Jerry Jones got an early start on this week's Bold Predictions on Tuesday morning.
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan: Brandon Weeden is "a thing of beauty throwing the football. Frankly, you won't see a more gifted passer.
Jerry believes in Brandon Weeden, and you know what? So do I.
I'm not saying that Brandon is about to throw for 400 yards against the Falcons on Sunday (no Cowboys quarterback has ever reached that mark against the Falcons FYI), but he's in a great position to manage the game and lead the Cowboys to victory.
According to almost everyone on earth, I checked, the Cowboys have the greatest offensive line in the NFL. They also have some solid playmakers outside of Dez Bryant (not diminishing #88 at all here) and a collection of running backs that will serve as nice dink-and-dunk options for "the most gifted passer" in the history of the world.
As bold as Jerry got, I can't let him outdo me. It's time to get BOLD! If you read my bold predictions from last week's win over the Eagles, then you know that I got two right. Philly never did stumble their way across the 50-yard line in the first half, and DeMarco Murray didn't top 50 yards on the ground (or 3 yards on the ground for that matter). Please remember that these are bold predictions. Vamonos! Let's dance the night away.
1. The Dallas Cowboys Defense Scores A Touchdown
Holy Sean Lee does the defense look good! These guys are absolutely swarming to the ball and whoever is carrying it. They've really impressed fans (and made DeMarco Murray sad) through two weeks of 2015.
We saw this unit generate 3 turnovers last week in Philadelphia. I have no doubt that they'll find a way to force another. These guys are focused and want to do their part to carry the team in Tony Romo's absence. Look for a tipped ball at some point that a Cowboy defender snatches and takes to the house!
2. Julio Jones Doesn't Top 50 Yards
I care about the environment so I'm going to recycle here. That's right, I'm calling for Julio to stay locked down on Sunday! Morris Claiborne has shocked us all this season by not giving up 28 touchdowns in two games. Not to mention that he kept Odell Beckham Jr. in check.
Dallas knows that Julio Jones is the wind beneath the Falcons' wings. They're going to devote the majority of attention to him and force someone else to beat them. Leonard Hankerson is going to be the Falcon receiver with the biggest day in the box score. Write that down right now (even though I just typed it).
3. Lance Dunbar Has 175 Total Yards
The backfield of the Dallas Cowboys has been discussed very rarely in all of 2015 (about as rarely as Deflategate). Joseph Randle seems to have emerged as the leading ball carrier, but Lance Dunbar has found a place of significance on this team.
He has been used in a lot of passing situations and was a huge contributor to the critical drive that Tony Romo mounted against the Giants two weeks ago. He's a shifty back that figures to be used heavily in the passing game, especially with Tony Romo out.
How have the Falcons fared against those type of running backs? In Week 1 the Falcons hosted the Philadelphia Eagles and Darren Sproles... who ran 5 times for 50 yards and caught 7 passes for 76 yards. In Week 2 Atlanta went to New York to play the Giants and Shane Vereen... who ran 6 times for 19 yards and caught 8 passes for 76 yards.
Put Lance Dunbar in your fantasy lineups now. You're going to want his jersey on Sunday afternoon.
4. Brandon Weeden Rushes For A Touchdown
The wheels of Brandon Weeden are going to be moving fast on Sunday!
Weeden has had a full week to prepare for the starting gig, cool. He's had a week to work with offensive geniuses Scott Linehan and Tony Romo (that's right). Romo is going to be coaching Weeden up through this game - wait and see.
Atlanta has also had a week to prepare for Weeden. They're banking on him checking everything down and are going to force him to beat them... and he's going to!
I can see it now... 2nd and Goal from the 4-yard line, Weeden takes the snap, he drops back, he makes his read, there is NOBODY in front of him, so he just skips to his lou into the end zone for a score.
5. Brandon Weeden Is Sacked 0 Times
I really liked what I saw from Dan Quinn's Falcon defense when they played the Eagles. It seemed like he was having a very strong influence on them already and that they're going to get after the quarterback this season.
I still believe that. Just not against the Cowboys.
Sports are awesome, man. What's really great about them are the things that you just can't explain with logic or reason.
