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A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 Playoffs

Bryson Treece

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A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 Playoffs 2
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys started the 2017 season with high expectations, although those failed to materialize and they eventually bowed out of the NFL regular season. We have only just seen the 2017 season come to a close, but already we're thinking about what will happen in 2018, and one thing that looks sure to happen is the Cowboys will bounce back and make the playoffs. There will be one reason they can do that, and that is Ezekiel Elliott.

He had more than his fair share of off-field problems to deal with last season, and still put up great numbers. This summer, it's time for him to move on, and focus on becoming the number one running back in the NFL.

Elliott is a huge man, who is waiting to explode onto the NFL scene.

We've seen him put up some fantastic numbers over the past two seasons, but this year looks set to be his coming of age. We all saw how he looked after coming back from a six-game suspension last season, he looked ripped and ready to cause some serious damage.

He didn’t score a touchdown on his return in the final two games of the regular season, but on both occasions, he had comfortably over 100 total yards. He showed his power and not only that, but we saw what his mindset was: he wanted to come back and prove a point, and that is exactly what he did.

This summer, he has nothing to worry about other than playing football, and that will be the difference maker with him, he can concentrate on nothing but football for the first time in his Cowboys career.

A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 Playoffs

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Jeffrey Beall (CC BY-SA 4.0))

With quarterback Dak Prescott coming of age and starting to show he really is a genuine starting quarterback in the NFL, there is a lot for the Cowboys to look forward to.

Both Prescott and Elliott are in their early 20s and they are the face of this franchise now, if they go on to become genuine top players in this league, they will take the Cowboys right to the top.

Should the Dallas Cowboys not make the playoffs in 2018, they will be bitterly disappointed, but it's something they look almost certain to do. They have a very good squad on both sides of the football, and for the first time in their young careers, their two main young stars can focus on playing the best possible football that they can.

Those two have the potential to eventually take Dallas to the top, and this is reflected in the Cowboys currently being 18/1 with William Hill to win the Super Bowl.

Assuming nothing goes wrong over the summer, the Dallas Cowboys can head into the 2018 NFL season with their two young stars fully focused on playing football. For Ezekiel Elliott that will be especially important, and this looks to be the season where he explodes as a genuine top running back and takes the Dallas Cowboys a long way into the postseason.



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Analizando al Rival Más Fuerte en la NFC East

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Los Dallas Cowboys se han llevado el título de la NFC East tres de los últimos cinco años. Dos veces han sido con el QB Dak Prescott como el titular. Sin embargo, no han logrado llevarse la división en años consecutivos. De hecho, ningún equipo de la NFC East ha logrado coronarse campeón divisional en años consecutivos desde el 2004. Los Cowboys, actuales campeones del grupo, buscarán romper esa tendencia en la temporada que está por comenzar en septiembre.

Los New York Giants, Washington Redskins y Philadelphia Eagles intentarán evitar que tal hazaña suceda. Sin embargo, parece ser que solo uno de estos tres equipos podrá ser rival para un equipo de Dallas bastante completo tanto en ofensiva como en defensiva.

Prescott vs. Wentz, the Meaningless Debate Continues

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports)

Los Eagles, quienes estuvieron en postemporada al igual que los Cowboys en 2018 (pero en calidad de comodín), cuentan con un muy fuerte equipo para la próxima temporada. En las apuestas deportivas, las casas de apuesta tienen como favorito a ganar la división a Philadelphia. El margen de diferencia entre ambos equipos es muy pequeño, poniendo las expectativas para ambas ciudades en aproximadamente el mismo nivel.

Para Eagles, termina una agotadora discusión entre Nick Foles y Carson Wentz después de que el veterano partiera a Jacksonville en la agencia libre y dejara a la segunda selección global del 2016 al mando de su equipo, como debería de ser. Wentz es un QB prometedor para su equipo. Antes de lesionarse en 2017, era el claro favorito para ser premiado como el MVP de la temporada. Pero la fortaleza del equipo va más allá de su mariscal de campo.

