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Every Monday for the last five of them we've sat around every corner of Cowboys Nation and celebrated #VictoryPoloMonday. Our Cowboys didn't play this past week because they were on bye, but that doesn't mean today isn't about celebrating a victory.
At first glance it appears the Cowboys "lost" their bye week because the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles both came away with wins (the Redskins lost, for what it's worth). A wise donkey once said that ogres are like onions, and I believe the same thing to be true about bye weeks - they have layers.
Let's peel back the bye week to find out how the Cowboys actually came away as the victors.
The NFC East
It's easy to be fearful of the Eagles right now. They've won four games on the season, two of which came against the Steelers and Vikings, and Carson Wentz has for the most part looked fantastic. The crazy thing about Philadelphia is that it's not even Carson who's carrying them, it's their defense and special teams.
While it's easy to fear Philly, I've said on my daily show OchoLive that the true biggest NFC East threat to the Cowboys is the Washington Redskins - who lost in Week 7. This is an offensive league, and while Philly's D/ST are outstanding... the Redskins have the best offense in the division outside the Cowboys.
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is beginning to come closer and closer to his 2015 division-winning form. In the last two weeks he's thrown for 564 yards, 3 touchdowns (not to mention a rushing one), and just one interception all without his number one threat Jordan Reed on the field. When Reed is back they'll be even more difficult to contain.
The Giants won, and that's whatever. Would it have been cool if they lost? Sure. We don't need to worry about the Giants, though. They have yet to put together a competent offense despite theirs featuring Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, they have a huge off-the-field controversy hanging over their heads, and it took Case Keenum being Case Keenum just for them to beat the Rams. They are not a threat.
What's most important to consider as far as the Cowboys Bye Week is concerned is that while the Eagles did win... the Cowboys get to play them next. We get to directly influence Philadelphia and impact how we want this thing to shake out.
The most clear cut way the Dallas Cowboys won their bye week is if you truly believe that this team is for real.
If you're of the mindset that this team is going to do some damage come playoff time - and you should be - then this bye week could not have gone any better. Here's another layer to the onion.
Close your eyes (it's hard to read when you do that, I get it) and think about the best teams in the NFC outside our division. Who you got? This is my list:
- Green Bay Packers
- Minnesota Vikings
- Detroit Lions
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks
- Arizona Cardinals
This makes the most sense. We're seven weeks into the 2016 season and if any NFC team (again non-NFC East squads) beyond these makes the playoffs, color me stunned.
The Packers won on Thursday Night Football (a snoozer of a game), but the Cowboys have already beaten them so hold a tiebreaker. Lovely! The Vikings and Falcons, arguably the top two teams outside the Cowboys in the conference, both lost... and that could be huge come time to decide who gets a first round bye.
Detroit won, but this relates back to our NFC East point. The Lions have now beaten both the Eagles and Redskins, and considering that the Cowboys play them on December 26th (the Monday Night Football finale) they'll have a chance to pick up another edge. If the NFC East tiebreakers reach a point of conference games/common opponents, the Cowboys beating the Lions would edge them out over the Eagles and Redskins.
Week 7 gave us one of the weirdest games we've seen in a while in terms of the Sunday Night Football "showdown" in the desert, but the Cardinals and Seahawks walked away with a tie. A tie! That's one half less of a win afforded to whoever would have won. Here is that list updated with these team's season and conference records.
- Green Bay Packers: 4-2 Overall, 3-2 in conference
- Minnesota Vikings: 5-1 Overall, 3-1 in conference
- Detroit Lions: 4-2 Overall, 3-2 in conference
- Atlanta Falcons: 4-3 Overall, 2-2 in conference
- Seattle Seahawks: 4-1-1 Overall, 2-1-1 in conference
- Arizona Cardinals: 3-3-1 Overall, 2-1-1 in conference
The Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 Overall, and 4-1 in conference. They are the only team of these to have at least four wins against NFC teams... that's a huge ace card to have right now.
Thank you Bye Week, you were so good to us.
REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday
According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.
Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...
Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.
Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.
This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.
Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.
This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder
The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.
Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation
Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.
He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.
Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap
It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.
As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.
It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.
- TE Jason Witten (unretired)
- TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
- DT Christian Covington (Texans)
The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.
Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.
Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.
- WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
- TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
- DL David Irving (shenanigans)
- LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)
Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.
Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.
Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.
While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.
- FB Jamize Olawale
- WR Tavon Austin
- WR Allen Hurns (team option)
- OT Cam Fleming
- G/C Joe Looney (team option)
- DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
- DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
- LB Justin March-Lillard
- S Darian Thompson
While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?
The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.
Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.
Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.
On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.
~ ~ ~
If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.
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