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I want you to focus on two numbers for a second... 0-8.
2008 was the year that I graduated from high school, and before my freshman year at Texas A&M University my Dad and I took a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. You know... "OH" kind of looks like "08", don't you think? If you just closed the top/bottom of the H it would totally work!
Another city in the state of "08IO" is Cleveland (sorry Indians fans). "The Land", as LeBron James has dubbed it recently, is home to much more than just the self-proclaimed King. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, and so are the most lovable losers known to the National Football League - The Browns.
We decided to devote part of our trip to these Cleveland Browns and their Training Camp, we wanted to see how the franchise that gave us the Cardiac Kids prepared for a season. Browns Training Camp literally happens in a tiny neighborhood in Berea, OH... and I seriously mean neighborhood. It's right out of a Disney movie.
We're walking about Training Camp, right? Kellen Winslow (K2) was there, and things were pretty interesting. In the middle of experience were two fans who stood out above the rest. They were an older couple... and I mean they really stood out.
The man wore a Joe Thomas Pro Bowl jersey, Browns shorts, and had a fairly bright goatee. The woman had a standard Thomas Browns jersey, a matching skirt, oh and she had a bright orange mohawk. They were very friendly and obviously loved football. Papa Ocho and I struck up a conversation with the duo, exchanged pleasantries, and I snagged a photo with them.
Who is this lovely couple? Only Joe Thomas' Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom. Yes, that Joe Thomas. The 9-Time Pro Bowler, 6-Time First-Team All-Pro, stud Left Tackle for the Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas! That dude!
Look how bold these two young kids are... and they're Browns fans! If they can be bold, anyone can be bold. That's this week's lesson as the Cowboys take on the 0-8 Cleveland Browns. Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let’s roll.
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The Cowboys Win By The Exact Same Score From The Last Time They Were In Cleveland
Sunday, September 7th, 2008 was 2,982 days before this game. What's the significance of that day? It was the last time the Dallas Cowboys visited the Cleveland Browns (no big deal but right after I met Joe Thomas' Aunt and Uncle).
For what it's worth 2 + 9 + 8 + 2 = 21 so Ezekiel Elliott is obviously going to go off, but he'll be doing his damage in the Cowboys "cursed" navy jerseys. That's right, America's Team will be donning their away uniforms when they visit the Factory of Sadness... just like they did almost three thousand days ago.
That day the Cowboys won 28-10. It's happening again. Shabooya.
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"3-1" Plays A Role In The Form Of A Big Play From Byron Jones
Did you know that the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers? Did you also know that the Cleveland Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series to the Chicago Cubs? Good.
3-1 has been everywhere in sports throughout 2016. The Cowboys are bringing one of the best 31's there is to the city well-versed in the number's magic - Byron Jones.
"The Senator" is one of the better Cowboy defenders, and shockingly has never recorded an interception in his young career. I'm not saying that Byron hauls in an interception here, but he's going to have an impactful play. 3-1 is freaky like that, just like Byron's athleticism.
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Orlando Scandrick Records Two Sacks
In the interest of keeping things chronological, I have jumped from #31 to #32 - Orlando Scandrick.
The Cowboys may be 6-1 in 2016, but Orlando Scandrick has only been present for three games. The Philadelphia win marked his first return since Week 2.
Two is a funny number for Mr. Thirty-Two. That's the week he last played before leaving for injury, and it's the number of sacks he currently has on the season... thanks to an epic one he had near the end of last week's overtime thrilling victory against the Eagles.
Orlando wrapped up the opposing quarterback once last week, but he's going to double (another two) that digit. Whatever you're going to bet, double it.
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Dan Bailey Attempts Extra Points From Opposite Hash Marks
The greatest kicking mind that roams the internet is none other than Inside The Pylon's Chuck Zodda. I spoke with Chuck on their Quick Kicks Podcast - concerning the current state of the Cowboys - and of course the subject of kickers came up.
Chuck is more than a fantastic football follow, he's an astute observer. There isn't a football that's kicked, a lace that's not out, or a squib that isn't seen by him.
In fact, Chuck Zodda was the first person to notice something absolutely incredible about Dan Bailey.
Dan Bailey is literally toying with kicking now - moving his location on XP from kick to kick to get some practice in despite no misses
How absurd is it that Dan Bailey is so clutch at extra points that he uses them as opportunities to get better for field goals? Also, how sick is it that Dan knows he has a lot of extra point attempts to use as practice?
I want to imagine that Dan is doing this out of smug arrogance as opposed to precision and detail, but that just wouldn't make sense. Love you, Danny boy.
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Ezekiel Elliott Triples His Last Performance In The State Of Ohio
The last time young Zeke toted the rock in the 'ol O-H-I-O was November 21st, 2015 when The Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the Michigan State Spartans. It wasn't exactly Zeke's finest day as he only rushed 12 times for 33 yards and a single touchdown.
How many games did the Cubs win in a row to dethrone the Indians? Three. Zeke is going to multiply that performance by three on Sunday. 36 carries, 99 yards, and a hat trick of touchdowns await the Offensive Rookie of the Month.
