#70 Zack Martin
Zachary Edward Martin was born on November 20, 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Martin is an offensive guard for the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League. He played his collegiate career at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Zack Martin attended high school at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He compiled quite an impressive resume during his tenure in high school and excelled in several sports.
During Martin’s sophomore and junior years he starred on the basketball team and opposing fans gave him the nickname “The Butcher” due to his style of play. Martin also competed in track and field as a discus thrower and a shot putter.
Zack Martin gained national attention, though, on the football field. He helped lead Bishop Chatard High School to back-to-back 3A State Championships in 2006 and 2007, his sophomore and junior seasons. The team finished with a 12-3 record in 2006 and a 14-1 record in 2007. In the 2006 season, Martin showed his versatility by playing both on the offensive side of the ball and on defense as a defensive tackle. He accumulated 73 tackles and five tackles for a loss on the defensive side of the ball during the 2006 season.
He earned back-to-back first-team all-state selections as a junior and senior. His most impressive season might have been his senior season when he was able to tally 114 pancake blocks. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the 22nd best offensive tackle in the nation and turned down scholarship offers from Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan before deciding to continue his playing career at Notre Dame.
Martin was also selected to play in the 2009 Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando, Florida. The Under Armor All-America Game is an All-Star game for high school seniors and was created to showcase some of the top recruits around the nation. Other notable NFL players that were invited in 2009 were running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Matt Barkley, wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, and linebacker Manti Te’o.
Zack Martin enjoyed a redshirt season in 2009 with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After his redshirt season at Notre Dame, Martin went on to have one of the most decorated careers in the school’s history for an offensive lineman.
In 2010, he played in all 13 games. One of only 11 players for the Irish that was able to accomplish that feat that season. Again, in 2011 he played in all 13 games at left tackle for the Fighting Irish. Then, in 2012 he was named as one of the four team captains and helped lead the way to a 12-0 undefeated regular season. He also helped the team earn a trip to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, which they lost 42-14. Upon the completion of the season he decided that he would return to Notre Dame for his last year of eligibility.
In his final season at Notre Dame, Zack Martin was once again named team captain. This was quite an honor because he became only the 18th player in school history to be named team captain for a second time. Martin once again showed his durability and started all 13 games, setting a new school record for starts with 52 for an offensive lineman.
Even more impressive, though, was the fact that Martin was named MVP of the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl after Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 29-16. Zack Martin became the first offensive lineman to be named MVP of a bowl game since 1959 when a center from Penn State, Jay Huffman, earned that distinction.
Over his collegiate career, Zack Martin earned the honors of being named two-time All-American, four-time team Guardian of the Year, the two-time ESPN.com All-Bowl Team selection, and three-time first-team All-Independent (2011, 2012, 2013). Those are impressive accolades for anyone to claim coming out of college, and one of the reasons why he was drafted so highly in the 2014 NFL Draft.
2014 NFL Draft
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 16th overall selection.
It was said that the Cowboys were targeting linebacker Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State if he had been available, but the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him one pick earlier (15th overall). Then, it was rumored that Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones was set to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel, and even went as far as writing his name down on the draft card, but was ultimately convinced that Martin was the right player to select.
Zack Martin was not only the right selection, but he was able to come in and solidify the Cowboys offensive line along with the other former first-round draft picks Travis Frederick (2013) and Tyron Smith (2011). The Cowboys decided to convert Martin from a collegiate left tackle to a right guard in the NFL, but he has the versatility to play all five positions along the offensive line.
As a rookie, Zack Martin was thrown into the fire and started at right guard for the first practice of organized team activities (OTA’s). He replaced Mackenzy Bernadeau, who started the two previous seasons at right guard for the Dallas Cowboys.
Upon completion of his first year in the NFL, Martin was one of only four rookies to make the 2014 Pro Bowl. He was also voted into the AP 2014 All-Pro Team. He was the only rookie to make the team and the first for the Cowboys since running back Calvin Hill made the team in 1969. If that’s not impressive enough, Zack Martin was the first offensive lineman to make the AP All-Pro Team since Dick Huffman in 1947.
