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The Glass Half-Full Perspective – Cowboys Vs Raiders

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This response to the Cowboy's vs. Raider's game is a little late because my son was sick the Friday following the game up until Monday of this week.  Better late than never...

Call it ESP(N),but I had a premonition about Thursday night, as noted a few articles down in" Expect the worse when the Cowboy's meet the Raider's tonight."  I prepared myself for the worse in view of one concept that I think tend's to be overlooked by the average fan:  An offensive or defensive unit is only as strong as it's weakest member.  If you consider the "youth movement" that has absorbed the majority of the attention concerning the Cowboy's, there are quite a few player's out there still learning their positions, which mean's regardless of how fast they can run the 40, their mental speed is still going to be relatively slow.

Here are just a few quick observation's from the glass half-full perspective:

1:  In an effort to keep this team healthy, Wade has prohibited tackling throughout training camp.  Therefore, missed tackles are going to happen at this stage in the process.

2:  Newman, Jenkins and Hawkins were all hurt, which represent the 1st, 2nd/3rd, and 4th Corner's on the depth chart.  Hawkins was recently cut, so the Cowboy's are placing quite a bit of faith in Mickens and Brown to turn the corner, so-to-speak.

3:  Should a 2nd teamer be forced into action in the regular season, he'll be surrounded by 1st teamer's, not more 2nd teamer's.  That's a huge difference to consider.

4:  If anything, the Raider's are fast.  Al Davis covet's speed over all attributes a player can have.  Judging angles on a team filled with speedster is not typically an ability younger defensive player's playing in a new position are going to do well at this point.

5:  I'd prefer my rookies to be overly-aggressive in the preseason than invisible.  Victor Butler, despite his many instances of over-pursuit, still looked decent for a player in a stand up role vs. his three-down technique in college.

6:  Play calling is generally extremely vanilla during the pre-season.  I'm sure many of you may have noticed the running game being relied on quite a bit, especially in the closing minutes of the game.  If anything, that should have served as a reminder that the coaching staff was not trying to win the game.

7:  How about that starting unit?  Granted, the first series wasn't pretty for either unit, defense or offense.  But the offense made up for it with their second chance, moving down the field, Romo getting the ball into the hand's of a variety of different weapons to score and take the lead.  Despite a few debilitating penalties, the starting defensive unit was able to limit the Raider's to a field goal, and that being very short-handed in the secondary.  As previously stated, it's too early to judge the second and third unit's considering the youth; but if they are still a turnstile come the fourth game of preseason, concerns will be warranted.





I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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4 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    What worries me is that the first team offense still didn’t score on their first possession. It’s a well known fact that scoring on the opening drives increases the likely hood that you’ll win the game, and they have struggled with that the last couple of years. If I’m not mistaken, and I haven’t checked the stats on this, but in each of the last two years, if the Cowboys scored a TD on their opening drive, they won the game.

    Typically you should be able to come into a game at least take control for the first scoring drive because the other defense is still adjusting to what you’re doing. If they’re already adjusted, then seems to me the play calling may be too vanilla.

    Preseason is different, though, as you said. The first preseason game is mostly about evaluating the young players. But it worries me that the same problem on the first drive existed even in the exhibition game.

    The Titans have something working for them right now, so I’m hoping that we do go out and beat them, simply because it will lend credit to what’s being done with this team and show that we have what it takes even with the backup players 2 and 3 deep.

    • Lostar2009

      Pentalities can kill everything. But our opening drive we were just caught up in some blitz. We later cam came back harder and was able too pick them up.

  • Jonathan

    Bryson – Have you had an opportunity to watch the game yet? It reaired last night on a local channel. I definitely get what you are saying, but given the circumstances, you can kind of understand the 3 and out. Check out the following link for a play by play: http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/playbyplay?game_id=54727&displayPage=tab_play_by_play&season=2009&week=PRE1.

