With the Cowboys set to make their only Monday Night Football appearance of the season tomorrow night at the Cardinals, this will be the first Sunday of the season that America's Team won't be featured in a lineup of games that seems relatively lackluster.
With that, I thought I would take a look around the Sunday schedule to discuss a few games that should be of interest for Cowboys Nation. We'll of course start in the NFC East, where the Cowboys find themselves in a three-way tie for first at 1-1 with the Eagles and Redskins.
12 PM CT: New York Giants (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
One of these teams has to obviously suffer a divisional loss here, which is good news either way for the Dallas Cowboys. With a win already on the record against the reeling Giants, I believe it is in Cowboys Nation's best interest to see the Eagles beat the Giants for the fourth consecutive time at home - effectively burying this troubled New York team at 0-3.
For your listening pleasure, I discussed how things have gone so wrong for the Giants on my weekly radio show this Friday:
The Eagles are certainly a team building towards a competitive future in this division, and with a favorable match up against the Giants I expect them to make some noise with a win today. By the end of the week however, the Cowboys can prove that they are still the better all-around team - setting themselves up very nicely atop the NFC East should the Giants fail to win any of their first three games.
12 PM CT: Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (2-0)
Today's early kickoffs will feature the lone battle of 2-0 teams this week, as the undefeated Falcons travel to face the Lions - fresh off of their prime time win against the Giants on the road - in Detroit.
As far as feeling out where the Cowboys stand as serious contenders this season, this game will offer another glimpse at a Falcons team that hasn't missed a beat following their disastrous Super Bowl collapse, facing a formidable Lions team led by QB Matthew Stafford.
Stafford has seemingly taken another step in his game, and with the Lions defense proving a formidable unit as well this game will simply provide some fun football to watch early in the day.
The Cowboys will play at the Falcons in week ten.
7:30 PM CT: Oakland Raiders (2-0) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
Another story line that will decide the NFC East this year is how the division fares against the tough AFC West. The Cowboys are of course coming off of a brutal loss at the Broncos, and the Eagles are returning home against the Giants after falling at the Chiefs in week two.
In the second to last game of the week, it will be the Washington Redskins hosting the trendy Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are off to as perfect a start as any in the black hole could have asked for, seeing the full results of a healthy Derek Carr returning to action alongside Amari Cooper, MIchael Crabtree, and Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.
The Raiders seem like a difficult team for the Redskins to handle, even at home, as Washington struggled to defend their own field against the Eagles to open their season before pulling out a tight win at the Rams last week. Kirk Cousins has made the most of an offense that is one-dimensional, and the Redskins defense remains a strong unit, but the Raiders should be expected to send the Redskins to 1-2 before the end of the night.
With a NFC East rival guaranteed to lose in the afternoon, Sunday Night Football could be icing on the cake for followers of the Dallas Cowboys prior to a reset into Monday's contest in Arizona.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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