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Dallas Cowboys 2015 Schedule Breakdown

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys 2015 Schedule Breakdown

It's here! It's here! It's here! The NFL 2015 Schedule is FINALLY upon us! Let's take a look at all of our matchups, how we've done against them most recently, and how we think we're going to do against them this year.

Week 1: Giants - September 13th @ 7:30pm CST on NBC

2015 Schedule - New York GiantsI’ve been waiting all February, March and April long for Sunday Night Football!

The New York Football Giants will be in town and on prime time as the Dallas Cowboys open the 2015 season. It’s no surprise to find the Cowboys on NBC’s Sunday Night Football; this will be the fifth time in the last ten seasons that the Cowboys begin their season in that time slot.

Last time we met…

The Cowboys and Giants last squared off at AT&T Stadium on October 19th, 2014. Gavin Escobar had a break-out day and snagged two TDs from Romo as the Cowboys cruised to a 31-21 win.

My prediction…

The Cowboys and Giants duo is no stranger to the Carrie Underwood anthem. They hit the field at Texas Stadium back in a 2007 season that began Romo’s first full year as the starter, and the Cowboys handled them 45-35.

In a rematch six years later - this time at Cowboys Stadium - the Cowboys rode six turnovers to a 36-31 win. Even though Odell Beckham Jr. might catch 10 amazing balls over Brandon Carr, I think the Cowboys’ offense will be too much for the “rebuilt” Giants secondary. 34-24, Cowboys.

 

Week 2: At Eagles - September 20th @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Philadelphia EaglesGet ready for the barrage of DeMarco Murray talk. It will be EVERYWHERE.

This game is on September 20th, which is approximately five months from the time of my writing this, so Chip Kelly will probably have executed 48 more trades and signed 83 new quarterbacks. This will undoubtedly be Fox’s America’s Game of the Week and will feature the always dreadful combo of Troy and Buck on the call.

Last time we met…

The last time that the Dallas Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia (December 14th, 2014), a lot hung in the balance.

Two weeks prior the Eagles thumped the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and seven days after that the Cowboys traveled to Chicago for a nice Bears beat down. It was very obvious that the winner of that game would take an extreme advantage for the division crown into the final stretch of the season.

The Cowboys jumped out to a 21-0 lead, survived 24 straight points from Philly, and found a way to put the game away, winning it 38-27.

My prediction…

The Eagles will have a shorter week than the Cowboys as they play the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night to start the season. There is a lot of media drama that is contingent on that game. Should there be no cohesion between all of Chip’s new toys, it’ll be a rough week for the former Duck Commander.

The Cowboys will know how important two straight division games are to start the year, and as last year’s 8-0 road warriors they should have no problem going into Philadelphia and getting the win. 30-16, Cowboys.

 

Week 3: Falcons - September 27th @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Atlanta FalconsBack to back birds. The Cowboys will come home from Philly only to play the team that the Eagles played to start the year, Atlanta.

Matt Ryan & Co. have had a difficult past two seasons. The change at head coach to Dan Quinn and the health of Julio Jones/Roddy White will most likely make them a better team. Justin Durant will be facing his former team and he’ll want to make a statement.

Last time we met…

The Cowboys most recently played the Falcons on November 4th, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Falcons were undefeated at the time and, while the Cowboys looked to break that streak, they ultimately fell short near the end by a score of 19-13.

My prediction…

Julio Jones scares me. Roddy White does not. Orlando Scandrick has really come on and, while he’s currently not reporting to voluntary workouts, he’s a very strong leader on this team. He’ll take away Julio to some degree and Atlanta will be forced to rely on an aging Roddy White.

Dez will be empowered by the Julio talk and have a great game. Cowboys improve to 3-0 by a margin of 24-10.

 

Week 4: At Saints - October 4th @ 7:30pm CST on NBC

2015 Schedule - New Orleans SaintsI hope you like crawfish because the first game in October features the Cowboys heading down to the Bayou!

Sunday Night Football against the Saints is starting to feel like home. It seems like these two teams always meet in such a contest and it’s always a touchdown palooza.

Last time we met…

The ‘Boys last played Payton & Brees on a Sunday Night back in Week 4 (September 28th, 2014) of the 2014 NFL season. It wasn’t close as the Cowboys got off to a super hot start and rode the wheels of DeMarco Murray to a 38-17 victory.

My prediction…

While Dallas’ last appearance in the Superdome was one of the more embarrassing ones in franchise history, I think that this time will be different. Jimmy Graham is gone. Kenny Stills is gone. The Saints are going to be forced to depend on Mark Ingram and Marques Colston.

