The Dallas Cowboys look to rebound from their worst loss since Dak Prescott became the starting quarterback for the team. The Cowboys are facing a team that has had some early struggles of their own in the Arizona Cardinals.
As the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys travel to play the 1-1 Arizona Cardinals, there are a lot of interesting things to note in this matchup. From the series, to the players, to what is happening this season, this matchup has some great story lines.
The Amount of wins the Cowboys have against the Cardinals in the Jason Garrett coaching era.
Both the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals come into week three with a single victory in the win column. Dallas' one win came over division rival New York Giants. The Arizona Cardinals struggled to eek out an overtime win to the injury-riddled Indianapolis Colts.
DeMarcus Lawrence's ranking in sacks through two games. After having one and half in the first and two in the second, he has a good chance to get two more in this game.
Carson Palmer also is tied for first in the league with Andy Dalton and DeShone Kizer; in interceptions.
In two of the four losses since 2008, the team's backup quarterback was the starter for those games. Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee combined for a loss in 2010 and Brandon Weeden spared us all to death while filling in for Tony Romo at the tail end of the 2014 season.
The number of times Patrick Peterson has been selected to the All-Pro's first team. He's another high-level to elite cornerback that Dez Bryant will be forced to contend with.
Only four players remain in the league from that 2006 Dallas Cowboys victory. Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald, Jason Witten and L.P. Ladouceur of the Dallas Cowboys, and Minnesota Vikings cornerback, Terrance Newman.
Sitting at fourth in the league, the Arizona Cardinals only allow 2.8 yards per rush. Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas offensive line are going to have some tough sledding again this week.
The amount of sacks by both teams through two games.
Carson Palmer has also been sacked five times through two games.
Five also represents the amount of touchdowns that each team has allowed in the 2017 season. Both have allowed four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown through the first two weeks of the season.
The average point differential during the four-game losing streak is 6. The smallest margin was a one point loss in 2010. The largest loss came in 2014.
The Cardinals rank sixth in the league in total plays run and 11th in yards/play, but struggle to turn their drives into points as they've only scored on 29% of their drives, good for 23rd in the league. Dallas' offense scores on 36% of its drives, good for 16th in the NFL. On the flip side, the Cardinals defense only allows 33% of its drives to end in points. Dallas is 9th in the league at 27%.
It's been 11 seasons since the Dallas Cowboys' last victory over the Arizona Cardinals in 2006. That game was Tony Romo's fourth start in the NFL and he played excellently. 20/29 for 308 yards, two touchdowns and a 126.8 passer rating. His two touchdowns went to Patrick Crayton--who led the team in receiving that day with 105 yards on five catches--and "That's my quarterback" Terrell Owens.
Despite his and the team's poor performance in week two, Ezekiel Elliott is 14th in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 162 total yards.
Arizona sits 16th in the league in points at 19.5 points per game. Unfortunately they give up more points per game than they've scored at 24 points per game allowed. That bodes well for a Dallas team looking to get back on track.
The number of catches for the NFL's league leader in receptions, Jason Witten. That's nine more than Rob Gronkowski, seven more than A.J. Green and Alshon Jeffrey, eight more than Amari Cooper, 12 more than Brandin Cooks, and 15 more than 2016 tight end TD leader, Cameron Brate.
This just in; Jason Witten's still really good at football.
Sorry, sir for saying anything about your age.
Where Dak Prescott sits in the NFL in passer rating through two weeks. Definitely not a great start, but if we know anything about Dak, it's that he is the king of the bounce back. Look for him to have a good game this week.
The combined seasons for two key players in the game this week: Jason Witten and Larry Fitzgerald.
Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten sit at numbers three and four on the all-time receptions list, respectively. They've combined for 2,240 receptions over their careers; an average of 77 receptions per season for the two of them.
Carson Palmer's completion percentage is not good and sits at 31st in the NFL.
The amount of rushing yards the Arizona Cardinals have managed through two games in 2017.
Palmer's passer rating, which is ahead of only four players with qualifying statistics: Jacoby Brissett, Josh McCown, DeShone Kizer, and Andy Dalton. Yuck!
The number of pass attempts through two games for Carson Palmer, who ranks fifth in the NFL in attempts and yards.
The number of attempts through the air for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. I think nobody would have expected this through two games. Prescott and Scott Linehan need to be better moving forward. More misdirection in the passing game and more delayed draw plays for the run game to try to soften things up.
More Game Notes
- Dak Prescott and Carson Palmer represent the two lowest passer ratings of any players in the top-10 in attempts.
