For the last 15 years covering 31 matchups (one playoff), when the Dallas Cowboys faced the New York Giants in their NFC East divisional play, they've faced Eli Manning at quarterback. In fact, this will be the first time since October 10th, 2004 that the Giants will trot out a quarterback other than Eli Manning against America's Team.
Over the years, the Dallas Cowboys grew accustomed to chalking up wins against the Eli Manning-led Giants. Though he did get the best of the top-seeded Cowboys in the 2007 divisional round of the playoffs, Eli Manning had a career record of 13-17 against the Cowboys in his tenure. Most recently, since 2013, the Cowboys have gone 3-10 against the younger Manning, winning the last five in a row.
After another rough start to the season, the Giants coaching staff turned the team over to sixth overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft. Daniel Jones. Jones was considered by many one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, but many were surprised that the Giants selected him at sixth overall. The consensus was Jones was a first-round talent, but perhaps not a top 10 player in the draft. The Giants certainly felt differently and made the former Duke standout their franchise quarterback of the future.
The future has come a bit earlier than many expected and Jones has had his ups and downs. Taking over for the New York Giants isn't like Dak Prescott taking over a team ready to contend in 2016, and Daniel Jones has seen his fair share of struggles. Most rookie quarterbacks are going to struggle in their first NFL season and on an offense that doesn't have a lot going for it on the outside. Especially with injuries to Sterling Shepard and a suspension of Golden Tate to start the season. Despite the struggles, Jones has had some really good moments.
Just last week, facing a stingy Detroit Lions secondary, Jones went 28 of 41 (68.29%) for 322 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 9.8 yards per attempt and finished with a passer rating of 124.2. One area in which he's struggled, and he did against the Lions on Sunday, is in protecting the football. Jones has fumbled the ball eight times in his seven games and thrown seven interceptions. Rookie quarterbacks are going to make mistakes, but that's a lot of mistakes. Those mistakes were reflected in the fact that his QBR was only 62.4, which takes into account the negative plays.
I think Jones has shown enough in his time in the NFL, even dating back to the preseason, that Giants fans should feel encouraged about where he's at in his development. The NFL is as much of a team sport as there is in the world and every team requires talent throughout an offense.
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence is looking forward to facing Daniel Jones in his first start against the Cowboys and called him a "Little Eli." In some other ways though, he's a different player.
DeMarcus Lawrence called Giants QB Daniel Jones a little Eli Manning. "That's what the GM said when he drafted him," Tank added. "He just couldn't say it in those words, but y'all got it from me.
- Daniel Jones throws with good anticipation and with ease. He doesn't seem to struggle to get the ball downfield, especially when his footwork is together.
- He's an accurate passer.
- Can throw to all levels of the field, seems to throw better to his left.
- He's an athletic player who can make plays with his feet. He isn't athletic in the same way that Aaron Rodgers is, but Jones is plenty capable of scrambling for a first down if given the opportunity.
- He struggles with his footwork under pressure. With a rusher in his face doesn't consistently step into his throws.
- He makes questionable choices under pressure. Isn't great at protecting the football.
- Jones stares down his receivers at times. He needs to learn better eye discipline to move defenders around to get the looks he wants.
Here Daniel Jones throws the comeback route and releases the ball just ast the receiver makes his break toward the sideline. It's a nicely executed comeback route for his first throw of the game and to get the Giants moving a bit.
This was a really nice throw, though his footwork is thrown off a bit by the pressure. He puts the ball on target for the receiver to come back to the ball on the back shoulder fade. Daniel Jones does a nice job making things happen even when his footwork isn't perfect. Unfortunately for Jones, as you'll see below, he didn't fair as well when his footwork was off.
Against the Washington Redskins, Jones had to deal with pressure a lot. He's got a decent pocket to throw from here and puts the ball in a spot for the receiver to make the catch, but it's slightly underthrown and the defensive back is able to undercut the football. It all stems from Jones not really stepping into the throw as he should have.
Again against the Redskins, the Giants are forced to deal with pressure up the middle as Washington's able to create penetration in the middle of the pocket. The free rusher up the middle doesn't allow Jones to step into his throw and the defensive back does a good job reading the deep crossing route (the one that happened to open up Devin Smith's touchdown reception against Washington) passes off his man and is able to beat the receiver to the football. Again, it's a decently thrown football, but because Jones doesn't get everything he'd like to into the ball.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The Cowboys are facing a new era of quarterbacking for the Giants and that creates a whole new challenge for them to deal with. He'll be a different quarterback than what they've been facing during the Eli Manning era and while Danie Jones will likely make some plays against the Dallas Cowboys this Monday Night, he's far from a finished product.