Eat. Eat. Eat.
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Bonus Bold Predictions
Remember, if you want YOUR Bold Prediction featured here, tweet it at me! It’s that simple! Here are this week’s contributions, thanks to all those who shared!
@rjochoa zeke with 200 yards dez with 2 tds and Anthony brown with a pick 6 for my bold predictions.
@rjochoa Bold Prediction right here. JJ WILCOX will have 3 sacks with a Pick Six. #BOLDPrediction #RJsfavplayer
@rjochoa Bold Prediction: @EzekielElliott runs for close to, if not over, 200 yards in his return to Ohio!
@rjochoa @AlexGelhar Zeke will get over 160 yds this week in his homecoming to Ohio. Book it
The latest Tweets and replies from Jones (@aj_bryant5188).
@rjochoa #bold prediction Zeke gets his first 200+ yd game & scores 3 TDs. Dez gets 2 TDs & we get our first 40+ point game ☺
Well, well, well. We have quite the list of contributions this week, don't we?!
The love seems to heavily favor Ezekiel Elliott so I think it's fair to say the class is of the belief that Zeke is going to fare well in his return to The Buckeye State. Also our pal Gene thinks JJ Wilcox is going to have himself a game, my oh my that would be tasty.
Basically Zeke is going to go bananas and JJ Wilcox is going to eat them. They eat, you eat, I eat, we all eat. Huzzah.
Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?
El mejor juego de los Dallas Cowboys en 2018 vino la semana pasada, cuando recibieron a los Jacksonville Jaguars y los vencieron 40-7. Un resultado que tomó a todos por sorpresa demostró la mejor cara en el año de este equipo que apenas tiene un récord de 3-3.
Por más dominantes que se vieron en el emparrillado el domingo pasado, esa actuación no termina de reflejar lo que realmente son los Cowboys. Son un equipo con potencial en la ofensiva y con una defensiva bastante fuerte, pero ¿pueden ganar constantemente como lo hicieron contra Jaguars?
De entrada, la respuesta a esta pregunta parece ser no. Aún en esa victoria, se vieron problemas evidentes en la ofensiva. Para empezar, la falta de ejecución en la segunda mitad en series ofensivas que incluso llegaron a iniciar en territorio enemigo. De gol de campo en gol de campo se juntan puntos, sin duda, pero en partidos cerrados eso termina costando victorias. Hace falta que Dak Prescott y compañía puedan mover el balón una vez en rango de gol de campo y convertir esas oportunidades a touchdowns.
Otra preocupación que no podemos subestimar es que el juego aéreo sigue sin funcionar apropiadamente. Cole Beasley dominó con nueve atrapadas para 101 yardas y dos touchdowns, pero el resto de los receptores se fueron sin más de una recepción por cabeza. El único jugador que logró más de una fue el TE Geoff Swaim, quien se llevo dos en todo el juego.
Si bien Beasley tuvo uno de los mejores juegos en su carrera, más receptores tienen que involucrarse para llevar la ofensiva al siguiente nivel. La buena noticia es que en esta ocasión se enfrentaron contra una de las mejores secundarias en la NFL. Los números son malos, pero tienen la oportunidad de demostrar mucho más contra otras defensivas.
Los Dallas Cowboys tienen que repartir más la bola y seguir buscando maneras creativas de utilizar a su RB Ezekiel Elliott. Pases pantallas en tercera y largo no es ser creativo. Lo vemos funcionar dos o tres veces al año pero mandan esta jugada semanalmente. En cuanto a Dak Prescott, hay mucho donde mejorar. Deberíamos estar viendo pases más arriesgados, al centro del campo y mucho mejor posicionados.
Para la defensiva, las cosas se ven muy bien. Puede que veamos la mejor versión de esta unidad esta semana, cuando viajen a Washington. Maliek Collins, Sean Lee, David Irving, y Randy Gregory estarán jugando mucho más sanos y preparados. Este es un frente defensivo lleno de talento que intimidará constantemente a Alex Smith este domingo.
A pesar de que los Redskins no tienen una ofensiva muy explosiva, el área de oportunidad principal para la defensiva de Cowboys está en la profundidad defensiva. Tanto Jeff Heath como Xavier Woods han hecho un trabajo decente, pero tienen sus momentos en los que no logran asegurar una tackleada y permiten jugadas largas.
Hace unos meses no esperábamos que fuera la defensiva y no la ofensiva la que cargaría a este equipo a muchas victorias, pero ese ha sido el caso en las tres victorias de esta temporada. Y en las tres derrotas, la defensiva fue la que mantuvo a los Cowboys en el juego.
Sin duda alguna, lo que tiene que mejorar es la ofensiva. Los receptores tienen que desmarcarse, Prescott debe ser más preciso y tener una mejor conciencia en la bolsa de protección.
Pero sobre todo, es la inconsistencia del equipo. Esto se comienza a sentir como la temporada del año pasado, cuando los Cowboys se fueron 9-7 y nunca terminaron de establecerse como contendientes a los playoffs. Aún en una NFC East donde todos los equipos tienen récords similares y débiles, no pueden continuar perdiendo una semana y ganando a la otra.
