Technology improves our lives. I believe that.
Every technological advancement that has happened in my lifetime seems to have made things easier for the human race. Although I will say that the chip reader thing for credit cards feels like a step backwards, but hey... technology.
One of the greatest technological innovations, and one that I use every day, is the bluetooth speakers on cars that allow you to talk on the phone hands-free. I love this thing.
Thanks to hands-free bluetooth technology I actually look forward to long drives. Just call someone up, adjust the volume on the radio dial, and have a pleasant conversation. Rock on!
So this one time I'm on the phone with my cousin, we'll call him Jared, while I'm driving to get some Whataburger (if you don't know what this is... my apologies for missing out on one of life's greatest treasures). I pull up to the drive-through and I tell Jared, "Hold on. I'm about to order."
The Whataburger gentleman (let's call him Todd) welcomes me. Todd then asks me what I'd like to eat. I go through my order down to the most minute detail, and Todd repeats it back to me. Things are looking good for RJ.
Todd drops the all-important drive-through question at this point - "Can I get you anything else today?". Before I have the chance to answer, my cousin Jared's voice chimes through my car speakers and he shouts at the top of his lungs, "A LARGE DIET COKE!".
Todd verifies, "oh you also wanted a large Diet Coke?" and I have to make a decision here. Do I just go along with this to avoid the potential awkwardness, or do I muster up the courage to somehow get out of it? I already had a Diet Coke with my order! I didn't need another one!
I decide to be brave, but could not avoid being awkward.
"I... uh... changed my mind. I... don't need... the extra Diet Coke..."
It was horrible. And hilarious. And epic. My cousin Jared reminds me about it all the time. He was bold, when I wasn't expecting it, and it made for a great story. Here's hoping the boldness dealt to the 2016 Dallas Cowboys early on in their season will also make for a great story.
Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
The Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Has More Sacks Than Odell Beckham Jr. Does Catches
Look... these aren't called reasonable or logical predictions. WE'RE HERE TO GET BOLD! BOLD I SAY!
Do you know how many catches Odell Beckham Jr. has had when he's played the Cowboys? The answer may shock you. In three career games against the Cowboys OBJ has had 4, 5, and 4 catches. That's not necessarily amazing.
When the Cowboys hosted the New England Patriots on October 11th, 2015 last season they picked up four total sacks from their defensive line (one from each Crawford and two from Greg Hardy). This isn't as absurd as it sounds!
If history is any indicator then the Cowboys will keep OBJ at or around four catches in this contest, and if they can get after Tom Brady four times as a defensive line... they can surely do it against Eli Manning and a shaky offensive line.
Troy Aikman's Rookie Start Is Discussed At Length
Dak Prescott is just the fifth quarterback that Jerry Jones has drafted, and he's the third rookie in the Jones Era that will start his very first game.
Troy Aikman was the first rookie quarterback to start in this era (Quincy Carter the other), and Troy Aikman is also the Color Analyst that will be on this game. Funny how that works out, isn't it?
Troy's first start came in New Orleans and it wasn't very pretty. He was 17/35 for 180 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions... and a loss. Womp womp womp. Surely as Dak Prescott trots (Prestrot?) out for his first series as the QuarterDAK of the Cowboys, Joe Buck will bring this moment up to Troy.
You can see it if you close your eyes. "So Troy, you know a thing or two about this (highlights flash)... what's going through Dak's mind right now?".
I know what's going through Joe Buck's mind. Bam.
Dak Prescott Will Have More Rush Yards Than Ezekiel Elliott
What would you say if I told you that the New York Giants once let a rookie running back go for 120 yards on the ground against them AND let a rookie quarterback go for 89 yards on the ground against them... in the same game?!
October 21st, 2012. Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III. This has been done, to a degree, before.
I've talked about at great length about how if I were the New York Giants I would be all-in on stopping Ezekiel Elliott. That's the best plan of action considering he's arguably the most lethal weapon that the Cowboys have at their disposal.
