Sixth grade can be a rough time for a guy.
You're getting acclimated to middle school, and is it me or did the concept of "class periods" confuse anyone else? The first time that bell rang and I had to pack up to leave my current class I was in a state of complete bewilderment. It must've taken me a full month to learn my schedule, but I digress.
Beyond social studies, science, and math... the toughest subject to tackle is girls. You're a sixth grader so you're innately awkward, that's just the way it goes. The best part about the whole experience is that someone came up with the idea of school dances for us to all partake in. Thanks a lot, whoever that was.
We've all been there. Leaning up against a wall, punch in hand, longingly (that's a pun that'll come back around soon, I promise) staring out at the dance floor. We hope and pray that somehow a girl will instinctually know that we want to dance and everything will work out like in the movies.
Then that one song comes on and the intensity rises. You know that this is your one shot, your one opportunity (shout out to Eminem!). For me that song was "All Or Nothing" by O-Town. I make no apologies as that is an epic song to this day.
The bass starts booming and the never-ending strobe lights go round and round. The butterflies in your belly start running rampant and you finally get enough courage to start just thinking about asking a girl to dance.
You scan the perimeter. "Well she might say yes... I have a class with her... She shared a Dunkaroo with me once... Oh gosh no not her..." Ultimately though you just want to Whitney Houston this thing and dance with somebody.
Finally it's 4th and Long. You've got to make a decision because the game depends on it. You didn't come here to punt so you take a deep breath and somehow put one foot in front of the other. Just as you come within striking distance you remember that this is the worst idea ever and you completely bail!
It feels like that's how the Dallas Cowboys have handled Free Agency this offseason.
Olivier Vernon was the most beautiful girl in school, but they lost out on him to their arch nemesis. The girl that they'd had a crush on forever, Lamar Miller, somehow slipped through their fingers towards a guy in their homeroom. It was tough to watch.
Sure the Cowboys made some noise by re-signing some of their own (Rolando McClain, Kyle Wilber, Morris Claiborne, James Hanna, Charles Brown, & Josh Thomas) and wooing Defensive Tackle Cedric Thornton away from the Philadelphia Eagles down to Big D. But those don't really count. That's like "dancing" with a girl to the YMCA or Cupid Shuffle, it's not the same!
Even after the Cowboys lowered what might have been lofty expectations down to Adrian Clayborn and Matt Moore... the two decided to stay with their current dance partners and not hit the floor with America's Team. Late Tuesday night the Cowboys reached a new level in terms of unwilling dance partners.
Chris Long, who was scheduled to have dinner with the Cowboys on Tuesday evening, decided that he'd rather blow them off entirely and signed with the New England Patriots. That's like asking a girl to dance and her saying, "Oh yea we will next song!" and then you see her twirlin' round the bend with someone else! It's humiliating!
Many have justified the unwillingness of Cowboys dance partners as the Front Office being wise and responsible financially, and that very well may be true. That song and dance seemed more believable before Chris Long decided that being wined and dined by Jerry Jones and Co. wasn't even worth his time. You can call it fiscal responsibility, but it also looks like no one wants to dance with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are sorely in need of some help at multiple positions on their team. Sure the NFL Draft a month and a half from now will help fill some of those holes, but the NFC East isn't waiting like the Cowboys. The Giants, Eagles, and Redskins have all been wheelin' and dealin' their way through Free Agency like the kid who's asking every girl to dance (You can see every NFL Free Agent Acquisition right here).
So the Cowboys are currently playing the wallflower role at the 2016 Free Agency Dance. They're leaning up against the wall and acting cool while everyone else shakes, shimmies, and boogies the night away. They seem to be looking at the success of 2014 and treating 2015 as an aberration due to injury.
When O-Town spoke the immortal words "There's nowhere left to fall, when you reach the bottom its now or never," I thought that they were just trying to motivate me to ask a girl to dance. I now know that even back then they were giving advice to the 2016 Cowboys.
We would all be living in denial if we said that current Cowboy legends Tony Romo and Jason Witten are going to play forever. Even Dez Bryant is about to enter his sixth NFL season. Time is ticking, and it seems like the Cowboys are either being perhaps too stubborn with their willingness to pay players or they are simply being outdone by the competition.
I'm not advocating an "all-in" approach to this thing by any means. I'm not saying that there's a "window" or any other sort of cliche.
I'm saying that there's a dance happening right in front of us. Let's get off the wall and find a partner.
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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