If you ever wanted to learn to bet on sports then I would suggest you click on over to Sportsbook Review, but if you ever wanted a lesson in resolve then I would submit to you as evidence the Dallas Cowboys' 36-35 win over the Giants last week. It was a game that meant nothing to Dallas, after already clinching the division crown and waiting to see which wildcard entry they would host. But they came to play, not roll over, and mustered a victory that was steeped in pride rather than desperation.
Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett didn’t completely mail it in but let’s just say the package was nearly full as he held out Ezekiel Elliott and two of his top offensive linemen. He did, however, allow Dak Prescott to suit up and air it out against Big Blue in Week 17 and the results were nothing short of dazzling.
Prescott melted the New York secondary like butter in a blast furnace and when the dust settled, he had passed for 387 yards, four touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Let’s also not forget Tight End Blake Jarwin, who caught seven of the eight passes thrown to him for a season-high 119 yards and notched three touchdown receptions after failing to score all season.
Whether this victory translates into plenty of good vibrations in their game against the Seahawks this week is anyone’s guess. However, it would appear that having your starting quarterback buoyed by what was arguably his finest performance of the year, coupled with a refreshed offensive line and a superstar tailback who has had two weeks free of violent hits, is nothing but a big ball of good karma when the team needs it most.
Head Coach Jason Garrett had this to say after the game:
"That might be for people outside our building, talking about the meaningful or meaningless nature of a game. They're all very meaningful to us. It's opportunity for us to improve as a football team, to finish strong, to have some momentum going into the playoffs."
It’s unlikely Garrett would have shared the same sentiment had the Cowboys come out flat and lost to their divisional rival from New York. After all, if all the games were truly meaningful, then Elliott would have started and so too would have his entire starting offensive line.
But let’s give credit where credit is due. Garrett did start Prescott and more importantly, he let him finish what he started.
The coach didn’t get squeamish down the stretch and pull Prescott when the team needed him most. With just over a minute to play, Prescott took the snap from center, scanned the field on fourth and 15, and found Cole Beasley for a 32-yard touchdown strike. Garrett then ordered his charges back on the field to go for the win via a two-point conversion. Prescott, hot as a pistol, found Michael Gallup for a quick conversion and victory was imminent.
As the Seattle Seahawks enter the postseason, their Week 17 result may have been identical to Dallas’s in terms of the W on their record, but their execution in doing so against the worst team in football, the Arizona Cardinals, was hardly inspiring. For those that want to learn to bet on sports, the first rule is to learn what a point spread is, and in this case, Seattle won the game 27-24 but never even sniffed covering as 14 ½ point home favorites.
Many Cowboys fans will remember the 24-13 loss suffered early in the season to Seattle but this team has evolved since that time and the acquisition of Amari Cooper has given the Dallas offense far more swagger than it had before.
And finally, the Cowboys have won seven of their last eight and are 7-1 straight up at home this season.
Although it would be foolish of the Cowboys and its fans to overlook Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week, they do say Los Angeles is beautiful in mid-January. Here’s hoping we find out for ourselves after the week is done.
Why I’m Not Buying The Jason Witten Rejuvenation Story
Last week, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made headlines with some quotes about the return of Jason Witten. Neither Garrett nor Witten tend to make headlines with their words often, but the two combined to do so with a quote this week.
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.” - Jason Garrett on Witten.
Multiple Cowboys' media outlets ran with these quotes, looking to show that the Cowboys have found a version of Jason Witten that they have not seen in quite some time. They are, publicly, stating that they believe a year away from the game did Witten some good, and that he will be a much healthier and fresher player in 2019 than he was back when he last played in 2017.
As a fan of the team, I sure hope this is the case. But as a realistic human being, I can't get behind this at all.
Jason Witten hasn't been very good for quite some time now. I know he's a Cowboy legend, and will forever be a fan favorite, but the facts are the facts. As a run blocker Witten has regressed greatly in his later years. More often it seemed he was re-adjusting his jersey after a missed block than he was making blocks to spring Ezekiel Elliott on the edge.
As a receiver, Witten's much slower than he used to be. And while he was never a blazer who relied on his speed to win, his lack of speed certainly holds him back in today's game. And if the Cowboys want to be multiple and versatile on offense, I'm not sure how a greatly-aged tight end helps them to do so.
He's still the smart, instinctive route runner he's always been, but at 37 years old what can we realistically expect from him?
I'll be honest, I'm very skeptical that Jason Witten is going to give the Cowboys anything in 2019. Maybe earlier in the season he will look better than expected, but can he withstand a full NFL season? It's impossible to say for sure now, but I'm absolutely not buying that he's rejuvenated or extra-fresh after a year off from football.
Connor Williams Hopes Added Weight, Experience Aids Him In 2019
Offensive lineman Connor Williams had himself an interesting start to his young career. The second round pick was expected to be a plug-and-play guard for the Cowboys, earning the starting left guard spot from just about the first day of training camp.
The results from Williams' play were mixed, however. At moments Connor Williams looked like his athletic, technically sound self, working well on the Cowboys outside zone runs. Other times, though, he was simply overpowered by bigger and stronger defensive tackles.
Williams lost his left guard spot due to injury late in the season, and when Xavier Su'a-Filo came in and played relatively well, fans soured a bit on the then-rookie lineman. Still there was no question that Williams was the better player between the two, and he rightfully started in both the Cowboys playoff games last season.
Now entering year two, and with third round pick Connor McGovern potentially competing for a guard spot and rumors of a move to right tackle swirling around him, Williams believes he's done enough to improve before his Sophomore year.
Connor Williams spoke to DallasCowboys.com, and gave some decent quotes on what his offseason preparation has looked like thus far. Williams emphasized that his main goal was to add strength and size, something he looks to have clearly done based on recent photographs.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good position. Now it’s just about refining the technique and feeling comfortable.” - Connor Williams
According to Williams he played at a "light 300" pounds in 2018, but is now tipping the scales at 315 pounds. That's quite the difference, especially considering that Williams carries the weight pretty well in his frame.
All Pro veteran guard Zack Martin has taken Williams under his wing, as the young lineman credits Martin for being his lifting partner this offseason.
Right tackle might be in Connor Williams' 2020 future, but as of now, he has to ready himself to compete at left guard against the heavier defensive tackles he once struggled with. It's very encouraging to see the progress he has made so far.
Travis Frederick’s Return Highlights Start Of Cowboys’ OTAs
The Cowboys opening of voluntary OTAs came with some serious excitement from football-starved fans. But as we all know, these workouts are just about meaningless in terms of storylines for the upcoming season.
I say "just about meaningless" because there are some storylines which matter, though. Travis Frederick's return, of course, is one of those storylines.
After missing all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, Frederick appears to have gained his strength and ability back heading into 2019. Now he is back where he belongs, as the starting center for the Dallas Cowboys.
@tfrederick72 🔙 at it! 💪🏼 #OTAs https://t.co/wht2Lh5yr5
Travis Frederick's importance to the Cowboys cannot be understated. In addition to being one of the best linemen in all of football, the All-Pro veteran center is responsible for much of the pre-snap communication across the offensive line. His absence was clearly felt in 2018, even as Joe Looney played well-above the preseason expectation level.
Frederick returns to anchor an offensive line which is surrounded with some serious pre-season hype. With Zack Martin back to full health, Connor Williams having a year under his belt, and newly-drafted Connor McGovern comes in with high hopes of starting on the interior.
Regardless of how the rest of the Cowboys' offensive line works itself out, it was great to see Travis Frederick back in action, even if it was during a non-contact voluntary practice.
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