Dear Lamar Miller,
News broke today that you and the Dolphins are discussing a potential contract that would bring you back in the $5 million per year range.
Lamar Miller has been a Dallas Cowboys fan favorite for a long time. There have been websites created trying to persuade you to come to Dallas. Cowboys fans have been relentless on Twitter attempting to recruit the underutilized former Dolphins running back to the Dallas Cowboys.
Before anything happens, I'd like to have a word with you Lamar. Let me have one last ditch effort at trying to convince you that a career move to the Dallas Cowboys would be the best decision for you as you look to accomplish your goals.
Lamar, you have expressed your interest in being a high volume running back. You want to be one of the league's stars and there is little doubt in my mind that you not only can be one, but are already.
Forget that the Dallas Cowboys were your childhood favorite team. This is about legacy. When Lamar Miller retires, being a Dallas Cowboy not only comes with its perks, but behind that offensive line and with that quarterback and how you fit the offense, you can make records. Not just team records but career records.
Let's dive into the statistics.
You can't start anywhere else but with DeMarco Murray in 2014. Look at what he did behind this offensive line that has only gotten better since. He had a career season in 2014 and one of the best seasons in NFL history.
DeMarco Murray had 1,845 yards on 392 carries in 2014. That is good for an average of 4.71 per carry. Murray had 45 runs of 10+ yards, leading the league in that category. Murray was one of eight players having over 200 carries to have a stuffed percentage of less than 10%.
Compare these numbers to 2015. Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing with 1,485 on 327 carries. Peterson averaged 4.54 per carry and had a stuffed percentage of 14.4.
DeMarco Murray failed to break 1,000 yards as a member of the Eagles, racking up 702 yards on 193 carries with a stuffed percentage of 12.4.
Clearly DeMarco Murray was a completely different running back after leaving the Cowboys and it has been well documented how unhappy he now is with the Eagles and has even been rumored to want to go back to the Cowboys.
Darren McFadden entered 2015 as the Cowboys backup running back, coming off of several disappointing seasons. McFadden battled tons of injuries and poor play, but was re-born as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
After taking over as the starting running back once Joseph Randle was released, McFadden put on a show. On 239 carries McFadden finished fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,089 yards. McFadden averaged 4.56 yards per carry and had a stuffed percentage of 10.0.
Now let's get into the difference between you and Darren McFadden in 2015, and how much different things could be with you as a Cowboy.
You only had 194 carries as a member of the Miami Dolphins, despite averaging 4.49 yards per carry. Miller failed to reach 1,000 yards and had a stuffed percentage of 10.8. With Jay Ajayi being a high profile piece of the Dolphins backfield, you have to wonder if you will get the carries needed to become a fixture in homes across the country.
Football Outsiders introduces new next-level statistics to judge running backs, such as Value Over Average. What this statistic tries to measure is the difference between runs of the same yardage. For example, if one player runs for three yards but the average running back would have had more on that play they get a higher percentage for that particular run. This statistic is extrapolated for the entire season.
While McFadden leads you in every other statistic on Football Outsiders, there is a massive difference between you and McFadden in this statistic.
You have a VOA of 4.8% compared to Darren McFadden's 1.5%.
What this does is confirm the common observation that Darren McFadden would take what the offensive line gave him, but didn't fully utilize what he could have. Even with this statistic saying you got more out of your runs than Darren McFadden, McFadden had 27 runs of 10+ yards compared to your 22.
McFadden even managed to have two more 100+ yard games than you did despite not being the starter until week 8.
Lamar, what these statistics show is how valuable the Cowboys offensive line is to the success of the run game in Dallas. It is no coincidence that both Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray had career years in Dallas.
The advanced statistics show that McFadden had a highly effective season as the Cowboys running back, but the sky is the limit if someone like you came in to run the football. A three yard run by McFadden could be a twenty yard run with you running the ball. A season with less than 200 carries would lead to seasons of 300+ carries. Yearning for greater than 1,000 yards will become yearning for greater than 2,000.
