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DeAndre Hopkins Showed Cowboys Why Their WR1 Philosophy Is Wrong

Mauricio Rodriguez

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DeAndre Hopkins Showed Cowboys Why Their WR1 Philosophy Is Wrong 1

On Sunday Night Football, DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best wide receivers in the country (if not the best), proved to the Dallas Cowboys' front office and coaching staff exactly why they are wrong about their "#1 wide receiver" philosophy. He did it right there and then, under the lights of NRG Stadium as he handed the visiting team their third loss of the season.

With less than four minutes to go in overtime, sitting at their own 24-yard line, the Houston Texans were ready to take advantage from Jason Garrett's decision to punt the ball on fourth and one in enemy territory. In a defensive game in which none of the teams had scored more than 16 points, the Texans needed to make a play. And they did.

How did they do it? They threw it to their go-to player and  WR1, DeAndre Hopkins, and let him worry about the rest. The elite pass catcher caught the ball at the 36, left CB Anthony Brown behind, pulled off two consecutive spin moves for a 49-yard gain and eventually, a win at home.

DeAndre Hopkins Showed Cowboys Why Their WR1 Philosophy Is Wrong

As the Cowboys travel back home to get ready to play the Jacksonville Jaguars, there's a ton to reflect on. Mainly, how the Dallas Cowboys have approached the wide receiver position. After releasing Dez Bryant earlier in the year, the quest for a #1 receiver has been one of the most discussed topics in Cowboys Nation.

The Cowboys' coaches and front office talked for months about a "Dak-friendly offense" and Prescott was comfortable saying the team didn't need such #1 WR. Let me say that I actually believed these words. I had hopes on this team knowing what their identity would be and thought that they'd in fact have a capable offense.

That hasn't been the case so far, though. And there is not much reason to believe it will change.

There is hope on the rookie, Michael Gallup, to grow as a player and develop into a consistent and reliable weapon but he has only six receptions through five games. It's impossible to imagine he'll make the difference for this football team in 2018. Last Sunday, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson combined for 36 receiving yards. That's your "Dak-friendly offense."

Now granted, both the quarterback and the receivers are at fault here. There's way more than one player to blame for this disastrous performances. Prescott's throws haven't been good, receivers haven't helped him and the tight end position is still a very weak one. Coaching is obviously a big issue as well.

As we head into week 6 of the season, many characters in Dallas will be playing or coaching for their jobs. At the very least, the QB position should be under evaluation (especially with the contracts quarterbacks have been getting in the NFL as of late), Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan should be on the hot seat.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

Cowboys Jerry Jones on #Texans having a WR like DeAndre Hopkins: I would love to have No. 1 receivers ... You have to get those when the opportunities are there.' @1053thefan

But looming over their 2-3 record is the decision to not have a true WR1. This is the NFL, a passing league. One in which, even though you have a premium running back, you need a guy you can trust in the passing game. This had already been clear to the Cowboys' first quarter of the season and became all the more evident thanks to DeAndre Hopkins and a catch that will haunt for quite a while.

Tell me what you think about "DeAndre Hopkins Showed Cowboys Why Their WR1 Philosophy Is Wrong" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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2 Comments
  • Chuck Wright

    Sorry, column missed the boat. NE has been running WR by committee effectively for years . . . . .remind me how many SBs the Texans have won.

    Getting rid of Dez was 100% the right call. Notice no one else wants him either.

    Drafting LVE was 90% the right call. Face it tough choice between Ridley and LVE but long term, I get it.

  • Billhorn

    Yeah the column missed the boat in many areas. The problem with the offense is the O line. Until Dak gets time to throw the passing game will continue to suffer. When you can’t pass it’s hard to run. This OL can’t be depended on with 4th and 1!

Game Notes

Brett Maher’s 62-yard FG Gives Cowboys 6-0 Halftime Lead over Eagles

Jess Haynie

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Brett Maher
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Brett Maher drilled a 62-yard field goal, a new Dallas Cowboys record, to give his team a 6-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.

A holding penalty by Tyron Smith seemingly took the team out of field goal range, but Maher bailed him out with the monster kick.

The lead could be bigger it not for some Dallas mistakes. Dak Prescott threw an interception on an otherwise strong drive, and Maher ended another drive with a missed field goal.

However, the Eagles have also struggled. A strip sack by Tyrone Crawford ended their last drive of the half. Randy Gregory also got a sack on Carson Wentz earlier in the game.

Overall, though, Philadelphia just isn't converting downs and being stifled by this exceptional Cowboys defense. They only have 70 total offensive yards at the half.

Ezekiel Elliott is putting together a big day, already with 72 rushing yards and another 20 yards receiving. Rod Smith also has 24 yards of offense, adding to the major production from the RB position.

