Cowboys Nation, today is the first Friday of August! What does that mean exactly? Well, as you know July is over and..every Friday here on Inside The Star I share the best tweets from around the world that involve America's Team! AUGUST FOOTBALL THINGS!
With this being the first August edition of this weekly roundup, it means that we are in for a marathon to the finish! We've finally made it. Each and every day our Twitter timelines are being graced by Cowboys news and updates coming out of Oxnard for training camp.
Here are some things that stood out. ✭
Easing into camp? Not so fast, Rico!
Coach Pope's unique drills never cease to amaze us. #CowboysCamp https://t.co/MOApOeD6hL
We mentioned Rico Gathers' excitement for what was ahead of him in last week's edition of Tweet Break, but perhaps that mood changed slightly after the Baylor basketball star turned Dallas Cowboys rookie went through this Coach Pope drill.
Doing his best to make this roster as a tight end, backfield blocker, or whatever else the team may need (outside of a power forward at defensive end perhaps?), Gathers' was slapped with the responsibility of coordinating taking this mask on and off while catching a pass.
Welcome to the league, rookie!
@EzekielElliott only misstep at #CowboysCamp so far? He flunked the 'Sing-In-Front-of-The-Team' rookie test. Needs a do-over. @1053thefan
Another rookie that the Dallas Cowboys have at training camp is this running back out of Ohio State named Ezekiel Elliott - you probably haven't heard much about him though.
Well, the team's fourth overall pick had been making great progress slowly getting himself acquainted to the offense, but apparently hasn't been working his vocal cords much.
On a more serious note, Elliott's hamstrings were bothering him enough on Tuesday to be pulled out of practice, and as of yesterday we know that he will "miss some time".
The Cowboys Offensive Line - Really good at Football
Who was the best left tackle in the #NFL last year? By our grades, it was #Cowboys LT Tyron Smith.
Often times, the Cowboys' offensive line is talked about in it's entirety as the "Great Wall of Dallas" or the "Space Cowboys". However, when an individual players gets some attention nationally, it's typically Tyron Smith.
A game changer at left tackle, Smith is ready to once again do his part in helping an offense that should put up some big numbers with Tony Romo back running the show.
Cowboys Nation, defensive coordinators everywhere, and common sense, can all agree with this PFF grade.
Dez Bryant - Also Really Good at Football
He was a little rusty in padded practice, but that doesn't have Cowboys WR Dez Bryant down https://t.co/WaownNyvT4
Dez Bryant is the best WR on the Dallas Cowboys, the best WR in the NFC East, and one of the best in the NFL. However, #88 has not been himself in a long time, thanks to injuries that wiped away his 2015 season. Naturally, in his return to dominance, Bryant has faced some struggles at training camp thus far.
Instead of looking at these struggles as a potential positive, as the Cowboys' emotional leader can inspire others with his work ethic, national headlines have tried to paint a picture of Dez struggling and regressing to some sort of mean that has always been a #1 target.
Dez Bryant & his adoring public. https://t.co/zudSuIyZNK
Well, ESPN, listen up - Dez Bryant will happily prove any doubters wrong this season, so let's all calm down and watch him complete a pass to Bennett Broaddus. Cool.
Kicking it Cool
Dan Bailey still wears the same cleats he started wearing his rookie year, using tape and glue to keep them together https://t.co/9mFK3kN5qD
Dan Bailey can expect to kick a lot of footballs this season, and hopefully his cleats will hold up. As you see here, the Pro Bowl kicker has used the same cleats since 2011.
From that point, Bailey has converted on 90.6% of his field goals. Don't ever change those cleats, Dan.
Let's hope that, with Matt Cassel gone, most of Bailey's kicks are extra points and kickoffs - and that these cleats can get a fighting chance to last through another NFL season.
Final News & Notes
As the Cowboys enter what will be a game week (yeah, the Cowboys play a game at the end of next week!), here is the latest from Twitter on what we know about some of their ongoing situations.
Particularly, the Kellen Moore injury that has sent the Dallas front office into a scramble to find a veteran backup has been a well-discussed topic in the Twitterverse.
Cowboys backup QB Kellen Moore will have surgery on his broken ankle today in Dallas, source said. Recovery time is 3 or 4 months.
Cowboys, #Browns discussed trade for backup QB Josh McCown. Browns prefer to keep him, attached a high price, Cowboys rejected for now
The Cowboys seem content on letting the QB2 market settle a bit after watching Nick Foles sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, and inquiring to the Browns about Josh McCown only to receive a steep asking price. While some other attractive options still exist, the team will push forward with young guns Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers getting all of the reps.
Dak Prescott & Jameill Showers took all reps today-thought both acquitted themselves admirably. Showers ended day on perfect TD to Escobar
That will do it for another edition of Tweet Break here on Inside The Star! To make sure that the best tweets that you find about the Dallas Cowboys get included here each week, just tag me in them @ShoreSportsNJ, or email suggestions to Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com.
Happy tweeting, and go Cowboys!
Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?
Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.
Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli
El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.
Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.
Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.
Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.
En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.
Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan
Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.
Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.
A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.
Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.
Head Coach Jason Garrett
El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.
Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.
Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.
Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.
Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.
2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch
As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.
It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.
Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.
No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.
This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.
There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.
Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.
Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.
What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?
Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.
Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.
They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?
Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.
Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.
Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.
Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.
Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.
This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.
The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.
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