You know when you go to dinner and are particularly starving? And the waiter brings a tray of food and you get your hopes up and BAM! …takes it to the table next to you? It’s demoralizing. That’s what every day of this offseason has felt like waiting for football.
The good news is that we’re 52 days away from filling our bellies with the usual servings of Tony, Dez, and a side of Coleslaw. Consider this your appetizer and enjoy the Greatest 52 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The Following Players Have All Worn 52 For The Dallas Cowboys:
I hope that you really are starving because Chef Boy R-J has prepared not one, but two delectable appetizers for you!
If there’s hair in your food then you usually send it back, right? Well our first appetizer’s nickname was “Fuzzy” so don’t do that here.
Dave Edwards was drafted 194th overall (yes, 194th!) by the Denver Broncos in the 1962 American Football League Draft. Edwards elected not to be a horsey but to ride one, and signed with the Dallas franchise as a free agent in 1963 to become a Cowboy.
1963 saw one of our Greatest 54s in Dallas Cowboys History, Chuck Howley, make the move to the weakside linebacker spot, opening up the strongside. Dave Edwards cannonballed his way into one of the greatest linebacking corps in NFL History. Chuck, Dave, and Lee Roy Jordan (our Greatest 55 in Dallas Cowboys History) turned the Cowboys into a contender. While Lee Roy manned the middle and Chuck floated out, Fuzzy thrived against the run.
Dave Edwards became very well-known for how excellently he jammed opposing tight ends. Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden was so impressed that he had his team study Dave Edwards so that they could emulate his play. Edwards served as a key component that allowed the Dallas Cowboys to win their first Super Bowl in the 1971 season. He was an excellent linebacker, but he is edged out by one other #52.
Raise your hand if you’ve got over 1,000 tackles for the Dallas Cowboys. Ok, I see some of you guys. What’s up? Ok now raise them if you had 7 straight 100-tackle seasons. I see a few of you have left…this is getting awkward. Last one here, tackle a Denver Bronco if you’ve scored four defensive touchdowns with a Star on your head!
Dexter Coakley, ladies and gentlemen! This tackling machine was taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Coakley took over the starting duties at the weakside linebacker position in that rookie year of 1997 and never gave it up.
#52: Dexter Coakley
Coakley teamed up with the Greatest 59 in Dallas Cowboys History, Dat Nguyen, to compose one of the better linebacker tandems in the early 2000s. Dexter played so well that he became the first Cowboy linebacker to head to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl since Ken Norton Jr. in 1993.
Dexter Coakley was a breath of fresh air for the Cowboys at the linebacker position. He tackled and tackled and tackled, totaling 1,046 for his Cowboy career…good enough for 4th in franchise history.
In 128 games in the blue and silver Dexter Coakley started 127. He was the epitome of durability and is the Greatest 52 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 51 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
Why I’m Not Buying The Jason Witten Rejuvenation Story
Last week, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made headlines with some quotes about the return of Jason Witten. Neither Garrett nor Witten tend to make headlines with their words often, but the two combined to do so with a quote this week.
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.” - Jason Garrett on Witten.
Multiple Cowboys' media outlets ran with these quotes, looking to show that the Cowboys have found a version of Jason Witten that they have not seen in quite some time. They are, publicly, stating that they believe a year away from the game did Witten some good, and that he will be a much healthier and fresher player in 2019 than he was back when he last played in 2017.
As a fan of the team, I sure hope this is the case. But as a realistic human being, I can't get behind this at all.
Jason Witten hasn't been very good for quite some time now. I know he's a Cowboy legend, and will forever be a fan favorite, but the facts are the facts. As a run blocker Witten has regressed greatly in his later years. More often it seemed he was re-adjusting his jersey after a missed block than he was making blocks to spring Ezekiel Elliott on the edge.
As a receiver, Witten's much slower than he used to be. And while he was never a blazer who relied on his speed to win, his lack of speed certainly holds him back in today's game. And if the Cowboys want to be multiple and versatile on offense, I'm not sure how a greatly-aged tight end helps them to do so.
He's still the smart, instinctive route runner he's always been, but at 37 years old what can we realistically expect from him?
I'll be honest, I'm very skeptical that Jason Witten is going to give the Cowboys anything in 2019. Maybe earlier in the season he will look better than expected, but can he withstand a full NFL season? It's impossible to say for sure now, but I'm absolutely not buying that he's rejuvenated or extra-fresh after a year off from football.
Connor Williams Hopes Added Weight, Experience Aids Him In 2019
Offensive lineman Connor Williams had himself an interesting start to his young career. The second round pick was expected to be a plug-and-play guard for the Cowboys, earning the starting left guard spot from just about the first day of training camp.
The results from Williams' play were mixed, however. At moments Connor Williams looked like his athletic, technically sound self, working well on the Cowboys outside zone runs. Other times, though, he was simply overpowered by bigger and stronger defensive tackles.
Williams lost his left guard spot due to injury late in the season, and when Xavier Su'a-Filo came in and played relatively well, fans soured a bit on the then-rookie lineman. Still there was no question that Williams was the better player between the two, and he rightfully started in both the Cowboys playoff games last season.
Now entering year two, and with third round pick Connor McGovern potentially competing for a guard spot and rumors of a move to right tackle swirling around him, Williams believes he's done enough to improve before his Sophomore year.
Connor Williams spoke to DallasCowboys.com, and gave some decent quotes on what his offseason preparation has looked like thus far. Williams emphasized that his main goal was to add strength and size, something he looks to have clearly done based on recent photographs.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good position. Now it’s just about refining the technique and feeling comfortable.” - Connor Williams
According to Williams he played at a "light 300" pounds in 2018, but is now tipping the scales at 315 pounds. That's quite the difference, especially considering that Williams carries the weight pretty well in his frame.
All Pro veteran guard Zack Martin has taken Williams under his wing, as the young lineman credits Martin for being his lifting partner this offseason.
Right tackle might be in Connor Williams' 2020 future, but as of now, he has to ready himself to compete at left guard against the heavier defensive tackles he once struggled with. It's very encouraging to see the progress he has made so far.
Travis Frederick’s Return Highlights Start Of Cowboys’ OTAs
The Cowboys opening of voluntary OTAs came with some serious excitement from football-starved fans. But as we all know, these workouts are just about meaningless in terms of storylines for the upcoming season.
I say "just about meaningless" because there are some storylines which matter, though. Travis Frederick's return, of course, is one of those storylines.
After missing all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, Frederick appears to have gained his strength and ability back heading into 2019. Now he is back where he belongs, as the starting center for the Dallas Cowboys.
@tfrederick72 🔙 at it! 💪🏼 #OTAs https://t.co/wht2Lh5yr5
Travis Frederick's importance to the Cowboys cannot be understated. In addition to being one of the best linemen in all of football, the All-Pro veteran center is responsible for much of the pre-snap communication across the offensive line. His absence was clearly felt in 2018, even as Joe Looney played well-above the preseason expectation level.
Frederick returns to anchor an offensive line which is surrounded with some serious pre-season hype. With Zack Martin back to full health, Connor Williams having a year under his belt, and newly-drafted Connor McGovern comes in with high hopes of starting on the interior.
Regardless of how the rest of the Cowboys' offensive line works itself out, it was great to see Travis Frederick back in action, even if it was during a non-contact voluntary practice.
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