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Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott: Who Deserves Offensive Rookie of the Year?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

There's a lot of statements one can make about the NFL season this year. You can say the Green Bay Packers had a great stretch at the end of the season. You can say Matt Ryan was a beast all year long. You can say Tom Brady had an epic journey of revenge. But all of these statements can be argued. However, one statement you cannot argue, one even Eagles' fans wouldn't try to deny: Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott did something the NFL had never witnessed before.

With their season ending earlier than we all hoped, Cowboys Nation is excited about the NFL Honors. It is a fact that the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award is going to one of these two kids. The question is... Dak or Zeke?

There are many outcomes to this. Heck, maybe Zeke wins Offensive Player of the Year and Dak gets the Rookie award. Jess Haynie wrote about how they should be Co-Offensive Rookies of the Year and that is by far my favorite theory.

So... who should win it?

Ezekiel Elliott, the expected one?

Being the fourth overall pick for the most valuable franchise in sports is kind of huge. Everyone expecting you to be the best rookie from the draft adds a little bit of pressure to it. Being compared to Emmitt Smith before even playing a down in the NFL makes it an even bigger deal. But hey, Ezekiel Elliott couldn't care less.

He led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,631. After being doubted by a lot of people because of his average performance in the first two games, he rushed for more than 130 yards in each of his next four.

Ezekiel Elliott had very high expectations and still... he exceeded them. He ran consistently well, he blocked like a veteran and he made the awesome look usual.

He had 15 touchdowns through the ground and he led the NFL in first downs with 91 (David Johnson was second with 72).

Zeke was the MVP for the Cowboys this season. Thanks to the threat he was to defenses, Dallas controlled the clock most of the time, the defense worked better, and he just destroyed defenses to win games for his team.

Dak Prescott, the surprise?

Dak, on the other hand, was a fourth round pick who was nothing but a "project" back in April. After Kellen Moore was injured in the offseason, he had to step up as the backup QB to Tony Romo.

After killing it during preseason, Dak came in after Tony's injury and surprised the whole world. Playing like a seasoned veteran, he became the starting quarterback of America's Team.

His numbers are not that great; he threw for 23 touchdowns, ran for six. He threw only four interceptions though, which is one of the main reasons he was so great. Dak Prescott became the leader and the new face for Dallas when they needed it most.

Quarterback is perhaps the most difficult job in sports. Arguably, Dak became the best rookie QB in the history of the NFL, or at least one of the best. This may be the biggest argument in Prescott's case for the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Who should win it?

I'm going to pick Ezekiel Elliott to win the award.

I think Dak certainly deserves a lot of credit because of the position he plays, and I would be very happy if he gets it. Quarterback is the most important player for any team and to adapt the way he did to the NFL as a rookie was impressive.

But Ezekiel Elliott did so much for this team. He led the NFL in a lot of categories and was the best rusher in the NFL this season.

Whoever gets it, they deserve it. They brought a spark back to the Dallas Cowboys and they gave us all hope for the future.

Who do you think should walk away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award?

Let us know in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for an NFL show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly 4 Downs Podcast!

Tell me what you think about "Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott: Who Deserves Offensive Rookie of the Year?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

  • Frankandmichelle Bentz

    I wouldn’t be upset with either but, in my opinion, Zeke did exactly what we thought he should do behind that offensive line. While Dak also had the benefit of the same line, his expectations were much lower. Look what seasoned vets did last year when trying to fill in for Tony. What Dak was able to do was nothing short of spectacular. We the fans are winners either way.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      You’re right! We all win either way. What these two kids accomplished was unbelievable. Whoever gets the award, I think they deserve it so much. This is just the beginning of something amazing!

  • BeirutWedding

    If it was up to me — and it’s not — I would go Dak. He tied the rookie record for wins by a QB, despite his numbers being “not that great” he set the rookie records for completion percentage (67.8), touchdown-to-interception ratio (which you touched upon) and quarterback rating. That’s NFL HISTORY rookie records, by the way. Not to mention, we were looking at back-to-back disaster seasons when Romo went down — and we already knew what we had in Zeke. If it had just been Zeke and say, Mark Sanchez for part of the season, I think we end up with 9 wins. Despite popular opinion, I think Dak made that difference.

