When the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins square off tomorrow in the first game played at AT&T Stadium for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys season, you'll understandably have flashbacks to November 22nd, 2015.
What happened that day? Well for starters the calendar changed from the 21st to the 22nd. Additionally, the Cowboys drowned the Dolphins 24-14. Something particularly special happened that day, though: Tony Romo returned to action for the first time since breaking his collarbone two months earlier.
Romo was heroic in his return, but he was also under fire. Dolphin blitzers forced him to get creative, dare I say they forced him to get bold.
As the master of improvisation, Tony boldly went where he had never gone before... to the left arm for a throw! He pulled it off and it was, in typical Tony Romo fashion, absolutely incredible.
'Ol Number Nine will get some playing time in this preseason contest, so it's fitting that his bold antics serve as the inspiration for our bold predictions regarding this game. So everybody put your left hand in the air, wave it like you just don't care (I SEE YOU IN THE BACK CARING I SAID DON'T CARE AND I MEANT IT), and let's party.
Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions.
Kavon Frazier Causes A Fumble On A Sack
WE ARE HERE TO GET BOLD I SAID!
Kavon Frazier is a great person. How do I know? He was on the RJOShow one day after being drafted by the Cowboys and was incredibly humble the whole time. While Kavon may not be boastful in ego, he is when it comes to laying the wood on opposing ballcarriers.
It's no secret that Frazier, taken in the 6th Round back in April's Draft, didn't have the best game in the preseason opener in Los Angeles. Something tells me that he was waiting for his first snack to be some sushi, of the Miami Dolphins variety.
Look for Kavon to get home on a Dolphins QB, they're all horrible, and jar that ball loose. Splish splash goes the Dolphin. Out comes the Cowboys offense.
Jason Garrett And Dak Prescott's Relationship Will Be Talked About
Dak Prescott has seemingly taken the world by storm since going 10/12 for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns last Saturday night in The Coliseum. Jason Garrett has had his eye on Dak for much longer than the last five days, though.
The Head Coach and inevitable (?) backup quarterDAK have had a little post-practice game that they play while out in the pleasantry that is Oxnard, CA.
Jason Garrett taking his post-practice game with Dak Prescott to a new level. Gotta hit the star https://t.co/IHGpPfYHnj
It's great to see Coach Garrett bonding with the potential future signal-caller of his team. His friendship/relationship with Tony Romo is no secret (they go to Duke games and to see The Boss they're practically bros) and it looks like he's taking that to the next level with the young Prescott.
A Confused Fan Will Make An Appearance
I'm not going to knock which team a person roots for. We all have the right to choose our team and pledge our allegiance however we see fit.
THIS GUY RIGHT HERE though... has some 'splainin to do. What is even happening? How did he end up with a Cowboys, respect on Sean Lee by the way, jersey and a Dolphins cap? What? This is real?
Look, kid. You can like the Cowboys. You can be wrong and
a terrible person like the Dolphins. I'm not going to put you in a situation like Papa Moxon did Jonathan and cause you to tell me it's your life! I'm just going to say, pick a side.
Considering this is the first preseason game at AT&T Stadium this season, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that someone of this kid's level of loyalty will be in attendance. Cowboys jersey and Dolphins hat, Dolphins jersey and Cowboys hat, some weird and random combo will be there and grace our eyes. It'll be awkward.
Ryan Russell Will Beat Laremy Tunsil For A Tackle For Loss
Someday Laremy Tunsil is going to be sitting with his grandchildren and they're going to look up and say, "Grandpa, tell us the story about when you were drafted by the Miami Dolphins!".
Laremy is going to look at them both affectionately and with pure rage, calm himself, and proceed to tell one of the most unbelievable tales in NFL Draft History. His story is quite unique, and it is absolutely part of why he now calls Miami home.
Ryan Russell was
pretty awful less than stellar last week against the Rams. While common sense would suggest that a player of Russell's caliber going up against one of Tunsil's would lose 100/100 times... I HAVE THROWN COMMON SENSE OUT THE WINDOW TODAY.
Russell beats Tunsil. Check please.
Jerry Jones Will Receive A Standing Ovation From The Crowd
I know I just asked for the check, but I had to save room for dessert. This specific dish is made out of 100% swag and innovation, it's called the Jerry Jones special.
This past Tuesday the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Jerry Jones was named a Contributor Finalist for the Class of 2017. Congrats to the big boss man!
Mr. Jones has received an immense amount of respect and support from NFL figures and Cowboys Nation loyalists. Denver Broncos fans seem to think that the Pro Football Hall of Fame exists specifically for the enshrinement of those that they deem worthy, but thank goodness for the sanctity of football the HOF committee feels differently.
It will undoubtedly be announced during this game that Jerry is up for enshrinement. Expect those in attendance to honor him appropriately with a high-quality Standing O.
Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.
After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.
The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.
I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.
Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.
As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.
I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.
Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019
It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.
After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.
But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."
The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.
Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).
The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.
This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.
These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.
Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.
Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.
Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations
Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.
The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.
And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.
“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.
Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.
"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com.
Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.
Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.
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