Connect with us

Star Blog

Will Cowboys Go For 2 More Without Dan Bailey?

Sean Martin

Published

on

Will Cowboys Go For 2 More Without Dan Bailey? 1

When the Cowboys take the field in Washington on Sunday, they will be doing so without the services of a kicker that has never missed an extra point in his Cowboys career. With Dan Bailey injuring his groin against the 49ers, the Cowboys signed veteran Mike Nugent this week to fill in until Bailey is healthy.

Like all aging kickers, Nugent hit a wall with the Cincinnati Bengals, leading to his release in 2016. After setting the franchise scoring record and converting on all but three extra point attempts from 2010-2015, Nugent missed five extra points in five games in 2016.

Not having Dan Bailey as a weapon on special teams will undoubtedly hurt the Cowboys, but it will also put more of an emphasis on finishing drives with touchdowns.

When the Cowboys do this, will they go for two more?

Not only do the Cowboys rightfully have a ton of trust in their offense, but they have a unit that is built exceptionally well for two point plays. The last one they converted remains this epic scene at AT&T Stadium from last year's playoff game against the Packers.

Dak Prescott 2 Pt Conversion Vs Packers - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Spreading things out at the two yard line and running Dak Prescott has been a go-to for Scott Linehan in this situation. With an elite red zone target like Dez Bryant, the lengthy Brice Butler, and slot-extraordinaire Cole Beasley, opposing defenses have to commit numbers to stopping the pass in tight.

This is a schematic way for the Cowboys to soften the box and create a favorable match up for their offensive line to win the line of scrimmage. Cowboys' fans have been calling for more read option plays from Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, and they may just get their wish on more aggressive two point attempts.

Providing deception in the running game with Dak Prescott - a terrific ball handler - as the decision maker gives these plays a much greater chance to succeed compared to a straight hand off to Elliott.

Travis Frederick Hold 2 Pt Conversion Vs Rams - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Both Elliott and Prescott are (obviously) tough runners to take down in two yards of space behind this front. Trusting Prescott as a runner also allows for wrinkles like these, a great two point conversion that was called back for a questionable Travis Frederick hold.

Elliott flying in motion pulls a defender out of the box for this designed Dak run. When the ball is snapped, both DEs for Los Angeles crash up the field, creating room for Prescott up the middle. The key block here was applied by Jonathan Cooper, who used a strong punch to keep his man out of Prescott's face. Dak follows Frederick into the end zone.

Terrance Williams 2 Pt Conversion Vs Rams (Failed) - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The holding penalty led to this play, where pressure on Prescott forced him to scramble before throwing the ball to Terrance Williams - who freed himself out of the slot seconds before. Essentially a fourth and goal play from seven yards out, the chances of converting here are slim, yet the Cowboys still ran a solid play.

Brice Butler 2 Pt Conversion Vs 49ers (Failed) - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

There will be reps that the defense of course wins in these two point attempts, and this was the  case against the 49ers prior to the Cowboys realizing that Jeff Heath can handle some kicking duties.

Again trying to create misdirection and open up an easy throw for Prescott on the edge, the 49ers stay home in the back end and force a tough throw to Brice Butler. If this was Bryant, we may see a different result at the catch point, but the under thrown ball to Butler ends up being broken up.

Will Cowboys Go For 2 More Without Dan Bailey?

Both attempts and conversions in going for two have been on the rise in the NFL. While 2017 has seen 25 such attempts fail already, the reality is that most offenses feel good about their chances of gaining two yards on any given play.

The Cowboys may be at the top of the league when it comes to this offensive confidence though, with the perfect combination of red zone pass targets, willing rushers in the backfield, and a play caller that makes it all work.

Keeping the offense on the field after touchdowns to find more opportunities for guys like Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, and Ryan Switzer seems like a very enticing option that the Dallas Cowboys may take until Dan Bailey is ready to be Mr. Automatic again.

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Washington Redskins: 5 Bold Predictions 5

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 7: Tight end Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys lifts up Dan Bailey #5 after Bailey kicked the game-winning field goal with seconds remaining to defeat the Washington Redskins 19-16 at FedExField on December 7, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys Go For 2 More Without Dan Bailey?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Advertisement
Comments

Star Blog

Travis Frederick’s Return Named Cowboys Biggest Reason For Excitement

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center

Overall, Cowboys Nation feels to be in a positive mood during this year's offseason. Despite early angst over lack of action at the start of free agency, and concern over the Cowboys' draft strategy, most within the fan base seem to have high, yet realistic, hopes for the 2019 season.

