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Johnny Nightlife: Niland Is Greatest #76 In Cowboys History

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Johnny Nightlife: Niland Is Greatest #76 In Cowboys History 3

There are officially 76 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

It’s Monday, which means that we’re all wondering where the weekend went and how it can possibly be so far away…again. There are ways that we can cheer ourselves up: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, re-watching underrated comedy Saving Silverman, or talking about the Greatest 76 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The following players have all worn 76 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Flozell Adams, OT
  • Dowe Aughtman, DT
  • Larry Bethea, DT
  • Derrick Dockery, OG
  • Bill Frank, OT
  • John Gonzaga, OT/DT
  • John Niland, OG
  • Ed Nutting, OT
  • Amobi Okoye, DT
  • Bob Otto, DE
  • Alan Veingrad, OT
  • Sam Young, OT
  • Jeff Zimmerman, OG

Some premiere guys in Dallas Cowboys History have worn the number 76, most of them being offensive linemen. In order to determine who the best of the bunch is we need to closely examine two specifically: John Niland and Flozell Adams.

The 1998 NFL Draft yielded the Greatest 98 in Dallas Cowboys History Greg Ellis in the first round. The second round was no slouch as it gave us offensive tackle, Flozell Adams. Flo would have been taken higher in that ’98 Draft, but he is partially deaf in his right ear and that scared some teams off. King Jerry Jones wasn’t intimidated and put a Star on his hat.

Flozell, like a lot of offensive linemen, made the switch to left tackle during his sophomore season. Adams was one of the apples of Coach Bill Parcells’ eyes and truly found his form under the Tuna. NFL History was made in 2002 as, what many believe to be was the first time, all five of the starting offensive linemen for the Cowboys were African American (Left to Right: Flozell Adams, Kelvin Garmon, Andre Gurode, Larry Allen, and Solomon Page).


Cowboys Blog - Johnny Nightlife: Niland Is Greatest #76 In Cowboys History 2

While it seemed as if Flozell Adams seemed to average two false starts a game, he missed only 14 games (10 due to an ACL tear in 2005) and was selected to 5 Pro Bowls in his 12-year Cowboy career. Only Larry Allen (10), Rayfield Wright (6), and the guy who edged out Flozell for Greatest #76 have been selected to more Pro Bowls in a Cowboy uniform.

John Niland, aka Johnny Nightlife, was the fifth overall selection of the 1966 NFL Draft. He had the pleasure of lining up on the offensive line against Pro Football Hall of Famer, and Cowboys legend, Bob Lilly in practice…which helped Niland become an all-time great.

Cowboys Blog - Johnny Nightlife: Niland Is Greatest #76 In Cowboys History 3

He was a member of the Cowboys teams that lost the first two NFC Championship Games to the Green Bay Packers (including the historic Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field). Niland helped the Cowboys reach a level of respect across the NFL at a time when the NFL-AFL merger was just taking place. The Cowboys eventually reached (and won) the Super Bowl behind Niland’s blocking, largely in part to the running of halfback Duane Thomas. That production was made possible only through the holes that Niland blew open for him.

John Niland took the trip to the Pro Bowl 6 times. He has a Super Bowl Ring to his name and is the Greatest 76 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 75 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Tell us what you think about "Johnny Nightlife: Niland Is Greatest #76 In Cowboys History" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!


I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Primed for Big Games vs Lions

Matthew Lenix

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Primed for Big Games vs Lions

The Dallas Cowboys were brought back down to earth this past Sunday in their 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. After dominating the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys got manhandled in the trenches on both offense and defense. Running Back Dalvin Cook had 183 all-purpose yards (97 rushing, 86 receiving) due to his offensive line opening holes bigger than the state of Texas. All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott, however, was held to just 47 yards on 20 carries because his offensive line got bullied from start to finish.

This coming Sunday, the Cowboys will be looking to bounce back against the Detroit Lions and maintain their position atop the NFC East. The Lions defense is one of the worst in the league vs the run and pass which sets up the Cowboys two biggest offensive stars, Dak Prescott and Elliott to have huge games.

Prescott is currently second in the NFL in passing yards, third in passing touchdowns, and first in QBR. He will get every opportunity to improve on those numbers this Sunday going up against Detroit's 28th ranked passing defense. They've allowed four quarterbacks to pass for over 300 yards, Prescott has three games with such production himself in 2019.

He will be bringing with him a very explosive receiving core. Amari Cooper is currently third in the NFL in receiving yards with 848. He's coming off a game in which he had his second-highest yardage total (147) and tied his highest reception total (11) in any game this season. Michael Gallup has already equaled his reception total and surpassed both his yardage and touchdown totals from his rookie season in 2018. Randall Cobb had his best game by far as a Cowboy with six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown vs the Vikings.

With Prescott playing at a high level, his receiving core more together than ever, and facing the leagues 30th ranked defense I smell another big game for number 4.


