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Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys?

The Dallas Cowboys are currently leading the NFC East division with a 7-1 winning record through their first eight games of the 16 game season. Yes, that means that we are officially at the midway point of the 2016 season.

It's funny how time flies when your team is winning. It is the complete opposite of what we all experienced last year during the miserable 2015 season.

So far, the 2016 season for the Dallas Cowboys has been an enjoyable roller coaster ride that has fortunately had more ups than downs. Let's just all be hopeful that they can carry this impressive performance all the way through the second half of the season as well.

Since the Cowboys are officially halfway through their season, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you who I believe should receive mid-season awards.

Please feel free to agree or disagree with any or all of my choices.

Offensive MVP 

Cowboys Headlines - Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys? 1

(AP Photo/James D Smith)

It would be easy to say that Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott has been the offensive MVP so far for the Dallas Cowboys, but their transition into the NFL has gone smoothly in large part due to the Cowboys offensive line.

It may be cheating a little bit, but I'm going to make this a group award and name the entire O-line for the Cowboys as MVPs.

The Cowboys have invested heavily in the offensive line and it is paying off big time. They are opening up running lanes for Elliott, as well as keeping Prescott upright with their pass protection.

Honestly, I don't know what more you can ask of them.

Defensive MVP

Cowboys Headlines - Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys? 2Defensively the Dallas Cowboys have performed better than anyone could have possibly predicted through the first half of 2016 season. They have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher or a 100 yard receiver.

That's pretty impressive considering that they only have one Pro Bowl player on the defensive side of the ball. That would be none other than linebacker Sean Lee, my defensive MVP.

To date, Lee has 77 tackles and is on pace to finish the year with 150+ tackles. If that is the case, you can bet he will earn his second trip to the Pro Bowl. Of course, that all depends on if he can stay healthy the entire season.

I thought it was worth mentioning that Morris Claiborne was a strong consideration. He has been playing like one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. The time of his injury is truly unfortunate.

Biggest Surprise

Cowboys Headlines - Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys? 3There been quite a few surprises halfway through the 2016 season, but I don't think anyone could have guessed Cole Beasley would be the leading wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

Beasley may be one of the smallest receivers in the entire NFL, but he is making a big-time impact on the field for the Cowboys offense.

Beasley's best year in the NFL was in 2015 when he caught 52 passes for 536 yards and five touchdowns. Through eight games this year he has already caught 43 passes for 499 yards and four touchdowns.

If he can keep this up, he will be close to doubling his 2015 production and will finish the year as one of the best wide receivers in the entire NFL.

Biggest Disappointment

Cowboys Headlines - Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys? 4Being a huge Tony Romo fan, the most disappointing thing for me this season was seeing him get injured once again in the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Don't get me wrong, Dak Prescott has been phenomenal the first part of the 2016 season, but Romo is still the better QB of the two.

I'm not going to sit here and speculate about what the coaching staff should do once Romo is back to 100%, but I do believe that he makes this offense better.

I would love to see what he could do with this dominant running game to help him out. He had his best season in the NFL in 2014 when they followed the same type of blueprint.

Unfortunately, it will remain a mystery for now though.

Rookie of the Year

Cowboys Headlines - Who Wins Mid-Season Awards For The Dallas Cowboys? 5

Honestly, how can I go wrong choosing either Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott?

Both players have been among the best at their respective positions in the entire NFL, and that is good news for the future of the Dallas Cowboys.

I decided to give the mid-season Rookie of the Year award to Ezekiel Elliott though.

Although Prescott has been playing above anyone's expectations, Elliott gets the nod because not only is he leading the league in rushing yards, but is on pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record.

Elliott has been everything the Cowboys had hoped for when they drafted him #4 overall and is a HUGE reason why they have only lost one game through the first half of the 2016 season.

Who would win your Mid-Season Awards for the Dallas Cowboys?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share with all of us your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



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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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Kevin Brady

    Kevin Brady

    November 8, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I’m with you on basically every award. Offensively, as great as Dak and Zeke have been, they would not be clicking the way they are without the offensive line plays this well. On defense I think it comes down to Claiborne and Sean Lee.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Kevin, I knew you would agree with me about the offensive line, especially since you’re an offensive lineman yourself LOL. And defensively, Claiborne and Sean Lee are a huge reason why the Cowboys have yet to have an individual player have a 100 yard rushing or receiving game against them.

  2. John Williams

    John Williams

    November 8, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I agree with you that the offensive line has been the Most Valuable this season. To me, the Most Valuable defensive player is Byron Jones. He may not show up a ton in the stat sheet, but his ability to play deep center field and not get beat has allowed the corners and the other safety (Church, Wilcox, or Heath) to play more aggressively. As a deep security blanket, you can’t beat that guy. Hasn’t had an interception yet, but he’s made so many huge pass breakups.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 8, 2016 at 9:03 am

      John, I like Byron Jones as well. He is definitely undervalued for what he does for the Cowboys defense. I think Sean Lee and Morris Claiborne however have both had Pro Bowl caliber seasons through the first eight games of the year. That’s why they were my top two candidates for defensive MVP.

  3. Jess Haynie

    Jess Haynie

    November 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Last year the Cowboys had the 4th-best RB in the NFL and couldn’t win a game with the Weeden/Cassel/Moore poo-poo platter at QB.

    This year, they’re 7-1 without Romo. Zeke is good, but Dak is the real difference-maker in terms of Wins/Losses. He’s my MVP.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 8, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Jess, I don’t disagree. The difference to me is that the Cowboys are a run first-team and Elliott has been producing at a high level facing eight and even nine man boxes. Neither player would be able to be as productive as they have been if not for the dominating play of the offensive line. I think the OL is the MVP, with Elliott and Prescott finishing second and third respectively.

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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