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Dez Bryant Let The Cowboys Down Against The Giants

Sean Martin



Cowboys Headlines - With Quiet Debut, Dez Bryant Must be the Reason the Cowboys Forget About 2015 1

When Cowboys' fans think of Dez Bryant, they think of one of the best wide receivers in the league, a dominant talent that serves as a true leader on the field each Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys.

When other fans think of Dez Bryant, they probably think of a guy that has not warranted an excess amount of praise, with a 2015 season that never got off the ground thanks to injuries to not only Bryant, but his quarterback Tony Romo.

Then there was Sunday's 2016 opener, which should force Cowboys Nation to come to terms with the facts about Dez Bryant. Yes, Bryant was playing without Romo once again, but Dak Prescott does not compare to Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassell, or Kellen Moore.

Prescott did enough to win this game, despite having to drop back 45 times, and only being able to connect with Dez on one reception of eight yards - occurring on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Dak Prescott needed Dez Bryant yesterday at AT&T Stadium, and he was simply nowhere to be found.

When Bryant did make an appearance, it was solely on vertical routes down the field, which did result in Dez having a touchdown reception overturned, and later having one broken up on a throw that forced him up the field.

At the end of the day, this was a one point loss for the Dallas Cowboys, with a rookie starting at quarterback and running back. Naturally, the blame for falling just short falls on a multitude of factors. There was also plenty of things to look forward to with the Cowboys coming out of this game - one of them hopefully being Dez Bryant.

We all were willing to give Bryant a pass for 2015, with the expectation that he would make 2016 his year.

We also know that when Dez Bryant wants something - like he does a bounce back 2016 season - he is not often denied. Janoris Jenkins and the over rated Giants' secondary denied Dez Bryant of a chance to put the Cowboys at 1-0 heading to Washington for another key NFC East game. How will Bryant respond with the Cowboys in danger of falling to 0-2 overall, and 0-2 in the NFC East, on Sunday?

Jon Machota on Twitter

Dez Bryant: If I stay on current path, 'I'm going to be dominant'

These quotes are from August 20th, and show that Bryant failed yesterday to - by his own standards - do his job.

While the film will likely show what I saw watching this game live, Bryant was again primarily used as a decoy to set up the run far too often. The Dallas run game is going to improve with Ezekiel Elliott as the season goes on, but Bryant will also continue to see plenty of opportunities to make lasting impacts on what the Cowboys' 2016 season is going to be.

Outside of the offensive line play, which was below its normal level, the Cowboys' rushing attack faltered simply because the Giants made it their top priority to stop the run. In doing so, they comfortably stacked the box against Elliott and Alfred Morris, forcing a WR like Bryant to beat them over the top. Instead, Prescott's longest completion went to TE Geoff Swaim for 21 yards.

For now, Dez Bryant's season draws flashbacks to a dreadful 2015. Josh Norman and the Redskins await, and my money is on Dez Bryant and the entire offense to bounce back in a big way in support of Dak Prescott.

What do you expect from Dez Bryant going forward, as the Cowboys play on the road against the Redskins in week 2? Let us know! Start the conversation with a comment below the article, or email me at

Tell us what you think about "Dez Bryant Let The Cowboys Down Against The Giants" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.



  1. George Johnson

    September 12, 2016 at 11:52 am

    It seems like Dez Bryant’s lack of production had something to do with Dak Prescott’s play. I believe the coaches simplified the game plan/play calling to help Dak be successful and increase his confidence. There were mostly shorter passes. Dez dropped a pass in the end zone but it was a tough catch and he was crashing to the turf. If he had caught this Dez production would have been a lot better and Dak would have had a touchdown for the game. The lack of a running game was a bigger factor in Dallas loosing the game. Dak had to throw more than the coaches probably wanted to. Dak did okay and what he was supposed to. I was more impressed with Dak in this game then any of his preseason games except maybe the Seattle game especially considering this was a season game and Dak’s first season game. The good news is no team is getting pressure on Zak and he has been accurate and composed, so is completing a lot of passes but mostly short passes. This is likely to continue with the outstanding offensive line. I expect Linehan to open up the offense more once Dak gets more experience/reps. They may lose a few more games before Dak is ready to step up and the coaches open/expand the offense and get Dez more involved in the game. I hope they don’t try to force it into Dez too much in the next couple of games.

