Every year before the upcoming season officially kicks off, the Dallas Cowboys get together as a team and cast their votes for the season's team captains. The Cowboys usually have five team captains: two on offense, two on defense, and one special-teams player. With things being so slow this time year in the NFL, I decided to try to predict who the 2017 Dallas Cowboys team captains will be.
In 2016 the captains were Jason Witten, Travis Frederick, Sean Lee, Barry Church, and Dan Bailey. The 2017 Dallas Cowboys team captains could look much different. There are several players deserving of this honor, but you never know how those vote will fall ultimately.
At first glance, it looks as if last year's team captains could take on that role once again in 2017, but upon closer examination you may notice Barry Church has since moved on. Then, you have to take into consideration this is a different team and votes are likely to go to different players, which means we could see some new 2017 Dallas Cowboys team captains.
My predictions are based on who I would personally vote for to be the 2017 team captains, not necessarily the way I believe the Cowboys' players will vote. Continue reading below to see my five 2017 Dallas Cowboys team captain prediction.
No offense to Travis Frederick, but I think Dak Prescott ends up wearing the "C" on his chest in 2017. Frederick was likely voted team captain by his teammates last season after everyone learned Tony Romo would miss some time due to his fractured back. Unfortunately for Frederick, I don't think that happens again this season.
As a rookie, Prescott showed the poise and leadership qualities that get you voted team captain by your peers. He is already expected to take on a larger leadership role in his second season in the NFL and his teammates have already proven their faith in the young QB by the way they rallied around him last season. It just seems to me that that is the natural progression of things.
Naming Jason Witten as a team captain is a given right? I doubt there is another Cowboys player that is as respected and revered as Witten is both on and off the field. He may be the "old bull" in the locker room now, but I don't see any way his teammates don't vote him as a team captain once again in 2017.
The only way I don't see Jason Witten as a team captain this season is if he somehow bows out and convinces his teammate to vote for someone else. Maybe this is how Travis Frederick can keep the "C" embroidered on his jersey. That would be a Witten type of thing to do. He always puts his team and teammates before himself.
Predicting Sean Lee as a Dallas Cowboys 2017 team captain should be another no-brainer. The Cowboys are going to have a lot of youth infused into the defense this season and having an example like Sean Lee leading the way as a captain will set an example for everyone.
There's not another player on the entire Cowboys roster that has had the types of highs and lows in their career as #50. He has had to battle back from injuries on numerous occasions, which is a testament to his work ethic. But, he also is a student of the game and knows how to prepare mentally as well. I don't think there is another player on the defensive side of the ball more worthy of being a captain.
The Cowboys' defense is in need of some leadership in the secondary, especially now with the departure former team captain Barry Church. I think the next logical choice and most deserving to become a 2017 Dallas Cowboys team captain is Byron Jones.
With the exception of Orlando Scandrick, Byron Jones is the most experienced player the Dallas Cowboys have in the secondary. He is someone who can be trusted to be a team captain and someone who is highly respected by his teammates. I expect him to take on a much more vocal leadership role this season, especially with the amount of young defensive backs expected to contribute this year.
I think there is just one deserving player to be a team captain for the special teams units, and that is Dan Bailey. I think he retains the "C" embroidered on his jersey in 2016 and I'm sure his teammates would agree.
Dan Bailey has arguably developed into one of the best, if not the best, kickers in the entire NFL. He is unflappable on the field and his steadiness/character makes him the ideal team captain.
What's your predictions for the Cowboys 2017 team captains?
Tony Pollard, Supporting Cast or a Co-lead with Ezekiel Elliott?
Since the Dallas Cowboys drafted Running Back Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft he's been the star of the show. Any of their other offensive weapons have been nothing more than supporting cast the past three years, but rookie RB/WR Tony Pollard could prove to be more than just supporting cast and become more of a co-lead in Zeke's show.
Suggesting Tony Pollard has a chance to be more than just supporting cast with Ezekiel Elliott is a lot to put on a rookies shoulders, but that's the kind of hype he's receiving already. He hasn't even put on the pads yet with the Dallas Cowboys, but he's already receiving Alvin Kamara type comparisons due to the versatility he's expected to bring with him to the NFL.
Living up to those Alvin Kamara comparisons might be even more difficult than becoming anything more than just an extra behind Zeke anytime soon, but it's doable. After all, Kamara immediately stepped in as a rookie and became a costar with Mark Ingram in New Orleans. It's certainly feasible to think Pollard can do the same.
There's of course only one problem with this way of thinking. Mark Ingram is no Ezekiel Elliott. And, no RB on the depth chart behind Zeke the last three years has been good enough to cut into #21's heavy workload. Is the hype surrounding Tony Pollard justified? Is he talented enough to cut into Zeke's playing time?
Those are some really big questions we don't have an answer to as of yet. Training camp could help determine the type of role Tony Pollard will have with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 and beyond, but even that can be thrown out the window once games start to matter in the regular season.
Personally, I think Tony Pollard will be part of a supporting cast behind Ezekiel Elliott this year. I just don't think he's ready to step in and costar with Zeke just yet. I think he will be more of a comedic relief that will be used from time to time to keep things interesting. That's not necessarily a bad thing though considering his versatility to contribute in the running or passing game.