Most seem to believe the NFC East will be a two team race, with the last two champions battling for the crown once again down the stretch of the season. Others can see the potential for a dark-horse candidate in Washington, but still believe the Cowboys roster has the edge.

So while Cowboys fans may not think they need a singular reason to look forward to the Fall of 2019, Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski gave them one this week.

Every NFL Team's Biggest Reason to Look Forward to 2019 Season

NFL Brent Sobleski @@brentsobleski Twitter Logo NFL Analyst The offseason can be as thrilling for NFL fans as the regular season. Player movement constantly refreshes rosters-whether through free agency, the draft or trades. Significant changes inject excitement into franchises, personnel and fanbases. A one-time league doormat can become the league's "it' team simply through a string of acquisitions.

Brent identified the biggest reason for each team to look forward to 2019, with the return of center Travis Frederick being the Cowboys' submission. There's no question that when healthy, Frederick is one of the best centers in the game, and anchors an offensive line many still consider to be at the top of the league.

"A full year with wide receiver Amari Cooper and re-signing Demarcus Lawrence to a long-term deal are both reasons for the Dallas Cowboys to be excited. However, the return of Travis Frederick to man the middle of the offensive line is far more pertinent."

Frederick missed all of the 2018 season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disease that I am not nearly qualified enough to discuss. What I do know is that it can be very serious, and it kept Frederick out for the entire year.

The Cowboys offensive line suffered during the early part of 2018, largely due in part to Travis Frederick's absence. Yes, Joe Looney filled in and played as well as anyone could have hoped for, but the disconnect in communication across the offensive line was clear without their usual center. Especially during the first couple months of the season.

If Frederick is fully back and healthy, his presence alone will take the Cowboys offensive line back towards their peak. Combine his comeback with a healthy Zack Martin, and a now bulked up Connor Williams, and the interior of this line has the chance to be special.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

3 Dallas Cowboys Who Could Make Pro Bowl Debuts this Season

John Williams

Published

on

Snap Judgments: Cowboys' Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win

Every year, the Dallas Cowboys send quite a few players to the Pro Bowl. This year, the Cowboys sent eight players to the Pro Bowl with Leighton Vander Esch and Byron Jones being selected to their first Pro Bowl squad.

There is a lot of talent on this year's roster and the Cowboys will likely send someone to the annual all-star game that hasn't been there before. Here are three I think will make a push for Pro Bowl recognition in 2019.

Chidobe Awuzie, Cornerback

In the first half of the season, Chidobe Awuzie got picked on a bit. His coverage was always pretty good, but he allowed a ton of receptions. Awuzie allowed the ninth highest passer rating in coverage, the 12th most receptions, the 10th most yards, and tied for the sixth most touchdowns allowed weeks 1-9 of 2018.

In the second half, including the playoffs, Awuzie was much better and showed a higher level of comfort. His passer rating allowed dropped 50 points and was the 17th lowest in the league among corners who played at least 197 coverage snaps. He allowed fewer receptions, yards, and touchdowns in the 10 games over the second half than he allowed in the first eight games of the season.

Awuzie is one of the tougher players on the team. He plays with a similar edge that DeMarcus Lawrence does on the defensive line.

After spending part of his rookie season injured and rotating in, Awuzie found his stride in the second half of 2018 and was one of the Cowboys better cover players. Going into his third season in the NFL, the Cowboys 2017 second round pick looks to be an ascending player that could make some noise for postseason awards.

Tony Pollard, Running Back/Kick Returner

The Dallas Cowboys went into the 2019 NFL Draft looking to find a gadget player they could use on offense, but just as important, they wanted a player who could contribute in the return game. They got him in Rookie Tony Pollard.

Over the course of three seasons and 87 returns, Pollard averaged 30 yards per kick return and returned seven kickoffs for scores. In 2017, Pollard averaged an insane 40 yards per return. He's an incredibly dynamic player with the ball in his hands and though he wasn't used much on punt returns, shows an ability to make people miss and read his blockers.

As Stephen Jones said, "he's got a little Alvin Kamara to him." As a ball carrier, Pollard averaged 7.7 and 7.1 yards per carry over his final two seasons at Memphis. He was dynamic as a receiver as well averaging more than 12.4 yards per reception over three seasons in college.

With Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys may not give Pollard enough snaps and touches to have an Alvin Kamara like rookie campaign (120 carries for 728 yards, 8 touchdowns and 81 receptions for 826 yards and 5 touchdowns), but if he's given half that workload, plus what he could do on returns, he'll make noise for Pro Bowl consideration.