They struggled offensively last year and unless they get something huge in the draft, they won’t be who we’ve seen them be in seasons past. Cowboys win a shootout, 45-30.

 

Week 5: Patriots - October 11th @ 3:25pm CST on CBS

2015 Schedule - New England PatriotsThe World Champs are coming to town, and they’ll most likely be coming in 4-0 against an equally 4-0 Dallas Cowboys team.

This has actually happened before. The two teams faced off, each at 5-0, on October 14th, 2007 at Texas Stadium. They were the two hottest offenses in the league. Marion Barber had the most incredible 2-yard gain in NFL history and the Patriots trounced the Cowboys 48-27.

This will be Tom Brady’s first visit to AT&T Stadium and it’s going to be a huge battle on America’s Most Watched Network.

Last time we met…

America’s Team traveled to Gillette Stadium on October 16th, 2011 to take on the New England Patriots and in a rare occasion wore their Cowboy navy uniforms. It was a low scoring affair that saw the Patriots win, 20-16.

My prediction…

Look, these are the World Champs. They are coached by a future Hall of Famer. They are quarterbacked by a future Hall of Famer. More than anything they always find a way to win. Being completely realistic the Cowboys could drop this game, and in absolutely no shame, take their first loss of the season 28-24.

 

Week 6: Bye Week

 

Week 7: At Giants - October 25th @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - New York GiantsRaise your hand if you’re pumped to be finished with the Giants before November. Go ahead, raise it!

The Cowboys will travel to Met Life Stadium in what is always a great game against the G-Men. By Week 7 teams have started to find their groove so this will undoubtedly be one of those classic NFC East battles that we all know and love.

Last time we met…

The last time that this team traveled to the Meadowlands, Brandon Carr was a part of a highlight that would live on forever in NFL history.

On a Sunday Night affair, Odell Beckham Jr. introduced himself to Mr. Car - and to the rest of the world - with his ridiculous one-handed catch. As great as that was, it wasn’t enough.

Romo led the Cowboys on an incredible game winning drive, that featured a final play in which he had no less than seven seconds to throw, and won 31-28.

My prediction…

Coach Garrett will have done quite a bit of studying after the New England loss and through the bye week. He and the staff understand how pivotal these division games can be, and what a luxury it would be to sweep the Giants before November.

In a strong defensive game, the Cowboys will establish themselves among the contenders and win 27-14.

 

Week 8: Seahawks - November 1st @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Seattle SeahawksAlas, another America’s Game of the Week. Troy and Buck will be oh so anxious to remind the world that the Cowboys stormed into Seattle last year (a game that Joe Buck did not call due to his World Series conflicts) for an impressive and season-defining win.

The Seahawks will be hungry and looking to dispel the theory that the Cowboys have their number.

Last time we met…

Do I really need to remind you? Seriously, if you don’t know then throw away your computer right now. The Cowboys took it hard to the - at the time - defending World Champion Seahawks in THEIR HOUSE on October 12th, 2014 by a score of 30-23.

The victory put the Cowboys on the NFL map as a team that was to be taken seriously, and a team that could run the ball on anyone.

My prediction…

As much as I would love to believe that we do have Seattle’s number and that they are a different team on the road, they play with a ferocity that is very rare in the NFL. They will be very focused and determined to wax the Cowboys.

Even though the offense will score on their famed Legion of Boom, Seattle will edge us out 28-21.

 

Week 9: Eagles - November 8th @ 7:30pm CST on NBC

2015 Schedule - Philadelphia EaglesPrepare yourself. The DeMarco Murray & Chip Kelly - and potentially Tim Tebow - train is rolling into town. The story lines will be everywhere.

DeMarco Murray returning to face his former team, Chip Kelly’s new toys and how they’re jiving together, and if Tim Tebow is the quarterback, God have mercy on us all.

Last time we met…

We last hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving of 2014. It was a nightmare from start to finish as the Eagles steamrolled the Cowboys 33-10.

A lot of Cowboys fans like to give the team a pass on this game, as the players had a very short week. They played the Giants in New York on a Sunday night and had to turn around and play Philly less than four days later.

My prediction…

The Cowboys did very well on NBC’s Sunday Night Football last year, going 3-0. We’re a team that does well under the lights and the DeMarco Murray factor will help get the team hyped for the game. Cowboys win decisively 38-20.

