Welcome to this week's edition of Martin's 5!
After completely manhandling the Cincinnati Bengals last week, the Dallas Cowboys have a tough matchup against the Green Bay Packers on the road.
This isn't the same dominant Packers team we have seen in the past, so it is definitely a winnable game for the Cowboys if things go as planned and they continue to play the way they have been playing.
If you are new to reading my weekly edition of Martin's 5 or maybe you've forgotten, let me explain that this is a space that I use to share the things that I'm wondering each week. They can just be things that are stuck in my head or things I'm wondering heading into the weekly matchup for the Cowboys.
Below are my five weekly wonders, and trust me it wasn't difficult to do this week as it has in weeks past.
One: The Dallas Cowboys have a tough game on the road against the Green Bay Packers this week. If Dak Prescott can come away with a victory at Lambeau Field, I wonder if he remains the starting quarterback even once Tony Romo is back to 100%? I firmly believe that Tony Romo is the better of the two QB's at this point and gives the Cowboys best chance to win. But, I just don't know if I can sit Prescott if he is on a five-game winning streak. When your team is on a hot streak, how can you justify making a change to arguably the most important position in the NFL. I'm just glad I'm not the one that is going to have to make this decision. Whatever way the Cowboys decided to go will be deeply scrutinized.
Two: Speaking of Tony Romo, I wonder if he will actually be able to return to the field after the Cowboys Week 7 bye week? As things stand now, it looks as if Romo is on schedule to return Week 8. Of course, he hasn't really started throwing very much or practicing. Once that happens it will be interesting to see if he has any kind of setback. When dealing with back injuries you have to take the cautious approach, especially for someone like Romo who has already had back problems in his playing career. I personally wouldn't be in a hurry to put Romo back on the field, especially if I have any kind of concerns about his health. Dak Prescott allows the organization to take things slowly and make sure Romo isn't being rushed back.
Three: I wonder if Ezekiel Elliott can continue his streak of 100+ rushing yard games this week against the Green Bay Packers? Through the first five weeks of the 2016 season, the Dallas Cowboys have the best rushing attack in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers have one of the best, if not the best, run defenses in the NFL. This is a strength against strength matchup and the winner will probably go a long ways in determining the outcome of this game. The Cowboys offensive line makes all the difference. They completely manhandled the Cincinnati Bengals defensive front, and I think they could do the same against the Packers. I could easily see Elliott hitting that 100 yard rushing mark again this week.
Four: The Dallas Cowboys secondary has been one of the strengths of the defense, but I wonder if Morris Claiborne and company can continue to impress against a tough group of Green Bay wide receivers? Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his wide receivers have been among the best in the NFL for the past several years and will be a tough test for the Dallas Cowboys secondary. The Packers like to use three and four wide receiver sets on offense, so that will definitely put pressure on the secondary to be at their best. Claiborne in particular has been playing lights out, but he will have to step up his game this week as well everyone else on the backend of the Cowboys defense.
Five: The pass rush for the Dallas Cowboys defense was much improved last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. I wonder if that will carry over this week so they can continue to harass Aaron Rodgers just like they did Andy Dalton? Now, I don't expect the Cowboys defense to rack up four QB sacks against the Packers, but applying pressure to Aaron Rodgers throughout the ball game will help keep the secondary from having to cover the Packers WRs for an extended period of time. DeMarcus Lawrence added a little juice to the pass rush last week and will have to do the same this week. The more pressure they can get on Rogers the better, but it will be difficult against the Packers offensive line, who are among the best in pass protection.
Well, that does it for this week's edition of Martin's 5. Do you have anything on your mind that you would like to share?
Please feel free to take advantage of the comment section below to share any of your thoughts or opinions.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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