My best friend has a tradition for the day that follows Monday. In the summer time, it’s Tank Top Tuesday, and in the workplace it’s Tie Day Tuesday.
Today at Inside The Star … it’s Terrance Williams Tuesday.
It’s a general rule of thumb that the third year for NFL wide receivers is when they either will become the star that they’re going to be…or they just don’t. Seeing as the swash-bucklin’, swag-struttin’, epic play-making Terrance Williams is entering that pivotal third year, I wanted to see how his first two measured up to some other Cowboy greats.
We’re going to go year-by-year here. First things first we’re going to compare T-Will’s rookie season to four other Cowboy rookie years. I chose some of the most prolific pass-catchers in recent memory. I decided not to go too far back in history as the NFL has become far more of a passing league than it was when the likes of Roger Staubach roamed the gridiron. I also picked players who shared a quarterback so that was another common denominator among these guys. Let’s do this damn thing.
Looking at these rookie years alone it’s pretty easy to be excited about Turn Up Time 83. He comes second in catches, first in yards and is tied for second in touchdowns. If you’re playing along at home don’t worry, I’ll unveil who these mystery players are a little later on, but if you guess them right I just might let you advance to the Showcase.
*Player A was injured a majority of his actual 2nd year, 1990 is technically his 3rd year in the NFL
With a full year of NFL experience under these guys’ belts most of them improved. Player B improved marginally while players C and D took some big steps towards becoming star receivers in the NFL. Terrance, like Player A, took a small step backward in both catches and yards, but still found a way to make his catches matter as he turned in more touchdowns.
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
Surprise! Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Terrell Owens, and current Cowboy Dez Bryant are the mystery players in our game show. And you know what? They ALL made a significant leap in their third year:
Michael Irvin took what is easily the largest step. He almost quadrupled his yardage output with almost five times as many catches, and he got into the end zone more times than he had in his career. Now to be totally fair his “sophomore” season wasn’t too spectacular as he was coming off of an ACL tear, he was still gelling with quarterback Troy Aikman, and the Cowboys’ were just finding their offensive mentality.
Alvin Harper is a really common comparison that people make with T-Will. People tend to liken Dez Bryant to Michael Irvin and just sum up the rest to, “Oh well Terrance makes a lot of big plays like Harper did.” While that’s certainly true, they’re more alike than that. Their sophomore seasons are damn near identical, with Terrance having twice as many touchdowns as Alvin.
Harper represents the closest emulation as he played almost the same role in the offense as Terrance does…wide receiver numero dos.
Ok, so I cheated a little here. Terrell Owens’ first three years actually came in a San Francisco 49ers uniform, but the point still stands.
T.O. will one day be in the Hall of Fame, and as of two years Terrance’s numbers can hang with him. He had a better rookie year than T.O. and averaged more yards per reception his sophomore season while still tying T.O. in touchdowns. T.O. was the first big-play receiver in the Tony Romo era and served as great experience for #9 getting acclimated to a more down-the-field passing attack.
Terrance Williams had a more productive Cowboy rookie year than Dez Bryant. Yeah, he did! To be fair Terrance’s rookie year probably benefited from the presence of Dez on the field in 2013, but facts are facts.
While Dez’s sophomore season is far and away better than Terrance’s it’s important to let all of this digest. For crying out loud, Terrance only had two less touchdowns in his first two years combined than Dez did. Seeing as Dez Bryant is one of the premiere red zone targets in the NFL this bodes well for Terrance’s future.
So what does all of this mean? Terrance Williams stacks up very well next to some notable Cowboy receivers’ careers over the last twenty or so years. Not only does he stack up well against them, but also he stacks up well against guys in similar situations and fellas who ran routes for the same quarterback that he does.
Remember his first career touchdown? With 7:08 left in the third quarter and down by 15, Terrance hauled in an 82-yard bomb from Tony Romo, dashed for the end zone, and reignited the Cowboys’ hopes in the game. Terrance has made big plays just another part of a day at the office in two years. He seems to always be around the ball when it matters most. He had iconic moments against the Texans, Seahawks, and Detroit Lions just last year.
Keep in mind that Terrance Williams has gotten in more work with his starting quarterback in the offseason before his third year than any of these guys did, seeing as Dez Bryant has been absent for much of the OTAs and minicamps.