 

Week 10: At Buccaneers - November 15th @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Tampa Bay BuccaneersThis game will feature the Cowboys traveling to Tampa Bay to play what will - in all likelihood - be this year’s number one overall draft selection, Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium is one of the most iconic throughout the NFL, featuring a wooden ship that fires off cannons when the Bucs score. They go relatively unused...

Last time we met…

America’s Team hosted Greg Schiano’s version of the Buccaneers on September 23rd, 2012 at Cowboys Stadium. It was a sub par game in terms of excitement, although the Cowboys did win 16-10.

The biggest storyline surrounding this game was that Greg Schiano was one week off of his infamous attack-the-knee strategy against the New York Giants.

My prediction…

Assuming this team will be led by Jameis Winston, their offense isn’t exactly a pushover.

He’ll have huge targets in Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to choose from. Let’s not forget that Gerald McCoy will be rushing Romo at will. I think this game will catch the Cowboys off guard and with the team coming off of a huge win against Philly, they might get lackadaisical and drop this one.

Tampa takes advantage of an emotionally spent Cowboys team, 24-21.

 

Week 11: At Dolphins - November 22nd @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Miami DolphinsBack to back trips to the Sunshine State! The Cowboys will come home after a so-so performance in Tampa and begin preparation for Ndamukong Suh.

This game is also a rematch of Super Bowl VI (the first one that the Cowboys won) and a game against a former high-profile Texas high school quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.

Last time we met…

The last Super Bowl VI rematch happened on Thanksgiving 2011. It was a very different Dolphins team than we have today. Matt Moore hitting Brandon Marshall for a TD while Terrence Newman interfered with him is enough proof of that.

While the Dolphins weren’t an exceptional team in 2011, they gave the Cowboys a run for their money. In the end it wasn’t enough and the Cowboys beat them on a last second field goal (in Dan Bailey’s rookie year, I might add) to get the win 20-19.

My prediction…

This is the game before Thanksgiving. The Cowboys have made it a habit of making this game exciting. In 2011 they kicked a field goal (Dan Bailey the rookie again!) in overtime to beat the Redskins in Washington 27-14.

In 2012 they went to overtime again, this time at home against backup QB Brandon Weeden’s lowly Browns team, and Dan Bailey kicked us to a 23-20 victory.

2013 didn’t go to overtime, but it was a stressful finish as Tony Romo summoned all energy in New York and led a game winning drive that Dan Bailey finished to give us the 24-21 win.

2014 saw us in New York before Thanksgiving again - and Odell Beckham Jr. blow up again - but it was déjà vu as Tony Romo led an amazing fourth quarter comeback drive that he finished with a touchdown to Dez Bryant to seal the 31-28.

The Dolphins will be contenders in 2015 and, if history is any indicator, this will be a close Cowboys win decided by three points. Give me a 34-31 Cowboys win and stretchy pants to get ready for Thanksgiving!

 

Week 12: Panthers - November 26th @ 3:25pm CST on CBS

2015 Schedule - Carolina PanthersThis will be the Carolina Panthers’ first appearance on Thanksgiving in their franchise’s history. It will be Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Kelvin Benjamin facing off against the Thanksgiving veterans.

It’s always great to get a bit of a throwback feel on Thanksgiving and see an NFC matchup on CBS. The navy Cowboys uniforms against the Panthers whites aren’t the greatest uniform matchup, but it’ll be a nice deviation from the norm.

Last time we met…

The last time we played the Panthers actually did feature Cowboys navy uniforms against their whites. It was October 21st, 2012 and a pretty snooze fest of a game. Ultimately the Cowboys won, with an awkward score, 19-14.

Two things stand out to me about this game:

  1. Morris Claiborne got his first career interception in this game. It was a tipped pass that sort of fell in his lap. Hopefully he can return to some sort of prominence in his 2015 campaign.
  2. I watched this game with some family and one person foolishly said that the Cowboys needed to trade Dez Bryant. Thank God we didn’t! Ha!

My prediction…

The Panthers will possess a high level of moxie as they step out under the Thanksgiving lights. The Cowboys will do all that they can to survive a short week, off of a big win in Miami.

Cam Newton is going to be a lot to contain, but Greg Hardy will be out to prove himself against his former team. The Cowboys have historically had a tough little window around this time of year and I think that they’ll drop this game. A game that Most will attribute to the short week syndrome.

Panthers take this one 27-17.

