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Learning from our Ancestors

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I spent the weekend reading "Boys Will Be Boys" the Jeff Pearlman book about the on-goings of the Dallas Cowboys in the 90's. Hard to believe that all took place so long ago (20 years since Jerry bought the team). It was great remembering some of the things that took place, and hearing different things for the first time. Though I have not finished reading the entire book yet a few things come immediately to mind that would help this Cowboys team. Unfortunately we live in the era of the salary cap and coaches and player personnel cannot conduct business as they did back then. I would suggest though that our fearless leader (Wade Phillips) go back and review how Jimmy conducted business!

Jimmy Johnson was an unbelievable coach and talent evaluator. He was also a a large pain in the ass! Some of the things Jimmy did I would not wish on my worst enemy. One thing that Jimmy did exceptionally well however is something that this team dearly needs. He had a great feel for his team! When I say that I am talking about when his teams started to get a big head he knew it and was quick to make an example of someone to show the rest of the team that know one was safe! In a previous post I wrote about how this team is in dire need of quality players behind some of the starters to push them.

The Cowboy teams of the 90's for the most part despised their coach, but they would run through brick walls for him. Now the argument can be made that Dallas was just to deep and to athletically gifted to lose, and that would be a solid argument. That team however was exactly that a TEAM! The players stuck together, they believed in one another.

We have heard over and over again that Dallas has too many egos on this team, and too many questionable character guys (T.O., Pacman, Romo). Well guess what? This team does not have near as many players that fit that profile as those 90's teams did (Irvin,Haley,Deon,Nate Newton,etc.). So what is the difference? Was it all Jimmy? The difference is accountability! The coaches held every player accountable, and the players held all of their teammates accountable! The coaching staff made the players believe in the system, and the players executed to the best of their abilities and made sure that the man next to them was doing the same, or there would be hell to pay. There were no off days, there were no light training camps, there were no practices where hitting was left out. Those teams prepared exactly like they would play and most times harder. When is the last time you heard of a Cowboys team practicing outside during inclement weather? 1993 that's when. Football players are warriors and must train that way in order to keep an edge, this team trains like dancer's in the Nutcracker! So what happens? They play like crap, and they quit when things get tough!

One of the greatest Cowboys QBs, Troy Aikman always had somebody behind him that was either competing for his job or could step in and do his job if he was hurt or just did not get the job done. Do you all remember Steve Beuerlein? Yes the one that led Dallas on a 5 game streak to get them in the playoffs in 1991. The same one that even after Troy was healthy again continued to start. The following season Troy was a different player because of this, he was more focused, he cut out the stupid mistakes. Yes I know Troy would have more than likely done this without Beuerlein being there, but do you not think that this helped speed up the process? Tony Romo does not have to push himself. There is no one behind him that wants or could take his job! I believe Tony works hard, I also believe that there are different types of "working hard". There is Working hard  because you want to win! And There is working hard because you want to win and I better get better or they will bench my ass! Same goes for everyone else on this team!

There are many things this group could learn from their ancestors. The question becomes will Wade take a stroll down memory lane and heed the advice given by the ghost's at Valley Ranch? At this point Wade is himself looking over his shoulder. Now is the time to do something drastic! The changing of the year will not cure this teams ailments, firing Bruce Read although needed will not fix them either. No its time Wade makes things a little uneasy around there. Maybe signing someone like Kurt Warner would do the trick? Maybe sending Flozell Adams packing might do it? Maybe Terrell Owens needs to go? Something must happen because if this team simply returns as it is next season, 8-8 is a maybe! Wade Phillips cannot be the tyrant that Jimmy was but he can be more like Jimmy and less like Andy Griffith and maintain credibility with the team! The players do like Wade and will play for Wade, they just need a little more motivation!

What changes do you think would best repair this broken team?



