In the 1996 classic Tin Cup amateur golfer Roy McAvoy finds himself playing in one of golf's most historic, and most democratic, golf tournaments... The U.S. Open.
He experiences many ups and downs throughout the four day event, finding himself in serious contention on the 18th hole on the final day. Pretty cool, right?
The thing about that 18th hole is that every day that he plays it... he comes up short. It takes a strong 453 yards to get on the green in two, crossing some serious water in the process, and Roy McAvoy is a go-for-it type of guy. He doesn't play to punt.
All three times that he plays 18 before the final day he comes up short and lands in the water. Each day he comes a little bit closer... ultimately going swimming every time.
On the final day of the tournament Roy is on 18 with a chance to play it safe and win the tournament... The U.S. Freaking Open! He decides to go for the green in two anyway. He crosses the water and it seems like he's done it! Unfortunately the 18th green is a particularly slopey one, and Roy's ball rolls back off of it into the water.
Roy, his family, the broadcasters, and fans everywhere are all devastated... but there's hope! Roy can still save par, tie this thing up, and force a playoff for a chance to still win.
He goes for it. Again.
At this point Roy has now lost the U.S. Open. Everyone around him is questioning his ignorance, begging him to just lay up so he can finish this thing and save some of his dignity.
Roy goes for it again.
Complete and utter humiliation starts to set in.
Roy asks his caddie for another ball so that he can go for it again, and he's informed that this is the last one that he has in the bag. If he sinks this one he won't be able to finish the hole and will be disqualified. The pressure is on this swing more than any other.
Thanks to all of the shots that he's put in the water and subsequent drops... Roy is dropping 11 and hitting his 12th shot at this point. Twelfth.
I watch this clip before every round, I don't play for second!
Roy sinks it for one of the greatest moments in golf, more specifically movie, history! The crowd is equally stunned and jubilant as Roy raises his club in victory.
The beautiful sound of the ball falling into the cup gives him a 12 on the hole. A 12!
Roy gets to the green, pulls the ball out of the hole, and tosses it in the water. Victory.
He finds his girlfriend Molly in the frenzy and starts to realize how idiotic what he just did is. He's in a daze as she throws her arms around him. He grits his teeth and says, "I just made a 12 on the last hole of the U.S. Open!" Molly responds with the attitude that every golfer has at heart.
"You sure did. It was the greatest 12 of all time. No one's going to remember the Open 10 years from now, who won... but they'll remember your 12! My God, Roy... Well, it's immortal!"
Roy embraces the epic-ness of it all as his bitter rival walks by, shakes his hand, and gives us the inspiration for today's 5 Bold Predictions.
"I gotta hand it to you. When you go down, you go down in flames."
Welcome to the season finale of my Bold Predictions. We've just dropped our own 11 and are on our way to a potential 12 just like Roy. Let's go down in flames.
Darren McFadden Will Throw A Touchdown
The pomp and circumstance surrounding Darren McFadden is that he's three yards away from 1,000 on the season. Who would have thought?
Run DMC has been running all over opposing defenses since late October, but in the 2015 swan song he's going to throw a touchdown!
I've called for McFadden to throw a pass in these Bold Predictions before, but I'm adding some spice to it with the touchdown element.
Darren has thrown passes before during his time as both an Arkansas Razorback and Oakland Raider. He'll add "Dallas Cowboys thrower" to his resume Sunday afternoon.
The Dallas Cowboys Will Run A Surprise Onside Kick
The flames are getting going good and high!
It's the last game of the season and that means you've gotta pull out all of the stops, right Coach Garrett?
Week 17 is always weird for teams officially eliminated from the playoffs, thankfully a feeling Cowboys fans are unfamiliar with, and typically we see some crazy stuff.
I can see it now. Dan Bailey runs out, in all his glory, and gives the perfect (shocker) surprise onside kick. Devin Street recovers, everyone celebrates, and Coach Garrett hugs everyone around him. Bliss.
Byron Jones Will Return An Interception For A Touchdown
The greatest thing that 2015 gave us was undeniably Byron Jones.
This dude is a real deal and the total package when it comes to playing, almost any position really, in the secondary.
Sure he had moments where he got burnt, but we can attribute those to rookie growing pains. Byron has been one of the most consistent and versatile players at Rod Marinelli's disposal.
I've boldly, and ultimately incorrectly, predicted that he'd get an interception before. We're kicking things up a gear for the finale.
Byron is going to not only get the pick this week, but he's going to show off his athleticism when he takes it all the way back to the house! He'll probably have the most polite celebration ever as Byron Jones can do no wrong.
Cole Beasley Will Cause A Fumble
You read that right!
