In 2007 the Dallas offense was firing on all cylinders! Most opponents that year came into the game not looking to stop them, but just to slow them down a bit. Many of them could do neither, but a few made the necessary adjustments to force the Cowboys into bad situations, and even worse decisions. Late in the season there was one team in particular discovered the recipe for Cowboy disaster. By the time this recipe was discovered it was far to late in the season for the coaching staff to stop the full speed locomotive, that was on a head on collision course with the Super Bowl hyped Cowboys.
This train continued into 2008 as we are all well aware of. The question now is what will happen in 2009 to change this teams direction?
Many people will point to several different games in 2007 as to the spot where the "wheels fell off the bus". The game that catches my attention as the "beginning of the end" was December 16th in Irving, Texas. The Iggles rolled into town with nothing to play for. Philadelphia had already been knocked out of playoff contention. The Cowboys offense came into the game averaging; 35 points per, and showed no signs of slowing down.
This game was going to be different though, and we all new it. All the Cowboys Offense could muster through the first two quarters was a 33 yard field goal from Nick Folk. After halftime things would get no better. Just like the first half a Nick Folk field goal is all they would get. Shock and disbelief went rushing through every Cowboy fan, player, and coach. Many of us simply shrugged it off as to say "They just had a bad game!" There was more to this one though, with only two regular season games to go this was more than just a bad game, this was a season wrecker.
The Eagles decided to let it all hang out against the Cowboys that day, they consistently crowded the line of scrimmage, giving no running lanes for Barber and Jones. Allowing the tandem a miserable 13 carries for 38 yards. As well as blitzing Romo on every passing down. Sacking him 4 times and forcing 3 interceptions. This was also the game when the "cover Owens with a safety over top" scheme was first implemented, and executed perfectly! The Eagles held Owens to 2 catches for a measly 37 yards.
Things never got any better for the Boys the rest of the year, and the same issues carried over into 2009.
Now I myself hate to revisit these horrific memories as much as you do, but if this unit is to regain it's high potent attack they must learn from these experiences. Myself and many others have blogged about the short comings of this team in '07 and '08. I have even come to the defense of Jason Garrett, and Tony Romo (as these two individuals have seen the blunt of your anger).
As much as I would like to say that everything is going to get back on track this year, and the Cowboys will be headed back for a try at #6. I simply cannot! What I can say though is that since the end of the season Jerry and the gang have wasted no time in attempting to change not only players on the team, but the teams mind set. This will be a different team. Not just in the names on the back of some jersey's but also in scheme and effort!
We are going to see a team that will run the ball, attacking both the edges and the middle. Tony Romo now has a "team guy" as his #1 receiver, the rest of the receiving corps while not the most talented group in the NFL, each of them have very different and useful abilities. This unit will no longer be running forty yard triple move routes on every play. We will see many more short to intermediate routes, rendering the "crowding the line of scrimmage" scheme Useless! We are also going to see some trickery, just to keep the defense on its toes!
I believe this organization has learned a lot from the super bowl teams of the past few years. The biggest thing they have learned is this; "It's not how many Pro Bowlers you have, but how well your team works together"!
My outlook on this upcoming season is very bright, but I also know that there is a long road ahead. I believe that we will all see a team that may not start out firing on all cylinders, but one that will become better and better throughout the year. This is something I can live with, no matter the final outcome!
WR Randall Cobb Named Cowboys “Surprise Standout” for Offseason
NFL teams have wrapped up their offseason activities with the close of OTAs, especially where the players are concerned, and await the start of training camps next month. In reviewing the last few months, ESPN had their local reporters each pick a surprise standout from their team's practices. Todd Archer, who covers the Dallas Cowboys full time, selected veteran receiver Randall Cobb.
Cobb is in his first season with Dallas after signing as a free agent last March. He's spent the last eight years with the Green Bay Packers and was a Pro Bowler in 2014, but has struggled with injuries the last few seasons.
Here were Archer's observations on how Randall is doing so far with the Cowboys:
Normally a player with Cobb's résumé -- 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career -- would not be considered for a category like this. But injuries limited him to only nine games and 38 catches for Green Bay in 2018, and it was hard to know what the Cowboys were getting in the veteran receiver.
