Over just three weeks of the 2018 season, the NFL's new rule about hitting quarterbacks has stirred up as much controversy and angst as any amount of anthem kneeling ever did. Tyrone Crawford and the Dallas Cowboys can now add themselves to the list of perplexed victims of the league's misguided legislation.
On the Seattle Seahawks' first offensive series yesterday, Crawford made what in past years would have been a clean, textbook hit on Russell Wilson just as the ball was released. But out came the flag, claiming that Tyrone didn't make enough effort to avoid putting all his weight into the quarterback as he brought him down.
This flag came on a 3rd-down play with Seattle backed up on their own 12. Instead of punting, and likely giving Dallas excellent field position for their next series, the Seahawks got to continue the drive and eventually punt it from midfield.
That consequence may not sound like a big deal, but it robbed the Cowboys of their earned opportunity to get points on the board early. It changed the tone of the game early, and who knows what ripple effect that had the rest of the way.
The real issue here, though, is that that call can even be made. The NFL has finally taken QB protection too far, to the point that defensive players are left with no logical or physically possible way to do their jobs.
Before the Dallas game came on, I watched as the Packers' Clay Matthews got flagged yet again for the same type of call. It was the second time in as many games that Matthews has been given a foul for a clean hit.
Matthews' frustration after he saw that flag was clear. He looked disheartened, and part of me wondered if he might just walk right out of the stadium. In fact, I almost wanted him to pull a Vontae Davis just to help make the point to the league.
The NFL wants the best of both worlds. They want these players to go max effort when the rules allow and then pull it back in very specific, split-second situations. It's more than the human mind and body can do.
You can't ask these defenders to use everything they've got to get through a blocker, and then immediately rein it in once they get their hands on the quarterback.
You can't ask them to avoid going high on the QB, and then always know when the ball has been released. They don't have eyes in the top of their heads.
You can't ask them to come full force on a blitz or rush and then cool their jets within a second or less. Forget mind and body, even the basic laws of inertia don't work that way.
The NFL is asking for the impossible; a safe form of violence. That's like asking for non-toxic poison.
I understand the league's current global dilemma. They are looking down the barrel of rising CTE awareness, lawsuits from former players, and the diminishing participation in youth football. They're trying to save the game from extinction, or at least from falling off the throne as America's modern pastime.
But this rule isn't about that. This is about trying to keep star quarterbacks healthy so that fan engagement and TV ratings don't go down when an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady gets injured.
The NFL is in the entertainment business, so I get their concern. Quarterbacks are the lead actors of the sport. You'd be disappointed if the next Mission Impossible movie was mostly Ving Rhames.
Protecting quarterbacks, given their vulnerability at times on the field, has its place. Some of the rules make sense, even if at times they lead to frustrating penalties.
But now they're messing with the core formula of football. If the Colonel got rid of one of his eleven herbs and spices, KFC chicken might not taste the same anymore. Coca-Cola might suddenly be worse than Pepsi (hard to imagine, I know) if they started changing the syrup.
The NFL isn't tweaking here. They're changing games and putting the burden on defensive players, in the heat of battle, to try to have machine-like precision.
Again, they're asking for the impossible.
Tyrone Crawford is no Vontaze Burfict. He's not a loose cannon. He's one of the genuine good guys in the NFL, who does everything the right way on and off the field.
You can only imagine his frustration right now, or that of Clay Matthews and anyone else hit with one of these penalties. Imagine what some of these guys, who aren't a Crawford or Matthews, might do if that frustration boils over.
You could hear it even in the commentary yesterday. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were clearly disgusted by the calls, both in the Cowboys-Seahawks game and what's been happening so far this year. This was FOX's premier broadcast team openly bashing the NFL in a nationally televised game.
And if you think the players and commentators are frustrated, imagine how that translates to fan response.
The league is trying to avoid losing viewers from quarterback injuries. In the process, they may lose a lot more by damaging the game we love.
Playing football is an accepted risk. Players get it. Fans get it.
The NFL has to get it, and soon, before this conversation takes over in a way that past controversies haven't. The anthem kneeling was an overblown, media-driven story that never hit the bottom line they way they wanted you to believe. None of it mattered once the ball was kicked off.
But now the game is being damaged. Football is becoming less fun; a game of rules and penalties rather than action and intensity.
If something doesn't change, the NFL's self-preservation efforts just might lead to its demise.
Dallas Cowboys: 3 Schedule Predictions Ahead Of Wednesday’s Release
Wednesday night the official 2019 NFL schedule will be released, and we will know the exact times and dates of each of the Cowboys' upcoming games.
We already know the opponents, however, and we know how the NFL typically likes to schedule games week to week. Based on both prior history and future opponents, here are 3 predictions for tonight's schedule release.
1. Cowboys Open Up With The Giants
I didn't say the predictions would be bold, did I?
The NFL loves to have the Cowboys open up against the New York Giants, and I see that being the case here again. Dallas/New York will always bring about solid ratings, but scheduling this game before the Giants (likely) fall out of contention is a smart move as well.
This game will be in Dallas at 4:25 eastern time, occupying that "America's Game of the Week" slot during the opening weekend. Because as much as everyone says they hate watching these NFC East games, the numbers bear out a different story.
2. Cowboys Play @ Saints Thursday After Thanksgiving
We know the Cowboys will play in an extra Thursday or Saturday night game this season. They always do.
