YO YO YOOOO! DJ R TO THE J IS IN DA HIZZ-OUSE AND I AM TAKING OVER THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF #TWEETBREAK!
I know that you're loyal to Inside The Star, so I also know that you know ("They don't know we know they know we know!") Staff Writer Sean Martin usually captains this ship.
Well as fate would have it, Sean is currently inside the locker room at Valley Ranch taking a swing at playing Middle Linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Rolando McClain doesn't seem to want to, so somebody's gotta do it... right? Ba-dum-psh.
Seriously though, you open Tweet Break for games (Four Games being the sentence that DeMarcus Lawrence will officially serve alongside RoMac AND Randy Gregory) and it's time to get down like Jay Sean did circa 2008.
Just Another Manic Monday
The 1980s were great because they gave us Back To The Future. 1986 was particularly saucy, because it was when The Bangles dropped the album Different Light.
Among many other great tracks was the classic ballad "Manic Monday." It seems that we're all wishing it was Sunday these days, missing our 'Boys more and more by the second. The NFL took the opportunity to combine Sunday greatness with their "I don't have to run" day using someone who knows a thing or two about running.
Ezekiel Elliott Loves Life
Speaking of people who are really awesome at running... Ezekiel Elliott, ladies and gentlemen!
Katy Perry once told us that she was going to get our hearts racing in her skin tight jeans, and while Zeke is going to make our aortic pumps go wild Sundays this fall, it was his skin tight jeans last weekend that caught our attention.
Fun shooting @EzekielElliott on the red carpet 4 the 1st time. Hope I wasn't 2 annoying of a fan 😉 #BETAwards2016
That jacket is so... mustard-y? Is that a word? Can I use it? Too late.
On Wednesday Zeke traded in the mustard yellow for a ketchup red top that made him look like The Flash... against some little kids! Ezekiel Elliott, 4th Round Draft Pick and All-Around Superstar, is out here schooling kids like they're the New York Giants (they do kinda look like the G-Men to be honest).
Zeke did NOT take it easy on the campers! #GOATcamp @EzekielElliott #SCtop10 https://t.co/qMrLnfuA88
You do you, Zeke. You do you.
You know who else said "I do."? Dallas Cowboys Guard Ronald Leary. At his wedding. It wasn't the Catalina Wine Mixer, but it sure looked nice.
Congrats to @RonLeary75 of the @DallasCowboys on your recent nuptial! Looking good in your @QClothier tuxedo. #tux
The Cowboys Remember A Legendary Enemy
The NFL Family lost one of its most beloved members this past Tuesday when Buddy Ryan, the architect of the 1985 Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears Defense, passed away at the age of 85.
This was a topic that I hit on this week's RJOShow, but Dallas Cowboys from multiple generations took to Twitter to share their thoughts and condolences on one of the game's more legendary and colorful figures.
As a QB knew you were in for a long day & a lot of bruises when facing a Buddy Ryan coached defense...a defensive genius. Prayers w family.
Buddy Ryan was a defensive mastermind who changed the game. RIP Coach. #BuddyRyan
I hate to share anything with their logo but I'll be damned if he wasn't dead on with this.
Focus, the mental state not that awful Will Smith movie, is tough to have this time of year.
Between last week's Game Of Thrones season finale and Big Brother being back in my life, I've been all over the place! Thankfully, I've put on my best focus face for the good of Inside The Star.
The Dallas Cowboys are remaining focused as well. Mark Nzeocha, who we might need to lean on this year due to the McClain suspension, had this to say.
What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say #grind
This feels like one of the riddles from Saw. How can what I do speak so loudly that you can't even hear it?! What are you talking about, Nzeocha? Either way you're the man, go be good at football please, thanks, alright!
While I forgive #53 for omitting the "o" before the "a" in his last name (Nzeochoa would be so much better obviously), Marky Mark has the potential to be a stud in 2016. One of the members of the fun bunch who is a stud, even on a bad day, dropped some focus of his own this week.
Nothing bold about me it's going down #x https://t.co/27d5SQN2ZV
X marks the spot. Throw it up. Except don't actually throw up an x. That would hurt. A lot.
Make sure to follow Inside The Star on Twitter at @InsideTheStarDC and let us know what you want to see in next week's #TweetBreak!
QB Dak Prescott Continues To Come Through In Clutch Situations
Dak Prescott is possibly the most criticized quarterback in all of football.
Of course, this comes with the territory of being the Cowboys starting quarterback, but each throw Prescott attempts is placed under an intense microscope, even by NFL standards. We analyze every snap of every game, looking to find where Dak was right or wrong with this reads.
There's no question, though, that Prescott has been inconsistent throughout his young career. Week to week, drive to drive, and even play to play, we seemingly have no gauge on just how Dak Prescott will perform.
One scenario where we can say with confidence he will come through, however, is when it matters most. Last Sunday, in yet another must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott orchestrated a game winning drive to lead his team over the favored Atlanta Falcons.
The Cowboys offense was pedestrian for much of the afternoon, but when Prescott got the ball in a tied game, I felt confident he would give Brett Maher a chance to win the game. Even on the road, and even after the offense had struggled a bit through the air all day.
Prescott got the ball late in the fourth quarter, looking to answer former NFL MVP Matt Ryan's game tying touchdown strike to Julio Jones. Dak went for it all on the first play, looking for Michael Gallup deep down the sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. After that throw, Prescott went 4/5 for 45 yards, including a huge completion to Cole Beasley, putting Dallas in game winning field goal range.
This confidence in Dak Prescott is justified, as is shown by his numbers in late game situations. Prescott now has 12 game winning drives, tying him for the league lead over the last three seasons. For comparison sake, Eagles starter Carson Wentz has just 3 game winning drives over that same stretch.
Overall the box score shows a rather quiet day for Prescott, but it was exactly the kind of Sunday they need from him. He completed over 60% of his passes, ran for a touchdown, and avoided the key turnover which could have sung this close game.
He played efficient football, and gave the Cowboys a chance to win it late. Then, he did what he does best, making plays in clutch situations and coming through in the 2 minute drill.
For all of Dak Prescott's flaws, those end-of-half and end-of-game situations have been a clear strength for the young quarterback, and continued to be this week.
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.
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