The lasting image from the Dallas Cowboys week four win may be Brett Maher's game-winning field goal, and the drive Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott orchestrated to get within range, but once again the Cowboys defense was stout in limiting the Lions offense. The Cowboys did struggle in the secondary more than at any point this season, which makes their newest addition to the pass rush all the more important. Defensive Tackle David Irving has returned to the team off his four game suspension.
This is the second straight season that Irving has served an initial four game suspension. Last year, he was able to reward the Cowboys faith in him by recording seven sacks in eight games. Irving finished second to DeMarcus Lawrence in sacks.
With Tyrone Crawford and Antwaun Woods as the primary defensive tackles lined up with Lawrence at left defensive end this season, Lawrence has built a 5.5 sack lead over Irving - putting Matt Stafford on the turf three times on Sunday.
David Irving is officially back. He's been at The Star the last 3 weeks, attending meetings, working out. He's now able to practice & play Sunday. Jason Garrett on @1053thefan: "He's missed a lot of time so we gotta make sure he's ready to go physically to compete at this level.
All reports are that Irving has been diligent in handling the off-field situations that have kept him off the field at inopportune times, prepared to again take his starting role in Rod Marinelli's defense seriously.
Irving admitted on Instagram this offseason that it was a failed drug test for marijuana that's kept him suspended for Cowboys contests against the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks, and Lions.
It's Irving's serious combination of size, length, and raw talent that's lengthened his leash for discipline in Dallas. With the depth to gradually work him into their pass rush rotation, Irving will help everyone around him in the front seven by occupying blocks and pressuring quarterbacks in their face.
Tyrone Crawford, Daniel Ross, and Caraun Reed can expect to be the players that keep Irving fresh, while also looking at a drop in playing time should Irving return to his usual form.
Irving can practice with the team this week without the Cowboys having to cut a player. Before their game in Houston on Sunday night - where Irving can be reintroduced to the league against a team that's allowed 17 sacks, second only to the Bills - the Cowboys will have to make a roster move though.
Still carrying seven wide receivers, with Brice Butler expected to contribute soon, speculation that Terrance Williams' time with the Cowboys may be coming to an end has been hard to avoid. Williams was a healthy inactive against the Lions, although Butler also did not play.
Strengthening their defense by moving on from one of the only proven commodities on offense may not be the direction the Cowboys brass agrees to go in. What has already been negotiated is that David Irving can help this team, and will as soon as Sunday night, as Cowboys Nation waits for the corresponding roster cut.
Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018
For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.
After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote
As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.
Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.
Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.
His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!
David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.
In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.
There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.
While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.
Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.
Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.
In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.
Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.
Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.
At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.
The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.
QB Dak Prescott Named Cowboys’ Nominee For Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award
As the quarterback of America's Team, Dak Prescott is faced with a level of criticism each week that few athletes have to deal with. He is constantly questioned for his play, and even when things are going well, Prescott must answer his critics. But one area absolutely no one can question Prescott is his leadership, both on and off the field.
Dak Prescott is the perfect role model for children and adults alike. He is constantly doing fantastic work in his communities and making sure he uses his platform for good to his best ability.
This week it was announced Dak Prescott was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and will be the Cowboys' candidate in the race.
@Dak Prescott has been announced as the #Cowboys nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year - for 'commitment to philanthropy and community impact.' DAL past winners of the NFL-wide honor: Staubach, Aikman, Witten. @1053thefan
Of course, Prescott is well-worthy of the honor, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being both a finalist and the recipient of the award this year. As mentioned by Mike Fisher in the above tweet, three Cowboys have won the award previously; Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Jason Witten. Each of which is deserving, as is Prescott.
Considering the award is given out for "commitment to philanthropy and community impact," I can't think of many more worthy players around the league than quarterback Dak Prescott. We can see this impact in the locker room and on the field as well, as Prescott was voted a captain in just his sophomore season. The Cowboys clearly respect Prescott, despite some of the flaws in his game, and seem to play hard beside him every week.
Congratulations to Dak Prescott on this nomination.
Star Blog1 week ago
Should Cowboys Address TE Injuries and Inexperience With This FA?
Star Blog1 week ago
Why is Jerry Jones “keeping a very close eye” on the Kareem Hunt Case?
Player News1 week ago
Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch a Dominant Defensive Duo
Star Blog1 week ago
Will Kris Richard’s Success End Jason Garrett’s Era in Dallas?
Player News2 weeks ago
Cowboys Reinforcements on the Way, How Should Dallas Deploy Them?
Star Blog1 week ago
Randy Gregory Is Looking Like We Always Thought He Could
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
David Irving’s Return Could Make Cowboys’ Defense Even Scarier
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Wide Receiver Michael Gallup Making a Huge Impact for Dallas Cowboys