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Cowboys Rout Dolphins: Romo Returns, Prescott Scores 28

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Roll Dolphins in Romo's Return, Dak Prescott Accounts for 4 TDs

The Dallas Cowboys returned home to AT&T Stadium tonight, looking to put a good showing in front of their home fans in their second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. Dak Prescott was once again up for the challenge, as his dazzling performance included four touchdowns - two in the air and another two on the ground - culminating in a 41 to 14 blowout win for the Cowboys.

Before we saw Prescott, Cowboys Nation was greeted with the return of Tony Romo. Romo moved the ball well on Dallas' opening drive, but three separate holding penalties ultimately ended the drive with a punt. Big plays from Darius Jackson and Cole Beasley were taken away from the Cowboys, whose defense would make quick work of the Dolphins on their initial drive in order to get the ball right back into Romo's hands.

Three plays after a Tyrone Crawford third down sack, Romo was back out on the field zipping passes to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Working with good field position, these plays put the Cowboys past midfield, where Alfred Morris was able to finish off the drive.

From 15 yards out, Morris cut past left tackle Chaz Green and into the end zone to put the Dallas Cowboys ahead 7-0. This would be all for Tony Romo in his 2016 debut, as he looked sharp on this 6 play drive that covered 72 yards.

Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins looked prime to answer the Cowboys' scoring march on the ensuing possession, but Rod Marinelli's defense would tighten up in the red zone thanks to Morris Claiborne.

The confident corner got his hands on two passes, ending Miami's drive with a pass breakup in the back of the end zone on fourth down. The stop brought out electrifying rookie Dak Prescott, backed up near his own goal line.

Naturally, Prescott was able to rely on his offensive line and running game, while making some big time throws of his own, as he calmly drove the Cowboys 95 yards for a touchdown. Prescott once again hooked up with Dez Bryant in the end zone, as Bryant's 28 yard score put the Cowboys ahead 14-0.

After threatening for a touchdown on their first offensive drive, the Dolphins answered this drive by Dak with a touchdown of their own. On this drive, the Dallas defensive line failed to create much pressure.

When they did, it was Ryan Russell screaming off the edge, and unfortunately getting called for a roughing the passer penalty that merely extended the touchdown drive. Tannehill hit Kenny Stills for what would be his first of two touchdowns from 13 yards out to put the Dolphins on the board.

The Cowboys' starters would exit after this drive, once again leaving the game with the lead. Working with the second team offensive unit, Prescott would watch Alfred Morris continue to run through the Miami defense with ease before having a touchdown rush called back. Taking matters into his own hands, Prescott timed a perfect fade pass to Brice Butler, who leaped up for the acrobatic catch in the front of the end zone.

Butler's acrobatics drew an offensive pass interference call, leaving Dak just one more option. Prescott escaped the pocket to his right and bolted up the field for his first career rushing touchdown - scampering in from 20 yards out.

Kenny Stills and the Dolphins would once again answer with a touchdown, as the Cowboys' second team defense took the field, but the spotlight continued to sign on Dak Prescott. On the seventh drive of his Cowboys career, the Cowboys put up points for the sixth time, as Dan Bailey nailed a 51 yard field goal to extend the lead to 24-14. Bailey would add another field goal before the half, as Shaneil Jenkins used his long arms to force a fumble and give the Dallas defense another turnover.

Darius Jackson was unable to punch the ball in on two carries, but the Cowboys hit the locker room with a 27-14 halftime lead over the Dolphins.

In the second half, with Cowboys Nation still buzzing about Prescott, the Cowboys' defense picked up where they left off to preserve the lead. Another Jenkins play behind the line of scrimmage gave the ball right back to Dak at the start of the third quarter following a Miami punt, and Prescott needed just two throws to Brice Butler to put up more points.

First connecting for 58 yards, Prescott looked for Butler on the very next play of the drive, finding him in the end zone to put Dallas ahead 34-14. Prescott would later call his own number for one final Cowboys' touchdown, as a Vince Mayle blocked punt set up a one-yard QB sneak.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/766843480068886528

His fourth touchdown of the night helped him steal the show once again, as the Cowboys came away with the decisive victory at home. They looked mostly sharp while doing so, and more importantly moved onto week 3 with no major injuries.

Linebacker Mark Nzeocha did leave the game in the first half with an Achilles injury and did not return, but it did not look overly serious. We will keep you updated on any injury news throughout the week as the Cowboys will be heading to Seattle to face the Seahawks on Friday. 

Until then, share your thoughts on the Cowboys' first win of 2016 with a comment below! Let us know what you liked, what you didn't like, and what you need to see leading up to week 3!

For more, also make sure you check out Staff Writer RJ Ochoa's post game edition of the RJ Ochoa Show, as Inside The Star Staff Writer Jess Haynie will join RJ to break down everything we saw from tonight's action. 

