The Dallas Cowboys came up short Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks for their third "dress rehearsal" preseason game. The Seahawks outscored the Cowboys 27-17, but it was tied up at 10 apiece at half time when the Cowboys still had the majority of their starters still playing.
The Cowboys went into a hostile environment and came away defeated, but not discouraged. Of course, there were plenty of ups and downs, but overall I thought they performed better than expected, especially after the scare to quarterback Tony Romo.
I decided it would be fun to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the game against the Seattle Seahawks, and then see if you agree with me or not. By the way, that is a Clint Eastwood movie reference in case you missed it.
Ezekiel Elliott finally made his NFL debut for the Dallas Cowboys and although it was a small sample size, he was everything that was advertised. Elliott just played 15 snaps but finished with seven carries for 48 rushing yards and an impressive 6.9 yards per carry.
Zeke showed his speed, elusiveness, decisiveness, and power. He even had a tremendous block in pass protection against a blitzing linebacker on the play that Romo was injured.
Overall, Elliott had an impressive debut against a tough Seahawks defense. If this is any indication of the type of player he will be in 2016, the running game for the Dallas Cowboys should be outstanding.
Dak Prescott might not have put up the jaw-dropping numbers that he did in the first two preseason games, but I thought that the outing he had against the Seahawks was even more impressive.
The Seahawks have had one of the top defenses over the past several seasons and even though Prescott was forced into the game earlier than expected, he handled himself extremely well.
He was able to stay poised in the pocket against the Seahawks pass rush and complete passes downfield against one of the better secondaries in the NFL. He ended the night completing 17 of 23 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown.
If Thursday night was any indication of what the Dallas Cowboys pass rush will look like, then the 2016 season will be extremely tough for the rest of defense.
Russell Wilson and Trevone Boykin had forever and a day to scan the field and find the open receiver thanks to the nonexistent pass rush for the Dallas Cowboys. The defense didn't sack any of the Seahawks QB's the entire night, which is really depressing considering the Minnesota Vikings had four sacks last week against the same Seahawks team.
This is one of the biggest concerns heading into the Week 1 match up against the New York Giants and the Cowboys organization has to find some sort of solution to put more pressure on the opposing QB. Otherwise, the rest of the defense will suffer as a result.
The pass rush for the Dallas Cowboys is just bad. Plain and simple.
Just three plays into the game it looked as if our worst nightmares had come true and Tony Romo would once again put the Dallas Cowboys in between a rock and a hard place due to an injury. Fortunately, it looks to be a relatively mild injury and shouldn't put his Week 1 availability in jeopardy.
I don't know what your reaction was to seeing Romo immediately reach for his back and lay on the ground in agony, but I for one was muttering words under my breath that cannot and should not be mentioned here.
Unfortunately, it's just another reminder of Romo's importance to the team and the frailty of an NFL player's body who is heading toward the end of their career. We don't know as of yet if that is the worst hit he will take throughout the season, but it was definitely scary nonetheless.
Tony Romo almost landed in the bad category, but ultimately found his place in the ugly category because it was just that. From the hit, to seeing Romo laying on the ground, and eventually seeing him walk off the field. Everything about this situation was just UGLY!
Do you Agree or Disagree?
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Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security
There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.
Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.
Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.
Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.
If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.
Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.
Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.
As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.
Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.
If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.
Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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