We'll finally get to see the pieces that the Giants paid for this offseason in action. I believe they'll try to force Dak to beat them, but I also believe that Dak will get out of the pocket and make some great plays with his legs. I'm not saying that Zeke won't have a great game, because he will, but Dak is going to rip off some runs that make him the rookie leading rusher in this game for America's Team.
Jason Garrett Will Beat Eli Manning On A Challenge For The Second Year In A Row
When the Cowboys hosted the Giants in last year's season opener (which Tony Romo won in epic fashion) the game marked the first time that Jason Garrett threw his red challenge flag in a season opener.
The way the play originally, and incorrectly, shook out saw Eli complete a pass to Larry Donnell for 13 yards, with the ball being fumbled out of bounds and the yardage gain still counting. Jason Garrett called bologna, the play was overturned, and the Giants punted on the next play.
We saw some weird non-calls in the NFL Kickoff Game Thursday night (sorry Cam) and we have to consider that referees are getting into the groove of the season as well. Coach Garrett is going to toss that flag right in Eli's face. Boo-ya.
Lucky Whitehead Will Break A Jet Sweep For A 30-Yard Gain
It's not officially a Dallas Cowboys game until Lucky Whitehead runs a jet sweep. That's a rule of life.
Cowboys Nation has really enjoyed the way that the Coaching Staff has begun integrating Lucky into the offense. He has a special skillset that can be really valuable if used appropriately, and that moment is going to happen on Sunday.
For what it's worth the last time the Cowboys played the Giants (in New York last season) they actually ran Lucky four times (15, 4, 6, and 10 yards were the individual results). He'll be a part of the gameplan and he'll take a sweep at least 90 feet. Bam.
Bonus Bold Prediction #1
The latest Tweets and replies from Jones (@aj_bryant5188).
I talked about this on OchoLive, but if you have a Bold Prediction that you want featured... Tweet it at me! Here's the first Bonus Bold Prediction for today, and I dig it.
This is obviously assuming that the Cowboys are kicking off in the second half (so looks like we receive to start the game!) and I really like the call. There's a lot to consider with kickoffs this season thanks to the touchback rule on them moving the ball to the 25-yard line for opponents. I would love to see the Cowboys get frisky here and go for a big move like this to garner some momentum in half numero dos.
Bonus Bold Prediction #2
@rjochoa Bold Prediction: Brice Butler leads the team in receptions Sunday. Dak and Brice had some chemistry in preseason. #DCBoldPrediction
I talked with Staff Writer Jess Haynie on the RJOShow about how Dak being in at quarterback might be better for the success of Brice Butler. Dak has a better deep ball than Romo, not an indictment on Tony just the truth at this point, and that could really lend to Brice's game.
For what it's worth Brice tied for the lead in receptions when the Cowboys were in Buffalo last season with Terrance Williams. He had 4 catches for 74 yards during that loss, but he's at least done this before which is a good sign for Cody's boldness!
Bonus Bold Prediction #3
@rjochoa bold prediction for Sunday. Sean Lee will get an INT and run it into the end zone!
Our final bonus is a doozy, and I actually think it's the most likely to happen!
Hands up if you know how many times Sean Lee has entered the endzone in his career. Now put them down because you're lying! The General has actually returned not one, but two interceptions for touchdowns in his career (31-yard return off Peyton Manning in Indianapolis in 2010 and 52-yard return off Philip Rivers in San Diego in 2013).
To make matters even more exciting... Sean Lee has also picked off Eli Manning before! All the ingredients are there, it's just time for Lee to mix 'em together for one epic product. It's happening this Sunday.
How Will Safeties Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier Fit Kris Richard’s Secondary?
Unfortunately, David Irving's most recent four game suspension is the main story for a Dallas Cowboys team finished with OTAs and mini camp, left only to wait for training camp now. I've chosen to focus on the players that were on the field for the offseason program, that will continue to contend for starting jobs in Oxnard. Standing out from a lackluster group of safeties, for a Kris Richard led secondary that is off to a fast start, are safeties Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier.
Joined by Jeff Heath, Tyree Robinson, Jameill Showers, and Marqueston Huff, the Cowboys are lacking a dominant force at safety to pair with their young and talented group of cornerbacks. With the likes of Chidobe Awuzie, Byron Jones (the former safety), and Anthony Brown already improving under Richard, the Cowboys hope is that the same will apply to this group of safeties.
