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Darren McFadden Could Prove Long-Term Value With Tony Romo

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Staff Blog - Staff Wars: Cowboys Must Stay With Darren McFadden

The 2015 season has been an absolute mess for the Dallas Cowboys. Injuries and really a ton of issues within the media have truly derailed the Cowboys' season. However, one bright spot for the Cowboys this season has been the play of Darren McFadden. And with Tony Romo more than likely returning in Week 11, Cowboys fans will finally get to see if McFadden will be here for the long haul.

When the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, Jerry Jones made a knee-jerk reaction by signing McFadden, a guy who could really never get it going with the Oakland Raiders because of a constant foot and leg injuries. At the start of the year, many thought the Cowboys would go with a committee for their backfield, with McFadden, Joseph Randle, and Lance Dunbar.

Interestingly enough, even though Randle received the bulk of the carries, I had always believed that McFadden fit best in the Cowboys' zone-blocking scheme, but more on that in a bit. For the first six weeks of the year, Randle was the featured guy for the Cowboys, but multiple on-field and off-field problems combined with an injury led to his release.


Over the past weeks, McFadden has handled the bell-cow role extremely well. Despite going against loaded fronts, McFadden has done a good job at moving the chains and keeping the defense off the field. Now going back to my previous point. The reason why McFadden fits better than Randle in this scheme is simple. McFadden has always had excellent vision. He does a job at cutting, and it's the ideal in-between-the-tackles type of runner.

With Tony Romo returning from the clavicle injury, defenses won't be able to load the box to stop McFadden and make Matt Cassel beat them. Instead, they will have to worry about Romo. This will make things much, much easier for McFadden to run the ball and find success.

Over the course of the next seven games, maybe people will start to realize that McFadden could actually be the guy here long-term. After all, he's only 28 years old and he doesn't have a lot of wear-and-tear on his body. The injury history is extremely concerning, but the talent level is there for McFadden to produce with a star on his helmet for a few years.


An online sports writer for about three years now, Ryan is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He writes about his favorite team on Inside The Star. Ryan also writes for other publications like Roster Watch, Rant Sports, and Cuse Nation. Ryan is a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL.

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Game Notes

DAL 27, PHI 7: Cowboys Winning Every Phase, Build Big Halftime Lead

Jess Haynie

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Report: Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott Agree in Principle on Contract Extension

The Dallas Cowboys certainly heard about Doug Pederson's win guarantee, but did anyone tell Pederson's team? The Philadelphia Eagles have fumbled and flopped their way into a 24-7 halftime deficit in this pivotal Week 7 rivalry game.

Two early fumbles by Dallas Goedert and Carson Wentz helped set up the Cowboys for short fields and touchdowns. Dallas has scored points on all but one of their drives in the first half.

Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for his best game of 2019 so far. He has 65 rushing yards and another 25 through the air, with one touchdown coming on the ground.

Dak Prescott has been sharp with 161 passing yards on 15-of-20 passing. He connected with Blake Jarwin on the team's second touchdown of the night.

Dallas' other touchdown came on a pretty toss play to Tavon Austin, who used his athletic skills to juke one Eagle and then outrace the rest to the endzone.


Brett Maher finished the half with an amazing 63-yard field goal. He also made one from 26 yards earlier.

Standouts on defense so far include DeMarcus Lawrence, who is playing up to his verbal response to the Eagles' head coach earlier this week. We've also some big plays from Maliek Collins, Jourdan Lewis, and Robert Quinn.

Leighton Vander Esch had to leave the game with a neck injury and is questionable to return. Hopefully, the Cowboys won't need him.

Great start by the good guys! Let's keep it going!


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Game Notes

Eagles @ Cowboys 2019: Gameday Inactives for Both Teams

Jess Haynie

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Seldom-Used CB Jourdan Lewis Could Play Big Role Against Saints

Kickoff between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 of the 2019 season is almost upon us. The teams have now officially declared their inactive players for tonight, and the Cowboys' list comes with many sighs of relief.

After a week of worrying that several starters and other key players could miss this pivotal game, Dallas should have most of them on hand.

David Helman on Twitter

Cowboys inactives: Devin Smith, Anthony Brown, Luke Gifford, Adam Redmond, Brandon Knight, Justin Hamilton, Dorance Armstrong.

