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

Brian Martin



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.

  • crysostomos haloftis

    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.

  • Mario

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

  • John Williams

    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

      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.

Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



Deonte Thompson

The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.

By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.

While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.

Byron Jones

The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.

Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.

Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.

Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.

Chaz Green

Okay, hear me out.

The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.

Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.

Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.

Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.

La'el Collins

It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.

Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.

Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.

Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.

If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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