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7 Comments
  • Mike D

    1)Jerruh needs to hire gm and keep his surgically stretched face out of the football operations
    2) Fire that hapless clueless joke of a head coach
    3) Get rid of all Cancers ie: TO, Tank, & Pacman
    4) Get rid of Crayton-all he does is run his mouth and drop big passes
    5) add some depth to the Oline- it is dominate 12-13 weeks and then always falls apart at the end
    6) hire a great coach in the Mold of Coughlin to mentor and get the most out of that team
    Romo, Newman, Ratlif and Barber are all top 10 at their position. Whitten and Ware are clearly the best at theirs. There is no reason that a team that talented should humiliate themselves and their Fanbase year after year. It all starts at the top with Jerruh and I thank God that he is not smart enough to take this advice!

  • bags030404

    That may be the smartest comment I have ever seen from you! Right up to the point where you believe we should hire a Coughlin clone! It is absolutely amazing to me that 2 years ago he was a BUM and all you Giants fans were begging management to fire his sorry tail, and now he is the greatest coach of “ALL TIMES”. The only reason you think we should get rid of Crayton is so you could sign him, to replace one of those terrible recievers you have. Since we have not won a playoff game since Barry Switzer was the coach, I really dont believe the coach is the problem! And you should Thank God because if Jerruh ever did smarten up you guys are in deep do do

  • Mike D

    Bags- Coughlin is not the greatest Coach ever but is EXACTLY the kind of Coach you guys need. He would get the egos in line and preach TEAM FIRST. That is why a less talented Giant Team has out performed your super star Laden Roster. Also check Coughlins Resume out. He has been a winner everywhere he has been. I never wanted him to go, it was just a mateer of the Team buynig into his message wich finally happenned in 2007. Crayton would not make our Practice squad bro, he is GARBAGE! YOu should trade him for any picks you can get to recoup some of what old Jerruh gave up for Lead Foot Wiiliams

  • Mike D

    Bags how is it that I know more about your team than you do? The reason you havent won a playoff game since CLintons first term is simple. First off JJ built a Dynasty when he was there. Eventually old plastic face ran him off and bought in Bubba Switzer, who rode JJ’s coattails to anoother SB followed by one more playoff win the following year. By then the Team had gone in the Crapper without a smart fotball guy (JJ) running it.JErruh had terrible drafts and made terrible trades(2 #1’s for Galloway???)wich drove this team into the ground. Amazingly Bill Parcells(The greatest Football Mind of Our time)takes over, turns over the Roster and Shazam, instant winner. 11-5 the first year? With Quincy freakin Carter? Over those 3 years Parcells drafts are amazing and he implements his football philosiphy and you guys skyrocket back to the top of the NFL World. Jerruh ” Nip Tuck” Jones than meddles in things enough and brings in Guys like TO against the Tuna’s wishes and he leaves, just before he has you ready to be a perenial SuperBowl Team.
    Not wanting to have another strong willed guy fighting Jerruh and his bad Ideas he goes out and hires the Hapless ” Abominable Doughman” Wade Phillips to run the show and almost instantly the Inmates (no Pun intended) are running the Asylum. A team that is by far the most talented in the NFL gets knocked out in the first rd (first time ever for a #1 seed)last year and follows that up by bending over for Philly this year and missing Playoffs entirely.This Team will not win another Playoff game until They do exactly what I laid out above.

  • bags030404

    First of all if you had read the above article you would see that I completely agree with needing to be hard nosed and a team first attitude. My comments about Coughlin were not ment to downgrade Coughlin I was downgrading the Giants fan base! We new what we had with Jimmy and never suggested his removal, unlike Giants fans with Coughlin. As far as Bill Parcells goes he drafted WAY WAY MORE busts than he did good players. So that whole argument of yours is crazy. Bill Parcells did some good things here and did get things turned in the right direction, but his record was at best average (10-6,6-10,9-7,9-7) and while drafting some excellent players he also missed very badly on many more (35% success rate in the draft). One lucky catch does not make you a good reciever, and one drop does not make you a bad reciever. The fact is that Crayton was not used enough or properly by us this year, thanks to a complaining T.O.! He is a legitimate #2 and on your team (without Plax) would be a #1. Why is it that our defense has been better and more consistent without “the greatest football mind of our time”? Bill is a complete jerk and everyone would agree that he was not the same coach as he was in N.Y. and New England, he was “softer Bill”. This was said during almost every Cowboy game telecast while he was here!