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      September 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      I don’t want them to force the ball to Dez, but if that is what it is going to take to see him start to resemble the likes of Julio Jones and Antonio Brown – who consistently beat double teams to help out their veteran QBs, then so be it. We’ve raved about Prescott’s confidence all along, and the only way that it is going to help this team win games is if he can confidently deliver the ball to 88.

  2. Michael

    September 12, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I really like Dez, see the problem is besides some great catches he hasn’t proved to be elite top 5. Reasons being he loses to double coverage where elite find ways to at least get a play or 2 despite doubled all game (Fitzgerald Beckham Jr Wallace) just name a few. Coaches do not always put him in the right position to succeed, and he needs to stop complaining and play. Passion is one thing but if you don’t use it to produce and show why he should be mentioned as top elite instead of throwing temper tantrums on refs/coaches then he’ll never live up to the hype. The head coach and both coordinators need to do better job of evaluation on game planning and how to put their stars in better position to make plays instead of just call plays depending on down an distance and expect them to produce. Player’s themselves need to find way’s to learn from what didn’t work and be more adapting to situation and learn more than just relying on just the one thing thats usually worked because it’s not always going to. This team could be great but for some reason from head coach to role players they let far less talented or equipped team’s do to them what they should be doing to other’s. This team needs more agressive attitude and coaches need to be more diligent and hold guys responsible for bad play and be more vocal not passive. Jimmy Johnson was a master of this and getting most out of mediocre players because of fear of losing their job or cut. In closing they need to spend some of what $ on defense. Dt, another stud pass rusher, and a actual better cover corner. Better to have 1 than none. Remember Jerry Jones “OFFENSE SELLS TICKETS BUT DEFENSES WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS! Let’s get this team back to glory not just pawns in your Jerry world circus. Yes the new facilities are amazing and breath taking but that’s not want fans care about. They want wins and winning is the name of the game or does the showmanship you’ve provided make you forget that.

    • George Johnson

      September 12, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      I agree winning is the name of the game. I also agree it takes a good defense to get to the Super Bowl. I think Dez will be just fine and as long as he doesn’t get hurt will have a good year. I think Dallas will have trouble winning many games until T Romo gets back. They only won one game last year with three QBs that are a lot more experienced than Dak. Dak will eventually be better than those three QBs but he is at this point a rookie. He did an amazing job considering it was his first time playing in a season game. He didn’t have any mistakes/turnovers and moved the team fairly consistently. He did have trouble scoring in the red zone and did not throw any touchdowns but almost had one if Dez had controlled the ball all the way through the catch. If he keeps playing like he did the coaches may open up the offense/playbook for him. Right now they seem to be simplifying the game plan/plays for Dak. Also if the running game would improve this would help Dak.

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      September 12, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Michael, thank you for reading and responding. I could not agree more with all of your points about Dez. The offensive line play is going to be better than it was against the Giants, which will of course boost the running game, and allow Dez to fit better in the gameplan. For now though, part of the plan with YOUR ROOKIE QUARTERBACK should have been to get Bryant the ball, and target him a lot more than 5 times.

  3. Andrea Bednarski

    September 13, 2016 at 3:19 am

    After watching the steeler game last night the Cowboys need to take note, they play with no aggression. Dez was know where to be found, great wr breakout of double coverage and they should of played Alfred Morris more when Zeke wasn’t doing anything.

    • George Johnson

      September 13, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I don’t think they will be a lot more aggressive until they feel Dak is ready. He is a rookie which everyone seems to forget. He doesn’t want to throw passes to Dez when he is double covered and I am not sure the coaches want him to either. It is smart playing to find the open receiver even it that is not Dez. Dak seems to be good at that. I expect Dez to get more passes in the next game, then the NY Giants game but may not get a lot if he is double covered again. Dak is playing well considering he is a rookie and made no mistakes. If the running game would have been better, Dallas would probably have won. I don’t think you will see a real dynamic and aggressive offense until T Romo returns. You may if the coaches think Dak can handle it but not likely.

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez



Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

DallasCowboys linebacker @VanderEsch38 has been added to the 2019 Pro Bowl Roster. 🐺 Congratulations, rookie! →

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" 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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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie



Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.

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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams



Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.

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