Hello one and all!
Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys Honors show in relation to the 2015 NFL season. The NFL has its own "NFL Honors" show that they'll have on Saturday night and they think they're cool just because it's on tv and there'll be players there and it's an actual show, but this one is better!
We're here to re-live the 2015 season and give out some handy (sorry Jason Pierre-Paul) awards to those who earned them. The academy has carefully assessed each award, nominee, and outfit for this whole dealio and I promise that you won't be disappointed.
This is absolutely not a black tie affair so your hoodie and sweatpants will work. Unfortunately there is underwear required so we had to rescind Joseph Randle's invitation. Maybe next year, 21!
Flash photography is permitted, and I will be signing autographs after the show; however I've put Eli Manning in charge of the timing of it all so who knows if it'll even happen...
Seriously though, who's excited? I see plenty of faces in the crowd that I recognize. Hey everyone... Chip Kelly is here! So Chip, how much of your life have you devoted to finding a "Dale" to run around with? And if you found him would you trade him away? Also would you consider yourself more of a chocolate or potato chip? I've always wanted to know.
Oh I should mention... don't be alarmed at that constant pounding sound. It's just Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III scratching and clawing at the Dallas Cowboys door. Before you know it it'll be gone, just like their careers. Hey-o!
I was going to break into a song and dance routine for you guys like the opening to the Tonys, but I choreographed the whole thing with DeSean Jackson and he kept stepping out too early! It was so frustrating. There were fireworks involved and everything (sorry again, JPP).
WHO'S READY FOR SOME AWARDS?! Brandon Weeden might even win one, absolutely not, so things are about to get saucy. Dallas Cowboys Honors is officially underway!
Merlin Olsen Award
This isn't your typical awards show, folks.
The "Merlin Olsen Award" is going out to the Dallas Cowboys who had the greatest name on the team in 2015. It's appropriately named after Merlin Olsen because how freaking cool is that name?
In terms of the award... it's a tough one. Are we going off of just the first name, just the last, or the whole ensemble? If King Jerruh was picking he might go with one of the Joneses (Byron or Chris), but that's too boring for us.
Dez is so much fun to say, and it's great for puns. Tyrone is a pain to type in my iPhone because it always gets corrected, Terrance is so many syllables, and LaDouceur is a nightmare to spell.
We had to start this show off right and with the right type of wind in our sails... like a great opening kickoff return. For something like that we don't have to look any further than Lucky #13.
WINNER: Lucky Whitehead
Taylor Swift Award
If you know me at all then you know I rock out quite a bit to T-Swizzle, but I'm not at all here to deny that the girl's got some trouble getting over dudes.
Close your eyes and think about someone who you once loved, but grew up and moved on from. Think about how they, in a state of disarray, completely collapsed and found themselves in a downward spiral of utter failure.
You can go talk to your friends named Jeff Lurie, talk to my friends named Tony Romo, or talk to me all you want. I honestly don't care what Dez Bryant says, DeMarco. We are never ever ever getting back together.
WINNER: DeMarco Murray
A Goofy Movie Award
There are a ton of great Disney movies.
There's Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, the list goes on and on. You know what's a dark horse contender for best all-time, though? A Goofy Movie.
Look past the good times had with my pal Goofy and his son Max and search deep in your memory to remember that this movie had songs by Tevin Campbell! We need to remember that for the rest of time!
It really is impressive that AGM is its own juggernaut in a land of them, kind of like this winner. There was a ton of hype about this team's defensive line going into the season, remember? We all expected guys like Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, and DeMarcus Lawrence to do their thang... but someone else stepped in and stole the show pretty frequently (like with a blocked field goal!) a la my main man Goof.
WINNER: David Irving
For the last ten years or so I've heard people besmirch the name Nickelback when it comes to the music scene. People hate these dudes so much that in 2011 Detroit Lions fans put together a petition to prevent them from performing at halftime of their Thanksgiving game. Who else is shocked that Lions fans knew what a petition was?
Hating these dudes is suuuuch a popular opinion. It's cool to hate them. Well you know what, hating is mean.
If you went back in time to the wee beginnings of the 2015 Dallas Cowboys season you'd find a large number of people directing a Nickelback-like hatred to a certain running back. This particular ball carrier happened to finish 4th in the entire NFL in rushing yards in the face of all that doubt/hate and put together a pretty impressive resume for the season in the process.
