Welcome to this week's edition of Martin's 5!
Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were unable to invoke that magic that has worked for them nearly the entire 2016 season last week against the New York Giants. It is only the Cowboys second loss of the season, but the second defeat from the Giants.
It's funny how one single loss can create so many ?'s from a team that has been one of the best, if not the best teams in the NFL this year.
If you're anything like me, then you have an abundance of things you're wondering about heading into this week's matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This isn't the same Buccaneers team we have seen in years past. They are one of the hotter teams in the NFL right now and could give the Cowboys all they can handle.
The Cowboys recent struggles on offense and the fact there is a hot team up next on the schedule, has really overloaded the things I'm wondering about this week. Below are just a few of them that are running through my head.
One: I recently had a chicken and egg debate about whether the rookie wall is a real thing or not. Personally, I believe that it is and it really started me thinking about if we have seen Dak Prescott reach that point in his rookie season? Typically, a college players season ended about a month ago, so a lot of these rookie players in the NFL this year have already played in more games than they are accustomed to. That's not even taking into consideration the long off-season they had just gone through. Think about it. They have finished their college season, began their draft preparation process, gotten drafted, gone through OTA's/mini-camp/training camp, and are now winding down their first year in the NFL. They really haven't had a break during that time span accept a short bye week. So, it's only natural that these first-year players start to struggle a little bit later in the season. Prescott has struggled here the last few games, whether or not it is him hitting the rookie wall has yet to be determined. The remaining games left on the Cowboys schedule will ultimately tell the story.
Two: Let's stay with Dak Prescott here for just a little bit longer, because I'm wondering how long Jason Garrett and the coaching staff will continue to stick with him as he starting QB if he continues to struggle? Prescott has really struggled these past couple of games and if that continues this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you have to think the organization starts to seriously consider reinserting Tony Romo into the starting lineup. The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the best teams in the NFL and have a really good chance of playing far into the playoffs, possibly reaching the Super Bowl. That might not happen if Prescott continues to play the way he has been. If Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones are serious about going all way this year, they might have to make a really tough decision, which might mean benching Prescott for Romo.
Three: The running game for the Cowboys offense hasn't quite been the same since Geoff Swaim was injured and I wonder how they can fix it? The Cowboys have been using Gavin Escobar and sometimes even going to a heavy set with offensive lineman Joe Looney at times, but both players limit what the offense can do with either player on the field. Defensive coordinators should know by now that Escobar isn't a very good blocker and Looney isn't a threat in the passing game. That means they can really focus their attack on Ezekiel Elliott and try to shut him down. I recently wrote an article suggesting that the Cowboys should sign Brandon Pettigrew. I think Pettigrew could come in and instantly make an impact in this area.
Four: The Dallas Cowboys offense has had to square off against two pretty good defenses these last couple weeks, which has resulted in them not putting up as many points as they had been earlier in the season. What I'm wondering is if it is more of the defenses they are playing or if it is just the offense struggling to find their rhythm? Honestly, I think it's a little bit of both, but the offense has to find a way to put points on the board regardless of the caliber defense they are playing. I don't think it's a coincidence that the offense was firing on all cylinders when Cole Beasley was more involved. He is a matchup problem for anyone that is trying to cover him and I think he needs to become more a part of the game plan once again, especially in third-down situations.
Five: The defense for the Dallas Cowboys was supposed to be the weak link of this team, but last week against the New York Giants they were the ones keeping them in the game. I wonder if they can continue to play at a high level, because it would certainly help with the postseason just around the corner? Last week they were able to create several turnovers and get the ball back to the offense. Unfortunately, the offense wasn't able to capitalize. There were however a few missed opportunities that could have been game changers, but it is really encouraging the way this defense is starting to come together. Hopefully they can continue to play at this level, especially Sean Lee, who was a man possessed against the Giants.
Is there anything you are wondering about this week?
Use the comment section below to share with us what thoughts you might have stuck in your head this week.
Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb
Tras la partida del veterano Cole Beasley, los Dallas Cowboys tenían un hueco preocupante en la posición de receptor abierto. Incluso después de obtener a Amari Cooper la temporada pasada y el tener a un jugador joven y talentoso en Michael Gallup, el equipo tenía que hacer algo para reemplazar a Beasley como el receptor de slot en la ofensiva. Beasley fue increíble en su trabajo durante su carrera en Dallas, pero la administración nunca estuvo cerca de igualar las ofertas que recibió de los Buffalo Bills. Afortunadamente, ya encontraron el hombre para el trabajo.
A pesar de estar muy callados en la primera semana de agencia libre, los Cowboys empiezan a verse involucrados con varios jugadores disponibles. Su contratación más importante hasta el momento es sin duda la del ex WR de los Green Bay Packers, Randall Cobb.
Hace unos años, Cobb atrapó el balón que terminó el partido de playoffs entre los Packers y los Cowboys minutos después de que la recepción de Dez Bryant fuera revocada. En 2019, vestirá la estrella.
Si bien es difícil argumentar que en este momento Cobb es mejor jugador que Cole Beasley, el contrato que la administración le dio al nuevo integrante del equipo es muy razonable. El ex-Packer jugará bajo un contrato por un año y cinco millones de dólares. Lo que preocupa a muchos sobre Cobb es su salud, ya que en 2018 sólo jugó nueve partidos. Sin embargo, su carrera no ha estado plagada de lesiones como muchos lo asumen.
Cobb será un titular en esta ofensiva que utilizará su habilidad para ganar en rutas rápidas. Sus manos son muy confiables y le dará a Dak Prescott otra arma en el juego aéreo. Simple y sencillamente una muy buena contratación de los Dallas Cowboys.
¿Robert Quinn, Por Favor?
Esta semana se reportó que el defensive end Robert Quinn estaba de visita en The Star, las instalaciones de los Dallas Cowboys. El DE no es un agente libre, siendo que aún está bajo contrato con los Miami Dolphins. Sin embargo, ambos equipos están en discusiones para llevar a cabo un trade por el caza cabezas de 28 años.
Después de que Randy Gregory volviera a recibir una suspensión, DE apareció entra las necesidades más urgentes del equipo y si no logran atender dicha necesidad previo al NFL Draft, tendrán que utilizar uno de sus primeros picks para conseguir un jugador que juegue opuesto a DeMarcus Lawrence.
Quinn, quien había jugado la mayoría de su carrera con los Rams, aún es joven y productivo. En las últimas dos temporadas ha logrado conseguir 15 sacks. De conseguirlo, los Cowboys tendrían que trabajar en una extensión para él.
Con un año en su contrato actual, no debe de ser muy caro conseguir un trade por él. Me atrevería a decir que la compensación que los Dolphins buscan por Quinn debe de estar en el rango de una selección cuarta y quinta ronda.
Parece un movimiento probable, pero no es difícil imaginar a otro equipo estando interesado en el jugador. Por lo pronto, sabemos que Quinn disfrutó su tiempo con Rod Marinelli y con el equipo de los Cowboys esta semana. Habrá que esperar para saber su destino.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
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