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Dallas Cowboys Week 5 Power Rankings Round Up

John Williams

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys against Detroit

After the big win against the Detroit Lions this week, the Dallas Cowboys improved their 2018 seasonal outlook by getting back to .500 and staying close to the division leading Washington Redskins (2-1). Not only did they improve their record, but our opinion of them improved some as well.

The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott finally got their passing game going "for he first time in forever."

Sorry, when you have a two-year old daughter you get Frozen songs stuck in your head. 

But seriously. How different do we feel about the Dallas Cowboys passing game heading into week five than we did heading into week four. They finally got some things clicking downfield. Dak Prescott showed some really good accuracy going 5/8 for 113 yards and a touchdown on passes greater than 10 yards down the field. Including a couple of bombs to Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott.

I know one week doesn't erase all of the negative things that we saw over the last half of the 2017 season and the first three games of 2018, but it will go a long way toward proving that Dak Prescott is the quarterback we saw in 2016 and the first half of 2017.

We weren't the only ones who thought the Dallas Cowboys looked better on Sunday. As we take a stroll through the national football media, let's round up some weekly power rankings to see where the Dallas Cowboys made the jump after week 4.

USA Today: For the Win

Last Week: 21
This Week: 21

"I thought about putting the Cowboys higher on this list after an encouraging performance by the offense on Sunday. Then I remembered Sean Linehan is still in charge of getting this unit to play well so I’ll just leave them here."

Steven Ruiz - For The Win: USA Today

Perhaps this week the mind-meld of Sean McVay and Scott Linehan called the plays and that is why the Dallas Cowboys were so effective on offense in their week four win over the Detroit Lions. I had to double check that Mr. Ruiz actually wrote "Sean Linehan" several times before I felt comfortable leaving it in the quote above.

NFL.com

Last Week: 24
This Week: 22

"The Cowboys evened the score on the season, putting them in a second-place tie with Philly and just a half-game behind the Redskins in the NFC East. Dak Prescott had much to do with Sunday's outcome, making the accurate throws in small windows that Dallas fans have been waiting for -- especially that nine route to Ezekiel Elliott on the game's final drive. Elliott went off, rushing for 152 yards on just 25 attempts. At center stage, though, should be the offensive line, which gave Prescott plenty of time to make those throws, and paved the way for Elliott. Key for Dak moving forward: maintaining this level of performance against teams that can bring more heat than the Lions, and doing it consistently, week in and week out. The Cowboys are sure glad they don't have to play Golden Tate every week. Good grief."

Elliott Harrison - NFL.com

Ain't that the truth. Golden Tate was a nightmare for the Dallas Cowboys secondary. Elliott hits the Dallas Cowboys' proverbial nail on the head. If they can get performances out of Dak Prescott similar to what they received on Sunday, they're going to be very difficult to beat.

ESPN.com

Last Week: 22
This Week: 21

"Rookie snaps leader: OL Connor Williams, 230 snaps out of 230 (100 percent). The Cowboys' five-man offensive line has not missed a snap in the first four games. Williams is one of seven rookies (all OL) who have not missed an offensive snap."

Vince Masi - ESPN.com

This week, ESPN.com highlighted a rookie from each team in their power rankings by snap count. Obviously Connor Williams has played the most out of the rookies this season and has improved his play since the week one outing vs the Carolina Panthers.

The Washington Post

Last Week: 26
This Week: 18

"The Dallas offense showed some signs of being functional  and, even with their early-season issues, the Cowboys are only a  half-game out of first place in the NFC East."

Mark Maske - The Washington Post

It was a huge game for the Dallas Cowboys to be able to keep pace with their division rivals. Just as important as the win were the losses by the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants putting the Dallas Cowboys in second place behind the idle 2-1 Washington Redskins.

CBS.com

Last Week: 23
This Week: 16

"They got back to running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott against the Lions. That's something that they have to do more of coming up."

Pete Prisco - CBS.com

I don't think Pete was going out on a limb with this one. It's evident since 2014 that the Dallas Cowboys want to run the football and if they're going to have any success, they are going to have to continue to have success running the football. However, they never went away from the run game. Game script dictated that they pass more and they were effective in the run game when they ran it. The big difference in week four is the passing game showed signs of life for the first time since late in the 2017 season.

Pro Football Focus

This Week: 18

"The Cowboys needed some late-game heroics from Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to beat the Lions at home. Prescott has been less than impressive to start 2018, and while some of the blame can be attributed to his receivers, he still has the third lowest adjusted completion percentage among current starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Our model pegs their playoff chances at 32% with a 20% shot of winning the division."

Eric Eager and Ben Brown - Pro Football Focus

So you're saying there's a chance? A 32% shot at making the playoffs sounds great after how we felt about this team following the loss in Seattle. The Dallas Cowboys are right in the thick of the NFC East Divisional race and can reassert themselves in the conference with a win against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

With the win on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys certainly turned some heads as they rose in every power rankings save for one. But that guy doesn't know the offensive coordinator's first name, so we are going to give the team a pass for not climbing in his rankings. Who knows what he's thinking.