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Rout Dolphins: Romo Returns, Prescott Scores 28" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, 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 wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Dallas Cowboys

Could Cowboys Have Another “Ezekiel Elliott vs. Jalen Ramsey” Debate?

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Ramsey

The debate over "Ezekiel Elliott vs. Jalen Ramsey" for from the 2016 NFL Draft has never really stopped in Dallas. From before that draft until now, Cowboys fans still argue over which player the team should have taken. For the team, could they face that question again in the next few years?

A little over three years ago, the Cowboys drafted Elliott with the fourth-overall pick. In so doing, they also snubbed Ramsey; the cornerback expected to become a Cowboy and wound up going with the fifth pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Where you stand on this issue likely has a lot to do with how you value running backs. Some argued in 2016, and still do, that no RB is worth that high of a pick or paying top dollar for in future years. You've seen plenty of those opinions this offseason as talk of a long-term contract extension for Elliott has heated up.

Those same folks would have loved for Dallas to take Jalen Ramsey, who instantly became one of the NFL's top corners. And in 2021, with both players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, they would probably rather see the Cowboys let Elliott walk away and use that money to add an elite player at a position like cornerback.

We mention Ramsey here because of his very public feud with Jacksonville over his contract. The team reportedly informed him they would wait until next year to do a long-term extension, and Ramsey made it known through social media that he was going to drive the price up. Given his known issues with Jaguars' VP Tom Coughlin, it could lead to a parting of ways.

If  Jalen Ramsey hit the open market, and still want to be a Cowboy, could the CB end up in Dallas after all?

Ezekiel Elliott Already Has Second Rushing Title Locked Down

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Let's hypothesize that both Ezekiel Elliott and Jalen Ramsey have to play 2020 on their fifth-year options. Now the Cowboys are having to decide if they want give Zeke a long-term deal, the franchise tag, or just let him go.

How does the prospect of potentially signing Ramsey, or some other elite talent at another position, sway Dallas' thinking? Could they decide that the best bang for their buck is to spend roughly $15 million per year at RB or at CB, OT, or somewhere else?

The Cowboys already have a Pro Bowl corner in Byron Jones but there's still a lot of uncertainty at the other starting position. Neither Chidobe Awuzie or Jourdan Lewis have been consistent enough and both will have expiring contracts in 2021.

Ezekiel Elliott will turn 26 that year. He will have five seasons of workhorse mileage. And this is the same Cowboys team that decided to let DeMarco Murray walk away a few years ago.

Of course, Elliott trumps Murray in almost every way. He's been elite every season so far, not just one, and has been far more durable. Assuming personal conduct issues don't remain a problem, Zeke will be much harder to let go of than DeMarco was.

However, the salary cap forces teams to think about the entire roster when making personnel decisions. Even if you can justify paying Elliott huge money, that means less for someone else. And even if it makes sense for a year or two, what about when Zeke is creeping closer to 30 years old?

Jalen Ramsey

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey

Again, I mentioned Ramsey here because of the intrigue with his contract situation in Jacksonville and connection to Dallas from the 2016 draft. It would be quite ironic if the Cowboys, five years later, were again having to decide between the same two players.

But Jalen exemplifies a greater issue that Dallas faces in the coming years. Does it make sense to tie up so much money at running back and weaken yourself at other positions?

While RBs as special as Ezekiel Elliott don't grow on trees, it's still one of the easiest positions to fill. Assuming the Cowboys still have one of the NFL's top offensive lines in a few years, they will be tempted to try and get solid rushing production with a much cheaper ball carrier.

When Dallas let DeMarco Murray go and then drafted Ezekiel Elliott a year later, some thought it could be the start of a new trend in roster management. Draft a RB high, get 4-5 years out of him, and then let somebody else pay him the big money. Rinse and repeat.

But then Zeke came along and has been the stuff of legends. If he has a long-term career in Dallas, he will be right there with Emmitt and Dorsett in the top-three of all time Cowboys running backs.

Elliott isn't just highly productive but brings personality and excitement. Guys like that are hard to let go of; they are as valuable for marketing as they are on the field.

That said, a lot can change in the next year or two. More issues with the league office, or a major injury, could have a dramatic effect on how we see Elliott's long-term value. It may make the decision much easier.

But assuming Zeke remains as valuable as ever, the Dallas Cowboys could be facing another major quandary between the running back and other elite players like Jalen Ramsey. What most helps the team win, and what has the most value over multiple seasons?

Hopefully, Ezekiel Elliott keeps playing well enough to keep the debate going.



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Cowboys OT Mitch Hyatt is an Undrafted Rookie to Watch

Jess Haynie

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Mitch Hyatt

Going undrafted is hardly a death blow to a player's hopes of making it into the NFL. We've seen many examples of players who have lengthy careers despite humble beginnings, and plenty of them happened right here in Dallas. Could offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt be the next undrafted success story for the Cowboys?

