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#DALvsDEN: Could Cowboys Embarrassing Loss Be A Blessing In Disguise?

Brian Martin

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#DALvsDEN: Could Cowboys Embarrassing Loss Be A Blessing In Disguise?

As a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, I was extremely disappointed in the entire team's performance Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos dominated the entire game from start to finish and completely embarrassed a talented Cowboys team. But, this embarrassing loss for the Cowboys could actually end up being a blessing in disguise.

Now, don't get me wrong. I was completely shocked with the lack of discipline and effort the majority of the game for the Dallas Cowboys. It's a game that many of us would like to forget and soon. But, that doesn't mean it can't be a really good learning experience, especially for the younger players on the Cowboys roster. This is really the first taste of defeat many of them have experienced at the NFL level.

QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Take Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott for instance. Both players had fantastic rookie seasons to start their NFL careers. They were both in the conversation for NFL MVP, but neither player has had to bounce back from a game where they were thoroughly beaten like they will have to next week against the Arizona Cardinals. Everything has pretty much been smooth sailing, but they are now entering into uncharted waters.

Make no mistake. This Dallas Cowboys team is still young in a lot of areas and they still need time to gain that experience. How they perform next week against the Arizona Cardinals could help determine this teams fortitude and willingness to scratch and claw in order to come away with a victory.

I will be the first to go on record and say that I believe the Dallas Cowboys will bounce back against the Cardinals Monday night. I think the Cowboys were so embarrassed that they will rally and put their best foot forward, and they have the Denver Broncos to thank and I'll tell you why.

Cowboys defense vs Broncos offenseThe Dallas Cowboys now know that they have to prepare themselves for the unknown. The Denver Broncos defense threw quite a few curveballs at the Cowboys offense and it noticeably caught them off guard. Fortunately, there really isn't another defense on the schedule this season as talented as the Broncos, but Kansas City and Seattle are close.

I have no doubt my mind that the Cowboys offense will get things right. They are far too talented to be shut down like they were against the Broncos. I wouldn't be surprised if they have some wrinkles of their own up their sleeve this week.

Also, the problems on defense are correctable. Injuries put the secondary in a tough situation, but it did allow some of the young CBs to gain some valuable in game experience. Jourdan Lewis to me played very well, despite missing the majority of the off-season because of injuries. He is going to be a player for the Cowboys and it might have to be sooner rather than later.

The majority of the problems on defense were due to poor tackling. I quit counting the number of times I saw defenders break down to make a tackle, only to let the offensive player slip through their grasp. You know you're going to have problems on defense when Sean Lee is missing tackles.

Fortunately, that just comes down to fundamentals and I have no doubts defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli makes that a focal point in practices this week. Injuries on the other hand will simply have to be worked around. The aforementioned Lewis could play a key role this week against the Cardinals, but hopefully Chidobe Awuzie can overcome his minor hamstring injury and get back on the field.

All in all, there's really no need to worry that the Dallas Cowboys team that played against the Denver Broncos Sunday is the same one we will see the rest of the season. I think we can just chalk it up to a bad game and hope that they can put it behind them. Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait and see if that is indeed what happens.

Are you worried about the Dallas Cowboys?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Hobbes49

    September 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Every team takes a severe beating at some point, the “Boys number just came up. The Cardinals game will tell us a lot about this team. If they don’t play like their hair is on fire after the beat down in Denver, I will be concerned. I am excited to see how the combination of Damontre Moore and Demarcus Lawrence look on Monday night. Carson Palmer is a statue, that could be a lot of fun.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      I agree with everything you said. I’m expecting a bounce back game from everybody and hopefully it puts the entire Dallas Cowboys team on the right track for the remainder of the season.

  2. Mr. Jaguar

    September 20, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Brian I wholeheartedly agree with you. I too truly believe that the Broncos game was a wake up call for not only for the players but the coaching staff as well.

    Even the Cowboys teams of the 70’s and 90’s laid an egg on the road to winning the Lombardi Trophy.

    It will be interesting to see how well the Cowboys bounce back from the Woodshed Whooping that the Denver Broncos put on the team.

    I was witness the whopping in person last Sunday @ Mile High Stadium.
    Hopefully that will be used as a reminder and a teaching tool throughout the 2017 season that nothing is given but earned each week in the NFL. That was the second Cowboys game I witness and the Cowboys lost the first was in 1989 @ the old Texas Stadium the Thanksgiving game against the iggles. Jimmy Johnson 1st year.
    Monday can’t get here fast enough. I stii believe that this is the Cowboys year once everyone is back @ full strength.

