Who could have possibly guessed that the Dallas Cowboys would be hit by the dreaded injury bug in back to back seasons?
America's Team has a winning record of 2-1 so far, despite the injuries to key players on both sides of the ball.
Tony Romo (back), Tyron Smith (stinger/back), Orlando Scandrick (hamstrings), La'el Collins (foot), James Hanna (knee), and even Darren McFadden (elbow) have all missed time due to their injuries. That's quite a long list of players that were expected to be main contributors in 2016.
Of course, you might've noticed that I didn't even mention All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant on that list.
Unfortunately, we learned yesterday that Bryant has a hairline fracture in his knee and could possibly miss significant time depending on who you listen to.
I've heard that he has an outside chance of playing this week against the San Francisco 49ers or he could miss up to six weeks. Obviously, we are all hoping for him to return to the field as soon as possible, but we will have to wait and see.
Dez Bryant's injury is particularly concerning because he not only has to be accounted for wherever he lines up on the field by opposing defenses, but this is also the second year in a row where an injury sustained early in the season could cause him to miss time on the field.
That leads us to the question of is Dez Bryant becoming injury prone?
Honestly, you can look at this two different ways: 1). Bryant has reached the stage in his career where his body is starting to break down causing injuries to happen, or 2). Bryant's history of injuries fall into the category of freak accidents.
Personally, I think Bryant's injuries fall more into the category of freaks accidents, which makes it even more frustrating for not only him, but all of us fans as well.
If you take a close look at how he hurt his knee this year and his foot injury last season, you will notice that both of those injuries occurred in very similar ways. Bryant was fighting for extra yards and his body was contorted awkwardly when being tackled.
This has been a big concern of mine ever since Dez Bryant became a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
His competitive nature makes him the player that he is, but he wants to fight for every single yard he can get and it's now starting to hurt his chances of staying on the field due to injuries.
I remember this being a concern of the coaching staff's before, but they have failed to stress to Bryant that he needs to do a better job of choosing his battles when in the game. That sometimes it is simply better to take what you can get and go to the ground.
Of course, this can be a hard habit to break for Dez Bryant. But, if he wants to prevent these types of injuries from occurring, then he is going to have to do a better job of knowing when to fight for extra yards and when not to.
Sounds simple doesn't it?
Maybe so, but it's important to remember that players like Bryant are going to try to make plays regardless of the risk of injury. Case in point, Bryant continuing to play against the Chicago Bears and scoring a touchdown on a crossing route knowing full well he could be hit and hit hard. That's just who he is. Take it or leave it.
So, you may disagree with me, but I don't think Dez Bryant is injury prone. I think these are just freak accidents that could possibly be eliminated if he makes little changes to the way he plays the game.
Do you agree or disagree?
Don't be shy, please feel free to take advantage of the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions about Dez Bryant's injury concerns.
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.
Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.
This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.
It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.
The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.
So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.
He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.
Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats
2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.
But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?
Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.
A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.
According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.
Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.
David Carr 6, Dak Prescott 1 pic.twitter.com/rV532Q3Cob
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) 6 de febrero de 2018
Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.
Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.
It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.
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