Terrance is on the verge of truly breaking out as an NFL receiver. He has all of the physical attributes (he’s 6’2” so he can certainly go up and get it), surrounding talent in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, the full confidence of Tony Romo, and Terrance now has plenty of experience to draw on.
Expect a lot of big plays from T-Will in 2015. Get excited because #TWillTuesday is going to be going on every Sunday this fall.
Where Does Dak Prescott Rank Among NFL Quarterbacks?
The quarterback position is one of the most difficult positions to evaluate in the NFL. As hard as it can be for a quarterback to understand and execute an offense against a defense that is trying to keep them off balance, it can be equally difficult to try and determine where each quarterback ranks compared to his peers.
Last week, The Sporting News attempted to do just that with their 2019 Quarterback Rankings. It's a pretty good list, and I highly recommend checking it out.
This was the criteria for how Vinnie Iyer,
"These rankings are based on how each QB performed last season and the upside of how each might perform in 2019. No matter how many Super Bowl rings or MVP awards a QB has won, or the number of efficient passing seasons he has posted in the past, history is a small part of the equation. We thought about where each QB ended up last season in terms of effectiveness, production and durability, and then we thought even more about how his talent and offensive support set him up for success (or lack thereof) this season."
Vinnie Iyer - The Sporting News
Dak Prescott came in at number 14 on the list, three spots behind NFC East counterpart Carson Wentz.
Here's what NFL Analyst Vinnie Iyer had to say:
"Prescott dazzled as a rookie in 2016 and slumped as a sophomore in 2017. Last season, he was closer to his rookie form in a year that largely landed between both extremes. Prescott got hot in the second half of the season once he clicked with new No. 1 wideout Amari Cooper, creating a trickle-down effect that should continue with more legitimate overall weapons in 2019."
Vinnie Iyer - The Sporting News
While these lists are rather subjective and it can be a difficult task, I think Vinnie's pretty close on where Dak Prescott sits in the NFL at this point in his career.
It's hard to argue with his top five. Each could have an argument for being the best quarterback in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes just won the NFL MVP, Tom Brady has won all the Super Bowls, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers put up ridiculous numbers year in and year out, and Russell Wilson was just made the highest paid player in NFL history.
While I think Dak probably sits in the 9-15 range, here are the five quarterbacks ranked ahead or Prescott.
9. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
12. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
13. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
I feel there's an argument to be made that Prescott is a few spots to low.
As an avid Oklahoma Sooners homer, I find it a bit presumptuous to have Baker Mayfield as one of the 10 best quarterbacks in the NFL. Mostly because he's only played 14 games at this point in his NFL career. Mayfield had a tremendous rookie season and has given Cleveland Browns fans hope that the franchise is finally headed in the right direction. As much as I love Baker Mayfield and think he's going to be a great NFL quarterback, it's hard for me to put him in the top 10 at this point in his career.
Ben Roethlisberger is easily a top 10 quarterback. He has skins on the wall and over the last several seasons has been a prolific passer in the NFL. Some of the games he plays in the offseason talking about retirement aren't great, but it's hard to argue he hasn't had a borderline Hall of Fame career.
The most difficult argument I think comes when you compare Dak Prescott and DeShaun Watson. The two seem to be on similar career trajectories at this point.
Watson has a better passer rating, a slightly better completion percentage and has more total touchdowns per game than Dak Prescott for his career. If Watson had played as many games as Dak Prescott to this point, at his current touchdown rate, he'd have 108 total touchdowns. 23 more than Dak Prescott.
The two that I have the biggest issue with on this list are the two he gets compared to the most because they were taken first and second overall in the same draft that Dak Prescott was taken in the fourth round; Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
Dak Prescott's thrown for near as many touchdowns as Carson Wentz, who leads the three, but if you consider how many touchdowns Prescott's rushed for in his career, he sits 13 total touchdowns ahead of Wentz and 16 total touchdowns more than Jared Goff. Dak Prescott has a better career passer rating than both of those quarterbacks and is right there in yards per attempt with both guys.
Dak Prescott can claim more team success than Carson Wentz. One could argue that Jared Goff didn't play his best on the way to representing the NFC in the most recent Super Bowl. Dak Prescott has started every game of his NFL career while Carson Wentz has missed eight games due to season-ending injuries each of the last two seasons. Durability is a huge issue for Wentz at this point. I'd rather have the guy who you know will be on the field.
