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Cowboys Road Game in Houston a Chance for Perspective on QB Dak Prescott

Sean Martin



Cowboys Road Game in Houston a Chance for Perspective on QB Dak Prescott 1
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Dallas Cowboys "travel" to Houston this weekend for a Sunday Night Football match up with the Texans. The Cowboys are coming off a win they desperately needed at home against the Lions. Now, they'll get an equally desperate team in the 1-3 Texans, fighting for relevance after managing their first win of 2018 in overtime at the Colts last week. The Texans previously three losses were all by one score, with Quarterback Deshaun Watson doing everything he could despite being sacked 17 times this season.

A similar chapter in Dak Prescott's Cowboys career was written last year, though in different circumstances to Watson's rookie year - lost to an ACL tear after six dazzling games, hardly the 17 game stretch that Prescott carried into the playoffs in 2016.

The week-to-week, or even minute-to-minute nature of the NFL had some Cowboys fans ready to move on from Prescott just three weeks ago when the Cowboys opened their season in miserable fashion at the Panthers. Thankfully, those at The Star making decisions for the Cowboys are much more rational, and the same can be said about the club in Houston.

Difference being, the Texans' faithful are all-in on Watson for year two, and despite coming out of the gates a bit slow he's hardly been the reason Houston is 1-3.

NFL draft fanatics can even reckon back to this soundbite from Watson before the 2017 Draft, where the Clemson prospect jokingly hints that the Cowboys should trade both Prescott and Tony Romo to call his number behind center.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Remember when Deshaun Watson jokingly told the Cowboys to trade Dak Prescott and Tony Romo so that they could draft him?

Quickly approaching his first head-to-head match up with Prescott, Watson can take solace in the job security he's earned on a team that's been a carousel for quarterbacks. Four different QBs have started a game for the Texans since 2016, and ten since 2014.

The same was said about the Cowboys prior to the Romo era, and Dallas seems determined to not let it happen again under Prescott.

QB Dak Prescott Switches Agents Prior to Crucial 2018 Season 1

Dallas Cowboys Owner/GM Jerry Jones, QB Dak Prescott

Dak was able to reward some of the Cowboys faith in him last week by playing one of his most efficient games. The Cowboys ran the ball well, protected Prescott in the pocket, and gutted out a home win. It's these performances that need to be appreciated for Prescott.

While the Texans still have the advantage of being in a developmental stage for their quarterback, making his 11th career start on Sunday night, the Cowboys must hope they continue to see steady progress from Dak.

From a fan that takes pride in keeping the Texans as an afterthought in professional football in Texas (while representing Cowboys Nation from out of state), I urge all of you to enjoy the ride with Prescott. As you've read from me before, "life comes at you fast in the NFL," and it just may be true that Houston is much closer to quarterback mediocrity than the Cowboys.

Saying such a thing in the second half of the season a year ago would have been incredulous. While Watson wasn't playing, Prescott was a shell of himself along with the rest of the Cowboys offense, playing without Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott.

Prior to the Cowboys "burning of Atlanta", Prescott was on pace for 32 touchdowns to just eight picks based on his first eight games. It took Watson just seven career games to turn the ball over eight times, throwing three interceptions against the Seahawks in his final game of 2017.

Should Dak have been left in Seattle after the Cowboys week three loss there, surely some in DFW would be celebrating right up until this upcoming meeting with Watson and the Texans.

Cowboys Road Game in Houston a Chance for Perspective on QB Dak Prescott

For a slew of reasons, many of which having little to do with football, teams around the league envy the Dallas Cowboys. If Prescott and the Cowboys can roll into Houston and emerge at 3-2, dropping the Texans to 1-4, the latest reason out of NRG Stadium may very well be because of Dallas' quarterback.

Imagine that.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Road Game in Houston a Chance for Perspective on QB Dak Prescott" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

1 Comment
  • dallas1966

    Sean, I appreciate your excitement for the Cowboys against the arch rival the Texans .
    My gut feeling is that the Cowboys will come out flat against the Texans, causing the Cowboys to look like the Cowboys who played against the Panthers, and Seahawks. Predictable and no energy . Dak will look like a practice squad player with no potential of being THE franchise quarterback for the Cowboys.
    Looking at how the Cowboys organization has performed under Garrett, in the past. The Cowboys will probably be overwhelmed , and produce below average skill rate. Texans 24 Cowboys 17.
    Cowboys fall to 2-3.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Colts Week 15 Injury Report

Jess Haynie



Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?

The Dallas Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win this week, while the Indianapolis Colts are fighting to stay alive in the AFC wild card race. Only one team can accomplish their goal, and both have some big names on the Week 15 injury report.

We'll begin with the visiting Cowboys, who could be getting at least one star player back while another is already confirmed to miss the game.

Dallas Cowboys

  • TE Geoff Swaim (wrist) - OUT
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - OUT
  • DL David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - Questionable
  • WR Lance Lenoir (illness) - Questionable
  • OT Tyron Smith (neck) - Questionable
  • DE Randy Gregory (personal) - Questionable
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - Questionable

Yes, sadly, Zack Martin will be out tomorrow. The good news is that Connor Williams got the entire week to practice with the starters at right guard. You can read much more about this situation and it's impact on the game here, courtesy of our own Sean Martin.

