DVR saved my butt this week since I had to work and missed the live game, but checking it out last night was certainly worth staying up late.
The first team offense looked good. I was surprised at how good they looked actually, but before I get into that, I just have one thing to say – “False start, everyone but the center.” That was freaking hilarious!
Speaking of false starts and penalties in general, in the first half the Special Teams unit took the cake. First of all, wiping out that 78 yard kickoff return from Austin because of a penalty was just retarded; it’s the kind of mistakes we have got to cut down on. We finished the game with 11 penalties for 107 yards, but the first half, when the starters were playing, special teams had three for 35 yards, the defense had two for 20 yards, and the offense had two for 15 yards.
But it was nice to see our starters come out on offense and literally dominate the Titans defense, that is of course after they got the three and out over with to start the game.
They came back and orchestrated a 16 play drive that spanned 90 yards and netted the first touchdown of the game. The whole time I’m watching I’m thinking about what has changed since last year. It’s not just about the players either; even Jason Garrett was on my mind as I followed each snap.
Last year we all saw that Garrett had issues mixing up the run and pass, sometimes he didn’t do one enough and others he did one too much. That first drive started on the ground with Marion Barber pounding it out, and it was good too because he was gaining solid yards on each run. But once Tony Romo was cut loose the team started moving downfield.
It wasn’t a quick progression though; we didn’t just lob a deep pass into the endzone. Instead they took their time and consumed nearly 10 minutes off the clock. From then on my worries about how the starting offense and defense would do kind of faded away as I waited to see who’d kick the video board first.
By my count, the Cowboys were a little pass heavy the first half. They ran 13 times and threw the ball 19 times. But it was a good mix that kept the Titans defense working. Only on two plays did I see Romo under pressure early, and one of those times he threw the ball away, another time he completed a pass. He still had his dancing feet but the line gave him enough time to set up in the pocket, look over his receivers and pick the open guy.
What’s probably most impressive about that is Romo actually used the pocket when it held up for him. He didn’t at any point just start running around trying to make the play, he waited and let the plays develop, and then shot the ball out like a cannon. We all know he’s got a quick release, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen it that quick.
Another thing we saw that we haven’t seen from Dallas in a couple of years was an even coverage across the field on ball distribution. They didn’t just look left each play. They ran up the middle, to both sides, and threw the same way – there really was no predictability that the Titans could capitalize on.
I did see a couple of things that bothered me in the game, like the special teams either missing tackles, unnecessary penalties like Sensabaugh shoving the guy further out of bounds, or simply dumb choices by returners. Look at Kevin Ogletree’s first return, he was full steam ahead when he ran into the back of his own blocker, the first guy he reached on the field.
And what about Patrick Crayton dropping the punt … good thing he got back on it fast. But in general, the special teams unit allowed a little too much on just about every return by the Titans.
Just two more things for me, first is that Felix Jones is damn fast. You don’t even see him coming. Very elusive and hard to catch from any angle – he will certainly be trouble for any defense we face this year.
And last is Kevin Ogletree, he may have chosen a bad lane on that one return, but he got involved in the passing game late. He was the biggest factor on a late drive and displayed some good hands for his touchdown pass. You might already know that I’m not a big supporter of Isaiah Stanback with his injuries and un-astounding play even when healthy, but now I really think it’s time for him to go.
Our receiving corps should line up like so:
- Roy Williams
- Patrick Crayton
- Sam Hurd
- Miles Austin
- Kevin Ogletree
Too bad I’m not a coach or that’d be a done deal.
And a special mention to Mr. Fourth and Long – I suppose if you’re going to screw up and let a ball bounce off your facemask, it’s best if you at least end up with the ball. Maybe we could avoid letting a defender catch it, even if only for a moment, before actually securing it though. Just a thought.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog3 days ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog4 days ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?
NFL Draft1 week ago
Final Cowboys Mock Drafts Before Free Agency Address Defensive Interior, Receiver
Player News2 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
NFL Draft2 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Mock Drafts Address Needs at 3 Different Positions