 

Week 13: At Redskins - December 7th @ 7:30pm CST on ESPN

2015 Schedule - Washington RedskinsDUN DUN DUN DUN! Monday. Night. FOOTBALL.

It’s always exciting to get under the Monday Night anthem and play some pigskin. As much as I can’t stand the Redskins, there is nothing like a prime time game there; it’s got that classic NFC East vibe to it and always makes for a great game.

Who knows what the status will be with their quarterback situation at the time? Will it be RGIII? Kirk Cousins? Colt McCoy? Or will they actually make a move for Marcus Mariota?

Last time we met…

The Cowboys traveled to FedEx Field (Who am I kidding, it’ll always be RFK) for the 2014 regular season finale. It was an exciting game that saw two Cowboys records broken.

  1. DeMarco Murray broke Emmitt Smith’s record for most yards rushed for in a single season and,
  2. Dez Bryant broke Terrell Owens’ record for most touchdown receptions in a single season.

The 44-17 victory marked the Cowboys 12th win of the regular season and their 8th on the road, giving them a perfect road record for 2014.

My prediction…

The Cowboys will have a nice little mini bye after Thanksgiving that will give them 11 full days of rest before they have to lace them up again.

They have shown that they have the ability to win on the road, and Washington has shown that they will always implode. The Cowboys will start December off on the right foot and get a nice win, 38-16.

 

Week 14: At Packers - December 13th @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Green Bay PackersLambeau Field. It is the holy grail of professional football.

This game has everything you could possibly want. Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Mike McCarthy, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett; and a rematch of one of the more exciting playoff games in recent memory.

This will challenge the record books as one of the most viewed games in history as its only competition for the day is a Broncos/Raiders matchup. Troy and Buck will be on the call and they’ll be talking about one thing all week… Dez Bryant’s catch (uh huh, I said catch).

Last time we met…

The Cowboys made the trek to the Frozen Tundra for last year’s Divisional Round of the Playoffs. While many gave the Packers a free pass to the NFC Championship game, the Cowboys would have none of it.

They withstood the injured Aaron Rodgers and were in line to put the game away before DeMarco Murray fumbled at the Cowboys 41 yard line early in the third quarter. The battle went back and forth and eventually saw the Packers take a 26-21 lead. Tony Romo mounted a comeback drive and on 4th and 2 from the Green Bay 32, launched a deep pass to the direction of Dez Bryant.

You all know what happened. An atrocious rule took precedence over what would have been one of the greater catches in NFL history, and the Packers booked their ticket to Seattle.

My prediction…

Dez Bryant will go off. I’m talking 200+ yards. He is going to be out to make a statement in this game. Yes, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will score some points; but Dez and the Cowboys are going to approach this game the way they approached Seattle in 2014.

It’s theirs and they’re going to take it in what will be one of the greater games of the 2015 NFL season, 45-41.

 

Week 15: Jets - December 19th @ 7:25pm CST on NFL Network

2015 Schedule - New York JetsThe Rex Ryan-less J-E-T-S will make their way to AT&T Stadium in one of the two Saturday night games of the 2015 season. These games are always so much fun as college football has reached a standstill so Saturdays are available for our perusal.

The Jets have a newly rebuffed secondary (Revis and Cromartie back for round two) that will be a big talk all week, but the Cowboys' win over Green Bay will be the bigger story as the Cowboys begin their run at securing a first round bye.

Last time we met…

These two teams last squared off on the ten-year anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in American history, September 11th, 2011.

The Cowboys kicked off the Sunday Night Football game to begin the 2011 season in New York and the Ryan brothers (Rex and Rob) got a whole bunch of love. It was a really unorganized game for the Cowboys that saw some fourth quarter mistakes result in a 27-24 Jets win.

My prediction…

The Cowboys will have begun to catch fire by this point in the season. They will have the division and a first round bye well in sight and look to take advantage of a Jets team that has been fairly weak for the last few years.

It’ll be great to get this win locked up on a Saturday night and enjoy the Christmas decorations as Dem Boyz cruise to an easy 41-17 victory.

 

Week 16: At Bills - December 27th @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Buffalo BillsYou thought you dodged Rex Ryan when we played the Jets, didn’t you? Rex is going to talk his way all the way up to the sidelines all week-long before this matchup.

The Cowboys will have to face LeSean McCoy for the last time for four years (barring ANOTHER Cowboys and Bills Super Bowl in that time span) and all of Buffalo’s other offseason acquisitions: Percy Harvin, Charles Clay and Matt Cassel.

Last time we met…

The Cowboys and Bills squared off on November 13th, 2011 in a game that was never close. The Cowboys scored quick and early and often riding Laurent Robinson (two touchdowns that day) to an easy 44-7 win.