Losing Anthony Brown, who is essentially a starter as the nickel corner, isn't great. But it will mean more playing time for Jourdan Lewis, and to some that could be a blessing in disguise.

Not on this list are Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, and Byron Jones, all of whom had concerns earlier in the week about their availability to play.


As for Philadelphia, their inactive list features several key names

Jeff McLane on Twitter

Ronald Darby is active for the #Eagles. Rookie Shareef Miller active for the first time. The inactives for tonight's game against the Cowboys: DeSean Jackson, Avonte Maddox, Darren Sproles, Nigel Bradham, Nate Herbig, Jason Peters, Tim Jernigan.

You can read more analysis of the Eagles' missing players here. But just to summarize, that's two offensive starters(Jackson, Peters) and three from the defense (Jernigan, Bradham, Maddox) who won't be playing in Dallas tonight.

Will these injuries decide the game? Will Dallas take advantage or will Philly overcome?

We're about to find out!


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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Let Tony Pollard and Blake Jarwin Play

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard Show 1-2 Punch Potential as Each Reach 100 Yards 1

Welcome to primetime. Tonight, the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium for an exciting NFC East matchup. The Cowboys are slightly favored for this one, but it will not be an easy game. Both teams sit at 3-3 and will fight for the division lead. It'll be an exciting night for Cowboys Nation.

Without further ado, let's get to this week's Cowboys Wishlist!

Wish #1: Everyone Plays

After a week of uncertainty regarding the health of several key players, the Cowboys are expected to play with both their staring offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, WR Amari Cooper and CB Byron Jones. That's certainly surprising, but it's great news to hear ahead of such an important game for the Cowboys.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles will miss plenty of starters including OT Jason Peters. Of course, nothing will be official for Dallas until the inactives are announced. I wish the inactives list matches early reports of these key players being expected to play.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Have a History of Playing Well Against the Redskins

Wish #2: Return to Exploiting Play-Action

There's no way around it. The Cowboys were being very successful using play-action during the first three weeks of the season, being among the NFL teams to use it the most. For some reason, though, they seem to have walked away from it. Somehow, they figured out what was working and stopped doing it. Many have argued about how play-action works and whether or not the run must be established for it to work. Analytics suggest it doesn't work that way.

Anyway, the trend is pretty clear. Throughout the first three weeks, the Cowboys averaged play-action plays on 39.56% of their drop-backs. The last three weeks that average has been 17.3%.

It's hard to find an answer as to why this has happened to Kellen Moore's offense, but I wish they go back to what was working so effectively at the beginning of the season.


Wish #3:  Let Dak Prescott Win The Game

Speaking of play-action, I truly believe Dak Prescott is the least of the Cowboys' problems right now. He's played pretty well and has shown how much of a warrior he is, specially last week when he took a beating from the New York Jets' defensive front.

I love what RB Ezekiel Elliott brings to the table, but the offense should rely on the passing game. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are a very solid duo of wide receivers and Dak Prescott has proven he can handle the job. I'd like to see the Cowboys putting the offense on Dak's back.

The Eagles secondary has been far from decent this season, with plenty of teams airing out against them. The key to this game is the passing game.

Wish #4: First Cowboys Drive Ends in TD

The Cowboys' slow starts have really been one of the biggest issues for this football team this season. Even when they were on a win streak and faced weak opponents, Jason Garrett's team started slow on both offense and defense. That could be the difference in such an important game for the Cowboys. It's time for them to start fast, and score fast.

The Cowboys' offense has been pretty good. In fact, they rank second in offensive DVOA on Football Outsiders. If they figure out how to score early - when game scripts matter the most - this unit could be special.

Can TE Blake Jarwin Poach Snaps Away From Jason Witten?

Wish #5: Let Tony Pollard and Blake Jarwin Play

The Cowboys have chosen to give Jason Witten the vast majority of the offensive snaps at TE this season. As a consequence, Blake Jarwin has seen the field less than he should. Through six weeks, he's only played in 38.1% of the offensive snaps. Jarwin is young and talented and has been good when given the chance. I hope his snap count increases today.

Similarly, I wish the Cowboys' give Tony Pollard a more important role. Instead of using him as much as they did in the first three weeks, his snap count percentage has dropped all the way down to 17.68%.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Let Tony Pollard and Blake Jarwin Play" 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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