  • Mike D

    Um are we yalking about the Same Bill Parcells that just took over the worst team in the NFL and took them from a 1-15 to an 11-5 team in one year? If he isnt the greatest football mind of our time who is? Who has taken 5 teams that were at the bottom of the league and made them all instant winners?You guys would not be the joke of the NFL had he stayed, I promise you that!

  • bags030404

    This league is built for quick turn arounds, the proof will come over the next few years. He did the same thing in Dallas he took a underachieving team the first year and got 10 wins,and did nothing from then on. Same thing with Jets. I guess Tony Sparano had nothing to do with the Miami turn around did he? Do not confuse what I am saying; he is a very good evaluator but he does make large mistakes just like everyone else! that is all I am trying to say!

Game Notes

Byron Jones Has Been The Cowboys’ Best Player, And Here’s Why

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For a former first round pick, Byron Jones has had to prove himself to the Cowboys fan base quite a few times.

As a rookie Jones was impressive, flashing just how high a ceiling he had. Jones split some time between cornerback and safety due to injury and inconsistencies of his secondary mates, but he excelled in both roles.

As his career continued, Byron Jones continued to do what he does best. Jones became the Cowboys' tight end eraser, matching up with some of the best in the league and downright shutting them down. Over time, however, the coaching staff began to misuse Jones a bit. Moving him to safety full time but still wanting him to use those tight end coverage skills, Dallas started to move Jones into the box more often.

That, especially in 2017, is where Byron Jones struggled the most. Being utilized as a box safety put Jones' weaknesses as a physical tackler on full display, and left him open for fans' criticism.

Luckily for both Jones and the Cowboys, new passing game coordinator Kris Richard values him as a cornerback, where he will spend the rest of his career in Dallas. And, thus far, the returns on that move have been fantastic.

PFF DAL Cowboys on Twitter

After 3 weeks, Byron Jones has the highest season defensive grade among CBs with a 91.0. Jones is tied for the 7th highest defense grade among all defensive players with at least 50 snaps. #CowboysNation Be a PFF ELITE member to check out stats and more: https://t.co/qEKU85c6bI

Pro Football Focus has graded Byron Jones out as the league's best cornerback through three games, and the 7th best defensive player overall. Against the Seahawks last week, Jones allowed just 3 catches for 10 yards when he was the primary defender. He also came away with two pass breakups against veteran wide out Brandon Marshall, and was one of the few positives from the horrible loss.

dalvssea2018 byron jones first

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On the Seahawks' opening drive they faced a third down and five deep in their own territory. Seattle has a bunch formation to the right with Marshall locked up in man coverage at the bottom of the screen.

The Cowboys bring a blitz, leaving Jones on an island against Marshall. Russell Wilson initially looks towards the bunch side of the formation, but quickly works back to Marshall on a shallow crosser. Byron stays sticky in coverage on his backside hip, and deflects the ball away at the catch point.

Even if Marshall were to catch this, Jones was right there to stop him short of the sticks.

dalvssea2018 byron jones

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Later in the game the Seahawks tried to allow Marshall to beat Jones with his size. Marshall tries to get physical with Jones here, and wants to body him on a back shoulder fade. Jones shows no backdown, trading blows with Marshall at the line of scrimmage and effecting his get-off.

Still, Marshall is bigger than Jones and is able to create some separation towards the sideline. Jones does a nice job of recovering from this physicality, however, and gets himself back into a position to make a play on the ball. Even though he was initially boxed out, Jones's awareness to get a hand on the ball shines through here.

This goes down as Jones' first of two pass breakups on the day.

dalvssea2018 byron jones 2

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Here's the second one, once again on a back shoulder fade. Byron Jones uses his length to jam Marshall off the line, and quickly turns his hips to keep up in coverage. Once he reads Marshall's eyes, Byron gets his head around and is able to deflect the pass away.

