"Rockin' around the Christmas tree, let the Christmas spirit ring... later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some caroling."
This line from one of the more iconic Christmas songs of all-time has been the subject of some serious debate between my friends and I over the last week.
If you're rocking around the Christmas tree and letting the Christmas spirit ring, how is the first thing that you think of pumpkin pie?!
Pumpkin pie is certainly not the most Christmas-y dessert in existence - it's not even the most Christmas-y pie that's available!
Rock around that tree, let the spirit ring, and have some pecan pie! Or candy canes! Or egg nog! Or gingerbread cookies! I could re-write this song a thousand different ways that would be better than pumpkin pie.
I've actually re-written some Christmas songs before... in today's Bold Predictions. As Christmas is less than a week away it felt appropriate to bring some holiday cheer in as we get excited for today's contest against the New York Jets.
Sean Lee Will Have 10+ Tackles
"FeLee Navidad! Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha. FeLee Navidad! Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha. FeLee Navidad! Sean Lee is so awesome at football!"
Sean Lee wants to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his heart.
The General has had quite the season in 2015. Cowboys fans have always looked to him to always make big plays and be the leader of the defense, and he's rarely someone who disappoints.
Lee has totaled 9 tackles once this season and hit the 7 mark on three occasions. With Rolando McClain out for the game Sean is going to have to step up and contribute even more than we're accustomed to seeing him.
This is going to be a vintage Lee game where he is just running around like a mad man and finding himself near the football. 10 tackles will be his before the clock reads triple zero.
Cole Beasley Will Lead The Team In Receptions
"I really can't see, but baby it's Cole inside. I've got to throw it away, but baby it's Cole inside. This play has changed, but baby it's Cole inside."
The New York Jets bring to town one of the NFL's finest defensive units. They're stacked at all levels, but specifically at the defensive line and secondary.
Matt Cassel has shown time after time that he doesn't like throwing downfield and even when he does it, it's done with little regard to the route that his receiver is running.
The Jets are going to get some pressure on him which is going to cause him to panic a bit, and look for Cole Beasley on some clutch inside routes. Look for #11 to catch quite a few passes because for Cassel... it's bad out there.
Gavin Escobar Will Catch A Touchdown
"I... don't want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need. Let's start using the presents underneath our offensive tree. I just want him in the endzone. More than you could ever know. Make my wish come true... Gavin is the redzone target we should throw to!"
There's a guy who plays for the Dallas Cowboys named Gavin Escobar. Ever heard of him?
He's a 6'6" tight end who supposedly has the best hands on the team.
Yea so we've got this super big, super tall, and relatively fast weapon at our disposal. It would probably make a lot of sense to use him, right? Wrong!
The last time that Escobar saw some usage was when Tony Romo was under center for the Cowboys. Yes, it's sadly been that long. Gavin even caught a touchdown from Romo back during the Week 1 victory over the Giants.
I'm calling for a Christmas miracle here in that the Cowboys finally realize that using an extremely potent offensive weapon is good for them. Gavin's going to find the paint today.
Randy Gregory Will Get His First Career Sack
"Just look at Randy Gregory wearing that silver and blue. His first sack is coming and is long and overdue. Outside the tackles he is starting to get what to do. Come on its lovely weather for his first sack or two."
Byron Jones and La'el Collins have made the Dallas Cowboys Front Office look like some pretty smart guys over this season. Their eye for talent is certainly on point, and that includes Randy Gregory.
The former Cornhusker has only played in nine games thanks to some injuries, but he's starting to find his way out there. Pass rushers don't typically develop right away in the NFL, but there's plenty to be excited about concerning Randy.
The new 94 has come awfully close to lassoing his first career sack. There will be no more close as Randy is going to finish for the first time - with Ryan Fitzpatrick tagging along for the ride.
Dan Bailey's Field Goals Will Cover More Yards Than The Offense
"Santa Bailey... slip a football over the goalpost-shaped-tree, for me, I've been an awful good fan. Santa Bailey, take your time putting those kicks in flight."
Dan Bailey is currently the bread and butter of the Dallas Cowboys offense.
As silly as that may seem, we need to appreciate Dan and his greatness. He's only missed one kick this year... the guy is money 99/100 times.
Dan can kick from short, he can kick from far. Bailey can kick with his eyes closed or he could even kick with his hands tied behind his back. He has checked off just about every which way that a field goal can be made great.
Dan is going to do something truly spectacular during this game when he amasses more yardage via field goals than the Dallas Cowboys offense is able to via running and passing the ball. Dan Bailey for President!
Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?
Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.
Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli
El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.
Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.
Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.
Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.
En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.
Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan
Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.
Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.
A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.
Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.
Head Coach Jason Garrett
El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.
Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.
Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.
Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.
Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.
2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch
As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.
It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.
Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.
No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.
This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.
There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.
Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.
Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.
What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?
Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.
Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.
They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?
Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.
Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.
Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.
Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.
Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.
This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.
The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.
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