  3. Don

    September 21, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Brian I could have written your post word for word. The news has been all over Zeke for his lack of eagerness to participate in that interception,but from what I saw both sides of the ball stunk pretty bad and fingers should be pointed at everyone not just particular individuals. I truly hope it is and plays as a wake up call and it’s the perfect time for it if any…A good showing in Arizona should right the ship..,!

  4. Luis Rene Berrios Santiago

    September 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Brian, maybe it is me, but it seems that Dallas’ coaching staff is slow to adjust, if at all, to what the opponent is doing. I think it has been mentioned before. If the running game was being stopped, why not introduce other plays, screen or short passes, dink and donk if you like, to keep the chains moving and give guys confidence? It is frustrating to see the same plays over and over when they have not worked. On the defensive side, no question, it’s almost a brand new secondary all across the board, and they will need experience by fire. I hope they will gain confidence as the season progresses. I am not quitting on my team, there is plenty of football yet to be played. Go Cowboys.

  5. Datschu

    September 22, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Man… I hate to say this… but so far 2017 is going exactly the way I predicted it would as soon as they named dak permanent starter over romo…. I said … “dak will have a good rookie season, they’ll send off romo, and in 2017 dak will come crashing back down to earth and everyone will be mad they shipped off romo”….
    it’s only 2 games but hear me out…. has dak looked similar to the way he looked in 16?? NO! He’s pressing and also he’s not as accurate and again…. he’s not very good at throwing deep. Argue all you want but the tape doesn’t lie…
    Also… when was the last time you saw the cowboys have BACK TO BACK dominant seasons? As far back as I can remember… they have a great 11-12 win season followed up by a stinker… then a couple mediocre seasons followed up by a dominant season then immediately following that season… another stinker…. and the routine continues….
    I’m not disappointed by dak Prescott… I’m just not as enamored by him as most fans are…. I feel that for his current contract he’s a steal… but when this deal is up….

    I don’t think dak will have the career romo had… success wise… or the longevity in Dallas romo had….
    Which stinks because romo didn’t accomplish anything of significance in his career….

  6. Datschu

    September 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    This Arizona game will tell us A BUTT TON about the mental make up and intestinal fortitude of this team… also about the effectiveness of this coaching staff….
    this game Monday really tells the future of this franchise in more ways than just a win or loss….
    Here it is cowboys fans. Let’s see how the team responds

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Linebacker

Jess Haynie

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Wolf Hunter: Leighton Vander Esch's Pass Coverage Skills Rising to Occasion

One of the brightest spots on the Dallas Cowboys' projected 2019 roster is linebacker. The young pair of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have already emerged as one of the league's best duos. But that doesn't mean that the Cowboys have no work to do at the position this offseason.

Having Jaylon and Leighton does take a lot of pressure off. Most teams utilize their nickel scheme more than any other these days, which generally utilizes just two linebackers, in the increasingly pass-focused NFL. And thankfully, both Smith and Vander Esch have shown great skills in pass defense.

But there's still a semi-starting role to get figured out in the base 4-3 scheme. Damien Wilson has held the strong-side or "SAM" position for the last few years and has an expiring contract.

What's more, Dallas has a big decision to make regarding the contract of Sean Lee, which is ripe for terminating with $7 million in salary cap savings possible.

It's highly unlikely that the Cowboys would keep both Lee and Wilson. If they decide to re-sign Damien, Lee will be cut to help fund that move and others. If Sean is kept on, Wilson will almost surely be looking for a starting role somewhere else in free agency.

Even if the Cowboys do make Lee a cap casualty between now and March 13th, they may still allow Wilson to test free agency and then try to re-sign him later at a discount. He's unlikely to attract the same attention that Anthony Hitchens got last year.

How Does LB Joe Thomas Fit Into Cowboys' 2019 Plans?

Dallas Cowboys LB Joe Thomas (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Another factor in all of this is Joe Thomas, a free agent addition last year who provided good depth and could potentially start in 2019. He is scheduled to count $2.2 million against the cap, which is fine for a primary reserve but a bargain for an occasional starter.

A core of Smith, Thomas, and Vander Esch gives the Cowboys a good foundation to build from. Smith can play the SAM in the base scheme and Thomas can be the primary backup to Jaylon and Leighton in the nickel.

