The first time that I saw the Dallas Cowboys in person was in 2006. It was a very merry day as it was actually Christmas Day 2006. America's Team was playing host to a Jeff Garcia-led Eagles team as Tony Romo was in the middle of his break-out season.
My dad and I anxiously made way to our seats and snapped some photos. We took in the sights from the stadium and just let all of the magic wash over us. We were in heaven.
Pretty soon the team had run out of the tunnel and it was about time to get things started. As is tradition for any major sporting event in America, the National Anthem had to be sung. I was expecting Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, or someone like that to trot out... but low and behold it was three Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!
I was completely in awe of the whole experience. The pomp and circumstance was really getting to me. When they hit the line, "and the rockets' red glare," I knew I had to do something. I couldn't contain this energy any longer. I formulated a plan and prepared to execute it.
You know how in a usual National Anthem the singer(s) hold the last note after they sing, "O'er the land of the freeeeeeee"? That was my moment. Right when the cheerleaders held the note I just erupted this roar from deep within my soul: "YEAAAAA!!!!!!!"
My dad jumped as he, despite everything he told me growing up, can't read my mind and had no idea that I was going to do that. What was amazing though was the entire stadium erupted as well! I lit a match and threw it into an ocean of kerosene!
It was a really cool experience (despite the Cowboys loss that day) and it was something really bold I tried that worked. I started to make it a tradition at different sporting events that I went to after that. My booming "YEA!" became familiar at more Cowboys games and I even launched the initiative in Michigan when I did it during a Detroit Pistons game at the Palace of Auburn Hills. It was my "thing."
I'd had some success, if you'll call it that, with roaring during the National Anthem. Being bold was paying off. A few summers after the initial roar my dad, cousins, uncle, and I were headed to a Houston Astros game. Keep in mind that at this point I'd successfully roared and ignited different crowds so I was pretty excited for it. The Anthem got going and I was just counting down the measures of the song until my big moment. With the confidence from my previous experiences I had somehow gained volume and was about to break the sound barrier.
"O'er the land of the freeeeeeee"
Crickets. Complete and total silence. Not a single audible response from anyone in the crowd. Everyone turned around and stared at me like I said puppies were ugly. It was mortifying.
Lesson learned: baseball is not the environment to roar. Now I know better. I was bold and it didn't work out.
If you've read my Bold Predictions before you know that I take roar-type chances. In fact the last time that the Dallas Cowboys took on the Philadelphia Eagles I was pretty spot on.
This is no baseball game so I hope you're ready to roar with me as I give you my 5 Bold Predictions for Part Two of the 2015 Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles Rivalry. Let's roll.
1. Lucky Whitehead Rushes For A Touchdown
The Cowboys got really creative with Lucky Whitehead two weeks ago in New York. They didn't channel those play calls as much in last week's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but it's hard to ignore that Lucky is a very fast and shifty player.
#13 seems to have absorbed some of the looks that Lance Dunbar was seeing thanks to his ability to cut like him. Look for Lucky to show off his gridiron dance moves on a reverse as he gets in the endzone for the first time in his career.
2. Dez Bryant Goes Over 100 Yards And Catches 2 Touchdowns
This isn't exactly bold when you consider that Dez Bryant is arguably the best receiver on this entire planet (I'm in the middle of reading Andy Weir's The Martian so soon I'll be able to confirm that he's the best on Mars, too). Cowboys fans haven't really seen Dez Bryant this season as he was injured all the way back in Week 1 and didn't totally shine in his return last week against the Seahawks.
Dez is a very passionate player who has a certain, no pun intended here, X-Factor that others simply don't. He's capable of willing himself past the point of mere mortals and he's going to do that against the Eagles. He knows how important this game is and how much of it is riding on the hands that cradle Dallas Bryant. He's going to show up and take over this game in typical Throw Up The X fashion.
3. DeMarco Murray Doesn't Top 25 Yards
If you do it twice it's a tradition, right? I referenced my 5 Bold Predictions from when the Cowboys played the Eagles back in Week 2 earlier. One of the bad boys that came to fruition was this exact prediction... except I said he wouldn't break 50 yards. I figured I'd do the environment a favor and recycle whenever I can, you know? I just had to make some extra spice so I cut the yardage in half.
DeMarco will be making his return to Dallas for the first time since signing his long-term smoothie contract with Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles. He had one of the worst games of his career against the Cowboys in Week 2 and that was against a defense that didn't feature the likes of Greg Hardy or Rolando McClain.
76 + 55 = 131 and 2+9 = 31 so the math says that Hardy and McClain are going to be 100 times better than DeMarco. You can't argue with math!