This is textbook coverage of the back shoulder fade, and Jones' athletic traits and length aid him greatly in covering the larger Marshall on this route.

dalvssea2018 byron jones odell

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You may be thinking to yourself, "sure, Byron Jones was great against Brandon Marshall, but what about an elite receiver like Odell Beckham?" Well do I have some news for you.

Jones did an excellent job against Beckham during their week two match-up, as did the entire Cowboys secondary. On this play, Jones is locked up in man coverage with Beckham at the top of the screen. He allows Beckham to get a clean outside release, but trusts his hips and speed to recover in coverage with inside leverage.

Jones shows off just how fluid an athlete he is running stride for stride with Beckham down the sideline. Eli Manning puts the ball on Beckham's shoulder, giving him a shot at the 50/50 ball. Jones uses his length and ball skills to get up and deflect the pass away, even against the talented Beckham.

Byron Jones has done a nice job covering this route, using the sideline as an extra defender and minimizing the available area for the receiver. His arm length also help him shrink the catch point in the air.

dalvssea2018 byron jones odell 2

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Here we see Byron Jones in man coverage with Beckham again, this time at the bottom of the screen. The Giants are looking to utilize play action to take a deep shot to Beckham, anticipating he will defeat Jones' coverage and find a soft spot over Awuzie's head.

Instead, Jones runs step for step with Beckham across the middle, and stays sticky to his backside hip. Manning is forced to hold the ball longer than he expected to due to Jones's coverage, and ends up taking a sack for a big loss.

There's no question that Byron Jones has been a bit of a controversial figure among Cowboys Nation throughout his young career. But, since moving to cornerback full time this season, he has been flat-out awesome.

Byron Jones looks like the shutdown corner the Cowboys have been looking for since trading up for Morris Claiborne back in 2012.



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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Coaches Should Be on Mid-Season Hot Seat

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Doug Pederson's Success Will Make Jason Garrett's Seat Hotter 1
Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

A loss in week in week 3 is subject to overreactions from NFL fans everywhere, something we should always be careful with. But as the Dallas Cowboys head to work after another terrible offensive performance, it's tough to imagine the conversation going on in Cowboys Nation is an overreaction. I imagine I'm not alone in wishing that's what it was. But it isn't.

The Dallas Cowboys have opened their 2018 NFL season with a 1-2 record, and even though other teams (such as the New England Patriots) unexpectedly have the same record, or that other crazy stuff is going on around the league, the Jason Garrett-led Cowboys haven't given us much reason to believe they can turn the offense around.

Without further ado, let's get to another Takeaway Tuesday. As always, feel free to share your takeaways from last Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Coaches Must Be on Mid-Season Hot Seat

OK, it's high time we have this conversation. Dak Prescott and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys' offense has been struggling. Although the defense has been playing surprisingly well, there are simply no excuses for the way Scott Linehan's unit has been playing.

There has been trouble at every single aspect of the offensive side of the ball, which was supposed to be this team's strength heading into the season. As much as the future at the quarterback position is uncertain, the biggest problem is coaching. Sure, Prescott isn't living up to the expectations so far, having terrible stats in the first three weeks of the season but the coaches could definitely be putting him in better positions to succeed.

Playing to his strengths. Prescott is at his best when the team runs play-action plays or lets him throw on the run or use his legs to hurt opposing defenses on the ground as well. Prescott could thrive on RPOs and read option runs, but that's not how they're utilizing him.

Jake Kemp on Twitter

per @PFF, Dak Prescott play action percentages by week. week 1 - 17.9% week 2 - 44.0% week 3 - 12.5%

As much as it pains me to say it, it honestly feels like the Cowboys are stuck with Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett at the wheel. Although there aren't big names in the pass-catchers positions, the offense is talented enough to keep the ball moving. Even still, they aren't.

Right now, it's not even about the offense not being the best unit for the team, but a unit that is costing them games and will continue to do so unless some drastic changes are made.

Not that the coaches are the only ones that should be accountable, just about every player should be, including QB Dak Prescott, who might be playing for his job the rest of the year. But if this mediocre performances continue into week 8, for instance, it might just be time to move on from the current coaching staff. What will change in the next seasons that can makes us believe Garrett and Linehan are the answer for the franchise's future?

