When we started this blog we had one goal in mind, to be the best fan blog out there. Well we forgot some details in that original goal and have since been shown a few new things we needed to work towards. Needless to say it became apparent that we had to write about something on here that would keep you all interested.
So we brought you an interview with a rather unlikely candidate – Mickey Spagnola, the www.DallasCowboys.com writer. We got some good feedback and it was fun to do, but our real goal with that was to get the fire started, and today the flames have risen once again.
Some of you know him and others only know of him. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2005 draft after he recorded a record vertical jump of 46’6 at the combine. He then started all 16 games his rookie season with the Jaguars.
He’s coming off of his best year in Jacksonville where he amassed 55 tackles, a team leading 4 interceptions, and 8 passes deflected while playing in all 16 games, starting 13. He’s the new starting Strong Safety in Dallas and has already shown us that he can cover man to man like Roy Williams only dreamed of doing.
I’m happy to present to you #43 Gerald Sensabaugh!
DCNation: In the off season you had an opportunity to sign a long term deal elsewhere, why did you decide to opt for a one year deal with the Cowboys?
Gerald: The numbers weren't where I wanted them to be. So I figured I would take one last shot and see what I can get after another 1 year deal. I also wanted to go to a larger market team and experience football with some tradition behind it.
DCNation: We know that the main goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but can this team realistically do that? Why?
Gerald: Yes, this team has the talent and personnel to do so. There are many explosive players on the offensive side of the ball, so expect lots of points. On the defensive side, we have the opportunity to be one of the best defenses this year in the league. So if you combine the two, I say we have a legit shot at winning the Superbowl.
DCNation: The past couple of years this Cowboys team has had plenty of talent to get deep into the playoffs, lack of execution has been the Achilles heel to this team. Every year the fans of the Cowboys hear "how things will be different" from the same players, so many fans have grown weary of their talk. So far in your first year with the Cowboys, what can you tell us about this team - what makes you think that you can contend this year?
Gerald: We will be major contenders this year. Going through OTA's this team got a lot better from last year. Through training camp we are going to fine tune the chemistry and we will be set to go.
DCNation: Based on what you’ve seen so far, what do you think about the cornerback situation that’s brewing? Scandrick has shown serious talent, but Jenkins was drafted higher and also brings some good coverage skills. Your thoughts?
Gerald: I'm very exited about the two young corners. No matter who starts, they both will be major contributors to this defense.
DCNation: The 2008 Dallas Cowboys Defense was a strong unit, but I think the coaches and fans believe that this years defense could be one of the best in the entire NFL. It is my perception that the biggest reason for these thoughts is because of you. What do you feel is the greatest asset you’re bringing to this team?
Gerald: I feel that I bring the ability to cover at the strong safety position. I have had my share of both run stuffing and covering but I believe the need here in Dallas is to cover more. I am still expecting to make a impact on the run game also.
DCNation: Is there another player, former or current, that you have tried to pattern your play after? Why?
Gerald: Donovan Darius because he was a physical player that was know for big hits, and always being around the football. And Deon Grant because of his ball skills and coverage ability. Those are the two that I learned from as a youngster and I tried to pattern my game with both of theirs combined.
DCNation: It’s no secret that the Cowboys have struggled in recent years at the Strong Safety position. From both the perspective of your new teammates and your own estimations, what do you feel is your biggest goal for 2009 to bolster the Strong Safety position in Dallas?
Gerald: Covering Man to Man. To make a bigger difference in the passing game.
DCNation: Many fans in the NFL view the safety position as a guy who can really lower the boom on opposing players. The Dallas Cowboys recently had a safety who was known for that, but was not very good to say the least in coverage. Does your play favor coverage over hitting? Or do you feel you are a balanced Safety?
Gerald: I feel that I am balanced. In my prior years I had to do both.
DCNation: Dave Campo has had defensive success in Dallas before, and as well in Jacksonville. Having seen him in action in both places, what do you think he brings to a team that might be otherwise missing?
Gerald: He brings a positive, fair, competitive environment that players like. He's a coach that gets the best out of his players.
DCNation: It is obvious that you were brought in to be the starter, but do you still feel like you need to prove that you are the man in training camp?
Gerald: Yes, I always have to prove something. Here in Dallas there is a lot of competition. We have guys that can play safety and corner. This secondary is real athletic. Everybody here can play.
DCNation: Of the scheduled opponents for 2009, which team concerns you the most as a safety?
Gerald: I really don't have any concerns but I do respect all teams equally. Every team brings a different attack to the table so you must prepare as best as you can for all of them.
DCNation: Can you give us a little insight about the work ethic and demeanor of your new Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator?
Gerald: Coach Phillips is going to make sure that we work hard and get things right. He is less tolerant of errors (especially mental errors), I can tell those get under his skin.
DCNation: Playing in the AFC South you were able to test your abilities against one of the greatest QB's of this era, Peyton Manning. Was there anything you learned from your time against him that you feel will help you be a top tier Safety in this league?
Gerald: Reading QB's and not going for fakes. He's the pump king and does it every play. He makes the safety play honest and is hard to get a tip on.
