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Dallas Cowboys Lead NFL With 5 Members Of AP All-Pro Team

RJ Ochoa

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Ezekiel Elliott
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Life is good in the land of the Dallas Cowboys.

A bye week has brought forth time to rest and reflect on what was an amazing 2016 regular season campaign, and before the important part of the season gets going… we get one last chance for a great reflection. On Friday the AP All-Pro Team was announced, and the Dallas Cowboys lead the league with five members of it.

AP NFL on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott, Tyreek Hill and Matt Ryan among 17 first-time members of AP All-Pro Team https://t.co/2HXM2lRJkL #NFL

Five Cowboys were named to this year’s Pro Bowl roster, but these are a different five to one degree. Your five AP First-Team All-Pros are:

These really aren’t shocking if you’ve been paying attention (so basically everyone except the Pro Bowl voters). Zeke has been on fire all season long, Travis Frederick has a beard made out of greatness, Zack Martin doesn’t do anything but excel, this is amazing.

It’s so great to finally see Sean Lee – who was left off of the Pro Bowl roster – get his due. Lee was healthy for the entire season for the first time in his career, and he delivered on the potential that Cowboys Nation has known was there all along.

If we’re being totally honest, Tyron Smith didn’t have the type of season that we’re used to seeing from him. The good news is that Tyron Smith is so incredibly good that a down year by the standards we’re used to for him is still significantly greater than the rest of the field. Huzzah.

Tell us what you think about “Dallas Cowboys Lead NFL With 5 Members Of AP All-Pro Team” 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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WR Brice Butler Ruled Out for Raiders Game, Won’t Face Former Team

Sean Martin

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Linehan: "Butler Has Had a Good Camp", But Will He Stay?

Still dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of last week’s win at the Giants, Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler will be out for his second straight game as he will miss the Cowboys’ prime time match up against his former Raiders squad.

Expected by some to have a breakout season in his third with the Cowboys, Butler has caught just 13 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns on this 2017 season – his last under contract with the team.

SportsDay Cowboys on Twitter

Just in: WR Brice Butler has been downgraded from questionable to out vs. Raiders. He will not be traveling with the team to Oakland.

Butler’s absence in Oakland will take one more offensive threat away from the Cowboys in their final game of this season without RB Ezekiel Elliott.

Rookie WR Noah Brown, who has already exceeded expectations as a seventh round pick, should expect to see more snaps with Brice Butler out tomorrow night.

Tell us what you think about “WR Brice Butler Ruled Out for Raiders Game, Won’t Face Former Team” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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WATCH: Jason Witten Talks Career With Cowboys At Players’ Tribune

Sean Martin

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WATCH: Jason Witten Talks Career With Cowboys At Players' Tribune

“Gold Jack Witt” carries a presence with him around the Dallas Cowboys, a 14 year veteran that has been a model of consistency on the field and a role model for so many off of it. Jason Witten spoke with the media and fans to the Players’ Tribune recently, discussing everything from his early career to plans for life after America’s Team.

The Players’ Tribune on Twitter

Vet tight end @JasonWitten joins @Citibank to reflect on his career with the @DallasCowboys as he prepares for the next stage of his life. For now, it’s all about pursuing the Lombardi Trophy. https://t.co/OKQk3KWT55

“It seemed like you had the USA, America, and then Texas” – Jason Witten on being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys back in 2003.

The 2012 winner of the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award (which Cowboys C Travis Frederick is nominated for this season), Witten also discussed his ‘Jason Witten Collegiate Man Of The Year Award‘ – an honor that will be given out at the college level for the first time at the end of this season.

This Witten award will be granted to a player, “who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field”.

Also from Jason Witten’s own website, we learn that, “the award honors the type of exemplary character and commitment to community, family and teammates demonstrated by Jason Witten”.

As you hear at the end of the video, Witten’s current focus remains clear-cut. Bringing an elusive sixth championship to Dallas is still a goal he is chasing strong, as the Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives following a 13-3 season a year ago.

If in need of a lesson on how to handle adversity and always look forward, the Cowboys won’t have to look much further than their tight end #82 though.

Tell us what you think about “WATCH: Jason Witten Talks Career With Cowboys At Players’ Tribune” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

The Cowboys have just one more game to get through without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but Alfred Morris and Rod Smith deserve a ton of credit for the way they’ve been able to fill in out of the backfield for Zeke Elliott. Throughout the time Elliott has missed though, the Cowboys have lacked the explosive plays on offense that he can provide – until Rod Smith was given an opportunity last week at the Giants.

Smith complimented Morris exceptionally well, running with quickness and power to prove his case for more of a role on offense behind Elliott moving forward. It was the Ohio State product’s consecutive touchdowns of 81 yards through the air and 15 yards on the ground that sealed the game for the Cowboys in week 14.

Here is a closer look at Rod Smith’s performance from last week in this latest Sean’s Scout.

Smith3 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

The Cowboys offensive line was dominant as always against a tough New York defensive front, and this first play is a great look at their execution in space and on the move. Rod Smith’s decisiveness when hitting the hole with speed and balance was the first thing I noticed on the game tape.

The best thing Smith does on this play comes at the second level, where running backs can truly make a difference in Dallas. As RG Zack Martin rides his man out of the play entirely, he gets in front of Smith who is seeing the play develop straight ahead. With his long strides, Smith is able to smoothly get through traffic and continue accelerating up field through arm tackles for a big gain.

Smith2 – Streamable

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These same traits are seen with Rod Smith as a pass catcher – something he does effortlessly to also help fill the void left by Elliott. Watch how quickly Smith commits to his angle up the field after catching this dump pass from Dak Prescott, attacking a defender that has the angle on him after the catch.

Rod subtly leans to the right just enough to make the defender hesitate long enough to allow his burst to evade him and gain extra yards falling forward.

Smith4 – Streamable

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Smith essentially does the same thing without the ball in his hands here, on his 81 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Setting up the safety out of the slot to be beat across his face, Smith separates from him at the stem and then does a great job getting depth on his route into the vacated middle of the field. With blockers to help him reach the end zone, Smith turns this busted coverage by the Giants into the game’s biggest play.

Smith1 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

This last play I chose to show is probably the least well-blocked attempt for Smith out of the ones in this Sean’s Scout, but there is still a lot to like about what Rod does here with the ball in his hands.

The Giants might be a two-win football team, but they still have marquee players up front, particularly DE Olivier Vernon. Smith does well here to keep his feet moving as he cuts this play to the backside. Vernon does well to limit the potential gain on this play by staying away from the block of Jason Witten, as Smith is taken down by Darian Thompson.

The numbers the Giants had to commit to stopping the run was still a huge reason why Prescott had a career day throwing the football, and Rod Smith’s readiness to step in at RB was a deciding factor in getting Dallas to 7-6.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Proving to be one of the Dallas Cowboys most valuable players, considering his cost (under contract through 2018), and ability to contribute on special teams and offense, Rod Smith is the perfect RB3 for this team.

Smith is not elite in any one area, and is not a prototypical RB from a physical standpoint, but his contributions as a runner, pass catcher, and blocker could remain critical to the Cowboys’ hopes of reaching the playoffs behind this offense – even when Ezekiel Elliott is back in the fold.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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