Going into the 2018 season, Jason Garrett's seat might as well be a throne of fire 🔥, at least as far as the fan base is concerned. There are already discussions amongst Cowboys Nation about who should replace the head coach in the 2019 offseason, but we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?
Let’s let a guy coach 2018 first before we begin hiring his replacement.
I’ve stated multiple times my affection for Jason Garrett as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s helped them effect real change in the front office that has led to much better drafting, an excellent identity on the offensive side of the football, and he's been a good leader for the team.
How many times has this team quit on him? The only game I can think of them falling flat is the game against the Denver Broncos in week two of last year.
I won’t argue that he’s had some disappointing moments as the head coach. Clock management and in-game adjustments have been his downfall at times, and relying way too much on his coordinators.
Realistically speaking, 2018 could be his last. I get that. As much as I think he’s a good coach, there’s only so much leash, even for a Jerry Jones guy.
2018 has to be the year this squad breaks through to the NFC Championship Game.
<Pleading> It has to be!!!
I ran a poll on Twitter last week to see what Cowboys Nation thought Garrett needed to do in order to stay on as head coach for 2019:
This week's Friday #CowboysPoll is gonna center around the Head Coach. What's the minimum that the team needs to achieve for you to keep Coach Garrett? For the record, for me, it's a playoff win. Wild card or divisional. NFC is stacked. #CowboysNation
I meant to run it longer, but it looks like Cowboys fans want to see the Dallas Cowboys make it to the NFC Championship Game.
Honestly, I was a bit surprised by the results. I must have some pretty level-headed followers.
Personally, anything less than a playoff victory -- either in the wild card or the divisional round -- would be a disappointment. While I think the Dallas Cowboys are good enough to make the playoffs, because of how deep the NFC is, they could also miss the tournament altogether.
Just as I look at things now, I see 10 teams that could make the playoffs in 2018. Sadly, there are only six spots.
- Atlanta Falcons
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Dallas Cowboys
- Minnesota Vikings
- Los Angeles Rams
- Carolina Panthers
- New Orleans Saints
- Green Bay Packers
- Detroit Lions
- Seattle Seahawks
Not all of those teams will make the playoffs, but they'll all be contending for division and wild card playoff spots. Every year there is a team that surprises; could the New York Giants or Washington Redskins surprise in the NFC East?
Hey Roger, let’s talk expansion of the playoff field.
And before you start telling me that I’m building in excuses if the team fails to reach the NFC Championship or the Super Bowl, please... just stop. I’m just trying to have a realistic conversation about the fact that the NFC is stacked as a conference.
Since the Green Bay Packers made the Super Bowl in back to back seasons in Super Bowl XXXI and XXXII, only the Seattle Seahawks have represented the NFC in the NFL's championship game in back-to-back seasons.
The NFC is deep.
Gauging the Temperature of the Nation
So how hot is Jason Garrett's seat at the moment? Obviously, a lot can change this during the course of a season, but I'd say Jason Garrett's seat is heated like an 80 degree day. It's warm when you're standing in the sun, but it could be a nice day if you're in the shade and there's a nice breeze.
As those of us who live in Texas know, the weather can change in an instant, much like the security of an NFL head coach.
Jason Garrett has proven to me that he is a leader of men and has done a good job of walking the team through the transition they've had at quarterback, but he leaves a lot to be desired as an in-game x's and o's guy.
2018 is a huge year for the Dallas Cowboys and their head coach. In my opinion, Garrett needs to get them to the playoffs and win a game, whether it's a wild card or divisional round game. Sure, I'd love to see this team win a Super Bowl this season, but I'm also realistic in how difficult it is to win a Super Bowl.
Well, for everyone but Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots at least.
In your opinion, how hot is Jason Garret's seat?
Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?
The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.
The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.
All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?
Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.
In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.
That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.
So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.
Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.
It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.
Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.
Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.
Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?
Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018
NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.
If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.
The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.
Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.
Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.
Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.
But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.
We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.
And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.
Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory
A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.
Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.
Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.
El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.
En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.
Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.
El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.
Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.
Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.
Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.
Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.
Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.
Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.
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