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D.D. Lewis Kicks Off The Year Of #50

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - D.D. Lewis Kicks Off The Year Of #50 5

Welcome to the 50th installment of our Countdown To Kickoff series here at Inside The Star! It seems fitting that this number would be a big deal, as Super Bowl 50 will be played at the culmination of the 2015 NFL season. Speaking of 50s, isn’t there a special one who’s coming back this year?

Consider this your halftime show for our Countdown To Kickoff series as we whittle away at the remaining days of this offseason. If you really want I’ll throw on some Taylor Swift and perform. I will definitely need backup dancers though so if you’ve got some skills let me know.

I brought up whittling for two reasons: 1) it is so much fun to say AND 2) I may or may not have whittled you all a treat. It started out as a bird feeder, but that didn’t seem practical or shareable. Fortunately I am easily adaptable and shifted gears to fashion you the Greatest 50 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All Worn 50 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Bobby Abrams, LB
  • Akin Ayodele, LB
  • Jamal Brooks, LB
  • Darrick Brownlow, LB
  • Scott Fujita, LB
  • Dave Harper, LB
  • Steve Hendrickson, LB
  • Sean Lee*, LB
  • D.D. Lewis, LB
  • Justin Rogers, LB
  • Jeff Rohrer, LB
  • Clay Shiver, C
  • Jerry Tubbs, LB

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

As we are at the midpoint in our countdown it only makes sense to examine both the past and the future. The number 50 is the perfect reflection point as there is plenty to be proud of in the past and excited about in the future.

Sean Lee

Cowboys Blog - D.D. Lewis Kicks Off The Year Of #50 1

The 2010 NFL Draft is most remembered by Cowboy fans as the one that gave us Dez Bryant. The next man in line who was given a helmet with a Star was the stud linebacker out of Penn State, Sean Lee.

Sean Lee is one of the more talented linebackers in the NFL today. While he has had many injuries that have limited his playing time over the last five seasons, when he has played he’s been special.

Jet Lee

Hold your jaw because it’s about to hit the floor…Sean Lee has 11 career interceptions. That’s amazing for a linebacker who has played every game since 2010, let alone only 46 games.

NFL Network on Twitter

Since 2010, there isn't a linebacker in the NFL with more interceptions than Sean Lee. (And he's missed 34 games)

Speaking of Sean Lee interceptions, want to know something amazing? I’m serious. This is the kind of thing that when you’re arguing with your friends/co-workers/family/Madden opponent you can just lay the ace card with.

Sean Lee is one of only two linebackers to ever intercept both Tom Brady AND Peyton Manning.

BeLEEive

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Sean Lee and I in the summer of 2013.

Lee is a captain on the team and the quarterback of the defense. He brings the mental focus of Tony Romo and the passion of Dez Bryant to his side of the ball. Lee’s teammates managed to win the division and a playoff game in 2014 without his services. He heads into 2015 fully healthy and is a prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year come February of 2016.

D.D. And The ‘Boys

They don’t make them like D.D. Lewis anymore. D.D. was drafted in the 6th round of the 1968 NFL Draft out of Mississippi (spelled it right on my first try!) State University. He fell as far as he did because most teams, groan if you’ve heard this before, thought that he was too small to play linebacker.

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The Cowboys actually tried him out at center before letting him stay at the linebacker spot. How are those two positions even closely related? Ok maybe if there’s a corner we can try him at safety, see Byron Jones, but linebacker and center?! Was Chip Kelly in charge?

Lewis The Linebacker

Thankfully D.D. played linebacker in 1968. The following year D.D. actually didn’t play a down in the NFL so that he could fulfill a commitment to the United States Military - How awesome is that?

D.D. finally found himself in the starting role at the weakside linebacker spot in 1973, a position that he held for 8 straight seasons. In the 1975 NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams, Lewis intercepted two passes that would help the Cowboys advance to Super Bowl X...making them the first wild-card team to punch a ticket to the big dance.

#50: Lewis And His Legacy

D.D. Lewis played for 13 years and started 135 consecutive games. He is one of only eight NFL players to have played in five Super Bowls (V, VI, X, XII, XIII). He is one of the more revered players in Dallas Cowboys History and had a quote that echoed across time in 1982.

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When asked about the hole in the roof of Texas Stadium D.D. Lewis famously said…

“Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch His favorite team play.”

With two Super Bowl rings to his name D.D. Lewis hardly needs any more accolades. In the year of #50 where so much of the current Cowboys’ season depends on the #50 of today, it only seems fitting to give D.D. one more - The Greatest 50 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 49 in Dallas Cowboys History is!


Want to share your opinions on who should be featured on our Countdown To Kickoff? Email me at rjochoa@insidethestar.com or Tweet @rjochoa.

Tell us what you think about "D.D. Lewis Kicks Off The Year Of #50" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Star Blog

What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.

Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?

As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.

Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.

But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.

Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.

Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.

After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.

It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.

Tell me what you think about "What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?" 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

Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



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Star Blog

Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



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