Speaking of position production, the Cowboys tight ends have already accounted for six catches for 37 yards. Blake Jarwin has four of those receptions, which is a new career high.

The Eagles will get the ball to start the second half.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Leaning on Elliott, Young Defense Earns Cowboys Win in Philly

The Dallas Cowboys are certainly playing like a playoff team as of late, but aren't in the clear yet when it comes to holding off Sunday's opponent -- nor the Washington Redskins -- in the NFC East. At 7-5, the Eagles and Redskins sit a game behind the Cowboys with identical 6-6 records.

The Cowboys going 5-0 from their first win at the Eagles in week 10 to their third divisional game of this stretch would go a very long way in cementing the Cowboys mid-season turnaround. As has always seemingly been the case in this division though, the same is said of the defending Super Bowl champs.

With a loss, the Cowboys stand just over a 50% chance at the postseason. A win would add 42 percentage points to this figure, setting up the Cowboys favorably through a December schedule that features the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants.

Brian Burke on Twitter

NFL playoff leverage week 14

The only team with more at stake today is the visitors of AT&T Stadium. The Eagles gain 47 percentage points on their playoff hopes with a win, though even this marginally moves the needle over 50% for them. An Eagles loss all but ends their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.

Though the Redskins are reduced to their third quarterback in Mark Sanchez, their early kickoff at the 4-8 Giants provides hope that they'll remain in contention through the regular season. In a division that will be dictated by the moves made at the trade deadline, it sure feels like the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away however - with Dallas in prime position to lap the competition starting Sunday.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

If the Cowboys and the Giants win today, Dallas would have to lose out, and the Redskins or Eagles would have to win out in order for the Cowboys to lose the division. In other words, Dallas and NYG winning today would mean one more victory and the Cowboys clinch the NFC East.

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has made a bigger difference than Dallas could have ever hoped for. With the Eagles secondary banged up again for their meeting with the Cowboys, a home team with sights set on playoff football could begin to fine tune their offense to match a defense that set the tone against Philadelphia last time out.

National pundits may be forecasting a "classic" late season collapse for the Cowboys, but fans know better than this. It was in fact early season losses that dug the hole the Cowboys are viciously fighting out of. Asking for this opportunity against the Eagles is as good as it gets for Jason Garrett's young team, once 3-5 after eight weeks that feel like ages ago.

So does any dominant stretch of football from the Eagles, though the Cowboys shouldn't be quick to find out just how much Philly wants to play spoiler.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense

It's rivalry weekend for the Dallas Cowboys as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. It will undoubtedly be a special game since the Eagles are practically playing to save their season this time around. Tables have turned for these two teams with now the Cowboys as home favorites for this fun matchup.

As always, here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist. Enjoy!

Wish #1: Get Jourdan Lewis Playing Time

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did a fantastic job versus the New Orleans Saints last week and I'm intrigued to see if the Cowboys will continue to find a job for him and get him on the field. Lewis had an interception and some other key plays in just eight snaps. Lewis has been an interesting narrative this year.

He's a good player and getting him more involved could result in good things for this team. We'll see if the Cowboys use him in this important divisional game.

2018 Rushing Title: Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley in Neck-and-Neck Race

Wish #2: Get The Early Big Lead, Rest Elliott

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has done an amazing job for the Cowboys over the past four weeks. Both in the passing and running game, Zeke has been able to consistently move the chains as he's received a huge workload to carry the offense and control the time of possession. He currently leads the league in touches per game.

If the Cowboys are able to get a big lead early, I wish we get to see a lot of backup RB Rod Smith. As much as we all love to watch Zeke be fed, this time Cowboys Nation should appreciate seeing him on the sideline a bit more than usual. For that to happen, though, an early considerable lead is required.

Wish #3: Improve on Red Zone

So far, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to efficiently move the ball and get first downs. What they have struggled with though, is the red zone. Many times, we've seen the offense settle for three instead of getting seven.

This Saturday I argued why, if the Cowboys are able to improve on red zone, this could be a playoff caliber unit. This team shouldn't struggle as much in this area. With Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Amari Cooper lined up and a mobile QB, Scott Linehan's squad simply needs to do better.

Wish #4: Dak Prescott Gets 300 Yards

The Philadelphia Eagles have placed CB Jalen Mills on IR. With Ronald Darby out already, the Cowboys are about to face a very injured secondary. Philadelphia ranks 26th in passing defense. Dak Prescott's stats have greatly improved since week 7.

However, a big 300-yard performance has yet to occur. I wish he gets just that against the Eagles. For this, he'll certainly need help from his receivers, including Amari Cooper, who has been outstanding with a Star on his helmet.

What are your wishes for this week's matchup versus the Eagles?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary" 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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