As a Staff Writer for Inside The Star, it is not always easy to come up with ideas to write about the Dallas Cowboys, especially during the downtime between the end of mini-camp practices and the start of training camp.
Well, I was experiencing every writer's worst nightmare and had developed writers block. No matter what I tried I couldn't come up with any kind of an idea that I could build an article around. That was until I was scrolling through twitter over the Fourth of July weekend and saw a picture that Bryan Broaddus had posted to his account.
This just happened. Love to be on the lake.
Now, you may be asking yourself what does Bryan Broaddus' picture posing with a largemouth bass have to do with the Dallas Cowboys? My answer to you would be absolutely nothing.
What the picture did for me however was provide a spark of inspiration and gave me an idea of how the Dallas Cowboys can handle the backlash from Rolando McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory being suspended.
You see, I used to be really into all the outdoorsy types of activities before becoming a quadriplegic, and bass fishing was hands down one of my favorite things to do. There used to be no other way I would like to spend a nice relaxing day than on the lake fishing. Unfortunately, those days are in the past, but that still doesn't keep me from thinking about it and reminiscing.
Well, while reminiscing after seeing Broaddus' photo I had a thought in the back of my mind that wouldn't go away no matter how hard I tried. I kept thinking to myself how would I handle the suspension situation if I was a decision-maker for the Dallas Cowboys.
The word that kept popping up for me was backlash, but probably not the way you are thinking of the word as being defined. No, you're probably thinking of backlash as when a large number of people have a strong reaction to some type of social or political development, but that's not the type of backlash I'm talking about. I'm talking about a fishing backlash.
What is a fishing backlash?
There are several ways a backlash can happen, but I'll try to walk you through the process of how backlashes occur.
It all starts with pushing the release button on the reel, which allows the spool to spin freely. You keep your thumb firmly on the spool while you are winding up to cast and remove your thumb at the end of your casting motion. This allows the spool to spin and release line.
Then, just before your lure hits the water you want to put your thumb back on the spool and keep it from releasing more line. If you fail to reapply your thumb in time to the spool, the end result will end with you having a tangled mess which is commonly referred to as a backlash.
Fixing a fishing backlash and how it applies to the Cowboys suspended players.
Fixing a fishing backlash can only be done two ways and those two ways are exactly how I think I would handle the entire suspension situation for the Dallas Cowboys.
You've seen the picture above of a backlash by now and probably have a good idea how difficult it would be to untangle all of that mess. In reality, it's not all that difficult. It just takes a little bit of time and patience, and that is how I see the Dallas Cowboys dealing with Lawrence and Gregory.
You start by pulling the line out from the reel and every time it gets hung up you use your fingers to try and un-kink the line. You continue this process until everything is untangled and you can reel all of the fishing line. Like I said, it's a time-consuming process and something that not everyone is willing to try and accomplish.
I think that is kind of the same mindset that the Cowboys have with Lawrence and Gregory. They are going to take the patient approach and hope that it pays off in the long run. They have big plans for both players, but there recent suspensions is concerning. They will receive the benefit of the doubt for now, in the hopes that they can turn their careers around for the betterment of the team.
The other way to fix a fishing backlash is exactly how I would handle the entire Rolando McClain suspension situation.
Last year, the Dallas Cowboys decided to go ahead and reel up the fishing line that was not wrapped around the spool, choosing to address the problem at a later date. The problem with this is that you're going to have to deal with it sooner or later and that is the situation they are faced with currently with Rolando McClain.
At this point, there is no way of untangling the fishing backlash. It's not worth the time to try and fix. It's easier to grab a pair of scissors or a knife and start cutting away the tangled line, thus starting all over.
I think it's time to cut Rolando McClain out right and move on. He has continuously proven to be untrustworthy and that's simply not the type of player you want on your team.
Unfortunately, the talent that he possesses is what has kept him with the Cowboys organization for so long, despit his untrustworthiness. On the field, when he is mentally focused and physically prepared he is one of the better linebackers in the entire league.
But the time is come. The Dallas Cowboys need to send a message to the rest of the team and let them all know that this type of behavior is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.
