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Which Pro Bowlers Will The Cowboys Face In 2016?

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Which Pro Bowlers Will The Cowboys Face In 2016?

The Pro Bowl, the NFL's annual All-Star Game, will take place this Sunday from the tropical locale of Honolulu, Hawaii.

If you were unaware, an impossibility since we had you covered here at Inside The Star, the Dallas Cowboys will have five representatives in the game:

*named as an alternate

There is a ton of other Pro Bowl level talent on the Cowboys, but thanks to a weird season only a handful of players earned the honor in 2015. But what about 2016? Which Dallas Cowboys will be headed to Hawaii a year from now?

The answer is hopefully zero as the Super Bowl participants are unable to take place in the Pro Bowl, but they'll have to get through the 2016 to make it there. That road is paved with some other Pro Bowl talent that they'll have to vanquish along the way. So exactly which Pro Bowlers will the Cowboys be squaring off against in the 2016 regular season on their way to Super Bowl LI?

We obviously don't know the 2016 schedule, but we know its opponents. Here are the Pro Bowlers that the Cowboys will have to take on next season:

New York Giants

  • Odell Beckham Jr., WR
  • Eli Manning*, QB

 Philadelphia Eagles

  • Fletcher Cox, DL
  • Jason Peters, OT
  • Darren Sproles, RS
  • Malcolm Jenkins*, S

 Washington Redskins

  • Trent Williams, OT

 Minnesota Vikings

  • Anthony Barr*, LB
  • Teddy Bridgewater*, QB
  • Adrian Peterson, RB
  • Harrison Smith*, FS

Green Bay Packers

  • Clay Matthews, MLB
  • Julius Peppers*, OLB
  • Aaron Rodgers^, QB
  • Josh Sitton, G

Detroit Lions

  • Ezekiel Ansah, DE
  • Calvin Johnson^, WR

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Geno Atkins, DT
  • Tyler Eifert, TE
  • A.J. Green, WR
  • Adam Jones*, CB
  • Reggie Nelson^, FS
  • Cedric Peerman*, ST
  • Andrew Whitworth, OT
  • Carlos Dunlap*, DE

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Antonio Brown, WR
  • David DeCastro, G
  • Ben Roethlisberger^, QB

Baltimore Ravens

  • Elvis Dumervil, OLB
  • Sam Koch, P
  • Marshal Yanda, G

 Cleveland Browns

  • Gary Barnidge*, TE
  • Alex Mack, C
  • Joe Thomas, OT

San Francisco 49ers

  • NaVorro Bowman, LB
  • Joe Staley, OT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Lavonte David*, OLB
  • Logan Mankins*, G
  • Doug Martin, RB
  • Gerald McCoy, DL
  • Jameis Winston*, QB

*named as an alternate

^will not be participating and had an alternate named in their absence

The list is quite full, isn't it?

There are 41 total players here who were named as Pro Bowlers either outright or as replacements for those who won't be in attendance. There have been 135 players invited as a result of the declined invitations, meaning that 30% of the 2015 Pro Bowl-caliber players will be facing the Cowboys next season.

In fact 15 of the 16 games that the Dallas Cowboys will play in 2016 will contain Pro Bowl talent from this season. The only 2016 opponent for the Cowboys without a Pro Bowler is the Chicago Bears. Sad face, Chi-City.

The Cowboys will have some elite talent, in terms of Pro Bowlers, that they'll need to go through in 2016. Let's hope that they're up for it.


RJ Ochoa on Fancred

Which Pro Bowlers from this list scare you the most? Tell me about it! Comment below, Email me at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Which Pro Bowlers Will The Cowboys Face In 2016?" 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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Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady

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Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.

After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.

But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."

The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.

Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).

The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.

This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.

These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.

Why The Numbers Expect Regression, But Success For Cowboys In 2017

Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.

Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.



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Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady

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Robert Quinn
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.

The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.

And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.

“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.

Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.

"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com. 

Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.

Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.



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Can Rookie OL Connor McGovern Compete For A Starting Spot?

Kevin Brady

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Connor McGovern

Raising eyebrows in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cowboys added Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern to their already deep OL depth chart.

McGovern, who played guard for the Nittany Lions, was reportedly by-far the best player remaining on the Cowboys draft board when they came on the clock in round three. Still, with seemingly more pressing needs yet to be addressed, Dallas' selection of McGovern was certainly a surprise.

When you watch the tape, though, you immediately see what the Cowboys loved about Connor McGovern.

A "plug-and-play" type guard, Connor McGovern is the type of rookie you'd expect to contribute in year one. On many teams he may be a candidate to start at guard or center from the beginning of his rookie season, but here in Dallas, his role for the 2019 season is somewhat in question.

Clearly, being a day two pick, there's no doubt that McGovern will make the Cowboys roster. But can he compete for a starting job?

During OTA's McGovern took reps at both guard and center, pointing towards the possibility of him being the first interior offensive lineman off the bench if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Fellow interior linemen Joe Looney and Xavier Su'a-Filo each contributed in big ways during the 2018 season, however, and will be tough to beat out during camp.

Obviously McGovern won't be starting over All-Pros Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, but could he dethrone Connor Williams from his left guard position?

While possible, I would still say it's unlikely. The Cowboys selection of McGovern seems to be more about 2020 and beyond than it is about the 2019 season. With right tackle La'el Collins coming up on a contract year, Dallas might elect to let him walk in free agency, move Williams back to his college position of tackle, and slide McGovern into the left guard slot.

This seems fool-proof in theory, but this many moving parts across the offensive line could spell trouble early on in 2020. Regardless, Connor McGovern's arrival gives Dallas the flexibility to consider all options on their offensive line.

In reality, McGovern strengthened a strength for Dallas, and may be needed to prove himself as early as this Fall if injury issues arise.



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