    Isaiah’s return was just over 15 yard’s which got pushed back another 10 yard’s due to a penalty. Pinned at the 6, the Cowboy’s play option’s were somewhat limited. Out of the gate, Romo’s first throw got knocked down at the line by none other than Greg Ellis himself. The second play, Barber was victimized by the highest paid corner in the league for a loss. The third play, someone was playing in the wrong play book.

    According to the above play by play the receiver was Willie Reid, but I’m pretty sure it was Austin. Anyway, it seemed to me that Austin wasn’t aware the ball was in the air, as it landed only a few feet away from him as he was streaking down the field. Either that or he simply failed to find the ball. Either way, I don’t think this series was a reflection of the unit as a whole, but the result of several individual error’s combined. Make sense?

    For instance, Romo need’s to better identify his passing lane’s. I think the second play was Garrett quite simply being predictable; though, I won’t read too much into that in the preseason. And the third play was a lack of focus on Austin’s part.

  • Lostar2009

    Hmm the Raides maul the Cowboys 2nd and 3rd teams no ends or butts. Their play was sloppy and horrible. The Raiders seem polish and more poise in their 2nd and 3rd teams.

    Preseson our not I remember Wade first year here we tee off aganist the Broncos nicley. Teams blitz all the time in preseason. We didnt do much this game is it because we dont want to expose our fall off in OLB play since Ellis is gone.

    Both 1st team offense and Defense played nice. Besides a couple of fouls we look good. Garrett show his play calling has improve with his mix up of run and passing plays kudos to him.

    Me personally I was plz with Romo playaction. He seem to take it to the next level with his movements. I also was plz with Sensi did anyone see that wood he layed on a Raider WOW!!!

    All in all the 2nd and 3rd teams need to pic their play up. 1st team need to become a little bit more focus.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys DE Dorance Armstrong Could Be Needed Quickly

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys DE Dorance Armstrong Could Be Needed Quickly

The Dallas Cowboys are stronger at defensive end than they've been in some time, but they still lack a specific type of pass rusher. Rookie Dorance Armstrong may be able to fill that role, giving him an early opportunity to contribute that many mid-round rookies can't find.

While DeMarcus Lawrence has become a beast and Taco Charlton is expected to do more as a second-year player, they are both better suited to play on the left side. It is that right side DE, the athletic type who can take on NFL left tackle, that the Cowboys haven't had since DeMarcus Ware left.

It was supposed to be Randy Gregory, but we all know the issues he's dealt with the last three years. His reinstatement request to the league is expected to go through, but even then we can't be sure the type of player he will be.

If Gregory isn't still the talent that Dallas hoped for in 2015, the next man up just might be Armstrong. He is a raw talent, still undersized for consistent NFL defensive end work, but he has the natural agility and style of play that best suits the weak-side rusher.

Sean's Scout: Defensive End Dorance Armstrong Has Upside to Fill Marinelli's Rotation

Dallas Cowboys DE Dorance Armstrong

Veteran Kony Ealy is more like Lawrence and Charlton, bigger and more suited from the strong side. Another option, Charles Tapper, has yet to prove he can get through a single game without injury.

Rookies have not had a hard time finding early work in Dallas lately.

Obviously, it didn't take Quarterback Dak Prescott long to make an immediate impact. We've also seen the same from Cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown, Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins, and Safety Xavier Woods.

With the difficulties that guys like Gregory and Tapper may have getting back into football shape, Armstrong could have a leg up in training camp. The Cowboys won't hesitate to give him the work if he's the best man for the job, regardless of draft status or tenure.

These new look, new era Dallas Cowboys are all about meritocracy, so Dorance Armstrong could rise quickly if he performs. It would make for a nice immediate return on a fourth-round pick.


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Dallas Cowboys

CB Jourdan Lewis Addresses “All Or Nothing” Scene With Dez Bryant

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Rookie CB Jourdan Lewis Announces Signing With Dallas 1
Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

When the newest season of Amazon's All or Nothing featuring the Dallas Cowboys came out, people immediately were drawn to one scene in particular.

That scene featured then veteran Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis, as they battled it out all day in practice. Lewis and Bryant were in each others ears, as Lewis wanted to make it known to Bryant that he isn't the same type of corner he's used to seeing in practice.