I don’t know how much stock you might put into it, but Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave Martin an Honorable Mention in their 2014 All-Rookie Team.
Martin’s addition to the roster in 2014 helped create one of the best offensive lines in the entire NFL. Martin & Co. helped lead the way for 2014 rushing leader DeMarco Murray, who ran for 1,845 rushing yards and scored 13 rushing touchdowns.
Zack Martin managed to avoid the sophomore slump and again was named to the Pro Bowl for a second time in 2015. Despite losing DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles, Martin and the rest of the offensive line helped Darren McFadden finish fourth in the NFL with 1,089 rushing yards. Martin was also named second team All-Pro by Associated Press after the completion of the 2015 season.
Things couldn’t have started better for Zack Martin in the NFL and his presence along the offensive line has given the Dallas Cowboys one of the best units in the entire league. He has started 32 of the possible 32 games since entering the league and that statistic alone should be encouraging considering the troubles the Cowboys have had with injuries over the past several seasons.
There are high hopes that Martin and the rest of the offensive line will be front and center once again for a dominant rushing attack in the upcoming 2016 season. With Ezekiel Elliott now the favorite to receive the majority of carries, Zack Martin & Co. should be licking their chops for the chance to impose their will against opposing defenses around the NFL.
Zack Martin is currently the 12th highest-paid out of 66 right guards in the entire NFL. He is entering the third year of his rookie contract and is averaging $2,241,950 per season, and guaranteed to earn $8,967,798. Martin is scheduled to make $2,445,763 in 2016 and $2,853,390 in 2017. The Dallas Cowboys can then decide if they want to sign him to a long-term contract or pick up his fifth year option.
Loss to Minnesota Could be the Final Nail in Jason Garrett’s Coffin
The 2019 NFL season kind of seemed like a do or die situation for the Dallas Cowboys current Head Coach Jason Garrett. He is currently in the last year of his contract and his future with the Cowboys organization could be hanging in the balance, especially after the devastating loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
If Jason Garrett isn't extended beyond this season, this loss to Minnesota could possibly be where his career with the Dallas Cowboys started to circle the drain. There are still several games left on the Cowboys schedule this season, but this one loss could be the one that ends up knocking them out of the playoffs. If that's true, it's hard to believe JG will be retained.
Jerry Jones, and son Stephen, have both fully supported Jason Garrett since he became the Cowboys full-time head coach back in 2011 after serving as the interim HC for Wade Phillips in 2010. That's nearly a decade of the Jones' sticking by JG through all of the thick and thin over years. That unwavering support however could be coming to an end though.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. As a head coach Jason Garrett is slightly above average according to his all-time win/loss record. His regular-season record as the HC with the Cowboys is 82-62 (.569) and he's 2-3 (.400) in the postseason. Add all of that up and he's 84-65 (.564) in his career… slightly above average.
If I know anything about the Jones', I know getting the Dallas Cowboys back to the promised land as one of the best teams in the NFL is at the top of their list. That's why we've seen them over the years take chances on players other teams wouldn't in order to put together the most competitive roster they possibly could. Now that attention might need to be shifted from the players to the head coach.
Much like the Jones', I've supported and stood by Jason Garrett over the years. That support is dwindling though after each and every loss this season, at least on my part. Personally, I'm ready to find some new blood and move on. What the Jones' end up doing though is completely up in the air.
I want to believe the Dallas Cowboys are ready to move on from JG, but I'm not completely convinced. The fact that his current contract is about to expire after the season suggests they're at least considering parting ways, but that's all it does. I think how the rest of season turns out after the devastating loss to the Vikings will end up determining his fate.
If JG somehow sneaks the Cowboys into the playoffs it could save his job. That unfortunately is no easy thing to do with the teams they have left to play this season. Because of that, the Week 10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings could end up being the final nail in Jason Garrett's coffin.
What do you think? Is it time to part ways with Jason Garrett?
Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s Status Still Unknown for Cowboys Game
The Dallas Cowboys are headed to Detroit this Sunday for a Week 11 meeting with the Lions. As Dallas tries to get back to winning games, they may get a boost from the absence of Lions' Quarterback Matthew Stafford. After missing last week's game with a back injury, Stafford's status for this week remains unclear.
