If this is your second time looking at this, you may have noticed I had my number's backwards. It was the Giants that led the Redskins by 10 going into the half, 17 to 7. So the Redskins are pretty much who we thought they were. But as I will expound on further down, this game really mean's nothing, considering that they lost to the Giant's in the opener last year and still beat our beloved Cowboy's in week four last season. Therefore, there really isn't much you can take from the stats compiled in this game; especially if you consider how mediocre our otherwise capable of being dominant, Cowboys defense played against the Bucs.
The running back that seem's to have broken the Redskins back was actually Ahmad Bradshaw, averaging 5 yards per carry on 12 attempts yielding 60 yards. The perennial trash talker Brandon Jacobs was held to a measely 2.9 yards per carry with 16 touches totalling 46 yards. Real quick side bar - the Cowboys, regardless of this next weeks meeting's outcome, should be able to shut Brandon Jacobs up, albeit temporarily. On the other side of the ball, Clinton Portis had the most yard's for the day, but was well below average in terms of production with 3.9 yards per carry on 16 attempts, 34 of which was on their first play from scrimmage; in other word's, after his first run, he averaged 1.8 per carry. The big question here is, is Clinton Portis that poor of a runner, or is the Giant's run defense that stout. Considering Portis' career average of 4.4 per carry, I'm leaning toward's the latter. Of course, this could also be an indictment of the OL and/or coaching, but considering Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Barry Cofield, and Fred Robbins, with back-ups who could start for most team's such Chris Canty and Mathias Kiwanuka, I suspect it's mostly because the Giant's are just that good against the run. But getting back to the team in question...the Redskins defense, looked stout throughout the majority of the game against the run, but came up short when stop's were crucial. Of course, many fan's are pointing towards the play calling of Jim Zorn, whose three back-to-back unimaginative running play's following a goal line stand, gift wrapped a short field for the Giants, where the Giants eventually scored.
As I was digging for a description of the game, I happened upon the following, from an actual fan and since I have thing's I'd rather be writing about and the following is about as unbiased as you can get considering it's criticism from an actual fan, I'm going to steal it. So, with out further ado...
Jim Zorn was determined to rush the ball, but the Giants would not permit it. After a 34-yard run on their first offensive play from scrimmage, Clinton Portis and the rest of the running backs did nothing, gaining 51 yards on 20 carries.
Curious about that poll? Here are the results out of the Redskins other 23 fans (lol): Coaching 60% with 15 votes, Jason Campbell 12% with 3 votes, Pass Defense 24% with 6 votes, Wide Receivers 0% (please don't ask how many voted on this) and Other 4% with 1 vote. There were actually 25 votes, but I voted for coaching and I'm sure the contributor voted accordingly.
For anyone planning on walking away from this thinking that's two more W's we can add to our win/loss ratio prior to the actual games, please note that regardless of how the Redskins play other team's, they always show up against the Cowboys. For as long as I have been trying to predict what to expect from these Deadskins, the only thing I've been right about is to not underestimate them.
Furthermore, Albert Haynesworth, regarless of the apology and accepted apology exchanged between he and Andre Gurode, will be looking to be vindicated. Why? The storyline that you don't hear about, when the infamous face stomp is brought up, is why Albert was so frustrated he lost his temper. The truth is, he was getting man-handled, Gurode refusing to give up any ground, despite Haynesworth pile-pusher reputation. Any NT worth 100 million should draw double-coverage, especially from the Center. If he doesn't against Gurode, the Redskins, as well the rest of the nation will know he is what we all think he is: Vastly overpaid.