    Having said all that, I’m totally good with Zeke getting the award. He was brilliant. I expected him to start off rough before he found his footing. But once he did, he was everything we wanted him to be and more. One of the more disappointing aspects of the one-and-done playoffs is that you were keeping Zeke healthy for a Super Bowl run. Now, I wish he’d gotten a full shot at that rookie record. As much as I love Dak, and I do, I hope next season this coaching staff recognizes that the one thing we do that other people can’t stop is run the football. It’s not always going to be this way. We have one season, two at the most, before defenses start reconfiguring themselves to stop Zeke. Until then, we should make him the hammer and hammer us home.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      There’s really no wrong answer here. They both deserve it so much. Dak certainly has been a great player too. I agree with you, the Cowboys have to make this team count, and I honestly think they will win. A great future is upon us.

Star Blog

Sean’s Scout: WR Deonte Thompson A Vertical Threat for Dallas Cowboys

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: WR Deonte Thompson A Vertical Threat for Dallas Cowboys

Finally addressing their underwhelming cast of wide receivers, the Dallas Cowboys signed journeyman Deonte Thompson yesterday. The seventh-year pro spent 2017 with both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills, hauling in 38 passes for 555 yards and two touchdowns.

Thompson was undrafted in 2012 out of Florida, making both the Cowboys' free agent signings to date former UDFAs. The Cowboys added LB Joe Thomas earlier in the week, who you can learn more about in Sean's Scout as well.

In desperate need of speed and play making ability on the outside, here is a look at what WR Deonte Thompson can bring to the Dallas Cowboys.

WR Deonte Thompson: Strengths

Thompson1 - Streamable

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Deonte Thompson plays with a great understanding of his own frame, using his length to give defensive backs problems up the field. Not a true "burner", Thompson takes some time to accelerate down the field, but can separate vertically.

Thompson runs smooth routes, using his long strides to get on DBs in a hurry. Once in position to free himself at the stem of a route, Thompson showed the ability to consistently turn his hips and complete a number of underneath and deep routes at a high level.

Thompson2 - Streamable

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Deonte Thompson may not win on many throws "above the rim", but he is above average at the catch point securing passes with his strong hands.

Snagging the ball outside of his frame is not much of an issue for Thompson, who makes the most of his run-after-the-catch opportunities by effortlessly receiving the ball in stride.

At this stage of his career, Thompson may not be an every down player, but this is a player the Cowboys can absolutely find a way to get involved in their sputtering passing offense next season - at the very least replacing the role of FA WR Brice Butler.

WR Deonte Thompson: Weaknesses

Deonte Thompson should not be expected to go over the top on many defenses for the Cowboys in 2018. While the traits are there to flash as that sort of player, Thompson simply is not at his best trying to track down deep vertical passes.

When Thompson does not create separation on his initial burst up the field, there was a tendency for him to get shoved around at the catch point. Still coming up with his fair share of passes, the degree of difficulty on these catches was often increased by his inability to truly play through contact.

This is not a player with a powerful lower body, relying on upper body flex and foot speed to free himself and create plays in space. Overall balance is a strength for Thompson, but he rarely is able to break tackles or move defenders as a blocker in the running game.

WR Deonte Thompson: Summary

Thompson3 - Streamable

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The Cowboys should know what they are getting in Deonte Thompson, who has not had the benefit of great quarterback play in recent seasons. The hope in Dallas is that a number of receivers on the bottom of the depth chart can stand out this summer to make the team out of a crowded room.

This group of Ryan Switzer, Lance Lenoir, Noah Brown, and KD Cannon will now include Deonte Thompson - who should have the edge over most of these names.

Thompson won't be the difference in the Cowboys' offense having a bounce back season in 2018, but his raw athleticism and effortless ability to serve as a deep threat could surely make an impact in Dak Prescott's progression.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: WR Deonte Thompson A Vertical Threat for Dallas Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Star Blog

Using Win Probabilities To Evaluate Decision Making: Cowboys Kick Vs. Raiders

Kevin Brady



Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys' Defense Silently Shined, Jeff Heath Saved The Season 1
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have surpassed the Dallas Cowboys in more ways than one, but on Super Bowl Sunday, their willingness to "be aggressive" and "take chances" shined through the most. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was congratulated by the masses for not coaching scared, and instead going for it on key fourth downs and even attempting trick plays.

