I've said many a time on Ocho Live that to win a Super Bowl... you have to get lucky.
Obviously you have to be very good - the best, by definition - and win a bunch of games, but the truth of the matter is that winning in the NFL is somewhat predicated on getting lucky. Perhaps nobody knows this better than the Dallas Cowboys who suffered a mighty bit of misfortune in 2015 that saw that season fall completely apart before it really began.
One of the key pieces that was supposed to make 2015 a year to remember was 2nd Round Draftee Randy Gregory. The Cowboys took the former Nebraska Defensive End with the 60th Overall Pick in hopes that the off-the-field troubles he had, which caused him to fall as far as he did, were behind him.
Since we last saw young Randy (Week 17 of 2015), a whole lot has happened. He has failed/missed multiple drug tests and has yet to see the field in 2016. On the Friday before the Cowboys traveled to Pittsburgh word began to rumble league-wide that Randy Gregory had yet another infraction, and the future of his career was well in-doubt.
That has all seemingly been swept under the rug to a degree as Randy Gregory has officially returned to Dallas Cowboys practice. That's right... time to party.
Guess who's back? Practice report: https://t.co/c7kBB4fkWx https://t.co/xZ6W4RSIy0
This is the first time that Randy Gregory is practicing since OTAs all the way back in May, which leads us to wonder... what can we really expect from him?
It's unknown whether or not Randy will play during this season's Monday Night Football finale when the Cowboys host the Lions the day after Christmas, but it is universally acknowledged that his presence as a football player is better than his absence.
All signs pointed to the Cowboys being geniuses during the 2015 season opener against the Giants when we saw Randy Gregory wreaking all kinds of havoc. Unfortunately he suffered a high ankle sprain and missed a good chunk of time after that small glimmer of hope.
That was a long time ago, but it's hard to believe that Randy isn't already one of the more-talented rushmen on the current Cowboys. Dallas is dealing with injuries to Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence currently, and while David Irving had another coming out party against the Buccaneers... help is always needed. The frustrating thing about Randy Gregory's situation - if you want to call it that - is the ambiguity circling it, thanks to the NFL.
Randy Gregory's appeal of his year-long suspension won't be until Jan - at the earliest. He'll almost certainly play into playoffs #Cowboys
Randy Gregory is in fact appealing the year-long suspension from the infraction that occurred shortly before the Cowboys traveled to Pittsburgh, but if the appeal isn't happening until January then he's currently allowed to play. As awesome as this seemingly is, what if the appeal doesn't go his way? Would some type of penalty then be enforced during the middle of January and the Cowboys' playoff run? The NFL is a mess.
One of the physical details that made Randy Gregory such a top prospect is the length of his arms. He has a physical ability to separate himself from opposing tackles that allow him to rush the quarterback. It's been a very long time since Randy Gregory played and as a result we need to seriously manage our expectations of him, but there does seem to be some poetry to the fact that his first two career games were against the Giants and those are the 2016 Cowboys' lone losses.
If the Cowboys want to carry Randy Gregory going forward they will have until 3pm CT Monday to make this decision.
The Cowboys have until 3 p.m. CT Monday to add Randy Gregory to 53-man roster in order to play against Detroit. He's on exempt list now.
The best thing we can all do regarding the Randy Gregory situation is to not expect much. Randy Gregory is icing on top of the cake 2016 has baked for us, let's hope it's a good flavor.
NFC East Showdown: Cowboys Offense Primed to Dominate Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys are probably as confident as they have been all season as an offense after completely manhandling the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. They were able to put up 40 points on the Jaguar's top-ranked defense and now have to do the same against their division rival, the Washington Redskins.
I don't think there would be any argument if I were to say the Washington Redskins defense isn't nearly as talented as the Cowboys faced last week with the Jaguars. In fact, the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category, which should have Dallas' offensive players primed for this matchup.
As things stand right now, the Washington Redskins are giving up 21.2 points per game which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are also giving up 344 total yards (25th in the NFL) and 227.2 passing yards a game (24th). The lone bright spot of their defense is stopping the run, where they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL and are only allowing 116.8 rushing yards to opposing running backs.
Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott looked to have found a groove with their passing game last week against the Jaguars top-ranked passing defense. With the Redskins ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, I think the Cowboys should and probably will build upon the success they had last week.
Now, I fully expect the Cowboys passing game to find success once again against the Redskins, but I also believe Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to dominate on the ground like he has in the past against Washington.
Zeke only played in one game against the Redskins last season, but absolutely dominated in that contest. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he is close to that milestone this week as well, even if it is against the strength of Washington's defense.
I'm really hoping I'm not a being a little overconfident here, but I guess I'm just buying into the success the Cowboys had on the offensive side of the ball last week. The offense finally started to do the things that have made them successful in the past and I'm expecting that to carry over into this week.