- On defense, the Arizona Cardinals have allowed the third most amount of plays in 2017, but rank 9th in yards per play at 4.6. For reference, the Dallas Cowboys are 13th in y/p at 4.9.
- Looking for a week to get the passing game back on track, and this may be it. The Cardinals have allowed the 9th most passing yards in the NFL's first two weeks.
- The Cardinals have forced only two turnovers in their first two games.
- Dallas leads the all-time series with a record of 55-32-1.
- Despite his poor week two, Ezekiel Elliott sits 14th in the NFL
Two of the Greatest to Ever Play
This game will feature two players who have played every single game for more than 10 years with their respective teams. Larry Fitzgerald for the Arizona Cardinals and Jason Witten for the Dallas Cowboys.
When their careers are done, they will both find themselves enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten are two of the most respected players in the game. They have been pillars of the game and in their communities for more than a decade.
Whatever happens on Monday Night Football this week, take a moment to soak in these two legends being on the field with one another; perhaps for the last time.
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While Arizona hasn't played all that well, the numbers say this will be a tough matchup for your Dallas Cowboys. Arizona loves to throw the ball. Maybe even more so than Scott Linehan has these first two weeks. Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie's health will be important to watch throughout the week. Everybody will be needed in the secondary. EVERYBODY.
Be on the look out for our writer's predictions to come out later. Go Cowboys!!!
Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten’s Game?
Jason Witten is 37 years old, retired from the NFL after the completion of 2017 season to try his luck as an announcer in the booth, but has now decided to come out of retirement to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys? It seems a little unrealistic to think he can come back after a year away from the game and pick up where he left off, but it sounds as if he's like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Jason Witten has been the talk of Dallas Cowboys OTA practices so far. These practices are unpadded and basically just an opportunity to do install some of the offensive and defensive plays, but that doesn't make them any less important. One of the things that has been somewhat surprising though is how talked up the future Hall of Famer has become.
Here is what Head Coach Jason Garrett had to say recently about Jason Witten's return:
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.”
The main thing that stands out from Garrett's quote to me is how Jason Witten looks just as good, if not better after not playing at all in 2018. To think that his testing numbers are possibly even better is unfathomable. We typically don't see NFL players in their mid-30s retire from the game and then return just as good, or maybe even better than they were before.
Maybe that's just what Jason Witten is, a little inhuman. Maybe he's found the secret to turning the clock back just a little bit. Or, maybe he found the fountain the youth and didn't tell anybody. Regardless, there's no doubt Witten will be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys offense, especially if he's gained a step.
I don't know about all of you, but I'm hoping the year away from the game did him some good. I honestly thought he made the right decision to retire prior to the 2018 season. It just looked like father time was catching up to him in 2017. But, hopefully all he needed was a little time away from the grind he's been putting his body through for over a decade.
Whatever he's done hasn't gone unnoticed though. Even Quarterback Dak Prescott has noticed and said he's on to Witten's scheme.
“I guess the trick is to take a year off because he’s definitely gotten better, stronger and faster,” Prescott said. “He hasn’t lost a step.”
I'm not afraid to admit I wasn't too excited to see Witten come out of retirement and rejoin the Cowboys at first. I was skeptical he could be the player he once was after a year away from the game. But, all of this talk about him looking as good as he once was, perhaps better, has me really looking forward to seeing him on the field once again.
Do you think a year away has rejuvenated Jason Witten's game?
Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva
Los Dallas Cowboys tuvieron un interesante 2018. La ofensiva dejo mucho que desear toda la primera mitad de la temporada cuando carecían de un receptor número uno. No fue hasta media temporada cuando consiguieron a Amari Cooper de los Oakland Raiders, que la ofensiva comenzó a verse realmente amenazante. Siendo sinceros, el cuerpo de receptores de los Cowboys lucía muy débil al inicio y Michael Gallup aún no conseguía mucho tiempo de juego en el emparrillado. Incluso una vez en el equipo, a pesar de las grandes hazañas de Cooper en Dallas, la ofensiva no terminó de dar el siguiente paso.
Sí, con Amari en el equipo vimos un equipo de Cowboys que movía constantemente las cadenas e incluso se convirtió en una de las mejores unidades en tercera oportunidad en la liga, pero no fue suficiente. Los problemas en zona roja persistieron y continuamos viendo una selección de jugadas muy cuestionable semana tras semana.
Es por eso que al finalizar la temporada, la administración de los Cowboys finalmente tomó una decisión muy anticipada. El entonces coordinador ofensivo, Scott Linehan, fue despedido.