Power rankings are completely subjective, but it's good to get an idea of how the Dallas Cowboys are viewed by national observers from time-to-time, even if it appears the national observers aren't observing very closely. Looking at you Pete. 



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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The Cowboys Blueprint for Success has been Set

Shane Carter

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense 1

The Cowboys victory against the Jaguars was a reminder to everyone just how good Dak Prescott & Co. can be. They ran and threw all over the Jaguars defense like they were high school level. It was a one-sided, lambs to the slaughter type of game.

At the end of the game, it left all of us wondering, "where has this team been all year?"

Throughout the season, the Cowboys showed both dominance and incompetence on the offensive side of the football. One game the team moves the ball up and down the field with ease, the next game the offense looks inept. Last Sunday’s game versus Jacksonville shows that Dallas can be successful the rest of the season, if they continue to play as such.

Run the ball

This team was built to run the football. Look at the offensive line, their type of tight ends, their quarterback, and of course Ezekiel Elliott.

The line is full of first round talent, the tight ends are block-first types (sans Rico Gathers), Dak Prescott gives them another dimension with the mobile ability in and out of the pocket, and Elliott is one of if not the best running back in the league.

The concept of running the football should not be lost on this team.

If they let Elliott run 20 or more times per game, allow Prescott to run outside of the pocket and not just be a stand-still passer, and mix in some of Rod Smith and Tavon Austin (when healthy) to give their main runner a break, they can run on anyone.

Let Dak Move Around

What makes Dak Prescott so special to this team isn’t just his leadership, but also his ability to extend plays. He stays in the pocket if he has to but he’s so skilled outside with his legs. Zone read, play action, tuck and run, throw on the run, etc., any excuse to get Dak Prescott on the move is a plus. Defenses respect his ability to move so much that the Cowboys receivers get open more as a result.

The worst thing a coaching staff can do to a mobile quarterback is to keep him standing still when he can do so much more with his feet. Don’t buy a Corvette and keep it locked up in the garage. The best way for Dak Prescott to stay consistent and succeed as a passer is to let Dak be Dak.

Keep Blitzing

The Cowboys have found a serious advantage that they’ve lacked in years past. Led by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have 18 sacks through the first six games of the season.

Throw in the contributions of players like Taco Charlton, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory, among others, and you’ve got the deepest pass rush the Cowboys have had in years.

The team is 7th in the league in sacks and there seems to be no sign of stopping and no shortage of players who can get to the quarterback. These numbers look like they’ll only go up from here and with the amount of players the Cowboys have to do so, Jacksonville looks like it was only a taste of what’s to come.

Creative Play Calling

A little more than a week ago Jerry Jones stated that the Cowboys offense looked similar to the L.A. Rams - a hilarious notion by most accounts, right?

The Cowboys offensive scheme had been mocked all season for being both predictable and out of date. I’m not sure how many times you can run a three tight end set and expect success when it hadn't happened yet.

The team would run then throw on first and second downs, and depending on yardage, would set up a predictable third down attempt.

Against Jacksonville, we saw more read option than we’ve seen all year. Dak Prescott was vintage. His ability to move the ball with his legs made the secondary shaky against the Cowboys receivers - especially Cole Beasley - and that opened up the playbook.

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t be stopped and just about every receiver got in on the action. Even rookie receiver Michael Gallup got in and showed some of what Cowboy fans had been waiting for.

Hopefully, that game showed just how dangerous the Cowboys can be when they are unpredictable and let their quarterback be himself. If they game planned for today the same as they did against the Jaguars, the rest of the season will be much more winnable.



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Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars

El mejor juego de los Dallas Cowboys en 2018 vino la semana pasada, cuando recibieron a los Jacksonville Jaguars y los vencieron 40-7. Un resultado que tomó a todos por sorpresa demostró la mejor cara en el año de este equipo que apenas tiene un récord de 3-3.

Por más dominantes que se vieron en el emparrillado el domingo pasado, esa actuación no termina de reflejar lo que realmente son los Cowboys. Son un equipo con potencial en la ofensiva y con una defensiva bastante fuerte, pero ¿pueden ganar constantemente como lo hicieron contra Jaguars?

De entrada, la respuesta a esta pregunta parece ser no. Aún en esa victoria, se vieron problemas evidentes en la ofensiva. Para empezar, la falta de ejecución en la segunda mitad en series ofensivas que incluso llegaron a iniciar en territorio enemigo. De gol de campo en gol de campo se juntan puntos, sin duda, pero en partidos cerrados eso termina costando victorias. Hace falta que Dak Prescott y compañía puedan mover el balón una vez en rango de gol de campo y convertir esas oportunidades a touchdowns.

Otra preocupación que no podemos subestimar es que el juego aéreo sigue sin funcionar apropiadamente. Cole Beasley dominó con nueve atrapadas para 101 yardas y dos touchdowns, pero el resto de los receptores se fueron sin  más de una recepción por cabeza. El único jugador que logró más de una fue el TE Geoff Swaim, quien se llevo dos en todo el juego.