When you really evaluate those decisions, however, they shouldn't even be thought of as "risky." If anything, they were simply the obvious call.

Over the last few months I have been working with win probability models, looking to validate and refine those available to the public. I can't share too much about the work as of yet (there will hopefully be a published article in the future), but the work is certainly promising.

What I can say is this. Dennis Lock and Dan Nettleton worked to utilize random forests to estimate win probabilities before each play in an NFL game. These "forests" are similar to decision tree machine learning, cycling through random trees of past data to predict future outcomes.

Brian Burke has been utilizing his model for a while now, and Pro Football Reference has a simple, yet effective model as well. For my project, I have been working to find the "best" ways to estimate those win probabilities in order to inform decision making by head coaches and coordinators.

If you aren't utilizing analytics correctly in today's NFL, you're falling behind. And if you aren't willing to take calculated risks based off of what these numbers say and mean, you are really falling behind.

How does this all relate to the Cowboys?

Well, Cowboys Nation has been pretty consistent in their main criticism of head coach Jason Garrett: he's too conservative. They say he coaches scared, and they believe he punts the ball away too often between the 40's. Numbers accumulated by writers such as Bob Sturm and Marcus Mosher back up these claims, but I wanted to examine Garrett's decision making through the win probability lens.

I took to Twitter to ask the fan base for specific scenarios in which they felt Garrett was too conservative. Then, I ran these situations through the win probability model to determine how these decisions affected the outcomes.

Over a series of posts I will detail what the model says about the Cowboys' decision making in these key moments. First, we go back to December of last season where the Cowboys had their season on the line in Oakland.

Cowboys at Raiders, 2017

One instance which was consistently brought up was ironically from a Cowboys win. Yes, a win!

The Raiders had played the Cowboys close all game long, and with their season on the line Dallas was in position to put those pesky Raiders away. Tied at 17 they entered a fourth and goal situation at the Raiders' 1 yard line. The Cowboys decided to kick the field goal and grab a 20-17 lead. While Dallas did hang on to win, this was only because of a miraculous play by Jeff Heath which resulted in a fumble and a touchback.

Many of the fans who tweeted at me seem to think the Cowboys should have went for the touchdown on fourth down, rather than take their three points. But what does the model say?

Prior to the fourth down play, the Cowboys had about an 85% chance to win the game. After kicking the field goal and kicking the ball away to Oakland, that probability went down to just above 80%. Had the Cowboys gone for it and been stuffed at the Raiders' 1 yard line, that probability would have dropped all the way to just over 57%.

But the model does believe that Garrett made the right decision. Of course, had Dallas scored a touchdown, the game would've virtually been over, but the variance in probabilities suggests that kicking the field goal and taking the sure points was a good move.

Next week, I explain where Jason Garrett and company may have gone wrong during a key 4th down decision against the Los Angeles Rams. If you have any suggestions for plays/situations you'd like evaluated, please comment below!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?

La agencia libre de los Dallas Cowboys comenzó un poco tarde, siendo el último equipo en toda la liga de la NFL en realizar una contratación este offseason. Ahora, con algunas caras nuevas en el equipo, comienzan las preguntas inevitables. ¿Qué jugadores tendrán un impacto y qué jugadores serán una contratación irrelevante?

Sólo el tiempo lo dirá. Las piezas que añadieron los Cowboys no son agentes libres de gran renombre pero podrían llegar a tener algún impacto en el 2018. Sin embargo, no todas las adquisiciones de Dallas han sido por medio de la agencia libre.

Hace unos días, los Raiders y los Cowboys acordaron un trade por el fullback Jamize Olawale. Días después de perder a Keith Smith (quien fue contratado por... los Raiders), Dallas no quiso echarse todavía otra necesidad encima, así que solucionó rápidamente su hueco en la posición que le abrirá camino a Ezekiel Elliott.

