Continue reading if your favorite football team is 10-1 with the best record in the NFL, has their longest winning streak in franchise history, and just swept the rival Redskins with a big Thanksgiving win....
RT IF YOU ARE A FAN OF THE BEST TEAM IN THE ENTIRE NFL
Yesterday, we all ate a bunch of food, had a great time, and tweeted about the Cowboys win. I did all of these same things, and concluded my night by rounding up the best of the best from the Twitterverse.
Dez Bryant Vs. Josh Norman: Round 3?
As a pregame breakdown, I wrote about why Dez Bryant needed to be the best WR on the field in this game. While the pure stats may not show that this is correct, Bryant did make some clutch receptions that marched the Dallas offense to victory once again.
I'm not disrespectful to players in league ..I love this game but Norman takes it past football.. if you going spit fire be able to take it
Bryant's Thanksgiving of course included another meeting with Josh Norman - and the two scuffled throughout the game before getting into things immediately after the game, leading to plenty of fallout.
All through the week I will post film how Norman got exposed... https://t.co/WKWE9IdQYr
The emotional and fiery leader that we've all come to know in Bryant handled this with no surprises, confidently (perhaps a bit too much publicly) defending his play along with his self-defense against Norman - who has to deal with the reality of the NFC East slipping away from his new team at the hands of Bryant's league-best Cowboys.
Josh Norman said Dez Bryant approached him and told him, "Where I'm from, we unload the clip" to start the postgame scuffle #Redskins https://t.co/E9RRBvRkoV
Can we move on now, Redskins? The Cowboys have more games to win and we have more tweets to read!
Ezekiel Elliott's Feast
The best running back in football put in a day's work behind the world's best offensive line, on a holiday dedicated to eating. As expected, the always-hungry Ezekiel Elliott did not disappoint, racking up two more rushing touchdowns on the day.
120 total yards. 2 TDs. Zeke ATE on Thanksgiving. https://t.co/XF7PkUfCV2
Even Elliott himself had some fun on Twitter at the Redskins expense after the game, noticing that Washington DL Chris Baker used his signature eating celebration (the same move I made no less than 80 times throughout the day, don't judge).
It's cute they want to be like me. #CantBeatEmThenJoinEm https://t.co/PY7LfgX8fx
Elliott, who along with Dak Prescott is half of the potential greatest rookie tandem in league history, already understands his place in the NFL when it comes to the 10-1 Cowboys.
If you ate too much at Thanksgiving dinner, just take inspiration from Ezekiel Elliott
Save some room for leftovers in Minnesota, Zeke.
What Could Have Been...
Inevitably, in every post-victory Tweet Break, we dedicate a section to Elliott and Prescott. Since we just focused on Zeke, its time to quickly appreciate Dak - who put up 195 yards on 17 completions without a turnover against the Redskins.
10-1: Dak Prescott's record as starter. 6-16: Record of the 5 QB's picked before Prescott as starters
Be very thankful for the fact that the Cowboys missed their draft night opportunities to take Memphis' Paxton Lynch or Michigan State's Connor Cook, "settling" for Prescott in the fourth round.
We love you, #4.
Jason Witten's Historic Holiday
Thanksgiving is about three things - food, family, and football. When it comes to the last part of this, there's few that handle the business of football as professionally as Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
Jason Witten just passed Reggie Wayne for 8th all-time on the career receptions list.
Now, only seven players to ever play football at the highest level have caught more passes in their careers than Witten - who broke this landmark with three catches against the Redskins.
Once a security blanket for Tony Romo, Witten has proved to hold the same role for a Dak Prescott led offense that spreads the ball around a lot more - often times dumping to the ever-reliable Jason Witten.
My wife is over here asking me why I can't get as wide open as Jason Witten... smh I don't know babe...
That will do it for another edition of Tweet Break! Everything in Cowboys Nation is so very awesome right now, and we're happy to share this experience with you here at Inside The Star - the voices of a Nation!
Sweeping the Redskins this season. #WASvsDAL #CowboysNation https://t.co/IGI4MSifmf
Feel free to also email me any comments and feedback at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!
Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: LB Kyle Wilber
While not one of the glamour players for the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Kyle Wilber has been a steady and reliable asset for six seasons. He is set to be a free agent this offseason, and his return to Dallas is hard to project.
A fourth-round pick in 2012, Wilber has only started 16 games but been active for nearly all of them. Even when not having a major part on defense, Kyle has been standout special teams player almost every season.
Dallas saw Wilber's value in 2016 and gave him a two-year extension after his rookie contract expired. Now, though, Kyle turns 29 in April and it may be time to give his roster spot to a younger option with more upside.
It's impressive that Kyle Wilber's lasted this long with the Cowboys. He was drafted to play outside linebacker in the team's 3-4 scheme at that time under Rob Ryan. When Monte Kiffin arrived in 2013 and the switch was made to the 4-3, Wilber was able to transition and stick around for five more seasons.
Wilber's depth value and special teams play earned him $3.25 million over the last two years. Would the Cowboys offer him a similar deal to stick around for another couple of seasons, or is it time to move on?
One factor helping Kyle is that even though Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for the Oakland Raiders, the Cowboys promoted from within. Keith O'Quinn has been here since before Wilber's time and knows what he brings to the table. He could push to keep one of his veteran leaders around.
Another consideration is that Dallas isn't flush with linebacker talent at the moment. Anthony Hitchens is a free agent, and if he doesn't return then that only leaves Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Damien Wilson as the known entities.
The Cowboys haven't allowed age to stop them from doing business with Justin Durant the last few seasons. He was 31 when the team signed him last year for veteran depth and insurance.
Could Dallas offer Kyle Wilber a similar deal, one or two years max at a minimal salary, to stick around? It's very possible, and especially if they let him see what free agency has to offer for about a month.
Even if 2017 was the end of his Cowboys run, Wilber has been a success as a fourth-round pick. He's been there when needed and been a leader on special teams. Earning a second contract with your original teams is always an accomplishment.
We'll have to wait and see if he gets a third.
Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: OT Byron Bell
Offensive tackle became a problem position for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. One guy who helped the situation was veteran backup Byron Bell. He is now a free agent, but Dallas could may be interested in bringing him back next year.
Bell was signed last March to provide depth and insurance on the offensive line. He had experience at both guard and center, starting almost every game since entering the NFL in 2011. Byron had missed all of 2016 with an ankle injury while a member of the Tennessee Titans.
After spending the first part of the year at the bottom of the depth chart, Bell was called into duty after a disastrous performance by Chaz Green in the team's Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons. With starting left tackle Tyron Smith injured, Green got the start and was obliterated by Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn to the tune of six sacks.
Byron got the start the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he was clearly better than Green. He would remain the team's swing tackle the rest of the season and got another start in the meaningless Week 17 finale.
Now Byron Bell is a 29-year-old free agent. With Chaz Green seemingly a failed experiment, Dallas has to figure out what to do about their depth behind Tyron Smith and La'el Collins. Could they be in the market to re-sign Bell?
Given his vast starting experience and position flexibility, Byron may have some other suitors in free agency. Offensive linemen age slower than other positions, so 29 isn't the same mark of death that a running back or corner might deal with.
A likely scenario here is that Dallas, assuming they'd like to have Bell back at all, would let him test free agency and then hopefully re-sign him later in the offseason to a minimal contract. Like last year, he would make sense for insurance at the position and especially if the team is going to part ways with Green.
What's more, Byron has increased value after a year in the Cowboys system. Also, in 2017 he was coming off an entirely missed season with the ankle injury. He's a more attractive asset in 2018.
That increased value could be seen by other teams, too. While Bell has had his ups and downs, he's accomplished enough that his name will be noticed among other free agents. A team with major needs on the offensive line might even consider him to compete for a starting job.
We don't know what the Cowboys' interest level is in bringing Byron Bell back, but they may have competition for his services. Given the role he filled to finish 2017, he could wind up an underrated free agent departure this offseason.
4 Depth Players to Keep in Mind on Dallas Cowboys Roster
Maneuvering through the NFL offseason is a funny task for committed football fans, especially those of Cowboys Nation. Prior to the start of each new season bringing hope for all 32 clubs to reach the Super Bowl, every NFL roster enters a tumultuous state. Talent will be added through free agency and the Draft, while promising players will also be shuffled around through practice squads and training camp releases.