If the offseason work is any indication, they have found a replacement for Cole Beasley. Cobb's versatility can expand the offense for others, such as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cobb looked quick in and out of his breaks and fast enough to make plays down the field. Will he put up the 1,287 yards he had in 2014? No, but he gives Dak Prescott a security blanket in the slot who can turn a small gain into a big one.
The notion of Cobb replacing Beasley is a big one. While we'd like to think that Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will provide plenty of firepower for the Cowboys offense, Dak Prescott has enjoyed a reliable threat from the slot position since he arrived.
Randall Cobb, when healthy, can do more than just make clutch catches. He has good run-after-catch skills and perhaps bring more big play potential than Beasley did.
If Cooper and Gallup do emerge as a dangerous starting duo on the outside, Cobb should have even more opportunities to punish defenses than Beasley did.
If nothing else, it's very encouraging to hear that one of the Cowboys' few 2019 free agent moves is already reaping benefits. Cobb still needs to bring it over a full season to really justify the move, but these early reports are cause for excitement.
BREAKING: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Receives One-Game Suspension
Tight End Rico Gathers already had an uphill climb to return to the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2019. But that climb just got even steeper; the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Gathers today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
If he does make the team this year, with Dallas or anyone else, Rico will have to sit out Week One of the season without pay.
Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse. This is from his arrest in 2018 for marijuana possession.
Gathers' chances of returning in 2019 were already hurt by Jason Witten's reversed retirement. He dropped to fourth on the TE depth chart behind Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz, and Dallas only kept three tight ends last year.
The Cowboys also added Codey McElroy as a developmental player during the offseason.
While the suspension is news, the incident that led to it is not. Dallas already knew about the arrest, which occurred in early September of 2018, and have kept Gathers around up until now.
The NFL's substance abuse system is pretty formulaic, so the Cowboys likely anticipated this suspension all along. This may not change anything about how they value Rico Gathers for the 2019 season.
Nevertheless, a player who can't help you in Week One and is a liability for ever longer suspensions down the road is definitely a red flag against Gathers' job security.
Antwaun Woods: Cowboys DT is Just Getting Started
Antwaun Woods went undrafted in 2016 coming out of USC. After two years with the Tennessee Titans, he would only see one game of action. In May of 2018, the Cowboys signed Woods to a two-year contract worth 1.05 million. Probably seen as nothing more than a practice squad guy, Woods would quickly show he was much more than that.
The newly acquired Woods started his climb to stardom in Oxnard during training camp, and not for making plays. One day during practice he got into a friendly game of fisticuffs with All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. The team even posted the video on social media, which had fans buzzing and wanting to know who he was.
All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott echoed those thoughts when he saw Woods during camp. "Honestly, when we first got him, we were like, 'Who is this guy?'. He was giving Travis Frederick, one of our best players, hell all camp. Just trying to figure out where this guy came from," Elliott said.
Once the regular season started it was clear the Cowboys had found a hidden gem. Although the sack numbers won't dazzle you, seeing as he only registered 1.5, you could forget about running the ball anywhere near him. Woods has amazing quickness for a 300 pounder which allows him to extend his arms before offensive lineman can get a hand on him.
How significant is that? It becomes that much easier to bull rush and blow running plays up in the backfield.
When you can get your hands on an offensive lineman immediately when the ball is snapped, he's basically under your control. You can move him around like a puppet on a string. Essential for a 1-technique nose tackle. With that being said, there should be no surprise the Cowboys finished fifth against the run in 2018 with Woods manning the middle.
Woods draws a lot of double teams, and he handles them well. Having the ability to take on multiple linemen frees up your other playmakers. As the anchor in the middle, Woods made life a lot easier for not only his fellow defensive linemen but the team's two young star Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Allowing them to roam freely like Lions in the Serengeti makes running backs essentially Zebra's carrying the ball, cooked food. So much so that both tallied over 120 tackles and were the only teammates in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in that category.
There's nothing but upside with Antwaun Woods. He's only had 18 games of experience in three years. He's already a stud, but with limited snaps, it can only mean he'll be even more formidable going forward.
The Cowboys have a loaded defensive lineman group with around 15 bodies, plenty of competition. All signs point to him remaining the starter, but it's not guaranteed. Even with that being said I don't expect a complacency from Woods, especially with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn looking like the only sure starters on the defensive line. Plus this is a contract year for him, so you know he'll be even more motivated as he tries to maximize his dollars. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg from this raw talent, setting up for a potential breakout year for him in 2019.
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