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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Giants

Brian Martin

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The Dallas Cowboys are now 1-0 to start the 2017 after an impressive 19-3 victory of the New York Giants. It's always good to get a division win, but the Cowboys did it in a dominant fashion Sunday night in all three phases of the game. I would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly that took place for the Dallas Cowboys last night.

I would first like to say that I was really impressed with the way the Cowboys played the game from beginning to end. They looked to be pretty close to midseason form and it showed in the way they controlled the game.

So, without further do here is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against New York Giants in Week 1 of the 2017 season.

DE DMarcus Lawrence

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Would it be a copout to recognize the entire Dallas Cowboys team and how they performed last night against the New York Giants? Honestly, I think all three phases the game was pretty much dominated by the Cowboys, which is a good sign for things to come. The entire team looked to be in midseason form and controlled the game from start to finish.

The Cowboys offense was able to move the ball up and down the field at will against a tough Giants defense. There were some spectacular catches made by Brice Butler and Cole Beasley to keep drives alive, but if there was one area that needs improvement it might be the red zone playcalling.

The Cowboys defense was a huge question mark heading into this contest. No one really knew what to expect from them, but they pretty much shut down the entire Giants offense and flustered QB Eli Manning the entire game. The bright spot here might just be the pass rush. They were able to get home on several occasions and that will only help the overall performance of the entire defense.

The Bad

I'm probably nitpicking here, but the only bad I noticed last night for the Cowboys against the Giants was that Dak Prescott never seemed comfortable. I don't know if it was just early-season jitters or if the Giants defense just gives Prescott more problems then others, but something was off.

Prescott seemed to have a problem with his accuracy. He overthrew several of his receivers early in the game and missed a surefire touchdown to Dez Bryant by overthrowing him as well. Luckily, that missed TD didn't come back to bite the Cowboys in the butt, but those opportunities must be capitalized on.

Prescott was able to overcome everything in the end and helped the Cowboys offense outscore the Giants. It definitely wasn't the best performance we have seen from him, but he continued to grind it out despite his struggles. That's all you can ask for from your starting QB or anyone for that matter.

RB Ezekiel Elliott

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Ugly

Again, this may be nitpicking, but Ezekiel Elliott just didn't look himself last night. You didn't see the same kind of energy or explosiveness we're used to seeing from him and he just looked kind of lethargic at times. I'm sure all of this suspension stuff hanging over his head has had some kind of effect on him, but I expected him to come out against the Giants and run angry.

Zeke Elliott didn't have a bad game by any means. He was able to rack up 104 rushing yards on 24 carries and added another 36 yards through the air on five catches. That's not a bad performance at all, especially against a Giants defense that is known for shutting down the run. But, I am curious to know if something was affecting Elliott last night. He just didn't look like himself to me.

What's your good, bad, and ugly for the Cowboys against the Giants?


Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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5 Comments
  • Hobbes49

    Good article Brian. I agree with you wholeheartedly about Dak and Zeke. They both had good nights don’t get me wrong, but neither was in top form. Dak looked skittish to me and Zeke not quite up to speed. The bright side to this is that I totally expect them to be their old selves next week. I think Dak was too hyped to put the whole “can he beat the Giants?” thing to bed, and was pressing, and I am sure Zeke was mentally and emotionally strung out after all the suspension shenanigans. It should be out of their system but time we get to Denver. I know the Giants offense is terrible right now, but i am jazzed about the defense’s performance last night. The line looked strong, which helped the secondary look good, and Lee and Smith are gonna be an absolute monster LB team by the end of this season. All in all, a great start to the season for the ‘Boys, and it should only get better from here.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting. I was really pleased with the entire team’s performance overall. It was a great way to start the season and hopefully everybody rounds into form quickly. The first game of the season is always a struggle to get through, but I’m expecting big things from this 2017 squad.

  • Russ_Te

    Dak only played 2 quarters in preseason and may just have been rusty against a live opponent. When he had that great run breaking tackles, finished it upright – has to slide there. No extra shots on QB awarded to the defense.

    We know last night was the B game, so it’s upside for him in Denver.

    EE, I agree he was not at full intensity. I’m sure the accusations would be nearly impossible for someone to not get worn down by. The injunction will hold IMO and he’ll get off it and back to winning the rushing title.

    Morris ahead of McFadden? Not on board. McF is the guy to gash defenses when EE needs a breather.

    • Brian Martin

      Everything I’ve heard and read said that Morris has been outperforming McFadden and that it wasn’t even close. I honestly don’t really like either option. I think they are both pretty much in decline as players and would much rather see Rod Smith see some carries.

