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.
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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.
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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.
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"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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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