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NFL Season Length in Question Again

How long should the regular season be? It’s an issue often discussed among fans and NFL members alike … should the season be longer? The majority opinion seems to be no since it would put an added strain on players that are already battling through bumps and bruises over 16 games in the regular season, then you add the pre-season into the mix and it just seems cruel.

Bryson Treece

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How long should the regular season be? It’s an issue often discussed among fans and NFL members alike … should the season be longer? The majority opinion seems to be no since it would put an added strain on players that are already battling through bumps and bruises over 16 games in the regular season, then you add the pre-season into the mix and it just seems cruel.

But the latest discussions seem to be focusing on the idea of a trade-off between the two, converting a pre-season game or two into regular season games so the overall schedule is still the same.

Roger Goodell has his take on the situation, but it appears that he is more worried about profit than anything. You see it’s hard to justify the NFL’s current pricing for pre-season games when the starters rarely play more than three quarters in a pre-season game, and even that’s beyond the norm aside from one game.

It’s a valid point too; tickets cost just as much for less performance and less stakes. Even season ticket holders have to pay full price those games, so it begs the question, should a pre-season game be converted to a regular season game?

The proposed idea has either been switching one or two games over, which will add to the number of regular season games without adding any extra games to the whole season. But in reality it actually does add to the whole season for the teams, not in that they have to play an extra game, but that they have to compete at a professional level for an extra game.

That’s another four quarters bone jarring hits that take a toll on the players. Another 60 minutes of stress on player’s bodies that adds up by the time the playoffs roll around. That’s another 60 snaps that the coaches have to plan and scheme for. The question is whether or not it’s justified to put that burden on teams.

I won’t sit here behind my little desk and pretend that I know the answer; truthfully I doubt anyone has the right answer on this subject. Owners stand to gain an extra $4 million in profit from even one game being converted, while teams would have to battle through an extra game trying to make it to the Super Bowl.

Personally I believe that we could use one more regular season game and one less pre-season game, but even I realize the consequences of such an adjustment. I cringe just like the next guy when players are hurt on the field. It’s my biggest problem with Philly fans, is that when Irvin broke his neck 10 years ago in Philly, those fans were cheering as he lay still on the ground. Every fan in football should be sympathetic to a player being hurt, no matter what team they play for, no matter what’s on the line, play-offs, super bowl title, or otherwise.

These guys go out and literally risk their lives and health for our entertainment, and unfortunately, that is not without consequence for some in the short term, and all in the long term.

It’s not just because of the length of the schedule that these things come up, though. It’s my opinion that the current format for bye weeks is in need of adjustment, with or without changing the number of regular season games.

No team should have a bye week before week 5, anything before that not only makes for an extended stretch of week after week abuse to end the season, but it guarantees injuries and poor performance in the playoffs. With the change of date and venue for the Pro Bowl in next year, it’s even more evident as it’s expected that few true starters will agree to play in the game if it’s played a week before the Super Bowl. Effectively making the Pro Bowl a free-for-all game instead of an All-Star game, putting more stock into being elected to the Pro Bowl than actually participating in it.

So think bye week assignments should only span from week 5 to week 14, even with the current 16 game schedule. Beyond that it’s wondered if the pre-season is even needed at all anymore.

Nowadays players are less likely to need exhibition games to get back into shape after an off-season since teams generally start off-season conditioning programs before the draft in April, and they now go through multiple voluntary workouts, OTAs, and mini-camps before even attending the mandatory training camp. In all, there are plenty of reasons why the concept of a pre-season is just outdated and unnecessary.

Then again, would anyone argue that the pre-season games helped Matt Cassel prepare for a season as the starter in New England after seeing Brady go down in week one? How about all the guys trying to earn a starting spot, or simply more playing time in general, with good performances in exhibition games? Are not pre-season games invaluable to teams for those reasons?

It’s a sticky subject that has plenty of sound logic on both sides on the fence, and while it would set a new precedent for the NFL, should it not be the players, coaches, and owners deciding what happens to the schedule next? The owners, with the few exceptions the likes of Jerry Jones and Al Davis, have little to do with weekly team operations and arguably are not the best representatives in a debate such as this.

Then again, maybe it’s all mute and nothing will come of the talks this year. It only means that it’ll be discussed again next year. But you guys tell me, how many pre-season games should be re-designated as regular season games?

Poll Closed

You can also comment below if you have a more varied opinion than what a poll can let you describe.

