Dallas Cowboys Nation is a site dedicated to the fans. We care what you think and we want to you to have a platform to voice what you have to say. This installment of "Voice of the Nation" asks who fans view as the top-5 current Dallas Cowboys.
Here are their responses:
Todd Cory (Twitter: @TDC331)
5. Tyron Smith
Left tackle Tyron Smith provides a pro-bowl caliber, blind side protective anchor for the quarterback. He also possesses a tremendous amount of upside to go along with youth. His athleticism and increasing experience are valuable assets.
4. Jason Witten
One of the best tight ends to ever play in the NFL. Reliable, consistent and as tough as they come. His influence and work ethic both on and off the field helps this team immensely.
3. Tony Romo
The Dallas Cowboys always have the chance to win any game with Tony Romo leading the charge at quarterback. The team is never counted out with him in the lineup. An extremely exciting player to watch every single down as he will always try to capitalize on the team's opportunities with big plays.
2. Demarcus Ware
Quite possibly the best pass rusher in the game. Demarcus Ware is a constant, major threat to opposing offenses. A high character player/fan favorite, who piles up sacks and forced fumbles. An absolute iconic force for the Dallas Cowboys.
1. Sean Lee
With Sean Lee in the lineup, the defense is awarded with a tremendous presence of swagger. A linebacker who is at the peak of his career. Sean Lee plays with a magical instinct for the football and greatly lifts the Cowboys defense.
Dan Flannigan (Twitter: @Dan_Flannigan)
The Penn State second round pick is the leader of the defense and is a tackle machine. He is also injury prone and needs to stay on the field a whole season. Lee is the future at MLB in the NFL and there should be no transition period for the move to the 4-3 since the guy is an absolute genius. If Lee never got hurt this past season the Cowboys win the division in my opinion, he is that important. He can cover TEs and RBs and is obviously a force in the run game. Health will always be his question mark but once he gets rid of the bug he will only get better.
4) Jason Witten
To me Witten is the best all-around TE in the league with his route running, hands and blocking. He will set the Cowboys record for most receptions in team history and he is the only one who could catch Tony Gonzalez for most all time for a TE at the moment. Witten is a great leader on and off the field and always seems to be there when Romo cannot find anyone open down field. The window is closing on his prime years which is why Dallas went with a TE in back to back drafts even though none block like Witten. He will have a few more good seasons before passing the torch down to the young guys but there is no one better to learn from, save Gonzalez, than Witten for Hanna and Escobar.
3) Dez Bryant
"The Big 88"- Hot Hands Hannon for all you Little Giants 90's kids out there. Dez has finally grown up and is making all those teams that passed on him in the draft regret it with every catch he makes. There is a reason Jerry gave him the number made famous by the likes of Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin and if Dez keeps up his pace he will be right up there with them as one of the best Cowboy wide outs ever. That 2,000 yard, 20 TD goal he said he could get most likely will not happen and not because of skill but because Romo has too many mouths to feed and with the additions of Terrance Williams and Gavin Escobar to add to it. Dez will warrant some attention from DBs but they cannot focus too much on him with Miles "String Cheese Hamy" Austin, Williams, Witten, and the backups Hanna and Escobar on the field. I expect another big year but not the record breaker the media will talk about all season.
2) DeMarcus Ware
Beast. I really do not have to say any more about Ware but for the instructions given for this post....I will. Ware has the most sacks since coming into the league in 2005 out of Troy with 111 and was the second fastest to 100 behind only the late great Reggie White. Ware's health and numbers have declined over the years but like Romo he is out there doing it by himself. He was and still is the only threat Dallas has in the pass rush and that will take its toll on anyone. The move to the Tampa 2 4-3 will allow Ware to be in more one on one match ups where he can once again dominate left and right tackles while returning to the position he played in college. If this team is going to make noise this year Ware needs to get at least return to the range of 16-18 sacks which should be achieved.
1) Tony Romo
Ladies and gentlemen I do not want to hear the man is not clutch or the man cannot win. Tony Romo can play quarterback and play it pretty well considering what he has to put up with every Sunday. The man puts up serious numbers folks and puts this team into position to win games. Now, yes I am aware he tries too hard sometimes but give him a break he is running for his life for most of the game. In his career he has a 177 to 91 touchdown too interception ratio....Eli has a 211 to 144 and played two more seasons than Romo. If Jerry would give this man an offensive line the Lombardi would be in Dallas period. He is the captain and leader of this team and will be here at least three more years pending when the contract can be voided so if you do not support him find another team to root for, but I suggest you stay put if an o-line is created.
