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Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work 1

2-7.

It's hard to look at. It's hard to type. It's hard to say out loud.

There were a lot of references last week to prior teams that have turned 2-6 records into playoff runs. Those were meant to give the Dallas Cowboys some semblance of hope entering the Tampa Bay game.

"The 1970 Bengals made the playoffs after going 2-6," (in a 14-game regular season, mind you) was our battle cry. "The Panthers lost six in a row and still made the playoffs just last year!" was the coal in our engine of optimism.

That's all gone. All that remains is a 2-7 record.

If you're a Texas Hold'Em aficionado then you know what the worst starting hand in the game is: 2-7 off suit.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work

For all of you Scrabble fans out there that are unaware of why 2-7 is not desirable, there are a lot of reasons why this is a terrible hand.

These are the lowest two possible cards that you can have that cannot make a straight as there are four cards between two and seven.

Even if they are suited and you somehow pull off a flush, your highest holding member of the flush is a seven. Say you manage to pair one of them... congratulations you've got a pair of deuces and unless they're wild you are in some hot water. This hand is so hard to come back from that it's actually referred to as "The Hammer" among poker players. Yikes.

The odds vary on how successful this hand is based on the number of players at the table, and the Dallas Cowboys have now drawn it in a four man game against the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.

I've written extensively here at Inside The Star about some different "plans" for winning the NFC East. The first set of plans blew up in my face when the Cowboys lost to the Eagles at home in Week 9. I sat back down and drew up a second plan last week that got off to a rough start two days ago against the Buccaneers.

Third time's the charm, right?

After some brainstorming thanks to an exchange of Tweets with Chase Aguiar I've come up with yet another plan... this one intent on conquering "The Hammer" hand we've been dealt.

I'm resilient. And I believe in this team... despite their 2-7 record. I'm also listening to "Fix You" by Coldplay while writing this so I'm feeling inspired. Just go with it.

As it stands this is the NFC East through Week 10:

Overall Record Division Record
New York Giants 5-5 2-2
Washington Redskins 4-5 1-1
Philadelphia Eagles 4-5 2-2
Dallas Cowboys 2-7 2-2

The previous variations of my "plans" have involved winning games without a certain star quarterback. We now know: A) that did not happen B) Tony Romo is expected to return this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins

So while I was trying to cook you guys up a "plan" before... I was using a little battery-powered Easy Bake Oven. This team is now cooking with gas. It's going to be delicious.

Here are the games these teams will play over the next nine days with the dates they're played on in parentheses:

Week 11 Week 12
New York Giants BYE @WASH (11/29)
Washington Redskins @CAR (11/22) NYG (11/29)
Philadelphia Eagles TB (11/22) @DET (11/26)
Dallas Cowboys @MIA (11/22) CAR (11/26)

Here's what we need to happen with wins in green and losses in red:

Week 11 Week 12
New York Giants BYE @WASH (11/29)
Washington Redskins @CAR (11/22) NYG (11/29)
Philadelphia Eagles TB (11/22) @DET (11/26)
Dallas Cowboys @MIA (11/22) CAR (11/26)

Say for the first time in 2015 we were to actually catch a break and have this happen (I purposely did not pick the Giants/Redskins game as that does not happen in the next nine days, don't worry).

Then let's fast forward to Thanksgiving Night when you're listening to Aunt Theresa talk about Facebook, figuring out what you're going to buy on Black Friday, and blah blah blah. This would be the situation:

  • The Dallas Cowboys would be 4-7.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles would be 4-7.
  • The Washington Redskins would be 4-6.
  • The New York Giants would be 5-5.
  • We would be three days away from the Redskins hosting the Giants.

Imagine if the Redskins won that game? Tying themselves with the Giants at 5-6? Oh my.

Then we'd have the Cowboys at 4-7, Eagles at 4-7, Redskins at 5-6, and Giants at 5-6 with this coming up:

Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
New York Giants NYJ @MIA CAR @MINN PHI
Washington Redskins DAL @CHI BUF @PHI @DAL
Philadelphia Eagles @NE BUF ARI WASH @NYG
Dallas Cowboys @WASH @GB NYJ @BUF WASH

I know that you're digging the color-coded madness going on so I'm going to throw some more at you. All three division teams showed a lot more (both good and bad) in Week 10 that we should consider when predicting their games. Washington likes that, Odell dropped that, and Philadelphia could be without the services of Sam Bradford for some time.