Jourdan Lewis was asked to give his side of the story recently, and DallasCowboys.com recorded his response. The following video is courtesy of "Ed It Channel" on YouTube.

Streamable - free video publishing

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Lewis addressed rumors that the rivalry was "fake" or staged due to the fact that Bryant knew that Lewis was mic'ed up. He says that the competition was organic, and that when put on the field with each other their competition improved both of their play.

Dez Bryant is gone now, but hopefully the Cowboys will be able to replace that competitiveness on the practice field and allow for tempers to flare from time to time.


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Player News

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott Embraces Lack of No. 1 Wide Receiver

Sean Martin

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Cowboys QB Dak Prescott Embraces Lack of No. 1 Wide Receiver

As I wrote exactly a week ago, in discussion of maligned Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams:

"...this won't be the first look we have at the status of the Cowboys receivers. I'm already on record having high expectations for Michael Gallup, and believe Cedrick Wilson was one of the steals of the draft for the Cowboys in the sixth round. The unproven nature of this pass catching unit (through to TE with rookie Dalton Schultz) is going to make for fascinating training camp battles, competing for spots in an offense that could still be one of the league's best".

Here we are again, with an emerging leadership voice of the Cowboys speaking about his wide receivers. Dak Prescott told Pro Football Talk that he, "doesn't know if any team in the league necessarily needs a No. 1 receiver".

This is a bold statement from a third-year quarterback that's already told Cowboys Nation this offseason that he wants to be the best to ever play for the franchise. Beginning the journey towards becoming a Cowboys legend must start with Prescott securing his status as the Cowboys franchise QB in 2018 - by throwing to Williams, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, Cedrick Wilson, and Allen Hurns.

This will be no easy task for Prescott, but the Cowboys have never wavered in their commitment to building this team around him. Left with no choice on personnel decisions like Jason Witten's retirement, the Cowboys are well-prepared to also deal with the loss of Dez Bryant.

If they weren't, Bryant would still be in Dallas, and as it stands now he remains a free agent. New to the Cowboys offense is not only Gallup, Wilson, and Hurns but also Tavon Austin as a pass-catching running back.

Strength in numbers must be the message for the Cowboys offense this season. Relying heavily on Ezekiel Elliott and a punishing offensive line will be what keeps opposing defensive coordinators up at night, but so too must be the diverse nature of how the Cowboys can line up on the outside.

Allowing Prescott to serve as a "point guard" like QB could lead to the Cowboys turning plenty of heads with their all-around play in 2018. Anybody writing them off simply because of unproven wide receivers lacks a complete understanding of the roster and how Scott Linehan plans to change his offense.

Sure, it's possible that Linehan fails to prove himself as a play caller worthy of the talent the Cowboys possess on offense - but the talent is there. In Prescott's rookie year, Cole Beasley emerged as his go-to receiver, only to regress in 2017.

With the Cowboys shipping Ryan Switzer to Oakland during the draft, Beasley has a clear path back towards developing this chemistry with Prescott out of the slot. The same should go for Allen Hurns, despite arriving in Dallas as a free agent this year.

Hurns has talked about holding himself to a high standard, despite joining the Cowboys to play with Dez Bryant initially.

"I felt it was a big opportunity to come to Dallas to play with Dez. But with him not being here, it’s a bigger opportunity. It's a matter of me making the most of the opportunity"

Plenty of Cowboys receivers will have a chance to make the most of the opportunity to play in this offense. Hurns' spot as an outside starter feels safe, as he could be the big "No. 1" target Prescott needs to either find in the red zone or distribute the ball elsewhere.

The amount of change the Dallas Cowboys have gone through since drafting Dak Prescott is a cruel reminder of how difficult reaching the pinnacle of sports can be. The Cowboys biggest challenge to reach the playoffs again in 2018?

Silence the doubt that a declining Dez Bryant no longer being with the team will derail the efforts of this deep and eager-to-compete WRs room.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys QB Dak Prescott Embraces Lack of No. 1 Wide Receiver" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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