Imagine a world where Kellen Moore is quarterback. This is a place filled with interception after interception. It's a scary world.
The odds are pretty high that Kellen Moore will throw it to someone wearing a different jersey than his tomorrow. It's what happens after that that's going to shock folks.
A random Redskin is going to be bringing this thing back, trying to cut his way back and forth, and then BAM! He's going to get blown up by Cole Beasley... jarring the ball loose.
Cole Beasley can do anything. Even cause fumbles. Believe it.
Randy Gregory Will Get His First, Second, And Third Sacks
Every Dallas Cowboys fan has their minds already locked and loaded on 2016. This season was never meant to be and this final game is just a formality that we have to go through.
There are a lot of exciting things about this team looking towards next season, and Randy Gregory is one of them. He has yet to record a sack, but to be fair rookie pass rushers don't exactly set the world on fire.
Randy is going to be a big part of what the Cowboys want to do defensively in the future, and he's going to have a game that proves it.
Considering that Washington will likely be resting a lot of their starters and that the Cowboys will be giving some deeper members of the roster more playing time... Gregory is going to get some opportunities. He's also going to get them against some inferior competition.
Look for Randy to lasso in a hat trick of sacks as we set sail towards 2016 on Sunday.
It's been my absolute privilege to write these Bold Predictions every week throughout the 2015 season. I hope that you've enjoyed them even a fraction as much as I have.
Onward to 2016!
NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?
The NFLPA and the NFL have reached an agreement to research alternative pain-management tools for the players. They'll form joint medical committees to study different strategies, among which will be the use of marijuana. It's important to make it clear that said committees will not be exclusively about marijuana, but a lot of different issues related to pain-management in the league. However, it'll likely be one of the most important aspects of their work.
Marijuana continues to be a highly debated topic and it's no different when discussing the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans should be very familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, David Irving "quit" on football during an Instagram live stream while smoking weed. In the video, Irving talks about how he thinks it's better to be addicted to marijuana rather than certain medications used by NFL teams to treat their players.
Although David Irving is not an authority on substances, that is where all of this debate centers around. Throughout the league, players are given strong medication to deal with injuries and the physical pain of playing pro football. I'm not an expert either, but it's more than fair to say there's a strong argument here. Specially in a country where marijuana has already been legalized in 10 states and the trend points toward legalization continuing.
The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the NFL and NFLPA will expire after the 2020 season and how the league's drug policy looks like in the new agreement will be a huge factor for reaching a satisfactory CBA for both sides.
Of course, the fact that the NFLPA and the league are working together on such an important task doesn't mean we will see any immediate changes or that the NFL's ban on marijuana will be lifted anytime soon. Many big question marks will have to be answered before we hear about teams implementing this substance as a pain management tool.
For the Dallas Cowboys, this will be a relevant narrative down the line. Pass rusher Randy Gregory was reinstated after serving an indefinite suspension due to substance abuse prior to the 2018 season. After a dominant year, Gregory was suspended again by the NFL and it all points toward him sitting out this upcoming season and perhaps even more.
Even still, the Cowboys are still standing behind their 2015 second round pick. If the league ends up lifting its ban on marijuana, they'll have to decide what they will do with players already serving a suspension for this reason. Guys like Randy Gregory, for instance. If it's decided they'll be reinstated to the NFL, the Cowboys will sure be glad to have supported Gregory all throughout the process.
Last year, the pass rusher proved how effective he could be even with a short period of time training. Hopefully, the Cowboys are able to get him back on the field eventually, where's been consistently dominant. In the meantime, we'll see how recently acquired Robert Quinn does in Dallas.
The NFL won't be lifting its ban anytime soon, but it's good to know they're at least open minded to changing the league's policy and consider alternatives that could benefit the players' health. We'll see how these new medical committees work and keep you updated here at Inside The Star.
Should Cowboys Consider Trading for Disgruntled Packers S Josh Jones?
Despite their insistence that upgrading the safety position was a top offseason priority, the Dallas Cowboys haven't really done much to improve the backend of their secondary. They did sign former Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals Safety George Iloka as a free agent and drafted Donovan Wilson in the sixth-round in this year's NFL Draft, but neither player looks like a clear-cut upgrade at this point. Fortunately, there's still time to find Xavier Woods' counterpart for 2019.
Xavier Woods is the only clear-cut starter at safety currently on the Dallas Cowboys roster. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine as to who starts opposite him this season. With that in mind, the Cowboys should be keeping all of their options open, including acquiring players who get released or even making a trade for someone they like. The latter is what I want to talk about today.