Also ruled out, as they have been for a while now, are TE Geoff Swaim and DL David Irving.  Swaim is still recovering from wrist surgery but has not been placed on injured reserve, so the team must feel he could be back for the playoffs. Irving could return as soon as next week.

Speaking of returns, Sean Lee may be back on the field this Sunday. It's unknown yet how he'll rotate with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, but Dallas has the luxury of working him in slowly thanks to the play of their young duo.

Tavon Austin could also return this week, creating another new offensive wrinkle. Austin has been injured since the Jacksonville game and has yet to play since the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper. Not only could Tavon do some interesting things in the offense, but he should bring some additional sizzle to special teams.

While appearing on the injury report, Randy Gregory missed practice this week for "family reasons" according to Jason Garrett. He could still play tomorrow.

Indianapolis Colts

  • G Mark Glowinski (ankle) - OUT
  • LB Skai Moore (neck) - OUT
  • S Mike Mitchell (calf) - OUT
  • WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) - Questionable
  • TE Ryan Hewitt (ribs) - Questionable
  • S Clayton Geathers (knee) - Questionable

The big name here is Hilton, the star receiver who missed all practice this week with an ankle injury. Indianapolis has not ruled him out, wanting to give Andrew Luck's favorite target every opportunity to play. But it's not looking good, and a bad ankle could limit Hilton's effectiveness even if he goes.

Also hurt among the passing options is starting TE Ryan Hewitt, but he did practice full on Friday and should go. Not playing, however, is starting right guard Mark Glowinski. That means third-year player Evan Boehm should start, who just joined the team in October.

Indy's hurting at safety this week. Not only did starter Clayton Geathers miss the whole week of practice, but veteran backup Mike Mitchell is already ruled out. The Colts would have to rely on undrafted rookie George Odum if neither plays.

Fun fact before we go; former Cowboy Jihad Ward was picked up by the Colts after Dallas included him in their roster cuts to start the season. However, he landed on injured reserve back in October so won't get a chance at revenge.

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Game Notes

Zack Martin Out, Connor Williams In at Right Guard for Cowboys at Colts

Sean Martin



Zack Martin Out, Connor Williams In at Right Guard for Cowboys at Colts

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line depth will be tested as they play for a chance to clinch the NFC East on Sunday at the Indianapolis Colts. Suffering a knee injury last week against the Eagles, Right Guard Zack Martin will not be able to play. In missing his first career start, rookie Connor Williams rightfully returns to the starting lineup as Martin's replacement.

The 50th overall pick from this year's AT&T Stadium hosted Draft has started eight games this season at left guard. Williams' last start happens to be in the last game Dallas lost, a week nine defeat to the Tennessee Titans. This opened the door for Xavier Su'a-Filo to become something of a sensation for Cowboys Nation as the starting left guard throughout the team's current five game win streak.

David Moore on Twitter

Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin has been ruled out of Sunday's game with a sprained knee. Rookie Connor Williams will start in his place.

Zack Martin being unavailable is hardly how Marc Colombo wants to prepare for the Cowboys first road game since week 11. Having both Su'a-Filo and Williams in the lineup will be valuable for the Cowboys moving forward though, as Williams could earn his job at left guard back from the right side.

While he won't nearly be expected to play at the level of Martin, Williams looked poised coming off the bench against the Eagles and helping the Cowboys offense score their final three touchdowns. Williams was on the field for all three of Amari Cooper's scores, as Dallas rushed for 34 yards on 11 carries with him in the game.

Williams flashed some of the traits that made him a top left tackle prospect out of college, flowing to the second level with ease and creating movement with quick feet at the point of attack. The Cowboys have forced him to remain game ready despite losing his starting position by finding a few emergency snaps for him in recent weeks, as well as special teams looks. The team has every reason to believe Williams is an ascending young player still.

The same cannot be said of Su'a-Filo, who simply has to focus on continuing to hold up at left guard again this week. With each passing win, Su'a-Filo's LG spot has become more of a liability in a Cowboys offense in need of a jump-start late in this 2018 season.

Consistent offensive line play is one of the few things that's clearly hurting the Cowboys as contenders in the NFC behind a stellar defense and game breaking wide receiver.

The Cowboys won't be at full strength against the eighth best rushing defense and 15th ranked passing defense in yards per game. With three separate chances to clinch the NFC East starting at the Colts and extending until the end of the regular season, the Cowboys stand to learn all they need to know about the offensive line that will start in the playoffs.

Martin, who's elevated his game to a new level this season despite this lingering knee injury, should be on track to return when the Cowboys come home to play the Buccaneers in week 16.

Tell us what you think about "Zack Martin Out, Connor Williams In at Right Guard for Cowboys at Colts" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Game Notes

#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone

Kevin Brady



Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.

This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.

In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.

For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.

Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.

Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.

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