I remember back in the day when Bill Parcells was H.C. in Dallas and the revolving door of has-been and never-was quarterbacks was in full swing, Tony Romo looked like just another Dallas QB that wouldn't amount to anything. Then he took over one week against the Giants and came out swinging...
The truth is, we don't know how much longer we can look forward to seeing Romo dazzle us (and opposing defenses) each Sunday, as Inside The Star newcomer Nick Cocchiaro succinctly stated earlier today in his article, Tony Romo: The Harsh Reality I Had To Come To Terms With. Every season, every game brings him closer to the day when he hangs it up for good, and that terrifies me, me and a whole lot of other Cowboys loyalists holding their breath each time he gets hit.
While I have firmly believed the Cowboys should address the quarterback position via the draft... I always thought it would be so Romo could train the young player for a seamless transition in a couple of years. ~ Nick Cocchiaro, InsideTheStar.com
The Cowboys need to plan ahead for something like this. The 'Boys have been through the recycling bin time and time again and come up with bupkis for their efforts.
Kellen Moore, while oddly a huge fan favorite, is not the future of this team. He's barely even a footnote on the 2015 season, let alone the franchise as a whole. His role as a backup isn't even secure, and fans who believe he can somehow finagle a starting gig with the Cowboys are in denial. Plain and simple.
Next season will feature #9 as the starter at QB; there is no doubt about this. The optimism we held throughout the 2015 offseason for a fresh, rested back will be extended, carried over through the 2016 offseason. Romo will continue to proclaim his readiness to play football in 2016 and the offensive scheme and draft strategy will still center around him being the quarterback. Not that there's much contention over that fact, but still.
The pungent aftertaste of a Cowboys team missing its leader is still with us all. Some have hopped on the Moore bandwagon and maintain their stance that the backup spot will be in his capable hands next season, but the team has made it pretty clear that their search for a workable backup is still ongoing, even now.
But whether Kellen Moore or some other veteran is backing up Romo in 2016 is irrelevant. It's not an answer, but merely bides time.
Staff Writers Sean Martin and RJ Ochoa debated the merits of drafting a QB with the #4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (Points for and Points against), and both made good arguments. But considering the history of the position since Troy Aikman retired should give us all pause.
Between Troy Aikman and Tony Romo as starters, we saw one of the worst collections of quarterbacks this league should never see again. In order; Rodney Peete, Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Ryan Leaf, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson, Drew Bledsoe, Kurt Bollinger, Stephen McGee, Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore. That list includes backups who have started. 14 in all, since Aikman retired.
The scariest thing about that is knowing that Troy Aikman didn't just start playing like crap one day, or even one season; it was a gradual decline that everyone saw coming. Yet the Cowboys front office at the time did little to prepare for it.
Ryan Leaf, Rodney Peete, and mid-to-late 2nd-round-pick Quincy Carter were the best they could come up with. None of whom have seen any real action elsewhere since the Cowboys moved on.
And we want to try that again? Absolutely! Call it for what it is; the Cowboys made some horrible draft selections when trying to find a QB after Aikman. And it started a dumpster fire full of 6-10 and 5-11 seasons that we had to endure. But there are some very key differences between the late 90s and early 00s Cowboys and this current one; namely, Stephen Jones, Will McClay, Jason Garrett, and Tony Romo. Yes, Tony Romo is included in that list.
Go back and watch any game from 2015 where Romo wasn't on the field taking snaps and look at where he was, what he was doing. He was on the sidelines coaching up the quarterback in the game, he had a headset on and his Microsoft Surface Pro reviewing plays and communicating with coaches about what was happening on the field; that man was more than just an injured player in 2015. He was an assistant coach doing everything he could to help his team win.
So yeah, he's on the list, because his input on the QBs of this 2016 draft class will be represented in the War Room come April.
They say it's a weak draft class for quarterbacks, 2016, but there are three front-runners out there right now: Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, and Carson Wentz. If you're not familiar with them, check out Senior Analyst Ryan Ratty's film review of each one by click on their names. Given the situation the Cleveland Browns are (always) in at the QB position, and the hiring of a new head coach for 2016, you can likely expect them to take one of either Goff or Lynch ahead of the Cowboys.
There is still a lot to be determined before the draft, as quarterback prospects are rarely graded by on-field performance alone, but two or more of those guys are going to be around at #4 and one may possibly be the best player available on the Cowboys draft board. And people are saying we shouldn't take one of them? Nah. Can't do it.
I can't sit by and watch another painful year of Weeden, Cassel and Moore under center, and I doubt the Cowboys can either. Drafting a QB is a must in 2016.
It's still unclear if the Cowboys are even considering doing that with a top-5 pick, but there's good reason to believe they might. The highest of which being that it's a chance to bring in a very talented guy to learn from Tony Romo, Jason Garrett, and Wade Wilson; some of the best people in the world of professional quarterbacks. And with Will "The Architect" McClay leading the talent evaluations, it's a no-brainer.
It's time for the front office to trust their guys to do their jobs and make the smart, tough choices for the long-term health of this franchise, because Tony Romo isn't going to be around forever.
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should Cowboys Pursue Former Raider Bruce Irvin?
Star Blog4 days ago
Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard?
Star Blog4 days ago
How Cowboys Could Regain a 2019 1st-Round Draft Pick
Player News1 week ago
Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Next Day Rant: Dak Prescott Shows Big Flaws in Big Win
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Is Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones to be Trusted?
Dallas Cowboys14 hours ago
4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator
Star Blog6 days ago
Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time