Hyatt just finished his college career at Clemson as a four-year starter, two-time national champion, and two-time All-American. While not an elite draft prospect, many had Mitch rated as at least a 5th-7th round pick. His going undrafted was a surprise.

While he measures with good size at 6'5" and a little over 300 lbs., Hyatt lacks upper body strength. But he's overcome that deficiency through the years with work ethic, motor, and smarts.

For the Cowboys, it's a lot easier to help a guy gain strength than it is to try and improve motivation or intelligence.

Dallas was not the only team interested in Mitch Hyatt once he hit free agency. But from the rookie's own lips, he didn't have a hard decision to make.

“'I received a fair amount of calls. It was a pretty chaotic five to 10 minutes for me,'” Hyatt said. “'I had a whole bunch of people in my ear. But I knew what kind of team the Cowboys were, I knew what they were about.'”

Whether it was the reputation of the Cowboys organization, its vaunted offensive line, or the chance to work with Coach Marc Colombo, Hyatt was clearly drawn to Dallas. Another reason for that may have been the perceived opportunity to make the roster.

The Cowboys seem to already be preparing for life without La'el Collins in 2020, when Collins is set to hit free agency. They gave Cam Fleming a two-year deal which keeps him through next year, plus drafted Connor McGovern in the third round of the 2019 draft. It suggests Dallas isn't planning to pay La'l the significant money he should demand.

If Fleming gets promoted to the starting job at right tackle, that would leave a vacancy for swing tackle in 2020. Mitch Hyatt could be one of Dallas' options for that role.

Even if the Cowboys don't keep Hyatt on the 53-man roster in 2019, they will likely try to put him on the practice squad. Ideally, a year of physical development there will make him a much stronger candidate for the 2020 season.

Of course, the reason we know those undrafted success stories so well is because they aren't typical. The odds are against Mitch Hyatt having any NFL career, but his collegiate success and intangibles speak to a guy who's worth taking a chance on.

If it works out, credit the Cowboys for continuing the tradition of Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jeff Heath, and other undrafted players who became significant contributors.



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Could CB Michael Jackson Prove To Be Cowboys Best Value Pick?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could CB Michael Jackson Prove To Be Cowboys Best Value Pick?
Melina Vastola / USA TODAY Sports

Looking back to the third day of the 2019 NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys, running backs Tony Pollard and Mike Weber are the most discussed players among fans and analysts. The front office made some pretty promising selections in the late rounds that could have important roles on the team in the near future. While many thought the Cowboys would be quick to add a rookie safety, it wasn't until the fifth round that the team drafted a defensive back, and it wasn't even a safety. Kris Richard got his guy Michael Jackson, from the Miami Hurricanes.

A few weeks apart from training camp, the 6-1 cornerback has been overlooked by many fans. Although the team got plenty of quality players in the late rounds, Jackson might end up being the best value pick when we look back to this rookie class a year from now.

In college, Jackson started 23 games between 2017 and 2018 as he racked up four interceptions and 10 pass deflections. He seems just like the kind of guy we know DB Coach Kris Richard loves. A tall, long, press cornerback with pretty solid range. Jackson is far from a player ready to start in the NFL, but Richard will have a lot of raw potential to work with.

Michael Jackson

CB Michael Jackson

When the former Seahawks defensive coordinator joined the Cowboys, he let it be known that he saw a lot of potential on Byron Jones. The 2015 first round pick's career was turned around after last season, when the team finally stopped moving Jones around the defensive backfield. As a full-time corner, Jones went on to become a second-team All-Pro last year.

While it would be unfair to compare Jones and Jackson, both of them arrived to the NFL with very different expectations, I can't help but wonder how far can Richard take the Miami product. Although it wasn't discussed as much, cornerback was an important need for the team because of a lack of depth and the uncertainty surrounding Jones' future on the team.

After an impressive 2018 season, extending Jones will be a huge challenge for the Cowboys front office. After all, there's a lot of homegrown talent due for big paydays. Who knows if when the day comes, the team will have what it takes to keep Jones in Dallas. Not to mention, Anthony Brown is entering his contract year. A solid nickel corner for the Cowboys could be gone, leaving Kris Richard's unit with very little depth.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, Michael Jackson has the size and potential to play in any spot in the secondary, giving Richard the chance to develop him at the position he wishes. After all, Richard will be in no hurry to get Jackson on the field. It's tough to imagine Jackson getting an important role for the upcoming season, but he could certainly get a few snaps throughout the year. Having said that, it's in the long run that the All-ACC second-team CB can truly prove his worth.

In an ideal world, the Cowboys would keep their current CB but the cold, hard truth is NFL teams can't keep all of their players all the time. Jackson might have to eventually step up to an important spot on the defense. If Kris Richard develops him properly, Dallas won't be that concerned about a couple of their CBs potentially leaving. We'll see if Michael Jackson is ready when his name is called.

Tell me what you think about "Could CB Michael Jackson Prove To Be Cowboys Best Value Pick?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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