The Dallas Cowboys are on top of the world! Well, at least the NFC East through the first five weeks of the 2016 NFL season. Entering Sunday with a three game winning streak, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott faced their toughest test yet in a home game against the Bengals.
Passing with flying colors, the Cowboys defeated Cincinnati 28-14, to send us into this #VictoryPoloMonday! Along with this occasion, we have another fresh edition of Tweet Break - featuring the best tweets surrounding another win for America's Team!
Ezekiel Elliott Knows No Limits
Ezekiel Elliott faced immense pressure from the second he was drafted fourth overall by the Cowboys, being brought in with his once in a lifetime skill set to run the football behind the best offensive line in the world.
From breaking news and entertainment to sports and politics, get the full story with all the live commentary.
It may have taken some time for Elliott to get going, but now the 21 year old has run away from plenty of doubters with his league leading rushing performance. Some of you may know that I represent Cowboys Nation from New Jersey, meaning that I am very familiar with WFAN radio host Mike Francesca. In the above clip, you hear Francesca bash the Cowboys for passing on Jalen Ramsey for Elliott.
Also Zeke Elliott yards after contact/attempt. Week 1: 2.1 Week 2: 2.0 Week 3: 2.6 Week 4: 3.3 Week 5: 4.4 (halftime, before his 60-yd TD)
To put Elliott's 134 yard performance against a tough Bengals defense in perspective, check out these numbers that show clear improvement in two major areas for Zeke. Dallas' offensive line was dominant in this game, allowing Elliott to pick up a few yards on seemingly every carry before he faced contact, but Zeke banged out 4.4 yards after that contact in this game.
This kid is electrifying in the silver and blue.
Mr. Reliable Jason Witten
In what was an all-around fantastic team win for Jason Garrett's squad, Jason Witten turned in one of the plays of the day with this stiff arm to put a defender on the ground and pick up a huge gain.
This is what "Bengals DB Derron Smith's nightmares will look like tonight. https://t.co/l5wVlOfOFM
Witten has been a favorite target for Dak Prescott, who distributed the ball to six different receivers in this game for 227 yards. Even Zeke Elliott, featured in the first section here on Tweet Break, took to Twitter to give a shout out to the veteran tight end.
Old man stiff arm lol @JasonWitten #BigManWitten #GetTheManHisGoldJacketAlready
Cowboys Pass Rush Shows Up
Making this win even sweeter was the fact that the much maligned Cowboys defensive line was able to turn in a great performance, thanks in large part to the return of their best player in DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence was used on situational pass rush opportunities, rushing as both a RDE and LDE and looking pretty good while doing so. Lawrence also helped free up the likes of Jack Crawford, Benson Mayowa, Cedric Thornton, and Terrell McClain to get after Andy Dalton.
Great team win! Thank you #CowboyNation
Benson Mayowa now has 2 sacks in the first 5 games this year. That's the same number of sacks he had in 30 games before joining the #Cowboys
The most emphatic sack of this game from the Cowboys was probably turned in by free agent acquisition Cedric Thornton, who shot through the middle to grab Dalton and drive him all the way back into the end zone.
I think @MrICanDueDat was hungry. https://t.co/4wsJnrRkNc
It was plays like these that exemplified how the Cowboys were able to impose their will against the Bengals, earning the best win to date in a 2016 season that has already brought Dallas the same number of wins achieved in 2015.
Inside The Star will have much more on this game throughout the week, as the Dallas Cowboys prepare for another tough test on the road in Green Bay next week. For now, we thank you for checking out another #VictoryPoloMonday edition of Tweet Break, and remind Cowboys Nation that you can be featured here simply by using the #TweetBreak!
We look forward to having many "Mo" Mondays just like this throughout the season.
Soooo we should have a MO Monday.@ShoreSportsNJ #TweetBreak
Feel free to use the comments section below to share your thoughts on anything surrounding this Cowboys victory, or email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!
Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?
Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.
Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.
This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.
More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.
This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.
Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.
That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.
The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.
Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?
Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension
For die-hard NFL fans, the free agency period is as fun as any other week in the regular season. It's always a fun experience knowing what team is interested in which player and who's visiting who. Heck, there are websites with "free agents trackers" for people who don't want to miss a single thing.
Seeing the huge contracts some players get and discussing whether it's well-deserved money or an overpaid salary provides football fans all around the league with fun football conversations in the middle of March.
This is a period in which, despite not being on the field, every NFL team is doing the same thing. Trying to get better. Which is exactly why most Dallas Cowboys fans are frustrated with how things have gone for their favorite team in this 2018 NFL offseason.
Right now, less than a week after the free agency period officially began, they're the only team left in the NFL that hasn't signed a single free agent.
Surprising? Not at all.
Whether we like it or not, we know how this team likes to operate. A quiet free agency isn't out of the ordinary for the Cowboys. For many years, the NFL Draft has been the priority for them, and they've done a good job at it.
