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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



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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What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.

Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?

As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.

Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.

But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.

Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.

Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.

After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.

It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.

Tell me what you think about "What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?" 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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Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



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Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



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