Elliott had his second-worst game of the season vs the Vikings after three consecutive 100-yard performances. The chances of him bouncing back in this game are very high considering the Lions rank 26th vs the run. Seven of the nine teams the Lions have faced have rushed for over 100 yards, including three individual performances over the century mark.

The two-time rushing champion is tied for the second-most games over 100 yards this season with five, trailing only Carolina's Christian McCaffrey who has six. Also, the Cowboys offensive line will be looking to bounce back themselves after the Vikings defensive front took them to the woodshed this past Sunday. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Elliott has one of his biggest performances of the season after such a pedestrian outing last week. Also, having a motivated offensive line blocking for him doesn't hurt either.

The Cowboy's best formula for success is still establishing Elliott early to set up Prescott and the play-action passing game.

With the NFC East still firmly up for grabs, the Cowboys have minimal room for error for this rest of the season. Going up against a defense this bad could be just what the doctor ordered for Prescott and Elliott to dominate on the road. If this were to come to pass, the Cowboys chances at improving to 6-4 this Sunday will be extremely high.


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Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Red Zone Liability?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Redzone Liability?

Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is arguably as talented as just about any defensive back in the NFL. He still young and has quite a bit he can do to improve his game, but there's no denying his talent. One of the things he may need to work on right now is his awareness and discipline in the red zone.

In back to back games No. 24 has been caught out of position and as a result surrendered points in the end zone. Just this last Sunday he gave up a two point conversion to Minnesota Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph. The week prior he gave up a touchdown catch to New York Giants Wide Receiver Cody Latimer.

Does this make him a liability in the red zone?

I know if I've noticed Chidobe Awuzie getting victimized in back to back weeks in the red zone opposing offensive coordinators around the league have done the same. As a result, they're going to test Awuzie to find out if they can have the same kind of success.


Chidobe Awuzie

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

If I'm Kris Richard I'm personally going to be working on making sure Chidobe is fully aware he needs to be more disciplined with his play, especially in the red zone. He's been caught out of position in back to back games and that can't be something that continues from here on out.

I'm sure Awuzie would tell you himself this is something he needs to clean up. He takes pride in his abilities and knows he can still improve. Hopefully he can take it to heart and better prepare for what's to come. Whether that means just executing his assignments better or maybe studying a little more film. It's up to him to figure out what he needs to do.

As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, they may need to start giving him a little more help over the top if this is something that continues. And if worse comes to worse, they can always see if Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown can be more consistent. I doubt it would come to that, but it is an option.

I for one am hoping No. 24 will just hunker down and figure out what he needs to do in order to take his game to the next level. If he can do that the Cowboys defense will be much better for it. I don't know about you, but I will be keeping a close eye on him for the rest of the season.

Do you think CB Chidobe Awuzie has become a red zone liability?


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Maliek Collins has a Breakout Opportunity Against the Minnesota Vikings

John Williams

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Cowboys DT's Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods Primed for Monster Seasons

It's been a quiet 2019 for one of the Dallas Cowboys' preseason breakout candidates, Maliek Collins. Heading into training camp, and then the regular season, Collins was the healthiest he'd been at any point in his previous three seasons. That combined with another year in the NFL, led many to believe that Collins could become a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. Collins has been good, but perhaps not as productive as many might have predicted.

On the year, Maliek Collins has three sacks, which is third for the Dallas Cowboys behind Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence. Per Pro Football Focus, Collins is tied for 17th in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. Tied for 17th might not sound very good, but when the league leader in sacks among interior defensive linemen has just six, Collins isn't far off from threatening for the league lead. In fact, Maliek Collins is tied with All-Pro Defensive Tackles Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones, and Geno Atkins in sacks.

In total pressures, Collins is tied for eighth in the NFL per Pro Football Focus with 27 along with Quentin Jefferson and Vita Vea.

Though he's not racking up a ton of tackle this season, Collins has been excellent as a pass rusher. On Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, he'll have a tremendous opportunity to build on his first-half numbers.


Against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, Collins has an enormous opportunity. Among quarterbacks with at least 196 drop backs, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been under pressure at the fourth highest rate in the NFL. His 40.8% pressure rate is only better than Daniel Jones, Russell Wilson, and Sam Darnold.

Vikings Guard Pat Elflein has allowed five sacks on the year, which is tied for the third most in the NFL this season among interior offensive linemen and his 20 pressures allowed is tied for eighth. When Maliek Collins gets an opportunity to line up across from Elflein, he's going to have a chance to get home.

With teams having to pay so much attention to DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and newcomer Michael Bennett, Collins should be freed up to face more one-on-one blockers.

Collins hasn't had a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn't necessarily been the dominant player we thought he could be after his strong preseason. That perception could change when the Dallas Cowboys play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The opportunity is there for Collins, he just has to seize it.


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