And then of course there is the Cowboy killer Santana Moss. Newman shut him down in our last meeting, but the big question is will Newman remain healthy throughout the year? (cricket's chirp)
All in all, the first game is somewhat of a waste of time to analyze, for several reason's: First and foremost, there is no game tape from the previous game to study, for the exception of preseason, where most team keep it basic so they don't tip their hand. Second, many player's, particluarly the younger one's, will get a mad case of the jitter's, likely taking a half to really get into the flow of the game. Third, it's the first game the starters play for 4 quarters. Not only are these players physically tested in terms of their conditioning, but their mind set changes when they know they have to maintain the same intensity for 1 hour. It might not seem like much, given the relatively small amount of time transpired during each play, but with the excitement of playing and the concentration that has to be applied for each position, it can be very taxing on the body, mind and spirit of a given player. Combine the above 3 and the result's will vary for team's. The Cowboy's were fortunately able to reign in their collective focus and put together what most of us thought they could be as a team in the 2nd half against the Bucs. The Redskins fell flat in their opener on the road, but by week 11, the first time the Cowboys and Redskins meet, will know alot more about this team and what they are capable of.
What Would a Successful Season Mean for Kellen Moore’s Future?
Out of every chess piece moved by the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, the decision to name 30-year old Kellen Moore might be the most interesting one. Not only that, but it could be the one that makes the biggest impact on the team. After all, the Cowboys are ready to go talent wise.
With Kellen Moore taking up a new role, it's intriguing to imagine what a successful season would mean for his future with the Dallas Cowboys. Truth be told, Moore is in a pretty fortunate position to debut as an offensive coordinator. He'll be driving a unit full of talented players with almost no weak links. Last year, it wasn't the lack of quality players lined up that had the offense struggling throughout the season, but the guy in charge.
At first, the philosophy of not needing a #1 wide receiver clearly blew up on the Cowboys face. The passing game in Dallas needed a spark and they didn't find it until they traded a first rounder for Amari Cooper. Cooper's impact on the team was clear right away as he put on impressive performances on a weekly basis.
But even when Cooper was at his best, the offense still presented relevant struggles. Despite getting more first downs, the Cowboys still had trouble scoring touchdowns when in the red zone and kept leaving points on the field.
Although he's been a controversial conversation among members of Cowboys Nation, there are a few reasons to be excited about what Kellen Moore can bring to the table as a young offensive coordinator. Ever since he declared for the NFL Draft out of Boise State, where he ran a very complex offense on his way to become the QB with most wins in NCAA history, he was seen by many as an extremely smart prospect. Many expected him to have a mediocre career as a player, but saw him as a potential coach down the line.
Now it's his chance to prove the world just how smart he is and his potential as a coach. He will not only be proving it to the Cowboys organization, but all of the NFL and college football teams. Don't forget what NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah mentioned a few months ago.
I've mentioned this before- Kellen Moore is a rising star and he'll be in the mix for HC gigs (CFB or NFL) in the near future. https://t.co/hLjOb4HAUc
With a great group of talent at his disposal, it's fair to imagine Moore having a pretty successful "rookie" season at a major coaching position. If he indeed manages to turn heads with the Dallas Cowboys offense in 2019, what does that mean for his future?
In a league that's turning to the young offensive-minded coaches thanks to guys like Sean McVay, is it possible one team decides to pull the trigger and make him an offer for a head coaching gig? It certainly would seem premature, but it's still a possibility in the NFL, where teams have become increasingly impatient with their coaches.
I definitely wouldn't be surprised if next offseason, we're concerned about another team (college or NFL) trying to snatch Moore off the Cowboys. I insist in pointing out this would be a premature decision if it does happen, since Moore has very little experience, but looking at the trend in the NFL it certainly could happen.
This might be the most important year in Kellen Moore's young career. For now, let's hope he does a good job leading Dak Prescott in his fourth year as a professional player and an offense that has a solid OL and a pretty good set of skill players.
Connor Williams Working as Left Tackle in Cowboys Practice
Second-year guard Connor Williams has been working as the Cowboys' left tackle during practice this week. While this isn't the plan for him in 2019, it does provide a glimpse into potential uses for Williams down the road and how Dallas might handle future offensive line moves.
Using Connor at LT this week has been a matter of necessity. The top players on that depth chart, Tyron Smith and Cameron Fleming, were not participating for other reasons.
