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!
Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.
After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.
The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.
I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.
Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.
As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.
I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.
Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019
It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.
After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.
But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."
The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.
Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).
The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.
This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.
These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.
Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.
Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.
Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations
Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.
The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.
And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.
“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.
Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.
"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com.
Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.
Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.
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