All of that to say, despite criticism for appearing stagnant so far this offseason on the heels of a 9-7 campaign, nobody knows what the Dallas Cowboys will actually look like in 2018. This is why I've decided to feature four under the radar players on the current Cowboys' roster below, all of which provide depth at positions of need.
TE Blake Jarwin
An undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, Blake Jarwin found his way onto the Cowboys' practice squad for 2017.
Jarwin showed enough promise early in his Cowboys career to earn fans on the coaching staff and throughout the organization, as he was promoted to the active roster in week eight. The Philadelphia Eagles were reportedly in position to snatch Jarwin from the Cowboys - who protected their versatile tight end.
The TE position remains unsettled for the Cowboys in 2018 and beyond, with Jason Witten's production clearly declining. The Cowboys will also be on their third TE coach in three seasons this year, transitioning to Doug Nussmeier.
Nussmeier brings no previous experience as a TE coach specifically, meaning the team's overall philosophy on the position will still be determined heavily by Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Favoring tight ends that can block in the running game over those with higher upside as receiving threats, Jarwin is a name to keep in mind as a tenacious blocker that plays with sound technique.
WR Lance Lenoir
This past summer, I had the chance to interview Dallas Cowboys WR Lance Lenoir following his signing with the team out of Western Illinois. In that interview, Lenoir shows off the confidence he took into training camp as a receiver that would have a hard time making the team.
By the end of this long season, the Cowboys went from being perceived as deep and talented at WR to in need of new play makers on the outside.
Perhaps pressing a bit through the preseason, Lenoir did provide practice depth as a reliable pass catcher and punt returner, struggling on special teams in live action and ultimately spending the season on the practice squad.
The 2018 NFL Draft features a deep class of talented receivers, and the Cowboys would be wise to draft one with real potential that can push up the depth chart in a hurry. As far as current options on the roster to fill this position, WR Lance Lenoir can't be overlooked as an athletic target with NFL size and strength - entering his second season in Dallas.
DT Datone Jones
A mid-season acquisition from the Green Bay Packers, Datone Jones flashed as a defensive tackle in the limited opportunities he received. A five-year league veteran, Jones showed the ability to play with power and leverage at the 1T position - a spot the Cowboys are thin at right now.
Jones' versatility also suited him well, playing with impressive burst and disruptive ability as a pass-rushing 3T.
The addition of one more starting caliber DT could truly put this Dallas defensive front over the edge. With how much Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli believes in his DL rotation though, players like Datone Jones can prove immensely valuable.
DT Lewis Neal
Similarly to Jones, Lewis Neal is a fan-favorite defensive tackle for the Cowboys. Neal has absolutely earned the attention he's gotten, a UDFA out of LSU that plays the 1T position better than expected given his size.
The Cowboys have gotten by in recent years with smaller, more mobile players at this interior DT spot, with Neal being their latest post-draft steal to make an impact.
Lewis Neal appeared in seven games for the Cowboys this season, finding ways to help those around him by anchoring the line of scrimmage and disengaging with active hands and a quick base. This is a player that should be a valuable part of the team's depth on the defensive line.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The year-to-year nature of the NFL can be a wonderful thing (unfortunately, ask any Eagles fan right now). Part of this reality is understanding that none of the players listed above may actually stick with the Dallas Cowboys for 2018.
Next week's NFL Scouting Combine will kick "draft season" into full gear however, as the Cowboys will be working to better understand their teams needs and how they can be addressed.
Jarwin, Lenoir, Jones, and Neal all contributed or showed the promise to do so at positions the Cowboys must improve at this season - warranting a closer look through this dull portion of the offseason.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog3 days ago
Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Star Defensive Talent Falls to Cowboys in Latest Round of Mock Drafts
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018
Star Blog6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Star Blog7 days ago
Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason
NFL Draft1 week ago
The 1 Player Cowboys Should Consider Trading Up For
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Continue Search for Coaching on Defense
Star Blog1 week ago
Will Kavon Frazier be Cowboys Version of Kam Chancellor?