I like to consider myself a big fan of movies, but the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of iconic films that I've never seen (Fight Club is one, I know... I know.).
A few years ago I was working on something with two colleagues and a box arrived in the mail. One person, we'll call her Sally, posed the question, "What's in the box?".
The other person present, let's call him Terry, immediately let out a "WHAT'S IN THE BOX?!" proclamation. Sally looked confused and Terry said, "What, you've never seen Se7en?" as if Sally was from Neptune.
Sally said no, and then they both looked at me. I had never seen this movie (I have now, and don't worry I won't spoil it if you haven't... just know that's an iconic line) and I didn't want to look stupid. I wanted to look like I knew what was going on.
"Yea Sally! Come on, Se7en is awesome!" I said with absolutely no idea knowledge of the film.
This whole bit became sort of a running joke among the three of us. Terry would occasionally tease Sally about not knowing this movie and the all-important line, and every time I'd play up how awesome I thought the movie was - with literally zero knowledge on it.
About a year after this interaction I finally watched the movie. I got to the part of the movie where the line is uttered and very audibly shrieked to myself, "OHHHH!!!!". It was epic.
What's particularly amazing is that I went a whole year keeping this joke alive without it ever being discovered how unprepared I truly was for those conversations. If Sally or Terry had asked me literally anything about the movie - I would've been exposed.
Sometimes in life we scathe by when we're unprepared. That's what the Cowboys have seemingly done over these first three weeks. There's no way on earth that they were prepared for the hand they were dealt when Week 1 began, and there's no way that they're prepared for the one that current faces them.
The Cowboys are proving that they know how to get by, even when they have no idea what really is inside the box. That's the mark of a great team, that's the mark of our team.
Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Ezekiel Elliott Will Rush For Over 200 Yards
Todd Gurley III, Fozzy Whittaker, and Christine Michael were the leading rushers for their respective teams when they took on the San Francisco 49ers in 2016's first three weeks. They combined for 253 yards.
Todd had 47, Fozzy had 100, and Christine had 106. The Niners Defense has allowed more and more yards from the opposing primary running back as the season has ticked on. Now they'll try to contain Ezekiel Elliott who is coming off of a 140-yard performance.
The Cowboys are very likely going to be without the services of Dez Bryant on Sunday, which means that they will be feeding Zeke - a lot. Zeke is going to eat, eat, eat, eat, and EAT all the way to his first 200-yard game in the NFL.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Brice Butler Will Establish Himself As This Team's WR2
9 catches, 143 yards, and 3 touchdowns. That's what #19 had last time the Cowboys visited San Francisco.
To be totally fair, that game was five years ago... and that #19 was Miles Austin at his peak (a short-lived one). Nowadays Brice Butler slips the 1-9 over his shoulders on Sundays.
It was September 15th, 2015 when Dallas traded for Brice Butler in an effort to give them a viable option while Dez Bryant was sidelined. Thanks to injuries we never saw that happen, and we find ourselves in a similar situation a little over a year later.
This game will go a long way in determining who this team's WR2 is and who the Cowboys are going to prefer in 2017 between Brice Butler and Terrance Williams. The former is going to make sure that at the end of the game we all know that it's him.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
"The Catch" Will Be Mentioned
Cowboys/49ers is arguably the greatest rivalry in NFL History. Don't believe me? NFL Films thought it was great enough to do a whole two-part episode of The Timeline on it a year ago called A Tale Of Two Cities (You can read about this from last year in my interview with NFL Films Senior Producer Paul Camarata).
There are many a moment that can be pulled from this historic rivalry, but none are bigger than "The Catch." Considering that Troy Aikman and Joe Buck are on the call, you can bet that they'll go through the rolodex of iconic plays, "The Catch" among them.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Jason Garrett Will Make Another Bold Decision
2016 has brought forth a new disposition from Jason Garrett - a bold one.
In the last two games, contests that have seen the Cowboys come out victorious, Jason Garrett has gone for it on fourth and short early in the game twice and run a surprise onside kick. Yowza.
These are moves very uncharacteristic for the Jason Garrett that we're familiar with. These are moves that are having a serious impact on this football team... in a fantastic way.