      • Russ_Te

        Looking at preseason, Morris 5.3 to McF 5.1 per. But McFadden is faster & more explosive. It might signal that if EE were to get suspended, Morris is the workhorse and they want McF to bring his skills in on 3rd down.

        I think they both have some gas left in the tank, age 28 and 30 respectively, and McF had a lot of games where he was out with injuries & not getting pounded.

        Fortunately Elliott will probably not face any suspension this year. I don’t see Morris filling the shoes completely. I was very pleased of course with the game the defense had Sunday, but as Tapper, Smith and the secondary rookies get worked in, I still think the TOP game is the best strategy.

Player News

Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Planning

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?

David Moore on Twitter

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.

Jess Haynie on Twitter

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.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OL Fails To Crack NFL.com’s Top 10

Kevin Brady

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Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Often considered a top unit in football, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line seemed to take a step back in 2017. Mostly due to injuries and free agent departures on the left side, the Cowboys were unable to form the same solid unit we have seen in years past.

Despite their struggles, most would still consider them a top 5-10 offensive line in the NFL. At least, that's what I'd expect considering they still feature three All-Pro caliber players upfront.

Matt Harmon of NFL.com put together a list of the top 10 offensive lines in football based on performance in the 2017 season. The list was strictly developed through the use of next gen stats, which defined pressure as "pass-rushing play in which a defender gets within 2 yards of the opposing quarterback at the time of the throw or sack." In addition, "yards gained before close" was taken into account. This metric is meant to measure "the amount of rushing yards a running back gains before opposing defenders come within 1 yard of the player."

After compiling all of these stats, the Cowboys offensive line was left off of the list completely. Maybe even more surprising, however, was that the Philadelphia Eagles' line failed to crack the top ten as well. That's two lines with 3-4 Pro Bowl caliber players each missing the cut.

According to Matt Harmon the Cowboys allowed a pressure on 28.6% of Dak Prescott's dropbacks, 12th highest in the league. Dallas also ranked 20th in the league in YGBC in 2017.

While I do have some issues with the methodology of these statistics, the final result is actually hard to argue with. Down the stretch the Cowboys offense was downright pathetic at times. Regardless of how highly we thought of them prior to the year, the offense didn't perform to their standards, or the standards of a top ten unit.

Heading into 2018, however, I do expect this offensive line to begin to regain form. La'el Collins should continue to improve on the right side, and he is already an adequate starting right tackle regardless. I also expect Dallas to address their left guard spot, potentially within the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In the end the success of this line may hinge on the health of Tyron Smith, though. When healthy, Smith is the best left tackle in all of football. But that "when healthy" caveat has certainly hurt the Cowboys offense.

The way the front office handles their offensive line this offseason will play a huge role in the success, or lack thereof, of the Cowboys in 2018.


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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

After playing sparsely for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, veteran cornerback Bene Benwikere is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Could he stay in Dallas, or will he have to find work elsewhere?

Dallas was concerned about its CB depth with heavy reliance on young players and Jourdan Lewis barely participating in the offseason. Therefore, the Cowboys traded a sixth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Benwikere just before Week One.

After a stellar rookie season with the Carolina Panthers in 2014, Bene had suffered a steep fall before landing in Cincy. Injuries and poor play got him cut midway through 2016 by the Panthers, and then Benwikere bounced from Miami to Green Bay before finally signing with the Bengals in the 2017 offseason.

Though a few years removed from being an All-Rookie Team standout, Bene Benwikere is still just 26 and may still draw interest from scouts who remember his better days. He is likely counting on that, because the Cowboys' secondary is starting to fill up.

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Bene Benwikere (#23)

The Cowboys currently have exciting sophomores Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis expected to start in 2018. Anthony Brown is back for his third season and will be active on game days.

Orlando Scandrick's future is cloudy, but Dallas won't get much cap relief from releasing him this season. They may elect to keep the veteran for one more year, which would all but fill out the CB depth chart.

Even if Scandrick leaves, talk that Dallas may move Byron Jones back to corner from safety would only leave Benwikere in the same disadvantaged position for finding work.

The best chance that Bene Benwikere has to stay with the Cowboys is if new Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard remembers him from 2014. Coaches often feel that can get more out of a player than the last guy, and Richard may see potential in Benwikere that his last few teams couldn't unlock.

Four years ago may be too long, though, and especially with a fresh new crop of young players coming into the league. Especially if they keep Scandrick, Dallas may want to use the rest of their roster spots on younger prospects.

As it stands, Bene Benwikere is unlikely to return to the Cowboys. However, given the flashes of potential he once showed in the NFL, you can't be certain that Dallas won't want to give him one more chance.


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