The Dallas Cowboys should be able to get to him with their front four featuring DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Michael Bennett and whatever other defensive tackle they throw out there. If they're able to get pressure on Jones, that should allow them to create some turnovers. The Cowboys defense will get their first real shot at Daniel Jones this week. If his first few starts have been any indication, this will be an interesting test for the Cowboys defense against the New York Giants franchise quarterback.
Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Red Zone Liability?
Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is arguably as talented as just about any defensive back in the NFL. He still young and has quite a bit he can do to improve his game, but there's no denying his talent. One of the things he may need to work on right now is his awareness and discipline in the red zone.
In back to back games No. 24 has been caught out of position and as a result surrendered points in the end zone. Just this last Sunday he gave up a two point conversion to Minnesota Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph. The week prior he gave up a touchdown catch to New York Giants Wide Receiver Cody Latimer.
Does this make him a liability in the red zone?
I know if I've noticed Chidobe Awuzie getting victimized in back to back weeks in the red zone opposing offensive coordinators around the league have done the same. As a result, they're going to test Awuzie to find out if they can have the same kind of success.
If I'm Kris Richard I'm personally going to be working on making sure Chidobe is fully aware he needs to be more disciplined with his play, especially in the red zone. He's been caught out of position in back to back games and that can't be something that continues from here on out.
I'm sure Awuzie would tell you himself this is something he needs to clean up. He takes pride in his abilities and knows he can still improve. Hopefully he can take it to heart and better prepare for what's to come. Whether that means just executing his assignments better or maybe studying a little more film. It's up to him to figure out what he needs to do.
As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, they may need to start giving him a little more help over the top if this is something that continues. And if worse comes to worse, they can always see if Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown can be more consistent. I doubt it would come to that, but it is an option.
I for one am hoping No. 24 will just hunker down and figure out what he needs to do in order to take his game to the next level. If he can do that the Cowboys defense will be much better for it. I don't know about you, but I will be keeping a close eye on him for the rest of the season.
Do you think CB Chidobe Awuzie has become a red zone liability?
Maliek Collins has a Breakout Opportunity Against the Minnesota Vikings
It's been a quiet 2019 for one of the Dallas Cowboys' preseason breakout candidates, Maliek Collins. Heading into training camp, and then the regular season, Collins was the healthiest he'd been at any point in his previous three seasons. That combined with another year in the NFL, led many to believe that Collins could become a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. Collins has been good, but perhaps not as productive as many might have predicted.
On the year, Maliek Collins has three sacks, which is third for the Dallas Cowboys behind Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence. Per Pro Football Focus, Collins is tied for 17th in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. Tied for 17th might not sound very good, but when the league leader in sacks among interior defensive linemen has just six, Collins isn't far off from threatening for the league lead. In fact, Maliek Collins is tied with All-Pro Defensive Tackles Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones, and Geno Atkins in sacks.
In total pressures, Collins is tied for eighth in the NFL per Pro Football Focus with 27 along with Quentin Jefferson and Vita Vea.
Though he's not racking up a ton of tackle this season, Collins has been excellent as a pass rusher. On Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, he'll have a tremendous opportunity to build on his first-half numbers.
Against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, Collins has an enormous opportunity. Among quarterbacks with at least 196 drop backs, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been under pressure at the fourth highest rate in the NFL. His 40.8% pressure rate is only better than Daniel Jones, Russell Wilson, and Sam Darnold.
Vikings Guard Pat Elflein has allowed five sacks on the year, which is tied for the third most in the NFL this season among interior offensive linemen and his 20 pressures allowed is tied for eighth. When Maliek Collins gets an opportunity to line up across from Elflein, he's going to have a chance to get home.
With teams having to pay so much attention to DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and newcomer Michael Bennett, Collins should be freed up to face more one-on-one blockers.
Collins hasn't had a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn't necessarily been the dominant player we thought he could be after his strong preseason. That perception could change when the Dallas Cowboys play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The opportunity is there for Collins, he just has to seize it.
Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Quietly Having a Good Season
The Dallas Cowboys started to get the return on their investment of Jaylon Smith in a major way in 2018. He finished with 121 tackles (six tackles for loss), four sacks, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a touchdown.
With that type of production comes lofty expectations. Dak Prescott is off to the best start of his career, All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott has found his groove with three consecutive 100-yard performances, and Amari Cooper is on pace for his best season as a pro. However, quietly, Smith is on pace to have the best season of his young career so far.
