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Dropping The Ball: Cowboys WR Play, Scheme Execution Must Improve



Cowboys Headlines - Dropping The Ball: Bad WR Play, Poor Scheme Plague Dallas 1

There is plenty of blame to go around for the season opening loss to the New York Giants.

We can start with the underwhelming rushing attack from the Cowboys, and the stubborn play-calling that came with it. Ezekiel Elliott was running up the middle into a brick wall of defenders all day long. Give credit to New York for keying on the run, but also blame Dallas for not getting creative enough.

We can then look at the Giants rushing the ball effectively against the Cowboys, specifically on their last possession of the game. And how about those killer holding penalties? All are concerning at the moment, but what bothered me most on Sunday was just how average the passing game seemed.

Aided by disappointing showings from Dallas veterans, the team fell short through the air. Don't get me wrong, it was clear Dallas had a somewhat conservative game plan on Sunday that Dak Prescott executed well. But that's not to say the plan truly worked either.

His decision-making was on point, and to put it simply, he was throwing to the right guy on most of his pass attempts. Overall, Prescott looked good, not great. Either way, he played well enough to win. Watching this game did not give me the same feel as most of last year, which is a positive as well. Prescott is clearly better than Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden.

That being said, both play calling scheme and individual performances need to improve immediately in the passing game.

Where were the big plays?

When your longest gain of the game is a 21 yard completion to backup tight end (Geoff Swaim), there is a serious problem. Dallas needs to let Prescott take more shots down the field, and when he takes those shots, players need to step up. I'm looking at you, Dez Bryant.

Lets be real here. Bryant just hasn't been the same without Tony Romo.

I get that he was playing hurt for most of last season, but he is healthy now. He needs to be the superstar wide receiver that this team paid him to be. He also needs to come down with that touchdown. Degree of difficulty was high, but Bryant prides himself on coming down with the tough ones.

Dak Prescott needs to know he can throw the ball up to him with one on one coverage, and Bryant needs to establish that trust.

Speaking of dropped touchdown passes, Cole Beasley let a would-be six points drop to the ground early on in this one. It also seemed like, despite his eight grabs, he should have had at least two others. Crucial drops plagued Dallas on Sunday.

Oh yeah, and Terrance Williams can't make that mistake. He also needs to stop disappearing in games. He can look like a formidable second wide receiver for a game, and then disappear into the abyss for another two. Dallas needs to address the wide receiver two spot this off-season.

Bottom line here is any quarterback, especially a rookie for that matter, needs players to make big plays around him. It's going to be a long season in Dallas if Dez isn't Dez, and complementary veterans are making crucial mistakes.

It's time to take some of the training wheels of off Prescott too. The passing game needs a big boost next week in Washington before this team finds itself in a huge 0-2 hole.

Die hard Dallas Cowboys fan behind enemy lines here in New Jersey. CBS Sports employee and contributor for

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision 1
Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News

There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.

Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.

Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.

Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.

Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.

Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.

Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.

If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.

Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.

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Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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