Además de enviar a Olawale a los Cowboys, los Raiders consiguieron una selección de quinta ronda de parte de Dallas y ellos entregaron su sexta ronda. En otras palabras, los Cowboys sólo renunciaron 19 turnos en las rondas tardías del Draft por un fullback que será de ayuda constante para esta ofensiva.

A pesar de ser tres años más grande que Keith Smith, Olawale le brinda a los Cowboys potencial para participar en el juego aéreo así como en el terrestre.

Por la agencia libre, los Cowboys obtuvieron ayuda ofensiva y defensiva.

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Joe Thomas, (no, no el que todos conocemos como uno de los mejores tackles de la historia) el linebacker que viene de los Green Bay Packers, usará la estrella este 2018. Mi compañero y escritor de Staff Sean Martin escribió una excelente pieza analizando a detalle al nuevo defensivo. 

Thomas definitivamente no será un titular, pero sin duda ayudará a un grupo de equipos especiales que necesitan bastante apoyo esta temporada. Además, es un linebacker rápido y atlético que podrá brillar como un jugador de rotación en una defensiva que incluye a Sean Lee y a Jaylon Smith.

Esta contratación no hace que los Cowboys dejen de tener una gran necesidad por un LB, pero da una profundidad que urgía a la posición.

Questions Surround Cowboys WR Position After Deonte Thompson Signing

El último movimiento y quizá el más discutido por los aficionados de los Cowboys es la adquisición de Deonte Thompson. Un receptor abierto que ha batallado para conseguir una casa en la NFL llega a un equipo que cuenta con nombres como Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams y Cole Beasley, pero que aún necesita mucho más producción.

¿Acaso la adición de Thompson al roster hace que WR deje de ser una necesidad para el equipo de los Cowboys? Claro que no, pero añade un talento que quizá pueda ayudar al equipo en ciertos aspectos.

Thompson es un jugador muy rápido, lo cual es algo que esta ofensiva necesita para abrir el campo un poco más. Un corredor de rutas bastante sólido con manos seguras. Thompson viene probablemente a ser una versión mejorada de Brice Butler por $2.5M.

Quizá fue un error de parte de la administración garantizarle un millón de su contrato. ¿Por qué garantizarle dinero a un jugador que ni siquiera debería tener un lugar asegurado en el equipo? Sin embargo, Thompson parece ser un contribuidor a la ofensiva.

Pero no fue el WR en la agencia libre del que se ha hablado esta semana en el mundo de los Dallas Cowboys. De hecho, aún después de firmar su contrato, no es el más discutido entre los aficionados.

Allen Hurns, receptor que fue cortado de Jacksonville, es un jugador que podría llegar a hacer un impacto inmediato en la ofensiva de Dak Prescott y proveerle al QB un potencial mejor amigo. A pesar de que muchos esperarían que conseguir a Hurns significaría decirle adiós a Dez Bryant, la verdad es que no sería necesario.

Hurns podría tomar el rol que Terrance Williams posee ahora como receptor "Z" y llevar a esta ofensiva a otro nivel. Todd Archer de ESPN reportó que la reciente adquisición de Deonte Thompson no significa que la posibilidad de ver a Hurns usando la estrella ha acabado.

Todos queremos ver acción en la agencia libre, aunque a veces lo sensato sea ser conservadores. Así como muchos aficionados de los Cowboys se quejan de la falta de movimientos, muchos aficionados de los Steelers y los Patriots agradecen que sus equipos tengan esta filosofía de no gastar mucho en agencia libre.

La diferencia son los resultados en el campo.

Sin embargo, Allen Hurns definitivamente parece como una opción muy viable para los Cowboys, y una adición que simplemente tendría mucho sentido. Sólo queda esperar si lograrán firmarlo o si un equipo (como los Jets, quienes han mostrado mucho interés y tienen bastante espacio en el tope salarial) logra convencerlo de no regresar a Dallas.

Por ahora, esperamos. Quizá hasta que los Cowboys firmen a alguien más. O quizá hasta la llegada del NFL Draft.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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