My nerves were going haywire at kickoff wondering just how the ‘Boys would do, and low and behold, they go out and start running a muck. When is the last time any of us have ever seen a Cowboys team play so methodically and dominating? I’ve never seen it. It wasn’t just luck folks, nor was it just a fluke – these Dallas Cowboys played to win and showed what happens when they live up to their potential and talent.
Now shall we go with why that hurts so much to see? I mean we could, these guy have that talent every week and it took until this, this game in which nobody believed they had a chance in hell of winning for them to do it, but I’d rather not as that could quite easily go on for days here.
Instead let’s talk about Mr. Folk.
Talk about a bittersweet feeling seeing him cut. I used to see him as one of the leagues best kickers and I honestly think he’ll be that once again, but it won’t be this year and it very likely won’t be in a Cowboys jersey.
Simple math tells me that, whether he believes it or not, hip surgery was the doom of his season. Maybe it doesn’t hurt him, but it sure as hell cut into his prep time during the preseason. Call me crazy but I find it hard to believe a guy who had as much success as he did his first two years would need that much preparation, but clearly he does.
Moving forward, though, we’ve brought in former Redskins and Cowboys kick Shaun Suisham – a name I never really intended to be mentioning again on this website. Was he horrible? No. Was he as bad as Folk has been this year? No. I mean he was cut from the Skins roster having kicked 18 of 21 field goals – Folk kicked 18 of 28 I believe.
But he did miss a field goal that was almost identical to the proverbial final straw in Folk’s Dallas run. A fourth quarter 23-yard field goal in a tied game against the Saints for the win. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have any confidence to shake off or we might as well have kept Folk.
Overall it was a masterful win. Game balls could easily go to Mike Jenkins for his outstanding coverage of the Saints top guy, including an interception that looked like something out of the movies, DeMarcus Ware and his similarly happy ending-ish sack and forced fumble to put the game away when we needed it most, and Tony Romo for his amazing ability to keep the plays going without making stupid decisions. Those are my game balls.
Of course it’s hard to escape the fact that even while the game announcers for the NFL Network kept saying how perfect the Cowboys played and how perfect Romo played, Romo made two mistakes that almost turned out very bad for him. Thankfully both of those ill-thrown passes were dropped instead of intercepted.
Actually, that makes four games in a row now that Romo has not thrown an interception. Is it just me or is that a big deal? I mean this gunslinger isn’t supposed to make heads up plays; he’s a bad decision maker, right? Wrong! He’s only thrown an interception in five games this year, that’s nine games that he didn’t.
Unfortunately for the Romo haters of the world, we didn’t win or lose games based on his interceptions or that might be a troubling statistic. Of the nine pick-less games he’s had this year; we’ve lost two of them. Let us be reminded once more that this is a team sport, and no one guy determines our fate on gameday.
So now we head into Washington D.C. for week 16 to face off against the Redskins, and anyone who doesn’t think this could be a huge game isn’t paying attention. The Skins were virtually crushed by the Giants last night in a very lopsided 45-12 score. The Skins just couldn’t do anything right the whole game. But at the same time, this is the team that came within a single missed 23-yard field goal of beating the Saints a few weeks ago, and now we have the kicker who missed that one.
They have nothing left to play for, unless you consider a job worth playing for. With a new GM on staff spending the rest of this season evaluating his moves for the coming off season, every red and yellow/gold jersey in Washington is up for grabs depending on how they play now. This is also a heated rivalry, the Redskins and Cowboys, that has been long standing and the Giants-Redskins beef pales in comparison. Some of you may have seen their attempt to get a TD before the half, using that old swing gate formation twice! They are desperate for a win; let’s just hope the cards don’t fall their way.
Cowboys DE Dorance Armstrong Could Be Needed Quickly
The Dallas Cowboys are stronger at defensive end than they've been in some time, but they still lack a specific type of pass rusher. Rookie Dorance Armstrong may be able to fill that role, giving him an early opportunity to contribute that many mid-round rookies can't find.
While DeMarcus Lawrence has become a beast and Taco Charlton is expected to do more as a second-year player, they are both better suited to play on the left side. It is that right side DE, the athletic type who can take on NFL left tackle, that the Cowboys haven't had since DeMarcus Ware left.
It was supposed to be Randy Gregory, but we all know the issues he's dealt with the last three years. His reinstatement request to the league is expected to go through, but even then we can't be sure the type of player he will be.
If Gregory isn't still the talent that Dallas hoped for in 2015, the next man up just might be Armstrong. He is a raw talent, still undersized for consistent NFL defensive end work, but he has the natural agility and style of play that best suits the weak-side rusher.
Veteran Kony Ealy is more like Lawrence and Charlton, bigger and more suited from the strong side. Another option, Charles Tapper, has yet to prove he can get through a single game without injury.