En cuanto a talento, los Dallas Cowboys no verán un cambio mayor en su ofensiva. Cole Beasley, uno de los mejores WR slot en la NFL, firmó con los Buffalo Bills durante la agencia libre. A pesar de la llegada de Randall Cobb, la ofensiva probablemente extrañará bastante a Beasley. Además está el regreso de Jason Witten al campo, quien se repartirá el balón mucho con los jóvenes del equipo, principalmente con Blake Jarwin. Por último, Travis Frederick podría estar de regreso como el centro titular. Fuera de eso, no se anticipan cambios de jugadores en la ofensiva.
Y a pesar de esto, la afición de los Cowboys espera ver un cambio grande entre la ofensiva del 2018 y la de 2019. Si las cosas salen bien, así será. Pero más que por el talento del equipo, que ya está ahí y es un muy buen talento, deberá ser por el hombre al mando.
Kellen Moore ha tomado las riendas como el nuevo coordinador ofensivo y finalmente podremos ver su potencial. Muchos han criticado a Moore, en gran parte por nunca haber sido un quarterback exitoso en la NFL. Sin embargo, hay muchas razones por las cuales deberíamos estar emocionados.
Desde que Moore salió de la universidad de Boise State, se le veía como un prospecto muy inteligente. Incluso analistas como Jon Gruden (en ese entonces conductor del programa de ESPN Gruden's QB Camp) mencionaban que Moore probablemente no sería un gran mariscal, pero que tenía la mente de un coach.
En Boise, Moore trabajaba con la ofensiva del actual coach de los Washington Huskies, Chris Petersen. Esta ofensiva es una muy complicada que le exige al mariscal saber casi tanto como un jugador profesional. Muchos han descrito a Moore como un genio ofensivo que será un gran coach en el futuro.
Para los Cowboys, Kellen Moore será una pieza clave en 2019. Si vemos una ofensiva realmente diferente, será gracias a su creatividad y filosofía que implementa a un grupo bastante talentoso en Dallas. Los jugadores están ahí, ¿sabrá el coordinador ofensivo de 30 años aprovecharlos?
NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?
The NFLPA and the NFL have reached an agreement to research alternative pain-management tools for the players. They'll form joint medical committees to study different strategies, among which will be the use of marijuana. It's important to make it clear that said committees will not be exclusively about marijuana, but a lot of different issues related to pain-management in the league. However, it'll likely be one of the most important aspects of their work.
Marijuana continues to be a highly debated topic and it's no different when discussing the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans should be very familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, David Irving "quit" on football during an Instagram live stream while smoking weed. In the video, Irving talks about how he thinks it's better to be addicted to marijuana rather than certain medications used by NFL teams to treat their players.
Although David Irving is not an authority on substances, that is where all of this debate centers around. Throughout the league, players are given strong medication to deal with injuries and the physical pain of playing pro football. I'm not an expert either, but it's more than fair to say there's a strong argument here. Specially in a country where marijuana has already been legalized in 10 states and the trend points toward legalization continuing.
The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the NFL and NFLPA will expire after the 2020 season and how the league's drug policy looks like in the new agreement will be a huge factor for reaching a satisfactory CBA for both sides.
Of course, the fact that the NFLPA and the league are working together on such an important task doesn't mean we will see any immediate changes or that the NFL's ban on marijuana will be lifted anytime soon. Many big question marks will have to be answered before we hear about teams implementing this substance as a pain management tool.
For the Dallas Cowboys, this will be a relevant narrative down the line. Pass rusher Randy Gregory was reinstated after serving an indefinite suspension due to substance abuse prior to the 2018 season. After a dominant year, Gregory was suspended again by the NFL and it all points toward him sitting out this upcoming season and perhaps even more.
Even still, the Cowboys are still standing behind their 2015 second round pick. If the league ends up lifting its ban on marijuana, they'll have to decide what they will do with players already serving a suspension for this reason. Guys like Randy Gregory, for instance. If it's decided they'll be reinstated to the NFL, the Cowboys will sure be glad to have supported Gregory all throughout the process.
Last year, the pass rusher proved how effective he could be even with a short period of time training. Hopefully, the Cowboys are able to get him back on the field eventually, where's been consistently dominant. In the meantime, we'll see how recently acquired Robert Quinn does in Dallas.
The NFL won't be lifting its ban anytime soon, but it's good to know they're at least open minded to changing the league's policy and consider alternatives that could benefit the players' health. We'll see how these new medical committees work and keep you updated here at Inside The Star.
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