I was 19 years old.
Off at college. Living in my own apartment. I knew it all.
I decided that, since I had my own apartment and all, I ought to cook myself a meal. Pretty normal thing, right? Not for 19-year-old RJ Ochoa.
I called my Mom, told her I wanted to make some pasta, and asked for help. I may have known it all, but that included knowing that Mom is actually the one who knows it all. She told me what to buy and gave me a rundown on the process. Leggo.
So I've got the noodles boiling, right? I'm dancing around the kitchen. I think I'm Bobby Flay up in this business, tossing around spoons and sliding all over the floor like Joel Goodsen in Risky Business.
The final thing for me to tackle, remember that I'm literally making the most basic thing possible in pasta, is the sauce. My Mom had said to throw some of it in a bowl, toss it in the microwave ("Put a paper towel over it son. Don't make a mess." she said), and sit back in admiration. I'm a pretty smart cat so I followed those instructions and thought I was in business.
A minute and a half or so after I set my sauce up to get all nice and warm, I opened the microwave and THE BOWL HAD VANISHED!
I was stunned. I was freaked out. I had no idea where the bowl, and residually the sauce, had gone! All that was left was the paper towel my Mom insisted on. How...
In an effort to calm myself I said that my roommate must have pulled a brilliant trick on me while I'd run to my room mid-microwaving. So I did it again and stood guard. Nobody was going to take my sauce!
THE BOWL VANISHED AGAIN AND I LEGITIMATELY THOUGHT THERE WAS A DOOR TO NARNIA BEHIND MY MICROWAVE WHERE SOMEONE WAS STEALING MY ALFREDO SAUCE!
It turns out that you're not supposed to put styrofoam in the microwave. Good one, RJ.
What's the lesson to be learned here? Sometimes being bold is really dumb if you have no idea what you're doing. That's why my Mom told me to put a paper towel over the sauce. I had no clue what I was doing. I was going to destroy this meal. If we're being totally honest I could have started a fire or something, but instead I was worried about Narnia (I legitimately thought that).
The Dallas Cowboys have spent a lot of time getting prepared for the 2016 season. Tonight's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks will serve as the dress rehearsal for that occasion. They've "put paper towels" over this whole thing by making sure that recently concussed Dez Bryant and Tyrone Crawford sit the game out. It's time for them to get bold and make their meal, alfredo sauce and all. It's time for them to be bold in a smart fashion.
Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
Ezekiel Elliott Will Surpass DeMarco Murray's Performance In Seattle During The 2014 Season
October 12th, 2014 was a long time ago. 684 days to be exact.
It would be particularly bold to say that Zeke would then have 684 yards against the Seahawks, but I'm smart enough to figure out there's no Narnia in my microwave so I'm not going to do that.
On that early October day, then Dallas Cowboy DeMarco Murray toted the rock 28 times in Seattle, accumulating 115 yards and a touchdown (game-winner for what it's worth) in the process.
You know when you get a new phone and peel off that little plastic film that's on it? I don't know why, and neither do you, but that's one of the best feelings in the world. That's what it's going to be like for the members of Cowboys Nation tonight when we see the future of our team in action for the first time.
Dak Prescott Will Do It Again
The only thing in the history of the world more stupid than the way I handled pasta for the first time is the preseason performance of Dak Prescott.
Word on the street, don't believe it, is that Cowboys fans have gotten too carried away with Prescott-mania. It's ok to be excited about Dak Prescott. We told you why last Saturday. It's completely and totally normal to enjoy the prospect that Dak is and what he could someday be for the Cowboys.
That being said, Dak is in for his toughest challenge to date. He'll be taking on most of the starters for one of the NFL's most formidable defenses, and he'll be doing it without his most lethal aerial weapon.
If/when Dak does this tonight I am going to lose my mind. You're going to lose yours. It's going to be incredible.
At Least Five Russell Wilson Commercials Will Air
Let the record show that I like Russell Wilson. I really like him. He's one of my favorite NFL players. You got that, record? Cool.
Russell Wilson is probably the most corporate-y athlete in America outside of JJ Watt. This dude has commercials for the Microsoft Surface tablets, Bose headphones, some kind of razors, this, that, the other thing... Russell Wilson is everywhere!
I'm all for a dude making a living however he wants, so do you Russ. Do you. But let's call a spade a spade here and acknowledge that Russell might have more commercials than he does career touchdowns, which is saying something.
Whether you're watching tonight's game on NFL Network, GamePass, local broadcast... Russell will find you. And he will try to sell you something. Be warned.
Rico Gathers Will Out-Jimmy Graham The Actual Jimmy Graham
Did you know that Antonio Gates played basketball in college and that helps him as a tight end? How about Jimmy Graham? Julius Thomas? Rico Gathers? WHEN DOES IT END?
The Baylor Baller (um hello epic nickname) turned Dallas Cowboys Tight End Rico Gathers hasn't really impressed this preseason period. There are many (more like dozens) of us who were actually afraid that Rico would never make it to the Dallas practice squad (he might not) if he doesn't make the Final 53-man Roster.
Here's the deal. Rico Gathers wears #80. Jimmy Graham used to wear #80 back when he was good and before the Seahawks broke him. In this game the Seattle loyalists are going to see the player that they thought they were getting when they traded for Graham.
Except he'll be wearing a Star on his hat. Call it the "Rule of #80" if you want. Because it's happening. Boo-ya.
The Cowboys Will Run A Surprise Onside Kick
Shockingly, we haven't heard a whole lot about the NFL moving the touchback mark to the 25-yard line in the first two preseason broadcasts.