Would you handle the backlash situation differently?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions. I would love to hear what you think about this topic.
Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke
It's a debate that has raged on social media for some time now and it likely won't slow down as the offseason progresses and the Dallas Cowboys begin to hand out massive contracts to their top players. Pay Ezekiel Elliott? Pay Byron Jones? If you could only pay one, which would you pay?
This week fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer, Kevin Brady took to Twitter to poll the populous and his results were a bit surprising to me.
if you can only pay one it should be
The results inspired me to see what would happen if I put the same poll on my timeline.
Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?
On Monday, Kevin wrote a piece looking at one of the difficult decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys this offseason or next. If the Cowboys could only extend Byron Jones OR Ezekiel Elliott, who should they choose? Kevin, as am I, is a firm believer in Byron Jones ability and says the Cowboys should extend them, and I agree. But let's look at the other side of the argument.
To begin, the Cowboys should and probably will get both guys contract extensions either this offseason or next. It's not impossible with the cap continuing to increase at a rate of about $8-12 million per year that the Cowboys will have the space to get the deals done that they need to get done. Ezekiel Elliott and Byron Jones included.
Byron Jones settled in nicely at cornerback during his first full season at cornerback and knowing what we know about Jones, he won't be satisfied with a second team All-Pro appearance. Expect him to get better. However, if there's a single player that represents the current identity of the Dallas Cowboys, it's Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys made him the fourth overall pick in 2016 and haven't looked back in their plan to establish the running game. For his career Elliott has averaged 26.9 touches per game over the course of his 40 games.
Here's a look at what Elliott's per game and per 16 game paces look like through the first three seasons of his career.
As you can see from the table above, Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 131.2 total yards per game for his career. In his rookie season he had 1,994 total yards and he sat out the week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cowboys had the NFC and home field advantage locked up. In 2017, Elliott sat out six games and still had nearly 1,000 yards rushing. In 2018, Elliott broke through the 2,000 total yard barrier after seeing a huge increase in his targets and receptions.
Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Dallas Cowboys could have hoped for and more. With the leadership role he's taken with the team, he's a player that leads both vocally and by example. There are few players on the Dallas Cowboys that give as much effort as he does each snap. How many times has it looked like Elliott was about to get dropped for a two or three yard loss only to grind through tackles to pick up a four yard gain? How many times has he bounced off tacklers to get to the first down marker? Ezekiel Elliott is the human personification of dirty yards, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Elliott can't take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Elliott's is a game breaker who threatens the defense every time he steps on the field.
In 2018, Elliott led the NFL in yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. His 949 yards after contact in 2018 would have ranked 13th in the NFL in rushing, which was better than David Johnson's 940 yards rushing last season.
Not many running backs effect a football game like Ezekiel Elliott does.
Few players outside of the quarterback position are as much of a focal point for their offense while being an attention grabber for opposing defenses like Ezekiel Elliott is. In 2018, he saw eight or more men in the box on nearly 25% of his carries in 2018. Some of that is related to the Dallas Cowboys insistence on using two tight ends on 50% of their running plays (per Sharp Football), but the other aspect is related to how much they respect the Dallas Cowboys running game. Since the 2014, the Cowboys have been synonymous with running the football. DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, and now Ezekiel Elliott have been the faces of that running game behind the Cowboys elite offensive line.
Even in a down year for offensive line play from the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott still managed to lead the NFL in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott made the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years as well. Were it not for the railroad job done by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2017, there's a really good chance that Elliott leads the league in rushing three years in a row and that the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs all three seasons.
Sure, the running back position is undervalued in the NFL and rushing yardage can be replaced, but there are intangibles to Elliott's game that are very difficult to replace. His ability to grind out the dirty yards, break big plays, create yards after contact, pass protect, be a threat as a receiver, and his leadership make him a player that is difficult to replace.
Yes, Byron Jones was really good in 2018 and deserves to get paid by the Dallas Cowboys as well, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player on the Cowboys roster who has been as consistent and dominating week in and week out as Ezekiel Elliott has been over the last three years.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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