The Cowboys are in rally cap mode. They have come together as a team for a common purpose, and that's a scary thing for opposing teams. These guys are so focused and so dedicated on this season, and getting Romo and Dez back, that they are going to play out of their minds on Sunday.
We're going to see one of the best games that we ever have from this offensive line. They know how much the team is depending on them, and they're going to deliver with enough time for Brandon to knit a sweater in the pocket. His jersey is staying clean all day long.
How The Tables Have Turned for 2019 Dallas Cowboys
The 2018 season was a two-part tale for the Dallas Cowboys. The first is the story of a mediocre 3-5 team that couldn't get it going offensively. The second part is about a football team that turned its season around, made the playoffs, got a win in the postseason and ultimately lost to the team that ended up representing the NFC in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams.
Surely, 2018 didn't go as planned. The storylines leading to last season are actually very different from the ones we're hearing today. Let's take a look at a few examples of how the tables have turned for the Dallas Cowboys.
The need for a true WR1
Last season, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys preached the philosophy of not needing a #1 wide receiver. While that could've sound encouraging at the time, once the season began the team was proven wrong. They did need a WR1. Fortunately, this season we won't have to worry about it. This year, Dez Bryant shouldn't be a discussion topic among Cowboys' fans.
Amari Cooper is in the house. And he's been pretty good since he started playing with a Star on his helmet. If we have conversations about the WR position, they will not be about who's the #1 guy. With Michael Gallup showing up late in the season, it probably won't be about who is #2 either.
Back on top of the NFC East
Last year, the Dallas Cowboys were not really the favorites to win the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles had just made history by winning their first Super Bowl ever and it seemed like the Cowboys would have to get a wildcard spot to play in January. Now it's the Cowboys back on top after sweeping the Eagles and turning their once 3-5 season around.
That of course, means a tougher schedule next season. However, it's nice to be back on top of the division. These two teams will surely have an intense race for the division title next season. Maybe we even see them both in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Sean Lee's uncertain future
I'm pretty sure no one expected Sean Lee to be considered a potential cap casualty for the 2019 season. Even if he was, it would've probably been anticipating an injury or something like that. No one would've imagined that Leighton Vander Esch would be so good to take Sean Lee's job.
The Cowboys' first round rookie truly earned the starting role as the defense's weak linebacker and he should keep it. With Sean Lee set to return to the field, I'm sure we didn't expect him to be a backup by now. We'll have to wait and see if the Cowboys decide to part ways with him. As a fan, it would certainly be painful. But we can't deny it would be a move that makes sense.
It's a crazy franchise on a crazy league. Who knows how things will go from now on, but the Dallas Cowboys certainly look like a promising team heading into the 2019 offseason. Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue to update you with the latest on your favorite NFL team.
Cowboys en Español: Volviendo a la Idea de Earl Thomas
El año pasado, Earl Thomas fue uno de los temas de conversación más frecuentes para los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys. Después de que los Seattle Seahawks no le dieran su deseada extensión de contrato, Thomas se convirtió en un candidato a ser intercambiado de su equipo. Entre los favoritos estaban los Cowboys, quienes tenían una necesidad en su defensiva secundaria. Ahora que la temporada 2018 llegó a su fin, la misma necesidad por un safety de calidad está presente en Dallas.
Sólo que en esta ocasión, Earl Thomas no está bajo contrato con ningún equipo. Su último momento con el uniforme de los Seahawks fue en un carro de lesiones, donde salía lesionado en dirección a su vestidor. Esto mientras se despedía de su equipo con el dedo de en medio extendido hacia sus entrenadores y compañeros. Así concluyó su temporada y su carrera en Seattle.
Ahora, listo para cumplir los 30 años en mayo, Earl Thomas probará la agencia libre cuando comience en marzo. Y sin lugar a dudas, uno de los equipos candidatos a firmarlo serán los Dallas Cowboys. Es un equipo que a pesar de tener una de las mejores defensivas la temporada pasada, se vería muy beneficiada con la llegada de un profundo del calibre de Thomas.
A pesar de su edad y las lesiones, Thomas continúa siendo uno de los mejores en la liga. Su talento es innegable y tendrá toda la disposición de demostrar lo que vale cuando tome el campo la próxima temporada. Cuando llegue el momento, podríamos ver una guerra de ofertas entre varios equipos de la NFL para llevarse al veterano a sus respectivas ciudades.
