There are officially 70 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Happy Sunday one and all! I truly hope that all of you had a wonderful and safe Fourth of July, commemorating our great nation. NBA Free Agency heated up a bit yesterday and the U.S. Women’s World Cup team is preparing to play, so sports are happening! Let’s be honest though, your Dallas Cowboys trump all of that. I’m your main man RJ, so I get that. I’m here to help! Check out the Greatest 70 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The following players have all worn 70 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Ethan Brooks, OT
- Javier Collins, OT
- Tyrone Crawford*, DE (also featured on our 98 list)
- Leonard Davis, OG
- Dale Hellestrae, LS
- Frank Kearse, DT
- Jerome Long, DT
- Daniel Loper, OT
- Zack Martin*, OG
- Bob McCreary, OT
- Dale Memmelaar, OG
- Drake Nevis, DT
- Howard Richards, OG
- Bill Sandeman, OT
- Mark Stepnoski, C (who would later change to 53)
- Bob White, C
- Rayfield Wright^, OT
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Talk about linemen! There are a lot of them for us to consider here. The three greatest 70s all happen to have played on the right side of the offensive line: Zack Martin, Leonard Davis, and Rayfield Wright.
Before we get into the big right three, let’s talk about some of the other 70s. For starters, how many of you knew that Stepnoski wore 70 for his rookie season? Raise your hands. You’re probably lying, but whatever I’ll trust you. Current Cowboy sensation Tyrone Crawford also wore the 7-0 for his rookie year before making the switch to 98…perhaps he’s in for as long and as great of a career as ‘ol Stepnoski!
One of the more decorated 70s on this list is former right guard, Leonard Davis. Signed as a free agent in 2007 to what was a pretty big contract (seven-year, almost $50 million) Davis produced right away. He helped lead one of the more underrated Cowboys offensive lines in franchise history, a line that helped a young Tony Romo transition into the NFL.
Speaking of offensive lines and speaking of Tony Romo, we all know who the hottest 70 on the market is right now. He also happens to play right guard, also happens to have worn 70 for his rookie year, but he’s only entering his second year in the NFL. Zack Martin is a beast.
The super fan in me really wanted to call Zack the best 70, but as you’ll find out there is one cat (no pun intended) that trumps him. Zack deserves A LOT of love, though. Taken with the 16th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Zack began playing at an elite level right away. He helped fellow first round picks (from 2011 and 2013) Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick establish arguably the best offensive line in the NFL that helped DeMarco Murray lead the NFL in rushing. Zack was one of just three rookies selected to last year’s Pro Bowl and he was the only rookie to be named First-Team All-Pro (the first Cowboy rookie since Calvin Hill in 1969 and first rookie at o-line since Dick Huffman in 1947). While Zack isn’t quite the Best 70 yet, the future of the number is in great hands with him.
The seventh round of the 1967 NFL Draft yielded a 6’7” 225-pound kid from Fort Valley State. The Dallas Cowboys planned on using their new player at tight end, defensive line, and offensive tackle. His athletic build allowed him to play very large and fast, giving Rayfield Wright the nickname “Big Cat”.
When Ralph Neely, who was featured on our 73 list, got hurt in 1969 Rayfield had to jump to the right tackle position. Keep in mind that in this era of NFL History the right tackle was the position that guarded the opposing team’s best pass-rusher, not the left side like in today’s NFL. Right tackles were a necessity to go up against the games best, and Rayfield’s first start was no different. The Cowboys were playing the Los Angeles Rams and asked Rayfield Wright to stop future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deacon Jones (he coined the term “sack” for all those interested). The Big Cat played so impressively that the right tackle position became his for good.
Rayfield flourished at the right tackle position throughout the 1970s. He was a critical element in those Cowboys offenses that finished in the top 10 in terms of overall offense in every year of that decade. While his quickness and athleticism had been traits that scouts considered would make him a great tight end, Wright translated those qualities to the offensive line and helped redefine how people evaluated skill at the position. His resume includes:
- 6 Pro Bowl Selections (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976)
- 4 First-Team All-Pro Selections (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975)
- 2-time Super Bowl Champion (VI and XII)
- Member of the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team
- Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Class of 2004
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2006
Rayfield’s place in Pro Football History is incredible no matter how you look at it. His accomplishments on the field are obviously incredible, but his Hall of Fame Class is one of the greatest in Canton’s History. Wright was inducted in 2006 along with fellow Cowboy Troy Aikman, Coach John Madden, quarterback Warren Moon, linebacker Harry Carson, and arguably the greatest pass-rusher to ever live…Reggie White.
Rayfield Wright was an incredible offensive lineman in the 1970s. It’s only natural then that he is the Greatest 70 in Dallas Cowboys History. He is one of the greater Cowboys regardless of position or jersey number in franchise history, and as a member of the 70 Crew can also be proud of the pedigree of that number and the bright future that it has.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 69 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
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?
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.
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.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
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.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
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.
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:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
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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