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 Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next
Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.
The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.
However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.
As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.
Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.
The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.
The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.
The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.
Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.
If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.
Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.
Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.
Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.
I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.
In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.
Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.
Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.
In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.
If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.
If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.
What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?
A Look Around The NFC East: Week 2
The usually competitive NFC East got off to a shaky start last week, with half the division winning their season opener and the other half falling short.
Now entering week 2, the Eagles and Redskins have a chance to begin to distance themselves from the loser of the Cowboys/Giants game, and both of those 0-1 teams are looking to "save" their season. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but a home loss within the division to fall to 0-2 could be debilitating for the Dallas Cowboys moving forward.
Regardless, let's go around the division and see what each team has on tap for this Sunday.
The defending champs opened up their 2018 campaign just as we expected: with a home victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta sort of gave that game away last Thursday night, but if the Eagles can stack Nick Foles-led wins on top of each other they'll put themselves in a great spot to win the East when Carson Wentz returns.
The Eagles will be on the road this week for the first time, traveling to Tampa Bay to play the 1-0 Buccaneers. The Bucs pulled the upset of the weekend last week, defeating New Orleans 48-40. It's hard to imagine that "Fitzmagic" continuing against the vaunted Eagles defense, though.
Philly is a three point road favorite against Tampa Bay this Sunday.
My "sleeper" team in the NFC East, and pick to finish second in the division, looked rather impressive in their week one drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, Arizona isn't a very good team, and will probably be picking top 5 in the draft next April. Still, it was a good showing for the Redskins to open the season.
Washington got Adrian Peterson going on the ground for nearly 100 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Thompson helped keep them on schedule offensively as well. Washington hasn't been talked about much this offseason, but is sitting at 1-0 with a game against the 0-1 Colts on the horizon.
Washington is a 6 point favorite against Indianapolis this Sunday, and has a good chance of starting 2-0 on the year.
New York Giants
Though we are just one week into the 2018 regular season, an important matchup is brewing within the NFC East. After falling to 0-1 with a home loss in their season opener, the Giants will travel to Texas to face the Cowboys on Sunday night football this week.
With both teams sitting at 0-1, neither can afford to put themselves into a nearly-insurmountable hole with a second straight loss. Since the merger 90% of teams who fall to 0-2 fail to make the playoffs, and it would be back-to-back seasons of missing out for both the Cowboys and Giants.
New York is a three point road underdog on Sunday, and it seems like most of the football world is leaning towards them and their weapons coming away with the victory.
Either way, this game will have massive implications on the 2018 season.
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