Doug Pederson ha demostrado ser un head coach muy capaz en la NFL, y tiene la fortuna de liderar un equipo repleto de talento. Similar a los Cowboys, los Eagles tuvieron un offseason algo discreto pero efectivo.

En ofensiva, Eagles consiguió talento para el juego terrestre después de conseguir al ex-Chicago Bear Jordan Howard y al novato de Penn State, Miles Sanders. Como receptor hace su regreso a Philadelphia Desean Jackson, quien será un arma peligrosa con Alshon Jeffery y Nelson Agholor.

Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals' Offseasons 1

Para la defensiva, consiguieron ayuda en la línea defensiva (que de por sí lucía muy talentosa) firmando al DT Malik Jackson. Como linebacker, una posición en la que necesitaban una mejora, llega Zach Brown. Ese frente defensivo es de temerse, sin duda.

Pero no solo se trata de aquellos jugadores nuevos en Philadelphia, sino las retenciones claves. Con Eagles se quedan después de firmar extensiones y nuevos contratos el centro Jason Kelce, el tackle Jason Peters, el caza cabezas Brandon Graham y el cornerback Ronald Darby.

Los Cowboys tienen un rival fuerte a quien superar si quieren llevarse el título de la división por segundo año consecutivo. Ambos equipos se enfrentan en las semanas 7 y 16, pero la NFC East se tendrá que ganar con un esfuerzo en los 16 partidos de la temporada.

Recientemente, Eagles y Cowboys han representado la rivalidad más importante dentro de la división y el 2019 no será la excepción. A nosotros como aficionados, nos espera un espectáculo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Analizando al Rival Más Fuerte en la NFC East" 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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What Will Joe Looney’s Role Look Like In 2019?

Kevin Brady

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Would Cowboys Trade Joe Looney if the Saints Came Calling?

The quick answer to the question the title poses is: he will be the backup center.

And, well, yes. Duh. Right?

Now that veteran center Travis Frederick has returned to claim his rightful spot on the Cowboys offensive line, Joe Looney must slide back into his backup role. Looney filled in for the All Pro center admirably in 2018, playing well above expectation level for much of the season. Still, there was clearly a drop off in play between he and Frederick, especially when it came to communication across the offensive line.

It may not be as simple as "Joe Looney is back to being a backup interior lineman," though, especially considering the offseason which the Cowboys had. Dallas went out and added Penn State guard Connor McGovern with their second selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, adding him to a very crowded interior group.

Now, Joe Looney is joined by two guards which played significant time in 2018 in Connor Williams and Xavier Su'a-Filo, the unquestioned starter Travis Frederick, and this rookie who draft pundits have praised to be plug-and-play on the inside.

Looney himself, however, doesn't sound too concerned about how these pieces may fall during Training Camp. “Whatever happens, happens. My role is to be the best player that I can be. When the team needs me, my job is to be ready,” Looney told DallasCowboys.com recently. "Right now, it’s about getting better. If my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

There's no question that Joe Looney is both a favorite of the fans, and in the Cowboys locker room. The jolly lineman which NBC's Cris Collinsworth dubbed "Jumbo Joe" has proved his worth both on and off the field during his time in Dallas. Still, he isn't the player now that someone like Frederick is, and he doesn't have the ceiling or potential that someone like Connor Williams has.

One of these interior linemen is likely to be released before the season starts, but my guess would not be Joe Looney. Su'a-Filo did a fine job when Connor Williams missed time due to injury in 2018, but he is likely the odd man out on the interior of the Cowboys offensive line.

Joe Looney's ability and comfortability at the center position is extremely valuable, as is his experience from a season ago playing a full season for this offensive line. It would be extremely difficult for Dallas to move on from him in favor of lesser-known players, especially if Frederick's health is still any sort of question mark.



