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Dallas Cowboys Mathematically Alive, But Season Feels Lost

Kevin Brady

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Disgusted--the only word I could come up with to describe how I, and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys fan base feels after last night's demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, the Cowboys were without three of their most valuable players in Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, and Ezekiel Elliott, but to get your butt whooped back-to-back weeks like this is simply unacceptable.

Whereas the loss to the Falcons felt like it fell on the shoulders of Chaz Green, last night's defeat was a total franchise failure.

The defense, to their credit, gave Dak Prescott and the offense plenty of chances to take this game over in the first half. Even after two interceptions put Philadelphia in scoring range, the Cowboys defense stood tall and stopped the prolific Eagles offense. Still, Dallas settled for field goals instead of touchdowns, and went to half with just a 9-7 lead.

In the second half the team looked lost, the defense had no chance, and Dak Prescott played his worst football since becoming a Dallas Cowboy.

Even during the disaster season that was 2015, the Cowboys fought and remained competitive in most of their games. Yes, even those without Tony Romo. But these past two weeks have been atrocious, knocking the Cowboys back down to 5-5 after three straight impressive wins had them feeling playoff bound.

Looking around the rest of the NFC, the Cowboys are not mathematically out of it by any means. They will likely have to get to 10-6 to earn a Wild Card spot, and with three straight sub .500 teams on their schedule, a mini-run could be possible.

But after what we've seen from the Dallas Cowboys in Atlanta, and at home against the hated Eagles, I don't see much room for optimism.

The Cowboys must now prepare on a short week for a Los Angeles Chargers team which is, quite literally, a couple of missed field goals away from competing for the AFC West title. If they want to have any chance at saving their season and clinching a playoff berth, the run must start this week.

If the Cowboys fall to 5-6 with yet another home loss, I'll probably end up on Draft Break Down much earlier than I had anticipated.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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10 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    Who, besides me, was sitting at halftime mildly satisfied with a 9-7 lead? I mean we were holding Wentz in check and stifling the running game pretty well. Yeah, there were no sacks but there was pressure. And then here comes the second half, where we are again forced to watch The Tale of Two Teams. In 4 of our 5 losses we either had the lead or were playing a tough close game only to come out in the second half and fall flat on our face. In two of those games we failed to score in the second half. I watch teams make adjustments at halftime and come out and elevate their game in the second half. I’m not seeing that at all this year. Yeah, I get the last two games we have been Lee-less, Smith-less and Zeke-less but I’ve watched the Patriots lose all their receivers and other key players and just keep playing lights out. It’s really time to consider to churn this coaching staff. You usually don’t fire your OC and DC and start over. It starts with the HC. So it’s time to bid adieu to the red-headed one and start thinking about next year. Yes I will continue watching and cheering as always, but my optimism has gone out the window.

    • RICK MILLER

      Absolutely, I simply think our fantastic O line really sucks.The very first offensive play we have after a good return kickoff,and morris gets stuffed for -2 yards.We do not come out to play a full game.I can never feel confident about this team.And it starts with the top.And I am sick of hearing about this Great offensive line

    • Wayne Young

      I think you hit the nail on the head. The Eagles clearly made adjustments the second half and the Cowboys didn’t, again. This coaching staff has done a horrible job this year making in game adjustments. Some of which the average fan could make. At this point, I have more faith in Linehan than I do Marinelli. I think it’s clear that the absence of Smith and Elliott have made a huge impact on Dak and the offense, therefore their struggles. On defense however, entirely different story. He’s always been able to get the most out of his players, but this year it’s not nearly enough. It’s absolutely unacceptable the defense cannot continue to perform without one player, Sean Lee. He makes no defensive adjustments which was evident last night with the trap runs. Overall, something needs to be done with the staff after this year if they miss the playoffs. Sometimes change is good.

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      It’s hard to disagree with you, Randy. This team has led in four of their five losses, and you can make the argument they should’ve held on to at least 2 of those games. Hopefully things change quickly or this will be a long six weeks.

  • Hoosiers86

    The Atlanta Falcon game was the tell tale sign for me that Garrett needs to be fired unless they will the Super Bowl which is a pipe dream. Their left tackle in that game was so awful, and the DE from the Falcons was just killing our offense and Dak…but the coaching staff did nothing….NOTHING…to stop the bleeding on the left side of the line. I am tired of watching players out of position, and making fetal attempts at tackling. Sean Lee is an all pro player, but many teams are missing stars and their backups keep it going, but not the Cowboys. Time to quit making the OL the highest paid players on the team and get some more star player on the defensive side of the ball. Sorry for the rant, but i am pissed!

    • Richard Bogoslofski

      In order for him to be fired Jerry would have to own up to the mistake of ever hiring him to begin with. Its a pipe dream of mine too!! We need to lose out

  • Eduardo Palacios

    We have a QB that only looks good when defenses play 8 or 9 on the line to stop Zeke….no Zeke no 8 or 9 fronts, they play back and there is no vertical game, in the 3rd qt Dak had 12 completions for 73 yds , that’s 6 yds per completion, how can you expect to win with those numbers…..but the real problem is the big 3….Garrett, Linehan and Marinelli, of course everybody except for the owner knows Garrett is the worst by a mile in clock management and he + Linehan are the worst play caller in the history of football not only the NFL, it is incredible that they can’t find a way or a plan to move the stupid football, don’t they know that in life or in football sometimes a thing doesn’t work and you need to be ready for that moment as in no Zeke no Ty ron or no Sean, ok then let’s do this because they will try to do this….also we are leading in the half, so guys this is how they are going to try to play us in the 2nd half let’s make sure we play this way to stop whatever they bring, always the other team makes adjustments but we don’t…..Marinelli your tampa 2 doesn’t work anymore, and the way you see football is over there in the 90’s, what can we expect from somebody who thinks that Jeff Heath is a starting safety…Heath is at Safety the same as Mark Sanchez, Cassell,Hosweiler, etc are at QB, hopefully we lost 5 or all 6 remaining games so maybe Mr Jones gets rid of all 3, if not, if they make a run at the playoffs , don’t worry it will be a one and done, out in the wild card, the big 3 will make sure that happens!

  • Richard Bogoslofski

    At this point I’m hoping to lose out so we can end the era of the clapping carrot Jason Garrett. It all starts with him, he is a mediocre coach at best and better coaches always adjust to his vanilla schemes by the end of the game. Its just that simple. Coach of the year my ass!!! He is totally carried by the talent of this team and when we are evenly or overmatched and it comes down to scheme or coaching we lose EVERY time!!! Name one time that Garrett EVER out schemed or outcoached anybody. Try It I dare ya!!

  • Russ_Te

    Defense played a great half and overall that would have been enough to win had the offense kept it’s side of the bargain. It should have had 21 not 9 at half, then not collapsed in the 2nd half.

    When you get smoked like the last 2 games, it’s all things going wrong – blocking, receivers, QB, coaching. I agree that the poor OL play extends past the LT spot. I agree that Dak will play worse with less run support and a lot less pass protection.

    Still, when you just look at decision-making Dak has regressed this year. He is putting the ball in bad, covered spots and he knows better. I have full confidence this is a swoon and will go away, but he needs the rest of the offense helping or his numbers will suffer.

    Now you look at what Dak has to throw to when he does have a moment, and it’s really not sufficient right now. Garrett will not change out of a passing-game model that defenses have solved. Dez is not your lead WR who can get open at will anymore, Williams is not cashing in as the second option who brings less coverage, Witten is disappearing and Beasley is drawing enough attention to bottle him up.

    You have to change this equation, if only to help Dak. Butler should either start ahead of Williams or Garrett should scrap the 2 TE sets for 3 WR. Use Butler’s speed to stretch the coverage and occupy the FS – or else hit him if left unchecked. It will free up Dez underneath.

    Then by all means put Gathers in the game. Yes he’ll probably miss a block, but you’ll have a whole new threat in the route tree – and that is what Dak needs right now.

    Thanks Garrett, for making no adjustments when your team needs them.

    • Eddie M

      Among other things, Des Bryant continues to disappoint. He takes up way too many pass attempts, doesn’t fight himself open and drops too many.

Star Blog

Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Fortune favors the bold. It's a rough translation of an old Latin proverb and the mantra I believe the Dallas Cowboys should indoctrinate this offseason.

I think it's time the Dallas Cowboys start to make a few bold moves. I truly believe they are close to competing for a championship title and one or two offseason moves could increase those odds. One such move would be to sign restricted free agent (RFA) Shaquil Barrett to an offer sheet.

It's expected that the Denver Broncos will place a second-round tender on Barrett and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to explore the possibility of signing him to a contract sheet. If Denver declines to match the offer, the Cowboys would then send them their second round draft pick as compensation.

You on board?

Probably not at this point, but let me try to explain why I believe this is a good move on the Cowboys part, even if it is an uncharacteristic one.

You see, the Cowboys could definitely use someone to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence and I think Shaquil Barrett could be the solution.

I know it sounds like a lot to give up a second round draft pick, but the Cowboys have been deplorable at drafting players in the second round the past decade. Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, and possibly Jaylon Smith have really been the only "hits" the Cowboys have found in the second round. That's simply unacceptable!

So, why not use that second rounder to acquire a player who is already a proven commodity in the NFL?

Shaquil Barrett

Denver Broncos OLB Shaq Barrett (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

I know the first thing a lot of you are going to do is to look up Shaquil Barrett's stats to see what he has accomplished in the NFL. But, stats don't always show the big picture.

You see, Barrett has been stuck behind some pretty talented pass rushers in Denver, so his statistics aren't going to jump off the paper. But, when given the opportunity he has proven he deserves a larger role. That's where the Dallas Cowboys come in.

The Broncos probably don't have the money to keep Shaquil Barrett if the Cowboys sign him to a contract sheet. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a big money contract offer. The Broncos simply don't have the salary cap to do much, especially considering they are still looking for a starting quarterback.

I honestly like the idea of the Cowboys going after Barrett. You may have forgotten, but he gave a healthy Tyron Smith fits last season.

With an injured Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett got the start against the Cowboys in 2017 and finished the game with two quarterback hits, six QB pressures, and five stops. No other player found that kind of success against Tyron Smith all season, even when he was banged up.

Unfortunately, when Shane Ray returned, Barrett's usage on defense declined. That's why you can't always judge a players productivity by statistics. You have to judge him more on a per-snap basis, and if you do that you will discover he was very effective as both a pass rusher and run stopper.

I believe Barrett is ready for a full-time role. Yes, he has been used as a standup 3-4 OLB with the Broncos, but he has the required traits to put his hand on the ground and maintain his effectiveness.

The downside to all of this is the Dallas Cowboys would have to give up their second-round draft pick, but draft picks are sometimes overvalued anyways. Shaquil Barrett is probably better than anybody the Cowboys could draft in the second round, so I say pull the trigger.

Should the Cowboys sign Shaquil Barrett to a contract sheet?


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Could a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin

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Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?


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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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