It can't be a good feeling to know that you're a backup to one of the best players in the NFL. You continually have to prepare as if you're a step away from a larger role, but in the back of your mind know that it may never come. That's the position Cowboys Running Back Darius Jackson and other players around the league find themselves in.
Darius Jackson currently finds himself buried on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart at the running back position. What's worse, Ezekiel Elliott is arguably the best RB in the league and rarely comes off the field. What's even more frustrating for Jackson is that he may be in a no-win situation.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have a pretty good stable of running backs on their roster. Rod Smith proved last season he is capable of being relied upon as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. As things stand right now, he is the favorite to back up Elliott, which leaves very little room for any other RB on the roster.
That means Darius Jackson is in competition with Bo Scarbrough and Tavon Austin for quite possibly the third and last remaining RB roster spot. That's how many the Dallas Cowboys typically carry on their 53-man roster, because they still choose to carry a traditional fullback. It seems likely the Cowboys will continue to carry a fullback on the roster. They sent a 2018 fifth-round draft pick to acquire Jamize Olawale, which means he has a really good chance of sticking around.
That's not good news for Darius Jackson, who is trying to make the Cowboys roster for a second time.
Unfortunately for Jackson, the Cowboys may choose to keep a younger/cheaper player like Scarbrough. He's under contract for at least four years, whereas Jackson only has two years remaining on his current contract.
We all know that money speaks volumes in the NFL. It doesn't always come down to who's the better player, although I believe Jackson is. If the competition is close between Darius Jackson and Bo Scarbrough, I believe the Cowboys would likely go with the rookie.
I actually feel bad for Darius Jackson. I believe he's more than capable of starting in the NFL. At worst, he is a good RB2 for a lot of teams around the league. Unfortunately, he's just had a run of bad luck.
As a rookie, he came in the same draft class as Ezekiel Elliott and found himself in the same situation he does now… buried on the depth chart. He was able to stick around on the active roster for most of his rookie season, but was eventually released and claimed off of waivers by the Cleveland Browns. His bad luck didn't end though, and he sustained a season-ending knee injury before he could get a chance to show what he can do.
While things have come full circle for him, he may be fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you think Darius Jackson is fighting a losing battle with the Cowboys?
Safety Darian Thompson Set to Start in Place of Injured Jeff Heath
Dallas Cowboys Safety Jeff Heath has been a starter for the defense since the beginning of the 2017 season. A streak of 35 games is likely coming to an end for Heath as he's been dealing with a shoulder issue this week. What this means for the Dallas Cowboys is that Darian Thompson, who's been filling in for the Cowboys as Heath's dealt with injuries each of the last couple of weeks, is set to start for the Cowboys this week against the Detroit Lions.
Thomspon, a former third-round draft pick of the New York Giants is finally getting an opportunity to play full-time with the first unit since coming to the Cowboys before the 2018 season. He's primarily been a special teams player as Xavier Woods and Heath have manned the safety spots but has been solid over the last couple of weeks. This will be Thompson's second start of the season after he filled in for Xavier Woods against the Miami Dolphins back in week three.
Against the New York Giants, Thomspon recovered a pivotal fumble that was forced by Xavier Woods that helped turned the tide in that game in the second half. In the Giants game, Thompson played 56% of the snaps and he played 80% of the defensive snaps against the Minnesota Vikings.
He's made some plays over the last couple of weeks piling up two stops per Pro Football Focus. PFF defines a stop as a tackle that prevents a play from gaining enough yardage to be deemed a successful play. In the passing game over the last two games, Thompson's been targeted three times and has only allowed one reception that went for seven yards.
Though he missed a couple of tackles last week against the Vikings, a lot of Dallas Cowboys missed tackles in week 10. Dalvin Cook is one of the more difficult players to get to the ground.
Thompson's challenge this week will come in the passing game against the Detroit Lions plethora of receiving targets. Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard expressed confidence in Thompson's ability to fill in for Heath because of his mental and physical makeup.
While it's intriguing to see what Thompson has to offer, many who follow the team continue to wonder when Donovan Wilson will get the chance to play.
Wilson's preseason was as good as you could hope for from a rookie. He had three interceptions playing part-time snaps in four preseason games. The Cowboys have been in desperate need of a guy who has the knack for making plays on the ball that Donovan Wilson showed in his limited playing time during the preseason.
Thompson, with more years of experience under his belt is the more trusted option right now for the Cowboys and he has an opportunity to carve out a role with another start this week. Though he may not be the safety that we've been clamoring for, this could be a net positive for Dallas this week and moving forward depending on how he plays. How the defense looks with Darian Thompson in the lineup will be one of the big questions facing the Cowboys secondary in this week's matchup with the Detroit Lions.
Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks
The Dallas Cowboys received a bit of bad news today. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.
Connor Williams will have surgery on his knee Tuesday but the hope is he will be able to return after a few weeks. Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely move into the left guard role, which is how the Cowboys handled Williams' absence last year because of a knee... https://t.co/M55eVtYCIJ
Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This is a minor procedure but will keep Williams sidelined for a few weeks. Backup Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is expected to fill in during his absence, just like he did in 2018 when Williams missed time with a knee issue. More to come.
Report: Cowboys’ WR Amari Cooper Expected to Practice Friday
Per Todd Archer from ESPN, Amari Cooper's MRI didn't reveal any structural damage in his knee and was diagnosed with a bruised knee. Cooper's now expected to practice on Friday as the Dallas Cowboys get ready to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
Amari Cooper is expected to practice Friday and play Sunday against Minnesota after an MRI revealed he has a bruised knee, according to a source. Cooper was examined by the team doctors on Thursday and did not practice after being listed as a limited... https://t.co/jNps7m7ThL
This is excellent news for the Dallas Cowboys. Since acquiring Cooper from the Oakland Raiders last year, his presence has made a huge difference. There's been a noticeable difference when Cooper hasn't been in the lineup and they can't replicate his ability on the field in the slightest. He changes everything for Dak Prescott and the passing game.
Cooper's been dealing with minor injuries since training camp and has had to miss time in some games, sitting out nearly all of the loss to the Jets. Getting Cooper back the next week against the Philadelphia Eagles had a huge impact on the outcome of the week seven game. While Michael Gallup's taken a huge step forward in 2019, he hasn't proven to be capable of flying solo as the lead receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Cowboys offense will need to get off to a hot start and click on all cylinders against the Vikings number four ranked defense.
Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper have had an excellent connection in Cooper's now 17 games with the Dallas Cowboys. He's averaging 5.6 receptions for 83.9 yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game. His per 16 game average would be 89 receptions for 1,342 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those are elite numbers in a really good passing game.
The Minnesota Vikings pass defense is only allowing 225 passing yards per game. Against the likes of Julio Jones, Davante Adams, Darren Waller, Allen Robinson, Alshon Jeffrey, Marvin Jones, and Tyreek Hill the Vikings have allowed 8.42 receptions for 93.85 and seven touchdowns.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, and Kansas City Chiefs in three of the last four weeks the Vikings have allowed 291.3 passing yards per game.
Amari Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys passing game could be in for a field day.
Each week, following Amari Cooper's injury status, is one of the most important reports. Getting good news on Cooper heading into the Cowboys final practice of the week on Friday is big news for the Cowboys in this huge NFC matchup.
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