4. The Dallas Cowboys Will Not Trail At All
Amidst scrutiny from the outside world the Dallas Cowboys Defense is ballin', yo. They've allowed opposing offenses to 13 points in each of the last two weeks against the Giants and Seahawks and now they get to face the Eagles. That's like saying we hit a half court shot, then a three-pointer, and now we get a lay-up. Nothing but net, baby.
Matt Cassel hasn't lit the world on fire, I know, but he's playing with a lot of passion. At a certain point that's got to start working in our favor or at the very least luck does. Cassel has had a chance to practice more with Dez and the offense as a whole has had one less distraction after the release of Joseph Randle. They're going to do their job as the defense continues to do theirs and the Cowboys will not trail for a single second throughout this game.
5. Mark Sanchez Will Replace Sam Bradford
It doesn't take the most keen football eye to know that Sam Bradford might need to do something else for a living. He's good at football the same way that Krispy Kreme donuts are good at not being delicious.
Bradford's been a rollercoaster ride all season long for the Chip Kelly loyalists, I mean Philadelphia Eagle fans, and the ride is coming to an end on Sunday Night. At some point the Eagles will see what the rest of the world sees and turn, sadly, to Mark Sanchez.
Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same
The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East at 1-1, and have a favorable schedule ahead of them. With such an inexperienced roster, early season growing pains were expected, and likely should be still as the team comes off their first win to play in Seattle on Sunday.
Through a season opening clunker in Carolina and hard-earned divisional win against the Giants, the Cowboys have exceeded already high expectations on defense.
With the currently 0-2 Seahawks, Lions, and Texans awaiting Dallas, the time is now for Scott Linehan's offense to hit their stride. It will take more than a five week assessment to determine if the Cowboys are truly playoff contenders for 2018, but it could take even less than that for Cowboys Nation to realize this team is fighting an uphill battle at QB and WR.
Following Dak Prescott's 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin against the Giants, the Cowboys punted on four of their remaining seven drives. The Cowboys did a better job mixing up their early down play calling to remain ahead of the chains for most of the night, but even still their execution was lacking. Finishing three of ten on third downs, the Cowboys didn't sustain the type of originality on offense that earned them an early cushion.
Thankfully, the Cowboys turning back the clock to 2016 on a clinching touchdown drive of 14 plays would be all the defense needed. Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would both convert a pair of first downs on the ground. The Cowboys took a 20-3 lead, and more importantly the game clock down to 5:45 with an eight minute and 23 second march.
As such, the Cowboys offense is an enigma. With the return of Brice Butler, the team is currently carrying seven wide receivers and four tight ends.
On defense, the Cowboys are expecting reinforcements in Xavier Woods, Randy Gregory, and David Irving to further bolster this aggressive, blitzing unit in the coming weeks. For the offense, Dallas must make the most out of the unknown depth they have, without any drastic change in style around the corner.
The Cowboys record under Prescott proves they're at their best when Dak is efficient. The ceiling for a new-look Cowboys offense built for Dak is not as high for this reason. Through just two weeks, it's clear that the Cowboys offense will be as good as the sum of its parts - instead of relying on any individual talents.
Cowboys' record when Dak Prescott ... Doesn't throw an interception: 20-4 Records at least a 100.0 passer rating: 15-1 Commits no turnovers: 18-1
After a strong preseason from rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, the third-round pick has played less than half his team's offensive snaps through two games. Cole Beasley has seemed to regain his connection with Prescott, snagging a team high nine catches so far. Terrance Williams has been a non-factor, and the same is surprisingly said about FA acquisition Allen Hurns.
Regardless of what the Cowboys do over the coming weeks, a few narratives and lingering questions about the team feel evident. With the defense set to tee off against the Seahawks sub par OL this week, Rod Marinelli's unit will still likely not receive the credit it deserves heading into week four.
With the task at hand being maintaining their standing atop the division, the Cowboys must also be out to prove they can sustain success without a consistent passing game.
All of this to effectively say, the Cowboys are going to Seattle expecting to control the game on defense. To finish off Russell Wilson in his home opener (already at 0-2), it will take a sharper performance for a full four quarters on offense too.
A win at the Seahawks might not mean as much as it has in past seasons, but in improving the Cowboys record to 2-1 on the way back to AT&T Stadium, it could be all the confidence they need to understand the NFC East is theirs for the taking while continuing to truly find their identity.
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Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next
Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.
The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.
However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.
As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.
Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.
The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.
The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.
The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.
Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.
If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.
Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.
Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.
Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.
I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.
In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.
Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.
Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.
In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.
If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.
If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.
What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?
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