If you used "Super Bowl LI" and "Dallas Cowboys" in the same sentence following Tony Romo's preseason injury in Seattle, chances are you weren't having a very serious conversation.
With a chance to wrap up the NFC East - and potentially more if they get help from the Bears and Packers - against the Giants this week, Fox Sports’ Cameron DaSilva ranked the seven toughest things standing in the way of a Cowboys Super Bowl.
What's standing in Dallas' way?
After reading through the first six items on the list, which includes everything from Jerry Jones (who may theoretically call for Tony Romo to enter mid-playoff game) to a "reeling" secondary that expects Morris Claiborne back before the postseason, the biggest obstacle in the way of the Cowboys are the Seattle Seahawks.
Pete Carroll's Seahawks are certainly coming into form, winners of the NFC in two of the previous three seasons. While the Cowboys eleven game winning streak has made it difficult for anyone to deny that they are the best team in the NFC, the Seahawks have ripped off wins in four of their last five - coming off of a 40-7 drubbing of the Panthers at home.
As DaSilva elaborates:
The best team standing in Dallas’ way for a Super Bowl win is the Seattle Seahawks. Not the Patriots, not the Falcons, not the Broncos. The Seahawks. Dallas is built upon running the ball and protecting the football on offense. What does Seattle do extremely well? Stop the run and create turnovers. That’s exactly why the Seahawks pose the biggest threat to the Cowboys’ playoff chances. And more likely than not, these two teams will meet in the NFC Championship game, considering the rest of the conference is mostly underwhelming.
Seattle doesn’t have a great offensive line. Actually, it’s one of the worst in football; so is Dallas’ pass rush. That gives Seattle the advantage in that department, while the Seahawks’ stout defensive line matches up well with Dallas’ offensive line. Think about the way Minnesota’s defense caused problems for the Cowboys. The Vikings created turnovers and hounded Prescott while playing a boring style of offense. Seattle does the same except their offense is far superior with weapons all over the place. The Seahawks could easily knock Dallas out of the playoffs if they meet.
While it is important to note that the Seattle defense excels at forcing turnovers, Prescott has only throws two passes to the opposing team all season, and the Seahawks are now without the services of Safety Earl Thomas.
Seahawks S Earl Thomas will be out for season and will not return for postseason, no matter how far Seattle advances.
To me, the question for the Cowboys' postseason success is simple. Can ANYONE stop this offense? Seattle will give it their all should these two teams meet up, but they may be surprised when they end up on the wrong side of a high-scoring game that features the best running back they'll see all season in Ezekiel Elliott.
Tim Hightower, David Johnson, and Carlos Hyde have all already put up 100+ yards rushing performances against the "Legion of Boom".
So...anyone else want to start planning a trip to Houston?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on this Fox Sports article, or anything else involving a potential Cowboys/Seahawks playoff match up!
Though Promising, We Need To Relax About Safety Kavon Frazier
With the addition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to the Cowboys' defensive coaching staff, fans are hoping that Dallas will create their own "Legion of Boom." Of course this is a lofty goal, but one worth pursuing nonetheless.
If the Cowboys are to recreate the Legion of Boom they will need their version of two vital pieces: Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
The Seahawks defense works, in many ways, because of these two players. Thomas' ability to play centerfield and literally defend sideline to sideline gives the Seahawks the freedom to use Chancellor where he's best, as a box safety. Chancellor is a big, physical safety who defends the run effectively in the box and can blanket tight ends in man coverage with his size and athleticism.
These safeties are arguably the most critical pieces to the Legion of Boom, though having a shutdown corner in Richard Sherman certainly doesn't hurt.
Realizing Chancellor's importance, Cowboys fans are hoping that current safety Kavon Frazier can fulfill this role in Dallas. Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 Frazier has made his home on Special Teams. As an impressive tackler in both punt and kick coverage, Frazier earned himself time at safety down the stretch of the 2017 season.
All in all, Frazier played rather well. Against the Washington Redskins he stepped in and made a few splash plays at the line of scrimmage, causing Cowboys Nation to lose their minds. After that impressive Thursday night game, however, Kavon Frazier didn't really reach that same level of performance.
Frazier is still a liability when asked to cover, especially when asked to play as a two deep safety. He also struggles when taking angles at times, though playing downhill as a tackler is his best attribute. Frazier actually reminds me a bit of Barry Church, though over time Church became more refined in coverage than Frazier currently is.
Some have argued that Kavon Frazier's presence should stop the Cowboys from considering a first round safety. I would disagree, and actually believe that if Florida State's Derwin James is available, the Cowboys should consider making that pick.
If you could combine the athleticism and coverage abilities of Byron Jones with the physicality and "box safety" qualities of Kavon Frazier, you'd have a fantastic safety. Unfortunately, this isn't the Marvel Universe and we are left without any super heroes in the back-end.
Hopefully Kris Richard will figure out how to correctly place all of these pieces in the Dallas Cowboys secondary going forward.
Maverick Carter: LeBron James Considered Cowboys During NBA Lockout
Maverick Carter is a pretty important man in the world of sports. As a business man, entrepreneur, and manager of one of the best basketball players of all time in LeBron James, Maverick Carter is certainly used to making headlines.
This week, while on former NFL running back Arian Foster's podcast "Now What? with Arian Foster," Carter claimed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once attempted to negotiate a contract with LeBron James.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, Carter claims that Jones contacted LeBron James and discussed bringing him in as a Cowboy while the NBA was without games.
"Jerry Jones, being the smart marketer he is...one day out of the clear blue sky LeBron got a contract I think it was for like one year, a couple million bucks to play for the Dallas Cowboys." - Maverick Carter.
Carter then states that LeBron may have the paperwork framed in his house to remember these discussions with Jerry Jones. LeBron's fandom for the Cowboys has been well documented, as has been his high school football prowess.
We may never know how "real" these discussions were, and of course it is long over now, but just imagining LeBron James getting a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys would break the internet.
You can check out the full episode of the podcast here, and I highly suggest listening to the other episodes Arian Foster has to offer.
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.
DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.
Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.
After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.
There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?
Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.
For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.
In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys
What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?
First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.
It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.
It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.
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