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Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals’ Offseasons

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals' Offseasons 1

It's been a very busy offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, with many tasks still undone. Their work in free agency and in the Draft has gone pretty well as the front office has managed to keep the team from having unfilled needs throughout the process. Currently, the team is still hard at work negotiating contract extensions with some key Cowboys, most notably, Quarterback Dak Prescott. In the thick of the offseason, it's easy to forget that the Cowboys aren't alone in the NFC East.

That's why today we'll take a look around the division to see what's happened with the three teams the Cowboys will have to battle twice this year. Let's catch up with them, one by one.

Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals' Offseasons

Washington Redskins

After starting the season leading the division, the Redskins' 2018 season went crashing down when Alex Smith suffered a pretty serious injury that will keep him off the gridiron next season. That's why the Redskins signed veteran QB Case Keenum and drafted a first round signal-caller in the Ohio State product, Dwayne Haskins.

If Haskins doesn't get the starting gig in Washington from the get-go, it'll only be a matter of time for the rookie to take over. Keenum hasn't proved his worth yet and he isn't likely to in a poor-coached team such as the Redskins. Drafting Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick was seen by many like a steal, and the team built on that early success by taking pass rusher Montez Sweat, who surprisingly tumbled into the late first round. Their 2019 Draft went pretty well thanks to their top two selections.

They also made a splash in free agency by breaking the bank and giving former Giants Safety Landon Collins an $84M contract averaging 14 million per year. Additionally, they had obtained LB Reuben Foster, but the young player will be out for the season after tearing his ACL in practice. Even still, their defensive front looks impressive. Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat won't be easy to contain.

The Redskins won't be in contention for the division unless Dwayne Haskins dramatically exceeds expectations. However, getting a successful season for their rookie would be a huge win for the franchise.

NFC East QB Picture Could Look Very Different After the Draft 1

Former Duke QB Daniel Jones (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

New York Giants

For the New York Giants there's also an important discussion around the QB position. The team used the sixth overall pick on rookie Daniel Jones, from Duke. It was a surprising selection for many, being only the second QB off the board. The key question is, when will he play? The Giants still have Eli Manning and won't rip the reigns off of his hands just yet.

A change could come when the Giants are clearly out of contention and the coaching staff just wants to see what the rookie can bring to the table prior to 2020.

Odell Beckham is out of New York and in Cleveland, taking one of the Giants' best weapons to the AFC. In exchange, New York got a first round selection (DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson), a third rounder (DE Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion), and S Jabrill Peppers. At wide receiver, the Giants added 30-year old Golden Tate. They decided not to pay Landon Collins and let him leave for free agency.

In what seems like a win-win trade between the Browns and the Giants, the latter swapped pass rusher Olivier Vernon for the former's quality offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler. New York's offensive line will be considerably improved for Saquon Barkley's second season in the NFL, but this team is still far from being a serious contender in the division.

Jordan Howard, Bears

Philadelphia Eagles

Similar to the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles have had a busy, yet quiet, offseason. The reason why is that they're a pretty good football team that will be a tough rival for the division title in the upcoming season. This offseason, they were able to keep a lot of their key players such as C Jason Kelce, DE Brandon Graham, OT Jason Peters, and CB Ronald Darby.

But they've also managed to add new talent at various positions. WR Desean Jackson makes his return to Philly and Jordan Howard arrives from Chicago to help at RB along with the product out of Penn State, Miles Sanders.

For the defense, they signed DT Malik Jackson, despite sending pass rusher Michael Bennett to the New England Patriots. They also signed LB Zach Brown, improving their linebacker group.

Paired with a quality Draft, the Eagles had a heck of an offseason and will be a tough team to beat in 2019. If Carson Wentz, who signed a huge extension a few weeks ago, remains healthy, this will be a dangerous team for the Cowboys. Beatable, sure. But they're certainly not alone in the NFC East race.

Tell me what you think about "Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals’ Offseasons" 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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