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.
Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?
The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.
The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.
All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?
Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.
In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.
That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.
So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.
Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.
It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.
Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.
Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.
Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?
Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018
NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.
If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.
The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.
Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.
Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.
Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.
But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.
We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.
And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.
Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory
A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.
Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.
Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.
El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.
En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.
Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.
El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.
Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.
Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.
Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.
Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.
Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.
Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.
Star Blog2 weeks ago
4 Decisions That Could Shape Cowboys 2018 Season
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Ex-Giants Coach Ben McAdoo Talks Trash About Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys4 days ago
Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN
Star Blog1 week ago
Would Trading La’el Collins for Earl Thomas Make Sense?
Star Blog1 week ago
True or False: Sifting Through the Cowboys Trade Rumors
Dallas Cowboys4 days ago
What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Kris Richard Allows Cowboys to be Patient on Earl Thomas
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Who Replaces Dez Bryant as Cowboys Red Zone Threat?