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What did the Dallas Cowboys Receive for Christmas in 2018?

Brian Martin

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What did the Dallas Cowboys Receive for Christmas in 2018?

Merry Christmas Cowboys Nation!

I hope each and everyone of you are able to spend this wonderful holiday with your loved ones. I think it's important to remember what this holiday is truly about, but no matter how you decide to celebrate today I hope and pray it reminds you of what you have to be thankful for in your life.

Today, I want to share with you what I believe the Dallas Cowboys received for Christmas this year. I believe their gifts have been unwrapped for a while now, but Christmas is a time of remembrance after all. Below are the gifts I believe the Cowboys are thankful for today.

Kris Richard

Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach Kris Richard

Bringing Kris Richard aboard in the offseason might've been the Dallas Cowboys best gift of all in 2018. His contagious attitude and aggression has turned this year's Cowboys defense into one of the best in the league and has made this season that much more fun to watch.

Richard's coaching future in the NFL looks to be ascending, which could make him a hot name as a head coach candidate after the completion of this year. Hopefully the Cowboys can find some way to convince him to stick around, because that would be a gift that keeps on giving.

Regardless, Kris Richard is without a doubt one of the best things that have happened to the Cowboys this season and something we should all be thankful for today.

LB, Leighton Vander Esch

Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch

When Leighton Vander Esch was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys earlier this year it left many of us a little disappointed. There were several other players who had had more collegiate success than the linebacker out of Boise State, but the Cowboys had their sights set on him the entire time. Thankfully they were right.

Vander Esch has been an absolute stud this year and is playing like not only one of the best rookie linebackers in the league, but one of the best LBs period. No one could've ever imagined am having this kind of success this season, so he is definitely something be thankful for this Christmas.

With Vander Esch, the Cowboys may have one of the best LB duos in the league when paired with Jaylon Smith and they should be cornerstones for the defense for years to come. It's going to be really fun to watch them play together for the next decade or so.


DT, Antwaun Woods

Antwaun Woods

Dallas Cowboys DT Antwaun Woods (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Antwaun Woods, a Christmas gift? You may or may not agree with me on this one, but Woods' addition to the Dallas Cowboys defensive line this season has really solidified the middle of their defense. It's funny though, because castoffs aren't usually considered to gifts.

Antwaun Woods was signed by the Cowboys as a free agent after being released by the Tennessee Titans earlier this offseason. Nobody really expected much from him, but he's turned into one of the more pleasant surprises this year. He not only made the 53-man roster out of training camp, but earned the starting job at the nose tackle or 1-technique.

Woods has made plays all over the field for the Cowboys and has accumulated a total of 32 tackles and one and a half half quarterback sacks so far this year. He has been a gift to this defense and has far exceeded any expectations anyone possibly could have had for him.

WR, Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

How can I identify Christmas gifts for the Dallas Cowboys this season and not mention the acquisition of Wide Receiver Amari Cooper? It would probably be a tossup between Cooper and Kris Richard's as to which one was the best gift for the Cowboys this year.

Amari Cooper's arrival in Dallas really turned things around when it was looking as if the season was all but over. He immediately clicked with Quarterback Dak Prescott and took the Cowboys passing game to an entirely different level.

Cooper has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since arriving in Dallas and will hopefully be around for several years to come. He has been worth every bit of the first-round draft pick it took to acquire him from the Oakland Raiders and we should be hearing a lot more of the COOOOP cheers from Cowboys fans.

NFC East Division Title

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott

The last gift the Dallas Cowboys received in 2018 was just a few days before Christmas. With the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys were able to clinch the NFC East division and claim the division crown for the third time in five years.

It definitely wasn't pretty getting to this point, but the Cowboys did what they needed to do in order to win the NFC East. There were quite a few bumps and bruises along the way, which is a bit of an understatement when thinking back on their season right now. But in the end, they are in the playoffs and have just as much a chance as anyone else at reaching the Super Bowl.

This could be the best Christmas present of all for the Dallas Cowboys. With this, they may be able to add to the gift with a little more jewelry if things play out just right.

What would you say the Dallas Cowboys received for Christmas?


Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Maliek Collins on the Verge of a Breakout Season

Matthew Lenix

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Maliek Collins on the Verge of a Breakout Season

Maliek Collins has never lacked any ability on the field just the ability to stay on it. Foot and knee injuries have always seemed to get in the way when he's been on the brink of reaching his potential.

2019 is a contract year for Collins which means it's the most critical season of his young career. He hasn't wasted any time, though, showing what he's capable of when he doesn't have any physical limitations.

https://twitter.com/HelmanDC/status/1159533781188956161?s=19

John Owning on Twitter

Maliek Collins beats Connor William's with a swim move in 2v2s https://t.co/prL9GsG1rY

In the first video above, Collins gets a great burst off the line of scrimmage while he simultaneously gets his hands on Connor Williams first. He controls and pushes him right into Dak Prescott's face, forcing a throw out of bounds. On the next video, he again explodes off the ball and uses a great swim move to beat Williams again in 2 on 2 drills.


His dominance hasn't been limited to training camp practice, however, as evident in his performance this past Saturday in albeit a short amount of action.

These next two plays stand out for me specifically. In the first, he uses a very physical spin move that knocks the left guard off balance and puts him right in the quarterback's face. In a league that focuses on quarterbacks getting the ball out quickly, the sooner you can provide pressure from the interior the harder it is for a quarterback to stay in the pocket and throw effectively. In the next play, he utilizes a swim move after a quick jump off the line and is right in the face of the runner as he and Jaylon Smith combine for a TFL (tackle for loss).

John Owning on Twitter

Beautiful TFL for Maliek Collins. Swims inside the LG on the zone concept to get penetration. Quickly flattens, latches onto Henderson's jersey and drags him to the ground. Outstanding grip strength #Cowboys. https://t.co/6ZnpKSVsRv

Collins performing at a high level in 2019 doesn't just benefit him but also rookie Defensive Tackle Trysten Hill. While he's still acquiring the tools needed for the pro level under the guidance of Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli he can watch and learn from Collins as he'll be right behind him as the team's backup 3-technique defensive tackle. Hill is probably still a year away from being a big contributor with Collins looking so refreshed and healthy so this is a great time to gain all the knowledge he can from a veteran. If that learning process comes along quickly, the Cowboys will have a very solid one-two punch alongside Antwaun Woods, the starter at the 1-technique.

Health, at least so far, seems to be on the side of Maliek Collins heading into the 2019 season, which is all he's ever lacked. Motivated by the opportunity to maximize his dollars for 2020, and a rookie being drafted at the same position, I look for Collins to not only have a breakout year but one that could garner a pro bowl nod, or at least be heavy in the conversation, which would mean great things for the Cowboys defensive front.


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Cowboys Nation Mailbag: What about Taco Charlton and Ezekiel Elliott?

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: El Reto VS Texans, Porque Bryant No Volverá

The 2019 regular season is now less than three weeks away and now is the time when we start getting down to the nitty-gritty. The "dress rehearsal" game is coming this Saturday as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Houston Texans and a lot of the 53-man roster will likely be decided after that game.

As we inch closer to the regular season, the contract status for the Dallas Cowboys' newest version of the triplets and the construction of the 53-man roster will have even greater emphasis in the news.

Thanks for your questions this week. Let's did into this week's Cowboys Nation Mailbag.

I guess it depends on what segment of Cowboys Twitter you're talking about.

Contract situations and hold outs always create some tension within the fanbase. They expect players to show up for work as they do. You hear people talk about Elliott fulfilling the agreement of his contract. But what people don't understand is that rookie contracts and the rookie salary scale was negotiated by players already in the league to avoid rookies making Sam Bradford type money. The veterans and to some extent the owners didn't like the idea that rookies could hold out of training camp to negotiate their first contract.

So, when Ezekiel Elliott was drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, he was locked into a contract length (including a team option for a fifth season) and a salary and bonus for the length of that contract.

The other thing to consider is that Elliott is doing exactly what the collective bargaining agreement allows him to do. Though the Dallas Cowboys can fine him, Elliott is permitted by the CBA to seek a contract extension after the third season of his rookie contract, just like you saw Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints do earlier this summer.

