I used to live in an apartment that had the washer and dryer in this utility closet that was right next to the kitchen. The closet had these two doors that opened outwards, and I'd usually leave one - or sometimes both - open.
The way the apartment was shaped, it made sense to keep my trash can in there. Pretty standard type of thing, right?
Well this one morning I wake up and am making breakfast, totally minding my own business. I, like a lot of people, have some mild allergies that like to flare up right after I've awakened from my nightly slumber.
I'm frying up this egg, mentally planning my day, and I have to sneeze. I had enough time pre-sneeze that I grabbed a paper towel and caught it. Gotta stay clean, fam.
I head into the little closet where my trash can is to toss the paper towel. As my body is half-in and half-out, I get the urge to sneeze again. The paper towels were positioned on the counter behind one of these half doors that was open. I head over to try and grab one, but the sneeze beat me to the punch and then I felt like I got punched.
You see, this was no ordinary sneeze. This was the greatest sneeze any human being has ever sneezed. The force and momentum of the sneeze rocked me so far forward that, since I was literally facing the half door while trying to get the paper towel, my head slammed into the door.
The pain was insane. And then there was blood! Everywhere! I ran to the bathroom to get some tissue paper (even though the paper towels were in front of me... the pain clouded my logic) and tried to control everything. After collecting myself, still in pain, I noticed that I'd left a trickle of blood along the carpet where I'd ran and that it was all over my shirt (which was conveniently white).
I took off my shirt and immediately soaked it in an attempt to salvage it. Then I got some carpet cleaner out and had to scrub the carpet before the blood set. As I was on my knees scrubbing, still in massive pain and now shirtless, I thought... How did everything get so bad so quickly?
That's what last Thursday night was like for the Dallas Cowboys. Everything went dark and was pain-filled in the blink of an eye. It's time to get ourselves together and scrub the carpet. We begin that journey with a preseason contest against the Houston Texans. Sometimes that trip is unnecessarily bold like that morning for me, but in time all heals and everything lines up the way it's supposed to.
Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
Andy Jones Will Catch Two Touchdowns
When the Dallas Cowboys signed 14 players who went undrafted this past April, Jacksonville University's Andy Jones received the highest signing bonus of them all.
It's a bit of an annual tradition for Cowboys Nation to fall in love with undrafted wide receivers, Andy fits that profile perfectly.
Jones hasn't exactly had a stellar preseason, and he's very unlikely to make this team's roster; however, he has one last shot to prove his worth to other NFL teams. Considering that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Brice Butler won't play much if at all... Andy is going to be a target monster tonight.
Andy will hit the paint twice. That's dos. #Vamonos.
The Brandon Weeden We Know Will Show Up... In Spectacular Fashion
95 of 130 for 1,041 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. That's what Brandon Weeden contributed to the Dallas Cowboys while
disgracing wearing our uniform.
I'm sure that Brandon Weeden is a nice person. He seems like the kind of guy who greets his dog when he first walks in his house, gives him a nice belly rub, and goes about his business.
You need no reminder about how belly-up Brandon Weeden's 2015 season in Dallas was. Deplorable would be putting it kindly.
destroying leaving the Cowboys, Brandon Weeden joined the only team that made more sense for him than the Cleveland Browns - the Houston Texans. A new uniform can't fool us though, Cowboys Nation. We know the real Brandon. And we'll see him in all his perpetual clumsiness tonight, something to the tune of five interceptions perhaps.
The Zeke/Dak Meme Will Make An Appearance
Near the end of last week's preseason contest in Seattle a funny little photo started circulating around the internet thanks to CBS Dallas.
I like to fancy myself a pretty creative guy (I did write a whole bunch of words up top about how I took it in the face by a door...) and I don't think there's a finite number of captions that I could come up with for this masterpiece.
A lot of things can be said about Zeke and Dak, including that they're the future of America's Team. You can count on the notion that the game's broadcasters are going to try to say something of their own about this bad boy.
The Ralph Neely Governor's Cup Story Will Be Told
During my Countdown To Kickoff series last summer I profiled the greatest Dallas Cowboys to wear each and every jersey number. While Larry Allen obviously took home #73, that day allowed me to tell the story of Ralph Neely.
When the NFL and AFL were still competing leagues in the 1960s they'd often draft the same player - Ralph Neely was one of these double selections. He initially signed with the AFL's Houston Oilers, but when his NFL rights were traded from the Baltimore Colts to the Dallas Cowboys he decided he wanted to put a Star on his helmet.
Upon the 1966 NFL-AFL Merger the Oilers demanded compensation from the Cowboys for Neely's rights, considering he'd signed a contract with them. The Cowboys agreed to send Houston a 1st, 2nd, and two 5th round picks in the 1967 collective NFL Draft... and to play them in the preseason. This is how the Governor's Cup was born.
You can count on the game crew to tell this story, but you're smart and read Inside The Star so you knew it first. Hey-o!
Jameill Showers Will Make The Final 53-Man Roster
A lot of people believe that this game will go a long way in determining Jameill Shower's future as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
I don't necessarily disagree with that, but I think that Jameill's roster spot became secured the moment Tony Romo was writhing in pain on the turf in Seattle.
The only two capable quarterbacks on this planet who have experience in the 2016 Dallas Cowboys offense are literally Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers. There is no way on such a planet that the Cowboys roll into a season with such high aspirations without that security.
Jameill will have himself a nice little game here, too. He just doesn't need to. Leggo.
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should Cowboys Pursue Former Raider Bruce Irvin?
Star Blog4 days ago
Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard?
Star Blog4 days ago
How Cowboys Could Regain a 2019 1st-Round Draft Pick
Player News1 week ago
Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Next Day Rant: Dak Prescott Shows Big Flaws in Big Win
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Is Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones to be Trusted?
Dallas Cowboys15 hours ago
4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator
Star Blog6 days ago
Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time