In the season opener vs the New York Giants, the Cowboys completely dominated the game virtually from the start defensively. After a touchdown on their first possession, the Giants were shut down and only scored 10 points the rest of the game. Smith would register only six tackles for the game but the Cowboys were up as much as 25 points so it wasn't really necessary for him to ball out in this contest.
Week 2 vs the Washington Redskins on the road was another solid effort defensively for the Cowboys. They held the Redskins in check behind Smith's team-leading 11 tackles as the Cowboys only allowed 255 yards of offense and two conversions on nine third downs.
The Miami Dolphins came to town in Week 3 as the Cowboys looked to improve to 3-0. The Dolphins offense never got on track as they only managed 283 total yards, went a pedestrian three of 15 on third down, gave up three sacks, and scored six points. Smith once again led the team in tackles with 10 and also forced a fumble in the red zone that was recovered by All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence when the Dolphins were driving to take the lead before halftime. Very productive game for Smith in this one.
Week 4 was a defensive battle between the Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football. The Saints came out on top 12-10 giving the Cowboys their first loss but one of the bright spots was the play of Smith. All around it was one of his better performances of the season with nine tackles (two tackles for loss), one quarterback hit, and a sack. This performance gave him 30 tackles over a three-game span which is his best stretch of the 2019 season.
The Green Bay Packers arrived at AT&T Stadium in Week 5 having won three consecutive games there, and it was quickly apparent they would win their fourth straight. The Cowboys had two turnovers on their first three possessions that led to two touchdowns for the Packers and the Cowboys never recovered. Despite holding Aaron Rodgers to zero touchdowns the Cowboys gave up a career day to Aaron Jones with 182 all-purpose yards (107 rushing, 75 receiving) and lost 34-24. Smith finished with nine tackles (tied Leighton Vander Esch for the team lead), one quarterback hit, one pass defended, and a sack. In a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated Smith was one of the few bright spots for Dallas.
The Cowboys entered Metlife Stadium for their Week 6 matchup with the New York Jets completely spiraling and it wouldn't get any better. Defensively, the Cowboys started flat by allowing 21 points in the first half. Even though they only allowed three points in the second half, Sam Darnold had a career-high 338 yards and the Jets handed the Cowboys their third consecutive loss. This would be Smith's most underwhelming performance of the season with a pedestrian four tackles. None of the impactful plays we saw from the previous three games showed up in this one.
Before the bye week, the Cowboys hosted the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle for first place in the NFC East. Smith wasted no time making an impact in this game as he forced a fumble by Tight End Dallas Goedert on the Eagles first possession near midfield which set up the Cowboys first touchdown. This set the tone for the entire defense as they held the Eagles to 283 yards total yards, only allowed 10 points and forced four turnovers. Smith tied Sean Lee and Jeff Heath for the team lead with seven tackles while also registering a pass defended and a forced fumble. Just the type of performance you'd hope for from Smith after his worst game of the season.
This past Monday night saw the Cowboys return to Metlife Stadium but this time they would take on the arch-rival New York Giants. Smith spearheaded a dominant performance by the Cowboys defense as they held the Giants to 271 total yards, five out of 16 on third down, and forced three turnovers. He finished tied with Lee for the team lead with 12 tackles while also adding a half-sack and a quarterback hit. With the Eagles on the Cowboys heels for the division lead, they needed their best players to perform vs the Giants and Smith definitely delivered on his end.
Jaylon Smith is currently on pace for 136 tackles and five sacks which would both be career highs. In five of the Cowboys eight games, he's either led or been tied for the team lead in tackles. He has continued to show that he's worth every penny of the five-year 64 million dollar extension with 35.5 million in guarantees he signed in August. His "Clear Eye View" has him playing the best football of his career in 2019.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Potential Replacements for Cowboys HC Jason Garrett, if Eventually Fired
Player News1 week ago
Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis To Finally Get The Playing Time He Deserves
Game Notes17 hours ago
Inexcusable Playcalling in Final Two Minutes Leads to Cowboys Loss
Star Blog1 week ago
If Jamal Adams was Plan A for Cowboys, Should Eric Berry be Plan B?
Star Blog5 days ago
Dez Bryant Readies Return, Should Cowboys Throw Up the “X?”
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
3 Defensive Adjustments the Cowboys Hopefully Made During the Bye Week
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Chemistry Between Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper Has Reached Elite Levels
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Pass Rushing Trio Excellent Against Single Blocker