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.
Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?
The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.
The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.
All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?
Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.
In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.
That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.
So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.
Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.
It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.
Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.
Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.
Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?
Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018
NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.
If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.
The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.
Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.
Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.
Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.
But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.
We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.
And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.
Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory
A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.
Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.
Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.
El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.
En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.
Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.
El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.
Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.
Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.
Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.
Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.
Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.
Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.
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