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Uninvited contenders; Cowboys making waves at 6-1

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Cowboys Blog - Uninvited contenders; Cowboys making waves at 6-1

Who died?  I must have missed the crawler at the bottom of the screen.

Something bad happened, because the dour faces and slumped shoulders of the post-game shows tell me this must be a day of mourning.  I feel horrible that I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel horrible about.  Please, someone let me in on this because this is incredibly awkward.

Turns out, this isn’t a funeral, but a resurrection.  And the anti-Cowboy bloc is none-too-happy about it.

Yep, the Cowboys are the uninvited guests to this 2014 season.  Dallas was scripted to be one of the key grips for this year’s cast of contenders, not the starring role it’s shoved teams aside to grab.

And what’s worse for the torch-and-pitchfork mob is the suddenness of it all.  The initial impressions of Week 1 offered them hope that this would be a season of guffaws and giggles at Cowboy expense.  The drudgery we endured that Opening Day against the 49ers – when Tony Romo stiffly chipped away the preseason rust he didn’t chip away during the preseason – galvanized the vultures circling Dallas from afar.  Even the local critics dropped 6-10 and 5-11 bird bombs across the Cowboy windshields.

That Sunday was the welcomed splat heard ‘round the NFL, and the national punditry fist-bumped with glee, belly-laughing at the visiting fan occupations of Cowboys Stadium and celebrating an implosion in the making for that *#@*# “America’s Team”.  The fun had begun.

This punctuated an offseason of snarky and smarmy Cowboy hatred.  The worst defense in Cowboys history a year ago would be even worse.  The coaching moves were signs of desperation.  Romo wouldn’t be Romo anymore with that back. Garrett wouldn’t survive the season.  Dallas should have taken Manziel. Despite three 8-8 seasons, Dallas plunged in the preseason rankings to 24th or worse across the national landscape. Let the celebratory bonfire begin.

Welp, the cops showed up and busted up their happy party.  The ticket violation code reads “6-1”.

Before the unapologetic gloating begins, I must qualify.  No, I didn’t see this coming either, not like this.  Yours truly had them at 8-8 “until proven otherwise”.  They’d be better, I believed, but a gauntlet of a schedule and years of disappointment couldn’t imagine anything like this.

Better because, if for no other reason, there would be legitimate NFL players on the front seven this season, as opposed to the Jiffy Lube part-timers that rolled through here a year ago. Jason Vega, Everette Brown, Corey Irvin, David Carter, Edgar Jones, Drake Nevis…these were the wet-paper soldiers trying to guard the fort last season.  They’re gone now, as are underperforming DeMarcus Ware and contract-chasing Jason Hatcher.  The craft and scheme of Sir Rod Marinelli could only help.

Make no mistake, it’s not the 6-1 that has the enemies frothing at the mouth.  Every year, a team or two tallies early wins almost by accident, as Kansas City did a year ago.  Sometimes the breaks don’t even out until much later in the season, one way or the other.

Nope, what’s driving the antagonists and eastern-media elitists bonkers is how Dallas is doing this.  This is more than sustainable, and they know it.  This is the most convincing brand of football being played in the NFL right now, and they know it.  This football plays in the cold and in the rain, and most importantly, in December and beyond, and they know it.  This is the style Dallas hasn’t played since your college kid was in diapers.

The Cowboys are manhandling teams up front.  Romo has never seen so much zero coverage in his life because the run game is bludgeoning people.  That’s allowing for an embarrassment of options in the passing game at Romo’s choosing.  Beasley one week, Escobar the next, Williams with generous helpings on a regular occasion.  I fully expect Hanna and Harris, maybe even Street, to get a special day in the game plan on a Sunday yet to be played.  Of course, Dez and Witten are big every game.

What’s left is an energized defense that still needs honing and improvement.  The return of Bruce Carter should help.  Perhaps the addition of DeMarcus Lawrence will bring the pass rush he was drafted for. And the extra strength and size of Josh Brent should help shore up the middle against physical run teams.  Got to trust in Marinelli, which by now, we most certainly do.

The comeback against St. Louis was appetizing.  The thrashing of New Orleans opened our eyes and had us looking at each other.  But that utter domination of Seattle in that pressure cooker is what got us digging the pom poms out of the attic and painting our faces again.  Some are trying to downplay that win now after Seattle’s slump, but they fail to mention the whooping the Seahawks put on Denver and Green Bay this season.

Like any team, a serious injury to the QB, and it’s over.  A rash of boo-boos like a year ago to the defense, and it’s back to Scotch tape and Elmer’s glue.  It’s no different for Romo here than it is for Rodgers in Green Bay, Peyton in Denver, Rivers in San Diego, or Brees in New Orleans.  Attrition and good football don’t mix, never have and never will, especially at quarterback.

But that’s a catastrophe for another day that hopefully never comes.  The Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFL today.  Sorry, Broncos, I saw you get beaten like mules against Seattle, again.

Stop.  Look around.  Smell it, and take in the view.  Ain’t none of us imagined this.

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3 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Finally, someone attributing the loss against San Fran to Romo’s rust and still limiting back injury. had it not been for that, this team could be at 7-0 right now. It was plain as day to me how difficult it was for him to follow through on all his passes that week. It was rough in week two also, for about the first half.

    • Erod

      He wasn’t seeing the field that day either. Didn’t play enough in the preseason. He played catch-up in Week 1.

  • Jonathan Day

    Great write up erod!

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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