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Matt Cassel’s History Of First Starts: Replicating Success Against The Giants

RJ Ochoa

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- Auto Draft

On Sunday afternoon the Cowboys will take a big step towards capturing the 2015 NFC East Crown. The first foot in line will be that of the newest starting quarterback for America's Team... Matt Cassel.

A 2007 5th round draft pick was the asking price when the Cowboys called the Buffalo Bills in search of Cassel's services back in September. The deal was done and Cassel was thought to be insurance just in case Weeden got hurt or wasn't cutting the cheese.

In just three starts Brandon Weeden proved that he is incapable of the type of cheese-cutting that the Cowboys are looking for. Insert Cassel.

So what can Cowboys Nation expect from the former Southern Cal Trojan? What should we brace for when Matt fulfills his childhood dream this Sunday?

Cassel has been a bit of a journeyman so far throughout his NFL career. He's had significant stops in New England and Kansas City, but fiddled around in Minnesota for a while and took that quick tour through Buffalo before landing in Big D. He made starts for the first three, and we're going to examine those three performances.

Matt Cassel's First Starts With New Teams

Team Att Comp Yds TDs INTs Result
New England Patriots (9/14/2008) 23 16 165 0 0 Win
Kansas City Chiefs (9/20/2009) 39 24 241 1 2 Loss
Minnesota Vikings (9/29/2013) 25 16 248 2 0 Win

Cassel is not unfamiliar with taking over for a franchise quarterback. His first starting experience came with the Patriots after they lost Tom Brady for the season during Week 1. Sound familiar-ish?

Cassel had a week of preparation and managed the game well for the Pats against the New York Jets. In fact Cassel's first start came IN New York, where he'll start for the Cowboys for the first time this Sunday.


After that 2008 season Matt signed with the Chiefs. He had an entire offseason to prepare as the starter and had a poor game against the reigning World Champion Steelers. Dick LeBeau is no joke and that's probably a reason why Cassel threw two picks that day, but look at how many times he threw the ball... 39.

While, yes, Cassel is more capable of getting the ball downfield than another Cowboys QB, he doesn't play as well when he throws the ball a ton. In fact over his career, Matt Cassel is 16-24 when throwing more than 30 times in a game.

Cowboys fans have pointed to Cassel's 2010 as a sign of hope that he'll be what we need while we're without Romo. Matt played 15 games in 2010, going 10-5. This is undoubtedly Cassel's finest season in the NFL to date, he was even named to the 2010 Pro Bowl, and in those 15 games he only surpassed 30 attempts six times. He went 3-3 in those six games.

It's essential that Cassel and the Cowboys try to air it downfield on Sunday. They need to soften the defense up so that the run game can work. The dink-and-dunk play style that we've seen for the last month is not going to get it done; however, a quarterback like Cassel is going to need a solid run game so that he doesn't have to throw it that much (i.e. more than 30 times).

Cross your fingers, do your good luck dance, and hope that Cassel hovers right underneath 30 pass attempts as that seems to be his money range. I'm guessing a solid 27 will get the job done against the G-Men.

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How hopeful are you that Matt Cassel can get it done against the Giants? Email me your thoughts at RJOchoa@InsideTheStar.com or Tweet to me @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Matt Cassel’s History Of First Starts: Replicating Success Against The Giants" 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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Game Notes

Could OC Kellen Moore Be More “Vanilla” Against Dolphins This Week?

Kevin Brady

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Kellen Moore, Jason Garrett, Dak Prescott

The Cowboys are sort of in a no-win situation this Sunday.

If they come out and dominate the openly tanking Miami Dolphins, they'll have done exactly what they should do. But, if they lose to this putrid roster or lose one of their key players to injury, then this week three game would be considered a disaster.

So how should the Cowboys approach the Miami Dolphins?

Something tells me that new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore may look more "basic" than usual this week. Heralded for his creativity over the first two games, Moore may not want to show too much against the lowly Dolphins. Especially if the Cowboys can simply impose their will, a la the 2016 offensive gameplan.

Running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard should expect a lot of inside and outside zone opportunities this week, with each having a chance to have their best individual performances of the season. Tight end Blake Jarwin and wide receiver Devin Smith could see a lot of opportunities through the air as well, as the Cowboys may want to avoid putting Amari Cooper in situations which could cause injury.


Kellen Moore may want to come out firing with Dak Prescott and this dynamic passing game at first to get a quick lead, and then look to shorten the game as much as possible with his running game.

Honestly, as much as Cowboys Nation may not like it, I wouldn't be shocked if Miami covered this lofty 23 point spread. Dallas could look to get up a couple touchdowns, then proceed to sit on the ball and just look to get out of the stadium alive. Especially considering that the schedule gets much more difficult in the weeks following this Miami game.

With key NFC matchups against the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles looming large, health is the most important factor this week against the Dolphins.

Well, health and winning, of course.


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Game Notes

#DALvsMIA: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

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#DALvsMIA: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas and Miami could not be in more different modes heading into this week's game.

At 2-0 the Cowboys are looking to take the next step and earn themselves a Super Bowl ring. At a historically bad 0-2, the Dolphins are looking to go 0-16 and get a shot at drafting the top quarterback in next year's draft.