Eric Hoenig (Twitter: @DFWSportsFan)
Whether it’s because of the poor quality of the offensive line as a unit the past two seasons, the fact that the Cowboys passed on JJ Watt in the 2011 draft in favor of Tyron Smith, or that we just don’t hear that much from Smith, he is often overlooked. Smith has performed quite well starting 31 games for America’s Team in his first two seasons in the league, and he is still only 22 years old. 22 years old. Let that sink in for a minute. Smith has the size and athleticism to excel at one of the most important positions in football for the next decade. Smith has already become the Cowboy’s best o-lineman (I know that’s not saying much), and his best football is still ahead of him.
4. Sean Lee
Lee is the heart and soul of the defense, and his athleticism and instincts make him one of the best inside linebackers in all of football. Lee has demonstrated a knack for causing turnovers which is something that the Cowboys have been lacking in recent years. He is a difference maker in the middle, and he will thrive in Kiffin’s 4-3 defense where he will patrol the middle. The only thing keeping Lee from being rated even higher on this list is his inability to stay healthy. For the Cowboys to reach their full potential in 2013, they’re going to need Mr. Lee to stay healthy.
3. DeMarcus Ware
The Cowboys have one of the game’s best defenders on their roster with Ware, and D-Ware’s ability to get to the QB has been second to none over the course of his career. Opposing coaches and QBs have to scheme around him and know where he is at all times, and Ware can take over a game. He is one of the classiest guys in the NFL, but I do have some concerns about his age finally catching up to him and the injuries that slowed him down last season.
2. Tony Romo
Say what you want about Tony Romo, but he is a darn good QB. This team can only go as far as he will take them. Unfortunately for Cowboy fans, he has fallen short in crunch time throughout his career, and he has yet to play his best football at the end of the season. However, Romo is an immensely talented player, and he has shown that he is definitely capable of playing the most important position in the game at a very high level. To be able to play as well as he has behind such a poor offensive line has actually been quite remarkable. I was very happy to see the Cowboys take a “Romo –Friendly” approach in the draft and get him some much needed help. If this list was about who is most important to the Cowboys, Romo would come in at number one, and without him, the Cowboys have no shot at making the playoffs.
1. Dez Bryant
Dez is the most talented player on this roster. Period. Other than Calvin Johnson, there isn’t anybody else in the NFL that I would rather have at wide receiver for the Cowboys. Dez finally put it all together in 2012 as his knowledge of the game has improved drastically. He has the size, speed and hands to dominate the game, but his most important characteristic is his heart and passion. Dez brings a much needed attitude and fire to this team, and if he continues learning more about the game of football, he will become an unstoppable force on the field.
It’s impossible to make a list of the top 5 Cowboys without mentioning Ware’s name. It’s probably incredibly stupid for me to have him this low, and I admit that. It’s just that I’m an offensive kind of guy (get it, ha…nevermind). Ware is the best pass-rusher and easily the pass-rusher on the team when he was on the field last year. People say that Anthony Spencer is more important to this team, and I laugh in their faces. I’ve heard it mentioned too many times that Ware lacks heart, or Ware isn’t mean enough. All I say to that is Saints 2009. From what I’ve heard Ware always battles through injuries, so it’s tough that he missed so much time last year, but I fully expect him to have 2 or 3 more good-great seasons before he starts regressing. This guy is amazing, and besides: I just like shouting “Beware of D-Ware!”
4. Dez Bryant
I hate to keep going offense here, but what’s not to like about Dez Bryant… ok I’ll admit that there were some things in the past, but everything I hear from the guy on the radio or that he tweets sounds like he’s really matured and accepts that he’s a role model. Dez Bryant is a guy that can do it all: he’s strong, he’s quick, and he’s got great hands. He’s got the playbook down and fights for every yard on every play. I get that some of you out there hate that, but I love it. This kid bleeds Football. His string of 7 games with TD receptions is amazing and with Terrence Williams and Gavin Escobar to stretch the field, he has a shot at being something special this year. It was criminal that he didn’t make the pro bowl last year. Although, let’s forget his disappearance at the end of the season.
