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The Best, And Worst, Case Scenarios For The 2019 Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady



Michael Gallup Building Much Needed Chemistry With Dak Prescott

The 2019 season is finally upon us, and with it comes sky-high expectations for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas' front office spent much of the offseason talking about "taking the next step" following yet another Division Round playoff loss in 2018. Whether or not the Cowboys are ready to take that Super Bowl step is yet to be seen, but there's no denying how stacked with talent this roster is.

From player 1-53 the Cowboys are deep, and should be in contention for the NFC title this season if all goes according to plan.

Let's discuss what the best, and worst case scenarios look like for 2019's Dallas Cowboys.

How It Can Go Right

Simply put, the Dallas Cowboys play to their talent level and compete for an NFC crown.

On offense the hiring of Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator infuses new concepts and innovation into what was a stagnant unit in 2018. A unit that rarely used play action, diversity of formations, and pre-snap motion under Scott Linehan now deploys all of the above to create advantages for their talented offense in 2019.

Not only does Kellen Moore make things easier on Dak Prescott, but Prescott's own development as a passer continues this season. Now stacked with an impressive group of weapons Prescott has his best season since 2016, and makes those who question his upcoming contract eat their words.

Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott do what they do, the offensive line regains previous form due to Travis Frederick's return and Connor Williams' progression, and Michael Gallup breaks out as a legit number two receiver.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Final Edition

Aug 24, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In 2018 the Cowboys defense went from an average unit to one of the best in the league, and they take yet another step forward this season. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith play to their immense talent level, DeMarcus Lawrence continues to be the dominant edge rusher he's been the last two seasons, and Robert Quinn brings some extra pass rush juice coming off suspension.

In the back-end, another year under Kris Richard's coaching turns Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods into the players we've seen them be in spurts throughout their young careers. Byron Jones continues his stellar play as one of the league's best corners, and this whole unit plays as they should: like one of the best defenses in football.

How It Can Go Wrong

Cowboys fans, cover your eyes.

Regardless of how talented this roster is on paper, there are of course potential downfalls for the 2019 Cowboys.

On offense these pitfalls are clear. Instead of innovating the offensive scheme, Kellen Moore is forced to take a backseat in the meeting room. Jason Garrett and company insist on being who they've been in previous years, and the Cowboys continue to pound their heads against stacked boxes and prepared defenses.

Dak Prescott does not take the steps forward he needs to convince the doubters. Instead, he continues to hold the ball too long at times, take unnecessary sacks, and fail to create plays down the field. Dallas doesn't use Prescott's legs to their advantage, and this entire offense plays like an average unit once again.

How does this thing go wrong defensively? Regression.

Playing defense in the NFL is really hard, and rarely do teams find themselves playing at a top-notch level in consecutive years. Instead of finding improvements from Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie, the Cowboys' young secondary stays about level. Then, regression in their front seven's production occurs and the Cowboys defense falls back towards the rest of the pack.

My Prediction

I haven't felt this good about a Cowboys roster in a long time. Dallas is deep on both sides of the ball, and is super talented at the games' most vital positions.

Despite their difficult schedule and regression candidacy, I think the Cowboys will win 10 games in 2019 and find themselves in the playoffs come January.

And, once you're in, all you need is a couple of bounces to go your way to earn that Lombardi Trophy.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


Star Blog

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Primed for Big Games vs Lions

Matthew Lenix



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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Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Red Zone Liability?

Brian Martin



Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Redzone Liability?

Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is arguably as talented as just about any defensive back in the NFL. He still young and has quite a bit he can do to improve his game, but there's no denying his talent. One of the things he may need to work on right now is his awareness and discipline in the red zone.

In back to back games No. 24 has been caught out of position and as a result surrendered points in the end zone. Just this last Sunday he gave up a two point conversion to Minnesota Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph. The week prior he gave up a touchdown catch to New York Giants Wide Receiver Cody Latimer.

Does this make him a liability in the red zone?

I know if I've noticed Chidobe Awuzie getting victimized in back to back weeks in the red zone opposing offensive coordinators around the league have done the same. As a result, they're going to test Awuzie to find out if they can have the same kind of success.

Chidobe Awuzie

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

If I'm Kris Richard I'm personally going to be working on making sure Chidobe is fully aware he needs to be more disciplined with his play, especially in the red zone. He's been caught out of position in back to back games and that can't be something that continues from here on out.

I'm sure Awuzie would tell you himself this is something he needs to clean up. He takes pride in his abilities and knows he can still improve. Hopefully he can take it to heart and better prepare for what's to come. Whether that means just executing his assignments better or maybe studying a little more film. It's up to him to figure out what he needs to do.

As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, they may need to start giving him a little more help over the top if this is something that continues. And if worse comes to worse, they can always see if Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown can be more consistent. I doubt it would come to that, but it is an option.

I for one am hoping No. 24 will just hunker down and figure out what he needs to do in order to take his game to the next level. If he can do that the Cowboys defense will be much better for it. I don't know about you, but I will be keeping a close eye on him for the rest of the season.

Do you think CB Chidobe Awuzie has become a red zone liability?

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Star Blog

Maliek Collins has a Breakout Opportunity Against the Minnesota Vikings

John Williams



Cowboys DT's Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods Primed for Monster Seasons

It's been a quiet 2019 for one of the Dallas Cowboys' preseason breakout candidates, Maliek Collins. Heading into training camp, and then the regular season, Collins was the healthiest he'd been at any point in his previous three seasons. That combined with another year in the NFL, led many to believe that Collins could become a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. Collins has been good, but perhaps not as productive as many might have predicted.

On the year, Maliek Collins has three sacks, which is third for the Dallas Cowboys behind Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence. Per Pro Football Focus, Collins is tied for 17th in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. Tied for 17th might not sound very good, but when the league leader in sacks among interior defensive linemen has just six, Collins isn't far off from threatening for the league lead. In fact, Maliek Collins is tied with All-Pro Defensive Tackles Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones, and Geno Atkins in sacks.

In total pressures, Collins is tied for eighth in the NFL per Pro Football Focus with 27 along with Quentin Jefferson and Vita Vea.

Though he's not racking up a ton of tackle this season, Collins has been excellent as a pass rusher. On Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, he'll have a tremendous opportunity to build on his first-half numbers.

Against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, Collins has an enormous opportunity. Among quarterbacks with at least 196 drop backs, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been under pressure at the fourth highest rate in the NFL. His 40.8% pressure rate is only better than Daniel Jones, Russell Wilson, and Sam Darnold.

Vikings Guard Pat Elflein has allowed five sacks on the year, which is tied for the third most in the NFL this season among interior offensive linemen and his 20 pressures allowed is tied for eighth. When Maliek Collins gets an opportunity to line up across from Elflein, he's going to have a chance to get home.

With teams having to pay so much attention to DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and newcomer Michael Bennett, Collins should be freed up to face more one-on-one blockers.

Collins hasn't had a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn't necessarily been the dominant player we thought he could be after his strong preseason. That perception could change when the Dallas Cowboys play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The opportunity is there for Collins, he just has to seize it.

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