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Greg Hardy: Cowboys Should Let Him Walk in Free Agency

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Cowboys Blog - WE STILL DEM BOYZ. #SACKSCOMING: Greg Hardy Sacks Philadelphia

The 2015 season isn't officially over, but it's safe to say the end is near. That said, it's time to stop focusing mainly on the rest of the season and start thinking about next year. Now is the time where players show the staff that they have a reason to be here. Over the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys will have a ton of decisions to make. One of those decisions will be what to do with Greg Hardy.

In terms of a football player, Hardy is an absolute animal on the football field. He has a lot of temper problems and he is no stranger to making it known that he's frustrated. Nevertheless, Hardy is a guy that can get double-digit sack numbers using his combination of sheer strength speed, and athleticism.

Off the field, Hardy comes with a history of baggage, as many of you know. We all know about the story with his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder being thrown on assault rifles laid across a sofa. That's not the only thing that concerns me. Hardy is extremely immature. He changed his Twitter profile to express how he is still a good person, only to have it taken down after a meeting with head coach Jason Garrett.

In 2014, the Cowboys were a real solid football team and I believe a large reason because of that came from the fact that they weren't involved in the media. Dallas was very balanced last year. They kept quiet and they played phenomenal football. This year, with all of the injuries and the Hardy drama, the Cowboys' locker room has to be a mess, and it's shown in basically every game since Week 5, which was Hardy's first game on the roster.

In 2016, Randy Gregory will join Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence in the starting lineup across the defensive line. Gregory has been a bit of a project, but he's improved each game over the past few weeks. With Gregory finding a groove with his game and Lawrence expected to continue to develop and Crawford already being the stud that he is, the Cowboys may simply not need Hardy at all.

If Hardy gets signed long-term, the Cowboys will not only be committing a lot of money, but they will also be taking on the risk that he has another mental breakdown and given how often that has happened this season, I wouldn't bank on that not being the case. The Cowboys need less noise, the Cowboys do not need Greg Hardy.



An online sports writer for about three years now, Ryan is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He writes about his favorite team on Inside The Star. Ryan also writes for other publications like Roster Watch, Rant Sports, and Cuse Nation. Ryan is a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Zac Fields

    December 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I won't belabor my Greg Hardy feelings too much since I've shared my thoughts in several threads, so I'll keep this one brief.

    I strongly believe Hardy has been affected substantially by the media and fan outrage/hatred that has been spewed at him all season. I'm positive he's been drinking (even if only at home), and I'm positive this stuff kills him inside just like it would any one of us. I'm sure all of that has led to the problems we've been seeing this season and probably also the inconsistencies we've seen on the football field.

    Look at how his former Panthers teammates spoke about him. Called him a good teammate and a great guy. They were shaking his hand and hugging him throughout the game and post game. I think that tells you a lot about what you can expect from Hardy. I sure know the Cowboys weren't giving Jay Ratliff that same treatment after he left… and I bring Ratliff up because he displayed that same/similar "passion" while he was with the Cowboys that led to quite a few unacceptable situations.

    I'd still just hate to see them take all this harassment… all this flack for signing Hardy this offseason only to let him walk in free agency. Some other team WILL sign him, and the most-likely scenario is that he'll finish out his career and be known as one of the NFL's great pass-rushers. But he'll do that for some other team that will receive not even 1/4 of the criticism the Cowboys did for signing him.

    If he comes cheap, I hope the Cowboys double-down.

    • michael

      December 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Absolutely! Once this guy goes thru it i think he comes out the other side a better person and player. I wanna see him back one more year minimum.

  2. Jess Haynie

    Jess Haynie

    December 7, 2015 at 7:22 am

    If they know they're going to let him walk then they should cut him TODAY. Don't give him a paycheck for Washington or any other game this year. That's $5 million or more that you could carry over to next year's cap, and extra developmental reps to give young guys like Gregory, Russell, and Edwards.

  3. SilverandBlueSpirit

    December 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I wouldn't mind him being gone but if he is brought back i'd only wish for it not to be as big a distraction as it was this year. We don't have any say in that though and from the beginning I believe the media would start in on him again and Jerry for not letting him go. We'd begin the season with a big distraction once again…and the rest of the team would have to bear up under that from day 1 through no fault of their own. They have NO say just like we don't in whom Jerry, Stephen etc. decide to cut or bring back.

  4. Will Adams

    December 8, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I would love Hardy to be back next year. if not for the Media and two faced commentators no one would have A problem with Hardy Anyone who has taken 10 minutes to research the story and listen to the 911 tape you would know Hardy was Railroaded by the media and handled the Situation how it was supposed to been handled. Hardy is the Victim of a $$$ hoe he is not Ray Rice what so ever. Now I never stand up or defend any man who beats on Women and would beat A mans ass if I seen him hitting on A women but in this case I stand behind Hardy
    911 tape can be heard here http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_x2dnk4f5/

  5. Zac Fields

    December 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Welcome Will!

    I've been pretty vocal around these parts in support of Hardy, so it's nice to see someone else with a similar perspective. Everything I've read about the situation makes me believe that Hardy's incident was a mutual physical fight between two consenting adults.

    That doesn't mean Hardy isn't/wasn't wrong for beating her up, but I don't believe this is a case of some angry guy storming into the house and slapping around his girl just because he feels like it. America is so polarized on domestic abuse that we generally won't entertain the idea that sometimes two adults of opposite genders can get angry and fight each other.

    Beyond all that, I think Greg Hardy and Dez Bryant are not all that dissimilar. They are emotional, passionate, and yes, aggressive football players. It just so happens that when Hardy behaves that way, the media jumps all over him because of the domestic violence incident.

    Time and success cures everything. I believe Hardy CAN be a great football player and a decent human-being and I would love for the Cowboys to re-sign him on the cheap. I'm not desperate for it… if they let him go then I'm not going to cry about it but I think they should keep him.

  6. Crecenciotovar

    December 9, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Ya ONE MORE YEAR. SIGN HARDY FOR ONE MORE YEAR. ILL BET WE HAVE A GOOD YEAR.

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/1085291591399546880?s=21

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" 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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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams

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Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.



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