The decision by the Dallas Cowboys to re-sign Kellen Moore likely means that he is the backup quarterback to Dak Prescott for 2017. I actually don't have a problem with the move because I doubt there is another QB in the entire NFL that knows offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's offense as well Moore. But, at the same time I believe in creating competition, which led me to the thought of whether or not the Cowboys should take a chance on QB Johnny Manziel?
My fellow Staff Writer, Jess Haynie, wrote an article earlier this week about whether or not the Cowboys should keep looking for a QB talent. If you haven't read it yet, then I definitely recommend it. In the article, he mentions several available free agent QBs that could be of interest to the Dallas Cowboys, but Johnny Manziel wasn't one of them.
You see, like Jess, a lot of people have completely forgotten or written off Manziel ever playing in the NFL again, let alone for the Dallas Cowboys. But, it is really starting to look as if the young troubled QB is serious about resurrecting his career.
At the beginning of March, Manziel rehired his agent Eric Burkhardt. That started a few rumors that there were teams around the NFL that could be interested in bringing him aboard. But, that's all there was were rumors. That is until Ian Rapoport identified via twitter one of Manziel's potential suitors.
FA QB Johnny Manziel has kept a low-profile as he trains for a return. #Saints coach Sean Payton appears to have taken an interest in him.
It's not all that surprising the New Orleans Saints could be one of his suitors with QB Drew Brees getting up there in age. The Saints currently don't have his successor on the team and could probably use an upgrade at the backup QB position as well.
I'm sure by now you're thinking to yourself why should we as Cowboys fans care if the Saints have an interest in Johnny Manziel? Well, I think it all comes back to Owner/GM, Jerry Jones.
Jerry Jones has always had an infatuation with Johnny Manziel. Jones was all set to draft Manziel with the Cowboys first-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Fortunately, that never happened, but you can bet that JJ has been keeping up-to-date with the goings-on involving Manziel. This recent news of the Saints interest in the former Texas A&M star has probably only reignited that fire.
You see, Jerry Jones and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton have a very good relationship with one another. You can bet that if Sean Payton has an interest in Johnny Manziel, then Jerry Jones shares that interest, especially with his prior infatuation.
I think Johnny "Football" is like an itch that Jerry Jones just can't scratch. The only way for Jerry Jones to ever get rid of that pestering itch is to finally add Johnny Manziel to the Cowboys roster and see if the young QB still has any of that magic left in his tank that made him a Heisman Trophy winner.
I'm personally a little intrigued by the idea as long as the Dallas Cowboys protect themselves just in case Johnny Manziel reverts to his partying ways. It would definitely have to be a team friendly/prove it kind of contract, but I think that's what he would likely receive from any team.
I would just like to see what Manziel could do if he actually focused on his craft. I think he would do that with the Cowboys. They have a strong locker room full of leaders and they are all players that hold each other accountable. That could be exactly what he needs.
Manziel hasn't really proven he can be a starter in the NFL. He has only started eight games in his career throwing for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions. But, he would be nothing more than a QB3/scout team player for the Dallas Cowboys and he could create competition for Kellen Moore, possibly becoming the backup to Dak Prescott.
This could be one of those risk/reward situations we have seen the Cowboys take in the past.
Do you think the Cowboys should take a chance on Johnny Manziel?
Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019
It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.
After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.
But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."
The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.
Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).
The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.
This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.
These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.
Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.
Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.
Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations
Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.
The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.
And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.
“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.
Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.
"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com.
Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.
Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.
Can Rookie OL Connor McGovern Compete For A Starting Spot?
Raising eyebrows in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cowboys added Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern to their already deep OL depth chart.
McGovern, who played guard for the Nittany Lions, was reportedly by-far the best player remaining on the Cowboys draft board when they came on the clock in round three. Still, with seemingly more pressing needs yet to be addressed, Dallas' selection of McGovern was certainly a surprise.
When you watch the tape, though, you immediately see what the Cowboys loved about Connor McGovern.
A "plug-and-play" type guard, Connor McGovern is the type of rookie you'd expect to contribute in year one. On many teams he may be a candidate to start at guard or center from the beginning of his rookie season, but here in Dallas, his role for the 2019 season is somewhat in question.
Clearly, being a day two pick, there's no doubt that McGovern will make the Cowboys roster. But can he compete for a starting job?
During OTA's McGovern took reps at both guard and center, pointing towards the possibility of him being the first interior offensive lineman off the bench if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Fellow interior linemen Joe Looney and Xavier Su'a-Filo each contributed in big ways during the 2018 season, however, and will be tough to beat out during camp.
While possible, I would still say it's unlikely. The Cowboys selection of McGovern seems to be more about 2020 and beyond than it is about the 2019 season. With right tackle La'el Collins coming up on a contract year, Dallas might elect to let him walk in free agency, move Williams back to his college position of tackle, and slide McGovern into the left guard slot.
This seems fool-proof in theory, but this many moving parts across the offensive line could spell trouble early on in 2020. Regardless, Connor McGovern's arrival gives Dallas the flexibility to consider all options on their offensive line.
In reality, McGovern strengthened a strength for Dallas, and may be needed to prove himself as early as this Fall if injury issues arise.
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