Jaylon Smith, Linebacker

It was a bit surprising to go back and look at which linebackers made the Pro Bowl and not see Jaylon Smith's name. As good as Rookie Leighton Vander Esch was, Jaylon Smith might have been better. By standard metrics -- tackles, interceptions, tackles for loss -- Vander Esch totaled more. Advanced metrics like defensive EPA (expected points added) and playmaking EPA, favored Jaylon Smith's season.

Cowboys Stats & Graphics on Twitter

Overall playmaking EPA rank among all NFL defenders: 5. DeMarcus Lawrence 7. Jaylon Smith 58. Leighton Vander Esch

Jaylon Smith didn't rack up the tackles like Vander Esch, but he was far more impactful over the course of the season. That's not to diminish Vander Esch's contribution to the Cowboys success in 2018. It's important to show Jaylon Smith his due, though.

Smith recorded four sacks, two forced fumbles, four passes defended to go along with his 120 combined tackles in 2018. And that was just his second full season back from the devastating knee injury he suffered in college.

Another season removed from the injury should make Jaylon Smith more confident and more explosive in 2019, which should lead to another outstanding season for the Dallas Cowboys Middle Linebacker.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Don't let anyone tell you that Pro Bowls don't matter. They do. Sure, All-Pro awards are the more highly coveted recognition, but to the players and to their agents, Pro Bowl selections matter. It's not as exclusive, but in a league with 1,696 players being one of 88 is still a really nice honor. To be a Pro Bowl player mean's you're in the top 5% of NFL players.

Obviously, we'd all prefer none of the Dallas Cowboys play in the Pro Bowl. Because that would mean they'd be preparing to play for that elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy. The Cowboys have always provided quite a few participants to the Pro Bowl game, but if the participation was zero in 2020, it wouldn't be all bad.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Will “Rumored” Position Change Help Keep LB Sean Lee Healthy?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Will "Rumored" Position Change Help Keep LB Sean Lee Healthy?

Rumors and speculation. That's the point of the offseason we have reached with the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL. That's not necessarily a bad thing because it means players are staying out of trouble, but it's still a slow time nonetheless.

Today, I'd like to dive into some of the rumors and speculation surrounding the Dallas Cowboys right now. I thought I'd start off with Linebacker Sean Lee, and his "rumored" position change heading into the 2019 season. I think it's something worth discussing, as it is just about anything involving General Lee.

If rumors are correct, the Dallas Cowboys are considering a position change for Sean Lee in 2019. He's been their starting weak side linebacker (WILL) pretty much ever since they went to a 4-3 defense, but could be making a move to the strong side (SAM) to replace Damien Wilson. If true, this is interesting on so many different levels.

Sean Lee was initially moved to WILL in the Cowboys 4-3 defense years ago in order to hopefully protect him from the reoccurring injuries he was sustaining year after year. The thought was he would be better protected by not having to fight through so much trash or take on as much contact on the weak side. This was true to some degree, but unfortunately the injury bug continued to bite.

Jason Garrett, Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

With that in mind, it seems strange the Cowboys are considering moving Sean Lee to SAM since it's considered to be a more physical position to play than he's use to. There is a lot more physicality and contact involved playing on the strong side, which you would think would make him more susceptible to the problem that's plagued his entire career, injuries.

The thought process of having Sean Lee switch to a more physical position seems like a strange one on the surface. A player who has struggled to remain healthy his entire career moving to play a more physically demanding position seems odd, but not if you were to look beyond the obvious.

Yes, the SAM LB position is more physically demanding, but doesn't receive a lot of playing time in the Cowboys 4-3 defense. Damien Wilson only played 30.72% of the defensive snaps in 2017 and 27.93% in 2018. Playing less snaps could actually play in Sean Lee's favor and potentially keep him healthy. That would make the move a win-win for No. 50 and the Cowboys.

A healthy Sean Lee playing SAM would be an upgrade over Damien Wilson. It would also give the Dallas Cowboys arguably the best starting 4-3 linebackers in the entire NFL. You may disagree, but I challenge you to find a better starting trio. I don't think it's possible.

Of course, all of this is just a rumor we are forced to speculate about right now, but it's still interesting to discuss nonetheless. I don't know how all of this will play out in the end, but I can't really think of any reason why Sean Lee shouldn't get the first crack at replacing Damien Wilson as the strong side linebacker in 2019.

Maybe, just maybe this will be the move that will finally keep him healthy.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of Sean Lee making a position change?



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending