The NFL is back! And this time, it really is. Not OTAs, not training camp, not preseason. This time, it's for real. The NFL regular season is officially back. You know what that means... We get to watch the Dallas Cowboys play actual football this Sunday.
With Cowboys football just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to predict which Cowboys will be this team's "Players of the Year" this 2017. Who will be this team's most important player on offense? Who will be the heart and soul of this defense? Who will be the top rookie?
Most Valuable Player: QB Dak Prescott
This season, the Cowboys face a very tough schedule. They will have to win tight games in big moments, in big stages, versus big opponents. And even though Ezekiel Elliott picking first downs will be insanely useful, he won't be the guy.
No, the guy who will win these type of games and lead this team to victory in the toughest adversities will be sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott. For some reason, people seem to believe that the words "sophomore" and "slump" go hand in hand. For Dak Prescott, they don't.
Dak Prescott will not be a one-year wonder. Dak Prescott is a starter in the NFL and will do nothing but improve during the 2017 season. He will make harder throws, he will read defenses better... he will simply be a better QB than last year.
If this team is going to have success in postseason, it's going to be thanks to Dak.
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Dez Bryant
I wanted to include this category because MVP was a given to Dak Prescott. Offensive Player of the Year though, brings more discussion. And after thinking long and hard about this, I'm picking Dez Bryant over RB Ezekiel Elliott.
Why? There're many reasons to believe that this year Dez will have his best season yet.
Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant are coming into the 2017 season with a chemistry they didn't have during Dak's rookie season. Dak will throw more than he did last year. Cole Beasley will get Dez open more often as he continues to improve his play as a slot receiver.
The Cowboys offense will be one of the best in the NFL and without a quality defense, controlling the time of possession won't be enough. They have to be able to go deep often and win the big moments.
If the Cowboys want to beat the Giants instead of losing both match-ups against their division rivals again, then Dez has to step up. Ezekiel Elliott ran for more than 100 yards the last time Dallas played New York. It wasn't enough. Dez will get open and find the end zone a lot of times this year, making him the Offensive Player of the Year.
Dez Bryant will get himself back in the NFL's best WR conversation after this season.
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Sean Lee
Sean Lee is the one player that the Dallas Cowboys cannot lose to an injury. Without the General on the field, this defense will be in trouble. If, for any reason, Lee misses a game it will be only a matter of time to see this defense crumble to pieces.
With questions on the secondary and the defensive line, the linebackers need to step up. Problem is, we don't know how Jaylon Smith will handle regular season yet. We don't know when Hitchens will be back. And we don't know if Damien Wilson will be suspended yet.
With a lot of question marks on the LB position itself, Sean Lee will not have an easy job.
Lee impacts every aspect of this defense. Running game or passing game, Sean Lee will make stops. With his instincts, Sean Lee will not only lead this team in tackles one more time, but he will be the Defensive Player of the Year for this team.
Rookie of the Year: CB Chidobe Awuzie
Ryan Switzer will be such an exciting player to watch, but with the talent that this team has at the WR position, I'm not sure of how much he can impact this team's success this year. Jourdan Lewis will undoubtedly be a good defender for this team, but with some health question marks, I think Awuzie has the better chance to be this team's Rookie of the Year.
Chidobe Awuzie is a versatile player that has a lot of improvement to do. I still expect him to be an important contributor to this Cowboys' defense. With Scandrick apparently back to his old self, I think we'll see more of Awuzie playing outside than we originally thought.
The Dallas Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders. And if they're looking for a sixth championship, they better get some takeaways... Chidobe Awuzie will do just that.
The Dallas Cowboys have a very talented roster, and there are a lot of players who could surprise us by stepping up this year. This week's game versus the New York Giants will tell us a lot of things we need to know, especially how Dak will do. For now, let's hope the 'Boys get that W to start the season... Go Cowboys.
Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb
Tras la partida del veterano Cole Beasley, los Dallas Cowboys tenían un hueco preocupante en la posición de receptor abierto. Incluso después de obtener a Amari Cooper la temporada pasada y el tener a un jugador joven y talentoso en Michael Gallup, el equipo tenía que hacer algo para reemplazar a Beasley como el receptor de slot en la ofensiva. Beasley fue increíble en su trabajo durante su carrera en Dallas, pero la administración nunca estuvo cerca de igualar las ofertas que recibió de los Buffalo Bills. Afortunadamente, ya encontraron el hombre para el trabajo.
A pesar de estar muy callados en la primera semana de agencia libre, los Cowboys empiezan a verse involucrados con varios jugadores disponibles. Su contratación más importante hasta el momento es sin duda la del ex WR de los Green Bay Packers, Randall Cobb.
Hace unos años, Cobb atrapó el balón que terminó el partido de playoffs entre los Packers y los Cowboys minutos después de que la recepción de Dez Bryant fuera revocada. En 2019, vestirá la estrella.
Si bien es difícil argumentar que en este momento Cobb es mejor jugador que Cole Beasley, el contrato que la administración le dio al nuevo integrante del equipo es muy razonable. El ex-Packer jugará bajo un contrato por un año y cinco millones de dólares. Lo que preocupa a muchos sobre Cobb es su salud, ya que en 2018 sólo jugó nueve partidos. Sin embargo, su carrera no ha estado plagada de lesiones como muchos lo asumen.
Cobb será un titular en esta ofensiva que utilizará su habilidad para ganar en rutas rápidas. Sus manos son muy confiables y le dará a Dak Prescott otra arma en el juego aéreo. Simple y sencillamente una muy buena contratación de los Dallas Cowboys.
¿Robert Quinn, Por Favor?
Esta semana se reportó que el defensive end Robert Quinn estaba de visita en The Star, las instalaciones de los Dallas Cowboys. El DE no es un agente libre, siendo que aún está bajo contrato con los Miami Dolphins. Sin embargo, ambos equipos están en discusiones para llevar a cabo un trade por el caza cabezas de 28 años.
Después de que Randy Gregory volviera a recibir una suspensión, DE apareció entra las necesidades más urgentes del equipo y si no logran atender dicha necesidad previo al NFL Draft, tendrán que utilizar uno de sus primeros picks para conseguir un jugador que juegue opuesto a DeMarcus Lawrence.
Quinn, quien había jugado la mayoría de su carrera con los Rams, aún es joven y productivo. En las últimas dos temporadas ha logrado conseguir 15 sacks. De conseguirlo, los Cowboys tendrían que trabajar en una extensión para él.
Con un año en su contrato actual, no debe de ser muy caro conseguir un trade por él. Me atrevería a decir que la compensación que los Dolphins buscan por Quinn debe de estar en el rango de una selección cuarta y quinta ronda.
Parece un movimiento probable, pero no es difícil imaginar a otro equipo estando interesado en el jugador. Por lo pronto, sabemos que Quinn disfrutó su tiempo con Rod Marinelli y con el equipo de los Cowboys esta semana. Habrá que esperar para saber su destino.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
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