote on this and Ezekiel Elliott wasn't listed as one of the two running backs just shows you how far they've come as a network.
Let's remember that Ezekiel Elliott has averaged a touchdown a game -- receiving and rushing -- in his 25-game career. No running back has more rushing yards than Elliott does over the last two years, including 2017 league rushing leader, Todd Gurley. No running back has more rushing touchdowns than Elliott's 22 rushing TDs.
Ezekiel Elliott's yards per carry is a healthy 4.63. Todd Gurley sits at 3.93. No player with more than 1,800 rushing yards over the last two years has a better yards per attempt than Ezekiel Elliott.
I get that you'd vote Todd Gurley in there, but to not have Ezekiel Elliott, arguably the game's best running back on your Under 25 starting 22 just makes you look like Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. Not a sports journalism entity worthy of people throwing money at for "Insider" access.
I won't say that I never or will never watch ESPN, because where else am I gonna go for Monday Night Football, Todd Archer, or the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships? When I'm at my father-in-law's, I'll watch SportsCenter first thing in the morning, because it will be on and you don't change another man's television.
"The Worldwide Leader," however, loses credibility when they promote a list like this that has such a glaring omission.
Perhaps, maybe the goal wasn't to put out an accurate list. Maybe the goal was to get us talking about their list, just like when NFL Network releases their Top 100 players list. Like they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.
This troll job from ESPN has certainly gotten them some publicity, or should I say, notoriety.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation
The deadline for reaching an agreement with franchise tagged players came to an end last Monday, in what turned out to be a pretty uneventful day all around the league. No agreement was reached by any of the teams with their respective players, including the Dallas Cowboys and their promising "War Daddy," DeMarcus Lawrence.
But the Cowboys' front office have something to learn in this process that doesn't involve a player of their own. Something that both the front office and Ezekiel Elliott should be keeping a close eye on.
The Pittsburgh Steelers also failed to secure their franchise tagged player: Running Back Le'Veon Bell. Really, no one expected a deal to be reached among the two parties. The 26-year old football super star is asking for too much money, which has led to the Steelers tagging him twice in consecutive years.
Bell, conscious of his abilities on the field, is asking for a lot of money from his football team. In 2018, he's set to earn over $14.5M under the tag. That's more than twice the money that Devonta Freeman averages per year - 8.25 million - who's next on the list of highest paid running backs in the league and the highest paid on a long-term contract.
Just to clarify: Steelers' offer to Le'Veon Bell last year averaged $13.3 million per year. Steelers' offer to him this year averaged $15 million per year. But Bell does not believe he should be paid as a RB; he believes he should be paid as an elite offensive weapon.
Le'Veon, whose agent has said 2018 will likely be his last season playing as a Steeler, was reportedly offered $15M per year but that wasn't enough for him. Bell wants to get paid as an elite offensive weapon, which he is. But it turns out he's also... a running back.
It's a complicated situation and one that, if it turns out well for him in free agency next year, could revolutionize the entire running back market in the NFL. If it doesn't, he might end up regretting passing on the Steelers' offer for he won't easily find that kind of money with a team that seems to be a Super Bowl contender on a yearly basis.
The Dallas Cowboys' priorities will rely on other players during the next couple of years, but that shouldn't keep them from keeping close tabs on these events since they could be dealing with a similar scenario when Ezekiel Elliott's turn for a new deal comes around.
Fairly assuming that the fifth year option on Zeke's contract will be picked up after the 2018 season, locking him up through 2020, it's a problem that will be down the road for the Cowboys. But it will have to be dealt with at some point.
When his time is up, Elliott should undoubtedly be looking to become the highest-paid in the game, but the amount of money he gets will depend on the outcome of this whole Le'Veon-Steelers thing. David Johnson and Todd Gurley will also play an important role in determining the future of the running back market.
While Elliott hasn't been used as a receiving threat during his first two seasons in the league, he's still an elite offensive weapon for the Cowboys. The team's offense is based around Zeke and the running game, so it will make sense if his demands are somewhat similar from those by Bell.
Elliott might even be franchise tagged once or twice by the Cowboys if things get complicated in the future. Unlike DeMarco Murray in 2014, surely they won't be willing to let him walk in free agency once his contract comes to an end.
For now, it won't be just the Cowboys who will be keeping close tabs on this situation, but also Ezekiel Elliott and his agent. Hopefully, both parties will manage to handle things better than what we're seeing right now in Pittsburgh.
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