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Cowboys Rookies Face New Challenges In Their First Short Week In The NFL

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Short Week Creates New Challenge For Cowboys Rookies

The Dallas Cowboys and Thanksgiving seem to go hand-in-hand. I personally can't remember a Thanksgiving that the Cowboys game wasn't on TV.

This week they take on their division rival, the Washington Redskins, at home at AT&T Stadium. It's a tough matchup featuring two of the best teams in the NFC, but a matchup the Cowboys should win nonetheless.

As fans, we love these Thursday games. It means we don't have to wait an entire week to watch another NFL game. I'm not sure that the players/coaches feel the same way.

It's a quick turnaround, which means the coaches and players have to condense down the  game plan and try to recuperate as quickly as possible. Veteran players in the NFL are more accustomed to preparing for these short weeks, but it creates a new challenge for the rookies who have probably never had to play two games in less than a week's time.

There is no denying that the Dallas Cowboys have been led by their 2016 rookie class, and it's one of the reasons why they have the best record in the NFL.

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are not only two of the best rookies in the entire NFL, but arguably two of the best players at their position.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Rookies Face New Challenges In Their First Short Week In The NFLElliott, with the help of the offensive line, is a dominating force in the NFL and is currently leading the league in rushing. This year's #4 overall draft pick is everything the Cowboys thought he was and possibly more.

Prescott on the other hand has pretty much come out of nowhere, and performed better than anybody could have ever predicted. He shows the poise of a veteran QB and continues to not only break records, but give the Cowboys a chance to win week in and week out.

Elliott and Prescott might be the most well-known rookies from the Cowboys 2016 draft class, but they are not the only ones contributing in a big way.

Anthony Brown, like Prescott, has had to come in and play because of injuries in the secondary. He has done a phenomenal job and looks like a future starter in this league. That's pretty impressive considering he was a sixth round draft pick.

Maliek Collins was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round. He has performed so well that Tyrone Crawford was able to move to defensive end to provide depth and help with the pass rush.

To say that the Cowboys rookies have helped this team win nine consecutive games in a row would be an understatement.

So far, this rookie draft class looks to be one of the best the Cowboys have had in perhaps the last decade. But, this is their first short week in the NFL and it creates a new challenge that they are unaccustomed to.

Last week's game against the Baltimore Ravens was a tough physical game, so it will be really interesting to see how the team is able to bounce back against the Redskins Thursday afternoon, especially the rookies.

Do you think the Cowboys rookies are up to the challenge?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. crysostomos haloftis

    November 22, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    What’s not to trust about any of the rookies in Dallas. They’re all phenomenal players that have contributed to a team 9-1 record, best in football right now. Consecutive wins is different than winning every other game or so like other teams are. These guys are winning back to back games which says a lot more for their contributions and hard work ethics. The Dallas Cowboys are clicking on all cylinders and look unstoppable. I would give the whole team all the credit.

  2. Mario

    November 23, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Man “WE DEM BOYS” sorry that’s all I got….lol

  3. John Williams

    John Williams

    November 23, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I do think they are up to the challenge though I think the offense will come out of the gates slowly again. This Dallas Cowboys offense reminds me a lot of UFC Fighter Anderson Silva. When Anderson was at his peak, nobody could stop him. Typically though for the first minute of his fight, he was feeling his opponent out, gauging the distance, and figuring out their movement. At about the one minute mark, he would strike and it would be all Silva there. That seems to be what this team does on offense. Feel them out, don’t make any mistakes, get an understanding of their blitzes and then attack.

    10-1 going to bed Thursday Night will be pretty sweet.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 23, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      John, I agree. I’m hoping that they don’t come out of the gate slowly. One of these days they’re going to fall behind and not be able to catch up.

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams

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Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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