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The Exclamation Point: Jason Garrett Put A Stamp On Coach Of The Year Against Detroit

RJ Ochoa

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Jason Garrett

Listen to an audio version of this article on Bumpers!

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Jonathan Larson's Rent teaches us that there are 525,600 minutes in a year. It's petitioned that this can be measured in daylights, sunsets, midnights, or cups of coffee. Perhaps you prefer inches, miles, or yardage... Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett definitely likes yards.

On December 27th, 2015 Garrett's Cowboys started their fourth quarterback of the season (Kellen Moore) in a dreadful 6-16 loss in Buffalo. December 27th, 2016 (today duh) we find ourselves 525,600 minutes removed from that agony and celebrating a 180 degree turn of events.

Dez Bryant, LionsWe all woke up today for a special Tuesday edition of #VictoryPoloMonday, celebrating the Dallas Cowboys and their Monday Night Football win over the Detroit Lions. The game bounced in the direction of the Cowboys quite easily in the second half, as a 21-21 tie ended 42-21 in favor of the good guys. Pretty cool, right?

Jason Garrett knows well about victories inside AT&T Stadium against Detroit, as his only career playoff win is laced with those exact details (2014). He's a long way removed from the squad of two years ago, and while he's got his sights set on much bigger things... it was this recent win against the Lions that served as the nail in the coffin for something special - Coach of the Year.

Jason Garrett's Coach Of The Year Resume

Last Friday I outlined the ridiculousness that has been the 2016 Dallas Cowboys season here at Inside The Star. There have been a number of crazy, and unique, obstacles in front of the Cowboys at different points, and Jason Garrett has steered them through them all. Among the many, there are a few more notable hurdles that needed to be Zeke-leapt over:

  • The loss of primary backup Quarterback Kellen Moore.
  • The serious injury to starting Quarterback Tony Romo.
  • The injury to the best Left Tackle in football, Tyron Smith.
  • The loss of second-year Left Guard, La'el Collins.
  • The three-game loss of star Wide Receiver, Dez Bryant (and his MRI saga).
  • The fluctuating health of Cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
  • The development of 4th Round Rookie Quarterback Dak Prescott.
  • The handling of the Tony Romo situation once Romo returned from injury.

This list hits you so hard that you could've sworn it was Chris Jones during punt coverage. To merely survive it would be an incredible accomplishment, but Jason Garrett is far more than incredible. Coach Garrett guided the Cowboys through all of this and has them firmly entrenched as the NFC's top seed at 13-2, tying the Dallas Cowboys record for most wins in a season.

What Was So Special About The Lions Game?

Had the Lions won on Monday Night Football - they didn't, what a bunch of scrubs - then they would have clinched a playoff berth... those are some serious stakes (I wish they'd been steaks, though).

While Detroit entered the game with much on the line, the Cowboys entered with literally nothing to play for. Due to the Giants loss in Philadelphia last Thursday, the Cowboys clinched everything they possibly could on December 22nd.

This means that the Dallas Cowboys welcomed a team who was literally playing for everything while they were playing for nothing. How'd that go? Dallas won 42-21. The Cowboys handed the Lions a drubbing despite resting pivotal defensive starters and therefore, despite always wanting to win, adding some more hurdles in the interim for the sake of the long-run.

Think about this seriously. The Dallas Cowboys at lower-than-normal capacity didn't just beat, but utterly dominated a team that gave all that they had. This is remarkable.

The Dak And Zeke Effect

There's no denying how impressive rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have been this season. They've been instrumental to the success that the Cowboys have had, but they've been coached masterfully along the way.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak PrescottDallas secured a franchise record-tying 13th win against Detroit, but they also accomplished something that no other Dallas Cowboys team ever has in the process. Jason Garrett's 'Boys now have a rookie quarterback (Dak) with 20 passing touchdowns and a rookie running back (Zeke) with 15 rushing touchdowns.

This is actually so special that not only has no Dallas Cowboys team never done it... no NFL team has ever done it!

This is an insanely difficult thing to do with any two players. It is downright impossible to do with rookies at both positions! Jason Garrett did it. He deserves an honor only two other Dallas Cowboys Head Coaches have received - Coach of the Year. Tom Landry won it in 1966, Jimmy Johnson won it in 1990, and Jason Garrett deserves it in 2016.

Tell us what you think about "The Exclamation Point: Jason Garrett Put A Stamp On Coach Of The Year Against Detroit" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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