A potential safety who could be put on the trade block that I'm kind of intrigued with is Josh Jones, who has reportedly requested a trade from the Green Bay Packers.
Packers safety Josh Jones is skipping the voluntary OTAs and working out in Florida because he's hoping to be traded, a source told ESPN. The source said the 2017 second-round pick believes it would be best for both parties if they parted ways. Story coming on ESPN shortly.
Josh Jones clearly sees where he stands with the Green Bay Packers after they signed Adrian Amos in free agency and drafted Darnell Savage Jr. 21st overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, thus his absence from OTA's and trade request. He understands the business and knows he's not going to see the field much behind those two, meaning his best chance for playing time would be in a different uniform.
It's not all that shocking Jones has requested a trade. Even before the Packers added Amos and Savage he wasn't receiving a lot of playing time. He's just never seemed to fit into what Green Bay was trying to do on the backend of their defense. It may be in the best interest of both parties to mutually part ways. This is where the Dallas Cowboys come in.
I believe Josh Jones is exactly the type of safety Kris Richard would like to pair Xavier Woods with on the backend of the Cowboys defense. He fits the criteria Richard likes in his defensive backs as far as size, length, and speed are concerned. And, he also has the kind of skill set/mindset to become that Kam Chancellor "enforcer" type of strong safety.
Josh Jones is at his best when he can play around the line of scrimmage, much like Chancellor was during his time with the Seahawks. But, Jones also has the ability to be a factor in coverage as well. The only real question here is whether or not he's an upgrade over the likes of Jeff Heath, George Iloka, and maybe even rookie Donovan Wilson?
In all honesty, I don't have the answer to that question. Josh Jones really hasn't received a fair opportunity to prove himself in his first two years in the NFL. I believe the skill set is there to start in the league, but there's not much there to back up that belief.
Personally, I'd be willing to part way with a late round pick if I were the Cowboys to acquire Josh Jones. I like the idea of bringing him in to work with Kris Richard and allowing him to compete for the starting job next to Xavier Woods. This is exactly the kind of low risk/high reward move Dallas likes to gamble on, and it could potentially pay off in a big way.
Where do you stand? Should the Cowboys consider trading for Josh Jones?
How Can The Cowboys Force More Turnovers In 2019?
2018 seemed like the beginning of a new era. A defensive era. For the first time in years the Cowboys were able to consistently lean on their defense during games, staying alive even as their offense sputtered and limped through stretches early in the season.
The defense was downright prolific some weeks. They carried the Cowboys to an inspiring home victory over the New Orleans Saints to put them in prime position to make the playoffs. They dominated the Wild Card game in key moments, making key stops and holding the Seahawks to just 22 points in the win. They featured one of the league's best individual pass rushers in DeMarcus Lawrence, an All Pro cornerback in Byron Jones, and one of the league's most exciting young linebacker duos.
For all of this success, this defense still lacked one thing. Takeaways.
The Cowboys forced only 9 interceptions in 2018, ranking 26th across the league. In fact, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was actually tied with Xavier Woods for the team lead in interceptions with just 2. When it comes to total takeaways the Cowboys' defense was a little better off, though, finishing 16th in the NFL.
Part of the "problem" seems to be their philosophy. The Cowboys have finished 26th, 24th, 27th, and 31st in interceptions dating back to 2015. They've also finished 9th, 25th, 18th, and 19th in team defense DVOA over that same stretch. Clearly there was an improvement in total defense in 2018, but neither their team defense nor ability to take the ball away has been strong since 2015.
The bigger problem, really, is a lack of luck. While this sounds like a cop-out, takeaways often do come down to just that. Of course putting yourself in the right place at the right time to benefit from a batted pass or overthrown ball matters, but those bounces finding the right hands is usually a matter of luck.
Turnovers are incredibly volatile year to year, and as much as you'd like your players to "make their own luck," randomness does play a part here.
You can certainly argue the Cowboys have done their best this offseason to increase their chances at takeaways, however. By trading for defensive end Robert Quinn, re-signing DeMarcus Lawrence, and adding talented players to the middle of their defensive line as well, Dallas has put an emphasis on getting after the quarterback and corralling the opposing running game. Putting pressure on quarterbacks can force them into quick decision making or bad throws, which could in turn breed interceptions.
This is far from guaranteed, though. Plus the Cowboys play against some of the league's top quarterbacks this year, which hurts their chances of taking the ball away further.
In the end the Cowboys will need both the skill of their pass rushers and defensive backs to put them in good positions, and luck to smile down on them, if they'd like to turn around their takeaway numbers in 2019. And after all, this demoralizing trend has to reverse itself at some point, doesn't it?
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