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Saints Crushed, Redskins Playing For Pride

Bryson Treece

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What a game, eh? I’ve only been watching the Cowboys since the 91 season, since I was seven years old, but that Cowboys-Saints game was the most exciting game I’ve ever watched.

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.



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke

John Williams

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New York Giants are 2-1 Against Cowboys With Ezekiel Elliott

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.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

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.

John Williams ✭ on Twitter

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.



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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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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.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

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!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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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.

Todd Archer on Twitter

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.



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