Stafford was a limited participant in practices all of Week 10 for Detroit and went into their game with the Chicago Bears as a game-time decision. He was ultimately ruled out due to fractures in his back; the first start Stafford's missed for the Lions since the 2010 season.
Jeff Driskel got the start as the Lions fell in Chicago. He is 1-5 as an NFL starter overall, going 1-4 in games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.
The Lions are now 3-5-1 on the year and at the bottom of the NFC North. They are also far behind in the Wild Card race, which leads to speculation that they could shut Stafford down for the season to preserve his long-term health. Based on Matthew's contract, the earliest Detroit can easily get out from his contract is after the 2020 season.
For his part, Matthew Stafford has said he has no plans on staying out this season as long he's medically cleared to play. He certainly would love to be active this Sunday against the Cowboys, the team of his youth, after playing his high school football in Dallas.
Even if Stafford plays, Dallas has done solidly overall against opposing quarterbacks in 2019. They are sixth in passing yards allowed per game and 14th in opponent passer rating.
Detroit is fourth in passing offense right now in the NFL but that was based on eight games with Stafford at QB. Jeff Driskel will not perform at that same level, and the Lions' rushing attack has been very weak since Kerryon Johnson went on injured reserve.
We'll see in the coming days if Matthew Stafford is at practice for Detroit and to what extent. But even if he does practice some, as he did last week, it could once again be a last-minute decision for the Lions if Stafford actually plays on Sunday.
With the Cowboys desperate for a win, they'll take all the help they can get.
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Primed for Big Games vs Lions
The Dallas Cowboys were brought back down to earth this past Sunday in their 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. After dominating the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys got manhandled in the trenches on both offense and defense. Running Back Dalvin Cook had 183 all-purpose yards (97 rushing, 86 receiving) due to his offensive line opening holes bigger than the state of Texas. All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott, however, was held to just 47 yards on 20 carries because his offensive line got bullied from start to finish.
This coming Sunday, the Cowboys will be looking to bounce back against the Detroit Lions and maintain their position atop the NFC East. The Lions defense is one of the worst in the league vs the run and pass which sets up the Cowboys two biggest offensive stars, Dak Prescott and Elliott to have huge games.
Prescott is currently second in the NFL in passing yards, third in passing touchdowns, and first in QBR. He will get every opportunity to improve on those numbers this Sunday going up against Detroit's 28th ranked passing defense. They've allowed four quarterbacks to pass for over 300 yards, Prescott has three games with such production himself in 2019.
He will be bringing with him a very explosive receiving core. Amari Cooper is currently third in the NFL in receiving yards with 848. He's coming off a game in which he had his second-highest yardage total (147) and tied his highest reception total (11) in any game this season. Michael Gallup has already equaled his reception total and surpassed both his yardage and touchdown totals from his rookie season in 2018. Randall Cobb had his best game by far as a Cowboy with six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown vs the Vikings.
With Prescott playing at a high level, his receiving core more together than ever, and facing the leagues 30th ranked defense I smell another big game for number 4.
Elliott had his second-worst game of the season vs the Vikings after three consecutive 100-yard performances. The chances of him bouncing back in this game are very high considering the Lions rank 26th vs the run. Seven of the nine teams the Lions have faced have rushed for over 100 yards, including three individual performances over the century mark.
The two-time rushing champion is tied for the second-most games over 100 yards this season with five, trailing only Carolina's Christian McCaffrey who has six. Also, the Cowboys offensive line will be looking to bounce back themselves after the Vikings defensive front took them to the woodshed this past Sunday. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Elliott has one of his biggest performances of the season after such a pedestrian outing last week. Also, having a motivated offensive line blocking for him doesn't hurt either.
The Cowboy's best formula for success is still establishing Elliott early to set up Prescott and the play-action passing game.
With the NFC East still firmly up for grabs, the Cowboys have minimal room for error for this rest of the season. Going up against a defense this bad could be just what the doctor ordered for Prescott and Elliott to dominate on the road. If this were to come to pass, the Cowboys chances at improving to 6-4 this Sunday will be extremely high.
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