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The Worst that Could Happen…

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…Could be the best thing to happen to our Cowboys this season. It all depends on how you choose to look at it.

Perusing over my last several contributions, it could be said that I did so under the influence of the infamous kool-aid many fans partake of in the months leading up to the football season. But just because I may have had one too many, doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the potential for disaster the Cowboys have across the board.

Romo’s back and the potential of re-injury, the defense once again setting records in the wrong direction, and Garrett’s struggles with in-game management could yield mediocre if not atrocious returns for the Cowboys 2014 season. That is an undeniable, irrevocable truth that should not be ignored by any fan; to do so could lead to unfair and unwarranted expectations.

But even if everything that can go wrong does go wrong, there still could be positives that arise from the ashes of yet another season better suited for the incinerator.

Clearly there is nothing that could happen more catastrophic than Romo’s back injury rearing its ugly head. If Romo goes down, the opinion is unanimous amongst fans and analysts alike – the Cowboys’ season will be over.

The silver lining to that very dark cloud, however, is two-fold:

  1. The Cowboys can no longer ignore the fact that Romo’s best years are behind him and will likely have to address the QB position in the following draft.
  2. Given the lack of Romo, the Cowboys will likely be drafting high which could put them in line for a QB worthy of carrying Romo’s jockstrap, if not better.

Believe it or not, I’m more realist than optimistic, so I won’t even mention Jameis Winston…or will I? No, I won’t.

The other prevalent argument being thrown against the Cowboys’ chances this year is the lack of star-power on the defensive side of the ball. There is literally not one person on that side of the ball opposing offensive coordinators are game-planning against.

However, once again, there are a few positive takeaways:

  1. No names means no sense of entitlement for anyone; even if their best does not turn out to be good enough, we at least won’t be left with the sour taste of quit and/or half-effort in our mouths following games. These men are not just playing to win; they are playing for their future career in the NFL and quality of life. They do not have a resume that assures them another job next year.
  2. If the defense does in fact prove to be worse than last year with the loss of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, and whoever else falls prey to the injury bug, once again, we are likely looking at another hard-to-watch season that, at least, leads to a high draft pick.

Jerry Jones was recently quoted as saying the record is not specifically what he will be looking at in terms of whether or not Jason Garrett receives an extension at the end of this season. That doesn’t mean Garrett keeps his job, come what may. If that were the case, he would have already been handed an extension. On the contrary, Jason is still on a short leash; Jones realizes that much can happen within a season that can impact the win/loss ratio, regardless of Garrett’s contribution and, therefore, has his sights set on a different measuring stick.

If Garrett once again can be pointed to as part of the problem and not the solution; if the Cowboys lose in late-game situations as a result of poor in-game management, he will not receive an extension. The good news is the Cowboys will finally get that shiny new head coach many disillusioned fans have been hoping for. Personally, I’m not completely sold on that being the best thing for the Cowboys, but it will at least shut up the Garrett detractors for a little bit, which would be music (of the silence variety) to my ears.

In life, every situation presents a set of hurdles. A set of pitfalls and potential success that can be realized immediately or eventually, only made possible through the experience earned by a certain degree of failure. It is how the individual or team responds to defeat that distinguishes true winners, even when the scoreboard disagrees.

Far too often lately, I am hearing on the radio, reading in articles, and following discussions on blogs that seem to harp on everything that could potentially go wrong this year for the Cowboys. It’s as though listeners/readers/fellow bloggers have been living in a bubble up until this season, and just so happened to decide on a whim to start being a fan of the Cowboys.

As a Cowboys fan you are well-versed in all of the impending doom and gloom; and this is not a condition specific to the Cowboys, or even the sport of football. It is a very simple study in probability. The Cowboys have a 1 in 32 chance of going to the Championship every year. While those odds easily trump our chances of winning the lottery, they still are not very good – 3.125 percent to be exact.

So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the Cowboys have not made it to the Super Bowl since the mid-90’s. It’s not like the odds improve the further a team gets away from their last brush with greatness. Unless you subscribe to the ignorance that Dallas is special and holds sports teams to a higher standard, this should not be a difficult concept to digest.

Circling back to the point (and kicking away the soapbox in a fit of disgust), a lot could go wrong this year for the Cowboys – already discussed, as well as a new variety of tragedy. But truth be told, 31 other teams face similar challenges.

Every team’s quarterback is one grisly hit away from being out for the season and sinking the team’s hopes for the year. Every team’s defense starts at ground-zero proving they are a force to contend with when the regular season begins; no one concedes victory until the final second ticks off of the clock in each and every game. And every head coach is second-guessed for the decisions they make, regardless of the winning and the losing of it all.

But if you don’t learn to appreciate the small victories, that don’t involve the Cowboys winning, your chance of not enjoying the football season is 96.875 percent.

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I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ranking The Dallas Cowboys Rookies Through Week 8
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

Right now, it’s pretty tough to predict how the 2018 Dallas Cowboys’ season will turn out. Even with Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli all returning for next season, there’s a lot of change going on in Dallas. The Cowboys will have to deal with a lot of new position coaches as they try to get back to the top after a 9-7 season in 2017.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that’ll impact the outcome of this season.

One of those questions hasn’t been discussed much. That question is: how will the 2017 rookie class fare in their sophomore seasons? 

In 2016 and 2017, rookies were very important for this franchise.

Two years ago, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the NFL by storm, ending the season with a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC. Anthony Brown looked to be the Cowboys’ future shutdown cornerback, and Maliek Collins looked very promising.