In time though, Pollard could prove worthy of an increase in playing time and become more of a co-lead with No. 21. It may very well be in his rookie season, but he's really going to have to prove himself and that will need to start this week when the Dallas Cowboys kick off their training camp in Oxnard, California.
What do you think? Is Tony Pollard supporting cast or a co-lead with Zeke?
Randy Gregory can Make the Perimeter Pass Rush Extremely Formidable
Randy Gregory showed flashes last season of the potential he has as a pass rusher. Even though he only managed one start he did see action in 14 games. Had registered 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 7 tackles for loss and 15 hits on the quarterback. That's very good production with limited opportunities. Now, this sets up the Dallas Cowboys on the edge getting to the quarterback, and here's how.
The Cowboys acquired Defensive End Robert Quinn via trade from the Dolphins back in March. He is set to start at right defensive end opposite All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence. Gregory, who lines up on the right side as well, can potentially make said side a huge problem for offenses on 2019.
Let's just take a typical season from Quinn which is between 8-9 sacks. If Gregory can give at minimum what he did last season, that's around 15 sacks just between the two of them alone. Now, as we all know, Lawrence can be penciled in for double-digit sacks routinely at this point. So given this information that's a potential 25-30 sacks just from these three players. This is without including guys such as Taco Charlton, Dorance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder, and rookies Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks (assuming they make the final roster).
Why is Gregory's potential impact so important? For me, it's simply where he lines up at defensive end, on the right side. Most quarterbacks are right-handed, which means when they drop back to pass they face left side defensive ends, with their backs to defensive ends coming off the right side. If you can consistently pressure a quarterback from his blindside the opportunities for sacks and fumbles increase. Regardless of how skilled a quarterback is you can't avoid what you can't see.
Of course, this all depends on what the NFL does regarding the reinstatement of Gregory. He was suspended indefinitely in February for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, a situation he is all too familiar with. My guess is Gregory and the Cowboys will ask for a conditional reinstatement like he was given by the NFL in 2018. What this would do is allow Gregory to participate in meetings and condition work until he's a full participant. He is set to apply for that reinstatement within the next few days.
The only thing Randy Gregory can do now is play the waiting game. The league is currently considering the possibility of softening their stance on marijuana use. If they are serious about it I can see Gregory getting reinstated even if it's on a conditional basis. If this is granted the Cowboys will be getting big-time pressure off the edge with Lawrence, Quinn, and Gregory in 2019.
CB Jourdan Lewis Getting Ready For Bounce-Back 2019 Season
For a third round pick, cornerback Jourdan Lewis sure did come to Dallas with his fair share of hype.
In fact, much of Cowboys Nation was more excited about Lewis joining the Cowboys than they were about either of the team's first two selections in that same draft, Taco Charlton and Chidobe Awuzie. But while Awuzie has soared to starting cornerback levels with Dallas during his first two seasons, Jourdan Lewis has been forced to take a back seat.
After a promising rookie season, Jourdan Lewis didn't get much playing time at cornerback in 2018. Anthony Brown took over as the starting slot corner, while Byron Jones and Awuzie manned the outside. This left Lewis as the odd man out, despite what many consider to be impressive cover skills.
Lewis is not allowing this down season to eat away at him too much, though. While speaking with the media last week at SportsCon in Dallas, Lewis gave his thoughts on how his year spent behind the other young Cowboys corners is only fueling him for the future.
"As a competitor it's always tough, especially as a rookie and you're playing all of the time. It's definitely when you take a step back it humbles you. Sometimes you gotta understand that you have to wait your turn and work on your craft. Understand that you always have to stay a professional no matter your situation. And that's what I learned last year."
Considered undersized by the standards typically used by Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard, some have argued that Lewis was never given a fair shot to earn playing time once Richard took over in 2018. Whether or not this is true can't ever be said for sure, and the level of play Anthony Brown exhibited from the slot in 2018 didn't leave much room for substitutions either.
Still, Jourdan Lewis says he appreciates that time he spent on the bench, and he hopes that it will only drive him towards bigger and better things down the road.
"I appreciate the time that I sat last year honestly...Because it made me a better player, maybe a better person honestly."
The Cowboys cornerback situation didn't get any less crowded this offseason. Not only is Dallas bringing back all three of the aforementioned starters from a year ago, but they also drafted Miami's Michael Jackson in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.
That cornerback room is full of talent. Not only does this create a luxury for the Cowboys at one of the league's most important positions, but it also breeds immense competition between the corners come training camp.
Which, if you didn't know, begins on July 26th.
Star Blog3 days ago
Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas
Star Blog1 week ago
The Ringer Names Byron Jones, La’el Collins As Potential Trade Bait
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Forget “Slump,” OL Connor Williams Looking To Make Sophomore Jump In 2019
Star Blog1 week ago
If Reinstated, Would Cowboys Start Randy Gregory Over Robert Quinn?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Quarterback
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Defensive Tackle
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
PFF Projects Ezekiel Elliott as 1 of 9 RBs to Rush for 900 Yards in 2019
Player News2 weeks ago
Taco Charlton: The Next Step has to be Taken now