It's still entirely too early to know how the Cowboys want to deploy their safeties this season, but the only players that have shown their strengths and weaknesses over any period of time are Heath, Frazier, and Woods. This is sure to cause an uphill battle for the fringe players looking to push this trio of versatile safeties.
Jeff Heath has appeared in 77 games over five seasons with the Cowboys. Frazier and Woods combined? Just 24 games, with 16 of them making up Woods' rookie season a year ago. This makes finding a potential role for both players vital to the Cowboys.
Safety Kavon Frazier
Working mostly as a special teams player through two seasons in Dallas, Kavon Frazier has patiently awaited his opportunity to spark the Cowboys defense as a sixth round pick of 2016. Doing so in a memorable week 13 win over the Washington Redskins, Frazier earned an increased role as an enforcer on defense.
This is a player whose straight line burst and power is ideal for a ST starter, and when Frazier connects coming downhill on defense, the results can be catastrophic for an opposing offense. Surely these are traits that will remind Kris Richard even slightly of his Super Bowl winning "Legion of Boom" defenses.
The distinction between Frazier being a part-time player or one maximizing his potential to start deep in the Cowboys secondary is an important one. Limited in coverage, Frazier may be at his best when conceding snaps to another safety on the Cowboys roster with more of an all-around game -- which the Cowboys can only hope Xavier Woods continues to be.
Safety Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods may not have the pure stopping power that Kavon Frazier possesses, but as a fellow sixth-round pick there is more than enough to like about what Woods brought to the Cowboys in 2017 out of Louisiana State. With 14 interceptions and six forced fumbles out of college, Woods slid in the draft enough for the Cowboys to trade up for his services.
The team wasn't cheated out of their investment in Woods last season, giving him the "Byron Jones treatment" as Woods lined up all over the field. It was Richard that came to Dallas and almost immediately moved Byron Jones down to cornerback, seeing a better use of his natural size and skills there.
Doing the same for Woods -- while keeping the natural FS free to react -- should be next up on Richard's offseason to-do list. This is a player with sideline to sideline range, enough athleticism to cover down in the slot, and the functional strength to compete in the box.
Amidst this uncertainty for both Frazier and Woods, early reports out of the Cowboys practices thus far have Jeff Heath specifically matching up against the tight end. This is an ideal role for Heath, and one that could compliment Woods very well.
Regardless of where Heath is on the field, Woods should be able to coexist with him as a similarly instinctive safety.
There is also the possibility that both Heath and Woods struggle to handle these "starting" responsibilities, leaving the Cowboys with very little trusted depth at safety. If there is an area Woods needs the most improvement in, it is the angles he takes against the run to consistently make stops, a weakness also potentially mitigated by the Cowboys improved linebacker play (investing the 19th overall pick at the position).
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Between Frazier and Woods, it feels safe to say the Cowboys must find a starter for a secondary that could still achieve great things in 2018. The Cowboys are entering this season with a loaded group of cornerbacks, all capable of making a safety's job relatively easy, especially while learning under Richard.
Such can be the hope for a raw player like Frazier and, in a sense, Xavier Woods. The second-year player in Woods is a great unknown for the Cowboys right now, as he'll remain that way for some time before next month's training camp.
With this, we'll have much more time to sit around and continue pondering what certain position groups will look like once meaningful Cowboys football graciously returns. I've written before that I'm paying close attention to this team's group of wide receivers, and you can add in the secondary players they'll be competing against too.
No, Cowboys Shouldn’t Cut David Irving
For the past five years, Dallas Cowboys fans have gone through painful offseason stories regarding upcoming suspensions for defensive players. It doesn't matter how much talent the front office is able to find through the Draft, there's always one player that ruins what feels like a successful offseason. This time, for the second consecutive year, David Irving is the player to let Cowboys Nation down.
