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Do We Really Need To Worry About Dez Bryant?

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Headlines - Do We Need To Be Worried About Dez Bryant?

Let's all just calm down for a second.

It's an exciting time around Cowboys Nation considering that America's Team went through football drills while Matt Cassel quarterbacked them to failure wearing pads for the first time in what feels like forever on Monday. It was a breath of enormously fresh air after the pollution that 2015 decorated our nostrils with.

While it has indeed been quite the delight to see the Cowboys doing their thang, it's been a precarious type of optimism as one of the team's primary Stars (no pun intended) hasn't exactly looked like the version of himself that we're accustomed to seeing.

David Helman on Twitter

Cowboys coaches haven't been kidding about Dez needing to knock the rust off. Three drops today, without going against DBs.

This tweet, from last Saturday, raised many eyebrows throughout the pride of blue & silver. Dez? Three drops? WITHOUT GOING AGAINST DBs?!

No way, right? Not our Dez. Sam Bradford is more likely to complete a pass to his intended target than Dez is to drop a ball. There is no way on Earth, Mars, Neptune, or that space where people who think Kirk Cousins is awesome live that Dez Bryant could have a case of the dropsies.

Much to our chagrin, Dez is indeed of some extra work. I know it feels like I just punched you in the face, but hear me out for a second.

Drew Davison on Twitter

Dez Bryant getting in some extra work after practice today.

The last time that Dez Bryant played a football game was December 19th, 2015. That was 228 days ago. This particular game was at home, on a Saturday night, against the New York Jets. Mr. Throw Up the X ended the game with 4 catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Anyone with eyeballs knows that Dez Bryant was not Dez Bryant on that fateful Saturday night. Dez was never Dez at all in 2015. We're at the point in the 2015 Process (shout out to Coach Garrett and his 17" philosophy) that we can admit that. It's time for 2016.

While Dez's 2016 might not be as spectacular at this point as it usually is... it's because it's been such an enormous amount of time since Dez Bryant was Dez Bryant. How long?

During the final three weeks of the 2014 Regular Season, Dez had 15 catches for 286 yards and 6 touchdowns. THAT is the Dez Bryant we know who loves to throw up that X. The final game in that stretch was played on December 28th, 2014... 584 days ago.

It's understandable that Dez would need some time to regain his proper form. It's just unheard of because Dez Bryant is a freak of nature who catches footballs beyond the comprehension of the weak-minded (looking at you, Dean Blandino).

Miles Brown on Twitter

Thanks to @dallascowboys & @DezBryant for the FUN today!!! #DreamBigInspireMany #DallasCowboysCamp https://t.co/oWQFnl3yl7

We know Dez Bryant, Cowboys Nation. He's the same guy he's always been that took some time after practice to hang out with Miles Brown.

He's the guy who's going to dominate the NFL in 2016 and there's nothing that rust, Dean Blandino, or Josh Norman can do about it. Throw up the X.

Are you at all worried about Dez Bryant? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Do We Really Need To Worry About Dez Bryant?" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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