If I were going to rerank Dak Prescott with the five quarterbacks ranked directly ahead of him, I'd go:
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
11. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
13. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
14. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Of course, this is my attempt to be as unbiased as possible and would completely understand if you wanted to rank them differently. There's no perfect way to rank players in the NFL and I applaud the Sporting News guys for giving it this effort. I can see arguments for Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, and DeShaun Watson ahead of Dak Prescott, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.
Dak Prescott is a top 12 quarterback in the NFL and an ascending player in this league.
If you were going to rank the six quarterbacks listed above, how would you rank them? Let us know in the comment section.
Dallas Cowboys Should Pursue Recently Released DT Gerald McCoy
The Dallas Cowboys have been reinforcing their defensive interior all offseason and look to be in a good position as they get ready to begin offseason training activities and minicamp. Yesterday, I wrote about the possibility of trading for New York Jets Defensive Tackle Leonard Williams. Another defensive tackle has now become available, long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy.
Per a report from Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs are going to release McCoy after nine seasons with the club.
BREAKING: DT Gerald McCoy has been informed by the Bucs of their plans to release him after nine seasons. The team decided not to pay him the $13-million salary he was owed for 2019.
McCoy is the definition of a cap casualty as he was set to make $13 million on the cap this year. At age 30 in 2018, McCoy still had six sacks as the Buccaneers 3-technique defensive tackle.
Throughout his career, he's been one of the more productive defensive tackles in the league. From 2012 to 2017 he was selected to the Pro Bowl six times and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2013.
Since 2012, McCoy's averaged 7.2 sacks, 36.8 total tackles, 9.85 tackles for loss, and 17.85 quarterback hits a season. Over the last three seasons, McCoy's averaged just under seven sacks a season. In 2018, he finished with 38 total pressures, which was 19th among all interior defensive linemen. Only Tyrone Crawford from the Cowboys had nearly as many total pressures on the interior with 37.
Though the Cowboys have brought in Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder, and Trysten Hill to fortify a defensive interior with Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, and Tyrone Crawford, Gerald McCoy would make an excellent addition to their rotation. Mike Fisher of 247 Sports is reporting that the Cowboys currently have "very little interest" in the defensive tackle.
That's plausible. The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of depth on the defensive line at the moment, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't pursue a talented player such as Gerald McCoy. McCoy has been an excellent 3-tech but also has the size to contribute at 1-tech on passing downs if you need him to.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has a ton of depth and it may not make sense to bring in a guy like McCoy, but they should. Much like the trade for Robert Quinn, you're putting your eggs in the 2019 Super Bowl basket and trying to maximize the talent that you have on the roster this year. They're a team primed to make a deep run in January and McCoy can help them do that.
As in everything, it will come down to the price tag. However, given that the Dallas Cowboys currently have just under $20 million available on the 2019 salary cap, they can get a deal done with McCoy and continue working on the long-term contracts for their star core of players.
Gerald McCoy makes the defense better. He's another guy along the defensive line, in addition to DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn, that the offensive line has to think about. He makes things easier for everyone at every level of the defense and shouldn't cost a ton to sign on a one-year deal.
BREAKING: Ezekiel Elliott Handcuffed After Incident with Security Guard
TMZ has released footage of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott being handcuffed and escorted by police after an altercation with security at a Las Vegas music festival over the weekend.
Elliott was not arrested and no charges have been filed.
Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed but not charged after incident at Las Vegas music festival https://t.co/NJQ6csGgnv
The video shows Zeke engaged in what appears to be an argument with a female companion. Elliott is seen following her through the crowd, and then security starts to get involved after Zeke moves his body to block her from walking away.
One of the security guards says something that attracts Elliott's attention, causing him to move in closer. The guard falls backward from minimal contact. It as soon after that police get involved.
There isn't much here that would cause trouble for the average player, but that's hardly Elliott's situation. He's one of the most prolific stars in the NFL and already has history with the league for domestic violence and personal conduct issues.
Remember, no charges were filed when the NFL gave Elliott a six-game suspension in 2017 after accusations from an ex-girlfriend of domestic violence.
We will have to wait and see how Roger Goodell chooses to treat this latest issue.
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