Just when things seem they couldn't get any worse for Mo Claiborne, they do. Mid way through the first quarter Claiborne went down while defending a Saints wide receiver on a pass play. You knew it was bad, and he knew it was bad as he laid on the turf almost motionless.
Tests confirmed that Claiborne had torn his patellar tendon on the play, which means he'll need surgery to repair the tendon and put an end to his 2014 season.
For anyone that's read my pieces or talked with me about Mo Claiborne, you know I've backed the man since the first time his named was announced by the commissioner with the 6th pick of the 2012 draft.
I guess it's because I saw the man's heart and emotions on the day he was drafted, or maybe because I'm from the same town Mo was born and raised and I wanted to see the home town kid make it. Either way, I knew I was going to pull for the newest Cowboy to the bitter end.
He's had his struggles, and I've felt those struggles were mainly because of injury and defensive scheme change. I really felt this year was going to be his break-out season, and the way he started in training camp, he was making me look good.
But then he started to get banged up, and started missing some time in training camp, and then started missing preseason games. He said - and the team said - it was for precautionary reasons. But for whatever reason, he was catching heat from the fans and the media.
Season starts, he gets the starting nod because of the Orlando Scandrick suspension. Mo has a rough first game, but bounces back in his second game against the Titans. The third game was probably his worst game of his career even though he did make a game ending interception.
Mo was blasted like never before, again by the fans and media. But this time the team felt it was time to make a change as well. Scandrick would be named starter and Mo didn't take the news very well, he'd felt the heat and it reached a boiling point and he stormed out of Valley Ranch.
Many fans were glad to see the demotion take place, and the media was more than happy to report the eruption that took place. Later that same evening, after thinking about everything that went down, Mo realized he was in the wrong for reacting the way he did and later apologized to his coaches and teammates.
The news of his apology was reported by the media, but it sure didn't have the same impact of the reports of him lashing out. Some fans were just glad he was demoted and that he would finally find his place on the bench, were they feel he belongs.
Fast forward to Sunday night. Mo ends up on the starting defense because the team opens up in a nickel defense (three defensive backs) and ended up playing 5 of the first 8 plays before getting injured and replaced by Sterling Moore.
The injury was so severe Claiborne could barely put any weight on his knee. My heart went out to the guy, because all he ever wanted was to live up to everyone's expectations and now? He won't have the chance to even try.
Slowly the news came out that Mo was done for the year, and I started reading where fans were happy about Claiborne's season-ending injury. I felt a couple of different emotions when I was reading these absurd posts and tweets. Anger, yes, but I also felt pity for ruthless and salty people.
The man gives his blood, sweat, and tears for YOUR team, and people have the audacity to be happy when they learn he'll be out for the year with a knee injury. I don't know, are some people just that immature, or maybe just ignorant? Nah, some people are just that damned heartless, where they don't care about anything other than getting what they want.
I'm all about putting the best players on the field to help the team win, but I will never celebrate another person's injury in doing so. I don't care who it is, what sport it is, or what team he plays for. It's inhumane to cheer for another person to get hurt or cheer when he/she actually does get hurt.
For the people cheering at the news of Mo Claiborne, or any other athlete for that matter, shame on you for that, and I hope you never have to feel the way Mo Claiborne is feeling today. Even though each and every one of you that have cheered this man's demise deserves it.
In saying that, you got what you wanted, he's on the bench and not playing again this year. So now it's time to get of his back.
Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense
For the Dallas Cowboys on the interior, a lot of the news consistently surround the availability of Defensive Tackle David Irving, but Maliek Collins is playing excellent right now. While I'm willing to be very patient with Irving because of the elite talent he brings, Maliek Collins should continue to start for the Dallas Cowboys at 3-technique defensive tackle.
Collins has been a player that the Cowboys have bounced between the nose tackle and the 3T position with the hopes of getting their best players on the field, and because of the lack of a consistent presence at the 1-technique or nose tackle position. Well, with Antwaun Woods taking control at the 1T, Collins has been able to play at the position where he's at his best. The 3-tech.
He hasn't put huge numbers in the sack column this season, but that doesn't mean he's been absent from being the disruptive player he's been through his first two and a half seasons.
During the Dallas Cowboys five game winning streak, Maliek Collins has led the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackles in total pressures with 13, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF combines sacks, quarterback hits, and hurries into their "pressures." Collins hasn't recorded a sack during the winning streak, but he has four quarterback hits and nine hurries. He's tied with Tyrone Crawford for third in total pressures behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory over the last five weeks.
Over the last five weeks, Collins leads the defensive tackles in solo tackles with five and is tied with Crawford and Antwaun Woods with three run stops on defense, according to Pro Football Focus. Collins has also has two tackles for loss in the last five games and recovered Tyrone Crawford's force fumble on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Collins had six sacks in his rookie season when he played primarily as the 3T, which allowed him to see more one-on-one blocks against opposing interior offensive linemen. Especially with the way the rest of the defensive line is playing.
With the Cowboys on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts this week, Collins is going to have a tough matchup with a very good Colts offensive line, in particular, rookie Quentin Nelson. Collins ability to get pressure on Andrew Luck on the interior is a huge key for the Dallas Cowboys this week. We know that Gregory and Lawrence will get their pressures, but if Andrew Luck is able to step up into a clean pocket, it will make for a much more challenging game for the Cowboys secondary.
Collins has proved to be up to any task over the last five weeks and if he's able to keep playing at such a high level, he'll make the Cowboys coaching staff, and the rest of Cowboys Nation forget about using other defensive tackles. For the Cowboys to make a deep push in the playoffs, they'll need Collins to be a big time player for them moving forward.
Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018
For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.
After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote
As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.
Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.
Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.
His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!
David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.
In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.
There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.
While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.
Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.
Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.
In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.
Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.
Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.
At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.
The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.
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