One of the more notable moments was when Bills receiver David Nelson caught a touchdown and handed the ball to his girlfriend Kelsi Reich… who was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader! The story was everywhere and was a lot of fun.

The Cowboys last traveled to Orchard Park for a Monday Night game in early October of 2007. It was one of Tony Romo’s more memorable performances as he threw five interceptions and fumbled once… and still led the Cowboys to a 25-24 win.

My prediction…

There will most likely be some type of clinch scenario at this point (assuming I’m a prophet and everything that I’ve said comes true). The Cowboys will likely be able to clinch the division and/or a first round bye with this victory.

They’ll come out strong, but so will the Bills. Rex will absolutely get his team up to play America’s Team and The Ralph is an underrated place to play. I think it’ll be close and low scoring, but the Cowboys will pull it off 20-13.

 

Week 17: Redskins - January 3rd @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Washington RedskinsHappy New Year! Hopefully you got Cowboys gear for Christmas and are excited to see us finish the regular season against Dan Snyder and his band of misfits.

In all likelihood this game will (hopefully) be meaningless, as we have secured enough to make us feel comfortable heading into the playoffs. The Cowboys and Redskins matchups are never boring, though, so this will surely be exciting… and not just because it’s your fantasy football Super Bowl.

Last time we met…

The last time that Washington visited AT&T Stadium is hard to truly evaluate. Tony Romo was infamously knocked out of the game, and later returned, while Brandon Weeden was unable to do much and we got a very scary look at what life without Romo looks like.

The Cowboys lost in overtime 20-17 to a Colt McCoy led team and had to deal with a very long week of sadness and unknown.

My prediction…

Coach Garrett showed last season in Washington that he will play his guys no matter what we’ve secured. I think that we’ll play the guys for a bit, but the Redskins will have too much pride on the line and win a low scoring affair 20-16, while we smile and get ready for the playoffs.

Obviously there is a lot yet to be determined about the 2015 NFL season. The NFL Draft is quickly approaching and that will drastically influence the composition of all of these teams.

Unfortunately, injuries will happen. As will the most improbable and unforeseen things… this is the NFL, right? The important thing is that the NFL Schedule is here, which can only mean one thing: the 2015 NFL Season is quickly approaching and trying to get to us as fast as it can!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys 2015 Schedule Breakdown" 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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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

Brian Martin

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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season 2

I know we are all still little disappointed with the way the Dallas Cowboys 2018 season ended, but if we are completely honest with ourselves it ended a lot better than we initially thought it would. With the season officially over, it's time to start the evaluation process to see what went wrong and what right this past year.

I don't know about you, but I started the evaluation process a lot earlier this year than I have in years past. That is why today I want to share with you five of the Dallas Cowboys players who I believe had a fantastic 2018 season and five that unfortunately didn't quite live up to expectations.

Before we get started, I want to let you know that I tried to stray from pointing out the obvious, especially in the stud category. Instead I went with players who kind of came out of nowhere to have a really good season. I thought that would make it a little more enjoyable instead of pointing out the obvious. I hope you enjoy.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Studs ✭

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

CB, Byron Jones

Byron Jones completely turned around his career this season with the Dallas Cowboys after being moved from safety to cornerback, his more natural position. Many had him pegged as a first-round bust, but he definitely quieted his critics by making his first Pro Bowl and becoming a Second-team All-Pro. I would say that qualifies as stud status.

The Predator and Wolf Hunter

You can't really mention one and leave out the other, which is why you're getting a two-for-one special here with Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. This dynamic duo arguably played like the best LBs in the league, although it's Vander Esch who has received the majority of the attention and got the Pro Bowl not as a replacement. Both definitely had Pro Bowl caliber seasons and that alone speaks volumes to how they played in 2018.

C, Joe Looney

No one could've possibly predicted the kind of season Dallas Cowboys backup Guard/Center Joe Looney would have in 2018 after replacing Travis Frederick in the starting lineup. He became somewhat of an afterthought this past season, which is pretty impressive in itself considering he was replacing one of the best centers in the league. What's even more impressive is the fact he played every single snap on offense. No other Cowboys player accomplished that feat on either side of the ball.

DE, Randy Gregory

You may disagree with me here, but the way Randy Gregory played in the second half of the 2018 season earned him stud status in my opinion. If he would've played that way for the entire year he would've joined DeMarcus Lawrence with double digit quarterback sacks. His ability to turn his speed into power gave opposing left tackles fits. He ended up being among the best at pressuring the QB in the latter part of the season.

