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Martin’s 5: Is Morris Claiborne Next In Line For Interception?

Brian Martin



Cowboys Headlines - Martin's 5: Morris Claiborne Next In Line For Interception

Welcome back to Martin's 5!

My name is Brian Martin, and I will be your unofficial host for the duration of this article.

Okay, this isn't a game show, but I will be taking advantage of this opportunity to share with you the random thoughts that I have bouncing around in my head.

Scary I know, but I will limit them to the ones that specifically relate to the Dallas Cowboys and spare you the things that go on inside my head. Trust me, I'm doing you a favor.

Last week's edition covered a number of different topics that I have been wondering about and the majority of them related to the Dallas Cowboys match up with the division rival Washington Redskins. This week will be much of the same, but with a few extras just to add a little bit of flavor.

So, below are five things I've been wondering about and the majority of them have to do with the Week 3 match up with the Chicago Bears.

One: You can call it a hunch, a bold prediction, or a gut feeling, but ever since the Redskins game I've been wondering if Morris Claiborne is the next defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys to get an interception? The Dallas Cowboys defense has two consecutive games with an interception and that streak could possibly continue Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. Brandon Carr had the first INT Week 1 against the New York Giants and Barry Church had the second against the Redskins last week. It seems as if the Cowboys secondary is going in alphabetical order in regards to who gets the INT, so that means Morris Claiborne is the next man up.


Two: I wonder if Dak Prescott will finally throw his first career touchdown in the NFL. Prescott has been able to put together long drives for the Cowboys offense, but has failed to cap it off with a touchdown pass so far. He had two opportunities in Week 1 against the New York Giants, but unfortunately failed to connect with Cole Beasley for what would have been a walk-in touchdown because of a high throw. Then, he also had a touchdown pass to Dez Bryant overturned after the officials reviewed the play. The beat up Chicago Bears defense could possibly be the best chance for Prescott to connect with one of his receivers in the end zone for a TD.


Three: Speaking of the Chicago Bears beat up defense, I wonder if Ezekiel Elliott will finally have his first career 100 yard rushing game in the NFL. Despite Elliott's two fumbles last week against Redskins, I fully expect him to receive the majority of the carries against the Bears Sunday night. Alfred Morris has clearly outperformed Elliott the first two weeks of the season, but the rookie RB is simply too talented to keep off the field. Elliott will improve with each repetition he receives and that's why I think he will receive 20+ rushing attempts against the Chicago Bears, possibly eclipsing 100 rushing yards.


Four: I wonder if the recently signed defensive end Ryan Davis will make his debut for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. Davis was signed to help improve the pass rush for the Cowboys defense, but he didn't suit up against the Redskins last week. It was somewhat surprising, but understandable at the same time considering he might not be up to speed with Rod Marinelli's defensive playbook. The Cowboys defense could definitely use all the help they can get to improve their pass rush. So, if nothing else Ryan Davis would make a good situational pass rusher until he gets up to speed with the playbook.


Five: I wonder if head coach Jason Garrett will continue to be aggressive the rest of the 2016 season as he was against the Washington Redskins last week. It's a rarity that we see Garrett take many chances on the football field, and that can sometimes be frustrating for us fans watching. That is why it was so surprising to see him go for a 4th and 1 and also an onside kick last week in the Redskins game. I don't really expect Garrett to continue taking many chances, but it was encouraging to see that he is playing to win. It was a breath of fresh air compared to his usual conservative approach.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to use the comment section below to share your thoughts/opinions or anything that you might be wondering about yourself.

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.



  1. Raulz

    September 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I like your points. After what I saw in Chicago and Philly I believe the Boys have a chance, a good chance of going 2-1. Our rookies are getting that valuable tool called experience to their already talented abilities

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Raulz. With all of the injuries that the Chicago Bears suffered last week I think this is probably the closest thing to a guaranteed win for the Cowboys as they could ask for all season. I personally think that the Cowboys will dominate in every phase of the game and hopefully blowout the Bears Sunday night.

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Star Blog

2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch

Kevin Brady



Leighton Vander Esch Lands on List of NFL's Top 10 Rookies

As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.

It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.

Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.

No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.

Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.

There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.

Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.

Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.

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Star Blog

What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?

Kevin Brady



Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.

Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.

They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?

Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.

Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.

Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.

Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.

Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.

This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.

The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.

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Star Blog

3 Things We Learned About The Dallas Cowboys In 2018

Kevin Brady



Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Coming into the 2018 season, loads of questions surrounded the Dallas Cowboys and the future of their roster.

Could their defense stay intact when the annual Sean Lee injury occurred? Was Kris Richard going to lead the Cowboys young secondary to places we thought they could be? And would Dak Prescott earn a contact extension and become the official franchise quarterback of America's Team.

Of course, there are tons of other questions that may have gone unanswered, but these three critical areas seem to find clarity in 2018.

Leighton Vander Esch And Jaylon Smith Are Legit

The Dallas Cowboys caught a lot of flack for their selection both of these linebackers, each for different reasons.

When they snagged Jaylon Smith in the second round of the 2016 draft, it was still unknown to the public if Smith could ever even play football again. When they took Leighton Vander Esch 19th overall last April, fans questioned how valuable an off-ball linebacker would be on a defense that already had Sean Lee.

Well, after their first full season together, it's easy to say that both Vander Esch and Smith are the linebacker options of the future in Dallas. Named to the Pro Bowl during his rookie season, Vander Esch took the world by storm in 2018. When Lee went down, he was there to not only fill his shoes, but to outplay the veteran all year long.

What is fun to consider is that as good as Vander Esch was this season, Jaylon Smith might be even better. Both posses insane sideline to sideline pursuit ability, and are some of the surest tacklers in all of football.

Watching these two grow together will be a pleasure over the coming seasons.

Their Young Secondary Is Coming Together

Like their linebackers, the Dallas Cowboys secondary is a young group, who fans are excited to watch grow throughout the years. It seemed like more pressure sat on the shoulders of young cornerbacks Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie than of Smith and Vander Esch, however.

With Kris Richard joining the staff and making the decision to move Jones to cornerback full time, it was do-or-die for the former first round pick. Byron Jones answered all the doubters, earning not only a Pro Bowl selection but also First Team All Pro honors for his performance.

Opposite him, Awuzie had a rough start to his sophomore campaign. While typically right there in coverage, wide outs too often made contested catches over him. Over the final few weeks of the year, however, that changed and Awuzie played some of the best football yet.

Xavier Woods, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis (in much fewer snaps) all had fantastic seasons as well, giving the Cowboys great hope and confidence in their secondary moving forward. They may need to add another safety during the offseason, however, though Jeff Heath remains more than just a viable option.

Dak Prescott Is Here To Stay

Whether or not you think it's justified, Dak Prescott is the quarterback of the future in Dallas. And he earned that right the back-half of 2018 and during the postseason. After a shaky start to his 3rd season, Prescott turned things around nicely, leading the Cowboys to a 7-1 finish to the regular season.

Prescott played the best football of his young career down the stretch, and showed just how valuable he is both on the field and in the locker room. It seemed like every game he made 2-3 winning plays that put the Cowboys over the top that afternoon.

Dak is going to get a contract extension, and will be locked in as a Cowboy for the foreseeable future, and with the way he played the final 10 games of his season, I can't second guess this decision much at all.

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