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Rolando McClain: Wrong Kind of Guy

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Rolando McClain: Garrett's

Rolando McClain has earned a 10-game suspension for repeated violations of the NFL drug policy. He did not participate in the team's voluntary activities and showed up to the mandatory minicamp overweight. He has no-showed training camp and there is no indication that he wants to play football anymore.

Cowboys Headlines - Rolando McClain: Garrett's 1So, why is he still a Dallas Cowboy?

This is the question that many fans are asking about McClain's status. For years, Jason Garrett has promoted a locker room mantra about having "the right kind of guys." He is annoyingly repetitious about the importance of players wanting to be here and giving their best.

Rolando McClain spits in the face of everything Garrett preaches.

Dallas knew that McClain was a risk. He has played each of the last two seasons on one-year contracts and was signed to another last March. The Cowboys weren't going to make any long-term investment in a player with clear character and motivational issues.

So, given that McClain has gone off the deep end, why are the Cowboys waiting to cut him loose? What's to gain?

Jerry Jones gave a rambling, barely coherent answer last week. He mentioned "cap considerations" and didn't go into much detail. Really?

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Top-Five Needs as Free Agency Nears 4For 2016, McClain was given a $750k signing bonus. The rest of his compensation is in non-guaranteed salary and incentives. Now, if McClain is still on the roster during the suspension, Dallas can recoup some of that bonus money.

If you think it's odd that the Cowboys would be miserly about that money, you're not alone. Just a year ago, Dallas gave free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley $2 million in guaranteed money and then cut him before Week One. This was a guy who simply got beat out by younger prospects. He didn't undermine the head coach's core philosophy.

Clearly, Dallas doesn't need one dollar back from McClain's signing bonus. So, what's the real issue?

Sadly, it may be the hope of getting something out of him later this season. Knowing that McClain won't be available until November anyway, Dallas could be swallowing all of this now so that McClain can eventually re-join the team and perhaps help them make a playoff run.

The tragedy of Rolando McClain is just how incredibly talented he is. Even as a guy who doesn't love football, McClain can be a difference maker just on his natural gifts. He's done it the last two years, when healthy, for the Cowboys.

Can McClain get himself into playing shape and contribute by Week 11? Sure, and that could be what the Cowboys are hoping for.

Cowboys Blog - Jason Garrett Says Greg Hardy Is A "Free Agent"However, this isn't a time when Dallas can afford to make deals with devils. The character and culture of the team has been brought into question among fans and even mainstream media, beginning with the Greg Hardy fiasco and escalating this year with the suspensions of McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory.

Less than 10% of the roster shouldn't define it's character, but that's not how modern media works. Small samples and vocal minorities are now more than enough to convict, be it in politics, social issues, or sports analysis.

But we don't even have to get that grandiose about it. We can bring it down to the single Cowboys fan who's listening to the next Jason Garrett press conference. The head coach starts praising some player for being "the right kind of guy" and the "type of person" that the organization is looking for.

The fan rolls his eyes. He thinks of Rolando McClain.

That is what the Cowboys and Garrett are up against right now. If the mantra is losing traction with fans, is it unreasonable to assume that the same won't happen in the locker room? If some players get multiple chances for selfish behavior and poor conduct then why should others stay on the straight and narrow?

Cowboys Blog - Randy Gregory, I am Disappointed. Plain and Simple 2Is it really worth less than $750k to tell your team that Garrett's mantra is bullshit?

I have no doubt that Rolando McClain has personal problems. However, he's not in treatment like Randy Gregory or seemingly taking any steps to address them. He's also a 27-year-old man who's had more than enough forgiveness and excuses made for him.

It's time to stop letting this self-absorbed, unmotivated waste of talent represent the Dallas Cowboys. I don't care what he might do for you later this season. What's he doing now is destructive to the team's image, the coach's credibility, and potentially the young players in the locker room.

It's time to put Jones' money where Garrett's mouth is.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez



Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie



Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.

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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams



Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.

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