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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 have been with ITS since 2016.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Randy Martin

    November 20, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    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

      November 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      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

      November 20, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      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.

    • Kevin Brady

      Kevin Brady

      November 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      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.

  2. Hoosiers86

    November 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    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

      November 20, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      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

  3. Eduardo Palacios

    November 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    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!

  4. Richard Bogoslofski

    November 20, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    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!!

  5. Russ_Te

    November 20, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    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

      November 21, 2017 at 7:51 am

      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.

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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