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.
What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?
For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.
Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?
As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.
Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.
Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.
But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.
Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.
Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.
After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.
It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.
Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long
Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.
“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”
Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.
But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.
Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.
"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com
If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.
Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."
The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.
Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.
Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?
Who is the Cowboys best player?
As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.
"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein
Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?
For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.
Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.
Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.
I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.
So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.
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