Si bien Beasley tuvo uno de los mejores juegos en su carrera, más receptores tienen que involucrarse para llevar la ofensiva al siguiente nivel. La buena noticia es que en esta ocasión se enfrentaron contra una de las mejores secundarias en la NFL. Los números son malos, pero tienen la oportunidad de demostrar mucho más contra otras defensivas.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen que repartir más la bola y seguir buscando maneras creativas de utilizar a su RB Ezekiel Elliott. Pases pantallas en tercera y largo no es ser creativo. Lo vemos funcionar dos o tres veces al año pero mandan esta jugada semanalmente. En cuanto a Dak Prescott, hay mucho donde mejorar. Deberíamos estar viendo pases más arriesgados, al centro del campo y mucho mejor posicionados.

Sean's Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory's Potential Impact on Cowboys Defense

Para la defensiva, las cosas se ven muy bien. Puede que veamos la mejor versión de esta unidad esta semana, cuando viajen a Washington. Maliek Collins, Sean Lee, David Irving, y Randy Gregory estarán jugando mucho más sanos y preparados. Este es un frente defensivo lleno de talento que intimidará constantemente a Alex Smith este domingo.

A pesar de que los Redskins no tienen una ofensiva muy explosiva, el área de oportunidad principal para la defensiva de Cowboys está en la profundidad defensiva. Tanto Jeff Heath como Xavier Woods han hecho un trabajo decente, pero tienen sus momentos en los que no logran asegurar una tackleada y permiten jugadas largas.

Hace unos meses no esperábamos que fuera la defensiva y no la ofensiva la que cargaría a este equipo a muchas victorias, pero ese ha sido el caso en las tres victorias de esta temporada. Y en las tres derrotas, la defensiva fue la que mantuvo a los Cowboys en el juego.

Sin duda alguna, lo que tiene que mejorar es la ofensiva. Los receptores tienen que desmarcarse, Prescott debe ser más preciso y tener una mejor conciencia en la bolsa de protección.

Pero sobre todo, es la inconsistencia del equipo. Esto se comienza a sentir como la temporada del año pasado, cuando los Cowboys se fueron 9-7 y nunca terminaron de establecerse como contendientes a los playoffs. Aún en una NFC East donde todos los equipos tienen récords similares y débiles, no pueden continuar perdiendo una semana y  ganando a la otra.

Ganarle a los Redskins sería la primera victoria de Dallas jugando de visita. También sería la primera vez en el año en la que tendrían victorias consecutivas. Por esto y muchas otras razones, incluyendo el potencial liderato de la división, este juego es de suma importancia.

Si ganan, podría ser el momento en el que los Cowboys terminen de darle la vuelta a la página y si pierden, podría ser un indicador de que esta temporada será igual que la del 2017.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

Brian Martin

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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off arguably their best and most complete offensive performance of the season after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made. The need to get more playmakers involved is apparent, which is why I think it's time to utilize Fullback Jamize Olawale's unique skill set.

I know many of you will argue that getting Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup going is a higher priority, and you wouldn't be wrong, but Jamize Olawale's playmaking ability could be a huge asset for Quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. I know it sounds a little strange, but hang in there with me for little bit.

As things stand right now, Olawale has only played 38 offensive snaps (10%) in 2018. That's the exact amount of offensive plays Wide Receiver Terrance Williams has played this year and he's missed the majority of the season. It's not exactly the kind of production I was expecting when the Cowboys decided to bring him aboard via trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.

I don't know about you, but I was expecting Olawale to be more involved in the offensive game plan. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and isn't too shabby as a runner either. But, we haven't seen him utilized in either fashion this season and I think that's an injustice that needs to be corrected.

Now, I fully understand there are other offensive weapons ahead of him in the pecking order who need to see more targets, but I also really think he can make a difference maker, especially in the passing game. That is where his strengths lie, not as a lead blocking fullback.

Jamize Olawale

Dallas Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale

Olawale was a bit of a Swiss Army knife during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He played a little running back, fullback, tight end, and even a little slot receiver. I really thought the Cowboys would take advantage of his versatility in the passing game, but as of yet they have failed to do so.

I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan utilize Jamize Olawale's unique playmaking ability a little bit more on offense. I think they should try to utilize him like the San Francisco 49ers use their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. He's much more involved and has played a total of 263 offensive snaps (63.68%) this year.

Juszczyk is a better lead blocking FB then Olawale, but that's not where he makes the most difference in the 49ers offense. He does it as a receiver and has already caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. That's some pretty solid production from a position that is being phased out in the NFL.

Now, just imagine the Cowboys offense getting similar production from Olawale and how that would help open up things for everybody else. It's not out of the realm of possibility because the 49ers offense and the Cowboys isn't all that dissimilar.

Unfortunately, I think Jamize Olawale is pretty much an afterthought in the Cowboys offense right now. It's truly unfortunate because I think he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity. And with a division foe like the Washington Redskins next on the schedule, what better time to unleash a new and unseen element of the offense?

Do you think Jamize Olawale needs to be more involved offensively?



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