DCNation: There has been a lot of talk about some incidents in your past, are those things behind you now? And is there anything you would like to let the fans in Dallas know about you to clear up any questions they may have?
Gerald: The whole past is behind me and I'm looking forward to winning the super bowl with the Cowboys. That is my main focus.
[wstlink]r http://www.GeraldSensabaugh.net[/wstlink]You can find out more about Gerald by going to his website – www.GeraldSensabaugh.net – he has a blog there that he not only updates rather often, but he actually participates in comments on his blog. Truly a class act and we welcome him to Dallas.
We want to thank Gerald Sensabaugh not only for speaking with us, but for taking the time to do so from San Antonio as training camp starts. We also look forward to more interviews with Gerald throughout the season.
Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke
It's a debate that has raged on social media for some time now and it likely won't slow down as the offseason progresses and the Dallas Cowboys begin to hand out massive contracts to their top players. Pay Ezekiel Elliott? Pay Byron Jones? If you could only pay one, which would you pay?
This week fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer, Kevin Brady took to Twitter to poll the populous and his results were a bit surprising to me.
if you can only pay one it should be
The results inspired me to see what would happen if I put the same poll on my timeline.
Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?
On Monday, Kevin wrote a piece looking at one of the difficult decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys this offseason or next. If the Cowboys could only extend Byron Jones OR Ezekiel Elliott, who should they choose? Kevin, as am I, is a firm believer in Byron Jones ability and says the Cowboys should extend them, and I agree. But let's look at the other side of the argument.
To begin, the Cowboys should and probably will get both guys contract extensions either this offseason or next. It's not impossible with the cap continuing to increase at a rate of about $8-12 million per year that the Cowboys will have the space to get the deals done that they need to get done. Ezekiel Elliott and Byron Jones included.
Byron Jones settled in nicely at cornerback during his first full season at cornerback and knowing what we know about Jones, he won't be satisfied with a second team All-Pro appearance. Expect him to get better. However, if there's a single player that represents the current identity of the Dallas Cowboys, it's Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys made him the fourth overall pick in 2016 and haven't looked back in their plan to establish the running game. For his career Elliott has averaged 26.9 touches per game over the course of his 40 games.
Here's a look at what Elliott's per game and per 16 game paces look like through the first three seasons of his career.
As you can see from the table above, Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 131.2 total yards per game for his career. In his rookie season he had 1,994 total yards and he sat out the week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cowboys had the NFC and home field advantage locked up. In 2017, Elliott sat out six games and still had nearly 1,000 yards rushing. In 2018, Elliott broke through the 2,000 total yard barrier after seeing a huge increase in his targets and receptions.
Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Dallas Cowboys could have hoped for and more. With the leadership role he's taken with the team, he's a player that leads both vocally and by example. There are few players on the Dallas Cowboys that give as much effort as he does each snap. How many times has it looked like Elliott was about to get dropped for a two or three yard loss only to grind through tackles to pick up a four yard gain? How many times has he bounced off tacklers to get to the first down marker? Ezekiel Elliott is the human personification of dirty yards, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Elliott can't take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Elliott's is a game breaker who threatens the defense every time he steps on the field.
In 2018, Elliott led the NFL in yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. His 949 yards after contact in 2018 would have ranked 13th in the NFL in rushing, which was better than David Johnson's 940 yards rushing last season.
Not many running backs effect a football game like Ezekiel Elliott does.
Few players outside of the quarterback position are as much of a focal point for their offense while being an attention grabber for opposing defenses like Ezekiel Elliott is. In 2018, he saw eight or more men in the box on nearly 25% of his carries in 2018. Some of that is related to the Dallas Cowboys insistence on using two tight ends on 50% of their running plays (per Sharp Football), but the other aspect is related to how much they respect the Dallas Cowboys running game. Since the 2014, the Cowboys have been synonymous with running the football. DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, and now Ezekiel Elliott have been the faces of that running game behind the Cowboys elite offensive line.
Even in a down year for offensive line play from the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott still managed to lead the NFL in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott made the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years as well. Were it not for the railroad job done by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2017, there's a really good chance that Elliott leads the league in rushing three years in a row and that the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs all three seasons.
Sure, the running back position is undervalued in the NFL and rushing yardage can be replaced, but there are intangibles to Elliott's game that are very difficult to replace. His ability to grind out the dirty yards, break big plays, create yards after contact, pass protect, be a threat as a receiver, and his leadership make him a player that is difficult to replace.
Yes, Byron Jones was really good in 2018 and deserves to get paid by the Dallas Cowboys as well, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player on the Cowboys roster who has been as consistent and dominating week in and week out as Ezekiel Elliott has been over the last three years.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Realistic Free Agents Cowboys Should Sign Before the Draft
NFL Draft1 week ago
Hypothetical La’el Collins Trade Could Recoup Cowboys a 2019 1st-Round Pick
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
Cowboys Show Interest in Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Player News1 week ago
Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
REPORT: Cowboys Keeping OL Joe Looney, WR Tavon Austin, WR Allen Hurns in 2019
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign DL Christian Covington
NFL Draft1 day ago
Cowboys Draft Target: Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.