Sing it out loud, Nickelback. Tell the world about our next victor!
WINNER: Darren McFadden
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Award
If you have not seen Episode VII by now, well I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Just kidding! Come back!
The Force Awakens was one of the most hyped movies that we've had hit the silver screens of the last decade. There was a ton of pressure for it to live up to the great name and reputation of the Star Wars films, so it really had to deliver.
For all those that have seen the film you know as well as I do that it was fan-freaking-tastic. It was everything that we wanted it to be and more... just like the Dallas Cowboys first round draft pick.
WINNER: Byron Jones
Mambo Number 5 Award
"1... 2... 3, 4, 5." That kind of describes the mentality behind the shuffling of starters in at a certain position for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, doesn't it?
We really could have used a little bit of Sandra in the sun at the most important position in sports all season, but it just wasn't meant to be. It seemed like week after week we saw Matt Cassel "jump up and down, move it around, shake his hand to the sound, put his hand to the ground, take one step left, one step right, one to the front, and one to the side" all before he'd just throw another interception. It hurts to even remember, that's how bad it was.
Lou Bega might have thought he was singing about some lovely ladies, but he was really singing about damsels Weeden, Cassel, and Moore.
WINNER: Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks Not Named Tony Romo
Jason Pierre-Paul Award
You saw me take some opening shots at a certain New York Giant in my "opening monologue" and you know what, I'm doing it again! Welcome to Dallas Cowboys Honors!
It's no secret that this dude has hands worse than a certain Little Giant named Rasheed "Hot Hands" Hanon. Come on, that made you giggle and you know it.
None of us were giggling when opposing quarterbacks were throwing on us. You know why? The only defensive backs to record at least one interception for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 were Terrance Mitchell and Ayodeji Olatoye... not exactly the elite secondary we planned on out in Oxnard.
What's particularly sad about this is that the Cowboys went from December 4th, 2014 all the way to December 19th, 2015 without an interception from a defensive back. You're safe now, JPP. That's no cause for fireworks. But you still have pretty terrible hands like our winner(s).
WINNER: Dallas Cowboys Secondary
Rocky Road Ice Cream Award
How many people in the audience have ever had a day full of blues and gotten themselves a nice scoop of Rocky Road to help ease their troubles?
If you didn't raise your hand you're lying because we all experienced 2015 together.
Last season was a complete and total disaster, but like rocky road ice cream there were a few neat little surprises inside. We walked out of the season with Byron Jones and La'el Collins as bonafide studs, Jason Witten over a thousand career receptions, and with a brand new color rush jersey!
While it's no cookies and cream like 2014, rocky road sums up our year pretty nicely.
WINNER: 2015 Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo Award
As they say in the biz, you've gotta save the best for last.
2015 was literally the opposite of everything that we hoped, dreamed, and wanted from our football season. We were robbed of the experience that everyone deserves when they sit on their couch on Sunday to enjoy the thing that we love most in this world.
You know who's been robbed like that a lot? Tony Romo.
He was robbed of the opportunity to be drafted, robbed of any credit from his detractors early in his career, and just like us Tony was robbed of eventual glory in 2015.
There's one thing that we all know deep within our hearts... every time Tony Romo's been "robbed" in his life he's responded and gone farther than anyone ever said or thought that he could.
That's our 2016. That's our destiny. That's our quarterback.
WINNER: 2016 Dallas Cowboys & Cowboys Nation
That concludes the first Dallas Cowboys Honors! I hope you all had as much fun as I did. I'll be hosting an afterparty on Twitter where I'll dish out all the drama that happened backstage (I almost spilled water on my keyboard... it was scary).
The next time we do one of these awards we'll have a pinata in the shape of a 2015 that we can all "vent" with. Hooray for pinatas!
The countdown to next year's Dallas Cowboys Honors is already on.
Make sure to bring snacks.
Peace out, enjoy the Super Bowl, and Go Cowboys!
Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick
The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.
Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:
Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh
Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.
Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.
The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.
For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!
DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class
Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.
Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.
One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.
ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.
ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t
DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.
Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.
Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.
When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott
Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.
In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.
During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...
...of his offensive lineman.
During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.
As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.
It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.
With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.
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