Jason Garrett has shown us through three games, and most recently the former two, that he is no longer here to punt (metaphorically and literally speaking). He's taking 2016 by the horns and he's in a position where he'd rather go down swinging than staring at a blank pitch.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Cole Beasley Will End The Week Leading The NFL In Receptions
Entering Week 4 Cole Beasley had 20 receptions on the 2016 season which had him tied for fourth in the NFL (Antonio Brown and Jarvis Landry led entering the week with 24 each).
Cole Beasley has been targeted 12, 6, and 7 times so far this season. He's on pace for a monster year as far as receptions go, and he's going to show that again in the final game of the season's first quarter.
Dak Prescott looks for Cole in almost every situation. He'll be looking, and connecting, for him all day long as Cole becomes the lead dog in the NFL receptions list.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Bonus Bold Prediction #1
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!
I like where Donny's head is at on this one, and I'm always down for using historical points in Bold Predictions.
The Cowboys have gotten turnovers in each game this season so the likelihood of them getting one of some kind is relatively high. For what it's worth the 49ers have turned the ball over at least once in every game this season, and they turned it over a hat trick of times during Week 2 in Carolina. Let's do it again!
Bonus Bold Prediction #2
The latest Tweets and replies from Jones (@aj_bryant5188).
Jones is feeling the Zeke magic this week as well!
Considering that Zeke hit 140 yards this week, 150 seems possible. Considering that I boldly predicted Zeke will top 200, 150 seems easy!
I think the interesting element to this is the receiving yards. We haven't seen the Cowboys integrate Zeke a whole lot into the passing game, but in a game that likely won't feature Dez Bryant it makes sense that Zeke would get his chance to finally snag some passes. Huzzah!
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Since becoming the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Rod Marinelli hasn't had too many of his former players follow him to Dallas. In fact, I can only think of one… Henry Melton, and we all know how that turned out.
I don't know about you, but I found that a little strange. It's pretty common for coaches to try to bring some of their players with them when they accept a new job. Familiarity goes a long way in the NFL and former players can also help make the transition easier for everyone.
Strangely enough, Rod Marinelli hasn't really been afforded that luxury, whether it was his doing or not. But, there is a free agent who played under Marinelli's tutelage in Chicago who might make sense for the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Shea McClellin.
Rod Marinelli was the defensive coordinator in Chicago when the Bears decided to draft Shea McClellin 19th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Marinelli likely had a big say in that decision, and if he still feels the same, a reunion could be in order.
Shea McClellin started his career in the NFL as a 4-3 left side defensive end playing opposite Julius Peppers, but was also viewed as a potential Brian Urlacher replacement. He showed flashes of becoming a solid defensive end his first few years in the league, but was eventually moved to linebacker, where he seemed to find a home for himself.
After his contract expired with the Bears, the New England Patriots decided to bring him aboard to help with their linebacker depth. He only ended up starting four games for them in 2016, but made some memorable plays to help the Patriots become the Super Bowl champions.
Unfortunately, the 2017 season wasn't very kind to him. His entire year was wiped out due to a concussion, which probably had a lot to do with why they recently released him.
This of course could be good news for the Dallas Cowboys. They currently need some depth at the linebacker position and Shea McClellin could provide that, if he's healthy. The healthy bit here is key, because he has had problems with concussions in the past.
If McClellin is indeed healthy, he could bring a versatile skill set to the Cowboys defense. His best spot is probably at strong side LB (SAM), but I think he could play middle linebacker (MIKE) as well. He also could provide depth at defensive end, the position he played to start his NFL career.
With the LB depth a concern, Shea McClellin makes quite a bit of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, his past history with concussions is a red flag, but it also drives down his asking price. I think he would definitely fall into that "bargain shopping" mentality the Cowboys have been using these last few offseasons.
He probably wouldn't be viewed as a very important signing, but you still need these types of players on your team in order to succeed in the NFL. Let's see if the Dallas Cowboys agree.
Do you think a Rod Marinelli and Shea McClellin reunion is in order?
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?
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog1 day ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog1 week ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?
NFL Draft1 week ago
Final Cowboys Mock Drafts Before Free Agency Address Defensive Interior, Receiver