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Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter – @InsideTheStarDC

Star Blog

Months Later, it Seems Jaguars S Barry Church was Right

Kevin Brady

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Months Later, Jaguars Safety Barry Church Wa E

About five months ago, before the 2017 NFL season had even begun, former Cowboys safety Barry Church made comments which made Cowboys Nation scratch their heads. Now a Jacksonville Jaguar, Church said his current team was more talented than his former, the Dallas Cowboys.

At the time, many fans and writers alike laughed off his comments and chalked it up to typical preseason hype. Most people thought Church was crazy for suggesting a 13-3 team had less talent than the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team led by Blake Bortles.

Well, five months later, it’s become clear Barry Church was right.

Brian Chojnacki on Twitter

Jaguars safety Barry Church says he feels this Jags team has more talent than his #Cowboys squad last season. Dallas went 13-3. https://t.co/EcbxfUGsvy

This weekend the Jaguars went on the road to Pittsburgh, and came away with a wire-to-wire victory in January. The Jaguars were the more physical team from start to finish, and dominated from the opening kick off.

On the road.

Against the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now the Jaguars are preparing to do something the Cowboys haven’t done in two decades: play in a conference championship game.

The Jaguars and Cowboys will be linked for the next decade or so due to decisions each made during the 2016 NFL Draft. And while it appeared the Cowboys pushed all the right buttons in 2016, it now looks as if the Jaguars are preparing to compete for AFC supremacy for years to come.

With their talented secondary, dominant defense, and physical rushing attack, the Jaguars have built their team in the mold of past champions.

The Cowboys have attempted to do some of the same, but it certainly looks as if Barry Church was correct in his preseason assessment of the two rosters.

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Could the Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could The Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018?
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a season of disappointment and under achievement, one word that creeps into every die-hard fan is change. Back in September, the Dallas Cowboys were one of the Las Vegas favorites to get to the Super Bowl. Naturally, after a 9-7 season, we all want some sort of change.

By now, we know that said change will not come in the form of a new head coach. Or, if we’re being honest with ourselves, probably not even in the form of different coordinators.

So, then what?

We’ve seen a coaching carousel lately in Dallas with a lot of moves going on. Just about every position coach is leaving or interviewing with other teams, Kellen Moore is set to be the new QBs coach and so on.

But heading into the offseason, it’s inevitable to think about how many changes we could see in the Cowboys’ offense.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Recently, fellow Staff Writer Brian Martin wrote about how the Cowboys should build a Prescott-friendly offense for Dak Prescott. Despite a struggling season, Dak Prescott shouldn’t be evaluated or replaced after just two seasons. Even if overreactions around Cowboys Nation tell you otherwise.

Even still, it’s more than fair to criticize an offense that was far from meeting expectations last season. All this leads to a lot of questions about where the future of this offense is headed.

Is Dez Bryant still worth the money he’s being paid?

Should he be officially replaced by another WR1, something he hasn’t been for a long time?

The Cowboys have a ton of needs, and even though we’re used to the idea of defense always being our top priority in the offseason, this time it might be different.

This team really needs to get Dak a best friend, a receiver who can create separation. A good route runner.

Who knows, maybe Dez isn’t here next season. But even if he is, he probably won’t be “the guy” when it comes to catching Dak Prescott’s passes.

Could The Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018? 1

Dallas Cowboys WRs Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley

What about Cole Beasley?

Whether we like it or not, he’s another guy whose play wasn’t as good as 2016. With him going into his final year under contract, is it possible the Cowboys explore other options?

Despite not getting a lot of playing time, Ryan Switzer showed very promising flashes when he was asked to fill Beasley’s spot in the season finale at Philadelphia. I can’t help wondering if Switzer will be able to earn a more involved role on offense as the slot wide receiver next year.

Perhaps in the long run, he’s the better option for the Cowboys instead of the guy who’ll be 29 when the 2018 season arrives.

Now, Jason Witten is my all-time favorite Dallas Cowboy. But if we’re being real with ourselves, even if he’s still as reliable as ever, he isn’t a very dangerous player anymore. The coaching staff should find a way to do something similar to what the Chargers have done with Antonio Gates and add a younger, more dangerous tight end to play alongside Witten.

Before the 2017 season began, the Cowboys were expected to be one of the best offenses in the NFL. They failed to meet expectations. We know the coaching staff isn’t changing at the “big three” positions, but maybe we see it in the form of players.

Could we see a new-look offense in Dallas next season?

Tell me what you think about “Could the Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence
Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Es hora, inevitablemente, de pensar en la temporada lejana del 2018. Después de una difícil temporada, se viene un offseason con casi la misma dificultad para los Dallas Cowboys. Hace un año vimos una gran cantidad de jugadores irse de Dallas. Entre ellos, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church y Brandon Carr.

