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Week 12 Rookie Review: No Turnovers Key to Thanksgiving Victory

Jess Haynie

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Zeke Elliott

Every week we'll be looking at the Cowboys drafted rookies and seeing what impact, if any, they had on the previous game. At the end we'll name a "Rookie of the Week" for the standout performer.

Here's a summary of the performances and statuses from all nine of the Cowboys drafted rookies after the Week 12 victory over Washington:

Cowboys Headlines - Week 12 Rookie Review: No Turnovers Key to Thanksgiving VictoryEzekiel Elliott, RB

Elliott had a solid day; 97 yards and two scores on 20 carries. It says a lot about the kid that we're now disappointed if he doesn't crack 100 yards. He did have 23 receiving yards, though, to improve his total.

In Week 2, Elliott had two fumbles in the first game against Washington. He has only put the ball on the ground once since then. Despite playing with as much aggression as possible, Elliott has protected the ball and clearly learned a lesson in his second professional game.

 

Jaylon Smith, LB

Smith has two more weeks to practice before he either has to join the 53-man roster or be placed on Injured Reserve. There is no indication at this time

 

Maliek Collins, DT

Collins had two tackles and helped limit Washington's runners to just a 2.9 average. However, the story of this game was the lack of pressure on Kirk Cousins and Collins played a part in that also. His two-sack performance in Cleveland is looking like an aberration, unfortunately.

Charles Tapper, DE

Tapper went on Injured Reserve in Week 4 due to back issues. He was inactive the three games before that, making this a redshirt season for the fourth-round pick.

Cowboys Headlines - Week 12 Rookie Review: No Turnovers Key to Thanksgiving Victory 1Dak Prescott, QB

It was a quiet day for Prescott; just 195 yards and one touchdown through the air.  He did have a career-high with 39 rushing yards and another score running, though. The key, as we'll expound on at the end of this article, was the lack of turnovers.

One of the best things I saw in this game was the newfound chemistry between Dak and Dez Bryant. In Weeks 1-3, Bryant only had 11 catches on 23 targets (48%). Over the last three games, it's improved to 17 catches on 24 targets (71%). That improving rapport will be invaluable in the postseason.

 

Anthony Brown, CB

Brown had seven tackles and a pass deflection, but it was a rough day overall for the pass defense.  Though part of this was strategic after building a lead, Dallas gave up a whopping 449 passing yards and three touchdowns to Kirk Cousins.

To his credit, Brown was not noticeably attacked. He's been targeted in past weeks by other opponents, but it appeared that Washington was going after Brandon Carr more. Like his fellow rookies on offense, Brown is exceeding expectations.

Kavon Frazier, S

For what I think is the first time all season, I finally saw Frazier on the field. Not only was he credit with a tackle, but you saw him flying in to help Anthony Brown defend a pass in the endzone. Frazier was able to get some playing time after J.J. Wilcox left with a thigh injury.

Darius Jackson, RB

Having yet to dress this season, it appears Jackson's only shot at playing this year will be if Dallas has nothing to play for in one of the final regular season games. There is also the chance he could be released to make room for Darren McFadden.

Rico Gathers, TE

Gathers is still on the team's practice squad; the only drafted player to not make the 53-man roster this season.

~~~

Dak and Zeke didn't have any turnovers. Given the drop in overall offensive production from both, and just a five-point win, this was a critical factor. Considering his larger role in things, I have to give the Rookie of the Week to...

Dak Prescott

Dak PrescottOne turnover could've given this Washington this game. Given that he touches the ball on every play, I have to give the nod to Prescott for avoiding them.

In all of the debating about Prescott and Tony Romo for the starting job, Romo's potential for costly interceptions wasn't brought up much. I think this was to show Tony a little respect and perhaps due to some selective memories. But there is no denying that Prescott plays a safer brand of football than Romo, and in a game like this one that just might have been the difference between a win and a loss.

Prescott doesn't ever look like he's pressing the issue. Even when his team is backed up from a penalty or sack, he just keep executing without forcing throws. Tony Romo did some amazing things as our QB, but his play-making came with a price. Trying to make something out of nothing doesn't always go your way.

For this team with its struggling defense, Prescott's lack of turnovers has been critical to keeping offenses backed up and having to drive the field. His style of play is best for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys, and this win validated it.

Previous ROTW Winners

Week 11 - QB Dak Prescott
Week 10 - RB Ezekiel Elliott
Week 9 - DT Maliek Collins
Week 8 - QB Dak Prescott
Week 6 - QB Dak Prescott
Week 5 - RB Ezekiel Elliott
Week 4 - RB Ezekiel Elliott
Week 3 - RB Ezekiel Elliott
Week 2 - QB Dak Prescott
Week 1 - QB Dak Prescott



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

Brian Martin

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...

Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.

Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.

This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.

Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.

This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.

Kerry Hyder Jr. on Twitter

Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation

Kerry Hyder provides more depth at the defensive end position and as a chance to become the starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence while Randy Gregory is out serving his suspension.

Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.

He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Jess Haynie

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Tavon Austin

It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.

As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.

It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.

New Arrivals

  • TE Jason Witten (unretired)
  • TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
  • DT Christian Covington (Texans)

The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.

Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.

Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Departures

  • WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
  • DL David Irving (shenanigans)
  • LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.

Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.

Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.

Keepers

  • FB Jamize Olawale
  • WR Tavon Austin
  • WR Allen Hurns (team option)
  • OT Cam Fleming
  • G/C Joe Looney (team option)
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
  • DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
  • LB Justin March-Lillard
  • S Darian Thompson

While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?

The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.

Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.

Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.

On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.

~ ~ ~

Today we're already seeing a flourish of free agent activity in Dallas. Reports this morning have them meeting with WR Randall Cobb and S Clayton Geathers, and we haven't even had lunch yet.

If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.



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