Vegas has this game at a ridiculous 21 point spread, which should rightfully scare gamblers away. But, both the Ravens and Patriots have beaten the brakes off Miami already this year, and Dallas seems primed to do so as well.

The Line

Cowboys -21. O/U 47.5 Points

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are off to their best start since 2015, and they certainly expect their next 14 games to go much better than they did during that 2015 season. Dallas' offense is as dynamic as any in the league through two weeks, and quarterback Dak Prescott is playing like a legit MVP candidate.

Defensively, the Cowboys have been a bit disappointing thus far, but they have to be feeling like Sunday is the perfect opportunity for a "get right game." Defensive end Robert Quinn returns from suspension to take on his former team, and DeMarcus Lawrence looks to be getting his legs under him after missing all of training camp.

Prescott's favorite target during the opening victories, Michael Gallup, is set to miss this game with an injury, but I don't expect it to matter much against the Dolphins.


Miami Dolphins

Where to even begin with the Miami Dolphins.

After trading for former first round pick Josh Rosen this offseason, the Dolphins decided to start journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. Then they traded their own former first round left tackle Laremy Tunsil for a slew of high draft picks. Then, most recently, they traded another former first rounder in Minkah Fitzpatrick for even more picks.

Miami is doing everything they can do to hoard draft picks, ensuring they'll have their pick of the top quarterbacks over the next two draft classes. In the end, this tanking strategy could very well work for the Dolphins, but in 2019 they are going to look really bad.

They've been dominated and embarrassed both weeks thus far, and most expect that embarrassment to continue Sunday against the Cowboys. Operation Fish Tank is in full effect.

Trends

  • The Dolphins are 0-5 against the spread their last 5 games.
  • The score total has gone over in 4 of Miami's last 6 games.
  • The Cowboys are 6-0 outright their last 6 home games.
  • The score total has gone over in each of the Cowboys' last 5 games.

The Pick

If it were to happen, this would be one of the worst losses I could ever remember in Cowboys history. Luckily, I highly doubt the Cowboys don't take care of business on Sunday.

Miami is downright trying to lose football games, and it's hard to imagine this group coming into Dallas and beating such a talented bunch. I'll take the Cowboys big, but I don't have the guts to bet any team -21 in the NFL.


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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ezekiel Elliott Should be rid of all Rust

It's pretty difficult to deal with the hype of being 2-0 to open a 2019 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys have done just that with a revamped offense and a quarterback that's thrown seven touchdowns in the process. They currently sit alone atop of the NFC East and although it's too early to know what kind of team this will be when it's all said alone, we're excited.

Let's dive into this week's takeaways!

We Need Robert Quinn Back

The Dallas Cowboys defense hasn't been as bad as many would think. They've had a few bad moments but the talent is still there and should be improving as the season goes on. Last Sunday, what was most frustrating to me was the lack of a pass rush. DeMarcus Lawrence had a pretty good game, even though his stat line doesn't look very pretty. The pressure was there constantly and he forced a handful of bad plays from Case Keenum. Tyrone Crawford managed to sack him once.

Breaking News: Robert Quinn Suffers Fractured Hand

Other than that, for most of the game the pressure was scarce. Fortunately, the Cowboys are getting Robert Quinn back from suspension this week. Having two quality edge rushers will boost a defense that has the potential to be great, but has only been "good" two weeks into the season.

Ezekiel Elliott Had The Kind of Game The Cowboys Need

Zeke was back for a heavier workload in week 2 after having a snap count in the season opener. It may have not felt like it, but the Cowboys' star running back had a pretty good game versus the Redskins. On 23 carries he had 111 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

In contrast of recent years, Elliott had a great game without the team heavily leaning on the running game. Dak Prescott threw the ball 30 times and Zeke still had a great game. This is what Cowboys Nation should want out of Kellen Moore's offense.


Elliott has two rushing touchdowns in the season, compared to six in all of last year. This is a product of an offense that's now dangerous in many ways, specially in the red zone. You gotta love what Moore is accomplishing so far.

Slow Starts Can't Continue to Happen

The biggest issue with the Cowboys in the first two weeks of the season has been their slow openings. In both games they've started trailing early. The worst thing about it is that it's been due to giving up big plays (like Saquon Barkley's big run in week 1) and quick, unsuccessful drives on offense (like a three-and-out drive followed by a drive that ended in an interception last Sunday).

Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Giants and Redskins didn't pose much of a problem. But when we reach the tougher stretches of the schedule, we know how quickly a game can turn south. Not every rival will be as unforgiving as the 0-2 foes they've faced so far.

DAL 31, WAS 21: Dak Prescott Dominant In Comfortable Win 1

Dak Prescott Continues to Prove He's It

Last but not least, we'll talk about Dak Prescott. Once again, he looked great. He finished the day with 269 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that came on a tipped ball from Randall Cobb's hand. He threw an absolute dime to WR Devin Smith, giving him his ninth 50+ yard touchdown pass of his career (ranking third in the NFL since 2016 behind Tom Brady and Philip Rivers).

All game long, he was precise against Washington's defense. He dealt three touchdowns to three different players and was making throws with anticipation and poise. If you're not sold on Dak Prescott yet, I don't know if you'll ever be.

He also looked well as a runner, specially on that 42-yard run where he stiffed arm Josh Norman. I hope the Cowboys continue to use him in the running game.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need" 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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