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The Worst that Could Happen…




…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.

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

Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

Matthew Lenix



Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys have what many believe to be the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. However, you can never undervalue the importance of depth at any position. When the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft came around, the Cowboys added another weapon to the backfield by selecting Tony Pollard out of Memphis.

If you’re looking for a dynamic player maker with the ability to take it to the house at any given moment, Pollard is your man. The former Tiger averaged a touchdown every 13 touches in college. That’s an absolutely insane statistic when you think about it. He also tied an NCAA record with seven kick returns for touchdowns. Long story short, he can get you six points at the blink of an eye.

The versatility in his game is outrageous and undoubtedly the reason why he was drafted. In addition to running for 941 yards on 6.8 yards per rush, he also had 104 receptions for 1,292 yards. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to be salivating about the possibilities with his new toy. Having a running back that can not only carry the load as a runner but also line up at receiver keeps the defense honest. You never know what angle the offense is going to come from.

This has to be a sigh of relief for Ezekiel Elliott. Now, the Cowboys don’t have to overexert him and can bring Pollard in on third downs if need be. Not just to give Elliott a breather but to change the pace of the offensive attack. You can hand the ball off, throw it to him or run jet sweeps when he is on the field. This sets up a potential combo at running back that could be the leagues very best shortly.

Speed, quickness, and agility are all wrapped up in the Tony Pollard package. The Cowboys now have a running back that can line up at multiple positions if need be. Also, this prevents a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the body of Ezekiel Elliott. This combination has all the potential to set the NFL on fire in 2019.

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Star Blog

CB Byron Jones Not Expected To Return Until Week 1 Against NYG

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Coming off what was clearly the best season of his career thus far, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent surgery to hopefully fix a nagging hip injury.

While he earned both his first All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2018, his first season as a full-time cornerback, Jones still has a lot to prove in the upcoming season. Some still criticize him for his lack of interceptions, and there's no doubt his stellar play slowed down a bit towards the end of the year.

I'm willing to wager that the slight decline had a lot to do with his hip troubles, but nonetheless he must come up with his elite level play once again to earn himself a nice contract somewhere in 2020.

Oh, did I forget to mention it's also a contract year for Byron Jones? As it is for so many important Dallas Cowboys, it seems.

So when will Byron Jones be able to return to the Cowboys' lineup? Well, the initial date reportedly set by Jones and the team was late July, giving him a chance to practice and play a bit before the season opener in September. But, according to the Team Site this week, that date may be pushed back a bit, and we might not see Byron Jones until that season opening game against the Giants.

"As for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills." - Mickey Spagnola

Ultimately, as long as Byron Jones is good to go when the regular season starts, that's all that matters, but the fear of rust when Jones returns is a real one.

It's tough to go from no live football straight to the meaningful games, but if anyone would be able to do it it would be the guy with the freakishly athletic traits. The guy who can get out of the bed in the morning and set athletic records at the Combine.

And, of course, that guy is Byron Jones.

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Star Blog

Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

Matthew Lenix



Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.

The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.

Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.

2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.

Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.

He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.

If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.

He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.

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