Remember greens are predicted wins, reds are predicted losses, and blues are toss ups. All of these "predictions" are what I feel is fair. Greens are what these teams should win, reds lose, you get the picture.

Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
New York Giants NYJ @MIA CAR @MINN PHI
Washington Redskins DAL @CHI BUF @PHI @DAL
Philadelphia Eagles @NE BUF ARI WASH @NYG
Dallas Cowboys @WASH @GB NYJ @BUF WASH

Let's assume that both the Cowboys and Giants win one of their respective toss-ups. Let's even assume that Philadelphia wins theirs. Add those up and you've got:

 At The End Of The Regular Season Overall Record Division Record
Dallas Cowboys 8-8 4-2
New York Giants 7-9 3-3
Washington Redskins 7-9 3-3
Philadelphia Eagles 5-11 2-4

NFC East Champs.


If you've managed to read through all of my plans then let me first say - you're the best. Love you. Thanks for being part of the ride.

As a reward for surviving "RJ's Plans" I've gone as far as to just give you a numerical breakdown of what we need if the schedule grid just isn't your cup of tea.

Through the rest of the season we need (however they come):

  • 4 New York Giants Losses
  • 4 Washington Redskins Losses
  • 4 Philadelphia Eagles Losses
  • 6 Dallas Cowboys Victories

It doesn't sound so scary when you say it like that, right? We just need each division team to lose four times and for us to win six. 4+4+4+6 = NFC East Champs.

That's a lot of data to process. The rest here is just straight from the heart.


This season has sucked. A lot.

I've thought a lot about how maybe if we were 2-7 with our full compliment of weapons it wouldn't be as bad... because part of what has sucked is we haven't gotten to watch our favorite players even play this season.

In some ways it feels like the 2015 season hasn't even started. We skated by the Giants in Week 1 - but we lost Dez. "It's all good! As long as Romo's here we've always got a chance!" was on the minds of every Dallas Cowboys fan... only to watch him go down just one week later. It was brutal reading Tony's lips as he said, "It's broken." out in Philadelphia.

If you're like me and you pictured what winning a Super Bowl would this team would feel like you imagined dominating the season and being one of the league's best teams all year long. You also felt the worst that you have in a long time when the Cowboys fell to 2-7 two days ago.

You know what I know in that the odds of pulling this off are slim - for crying out loud this has never even been done before. In a few months we'll all celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Championship Game that no one has ever won after starting 2-7.

How awesome would it be to be the first?

Tony Romo has been the single most important person to the Dallas Cowboys organization in a long time. You could argue that, based on how the team has been without him recently and historically, that the only single influence larger than Tony's has been Tom Landry's.

Yes, the expectation (and this whole series of plans that I've derived) on Tony Romo is extremely unfair... but imagine if he really does pull it off?

It would be unprecedented in NFL, and arguably all of sports, History. It would prove what you and I have believed all along... Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time.

This "plan" is based on what should happen and there has been no larger lesson learned in the 2015 NFL season than that things don't go according to plan.

For as long as I have watched football the best player that I have ever seen at adapting to things not going to plan is Tony Romo.

So yea, we've been dealt this unfortunate 2-7 hand.

Yea... it has been torture to watch these losses mount up.

It has been two of the more frustrating months in Dallas Cowboys History.

I've now searched for an answer through three different plans. I don't know the future.

One thing that I do know is that if there is anyone on this planet who can turn this 2-7 hand into something special... it's Tony Romo.

That's our quarterback.


RJ Ochoa on Fancred

~ Follow RJ Ochoa on Fancred ~

What's keeping your hopes alive for the 2015 Dallas Cowboys? Email me your thoughts at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com or Tweet to me @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

Matthew Lenix

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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.

The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.

Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.

2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.

Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.

He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.

If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.

He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.



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Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Le Espera a Connor McGovern?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Select OL Connor McGovern With 90th Pick

El pasado abril, los Dallas Cowboys nos sorprendieron más de una vez durante el NFL Draft 2019. Desde la segunda ronda, sus selecciones no fueron malas, pero nos dejaron con una ceja arriba. La más sorprendente tomó lugar en la tercera ronda, cuando se anunció el nombre de un guardia ofensivo proveniente de la universidad de Penn State, Connor McGovern.

La selección no fue sorprendente por el nivel del jugador. Durante su carrera colegial, McGovern demostró ser un muy buen liniero ofensivo interior y seguramente merecía salir dentro de las primeras tres rondas.