I believe we will see Prescott using his mobility once again, although I don't know if he will rush for 83 yards. I'm also expecting to see Wide Receiver Cole Beasley heavily involved in the passing game again because Washington doesn't have a defensive back who can cover him. Of course, let's not forget Ezekiel Elliott. I'm expecting him have a big game as well.
Overall, I really don't see the Washington Redskins defense giving the Dallas Cowboys any problems on the offensive side of the ball as long as they execute the way they did last week. I know when these two teams square off against one another it's usually a slobber knocker, but I think the Cowboys are the better team and is the one that comes away with the victory.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys offense will dominate the Redskins defense?
Can Dak Prescott Continue His Washington Domination On Sunday?
There has been a lot of change within the Dallas Cowboys since 2016.
One thing hasn't changed these past two years, however, and that is the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins. In fact, since Dak Prescott took over as the starting quarterback in Dallas the Cowboys are 4-0 against Washington. Even as the sky was falling in Dallas a year ago, and the Cowboys offense looked like the worst in football, they still found a way to dominate Washington 38-14 and snap their then-three game losing streak.
In his four career games against Washington, Dak Prescott has quarterback ratings of 103.7, 108.9, 82.2, and 93.4. To put this into context, Prescott's average quarterback rating this season is 85.5 and that is really driven by his outlier positive rating of 118.6 against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, however, his 54.5 rating against Seattle was also a heavy outlier.
Prescott isn't the only Cowboy who has exercised this dominance over Washington, though. As Staff Writer John Williams has pointed out, Jason Garrett is 11-4 against the Redskins since becoming the Cowboys head coach, and Dallas has won six of their last eight against Washington since 2014.
So heading into Sunday's rematch with their division foe, history says the Cowboys should be feeling rather confident, right?
Well there's another streak occurring the Cowboys will actually be looking to break on Sunday. That, of course, is their winless start on the road this season.
Ironically the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have actually been a good road team until now, going a combined 12-4 the past two seasons. And, since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Cowboys have been historically better on the road than at home, making this year's 3-3 start even more bizarre.
To put it simply, "somethings gotta give" on Sunday. Either Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to beat up on the Redskins and get a leg up in the NFC East, or this horrendous road start will continue for another week.
Either way, I'm sure the takes will be hot on Monday morning.
Cowboys Face Latest Challenge Fighting for First Road Win at Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars feels like just the introduction to this season's story. Whether or not the body of this story tells a disappointing tale or one of triumph can be revealed as early as this Sunday.
When the Cowboys travel to Washington, they'll be looking for their first road win of the season, and with it the NFC East lead over a Redskins team that would fall to 3-3 and 0-1 inside the division.
Early season losses at the Panthers, Seahawks, and Texans do little in predicting the Cowboys faith at the Redskins. These three teams are a combined 6-2 at home this season, with the Cowboys most recent loss in Houston falling much more on coaching than it did on-field execution.
Making their week six win over the NFL's top defense look extraordinarily easy, the Cowboys continued on a seemingly timeless trend under Jason Garrett. Returning to AT&T Stadium at 2-3, the Cowboys won their 12th game at one under .500 under Garrett.
Their 378 total yards on offense against the Jaguars brought their average in three home games up to 363.3, nearly 88 yards better than their road performances this season. The Redskins have allowed 326.2 yards per game this season, ranked fifth in the league just behind the Cowboys at 315.2 yards a game.
Garrett has gone 11-4 in his head coaching career against the Redskins, winning his last five at FedEx Field by an average of less than 10 points a game. The Redskins have turned the ball over just five times this season and allow a stout 90.2 rushing yards per game, meaning this game has all the makings of another classic between historic NFC East rivals.
In an ongoing effort to learn just who these 2018 Cowboys really are, a close win on the road would go a long way, beyond the slack they were afforded earlier this season to tighten up their game and make a serious push for the division.
The Cowboys will be on their bye week following Sunday's game. It comes at the perfect time for players like Sean Lee, Chidobe Awuzie, and Tavon Austin. With Austin struggling to make a sustained impact in the Cowboys offense, Awuzie conceding snaps to Jourdan Lewis, and Lee looking on at Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch dominate at LB, these three Cowboys among plenty of others know how important this game is for remaining relevant down the stretch.
Shortening this rivalry's history to just the games quarterbacked by Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are 3-0 with Prescott completing 65.3% of his passes - easily his highest mark against any NFC East foe.
The Cowboys confidence in getting to 4-3 should rest in Prescott using both his arm and legs to give the Cowboys the lead, than force Alex Smith to beat this defense.
The Redskins aren't a team that will beat themselves, leaving this one for the taking of a Cowboys team buried after week five's loss and crowned NFC East leaders 'elect' by week seven. A funny game this NFL is, and one the Cowboys don't want to play around with too much when considering Sunday's opponent - as well as the task at hand of earning a win on the road the latest in a season since 2013 for Dallas.
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