La pregunta es: ¿estarán los Dallas Cowboys en esa guerra de ofertas?
Los Cowboys tienen espacio en el tope salarial. Sin embargo, este no durará mucho considerando que DeMarcus Lawrence está esperando su merecida y cara extensión después de jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia en 2018. Además, jugadores que aún están bajo contrato también estarán buscando ofertas este offseason.
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, y Byron Jones están en la lista de quehaceres de la administración. Eso sin mencionar a Cole Beasley, cuyo contrato ya expiró y podría llegar a la agencia libre en marzo.
A pesar de esta complicada situación, los Dallas Cowboys deberían buscar conseguir a Thomas. Siendo sinceros, la defensiva tiene mucho talento y podría mantener su nivel en 2019. Pero hace falta un jugador en la posición de safety para llevar a esta unidad a otro nivel. Un nivel realmente capaz de ganar en postemporada enfrentándose a cualquier tipo de ofensiva. Sin importar que tan explosiva sea. Y además de esto, un jugador que sea capaz de robar el balón y hacer jugadas de impacto constantemente.
Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a Seahawks en temporada regular, Thomas dio un buen ejemplo de esto interceptando en dos ocasiones a la ofensiva de Dak Prescott.
A pasos de un equipo de campeonato, un movimiento agresivo para obtener a Earl Thomas sería algo genial para Dallas. Vimos como los Rams de Los Angeles fueron agresivos al construir su equipo y llegaron hasta el Super Bowl este febrero. Quizá es tiempo de que Jerry Jones y compañía sean igual de agresivos y vayan por ese safety elite que la afición lleva pidiendo desde el offseason del año pasado.
Slot Machine: Amari Cooper in the Slot Could be Even More Dangerous
Amari Cooper was a dangerous man with the Dallas Cowboys after he arrived via trade from the Oakland Raiders last season. He was one of the big reasons why they were able to turn around a season that looked as if it was circling the drain and I don't think anybody would argue the point. But, I think he could be even more dangerous in 2019, especially if Cole Beasley departs via free agency.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you pretty much know the topic of the Cowboys offseason so far has centered around Cole Beasley and his future with the organization. He has been invaluable in Dallas since arriving as an undrafted free agent in 2012, but it's looking more and more as if he could be taking his talents elsewhere in 2019.
With Beasley more than likely moving on, the Cowboys will need to find someone who can replace his production in the passing game, especially in the slot. Everybody assumes Dallas needs to go outside the organization to find that player, but I'm not so sure. I think they already have a wide receiver more than capable of stepping in, and he just so happens to be there first-round draft pick this year.
In case you haven't figured it out already, I'm talking about Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. He has mostly been used as an outside receiver in his professional career, but he does have the skill set and route running ability to be a really dangerous out of the slot. I'm not talking about a full-time move into the slot or anything, just a marginal increase in snaps.
According to Rotounderworld.com, only 12.6% of Amari Cooper's snaps in 2018 were out of the slot. For comparison sake, Cole Beasley's snaps in the slot was 85.9%, the highest of any receiver in the NFL last season. That's a huge difference, not one the Cowboys should try to match with Cooper or any other potential slot WR replacement.
Personally, I'd like to see Cooper's snaps playing out of the slot increased to around 20%. That would put him in Odell Beckham Jr. territory (19.9%), and we all know how difficult he is to cover all over the field. It would likely do the same for Amari Cooper.
I just really like the idea of him having the entire field to work with and the favorable matchup it creates with slot/nickel cornerbacks around the league. Can you imagine opposing defensive coordinators trying to figure out how to contain a player that has the kind of speed and route running ability that Amari Cooper has? They better stock up on Tylenol, because that is a surefire way to get a headache.
This is course is just speculation at this point, especially since we don't know what the Cowboys offense will look like with Kellen Moore taking over the playcalling duties. But if it was me, I'd be doing everything in my power to get the ball in the hands of my best WR, Amari Cooper, and that might mean increasing his snaps out of the slot.
What do you think about using Amari Cooper out of the slot more often in 2019?
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