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#MillerToDallas: A Letter to @MillerTime_6

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Cowboys Headlines - A Letter to Lamar Miller

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.

Cowboys Headlines - A Letter to Lamar Miller 1

MillertoDallas.com was created in your honor!

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.

Cowboys Headlines - A Letter to Lamar Miller 2

Digging through your Twitter account, it is clear you grew up a Cowboys fan

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%.

Cowboys Headlines - A Letter to Lamar Miller 3

DeMarco Murray had a career year with the newly renovated Cowboys offensive line

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.

Cowboys Headlines - A Letter to Lamar Miller 4

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.

Cowboys Headlines - A Letter to Lamar Miller 5

Lamar, we’d love to see you run 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.

Sincerely,
Cowboys Nation

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I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

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1 Comment
  • Fan in Hawaii

    If we can sign Miller with a team friendly, long term deal, I say go for it. He's still young and underutilized so he still has a lot of mileage left in him. His running style is a perfect fit for the blocking scheme the Cowboys have. I'd also like to see us pick up Sean Smith (cb Chiefs). He too is young (28), has great size (6'3" 218lb), and they can't afford to keep all of those soon to be free agent defensive studs in KC. He may be the odd man out. I'm also open to bringing Mario Williams in at the right price. He can still play right end which will give Lawrence a better chance to be successful on the left. If we get those 3 guys, I'd be fine with grabbing Wentz or Goff @ #4. Although I'd still rather get Ramsey, Jack, or Buckner at 4. We need a stud DT in the 2nd rd.

Star Blog

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Each offseason tough decisions have to be made by teams around the NFL, and the Dallas Cowboys are no exception. Teams have to decide who to promote, who to demote, and who to cut ties with altogether. For the Cowboys, Terrance Williams fits into one of those three categories, but which one?

It was plainly obvious that the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers all had an extremely disappointing 2017 season.

Everybody has their own opinion as to why this happened, but one thing is for sure, the Cowboys coaching staff will definitely look at ways to get more out of their receiving core. The one player who I think could be affected most by whatever decision the coaching staff ends up making is Terrance Williams.

Williams didn’t do much to make a case for keeping his starting job in 2017, let alone sticking on the roster.

To say he had a disappointing season would be an understatement.

Williams finished the 2017 season with just 53 receptions for 568 receiving yards and absolutely zero touchdowns. The Cowboys were likely hoping for more production from someone they just signed to a four-year, $17-million contract extension back in March [2017].

Now, you can make the argument Williams took a team discount in order to stay in Dallas, but that doesn’t carry much weight when your production leaves so much to be desired. This is especially true when there might be somebody on the roster who can do just as well, and possibly be an upgrade.

Noah Brown

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Yes, if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about Noah Brown.

I know I’m not alone here, but I think Noah Brown could easily replace Terrance Williams’ production. I understand that there’s not much evidence to back up that statement based on Brown’s rookie season, but he has all the tools required to succeed.

This is really all about potential, and Noah Brown simply has more upside than Terrance Williams.

We all know what Terrance Williams is as a receiver, and what he brings to the table for the Cowboys offense. I believe Noah Brown can do all the things Williams does and has the potential to be even better.

I already think Noah Brown is a better blocker, something the Cowboys coaching staff really values about Williams. I also think Brown is a better pass catcher. He is a natural hands catcher and has a large catching radius, something Williams obviously isn’t (body catcher).

Right now, Williams is only better than Noah Brown in a few areas. He is slightly faster, he’s more advanced as a route runner, and has more experience. That’s about it.

This will obviously be a tough decision for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to make. But, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Terrance Williams playing somewhere else when the 2018 season kicks off.

Do you think Terrance Williams will be with the Cowboys in 2018?

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Star Blog

Are the Dallas Cowboys Building a Championship Defense?

Sean Martin

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Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Three of the four teams remaining in the NFL playoffs — a win away from the Super Bowl — ranked within the top four defensively in yards per game allowed this season. The other is the defending-champion New England Patriots, who of course were expected to reach yet another AFC Championship game, thanks to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Somewhere between this field, losing their 2017 hopes at a deep playoff run to injuries, suspensions, and just poor execution at times, are the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys ranked eighth in yards allowed per game at 318.1 this season.