3. Jason Witten
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Senator. Drafted in the third round out of Tennessee (The other UT) in 2003, he has been a stalwart for the Cowboys ever since. I’ll admit I wasn’t around for a lot of Witten’s biggest plays, mainly because I wasn’t watching at the time. But anyone whose helmet gets ripped off and keeps running head-first into traffic is a legend in my opinion. If the Cowboys never win a Super Bowl with Romo and Witten at the helm, it’s Witten I’ll feel the most sorry for. This guy gives his heart and soul for this team, playing through a spleen laceration and being criticized for losing a step because of it. He’s a blocker and a pass-catcher, a rarity in Today’s NFL. Plus, I swear he and Romo have a telepathic connection going on.
2. Tony Romo
Like it or not, Tony Romo is the Dallas Cowboys. Look no further than the 2013 NFL draft. If that isn’t a Romo-friendly draft I don’t know what is. It is my personal opinion that Romo has done more with less than any other current big-time quarterback in the NFL right now. Certainly there are better quarterbacks; I don’t think anyone would deny that. However his career touchdown-to-interception ratio is 2:1; the NY/A of the Dallas Cowboys passing offense with him at the helm has averaged 7.19. Compare that to a league leading 7.4 by the Denver Broncos offense last year. His running game and offensive line take turns being in shambles. He’s the national media’s number one piñata. And he’s just a really likeable guy; I can’t help but want him to succeed. Roll out right, Tony!
1. Sean Lee
2010 was my first NFL draft. I’m not a really young fan (I’d be old enough to remember the 1996 Super Bowl if I actually cared about Football at the time). It’s just that I wasn’t that big into sports until the 2009 season. Anyway the 2010 draft sticks out in my memory for two reasons: general anger at picking Dez Bryant, and drafting the injured Sean Lee out of Penn State. The anger at pick-up of an injury-prone linebacker (who we didn’t need: I’m noticing a trend here) was palpable everywhere I looked: “There goes Jerry again.” However, I truly believed he would be great. When it was announced in 2011 that he would be taking 1/3 of the snaps from Brookings and James, it wasn’t long before rumors came out he would take the majority of the snaps. What more is there to say? He picked off Peyton Manning in his first year. He played with a club over his hand for half a season in 2011. Finally, he’s the best MLB you’ve never heard of. And he’s only going to get better.
A special thanks to everyone who contributed to this installment of "Voice of the Nation". Please be sure to check these guys out on Twitter and let them know what you think!
Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, keeping playoff hopes alive on the road with a 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering the hostile home of the defending Super Bowl champions with three previous road losses already on their record, the Cowboys performance on Sunday night was truly about getting back to their roots. In their second week with Marc Colombo as the Offensive Line Coach, the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards and protected Dak Prescott very well. It was revealed after the game that Frederick was on a coaches headset with Colombo and his new assistant Hudson Houck.
Travis Frederick just told @BenRogers on @1053thefan that Marc Columbo has him on a coaches headset now helping him and Hudson Houck. That's a smart move from Columbo. Smartest guy on the line
The anchor of the Cowboys offensive line since being drafted in 2013, Frederick is regarded as the smartest linemen on the team. It's his mental edge that's made up for a slight lack of size at the position, regarded as one of the worst first round picks in his draft because of this oversight.
Not only is Frederick a welcome addition to the Cowboys brain trust at offensive line, but he did receive some great news on his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) that's kept him out this season. Frederick was placed on injured reserve on October 6th, announcing publicly his GBS diagnosis on August 22nd.
Frederick has a long way to go before he's playing football again, not eligible to do so until week 14 at home against the Eagles. Regaining feeling in his hands is about the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee getting as healthy as possible away from football. If a return to the Cowboys is possible through his recovery, the team would of course welcome Frederick.
Travis Frederick regains sensation in his hands: "There is some light at the end of the tunnel" https://t.co/wvQhB6KUQp
What Frederick has gained in upper body strength, he must remain patient for in the lower body. While pointing out that over 95% of patients make a full recovery from GBS, Frederick is still waiting to feel sensations in his feet.
The Cowboys have been optimistic that Frederick's condition was caught early enough for a full recovery to be probable.
Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier following their uplifting win. Returning to the site of last year's demoralizing loss at the Falcons, Frederick likely wishes he could make a miraculous return just a bit more this week.
To make matters worse, Left Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to back spasms. It's unknown if rookie Connor Williams will reclaim his starting left guard spot on Sunday, or if Xavier Su'a-Filo has earned another opportunity.
Despite the patchwork nature of a Cowboys offensive line once regarded as the best in the league, and still vital to the entire team's success, Dallas has an abundance of hope that Sunday in Atlanta can be much better than 2017. This starts with Frederick's strength to fight GBS and attempt to rejoin his teammates, wisely given some added game day influence on them by Colombo.
If elevating their level of play up front was all it took for the Cowboys to play up to their potential and pull off an upset on prime time last week, the NFC East is certainly still within reach for a team that must now sustain the level of play on offense to match what this defense has given all season.
Cowboys Playoff Scenarios; Week 11 Impact Games
We've reached Week 11 and the playoff picture is continuing to be unveiled. Most of the NFC has seven games to go, and there's still a lot of ways each week can impact the overall landscape.
The Rams and Saints are the clear runaway teams in the conference this year. After them, though, a lot of up for grabs both in division races and the Wild Card spots.
We're not including Detroit and Tampa Bay, both 3-6, given the strong unlikelihood that they will turn things around. Detroit is the worst team in a stacked NFC North and will likely keep losing, and a head-to-head loss to the Cowboys will be tough to overcome. The Bucs can't decide on a quarterback right now and are going nowhere.
If the season ended today, these would be your NFC playoff standings:
- Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
- New Orleans Saints (8-1)
- Chicago Bears (6-3)
- Washington Redskins (6-3)
- Carolina Panthers (6-3)
- Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)
- Green Bay Packers (4-4-1)
- Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
- Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
- Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
- The Bears are ahead of the Redskins thanks to a better record against NFC opponents.
- The Falcons are ahead of the Seahawks and Cowboys thanks to a superior record against NFC opponents.
- The Seahawks are ahead of the Cowboys thanks to a head-to-head victory.
- The Cowboys are ahead of the Eagles thanks to a head-to-head victory.
- The Eagles' tiebreaker loss to Dallas, because it occurs within the division, drops them below the other 4-5 NFC teams automatically. Their head-to-head win over the Falcons this year is invalidated.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how winning the NFC East would likely be Dallas only road to the playoffs. That is still the case; the Cowboys are three games behind the Panthers (they lose in a tie because of their head-to-head loss) and two games behind the Vikings for the Wild Card spots.
It will be much easier for Dallas to catch Washington, who are more lucky than good with their 6-3 record, than either Carolina or Minnesota. The Cowboys can still hang a loss on the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day, plus Washington has both games with the Eagles left to play.
Those opportunities are further down the road, though. For now, let's see how the Week 11 schedule can help improve the Cowboys playoff positioning:
Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks
With a head-to-head loss to Seattle this year, Dallas needs the Seahawks to keep losing. Both teams are currently 4-5, and the Cowboys don't need that tiebreaker hanging over them at the end of the year.
But a Seattle loss means a Green Bay win, and that doesn't do much to help the Cowboys either. The Packers's tie gives them a slight edge on the 4-5 teams, and that advantage could keep them ahead of Dallas the rest of the way.
You could argue that the Packers are a team more likely to make a late-season push than the Seahawks, so a Green Bay loss here could ultimately benefit the Cowboys more than Seattle. It really comes down to which team, between the Packers and Seahawks, you have more faith in the rest of the way.
Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons
This is obviously a huge game for both teams. Both are 4-5 and trying to stay in the conversation, and a loss here could be a death knell for either. It would also create a head-to-head tiebreaker for the winner over the loser; essentially a two-game swing.
The Cowboys won their first road game all season last week in Philadelphia. They have some good vibes and momentum headed into Atlanta, who are coming off an ugly loss to the Browns.
Will Dallas ride their positive wave for another week, or will the Falcons be hungrier and enjoy returning home? The answer could be season-changing for both teams.
Houston Texans @ Washington Redskins
The Texans have won six straight and the Cowboys hope they can keep it going. A Washington loss, coupled with a Dallas win in Atlanta, would narrow the gap between them to just one game. It would also make next week's Thanksgiving matchup in Dallas a chance for the Cowboys to pull even for the NFC East lead.