Ahora, la oficina de los Cowboys tiene la tarea de encontrar la manera de retener a jugadores como DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Anthony Hitchens, extender a Zack Martin más allá del 2018 y más.

No será una hazaña fácil, y las preguntas se extienden más allá de los jugadores mencionados. En Inside The Star, “Cowboys en Español” seguirá publicándose todos los viernes esta columna.

En la edición de esta semana, hablaremos sobre dos de los jugadores más importantes para los Cowboys esta temporada baja.

¿Qué Pasará con David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence?

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, los Cowboys tienen jugadores bastante prometedores en la línea defensiva. El problema es, que justo este año, es tiempo de asegurarse de que vuelvan a Dallas.

La situación con David Irving es un tanto complicada, pues a pesar de ya no estar bajo contrato con los Cowboys este 2018, es un agente libre “restringido.”

Para ser un agente libre “no restringido” (un agente libre común y corriente que puede ser perseguido por cualquier equipo), un jugador tiene que haber acumulado cuatro temporadas en la liga. Como no fue seleccionado en el Draft, Irving realmente firmó por tres años en el 2015 y no ha juntado sus cuatro años en la NFL.

David Irving, Redskins

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving

Esto es lo que lo convierte en un “RFA”, agente libre restringido, por sus siglas en inglés. Esto significa que los Cowboys, en resumen, tienen la opción de igualar la oferta de cualquier otro equipo que quiera llevarse a Irving.

Esto se logra por medio de un “tender.” Hay varios tipos de tenders, y estos se clasifican por rondas. Por ejemplo, si los Cowboys decidieran asignarle un tender de segunda ronda a David Irving este año, se le pagaría alrededor de $3M.

Los valores de los tenders se determinan por el mercado de la NFL en general.

Ojo, aún con un tender asignado, otro equipo puede terminar con el jugador. ¿El detalle? Digamos que los Cowboys deciden darle a Irving un tender de segunda ronda. Si un equipo externo decide firmar a Irving, eso significa que tienen que darle a los Cowboys una selección de segunda ronda en el siguiente NFL Draft.

Esto asegura la posibilidad de quedarse con el jugador, pues es bastante complicado que un equipo desee tanto a un jugador que ni siquiera conoce lo suficiente como para entregar una selección de segunda ronda.

DeMarcus Lawrence Credits DT Maliek Collins For Early Season Dominance 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Sin embargo, los Cowboys no tienen la misma suerte con DeMarcus Lawrence. Para quedarse a D-Law, habrá que hablar de números muy grandes.

Es difícil darle un contrato del calibre que se espera para Lawrence cuando realmente sólo ha tenido una buena temporada. Entre problemas de salud y lesiones, no fue hasta este año que DeMarcus realmente hizo un trabajo excelente.

¿Qué si Lawrence sólo puso una excelente temporada por ser “año de contrato” y realmente no tiene el nivel que aparenta?

No me sorprendería ver a los Dallas Cowboys darle una etiqueta franquicia.

Pero, ¿qué es eso?

Básicamente, una etiqueta franquicia es un trato de un año que obliga al jugador a quedarse en su equipo. Un equipo de la NFL sólo puede usar la etiqueta franquicia una vez al año.

Hay varios tipos, pero la idea es que al jugador se le paga el promedio de los mejores 5 pagados en su posición. A menos que sea la etiqueta de “transición” en la que se promedian los 10 mejores pagados, naturalmente haciéndola más barata.

Hablando de etiquetas franquicias, existe la exclusiva, la no-exclusiva y la de transición.

La primera, es sencillamente que ningún equipo puede intentar llevarse al jugador. En la no-exclusiva, cualquier equipo puede hacerle una oferta al jugador, y el equipo original tiene el derecho de igualarla.

Pero, si no la iguala… recibe dos selecciones de primera ronda como compensación. Esto, casi nunca sucede.

La verdad, creo que es el futuro de DeMarcus Lawrence. Me sorprendería mucho que le dieran un contratazo desde ahora, y la etiqueta franquicia suena como una buena opción. No me parece que se merezca una exclusiva, pero tampoco una de transición, que no ofrece compensación alguna.

Si los Cowboys logran quedarse con David Irving por medio de un tender de segunda ronda y a DeMarcus Lawrence con una etiqueta franquicia no-exclusiva, diría que Dallas hizo un buen trabajo quedándose con sus prometedores jóvenes de la línea defensiva.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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