On the surface, all this provides hope that typically springs eternal around the league through the offseason.

It has been far too long since the Cowboys defense matched the skill level of the team’s offense, but Rod Marinelli’s unit (not exactly by design) outplayed that of Scott Linehan’s at times through this 9-7 campaign.

This defensive rebuild in Dallas began with the admission that this group had reached their ceiling in the offseason, as the Cowboys let long-time starters like CB Morris Claiborne, CB Brandon Carr, S Barry Church (now with the Jaguars), and S J.J. Wilcox go in free agency.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, looking to turn over an entire secondary in a division featuring Carson Wentz, Eli Manning, and Kirk Cousins as quickly as the Cowboys did was a risky move. Their confidence in hitting on draft picks paid off though.

The Cowboys’ bright future is predicated on the likes of CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis, and S Xavier Woods.

With two young starters at cornerback, the sky truly is the limit the this Cowboys defense. And they’ll play in support of an offense with more than enough talent to return to form in 2018.

As it stands now under Rod Marinelli, the Cowboys defense is built to keep everything in front of them, and get bodies to the football. This coverage-friendly approach could be taken to new heights with Lewis and Awuzie on the outside, along with Anthony Brown finding a home in the slot. All three cornerbacks have excelled at using their speed, length, and technique to get their hands on passes.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Of course, games are won in the trenches, where the idea of the Cowboys defensive line ever rising to the level of their offensive line was laughable until recently. Whether it’s with the franchise tag or a long-term extension, sack-artist DeMarcus Lawrence looks to be an all-important member of this entire team moving forward.

A healthy Lawrence was a nightmare for opposing right tackles in 2017. He earned a national spotlight each week on his way to the quarterback 14-and-a-half times. Making it look easy at times, Lawrence is a refined rusher with the speed and power to win inside and out.

The RDE position remains a sore spot in need of talent as this Cowboys defense looks to take the next step, but there’s hope for the likes of Randy Gregory, Charles Tapper, and Taco Charlton to get the job done, along with veteran starter Tyrone Crawford.

With Crawford at RDE for much of 2017, running the ball against the Cowboys front was a tall order. His ability to capture the corner against left tackles came as a pleasant surprise to many, and once in position, the defensive captain chased down plenty of plays.

Tyrone Crawford wasn’t the only pleasant surprise on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line this season.

Rookie Taco Charlton looked like an entirely different player to close a first year in Dallas that began with completely uninspiring results. Charlton — having the physical traits to play at the next level — was never a question out of Michigan.

He may never be a player to take over games for a defense, which the Cowboys couldn’t have expected to find at DE selecting 28th overall, but an improved player at DE and DT could be an incredibly valuable asset for the Cowboys in 2018 and beyond.

This leaves the Cowboys linebacker corps, where we find the best example of young potential on the entire defense. Amazingly playing in all 16 games, LB Jaylon Smith is in line to take a massive step forward in year two.

Smith closed his season looking enticingly close to the player he was at Notre Dame, an encouraging sign as the Cowboys look to become less dependent on Sean Lee on this side of the ball.

Lee and Smith paired together would give the Cowboys a middle-of-the-field presence to rival the best in the league. Both players have exceptional range and awareness to run down plays from sideline to sideline.

Anthony Hitchens, an impending free agent, is another valuable piece at LB with his ready ability to play all three positions at a relatively high level.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Stefon Diggs racing to the end zone with no time left to send the Vikings to the NFC Championship game will be the lasting image of this past Divisional Round weekend, an offensive play that will live on forever.

A closer look at these games and the teams that survived them reveals a collective trust in defenses, a trust the Cowboys could be blissfully close to with their own young defense.

The Cowboys are likely losing one of the smarter minds behind their defense in recent years, with Matt Eberflus ticketed for Josh McDaniel’s staff, and are still in need of a secondary coach after not retaining Joe Baker. In a league where better talent typically prevails though, the possibility of the Cowboys building a championship defense for next season and beyond may not be far off.

With defenses in Jacksonville and Philadelphia providing the hope that both teams can pull off the impossible and reach the Super Bowl on Sunday, will defensive potential be enough for Dallas to get through this long offseason and start the even longer path back to their first NFC Championship game in 21 seasons?

Tell us what you think about “Are the Dallas Cowboys Building a Championship Defense?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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