On Friday it was announced that Irving will serve a four-game suspension after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Understandably, a lot of Cowboys' fans want to see Irving released by the franchise that has preached the "Right Kind of Guy" philosophy while failing to establish such a thing. It's disappointing to see such a talented player limiting himself by not "wanting it" bad enough and by making mistakes like this repeatedly.
However, even if it's a very frustrating situation, the Cowboys shouldn't cut David Irving.
First of all, Irving's hit against the cap space is pretty minimum and nothing to be concerned at all. After being handed a second-round tender earlier in the year, #95 was set to earn $2.91M during the season. With a four-game suspension ahead of him, that number will be even lower.
We're talking about a guy who in eight games managed to get to the quarterback seven times in 2017 and consistently pressured opposing signal callers. Not to mention he's going to be just 25 years old when the season begins.
For the Cowboys, David Irving has the talent needed to average one sack per game. All of this for less than three million.
Irving has proven by now that he's not worth a long-term extension. That much is clear. In order to get one of those, a player must prove his availability.
Talking specifically about 2018, though, I'm sure the Cowboys will be better off if they count on Irving for the final 12 games of the season. The team counts with pretty decent depth at the position with Maliek Collins, Datone Jones and Jihad Ward, but Irving has the potential to end the season with double-digit sacks.
The team gains nothing by releasing Irving. The team will not even be "sending a message" if they were to release #95. Maybe if the team had consistently sent this kind of "messages" over the years it would make sense.
However, we know this team sticks with their players and supports them in moments like this. They have done just that with Randy Gregory and it seems like it will pay off soon.
Whether we're mad at Irving's actions or not, the truth is letting him go wouldn't be wise at all. The Cowboys are not paying him big-time money, he's young and he'll be productive on the field when the defense needs him to.
We're talking about a football team that wants to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy. They can't be letting starting-caliber players go just like that. They need all the help they can get and even though his situation is far from ideal, David Irving will play a big role on defense.
Should Cowboys Add Another Safety Before Training Camp?
The Dallas Cowboys are extremely thin at the safety position. Fact. They haven't really brought in anyone to upgrade the position from last season. Fact. I just wanted to point that out because there's a lot of discussion as to whether or not the Cowboys need to add another safety before training camp.
I don't know where you stand on this debate or how I feel about it personally, but it's definitely something that needs to be discussed from the Cowboys end. It is the one position where there is a lot of unknown and inexperienced. If one of their current safeties were to go down with an injury and miss any time, the whole defense would suffer.
As things stand right now, Jeff Heath is the only one who will reprise his starting role on the backend of the Cowboys defense. Behind him are Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier, but knowing exactly how they fit in at this moment is completely up in the air.
Unfortunately, that's the top three safeties for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2018 season. What's even more bothersome is their fourth might be an undrafted rookie, Tyree Robinson. I don't know about you, but I find that very concerning. But, maybe Kris Richard, the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, knows something we don't.
Fortunately, Kris Richard was recently asked if he had any concerns about the safety position on the "Doomsday Podcast" with Matt Mosley and Ed Werder. He said he had "none".
"I'm confident. I feel really good at this point in time and it's because the level of character of our guys," he said. "We're going to get better. That's the deal because our guys are young, focused, I think the hunger's there. I love the look in their eyes. I love how everyone is buying in, is focused and paying attention to detail. It makes a difference when guys care. It makes a difference when each one wants to teach one. We're trying to build something special. We want to be tribe-like. We want to be more than a team."
It certainly sounds like Kris Richard is excited about the Dallas Cowboys current safeties. Of course, he would never just come out and say that this group is terrible or he wished they'd add
Earl Thomas another available safety. That's just not how things work. He's here to coach up the guys on the roster and not worry about personnel moves.
I don't know about you, but I know I would feel a lot better if they had one more experienced safety who could come in and compete for a starting job. Maybe someone like Tre Boston or Kenny Vaccaro, who are still unsigned. Maybe make that trade for Earl Thomas? That's a dream that just won't die.
Regardless, the Dallas Cowboys need to do something to address their depth at the safety position. I don't know what their plans are moving forward, but hopefully they have a contingency plan in place. It's just smart business.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys need to add a safety before training camp?
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