However, going that route would deplete the depth chart. Chris Covington, a sixth-round pick last year, would be the only noteworthy player under contract. Dallas would need to find at least two more guys to fill out the group for 2019.

They could look at re-signing backup Justin March-Lillard, who would at least bring some familiarity and veteran experience. But that might still leave them looking for more of a primary reserve, which would be especially vital if Thomas is promoted to a starting role.

The projected LB free agent pool for 2019 should make it a buyer's market. Dallas may be able to re-sign Damien Wilson or even add an upgrade, like perhaps the Vikings' Anthony Barr, at a relative bargain. There should be ample options for depth as well.

Barring an extremely favorable value opportunity, don't expect the Cowboys to spend a significant draft pick at linebacker. The fourth-round is the earliest I could see one going based on other needs, and even then it would need to be someone they really like.

Good drafting is why Dallas has flexibility and leverage this offseason. The picks they invested in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch appear to have made LB a strength of the team for the next several years.

There is still business to attend to, but the Cowboys won't have to be too concerned with linebacker in 2019 thanks to their young stars.



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Dallas Cowboys

Xavier Woods Versatility Key in Dallas Cowboys FA Safety Pursuit

John Williams

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Cowboys Safety Xavier Woods Is Getting Better By The Week

There has been a debate going on among Cowboys Nation for more than a year now about the prospects of bringing in Seattle Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas. Now with free agency approaching, there are several other names that the Dallas Cowboys could consider when looking to upgrade the safety position. Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, and Tre Boston are several of the many quality and really good safeties that are hitting the free agent market in a few weeks. It's a group with varied skill sets and abilities, which makes the debate even more interesting. The Dallas Cowboys, however, will be able to take a look at all of them when free agency opens March 13th because of one player; Xavier Woods.

Xavier Woods, the Cowboys fifth round draft pick from the 2017 NFL Draft just finished his first full season as a starter for the Cowboys and played really well. In two years he's shown the ability to cover from the slot, play deep, play in the box, be a force over the middle, and make plays on the football. He's one of the more versatile players on the defense with his ability to play all over the field. That versatility allows the Dallas Cowboys' front office an advantage when approaching the names mentioned above.

The Dallas Cowboys don't have to be locked in to one particular type of safety. When people talk about Landon Collins, they label him a "box safety." Earl Thomas is a traditional free safety. Tre Boston is a similar player to Earl Thomas and Tyrann Mathieu is like Collins. The Cowboys can go into free agency with the freedom to explore their options and do their due diligence when it comes to these players.

That's a distinct difference from this offseason to last.

Last offseason, the feeling was that the Dallas Cowboys had to go get Earl Thomas. The safety position was so weak that the Cowboys were going to be playing at a disadvantage in the high-flying, pass-heavy NFL. Xavier Woods proved in his first full season that he can be a productive, play making starter in the NFL and should only continue to improve.

According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier Woods was sixth in the NFL in passer rating against among safeties with at least 352 coverage snaps. His 62.8 passer rating allowed in his coverage was tied with Eric Weddle, better than Derwin James, Reshad Jones, Adrian Amos, and Maliek Hooker. Of the safeties drafted in the 2017 draft class, only Eddie Jackson from the Chicago Bears had a better passer rating against than Xavier Woods.

The Dallas Cowboys got a really good player in Xavier Woods and as they get ready to potentially make a run at a big name safety, they can feel confident that whoever they end up signing will be a good fit with Woods. He can play in the box or cover receivers and tight ends. You can run more two deep safety looks, because he has the range to play it.

This year, as opposed to last, they have more certainty at the safety position because of Xavier Woods and the strides he took in 2018. There's no reason to believe that he can't continue to take a step forward for the Dallas Cowboys. His ability to play all over the field allows the Cowboys to be smart and patient in their pursuit of a safety upgrade this offseason.



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3 Free Agent Targets From Cowboys NFC East Rivals

John Williams

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3 Free Agent Targets From Cowboys NFC East Rivals

The free agency period in the NFL will be here in a little more than three weeks and the Dallas Cowboys will begin the annual tradition of trying to put together the best 53-man roster that they can come up with. Free agency is just one part of the equation that includes the draft, the signing of undrafted free agents, adding and subtracting from the roster during training camp, and picking up players after the final cut down day.

You can rest assured that Will McClay and the entire pro scouting department is doing their due diligence in anticipation of the March 13th start to the 2019 free agency period. They'll look high and low for players that can come in and be contributors for the Cowboys. Even within their own division.

