The Cowboys started the game against Tampa sluggish, pedestrian, and uninspired. First few drives only yielded field goals and the defense had more than a few holes in it.
After the 1st quarter the score was a shock to most as the Bucs stuck with the ‘Boys as they only trailed 6-0.
The second quarter was even more ordinary as both teams seemed to maneuver their way around the field about as good as a blind person. Tony Romo threw in front, behind, and over receivers as they marched to an eventual 13-7 halftime lead after a 42 yard pitch and catch between Romo and Miles Austin ended in a touchdown.
Going into halftime the team still seemed to be finding its way as the defensive secondary looked confused and out of sync.
But the second half was a different story.
Bum’s son must have fired the troops up in the locker room because the Cowboys emerged more focused in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Immediately out the gate the ‘Boys were swinging as Romo tossed a 66 yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams and the Cowboys went up 20-7.
Seemed as if Dallas was about to blow the doors off, but Leftwich marched the Bucs back down the field and newly acquired running back Derrick Ward scored on a one yard touchdown run.
That was pretty much the last ray of hope for the pirates as the Cowboys took control from there and never looked back.
Touchdown for Crayton? Check.
Running score for Marion Barber? Check.
It’s on now; the Cowboys are riding on “28’s with the windows down on a 2010 all blue Range Rover.
Romo finally pulled his head out of the clouds and the defense patched the holes in the submarine.
All in all it turned out to be a great day for the Cowboys. Tony Romo ended up with 353 passing yards (a career high), three touchdowns, and no turnovers. Now if he could only go on a run of zero turnovers for more than one game.
Romo also completed 66% of his passes thrown over ten yards and had a healthy 149 quarterback rating.
For Roy Williams, he ended up with a solid outing. He caught three balls for 86 yards and one touchdown.
The worrisome part of the game was the Dallas defense actually. The Bucs ran for over 170 yards and scored two touchdowns, racking up 5.6 yards a carry. The Cowboys cannot play that way against the Giants and expect to win, not with Brandon Jacobs in the backfield.
Cowboys secondary gave up a few big plays down the middle, something Bum’s son will have to address this upcoming week in practice.
The Cowboys beat the Bucs 34-21 and head back home to face the Giants to open their new billion dollar stadium.
Injury note: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo says that he injured his right ankle during Sundays game, the ankle will be re-examined on Tuesday. Cowboys new starting safety Gerald Sensabaugh was helped off the field after a big hit on Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Clayton, no word on if he’ll return next week.
Though Promising, We Need To Relax About Safety Kavon Frazier
With the addition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to the Cowboys' defensive coaching staff, fans are hoping that Dallas will create their own "Legion of Boom." Of course this is a lofty goal, but one worth pursuing nonetheless.
If the Cowboys are to recreate the Legion of Boom they will need their version of two vital pieces: Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
The Seahawks defense works, in many ways, because of these two players. Thomas' ability to play centerfield and literally defend sideline to sideline gives the Seahawks the freedom to use Chancellor where he's best, as a box safety. Chancellor is a big, physical safety who defends the run effectively in the box and can blanket tight ends in man coverage with his size and athleticism.
These safeties are arguably the most critical pieces to the Legion of Boom, though having a shutdown corner in Richard Sherman certainly doesn't hurt.
Realizing Chancellor's importance, Cowboys fans are hoping that current safety Kavon Frazier can fulfill this role in Dallas. Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 Frazier has made his home on Special Teams. As an impressive tackler in both punt and kick coverage, Frazier earned himself time at safety down the stretch of the 2017 season.
All in all, Frazier played rather well. Against the Washington Redskins he stepped in and made a few splash plays at the line of scrimmage, causing Cowboys Nation to lose their minds. After that impressive Thursday night game, however, Kavon Frazier didn't really reach that same level of performance.
Frazier is still a liability when asked to cover, especially when asked to play as a two deep safety. He also struggles when taking angles at times, though playing downhill as a tackler is his best attribute. Frazier actually reminds me a bit of Barry Church, though over time Church became more refined in coverage than Frazier currently is.
Some have argued that Kavon Frazier's presence should stop the Cowboys from considering a first round safety. I would disagree, and actually believe that if Florida State's Derwin James is available, the Cowboys should consider making that pick.
If you could combine the athleticism and coverage abilities of Byron Jones with the physicality and "box safety" qualities of Kavon Frazier, you'd have a fantastic safety. Unfortunately, this isn't the Marvel Universe and we are left without any super heroes in the back-end.
Hopefully Kris Richard will figure out how to correctly place all of these pieces in the Dallas Cowboys secondary going forward.
Maverick Carter: LeBron James Considered Cowboys During NBA Lockout
Maverick Carter is a pretty important man in the world of sports. As a business man, entrepreneur, and manager of one of the best basketball players of all time in LeBron James, Maverick Carter is certainly used to making headlines.
This week, while on former NFL running back Arian Foster's podcast "Now What? with Arian Foster," Carter claimed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once attempted to negotiate a contract with LeBron James.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, Carter claims that Jones contacted LeBron James and discussed bringing him in as a Cowboy while the NBA was without games.
"Jerry Jones, being the smart marketer he is...one day out of the clear blue sky LeBron got a contract I think it was for like one year, a couple million bucks to play for the Dallas Cowboys." - Maverick Carter.
Carter then states that LeBron may have the paperwork framed in his house to remember these discussions with Jerry Jones. LeBron's fandom for the Cowboys has been well documented, as has been his high school football prowess.
We may never know how "real" these discussions were, and of course it is long over now, but just imagining LeBron James getting a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys would break the internet.
You can check out the full episode of the podcast here, and I highly suggest listening to the other episodes Arian Foster has to offer.
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
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?
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.
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.
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