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Cowboys Trade For DT Jihad Ward Already Paying Off?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Trade For DT Jihad Ward Already Paying Off?
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys uncharacteristically made several offseason trades this year and it has yet to be seen how or if these players can be impactful in 2018. One such trade was met with quite a bit of skepticism and actually angered a lot of Cowboys fans. Sending wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for Jihad Ward was somewhat puzzling, but it looks as if the trade might already be paying off.

Unfortunately, one of the Dallas Cowboys best defensive players will once again have to sit out of the first four games of the 2018 season while serving his suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. David Irving was expected to pick up where he left off last season as one of the best defensive tackles in the league, but will have to wait until Week 5 to find out what he can do.

I don't know if the Dallas Cowboys suspected something like this would happen with Irving once again, but suddenly the trade for Jihad Ward is looking like a brilliant under the radar offseason move.

I know a lot of Cowboys fans were excited to see what Ryan Switzer could do for the offense this season, but the coaching staff never really had a plan in place for him or knew exactly how to use him. There is no question as to how the coaching staff will use Ward. He could end up being one of the better defensive lineman this season.

Jihad Ward

Dallas Cowboys DT Jihad Ward

Jihad Ward has already caught the attention of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff in organized team activities (OTA's) and mandatory minicamp. Coincidentally, he's been playing in place of David Irving at the under tackle position or the three-technique. It's a role he may not relinquish heading into the 2018 season, and quite possibly even when Irving returns from his suspension.

I know it's a little bit early to anoint Jihad Ward, but the fact that as a new addition he's already starting ahead of the likes of Tyrone Crawford and other 3-tech candidates is pretty telling, at least for me.

Once training camp opens up there will be several things I will be paying close attention to, and how Jihad Ward performs will be one of them. He was after all highly thought of by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli a few years ago in the 2016 NFL Draft. Maybe that infatuation will pay off.

I know it still stings a little that Ryan Switzer is no longer with the Cowboys, but Jihad Ward could prove to be the more impactful player this season and beyond.

Do you think the Jihad Ward trade is already paying off for the Cowboys?



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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9 Comments
  • Stet Ross7777

    Mr. Jihad Ward , Very Good Pick Up For Our Defensive Unit …… # Good Job # Keep It Up We Need More ……..

  • David carter

    No. Could’ve drafted a better talent. Also giving up Switzer and then trading for a greasy fingered version of him was stupid. Kid had potential to be obe of the leagues best returners. Brutal trades! Of course mgmt says he’s standing out. They now cowboys nation is furious about the trades. That’s why they keep hyping about Austin too.

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      With both the coaching interviews & D. Irving own, ” I can’t speak on that at this time ” comments,
      It’s certain that all sides knew if his missing in-place criteria for the leagues substance abuse policies he’d missed
      &
      Chances are it was she to his daughters custody issues/court appearances, etc

      Which are understandable if so, but not to excuse him violating the very core if his own welfare that will & have affected his daughters mite too already

      I feel they got ahead this go round
      &
      By the way,,,, ,
      How soon we forget that Ryan Switzer fumbled away the LA Rams game,
      Bobbled several other handles returning kickoffs/punts, etc

      Heck, he just may be just as concerning as Austin
      But make no bones about it, Austin has produced far more as to where there’s no guessing about his NFL ability

      Plus we have other receivers that are also very capable return men also

      So far, so good

      • David carter

        I’m not forgetting at all that switzer had one fumble all season. It’s perfectly natural for a rookie returner to go through some rough patches. He eventually learned to be a little less aggressive and call for a fair catch when warranted. His return avg was impressive. Austin fumbled 3 tines last year and he is a veteran. As for Irving. Of course they knew he missed these tests. All I’m saying is they gave up a promising return man for one with a consistent fumbling problem and a draft pick for a player that was a bust. We could’ve drafted a DT. The draft was loaded with good ones. Instead we gave up a pick for another teams trash. In fact we got two other teams garbage here. Perhaps marinelli can make something of this young man but then again this is probably coach’s last season so he’d better work fast.

        • Sexcdex Xfact

          Listen first off,
          I was not only surprised by the trade, I was pissed
          I loved the Lil Guys flip at the end if the TD punt return against the much hated Redskins
          & saved videos of his backward no hands flip & catch with both, then one handed catch display
          & I never said he fumbled away more than one, I said he also bobbled catches on punt returns

          (the same apparent potential as Austin)

          I also only said be MAY, (not that he did), end up having the exact same having issues as Austin has had
          However
          Ryan also never put up single-game 600 yards receiving, punt return & rushing in college nor has established himself yet as a pro either

          Plus, the main point was to the fact if Dallas having more depth at receiver than defensive interior line & me feeling Dallas having a strong sense of foreknowledge that a probable suspension loomed for Irvin leading to the most unfortunate trade

          This also includes the fact that Dallas’s receivers also double as return specialists too
          No Ryan Switzer’s but very capable

          Finally, coach Marinelli is most dynamic at excelling high round draft picks & greatly elevating mid to lower/undrafted cast offs

          I just agree with the trade via hindsight
          But still degree losing Switzer

  • Daniel Bollman

    Crawford has lost weight to play rde, he’s not going back to 3tech unless it’s on passing downs. Switzer had no chance to make this team with all the WR talent they brought in. Great move by front office, but they probably knew not to trust Irving

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      I love it when I comment prior to reading others comments

      Proves to myself that great minds think alike

      I need now not say that
      I agree

  • Not your goat

    This was a brilliant move. Marinelli is the man for a guy like Ward and it was the best move the Cowboys could have made. The only other options were to trade up above TB and grab Vea which I would have loved but then we lose Williams and probably Gallup and the fortuitous draft to land both those guys as well as LVE and the other would have been taking Bryan at 19 still leaving a hole at LB. When Irving’s ex tweeted “wait till they hear about your failed drug test” i knew as well as any he wasn’t gonna be here for the start of the season, especially after he wasn’t here for mini-camp. You don’t just make something like that up and those tests are done months before they announce the suspension so it wasn’t odd he wasn’t suspended yet, in fact I’m actually expecting this to get worse because I think he failed 2 of them. Irving is a game wrecker but Collins is 1 season removed from a monster rookie season and Ward is a very talented player who could have just needed the right system and a coach to bring it out of him. We will see but like you said this trade is starting to look like a brilliant season saving move. Did you say something about Earl Thomas?

  • Jonathan Young

    I don’t see this as a trade for Ward for Switzer. It’s was that they saw a need for Irving and his possible suspension. I did not like it then and still hate it now. The Raiders wanted Ryan Switzer because of their new special teams coach, formally the Dallas Cowboys special teams coach. Rich Bisaccia wanted Switzer, Dallas should have asked for more than they got. Also in a few years will regret trading him away.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" 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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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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