Down and out? Don’t be. Yesterday, despite a heartbreaking loss in the final :04 seconds of the game, we learned a lot about our Dallas Cowboys. Today, We learned a lot about Tony Romo, and Tomorrow we’ll learn a lot about the team.
It’s not December but the Cowboys kind of looked like it was. Romo throwing 3 interceptions in a game that had huge implications despite being only week 2. Upon further review I’ve learned a lot about Romo, and may even be willing to discredit two of those Interceptions.
For now we’ll take a look at the Good, Bad, and just plain Ugly of this weeks game:
-The Cowboys showed excellent resilience in a game where they could’ve have been emotionally, mentally, and physically depleted. The heart of this team is much better then it was last year, and heart will eventually create deep chemistry which ultimately creates wins.
- Our Rushing Attack featuring Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice was epic. They accounted for over 250 yards of rushing and at times you weren’t able to distinguish some of the backs (I.E. Tashard Choice running over some blue jerseys). If this continues look for dominance to become status quo for the Cowboys.
- Our Rushing defense was top notch, keeping the best running back group under 100 yards total. While doing that the Cowboys were able to consistently put pressure on Eli Manning. These are both upgrades from a week ago.
- The team seems to be improving, perhaps (in theory) if they play like December this month the other months will be smooth as silk? Just trying to give you all a different aspect.
- Orlando Scandrick, who I’ve been a big supporter of, has not been able to impress me at all these last two games. Instead it’s been Mike Jenkins who, to me, has earned the starting role. Scandrick was just sorry on tackling and coverage, once again letting mediocre receivers have huge games.
- Penalties once again were a big part of the game. Though I must say the ref’s were maybe a little too eager. Newman shouldn’t have been called on that pass interference, the ball actually was not catchable. However, Flozell Adams once again amazed me with a obvious trip that was both classless and unsportsmanlike. Not to mention it negated a huge pick up from Patrick Crayton.
- Tony Romo Throws 3 interceptions in the span of one game, again. I will give Romo the Witten interception that was a poor effort on the part of Witten and frankly a circus like accident. Another one that I will give him is the one to Crayton. The coverage was well disguised and it was hard to see. Not escaping me though is that last one near the goal line, when we could’ve just ran the ball and taken control. Romo- I support you and I value you as my teams Quarterback, but keep your eyes open man, don’t force it anymore. Ok, you’re forgiven.
-Derek Eagleton once again completely bashing the cowboys on the site. I mean he has no respect or loyalty to the players of the game. He’s not exactly out there playing. Ok, maybe that didn’t affect the outcome but he still pisses me off.
- Circus like plays were happening that just couldn’t be helped. Like the bobbled catch in the end zone which appeared to be perfect coverage by Newman and Sensabaugh. Also, the deflected pass into the hands of Mario Manningham to put them into field goal range. Just odd man.
This loss can not be contributed to one person. Though Tony did have a bad game, he isn’t the worst quarterback in the league, and though I know you all will petition for his release, I still have faith in him. The pass defense must also be improved, but I think we have the personnel to complete the transformation from last years sorry secondary. Overall, this loss has shown us that we can be beat but we have improved vastly. Next up is the panthers, lets dispose of them and forget this all ever happened.
Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke
It's a debate that has raged on social media for some time now and it likely won't slow down as the offseason progresses and the Dallas Cowboys begin to hand out massive contracts to their top players. Pay Ezekiel Elliott? Pay Byron Jones? If you could only pay one, which would you pay?
This week fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer, Kevin Brady took to Twitter to poll the populous and his results were a bit surprising to me.
if you can only pay one it should be
The results inspired me to see what would happen if I put the same poll on my timeline.
Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?
On Monday, Kevin wrote a piece looking at one of the difficult decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys this offseason or next. If the Cowboys could only extend Byron Jones OR Ezekiel Elliott, who should they choose? Kevin, as am I, is a firm believer in Byron Jones ability and says the Cowboys should extend them, and I agree. But let's look at the other side of the argument.
To begin, the Cowboys should and probably will get both guys contract extensions either this offseason or next. It's not impossible with the cap continuing to increase at a rate of about $8-12 million per year that the Cowboys will have the space to get the deals done that they need to get done. Ezekiel Elliott and Byron Jones included.
Byron Jones settled in nicely at cornerback during his first full season at cornerback and knowing what we know about Jones, he won't be satisfied with a second team All-Pro appearance. Expect him to get better. However, if there's a single player that represents the current identity of the Dallas Cowboys, it's Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys made him the fourth overall pick in 2016 and haven't looked back in their plan to establish the running game. For his career Elliott has averaged 26.9 touches per game over the course of his 40 games.
Here's a look at what Elliott's per game and per 16 game paces look like through the first three seasons of his career.
As you can see from the table above, Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 131.2 total yards per game for his career. In his rookie season he had 1,994 total yards and he sat out the week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cowboys had the NFC and home field advantage locked up. In 2017, Elliott sat out six games and still had nearly 1,000 yards rushing. In 2018, Elliott broke through the 2,000 total yard barrier after seeing a huge increase in his targets and receptions.
Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Dallas Cowboys could have hoped for and more. With the leadership role he's taken with the team, he's a player that leads both vocally and by example. There are few players on the Dallas Cowboys that give as much effort as he does each snap. How many times has it looked like Elliott was about to get dropped for a two or three yard loss only to grind through tackles to pick up a four yard gain? How many times has he bounced off tacklers to get to the first down marker? Ezekiel Elliott is the human personification of dirty yards, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Elliott can't take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Elliott's is a game breaker who threatens the defense every time he steps on the field.
In 2018, Elliott led the NFL in yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. His 949 yards after contact in 2018 would have ranked 13th in the NFL in rushing, which was better than David Johnson's 940 yards rushing last season.
Not many running backs effect a football game like Ezekiel Elliott does.
Few players outside of the quarterback position are as much of a focal point for their offense while being an attention grabber for opposing defenses like Ezekiel Elliott is. In 2018, he saw eight or more men in the box on nearly 25% of his carries in 2018. Some of that is related to the Dallas Cowboys insistence on using two tight ends on 50% of their running plays (per Sharp Football), but the other aspect is related to how much they respect the Dallas Cowboys running game. Since the 2014, the Cowboys have been synonymous with running the football. DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, and now Ezekiel Elliott have been the faces of that running game behind the Cowboys elite offensive line.
Even in a down year for offensive line play from the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott still managed to lead the NFL in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott made the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years as well. Were it not for the railroad job done by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2017, there's a really good chance that Elliott leads the league in rushing three years in a row and that the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs all three seasons.
Sure, the running back position is undervalued in the NFL and rushing yardage can be replaced, but there are intangibles to Elliott's game that are very difficult to replace. His ability to grind out the dirty yards, break big plays, create yards after contact, pass protect, be a threat as a receiver, and his leadership make him a player that is difficult to replace.
Yes, Byron Jones was really good in 2018 and deserves to get paid by the Dallas Cowboys as well, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player on the Cowboys roster who has been as consistent and dominating week in and week out as Ezekiel Elliott has been over the last three years.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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