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Cowboys Under December Siege, Again

Bryson Treece

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Here we are one game into the December schedule and already we’re one loss into our usual December performance. It’s not that losing is always a bad thing, I mean some games are just inevitably lost, but this game was a truly saddening one to lose.

Tony Romo was already under fire for his play in recent Decembers while the rest of the team seemed to be getting a reprieve from Cowboys fans – for some unknown reason. But now it’s just gone too damn far, and yes I said damn … damnit.

Tony Romo may not always say the right things, such as his answer to a question about how he’d get his team to the Super Bowl this year – “I don’t know, I’ve never been there.” Can we say Dufus!?!

And we all probably get tired of the same old line … “We just have to keep getting better and working hard …” blah, blah, blah. Everyone keeps pointing out he is good as far as stats go, but sucks in games – um, did I miss something? How can that be? Football is essentially just stats, I mean it’s not heart that wins football games, it’s points.

So yeah we headed into Giants Stadium with a black cloud hanging over us, so what? The Cowboys go out and shut down them Gnats in their house for the first quarter of play. Good job! The only problem was that they got just as many points – 0.

But throughout the game there were several points of interest that are worth noting here. I didn’t see nearly as many penalties for us during the game and that’s always a good thing to see a reduction in that stat. Of course there was that stupid, stupid penalty by Dum-Dum Adams against a very defenseless Justin Tuck to end the half. Real high class move there Adams.

Second, Romo seemed to be spreading the ball around pretty well, not perfectly but better than usual. I mean Williams, Crayton, Austin, Jones, Barber, Witten, and Bennett all caught at least a pass or two. That’s a big deal for this team, this year.

Of course Martellus Bennett was just as unspectacular as he has been all year. I guess he was too busy trying to remember all the people following him on Twitter to really make anything happen besides the catch itself, and he even missed that too.

Witten – he set a career high for yardage right? 156 yards for him on like 15 catches, just one short of his career high. Can’t be upset about that. Roy Williams not only caught a pass, but he caught two in the endzone, and believe me, that is a shocker. But he played better; I just wish he’d stop with the damn Longhorn pride when he scores a COWBOYS touchdown. Seems a bit of a traitor when he does that, doesn’t he?

The defense seemed to be chasing their tails all day though. I mean assume that’s why they let Brandon Jacobs go 70 something yards on a dump pass for a score. Either that or they wanted to see if he could run that far – who knows. What I do know is that absolutely horrible play caused by bad decisions on the field cost us a tie game.

And the same can be said for the punt return, and we’ve all heard by now just how rare it is for a team to return a punt against us for six, even when our special teams sucked so bad last year we still didn’t give that kind of crap away.

That play cost us the game. But Tony Romo played great.

Yeah, yeah, get it out of your system already. The Cowboys lost a game in December and Tony Romo wasn’t at all the reason. I can feel your stares …

The guy played good football. He had 3 touchdowns, didn’t throw any picks, didn’t fumble it, was only sacked twice, and had career high yards. You can’t expect your quarterback to help the defense and special teams do their jobs.

Though it is somewhat to very alarming that we can never get firing on all cylinders. Either the defense plays great and the offense sputters, or the offense blows the roof off and our defense sucks it back down. Maybe this is the December when we figure out how to all play well at the same time. Maybe.



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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Dallas Cowboys

WR Randall Cobb Named Cowboys “Surprise Standout” for Offseason

Jess Haynie

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Randall Cobb

NFL teams have wrapped up their offseason activities with the close of OTAs, especially where the players are concerned, and await the start of training camps next month. In reviewing the last few months, ESPN had their local reporters each pick a surprise standout from their team's practices. Todd Archer, who covers the Dallas Cowboys full time, selected veteran receiver Randall Cobb.

Cobb is in his first season with Dallas after signing as a free agent last March. He's spent the last eight years with the Green Bay Packers and was a Pro Bowler in 2014, but has struggled with injuries the last few seasons.

Here were Archer's observations on how Randall is doing so far with the Cowboys:

Normally a player with Cobb's résumé -- 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career -- would not be considered for a category like this. But injuries limited him to only nine games and 38 catches for Green Bay in 2018, and it was hard to know what the Cowboys were getting in the veteran receiver.

If the offseason work is any indication, they have found a replacement for Cole Beasley. Cobb's versatility can expand the offense for others, such as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cobb looked quick in and out of his breaks and fast enough to make plays down the field. Will he put up the 1,287 yards he had in 2014? No, but he gives Dak Prescott a security blanket in the slot who can turn a small gain into a big one.