Sin embargo, la línea ofensiva era una unidad que el equipo no necesitaba atender tan pronto. Después de todo, los Cowboys son reconocidos por tener una de las mejores líneas ofensivas en toda la NFL. Hay algunas dudas debido a lesiones o ausencias con las que el equipo ha tenido que lidiar, pero los titulares son muy buenos. Liderados por Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick y Zack Martin, esta unidad no le pide nada a nadie.

Y aún así en aquella ocasión, los Cowboys anotaron el nombre de Connor McGovern en la tarjeta que entregaron en la tercera ronda. Se dice que el equipo realmente ve mucho potencial en él y que era su mejor jugador disponible en ese momento. Todos los equipos en la liga tienen filosofías diferentes, pero si los Cowboys decidieron ir por el mejor jugador en vez de atender una necesidad, es una decisión más que válida.

Position Flex of Connor Williams, Connor McGovern Gives the Cowboys Options 1

Pero ahora la pregunta es, ¿cómo y cuándo se utilizará a McGovern? La posición queda más que clara. McGovern tomará el lugar de guardia izquierdo ya que el otro lado está más que cubierto por el mejor guardia derecho en la NFL, Zack Martin. La mejor pregunta es ¿cuándo?

Como sabrán, todo parece indicar que al comenzar la temporada del 2019, McGovern estará en la banca y no en la alineación titular. El pick de segunda ronda del año pasado es el favorito a ser el titular. Connor Williams no tuvo el mejor inicio a su carrera, pero fue mejorando conforme avanzó la temporada y se vio mucho mejor después del despido del ex-coach de línea ofensiva Paul Alexander.

De una manera u otra, la incertidumbre continúa dentro de la unidad. Muchos especulan sobre lo que podría pasar en el futuro. El tackle La'el Collins solo está bajo contrato por el 2019 y no ha demostrado lo suficiente para justificar un enorme contrato a largo plazo. No ha jugado mal, pero ¿cuánto pedirá para quedarse en Dallas?

Cuando llegue el momento, el equipo tendrá que tomar una decisión depende de la actuación de Collins en el emparrillado la próxima temporada. ¿Pagarle a Collins? ¿O hacer un movimiento fuerte en la línea ofensiva? Recordemos que este equipo tiene espacio en el tope salarial ahora, pero este se irá rápidamente con futuras extensiones a jugadores clave como Dak Prescott.

Sabemos que Connor Williams tiene lo necesario para jugar como tackle. Una opción será mover a Williams al extremo derecho y dejar que McGovern tomé su lugar en el interior de la línea ofensiva.

Quizá suene problemático mover tantas piezas, pero tendría sentido financieramente. McGovern y Williams seguirían en contratos de novato mientras que Collins pedirá una buena paga al terminar este año.

Pase lo que pase, el futuro próximo de Connor McGovern dependerá de muchos factores ajenos a él mismo. Su talento le da lo necesario para jugar desde su primer año en la liga, pero tendrá que recibir la oportunidad.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Le Espera a Connor McGovern?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Tyron Smith Named Most “Underpaid Veteran” On Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Dallas Cowboys Player Profile: T #77 Tyron Smith 1

Counting the pockets of Cowboys star players has become a favorite activity of the national media this offseason, as everyone tries to figure out how Dallas will structure the deals for their young players over the course of the next year.

While trying to figure out what the new deals will look like, it's worth reflecting on how well the team did on some of their past negotiations. The Ringer released an article this week naming the most underpaid veteran on each NFL roster, with Tyron Smith earning that honor for the Cowboys.

Smith, who signed his extension with the team back in 2014, is under the deal until the 2024 season. That 8 year extension was lucrative at the time for sure, but as the salary cap rises and other offensive tackles have gotten paid, it looks more like a bargain deal for Dallas by the second.

"A long contract is a bad deal for an elite player in a league in which revenue grows handily. The salary cap was $133 million in 2014, but it’s $188.2 million for 2019. So while the Cowboys have 41.5 percent more money to spend, Smith hasn’t had a raise in five seasons. The Cowboys essentially locked up one of the best tackles of his generation for his entire career."

When put like this, you can see just what a steal of a contract the Cowboys signed Tyron Smith for. Smith is inked for the entirety of the prime of his career, and has very little leverage for a holdout given how many years still remain on this deal.

On the field, Tyron Smith remains one of the best left tackles in all of football, even if back issues have forced him to miss some time over the last two seasons. Smith should remain a top contributor for the Cowboys for at least a few more years, all of which will come at a bargain for a Cowboys team looking to execute some salary cap gymnastics next offseason.



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