This fascinates me. There are an innumerable amount of ways that this could come into play in an NFL game, I even hypothesized some of them with Inside The Pylon's Chuck Zodda a few weeks back on the RJOShow.
The third preseason game is the dress rehearsal. We all know that. It's the time where you can really gauge your team in legitimate situations, all before doing it for real a few weeks from now.
I'm not saying the Cowboys should come out and test every trick in the book, but if they're planning on getting creative with the advantages this rule change could provide at any point in the season... now is the time to see it in action.
Warm up the boot, Bailey. Let's have some fun.
Was Sunday A “Wake Up Call,” Or Were Cowboys Exposed?
Entering last Sunday's game in Indianapolis, the Dallas Cowboys were riding high. Having won five straight games, including key victories over the top seeded Saints and division rival Eagles, everything seemed to be breaking right for the Cowboys heading into the home stretch.
Their defense was playing like one of the best in football, and after firing Paul Alexander and trading for Amari Cooper their offense was clicking just as they'd hoped. They needed (and still need) just one win to officially close out the division and clinch a home playoff game in January.
Instead, the Cowboys got absolutely demolished by the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, there's no shame in losing a road game to an 8-6 team in the NFL, but the way in which they lost certainly deserves some shame. Not even the 23-0 score can encapsulate the complete butt-kicking Dallas received at the hands of the Colts, and it was the type of loss that can sometimes make you question the blueprint.
The Cowboys, however, are not looking at it that way. Multiple leaders in the locker room have spoke this week about how they "needed" to lose like that. Running back Ezekiel Elliott called the loss embarrassing, but also said it is better for Dallas in the "grand scheme of the season."
Clearly, the leaders and coaches are calling the putrid performance a wake up call, something that will galvanize them and reset their win streak heading into the postseason. But is this really the case, or was the shutout defeat more of a sign of things to come?
Obviously it's too early to say for sure, but I do think it can be a little bit of both.
No, the Cowboys are not the class of the NFC, despite beating what can be called the best team in the same conference a couple weeks ago. There probably will prove to be some drop-off from the top 3 seeds in the conference and the Cowboys, if for no other reason than Dallas will have to go on the road to play those teams in the playoffs. It's really hard to win on the road in the NFL, especially with the increased wackiness of 2018.
The Cowboys offense is far from perfect or prolific, though if clicking they now have the skill talent to drop 30+ points any given Sunday. Their defense is talented, has a high ceiling, but is still very young and inexperienced. Though they've played elite level games before, they've also had some stinkers against the Colts and Titans during the same season.
All of this can be true. The Cowboys can be a team deserving of the playoffs, a team we should not be panicking over, but still a very flawed football team. They can be a team that if "hot" could make a run through the postseason, but also will have to answer some tough questions about coaches and players during the next two offseasons.
After all, who isn't greatly flawed in today's NFL? Hell, we just saw the beloved Rams lose two straight games.
Is it Too Late For Dallas to Fire OC Scott Linehan?
Grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to run the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan out of town. His playcalling has been absolutely atrocious season and it's time for him to hit the road, even if there are only two regular-season games left on the schedule.
It's completely unorthodox for an NFL team to fire an offensive coordinator this late in the season, but just last week we saw the Minnesota Vikings do just that when they parted ways with John DeFilippo. It was definitely a bold move to make considering the Vikings are still in playoff contention, but it was something they believed was in the best interest of their team.
I believe if the Dallas Cowboys want to do what's best for their team right now and not later, then they should go ahead and cut ties with Scott Linehan. His predictability and un-creativeness as a play caller is holding back a talented offense, which is hurting the overall team as a result. He's been given every opportunity to turn things around, but enough is enough.
I'd personally be on board with Jason Garrett taking over the playcalling duties. He has the experience and held the position with the Cowboys from 2007 until Linehan was hired. I'd even consider giving Kellen Moore a shot as the OC. He knows the system and has worked closely with Quarterback Dak Prescott. Regardless, the Cowboys need to find some way to increase their offensive productivity.
Right now the Cowboys offense is the 26th scoring offense in the NFL and are averaging just 19.7 points per game. To make matters worse they are the 31st ranked Red Zone offense in the league. I don't know about you, but I think that is completely unacceptable with the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball.
Firing Linehan has been a long time coming. The Cowboys flirted with the idea earlier this season during the bye week and should've pulled the trigger then, but for some reason or another decided to let him stick around. They are definitely still paying for that mistake now.
The Cowboys mistake not to replace Linehan could mean yet another early exit in the playoffs, something we have unfortunately become accustomed to. Scoring just 19 points a game isn't going to get them very far, which is truly unfortunate considering the talent they've acquired this season.
Unfortunately, as much as we would love to see Scott Linehan tarred and feathered and run out of town, I just don't see the Cowboys doing that before their season is officially over. But, in no way should he be allowed to retain his position beyond this season. He clearly isn't the answer any longer.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should fire Scott Linehan?
Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern
What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.
Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.
The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.
That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.
With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.
There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.
The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.
Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.
I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance
A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.
It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Why is Jerry Jones “keeping a very close eye” on the Kareem Hunt Case?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
David Irving’s Return Could Make Cowboys’ Defense Even Scarier
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Wide Receiver Michael Gallup Making a Huge Impact for Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
Tavon Austin’s Return Should Make Cowboys Offense More Dangerous
Star Blog1 week ago
Time to see What Darius Jackson can do as Zeke’s Backup?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
2018 Rushing Title: Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley in Neck-and-Neck Race
Game Notes2 weeks ago
Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott Key to Clipping the Eagles Wings?
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
Cowboys Nation, It’s Time To Take a Deep Breath