And yet, no changes will be made as far as the Cowboys' play-caller is. Right now, it's tough to imagine where this season is headed. But two things might be for sure. 1) It won't be good. 2) We'll see some RB screens on third and long and three tight end sets on first downs.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Defense Might Just Be Fine With Vander Esch Filling in for Sean Lee

Sean Lee hurt his other hamstring playing in Seattle last Sunday, which usually would have us freaking out about the linebacker position. However, as we've discussed since the preseason, Jaylon Smith is looking pretty amazing and healthy. But now, it's not only Smith that's been showing off his football skills.

It's first round draft pick Leighton Vander Esch who's having a pretty nice start to his career. At least, it's been way better than what some expected (myself included) from his rookie season.

In just three weeks and limited snaps, Vander Esch has had 18 tackles and a tackle for loss. He's been around the football a lot, just like Lee when healthy. If the Boise State product continues to play this week, one has to wonder about Sean Lee's future in Dallas.

The Jury is Still Out on K Brett Maher

Kicker Brett Maher kicked a 50-yard field goal last Sunday as Cowboys' fans at home breathed a huge sigh of relief. After letting Dan Bailey go, it was time for something positive to say about the kicker position in Dallas.

Maher was pretty good on the field last week, but there's no denying his kicks were sort of scary and not perfect attempts right down the middle. Cowboys Nation should be more comfortable with the cut of Dan Bailey, but the jury should still be out on his replacement.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Coaches Should Be on Mid-Season Hot Seat" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

LB Leighton Vander Esch Rare Bright Spot In Cowboys’ Disappointing Loss

Kevin Brady

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LB Leighton Vander Esch Rare Bright Spot In Cowboys Disappointing Loss

Sunday in Seattle didn't go nearly as well as anticipated for the Cowboys, as they fell to the Seahawks in embarrassing fashion, 24-13. While the final score looked close, the fact of the matter is that Dallas was dominated for much of the game.

Offensively they looked lost, unable to create any downfield passing threat or sustain scoring drives. Defensively they played okay, but not up to the standard they had established the first two games of the season. With the offense being as pedestrian as it has been, though, there is a ton of extra pressure placed upon the young defense's shoulders.

One of the youngest members of that young unit shouldered the pressure just fine on Sunday, however. Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch had himself a heck of a day, leading the team in tackles with 11 including 9 solo ones and a tackle for loss. He flashed his speed, pursuit, tackling ability, and overall athleticism as he worked laterally to make plays and contain the Seahawks running game on the edge.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

His performance built upon an impressive first two games, including a solid home opener against the New York Giants where he tallied 7 tackles in just 28 defensive snaps. Vander Esch hadn't seen the snaps that Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee saw prior to Sunday, but when Lee was forced to miss chunks of the game with injuries, Vander Esch shined.

A key knock placed on Vander Esch's game during the draft process was that he wasn't physical enough as a player. He tended to struggle when taking on blocks and wasn't as sure a tackler when things got muddied up as you'd like to see from a first round pick.

While these were legitimate concerns from his college tape, Leighton Vander Esch looked as comfortable and refined as you can expect from a rookie against the Seahawks. He was a top 3 player on the Cowboys' defense on Sunday, and the Cowboys should be ecstatic about his progress moving forward.

On Monday it was announced the the veteran Sean Lee is expected to miss a few weeks with yet another injury, allowing for Vander Esch to likely be the starter. Lee has been unreliable when it comes to his injury history, and you have to wonder if Vander Esch could supplant him as the full time starter earlier than anyone expected due to those injuries.

I, like many, questioned the Cowboys' selection of Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of last year's draft. The lack of comparative position value combined with the questions about Vander Esch's game made me value a pass rusher like Harold Landry much higher than Vander Esch at 19.

So far, though, Leighton Vander Esch is proving the Cowboys right in their selection, and looks to be the starting WILL and three-down backer of the future in Dallas. With Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch playing how they have with limited experience, that future looks very bright defensively.



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