DT, Antwaun Woods

Antwaun Woods was viewed as nothing more than a camp body when the Dallas Cowboys picked him up in the offseason after being released by the Tennessee Titans, but it's not always where you start it's where you finish. He went on to earn the starting gig at the 1-tech or nose tackle this past season and was largely responsible for the success Dallas had at shutting down opposing offenses rushing attacks. Unfortunately, as well as he played all season it will probably be forgotten after the way the LA Rams completely dominated Woods and the rest of the Cowboys DL in the playoffs.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Duds ✭

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

LB, Sean Lee

The Dallas Cowboys wisely drafted Leighton Vander Esch as insurance if Sean Lee couldn't remain healthy in 2018, and thank the heavens they did. Vander Esch was supposed to be Lee's backup this season, but it ended up being the other way around after #50 once again missed quite a bit of the year with injuries. It looks like the torch has already been passed, making Sean Lee's future in Dallas a mystery moving forward.

DT, David Irving

Remember last offseason when the Dallas Cowboys decided to place just a second-round tender on David Irving and we were worried some other team would snatch him up? Yeah, well it looks as if the Cowboys are the ones who paid too much to keep him around because did basically nothing in 2018 despite all the high expectations we all had for him. After he sustained a high ankle sprain he pretty much went M.I.A. and no one really knows what the heck is going on or what his future holds.

WR, Allen Hurns

The Dallas Cowboys signed Allen Hurns this past offseason to help replace some of the lost production in the passing game after they decided to release Dez Bryant. Unfortunately, he never found his footing in Dallas and finished the year with an unimpressive stat line of 20 receptions for 295 receiving yards and two touchdowns. To add insult to injury (pun intended), his gruesome leg injury might be the only thing we remember about his 2018 season.

S, Jeff Heath

I'm actually a fan of Jeff Heath's, but he didn't particularly play very well this season. He ended up grading out as one of the worst tackling safeties in the NFL this past season. I don't know if it was some kind of fluke or what, but the Dallas Cowboys will surely be looking to upgrade the safety position this offseason either through free agency or the draft, perhaps both. Regardless, his days in the starting lineup may be all but over.

RB/WR, Tavon Austin

There were a lot of high expectations for Tavon Austin when the Dallas Cowboys added him via trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Austin was supposed to provide a different dynamic to the Cowboys offense and help improve their return game as well. Unfortunately a groin injury pretty much wiped out the majority of his season, but even when he was on the field he wasn't as impactful as we'd all hoped. He did show a few flashes of his talent, but for me it wasn't enough.



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Report: Antwaun Woods Played with Torn Labrum in Loss to Rams

John Williams

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HOU 19, DAL 16: Cowboys Lose Tough Defensive Battle in Overtime

Late last night, Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported yesterday that Antwaun Woods suffered a torn labrum in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams and proceeded to play with the injury for the rest of the game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DT Antwaun Woods tore his labrum during the second quarter of the #Rams game and had surgery today to repair it, source said. He played the rest of the game with the ailment. One of Dallas' young talents on the mend.

Woods is a tough player, but there's no way that it didn't affect his play. The labrum is the cartilage in the socket of your shoulder joint. It acts to protect the bones from rubbing together and allows a smooth surface for the shoulder to rotate and extend. The labrum also serves as the location where the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff attach.

A torn labrum will effect the range of motion and will be painful to use when attempting to perform range of motion. Also, any blows to the shoulder, which is always for a defensive tackle will be painful as well, and it will limit his play strength.

https://twitter.com/AntwaunWoods_/status/1086089237785653248

Antwaun Woods responded to Rapoport's report with confirmation of the injury and surgery.

Woods was a highlight of training camp and a standout this season. His play at the 1-technique defensive tackle position helped the Dallas Cowboys become a top 10 rushing defense and gave the Cowboys something they've struggled to find for years; a penetrating 1-technique defensive tackle.

Woods finished the season with 34 total tackles (15 solo), two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits according to Pro Football Reference. He also had 16 stops, which Pro Football Focus defines as a play that resulted in a loss for the offense, which was second on the team at defensive tackle to Tyrone Crawford.

Things are looking up for Woods as he'll likely be back with the Cowboys in 2019 and manning the nose tackle position for a defense that is on the rise in the NFL. Injuries are never a good thing, but the Cowboys and Cowboys Nation just learned how tough Antwaun Woods is and how much he's willing to give for his teammates.



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