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.
Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018
For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.
After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote
As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.
Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.
Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.
His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!
David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.
In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.
There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.
While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.
Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.
Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.
In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.
Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.
Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.
At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.
The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.
QB Dak Prescott Named Cowboys’ Nominee For Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award
As the quarterback of America's Team, Dak Prescott is faced with a level of criticism each week that few athletes have to deal with. He is constantly questioned for his play, and even when things are going well, Prescott must answer his critics. But one area absolutely no one can question Prescott is his leadership, both on and off the field.
Dak Prescott is the perfect role model for children and adults alike. He is constantly doing fantastic work in his communities and making sure he uses his platform for good to his best ability.
This week it was announced Dak Prescott was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and will be the Cowboys' candidate in the race.
@Dak Prescott has been announced as the #Cowboys nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year - for 'commitment to philanthropy and community impact.' DAL past winners of the NFL-wide honor: Staubach, Aikman, Witten. @1053thefan
Of course, Prescott is well-worthy of the honor, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being both a finalist and the recipient of the award this year. As mentioned by Mike Fisher in the above tweet, three Cowboys have won the award previously; Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Jason Witten. Each of which is deserving, as is Prescott.
Considering the award is given out for "commitment to philanthropy and community impact," I can't think of many more worthy players around the league than quarterback Dak Prescott. We can see this impact in the locker room and on the field as well, as Prescott was voted a captain in just his sophomore season. The Cowboys clearly respect Prescott, despite some of the flaws in his game, and seem to play hard beside him every week.
Congratulations to Dak Prescott on this nomination.
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