I get that fans are frustrated by the idea of a player "not honoring his contract," but in the NFL, that's the way football goes. The owners don't always honor the contracts they've agreed to, cutting a player with guaranteed money left on his deal because his play might have dropped off or simply because he doesn't warrant the cap hit.

But as Mike Leslie of WFAA recently pointed out on Twitter, our jobs aren't like NFL jobs.


There are a lot of folks that understand that there is a business side to all of this. The players, the coaches, and a large segment of Cowboys Nation all understand where Ezekiel Elliott is coming from. Even the "running backs don't matter" truthers aren't throwing Ezekiel Elliott under the bus for holding out for a new contract.

As I've said before, don't get mad at Ezekiel Elliott or even the Dallas Cowboys for the current state of his contract negotiations. Get mad at the Los Angeles Rams for setting a precedent that Ezekiel Elliott is attempting to take advantage of.

Ezekiel Elliott is only doing what's permitted by the CBA. Though the negotiations continue to drag on, there's still three weeks left till the start of the regular season, which is plenty of time to get a deal done.

Until this holdout lasts until the regular season, you shouldn't worry.

Taco Charlton has done some nice things in the preseason thus far. He's been able to create pressure, and by Bobby Belt's splash metric, Taco Charlton is leading the team.

Obviously, this isn't the only way to evaluate talent, but it does give an indication that Taco Charlton has been good this preseason. I've long believed that Taco was going to make the 53-man roster for the sheer fact that he was a first-round draft pick. That may not be a good enough reason for some, but he's a player that the Dallas Cowboys won't give up on lightly. He's doing enough at this point in the preseason to warrant another year.

Cutting Taco Charlton in 2019 actually costs you money. It would cost the Dallas Cowboys roughly $3.5 million in 2019,  but they could save $1.3 million in 2020. It's not likely that the Cowboys will pick up his fifth-year rookie option, which would be for 2021. Financially, the only move that would make sense is a trade, which would cost the Dallas Cowboys only $1.3 million in dead money.

While I think Taco Charlton is a player that is destined for the 53-man roster, with reports that DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford are about to be activated from the physically unable to perform (P.U.P) list, it may come down to a numbers game at defensive end.

Players like Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson, Kerry Hyder, and even Jalen Jelks may have something to say about Taco Charlton's spot on the 53-man roster, but I believe they give him another year to prove he's worth retaining.


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PFF Ranks Dak Prescott As Tier 3, 17th Overall Quarterback

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott Clutch in 4th Quarter & OT in Win Over Eagles 3

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is the subject of constant debate around the football world. Now that it's getting time to pay him, those debates are even hotter.

As I discussed last week, Prescott has been much better than he's often given credit for, though the narrative continues to be that he is carried by his offensive line and rushing attack.

Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks heading into the 2019 season, placing them both in tiers, and in traditional order as well. Prescott clocked in at 17th overall on their list, listed as a tier 3 NFL starting quarterback.

"Tier 3: Volatile or conservative quarterbacks whose production will rely even more heavily on supporting cast and play calling. Tier 3 quarterbacks can post top-10 production in any given year in the right situation."

The other quarterbacks listed in Prescott's tier include Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, and Cam Newton, all ranked in front of him. Prescott is ahead of a couple of tier 3 passers as well, though, including Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr.


"Even with his added rushing ability, Prescott has settled in as a mid-tier quarterback whose production is more dependent on his supporting cast, and this will be a big year to see if he can get back to his rookie levels of efficiency."

Personally, I'd rank Prescott ahead of a decent number of those tier 3 quarterbacks, such as Stafford and Cousins. Overall, though, it's tough to have too big an issue with their assessment of Prescott and the Cowboys offense. He has been somewhat up-and-down during his time as the Cowboys starter, and saw a big spike in his play when given Amari Cooper as a weapon in the passing game a year ago.

While the entire fanbase is hopeful that he will improve on his mechanics and decision making under new leadership on offense, we can't bank on that happening just yet.

Still, Dak Prescott has looked excellent this preseason, and should be poised for a career year in 2019. I think there's a good chance he finds himself closer to Wentz and Watson on these types of rankings than Carr and Stafford by this time next season.


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