Last season, the Cowboys didn’t have rookie seasons as spectacular as Dak and Zeke had in 2016 (I don’t think we’ll see anything similar in the NFL for a long time), but the rookie class ended up being a very important one for sure.

After letting a lot of veteran players walk in free agency, the team went ahead and fixed the secondary by drafting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis in consecutive rounds, and trading up to get Xavier Woods in the sixth.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

Jourdan Lewis made his presence felt early in the season, while we had to wait a bit to see Chidobe Awuzie in action. Both of them had surprising rookie seasons and they truly look like the future in Dallas’ secondary.

Both have shown what they’re capable of; we’ve seen them make plays and turn their heads to the ball… really, something we hadn’t seen in a long time.

Ryan Switzer didn’t get a chance to play as a wide receiver that much, but he was very impressive as a returner. He still has a long way to go, but I’m betting on Switzer to remain among the NFL’s best returners for a long time. After seeing him replace Cole Beasley in the season finale, I’ll be shocked if Dallas doesn’t give him more playing time on offense next year. He deserves a more important role.

Taco Charlton still has a lot to improve on, but surprisingly, he did a nice job during the final games of the season. It’s always premature to call a player a “bust” after a single season, and Taco’s been called a bust since the moment he was drafted. Let’s give him a chance.

For 2017, we set the bar high for the Cowboys’ sophomores.

We thought Dak Prescott would be among the best QBs in the league, that Ezekiel Elliott would pass the 2,000-yard mark, that Anthony Brown would be an ideal CB1, and that Maliek Collins could even lead the team in sacks as a defensive tackle.

There are a lot of reasons this team struggled in 2017, and some of those reasons still preoccupy us when thinking about next season.

The Cowboys will definitely need their 2017 rookies to continue playing quality football. It will be key if they want to leave a painful 9-7 season behind and get back to winning this year.

Here’s to hoping the Cowboys’ 2018 sophomores avoid the “inevitable slumps.” In a season filled with uncertainty, they’ll sure be needed.

Tell me what you think about “Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Dez Bryant es ese jugador que incontables veces me hizo gritar y saltar de alegría con sus excepcionales recepciones y su manera de pelear el balón en el aire. Tantos momentos tan memorables con Tony Romo e incluso algunos con Dak Prescott lo han vuelto uno de mis jugadores favoritos…

Pero ahora, después de una difícil temporada de los Dallas Cowboys, los sentimientos están encontrados.

En muchos momentos, no parece que estamos viendo al Dez Bryant de antes. Claro, podemos decidir recordar esa recepción de touchdown que rompió el récord de la franquicia contra los Redskins, o esa escapada de 50 yardas en New York en la semana 14.

Pero Dez no ha sido el mismo las últimas tres temporadas. Y este 2017, todos los momentos de frustración culminaron en el partido que eliminó a los Cowboys de la temporada.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a los Seattle Seahawks, un fumble acompañado por un pase soltado de Dez que resultó en una intercepción, todos nos pusimos a pensar.

La cosa no es que Dez Bryant sea un mal receptor. El talento está ahí, y es fácil verlo en ciertas jugadas. A veces es visible cuando atropella a algún defensivo, a veces cuando busca el balón y consigue atraparlo de una manera impresionante.

Quizá el próximo año se sacuda la mala racha que ha tenido los últimos años y encuentre una manera de ser el jugador que alguna vez fue… el problema es la cantidad de dinero que se le paga.

Después de la temporada del 2014, cuando Bryant terminó el año con 16 touchdowns y más de 1,300 yardas, el receptor estrella firmó un contrato por $70M.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen frente a ellos una pregunta muy importante que resolver este offseason.

 

¿Deberían Deshacerse de Dez Bryant?

A pesar de tener una mala racha, la razón por la cual Dallas le diría adiós a Dez es su contrato. Dez está listo para cobrar $16.5M en el 2018 y otros 16 millones y medio en el 2019. De ser cortado, los Cowboys se ahorrarían ocho millones y medio la próxima temporada.

Suficiente dinero para firmar a un jugador que realmente haga impacto esta agencia libre.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Normalmente, cuando hablamos de jugadores como él, hay muchos conflictos para los aficionados. Vaya, yo mismo acabo de plantear que es uno de mis jugadores favoritos, pero quizá a veces el cambio es necesario.

Sí, la producción de Dez Bryant no ha sido la misma desde la última temporada que tuvo con Tony Romo. Pero ¿es eso excusa suficiente?

Basta pensar en jugadores como Larry Fitzgerald y DeAndre Hopkins para darse cuenta de que no. Aún con quarterbacks mediocres, ambos se mantienen como receptores de elite en la NFL.

Es cierto que Dak Prescott no es el mismo QB que Romo era, y no es un jugador que vaya a lanzar pases profundos tan frecuentemente como Tony lo hacía, pero eso tampoco significa que sea algo malo necesariamente.

Este equipo le construyó un equipo a su ex-mariscal para sacarle todo el provecho al #9. Es hora de hacer lo mismo por Dak Prescott.

Insisto en que los Cowboys tienen que buscar a un WR tan pronto como en la primera ronda del NFL Draft o incluso hasta en agencia libre.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen tantas cosas que hacer antes de la próxima temporada y decidir que hacer con uno de sus jugadores más emblemáticos de la actualidad, Dez Bryant, es una de ellas.

¿Les gustaría ver a Dez Bryant de vuelta en el 2018?

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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