With Tyron Smith getting a vet day and Cam Fleming not practicing because of a bruised shin, Connor Williams worked at left tackle Wednesday. He said it was his first left tackle snaps since he was at Texas. He said it felt like riding a bike after a little bit.
Indeed, Williams spent three years at left tackle in college. It was the last position he'd played before being drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by Dallas, who immediately moved him to guard.
Connor started 10 of 13 games at guard last season. He played mostly on the left side, starting Weeks 1-9, before getting injured. Xavier Su'a-Filo played well enough in his absence that Williams didn't get the starting job back when he was healthy. However, when Zack Martin had to miss a few games at the end of the year, Connor started a right guard for those two weeks.
When Martin returned for the playoffs, Williams was back as the starting left guard in both postseason games.
Tyron Smith and Cam Fleming will be your starter and backup at left tackle next year. But for 2020 and beyond, Connor Williams' ability to play tackle creates some interesting possibilities.
La'el Collins will be an unrestricted free agent next year. Fleming will still have one year left on his deal and Dallas just spent a third-round pick on the versatile Connor McGovern. Throw in that Williams can play some tackle, and it seems as if they're covering bases for Collins eventual departure.
We could very well see a starting lineup in 2020 with McGovern at LG and Williams at RT. Another possibility is that Fleming starts at RT and Williams stays at guard, but can be moved to tackle if needed.
If nothing else, it's nice to know that Dallas has options. We may never see Connor Williams play a regular season snap at left tackle, but versatility is a great asset. It can greatly increase a player's value, and give his team some leverage and flexibility in roster management.
For the Cowboys, it does make you wonder what the future holds for the offensive line.
Undrafted WR Jon’Vea Johnson Turning Heads at Cowboys OTAs
Former Toledo Wide Receiver didn't receive an invite to the 2019 NFL Combine or hear his name called in any of the seven rounds at this year's NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean he doesn't possess the talent to make someone's roster in the league. After signing with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, he's hoping he's found that team and his forever home.
The journey for Jon'Vea Johnson to earn one of those coveted final 53-man roster spots with the Dallas Cowboys is going to be a long one. This year's roster is deep from top to bottom, which means making it as an undrafted free agent is going to be extremely difficult. But, luckily for him he is already starting to turn a few heads at the Cowboys OTAs.
Here's what Cowboys Wide Receiver Coach Sanjay Lal recently had to say about Jon'Vea:
"Not a surprise, because we loved his film, but Jon'Vea the last two days, his speed and athleticism and how smooth he is has shown up here – almost a little bit earlier than we thought it would. Because we think he's going to process. Most young guys are thinking a lot, but he's done a good job of learning his plays and coming out and showing what he can do."
Considering coaches typically try their hardest not to single out any one player in these OTA practices, that's pretty high praise from Sanjay Lal.
It's important to remember the Dallas Cowboys had Jon'Vea Johnson in as one of their 30 pre-draft visitors, so you know they had a draftable grade on him already. Getting him as an undrafted free agent probably felt like a win for them, and more so now that he's off to a good start.
Johnson actually has a few things going for him that may set him apart from other WRs currently on the Cowboys roster. He has the versatility to play on the outside or in the slot, but it's his speed that really makes him stand out from the rest.
At his Pro Day, Jon'Vea ran an unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash. That would've ranked among the best to run the 40 at this year's Scouting Combine. But that's not all… he tested pretty well in other areas as well: 35" vertical and a 10'8" broad jump. Not bad for a 5'10", 190 pound undrafted wide receiver.
As good as all of this sounds, Johnson still has a long ways to go in order to lock down a roster spot. The Cowboys have some pretty talented WRs on the roster and he's going to have to clearly outperform quite a few of them to earn his way onto the final 53-man roster. But, it's encouraging he's already off to a good start.
We've seen players stand out in these kind of unpadded practices before, so I'd probably hold off on anointing him just yet. For his sake though, it's always a good thing to catch the eye of your coaches in a positive way.
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