Ganarle a los Redskins sería la primera victoria de Dallas jugando de visita. También sería la primera vez en el año en la que tendrían victorias consecutivas. Por esto y muchas otras razones, incluyendo el potencial liderato de la división, este juego es de suma importancia.
Si ganan, podría ser el momento en el que los Cowboys terminen de darle la vuelta a la página y si pierden, podría ser un indicador de que esta temporada será igual que la del 2017.
Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off arguably their best and most complete offensive performance of the season after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made. The need to get more playmakers involved is apparent, which is why I think it's time to utilize Fullback Jamize Olawale's unique skill set.
I know many of you will argue that getting Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup going is a higher priority, and you wouldn't be wrong, but Jamize Olawale's playmaking ability could be a huge asset for Quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. I know it sounds a little strange, but hang in there with me for little bit.
As things stand right now, Olawale has only played 38 offensive snaps (10%) in 2018. That's the exact amount of offensive plays Wide Receiver Terrance Williams has played this year and he's missed the majority of the season. It's not exactly the kind of production I was expecting when the Cowboys decided to bring him aboard via trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.
I don't know about you, but I was expecting Olawale to be more involved in the offensive game plan. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and isn't too shabby as a runner either. But, we haven't seen him utilized in either fashion this season and I think that's an injustice that needs to be corrected.
Now, I fully understand there are other offensive weapons ahead of him in the pecking order who need to see more targets, but I also really think he can make a difference maker, especially in the passing game. That is where his strengths lie, not as a lead blocking fullback.
Olawale was a bit of a Swiss Army knife during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He played a little running back, fullback, tight end, and even a little slot receiver. I really thought the Cowboys would take advantage of his versatility in the passing game, but as of yet they have failed to do so.
I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan utilize Jamize Olawale's unique playmaking ability a little bit more on offense. I think they should try to utilize him like the San Francisco 49ers use their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. He's much more involved and has played a total of 263 offensive snaps (63.68%) this year.
Juszczyk is a better lead blocking FB then Olawale, but that's not where he makes the most difference in the 49ers offense. He does it as a receiver and has already caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. That's some pretty solid production from a position that is being phased out in the NFL.
Now, just imagine the Cowboys offense getting similar production from Olawale and how that would help open up things for everybody else. It's not out of the realm of possibility because the 49ers offense and the Cowboys isn't all that dissimilar.
Unfortunately, I think Jamize Olawale is pretty much an afterthought in the Cowboys offense right now. It's truly unfortunate because I think he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity. And with a division foe like the Washington Redskins next on the schedule, what better time to unleash a new and unseen element of the offense?
Do you think Jamize Olawale needs to be more involved offensively?
Cole Beasley Key to Cowboys Passing Game Productivity?
What most of us already knew was confirmed last Sunday afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wide Receiver Cole Beasley is the Dallas Cowboys best receiver and is the key to the passing game productivity. He is not only the most productive, but the most consistent.
Cole Beasley isn't the tallest or the fastest and definitely doesn't look like a prototypical NFL receiver, but he showed last week against the Jaguars why opposing defenses have to account for him on every single play. He torched Jacksonville's top-ranked passing defense for 101 yards on nine catches and added two touchdowns, and it's that production that could help open up the entire passing game for the Cowboys.
It's painfully obvious Cole Beasley has been Dak Prescott's favorite target in the passing game since he took over the starting duties in 2016. Once opposing defenses figured that out they started to make things extremely difficult by bracketing Beasley in coverage and the passing game hasn't been the same since. But, that could be changing if the Jaguars game was an indication of what we might see moving forward.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan did a much better job of moving Beasley around to create favorable matchups against the Jaguars. I think we will see much more of that moving forward, but that likely means opposing defenses will once again try to take away Prescott's favorite target. That actually could end up helping the Cowboys passing game though.
If opposing defenses indeed try to contain Cole Beasley like they've done in the past, it should help provide more opportunities for Dallas' other pass catchers. Spreading the ball around to several different receivers would not only help Prescott and the passing game, but also open up the entire offense.
We haven't really seen much of Allen Hurns or Michael Gallup this season, but both are more than capable of being more productive if they are seeing single coverage more often. That's what's likely to happen if defenses bracket Beasley in coverage once again. Both WRs need to be more involved anyway and Beasley's recent spike in production could help do just that.
Now, if defenses decide to try and cover Beasley one-on-one like the Jaguars did quite a bit of last Sunday, the Cowboys would be wise to take advantage of that mismatch. He simply can't be covered by a single defensive back because of his precise route running ability. He is that good.
Regardless of how opposing defenses try to handle/contain Cole Beasley, he is without a doubt key to the Dallas Cowboys passing game productivity. Just the threat of him on the field changes a defenses approach, which is why he is Dallas' #1 WR in my book. He absolutely has to be more involved moving forward, even if it is as a decoy.
Do you think Cole Beasley is the key to the Cowboys passing game productivity?
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