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Witten’s Retirement Makes 2014 and 2016 Playoffs Even More Painful

Mauricio Rodriguez



Has Father Time Caught Up With TE Jason Witten? 1
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

If you ask a die-hard Cowboys fan which recent season felt the most like "the year" Dallas would win it all, you'll get one of two answers. It's either going to be the gut-wrenching loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in 2014, or it's going to be the heart-breaking loss to the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium in 2016.

Which one hurt the most is tough to decide and it really depends on each individual fan. Personally, I find the 2014 season ending way more painful and unbearable than the ending of the 2016 season.

One thing is for sure, though. If the 2014 and 2016 playoffs weren't enough to give everyone in Cowboys Nation a couple of bad memories, Jason Witten's retirement just made them even more hard to live with.

Throughout the tight end's 15-year career in the NFL, not only was he an elite starter for America's Team. His journey in the league can't be told in mere stats and records. Witten was much more than that for the Dallas Cowboys and the team's fan base.

He always worked as a captain and a measuring stick for everyone in the locker room. For many years, Cowboys Nation almost unanimously agreed that the player who deserved a ring the most was Jason Witten. The tight end, whose hand was always on the dirt, ultimately felt short of that mark, as he said during his retirement press conference earlier this month.

"For 15 years, I tried to represent you the right way. Bring you joy. And win you a championship. And while I leave today falling short of that mark, I hope that along the way, I made you proud to be a Dallas Cowboys fan." - Jason Witten.

Although being a future Hall of Famer himself, Witten played in a team that failed to establish a winning tradition most of his career. And now, with him ready to replace Jon Gruden under the lights of ESPN Monday Night Football, his chance to hold a Lombardi Trophy is over.

Jason Witten will be a champion without a championship, somehow. 2014 and 2016 were the years he could've put that final dot in his career.

2014 may hurt the most when considering Dez Byrant and Tony Romo's departures. I'm pretty sure that when the referees overturned Bryant's catch at Lambeau, none of the three Cowboys' emblematic players imagined that that would be their last playoff ride together.

Sure, they managed to get there in 2016 again, but Romo was on the sidelines. It's crazy how quickly things can change in the NFL. Last month, I wrote about the moment that put the Cowboys in limbo, changing the path of this franchise out of nowhere.

Witten's Retirement Makes 2014 and 2016 Playoffs Even More Painful

Former Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and Jason Witten (Vernon Bryant / The Dallas Morning News) 

From one moment to another, the Dallas Cowboys saw the ending of the Tony Romo era and the beginning of the Dak Prescott era. Just one offseason later, legends Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are also out of the picture.

It comes as a tough pill to swallow for Cowboys Nation, but also as a reason for excitement for the future. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will head into their third NFL season in 2018, along with a ton of young talent on offense and defense.

Jason Witten will be missed, but it's time the new generation of Cowboys steps up. They undoubtedly will.

Tell me what you think about "Witten’s Retirement Makes 2014 and 2016 Playoffs Even More Painful" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.


Star Blog

Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin



Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.

After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.

The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.

Kavon Frazier

Dallas Cowboys S Kavon Frazier

I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.

Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.

As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.

I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.

Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?

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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady



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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Star Blog

Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady



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 

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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