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Were The 2016 Power Rankings Fair To The Cowboys?

RJ Ochoa

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Dez Bryant

Let's turn the clock back a bit, shall we? Critics love to say that Dallas Cowboys fans live in the past, and for the purposes of this exercise we're going to a bit. We're firing the 'ol DeLorean up to 88mph in order to re-visit the 2016 season (it was a fun one, wouldn't you say?). What we're looking at specifically is where the Cowboys landed each week on NFL.com's Power Rankings... the results will interest you.

Power Rankings

(Courtesy of the NFL Subreddit)

NFL.com's weekly power rankings are written by Elliot Harrison, a Dallas native and Cowboys Historian, and I'll attest to the list's quality. Elliot is a fantastic NFL writer and he's usually very fair to the Cowboys (not to mention he was one of the OG National Romo Defenders).

As you can see the Cowboys sat at 16th right after their Draft. Of course it was that very Draft that would significantly boost the quality of America's Team last season, but that was unforeseen by literally everyone in the NFL.

The Lowest Point On The Season

Amazingly the lowest status that the Dallas Cowboys reached in these Power Rankings was the 19th spot. This is considering that the Cowboys were down Tony Romo - at that point their unquestioned savior - and had just lost to the New York Giants (remember when Terrance Williams didn't get out of bounds?).

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Dez Bryant clearly telling Terrance Williams to get out of bounds. Wow.

#19 isn't terrible relatively speaking. Considering that the whole world got to see what the Dallas Cowboys were without Tony Romo just a season prior, the fact that Dallas was still considered a Top 20 team was an achievement that's something to be proud of. Fortunately for all of us things got going quickly and the Cowboys rose, rose, and rose.

The Cowboys Soar To The Top

Cole Beasley, Keith Smith

Cole Beasley hit Green Bay with his signature sauce.

The question "when did Dak Prescott really and truly earn the job of starting quarterback?" is one that is fascinating to debate. Some would say it's a collection of games, some would say the Overtime win at home against Philadelphia, and others would say it was the big road win at Lambeau Field.


It was indeed that victory in Green Bay that catapulted the Cowboys in these Power Rankings. Prior to that the Cowboys were 8th and jumped all the way up to 3rd, the Cowboys wouldn't leave the Top 3 for the rest of the regular season.

After that Eagles win on Halloween's eve, the Cowboys actually climbed all the way up to 2nd! They would never fall below #2 for the remainder of the season, but they would rise for a bit.

America's Team Takes The Throne

The Cowboys maintained Elliot Harrison's top spot in his weekly power rankings on NFL.com for four weeks (shout out to #4 Dak Prescott!). They originally took the throne after what many would say was their biggest win of the season, an incredible clash of the NFL's finest franchises when Dallas outlasted the Steelers in Pittsburgh on November 13th.

Ezekiel Elliott

Many would say the win in Pittsburgh served as the signature one for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys.

The Kool-Aid at #1 stayed blue and silver for a long and glorious month as the Cowboys ripped off victories against the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, and in Minnesota against the Vikings. It took a road loss in New York in frigid conditions against a stifling defense for the Cowboys to fall down a spot and see the eventual Super Bowl LI Champion New England Patriots take the spot back.

Dallas was one of just six teams to hold the top spot across the season, and they held it for the second-longest amount of time. It's tough to argue that that specific stretch of time was when they were at their most dominant, and unfortunately it all ended for good about a month after that New York Giants loss.

Where will the Cowboys land on next season's week-to-week Power Rankings? We're all going to have to wait to find out!

Tell us what you think about "Were The 2016 Power Rankings Fair To The Cowboys?" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!


I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Game Notes

Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.

However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.

Taco Charlton

That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.


With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.

One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.

Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.

Tell me what you think about "Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?

Jess Haynie

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Taryn Christion

Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?

Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.

Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.

Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.

Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.


Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.

An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.

Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.

No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.

But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.


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Game Notes

HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game

Matthew Lenix

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HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game 1

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.

The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.

Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.

The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.

Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.


Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.

Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.

Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.


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