Two years is a long time.
730 days. 17,520 hours. 1,051,200 minutes. 63,072,000 seconds.
That's how long we've been waiting for this day.
What were you doing on this day two years ago? It was Saturday, December 14th, so you were probably doing one of the following: typical Saturday lounging, chores around the house, Christmas shopping, anxiously waiting for the Dallas Cowboys to square off against the Green Bay Packers.
America's Team had six days to prepare for the Cheeseheads as we'd played on Monday Night Football the previous week. One of the teams involved had their star quarterback playing as per usual, but the other was working with a backup named Matt - thanks to a broken collarbone suffered by their starter. Sounds pretty familiar, right?
My Dad and I went to that game. We were ecstatic that we were going to be able to see the Cowboys cruise to an easy win.
It seemed like a slam dunk. Matt Flynn? Seriously? No sweat. Unfortunately for all of us, Flynn valiantly led the Packers to victory after falling behind 26-3 in the first half at AT&T Stadium. It was one of the more embarrassing losses in recent memory for the Dallas Cowboys.
That was two years ago tomorrow. It's time for some payback.
When the 2015 schedule was released many people looked to tomorrow's game between two of the NFL's most historic franchises as a great rematch of the 2014 Divisional Playoff game with one of the most infamous finishes ever. It was supposed to be our chance at revenge.
With Tony Romo sidelined thanks to a broken collarbone, a la Aaron Rodgers in 2013, a different chance has presented itself... a chance to avenge the Matt Flynn loss. This is a chance that we've been waiting two long years for.
Tomorrow afternoon my Dad and I will once again be on hand to watch a backup quarterback named Matt, Cassel to be specific, who will have all eyes on him. He's going to boldly go where one Matt has gone before... and that's straight to victory in a classic Cowboys/Packers battle.
Welcome to this week's Bold Predictions.
The Cowboys Rushmen Will Sack Aaron Rodgers Seven Times
The Dallas Cowboys defense seems to have finally arrived - or at least it appeared that way in Washington on Monday Night Football. Rod Marinelli is cooking up something special with these boys and Kirk Cousins was his guinea pig. Aaron Rodgers is the main target.
There's no denying that Aaron Rodger is an elite quarterback with an enormous amount of talent. The way to neutralize all of that is to get pressure on him. DeMarcus Lawrence, Greg Hardy, Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory... now is a great time for your best game of the season.
The Green Bay offensive line has been very suspect all season long. They've got issues, specifically at the center position, and the Cowboys can smell that blood in the water.
Seven sacks. They're coming.
Terrance Williams Will Make A Toe-Tap Catch For A Critical Gain
Turn Up Time 83 has made a living out of toe-tap catches for the Dallas Cowboys. Last season alone he made four or five that I'll never forget.
T-Will has had a rough go in 2015. He, like all of us, has had to adjust to life without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant at times this season. That completely changes his job and its surrounding circumstances.
There was so much chatter about how Dez Bryant was finally fully healthy entering the Redskins game on Monday Night. While that obviously is helpful for #88... that's going to drastically effect Terrance as well.
Dez is going to have a lot of attention from the Packers defenders on Sunday which is going to give Terrance the opportunity to make some plays. On a big 3rd down he's going to make one of his signature toe-tap catches that makes us all pump our fists.
There Will Be Over 10 References To Dez Bryant's Catch
You know what happened. We're not here to relive it. This moment will surround Dez Bryant for eternity - that's just the way sports work.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be serving on the call for Fox during this game. That same duo worked the Divisional Playoff match between these two teams on this very field. You can bet your whole Christmas List that they're going to bring it up - a lot.
This would have already gotten a huge amount of attention, but couple it with the fact that Dez recently said that he wants to be on the committee that is in charge of getting this right and you've got a recipe for repetition.
Fox is going to show it over and over again. You have been warned. Avert your eyes!
Dez Bryant Will Have His Best Game Of 2015
This has nothing to do with the bold prediction above this. This has nothing to do with revenge for the catch that wasn't.
This has everything to do with how incredible Dez Bryant is.
It isn't smoke and mirrors that Dez Bryant is finally feeling like himself. That's total truth.
We'd seen flashes of him, but the explosive Dez that we all know and love had been largely absent this season - until Monday Night Football.
There was no "X" in the endzone, but there was Dez being Dez. He's starting to find his rhythm. You can see it in his overall demeanor. He's feeling good and he's about to explode.
There's no quit in Dez Bryant. He's going to put together his finest performance of the season not because of any extracurricular factors, but simply because that's what he does.
The Dallas Cowboys Will Win The Game
The Green Bay Packers are overwhelming favorites.
The Cowboys have nothing to lose.
That makes them very dangerous.
There are a lot of intangible factors in sports that can't be explained. One that I have found to be true more often than not is that the team with less to lose is the one who comes out swinging the hardest.
Like the Matt Flynn game was for the Cowboys... all of the pressure and expectation right now is on the Green Bay Packers. If the Cowboys lose? Hey, it was the Packers. If Green Bay loses? Chaos.
The Cowboys are going to shock the world at Lambeau Field tomorrow. Believe.
Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys
Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.
The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.
Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.
Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.
Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.
Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.
The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.
Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.
The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.
The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.
The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.
Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history
Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.
Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.
~ ~ ~
Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.
Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
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