The notion of Cobb replacing Beasley is a big one. While we'd like to think that Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will provide plenty of firepower for the Cowboys offense, Dak Prescott has enjoyed a reliable threat from the slot position since he arrived.

Randall Cobb, when healthy, can do more than just make clutch catches. He has good run-after-catch skills and perhaps bring more big play potential than Beasley did.

If Cooper and Gallup do emerge as a dangerous starting duo on the outside, Cobb should have even more opportunities to punish defenses than Beasley did.

If nothing else, it's very encouraging to hear that one of the Cowboys' few 2019 free agent moves is already reaping benefits. Cobb still needs to bring it over a full season to really justify the move, but these early reports are cause for excitement.



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Player News

BREAKING: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Receives One-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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Rico Gathers

Tight End Rico Gathers already had an uphill climb to return to the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2019. But that climb just got even steeper; the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Gathers today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

If he does make the team this year, with Dallas or anyone else, Rico will have to sit out Week One of the season without pay.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse. This is from his arrest in 2018 for marijuana possession.

Gathers' chances of returning in 2019 were already hurt by Jason Witten's reversed retirement. He dropped to fourth on the TE depth chart behind Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz, and Dallas only kept three tight ends last year.

The Cowboys also added Codey McElroy as a developmental player during the offseason.

While the suspension is news, the incident that led to it is not. Dallas already knew about the arrest, which occurred in early September of 2018, and have kept Gathers around up until now.

The NFL's substance abuse system is pretty formulaic, so the Cowboys likely anticipated this suspension all along. This may not change anything about how they value Rico Gathers for the 2019 season.

Nevertheless, a player who can't help you in Week One and is a liability for ever longer suspensions down the road is definitely a red flag against Gathers' job security.



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Antwaun Woods: Cowboys DT is Just Getting Started

Matthew Lenix

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Antwaun Woods is just getting started

Antwaun Woods went undrafted in 2016 coming out of USC. After two years with the Tennessee Titans, he would only see one game of action. In May of 2018, the Cowboys signed Woods to a two-year contract worth 1.05 million. Probably seen as nothing more than a practice squad guy, Woods would quickly show he was much more than that.

The newly acquired Woods started his climb to stardom in Oxnard during training camp, and not for making plays. One day during practice he got into a friendly game of fisticuffs with All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. The team even posted the video on social media, which had fans buzzing and wanting to know who he was.

All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott echoed those thoughts when he saw Woods during camp. "Honestly, when we first got him, we were like, 'Who is this guy?'. He was giving Travis Frederick, one of our best players, hell all camp. Just trying to figure out where this guy came from," Elliott said.

Once the regular season started it was clear the Cowboys had found a hidden gem. Although the sack numbers won't dazzle you, seeing as he only registered 1.5, you could forget about running the ball anywhere near him. Woods has amazing quickness for a 300 pounder which allows him to extend his arms before offensive lineman can get a hand on him.

How significant is that? It becomes that much easier to bull rush and blow running plays up in the backfield.

When you can get your hands on an offensive lineman immediately when the ball is snapped, he's basically under your control. You can move him around like a puppet on a string. Essential for a 1-technique nose tackle. With that being said, there should be no surprise the Cowboys finished fifth against the run in 2018 with Woods manning the middle.

Woods draws a lot of double teams, and he handles them well. Having the ability to take on multiple linemen frees up your other playmakers. As the anchor in the middle, Woods made life a lot easier for not only his fellow defensive linemen but the team's two young star Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Allowing them to roam freely like Lions in the Serengeti makes running backs essentially Zebra's carrying the ball, cooked food. So much so that both tallied over 120 tackles and were the only teammates in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in that category.

There's nothing but upside with Antwaun Woods. He's only had 18 games of experience in three years. He's already a stud, but with limited snaps, it can only mean he'll be even more formidable going forward.

The Cowboys have a loaded defensive lineman group with around 15 bodies, plenty of competition. All signs point to him remaining the starter, but it's not guaranteed. Even with that being said I don't expect a complacency from Woods, especially with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn looking like the only sure starters on the defensive line. Plus this is a contract year for him, so you know he'll be even more motivated as he tries to maximize his dollars. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg from this raw talent, setting up for a potential breakout year for him in 2019.



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