This is apples and oranges. It comes down to legacy as I stated before. No other team offers this kind of package. Do you want to take less hard hits despite a lot more carries? Do you want to transform working hard to get through the line of scrimmage into working hard to get through the secondary?
Money is great, but I wonder how DeMarco Murray is feeling right now.
If Lamar Miller wants to make history with the team he grew up rooting for then the choice is simple. Put that star on your helmet and approach every single snap knowing you have a chance to get into the end zone no matter where you are on the field.
DeMarco Murray laid the groundwork. Now let's take that to a whole new level.
Lamar Miller... we want you.
Cowboys Chill While Pats & Rams Set to Thrill
If you were to check out the line on the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams, you might wander over to Sportsbook Review, where you could read a 5Dimes review and see what all the best online sportsbooks, first and foremost among them 5Dimes, are dealing on this intriguing matchup. Tom Brady and the Patriots, much to everyone’s chagrin outside the six New England states, are back in it – again – and are currently slight favorites over the emerging LA Rams.
In New England’s 37-31 victory over the Chiefs, the Patriots did what they always seem to do, which is rally late and win in dramatic fashion. It’s become almost a ho-hum experience in New England while the rest of the country bites on a bullet, cursing the embarrassment of riches and success that has been the standard of this Patriots’ franchise for two decades. But this was supposed to be the season that the dynasty would end after viewing Tom Brady’s often mediocre performances and his All-World tight end, Rob Gronkowski, hobbling up and down the field without the same reckless abandon as we’ve seen in year’s past. And then their only truly talented speed merchant capable of stretching the field, Josh Gordon, left the team under a cloud of suspicion.
Unfortunately for the rest of the nation, the Patriots' once porous defense coalesced into a rather stout unit and apparently, the two weeks between the end of the regular season and the start of the Patriots’ postseason was enough time for Brady to heal from his rumored sprained MCL that he had been dealing with in silence all season long.
Gronkowski must have also visited the same shaman as Brady because he looked as dominating as ever in ripping the Chiefs on every critical third-down throughout the final quarter. Finally, the conduit to much of Brady’s success, Julian Edelman, is now being mentioned as a Hall-of-Fame candidate when his run is done.
It’s all a bit much for everyone else, but not for Patriots Nation.
The LA Rams will be the Patriots’ latest foe on the league’s grandest stage as they have a burgeoning superstar in Jared Goff. Los Angeles tore through the regular season off of the golden arm of Goff and his Juggernauts, winning 13 of 16 and earning a first-round bye. Their first foray into the 2018 postseason was a 30-22 win over the determined but overwhelmed Dallas Cowboys. The Rams then traveled to the lair of Drew Brees and the Saints down on the bayou and came away with a 26-23 overtime victory.
However, had it not been for an inexcusable non-call, it is far more likely LA would be watching, rather than participating in this year’s Super Bowl. If you didn’t see it or hadn’t heard about it, then the question begs; why are you reading this article?
Of course, you know that LA’s cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman steamrolled New Orleans’ wideout Tommylee Lewis as Brees’ pass was descending toward Lewis inside the five-yard line. It was a penalty without a flag and that one blown call forced the Saints to settle for a field goal that pushed them ahead 23-20. Yet, there was still enough time on the clock to give Goff and his prolific Rams’ offense one last gasp at either tying the game or putting a dagger through the hearts of Saints’ fans everywhere with a touchdown in the waning moments.
It was the former and not the latter that occurred, but an errant pass by Brees in overtime sealed the deal as the Rams picked it off and ultimately ended the contest off the thunderous foot of Greg Zuerlein.
If you want to check out the line movements over the next two weeks for Super Bowl LIII then get on over to Sportsbook Review, read the 5Dimes review, and see exactly where the money is moving the spread as well as the total in the game. Buckle up Cowboys’ fans, it’s gonna get even more interesting as February 3rd draws near.
Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?
Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.
Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli
El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.
Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.
Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.
Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.
En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.
Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan
Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.
Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.
A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.
Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.
Head Coach Jason Garrett
El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.
Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.
Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.
Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.
Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.
2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch
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.
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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