Rookies have not had a hard time finding early work in Dallas lately.
Obviously, it didn't take Quarterback Dak Prescott long to make an immediate impact. We've also seen the same from Cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown, Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins, and Safety Xavier Woods.
With the difficulties that guys like Gregory and Tapper may have getting back into football shape, Armstrong could have a leg up in training camp. The Cowboys won't hesitate to give him the work if he's the best man for the job, regardless of draft status or tenure.
These new look, new era Dallas Cowboys are all about meritocracy, so Dorance Armstrong could rise quickly if he performs. It would make for a nice immediate return on a fourth-round pick.
CB Jourdan Lewis Addresses “All Or Nothing” Scene With Dez Bryant
When the newest season of Amazon's All or Nothing featuring the Dallas Cowboys came out, people immediately were drawn to one scene in particular.
That scene featured then veteran Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis, as they battled it out all day in practice. Lewis and Bryant were in each others ears, as Lewis wanted to make it known to Bryant that he isn't the same type of corner he's used to seeing in practice.
Jourdan Lewis was asked to give his side of the story recently, and DallasCowboys.com recorded his response. The following video is courtesy of "Ed It Channel" on YouTube.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
Lewis addressed rumors that the rivalry was "fake" or staged due to the fact that Bryant knew that Lewis was mic'ed up. He says that the competition was organic, and that when put on the field with each other their competition improved both of their play.
Dez Bryant is gone now, but hopefully the Cowboys will be able to replace that competitiveness on the practice field and allow for tempers to flare from time to time.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott Embraces Lack of No. 1 Wide Receiver
As I wrote exactly a week ago, in discussion of maligned Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams:
"...this won't be the first look we have at the status of the Cowboys receivers. I'm already on record having high expectations for Michael Gallup, and believe Cedrick Wilson was one of the steals of the draft for the Cowboys in the sixth round. The unproven nature of this pass catching unit (through to TE with rookie Dalton Schultz) is going to make for fascinating training camp battles, competing for spots in an offense that could still be one of the league's best".
Here we are again, with an emerging leadership voice of the Cowboys speaking about his wide receivers. Dak Prescott told Pro Football Talk that he, "doesn't know if any team in the league necessarily needs a No. 1 receiver".
This is a bold statement from a third-year quarterback that's already told Cowboys Nation this offseason that he wants to be the best to ever play for the franchise. Beginning the journey towards becoming a Cowboys legend must start with Prescott securing his status as the Cowboys franchise QB in 2018 - by throwing to Williams, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, Cedrick Wilson, and Allen Hurns.
This will be no easy task for Prescott, but the Cowboys have never wavered in their commitment to building this team around him. Left with no choice on personnel decisions like Jason Witten's retirement, the Cowboys are well-prepared to also deal with the loss of Dez Bryant.
If they weren't, Bryant would still be in Dallas, and as it stands now he remains a free agent. New to the Cowboys offense is not only Gallup, Wilson, and Hurns but also Tavon Austin as a pass-catching running back.
Strength in numbers must be the message for the Cowboys offense this season. Relying heavily on Ezekiel Elliott and a punishing offensive line will be what keeps opposing defensive coordinators up at night, but so too must be the diverse nature of how the Cowboys can line up on the outside.
Allowing Prescott to serve as a "point guard" like QB could lead to the Cowboys turning plenty of heads with their all-around play in 2018. Anybody writing them off simply because of unproven wide receivers lacks a complete understanding of the roster and how Scott Linehan plans to change his offense.
Sure, it's possible that Linehan fails to prove himself as a play caller worthy of the talent the Cowboys possess on offense - but the talent is there. In Prescott's rookie year, Cole Beasley emerged as his go-to receiver, only to regress in 2017.
With the Cowboys shipping Ryan Switzer to Oakland during the draft, Beasley has a clear path back towards developing this chemistry with Prescott out of the slot. The same should go for Allen Hurns, despite arriving in Dallas as a free agent this year.
Hurns has talked about holding himself to a high standard, despite joining the Cowboys to play with Dez Bryant initially.
"I felt it was a big opportunity to come to Dallas to play with Dez. But with him not being here, it’s a bigger opportunity. It's a matter of me making the most of the opportunity"
Plenty of Cowboys receivers will have a chance to make the most of the opportunity to play in this offense. Hurns' spot as an outside starter feels safe, as he could be the big "No. 1" target Prescott needs to either find in the red zone or distribute the ball elsewhere.
The amount of change the Dallas Cowboys have gone through since drafting Dak Prescott is a cruel reminder of how difficult reaching the pinnacle of sports can be. The Cowboys biggest challenge to reach the playoffs again in 2018?
Silence the doubt that a declining Dez Bryant no longer being with the team will derail the efforts of this deep and eager-to-compete WRs room.
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