As America's team, the Dallas Cowboys get talked about every single day on each National sports media outlet. Whether its Fox Sports, ESPN, NFL Network or anything else, everyone loves to give their opinion on how the Cowboys are playing and what they should do with personnel.
No matter just how wrong and/or misguided their opinion is.
In this week's edition of "awful Cowboys takes," people actually want the Dallas Cowboys to get rid of their best wide receiver and a clear leader both on the field and in the locker room. They want the Cowboys to trade Dez Bryant, along with Tony Romo, because...
Well, I'm not really sure why.
I have not heard one good explanation for why trading away a player who is 2nd in the NFL to only Rob Gronkowski in receiving touchdowns since 2010 is a good idea. Or why shipping off one of the 5 most physically talented players on this roster midway through what we think could be a Super Bowl season makes any damn sense at all.
With all the chatter about how Romo could mess up a good thing in Dallas with Dak, don't be shocked if the return of Dez could do same.
But, he'll just mess up the momentum! They have a good thing going and Dez will ruin it!
Great minds think alike. I'm concerned if Dak tries to force it to get ball to Dez. Bryant wants to be part of this. https://t.co/CWw6cYw6EF
Listen, I really like Linda Cohn. I think she is a fantastic Sportscenter host and she is really good at her job. I also like Jim Trotter, and for the most part, I think he knows what he's talking about.
But to suggest this is flat out idiotic. And trust me, they are not alone in their takes, they are just most recent people to suggest it.
"Oh no, our WR1 is back, now I have to find ways to get him the ball," said no offensive coordinator ever, especially not when that WR1 is Dez Bryant!
Yeah, this Dez Bryant.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant grabs a low catch with one hand, runs through a few Redskins and falls just over the goal line to score a touchdown in Week 8 of the 2014 NFL Season.
Oh, and this Dez Bryant.
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant hauls in the TD pass from QB Dak Prescott against the Los Angeles Rams in their preseason opener. #NFL Subscribe to NFL: http://j.mp/1L0bVBu Start your free trial of NFL Game Pass: https://www.nfl.com/gamepass?campaign=sp-nf-gd-ot-yt-3000342 The NFL YouTube channel is your home for immediate in-game highlights from your favorite teams and players, full NFL games, behind the scenes access, up-to-the-minute analysis and more!
You remember him? The guy that went for 7 catches and over 100 yards last time we saw him healthy for a full game? Yeah, he's pretty good at football, and we should be ecstatic he's coming back.
For months all that we talked about was how without Dez, the Cowboys receiving corps looked lost. How they lack any true deep threat when Dez isn't in the lineup. How they should consider drafting Laquon Treadwell because they "needed another Dez." And now, with the return of that player imminent, you want to just get rid of him? Because of "momentum?"
I am a bit of a momentum truth-er myself. Meaning, I'm not even sure if momentum really exists. I mean, of course it exists in physics when defined as mass times velocity (my humble brag about knowing science), but in a sports sense, how real is it?
You want to know why I think the Cowboys have won 5 straight games? Because they are a better football team than everyone they've played this year. They've had the better quarterback play, they've had the better coaching, they've had the better o-line play, they've created turnovers, and they've dominated in the run game.
No, I don't think its due to some magical force which is pushing the Cowboys passed opponents. The only force which is doing just that is their offensive line, which is literally forcing the ball down the throats of the defense.
Sure, there is something to chemistry and "mojo" or swagger of a football team, but the idea that the return of one of the team's best players is going to make that team worse is patently insane.
The return of Dez Bryant only makes an already really good Dallas Cowboys team better. If anything, it should only help solidify that these Cowboys are legit, and are capable of making some real noise in the NFC this winter.
So be happy that Dez is back, and enjoy this ride the Cowboys are taking us on, because seasons like this don't come around often in today's NFL.
DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class
Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.
Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.
One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.
ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.
ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t
DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.
Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.
Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.
When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott
Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.
In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.
During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...
...of his offensive lineman.
During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.
As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.
It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.
With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.
Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip
Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.
After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.
The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.
Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.
But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.
Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.
The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.
Star Blog1 week ago
Should Tavon Austin’s Role Get Expanded Against His Former Team?
Dallas Cowboys1 day ago
5 Potential Candidates Cowboys Could Target to Replace OC Scott Linehan
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Texas Forever? Kris Richard Appears Closer to Staying with Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys3 days ago
Cowboys Getting Over $30 Million Cap Space from Expiring Dead Money
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
What’s Next for Cowboys Coaching Staff After Divisional Round Loss?
Player News2 weeks ago
Allen Hurns Injury: Status, 2019 Prospects, Teammate Reactions
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
It’s Time To Stop Doubting the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
Top 5 Offseason Priorities for the Dallas Cowboys