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.
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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