As I said before, the Redskins aren't as good as their 6-3 record indicates. They have only a +1 point differential in 2018, having scored just one point more than their opponents all year. Comparatively, the Cowboys are a +10 despite the losing record.
A few weeks ago, the Redskins got pounded 43-19 by the New Orleans Saints. The Texans are arguably the next-best team they've played this year. Hopefully, we'll see a similar result.
Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions
The Panthers' slipping would be nice for the Cowboys, though they'd have to fall hard the rest of the way for Dallas to catch up in the standings. With the Cowboys having a head-to-head win over the Lions, a Detroit win here wouldn't hurt us nearly as much as a Carolina loss helps.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints
New Orleans appears set on being one of the top two seeds in the NFC this year, which puts them well out of Dallas' range. As such, an Eagles loss is clearly better for the Cowboys in terms of our own playoff positioning.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
The Packers and Vikings are both slightly easier to catch than the Bears. The best scenario for Dallas is for Chicago to keep winning and take the NFC North, hanging losses on their division rivals on the way and making things easier for the Cowboys in the Wild Card hunt.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Rams
This one is almost irrelevant from Dallas' perspective. The Rams will probably clinch their division soon and should have a first-round bye. But the Chiefs are in the other conference, so there's absolutely nothing to be gained by them losing.
#ATLvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction
This week's gambling preview focuses on the Cowboys week 11 opponent, the Atlanta Falcons. Dallas beat the now 4-5 Eagles last Sunday to improve their own record to 4-5. Atlanta lost on the road to Cleveland last week to drop their record to 4-5 on the season.
It's an 8-8 league, isn't it?
Dallas returns to the scene of the 2017 crime this Sunday, traveling to Atlanta where Chaz Green and Dak Prescott were destroyed almost exactly one year ago. Let's take a look at the line and the quality of these teams to see which way it could go.
Cowboys +3, O/U 48 points.
Dallas saved their season on the road last Sunday night, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles and getting right back in the thick of things in the NFC East race. Still, we can't simply ignore what the other 8 games of data have told us about the Cowboys and their offensive quality.
The addition of Amari Cooper has clearly helped the offense, opening up the passing game a bit and allowing for Dak Prescott to have a reliable "number one" receiver. The team's results overall have been mixed the first two games of the Cooper-era, but he has been consistently good in both match-ups.
Defensively the Cowboys continued to impress last week, though "cornerback opposite of Byron Jones" is quickly becoming a potential need. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith stole the show last Sunday, and both the present and the future of the Cowboys' linebacking corps is strong. It could be argued the Cowboys have yet to see a passing attack like the one Atlanta brings, however, making Sunday a big test for them defensively.
Similar to the Cowboys, Atlanta has been very much up-and-down this season. In a way, though, they are just the opposite-day Cowboys, with their offense putting up insane numbers most weeks and their banged up defense often letting them down.
Though it looked like they were turning it around in recent weeks, Atlanta had probably their most disappointing loss in quite some time, losing at Cleveland to the young Browns. Still, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones lead a prolific passing attack which can strike fear in any defense.
Byron Jones and company will have their hands full with the Falcons' cast of skill players on Sunday, and as usual, stopping their passing attack will all begin up front with the pass rush. Hopefully Randy Gregory can build on his week 10 performance to produce even more results this week.
- Surprisingly, the score total has now hit the over 4 of the Cowboys' last 6 games.
- The Cowboys are 2-5 against the spread their last 7 games against the Falcons.
- The Cowboys are also 2-4 against the spread their last games at Atlanta.
- Dallas is just 1-4 straight up on the road this season.
- The score total has gone over 4 of Atlanta's last 5 home games.
- The Falcons are just 2-5 against the spread their last 7 games.
Who the hell knows, man.
This team is incredibly difficult to project week to week, probably about as volatile as they've been since all those 8-8 seasons. This line started at Cowboys +4.5 and has since moved down to just +3, meaning they are valued as a pick 'em on a neutral field.
Given how inconsistent, yet talented, both teams are this line feels exactly right. I'll take the Cowboys and the points because why not? I expect this to be a tight game throughout, and could come down to the kicking game in the fourth quarter.
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