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Monday Moment: Barry Church Saves The Day In Washington

Kevin Brady



Barry Church

We have now hit the part of the offseason which is probably the most depressing. The Draft has come and gone, training camp is still months away, and there is very little new news coming out of the Cowboys world.

So, instead, I have decided to take a step back over the next few weeks, and re-evaluate some of the key moments from the 2016 season.

Each week, one play will be put under the microscope to diagnose what the Cowboys did right or wrong in order to decide their fate on that Sunday. To start this series off, we go all the back to week 2 of the last season, with the Cowboys down 23-20 on the road in Washington.

The Situation

After playing some pretty sloppy football all day, the Cowboys found themselves staring an 0-2 start right in the face. Washington had drove down the field and was now in scoring position, with a touchdown likely putting the game away for good.

At worst, Dallas needed to hold Kirk Cousins and company to a field goal and stay within one possession.

In reality, Barry Church did them one better.

The Play

First, let's talk generally about how this play went down. With plenty of time in the pocket, Cousins slid outside the left tackle and saw his receiver, Pierre Garcon, flash over the middle of the field. Recognizing where the ball was going, Barry Church jumped in front of the pass and came up with the game-changing interception.

Now, let's check out the All-22.

dalwas barry church - Streamable

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The Redskins come out in an empty backfield, shotgun look. They have trips to the field, and two eligible receivers to the sideline. As a counter, the Cowboys come out in a pretty basic cover 2 scheme from a 4-2-5, or nickel look.

The intended receiver, Pierre Garcon, is lined up slot-left. Garcon and fellow Redskins' wide-out Jamison Crowder stack each other at the snap of the ball, in an effort to confuse the defenders. Remaining smart and patient, Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Hitchens communicate and pass off the receivers to one another.

Trying to find a soft spot in the zone, Garcon tries his luck over the middle of the field and behind the Cowboys' two-deep safeties. The Redskins run the rest of the receivers to the outside in an attempt to stretch out the Cowboys' zones, and open up the middle of the field. Seeing Garcon flash open for a split-second, Cousins tries to fit the ball in there for a touchdown.

Instead, Barry Church baits him into the throw, recovers over the middle, and intercepts the pass in the end zone.

dalwas barry church ez view - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

As good as the Cowboys defense played on this snap, the lack of velocity and poor decision making by Kirk Cousins on this throw simply cannot be excused. Yes, Dallas had solid coverage all of the field, but trying to beat the defense over the middle where four defenders are sitting in their zones will always be a bad idea.

Especially when you had a chance to potentially put the game away. Luckily for the Cowboys, Church made the play and the team went on to get their first of eleven straight wins.

Next week, we flip to the offensive side of the ball, and analyze one of the most important plays of the Cowboys' week 3 win over the Chicago Bears.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


Star Blog

Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin



Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.

After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.

The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.

Kavon Frazier

Dallas Cowboys S Kavon Frazier

I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.

Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.

As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.

I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.

Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?

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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady



Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.

After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.

But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."

The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.

Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).

The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.

This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.

These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.

Why The Numbers Expect Regression, But Success For Cowboys In 2017

Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.

Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.

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Star Blog

Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady



Robert Quinn
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.

The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.

And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.

“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.

Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.

"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told 

Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.

Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.

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