Lately the league has liked to schedule them as the Thursday night game following Thanksgiving, and I don't see them breaking that trend this season. Dallas has played the Vikings, Redskins, and Saints in this game the last three years, with the Cowboys/Saints game being one of the best of last year's Thursday slate.
Why not run it back at the Superdome this November?
3. Cowboys Close The Season With A Brutal December
This is broad prediction, so let's narrow it down a bit. I think the Cowboys will play three critical NFC games in December, at the very least. These games will include NFC East battles with the Washington Redskins (week 17) and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as a game at Chicago to face the Bears.
It's likely the Cowboys, Bears, and Eagles will be fighting for playoff positioning (or playoff births) down the stretch in December. Plus, anytime a combination of these three teams play, ratings will be drawn. I think they'll have Prescott battle Mitchell Trubisky and Carson Wentz this December, as he and the Cowboys look to clinch a consecutive playoff birth.
Cowboys en Español: Lawrence Extendido, ¿Sigue Prescott?
La saga más importante en este offseason de los Dallas Cowboys llegó a su fin la semana pasada cuando DeMarcus Lawrence por fin firmó su extensión. Tras semanas de estar en un "punto muerto" en las negociaciones, se reportó que ambas partes habían retomado las pláticas el viernes pasado y el mismo día se anunció el trato.
El ala defensiva de 27 años consiguió un contrato de cinco años y 105 millones de dólares. Esto convierte a Lawrence en el tercer defensivo mejor pagado de la liga en promedio por año, detrás solo de Khalil Mack y Aaron Donald. Con 21 millones anuales, muchos no están de acuerdo con pagarle esta cantidad de dinero a un defensivo como D-Law.
Es entendible, dado que nunca es fácil hacer a un jugador uno de los mejores pagados en la liga. Sin embargo, DeMarcus Lawrence lo vale. Pidió dinero del calibre de Von Miller y otros defensivos elite porque ha producido a ese nivel.
No sólo eso, sino que realmente se ha perfilado como el mejor en su posición contra el juego terrestre. El valor que aporta al equipo logra justificar lo que se le pagará. Además, la estructura del contrato realmente ata al equipo solo por tres años a Lawrence. Esto es una victoria para la administración de los Jones.
¿Quién Sigue? Dak Prescott.
Como bien sabemos, DeMarcus Lawrence no era el único jugador que necesitaba recibir una extensión. Pero ahora que está fuera de los quehaceres, Dak Prescott es el centro de atención en Dallas.
En sus primeros tres años en la NFL, los Cowboys han ganado dos veces el título de la NFC East. Ha demostrado ser un líder capaz de dirigir al equipo y ganar en los momentos importantes. De hecho, Prescott es el quarterback con más series ganadoras desde el 2016, cuando entró a la liga. Por si fuera poco, ningún mariscal de campo ha conseguido tantas series así en sus primeras tres temporadas.
DallasCowboys QB Dak Prescott * Most game-winning drives (14) since 2016 * Most game-winning drives in first 3 seasons (14) of any QB since 1950 @dallascowboys @dak
Y no hay que confundirnos. La pregunta no es si lo van a extender o no. La pregunta es: ¿Cuánto le van a pagar al quarterback de 25 años? Sabemos que la administración confía plenamente en Dak para ser el futuro. Le van a pagar. Para darnos una idea, veamos los mejores pagados actualmente según Over The Cap (en promedio por año):
- Aaron Rodgers - $33.5M
- Matt Ryan - $30M
- Kirk Cousins - $28M
- Jimmy Garoppolo - $27.5M
- Matt Stafford - $27M
Muchos ven a Dak como un jugador que merece menos de 25 millones al año, pero no es así como funciona el mercado. A mi parecer, el contrato no bajará de 25 y se acercará a los 30 al año. ¿Mucho? Quizá. Pero en esta liga, si te quieres quedar con un mariscal franquicia, tienes que pagarle bastante para evitar que llegue a la agencia libre.
Y sí, Prescott sigue bajo contrato en 2019 pero la extensión seguramente vendrá antes. El valor por un QB sube cada año al igual que todas las posiciones y con un jugador como Patrick Mahomes en la AFC, habrá un brinco considerable el próximo offseason.
Cuando Prescott firme una extensión, habrá mucha división entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys. Personalmente, veo a Dak como un jugador franquicia. Por ahora, estemos contentos porque Lawrence se queda en casa.
Cowboys Come Out In Full Force To Support Dirk Nowitzki In His Final Home Game
Last night was a major one in the NBA, with two legends and future Hall of Famers playing in their last respective home games. Of course, the legend which means the most to Dallas-area sports fans is Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki, who gave a teary-eyed farewell to the Dallas faithful on Tuesday night, finally admitting "it's time."
It's no secret that Nowitzki has been supportive of all DFW teams while apart of the Mavs organization, and last night the Cowboys returned the favor, showing up in full force to support Nowitzki in his final game.
Dallas Cowboys at tonight's Mavericks game: Jason Garrett, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, Connor Williams, Joe Looney, Jeff Heath, Travis Frederick, La'el Collins, Randall Cobb, Allen Hurns, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Tavon Austin https://t.co/546B30dqPY
Dirk Nowitzki put up 30 points and 8 rebounds in the Mavericks 120-109 win, an excellent way for the future Hall of Famer and fan favorite to go out in front of his home fans.
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