Between the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins, there are some interesting names to consider as the Cowboys peruse the free agent aisles of the NFL superstore. Some of those players like Landon Collins, Ronald Darby, Nick Foles, and Brandon Graham will be new releases that will cost you a pretty penny at the check out stand. Others like Haloti Ngata will be in the used and refurbished section. And then there are those who could be had at a reasonable or discounted rate.

Here are three from within the NFC East that the Cowboys could have their eye on.

Mario Edwards, Defensive Line, New York Giants

The former Oakland Raiders second round pick out of Florida State University has already played for two teams in his young four-year career. That isn't a good sign for Mario Edwards as he approaches free agency for the first time. You don't generally see many top 100 picks get released from the team that originally drafted as they usually wait as long as they can to see if the player is going to hit.

For Mario Edwards, he found himself caught in a numbers game and outplayed by two rookies in Oakland's training camp in 2018, leading to his release. It also sounds like the Raiders couldn't quite figure out where to put him on their defensive line.

We know that the Dallas Cowboys love looking around the league for those reclamation projects. Edwards could be the next David Irving or Antwaun Woods. A player that isn't highly thought of, but in the right situation and with the right coaching could flourish.

Edwards has played 14 or more games in three of his first four seasons, missing his second season with a hip injury. He totaled more than two sacks a season in those three seasons. He isn't by any stretch of the imagination someone who is going to come in and replace DeMarcus Lawrence or Randy Gregory, but he could be a nice depth piece with potential to see significant snaps both at defensive end and 3-technique defensive tackle.

Edwards could be the next Rod Marinelli special.

Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

The Dallas Cowboys could be in the market for a slot wide receiver this offseason if Cole Beasley is allowed to walk in free agency, which seems like a near certainty. There are several intriguing options on the roster in Allen Hurns and Cedric Wilson that could play in the slot some, or play on the outside allowing Amari Cooper to play in the slot. They could also look to the draft for Beasley's replacement as well. In the free agent pool, there are several interesting names, one of which is Jordan Matthews.

Jordan Matthews just finished his second stint in Philadelphia and while he didn't have huge production in Philly in 2018 -- 20 receptions on 28 targets for 300 yards and two touchdowns, he's a player with a track record in the NFL and could be a "big slot" option.

In Matthews first three seasons in the NFL, he averaged 75 receptions on 115 targets for 891 yards and 6.3 touchdowns in his first stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2014, Matthews caught 64 of his 67 receptions from the slot, which was second in the NFL that season. In 2015, he led the NFL in receptions from the slot with 81, while also scoring eight touchdowns. In 2016, his final year with the Eagles, he was ninth in the NFL with 53 receptions. So, in those first three seasons in the league, he averaged 67 receptions, 796.3 yards, and six touchdowns. He caught eight touchdowns in each of his first two seasons for the Eagles in the slot.

He's not the same player that Cole Beasley is, but he's a player that knows how to win in the slot and because of the past couple of years could be a cheaper option to try and replace Cole's production.

Jamison Crowder, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins

If Jordan Matthews is the inexpensive option for the Dallas Cowboys in the slot, Jamison Crowder would require paying a pretty penny. Spotrac.com estimates that Crowder could be worth $8 million per year over four years on the open market.

Interestingly enough, he's never been as productive as Cole Beasley or Jordan Matthews, but because of his age and his work the last couple of seasons, injuries not withstanding, he's seen in a more positive light than Matthews.

Crowder is cut from a similar cloth as Beasley. Smaller in stature and uses quickness and speed to win games. As Cowboys fans, we know all to well the effect that he has in game. Crowder, however, has never had more than 66 receptions in a season and has only scored more than three touchdowns once in his four seasons in the NFL; back in 2016 when he scored seven.

Crowder is coming off of an injury this season that limited him to just nine games, 29 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns. In his three full seasons prior to 2018, Crowder averaged 64 receptions on 93 targets for 746 yards and four touchdowns.

If for some reason, his market comes in less than the $8 million per year that Spotrac.com is projecting, I'd be very interested in bringing Crowder to Dallas.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Each of these guys offers something intriguing that the Dallas Cowboys could use. Whether it's a defensive lineman or a slot wide receiver, they all bring something to the table. The Dallas Cowboys need to approach this offseason with a "go for it" mentality, but if they continue to follow their free agency philosophy, Mario Edwards and Jordan Matthews could be nice pieces to add to the team that offer a lot of upside.



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