At the end of the day, waiting for the first wave of free agents to pass is smart unless you're looking for a QB or have a huge amount of cap space. When you look at what players are getting, you realize most of them are overpaid. Sammy Watkins got a $48M three-year deal, when he hasn't really proved to be worth it.
I don't think Cowboys Nation would've liked to see the Jones family bring Watkins for that kind of money. Personally, I don't mind the Cowboys' front office letting those first expensive signings occur without them participating in them.
I mean, they've already made a splash, when you think about it. DeMarcus Lawrence was the biggest non-QB free agent of the year and they managed to keep him for at least next season. It's not exactly a free agent signing, but they are paying one of the NFL's best pass rushers more than $17M to wear the Star one more year.
Yes, the Cowboys' team-building philosophy is comprehensible. But when do fans like you and me stop understanding their offseason approach and get bothered by it? To me, that frustration came in the form of Tyrann Mathieu signing with the other NFL team in Texas.
If the Honey Badger had signed a super expensive contract, I'd be fine with the Cowboys passing on him. But Houston was able to get him for just seven million dollars on a one-year prove-it deal.
Mathieu is one of the best defensive talents in the league and will be just 26 years old when next season begins. Why didn't the Cowboys tried to land him, if safety is a position of need? I mean, we've been talking about a potential trade for Earl Thomas all year!
Were they hesitant just because the Honey Badger isn't your traditional safety? Are they so conservative that their reason to not go after him was he wasn't a scheme fit? When you're talking about a talent like his, I think you make things work to see him thrive along young and promising cornerbacks like Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie.
The Cowboys can still look at Tier-2 free agents such as TE Eric Ebron or S Kenny Vaccaro over the following days. It could end up working for them, or it could end up just like Nolan Carroll's horrendous game versus the Broncos in week 2 of the 2017 NFL season and his $2M in dead money for this year.
When it comes to the Cowboys' approach to free agency, there's a very thin line between comprehension and frustration. Maybe, just maybe, they make us understand next season when we see results on the field.
For now though, it's tough to stay in the "comprehending" side of things.
Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving
En una agencia libre muy callada de parte de los Dallas Cowboys, como es costumbre, lo más interesante hasta ahora se revuelve alrededor de un talento increíble en la línea defensiva: David Irving. El joven de la línea defensiva de Dallas recibió un tender de segunda ronda (con un costo de casi tres millones de dólares) de parte de los Cowboys, lo cual significa que vestirá la Estrella Solitaria un año más... ¿o no?
No, no es tan sencillo.
A diferencia de la etiqueta franquicia que recibió DeMarcus Lawrence hace unas semanas, un tender permite a un jugador recibir ofertas de otros equipos. Si Irving llega a recibir una oferta externa, sin embargo, los Cowboys tienen la oportunidad de igualarla.
Pero no sólo eso, sino que si no quieren igualar la oferta, pueden dejar ir al jugador y en cambio, el otro equipo tiene que compensar a los Cowboys con una selección de segunda ronda. Así como el tender de segunda ronda que se le otorgó a David Irving, hay tender de primera ronda o tender de "selección original."
Sin embargo, Irving no fue seleccionado en el NFL Draft, así que esta última opción hubiera tenido poco sentido.
Ahora, pensando en el 2018 y una temporada ya incierta, nos sentamos preguntando: ¿No valía la pena cubrir a Irving con un tender de primera ronda? Al final de cuentas, sólo hay aproximadamente un millón de diferencia entre ambos. Irving es un jugador lleno de talento, y podría llegar a estar entre los mejores en su posición próximamente.
Sin embargo, si somos honestos, es una buena decisión de la administración. Irving ha tenido sus cuantos problemas y quizá este tender ayude a definir su valor en el mercado. Si ningún equipo alrededor de la liga se atreve a ofrecerle un contrato, los Cowboys mejoran su posición en las negociaciones y quien sabe, quizá consigan un acuerdo más amigable para el equipo.
Además, si un equipo decide llevárselo... ¿qué tan malo sería?
Con el pick #19 en la primera ronda del Draft de la NFL, no están en una posición muy cómoda. Como bien algún jugador talentoso como el DT Vita Vea o el WR Calvin Ridley pueden caer a las manos de Stephen Jones, Will McClay y compañía, bien puede estar vacía la tabla.
Con jugadores como el S de Florida State Derwin James o el LB de Georgia Roquan Smith, deberían considerar realizar un trade para subir algunas selecciones y llevarse a uno de estos talentos que no estarán disponibles en el #19.
Con las selecciones globales 19, 50 y una segunda ronda extra que conseguirían por Irving, es fácil visualizar a este equipo dispuesto a hacer un movimiento así el día del Draft.
A pesar de una mala temporada en el 2017, los Dallas Cowboys son un equipo que están cerca de ser contendientes.
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