Happy Cowboys Saturday

Happy Cowboys Saturday Folks!

It’s a great Saturday because the playoffs have started and Americas Team has a bye week. The team has had the opportunity to rest and recuperate from the regular season bumps and bruises, knowing that guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyron Smith have been battling the entire season with injuries that could require offseason surgery, it’s amazing that both will have the opportunity to contribute during the playoffs. There hasn’t been much news this week about the Cowboys, which is a good thing.

The only “news” of the week that I found interesting is that there were fans that actually thought that Randy Gregory might have a chance to play the rest of the season. Like most of you, I do not know the particulars of his case but by watching how the NFL aka Roger Goodell has handled  previous cases from the past, you knew it wasn’t going to end well. The great writers of Twitter have come out with conspiracy theories of Cowboys bias but we know that’s not true. The reality is that Gregory is responsible for his actions and has to live with the consequences of his decisions and I hope that this is the last time that I have to write or hear the narrative of him and his struggle with marijuana. I have a better idea though, maybe it’s time for the NFL aka Roger Goodell to consider allowing the use of medical marijuana for pain management. I know that it’s not legal in every state but the reality is that some prescription drugs shouldn’t be either.   I’m not a Doctor and will admit that I have done zero research on the subject but I would make my standard bet (if this is your first time tuning in, I occasionally offer a Fat Tuesdays if i’m proven wrong) that if used, marijuana doesn’t give a player a competitive advantage. Any way’s Good Luck young man! I’m rooting for you!

As I look to the future and assess the organization, the future looks good and the arrow is on the cusp of pointing up. As we have learned from 2014 to 2016, every season is different and every team changes as players move on, some in free agency and some that aren’t resigned. One of the hardest parts of writing about your favorite team is being objective because you want to see the glass half full rather than half empty. The good news is that at the beginning of the season the Cowboys were the twelfth ranked team in average age averaging at twenty-six years old which bodes well because at most positions, football is a young man’s game and once Tony Romo leaves and if Jason Witten ever verifies his real age, it will probably drop two points (that was a joke).

The Cowboys will have to deal with salary cap issues in the offseason which will hurt the teams chances of resigning key players like Terrance Williams, JJ Wilcox and/or Barry Church. Both starting cornerbacks will be free agents and the likelihood of Rolando McClain ever putting on a Cowboys uniform has decreased, which isn’t a bad thing. The team will have to deal with Gregory’s suspension on the defensive line as well as making a decision on Terrell McClain. I’m hoping that the team will be careful on who’s contract they decide to restructure in order to get under the salary cap. If I am Stephen Jones, I stay away from Tyrone Crawford and Dez Bryant’s contract which if the team decided to restructure would push money to the end of their respective contracts as they become ineffective or overpriced.

A lot of good coaches were fired after their season ended and the 49ers will be starting completely over. You have to wonder if Will McClay will decide that he wants his chance at running an NFL organization on his own. No one outside of the building can tell you why he stays because he’s had opportunities in the past. Is it the paycheck? Maybe. Is it a sense of loyalty to the Jones family? Most likely. This organization finally seems to be running on all cylinders and I think he plays a big part in making sure that the front office gives the coaching staff the players that they can use. Maybe an NFL Executive of the Year Award is due? Or do you only win those if you have a Super Bowl on your resume?

So Mote It Be!

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Cowboys vs. Eagles

Can this season be over already?

The Cowboys are 13-2 heading into Philadelphia and I have to admit, I’m ready for the regular season to end. I’ve been a Cowboys fan for thirty years and for some reason this season feels like it’s taken forever. I don’t know about you guys, but the season started for me at the draft and although the team has made the playoffs, as many of you know, this is when the real season begins. What kind of fan are you? I’m the fan that has the star on the back of his vehicle, a Cowboys flag flying in the office, shit, I’m the fan that purchased the lights that display the star when you open your car doors. (note to ed. not sure if i can say the sh*t word, so feel free to be creative with your edit). I’m the fan that places twenty-dollar bets every year that the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl, not necessarily believing it, but never backing down from a bet. Here we are, playing a meaningless game in Philadelphia and the members of the Cowboys Hater Group are still praying for our downfall.

I can’t step out of my office without someone saying “So what you made the playoffs, you know that they’re going to choke right!” or “The Giants gave the Cowboys the two L’s in Dallas”. Most of these characters yelling this rhetoric are Redskin fans who are still bitter about being swept. These are the same fans that were heckling me when Tony Romo was injured in the preseason and predicting another 4-12 season. These same fans were quiet as the Cowboys and their rookie Quarterback and Running Back ignited the entire NFL with their play and cool demeanor. For the people who are surprised by the Cowboys regular season play, I have three words for you: “I’m surprised too”.

If you’re a Cowboys fan and can say that you predicted this record or anything close to it feel free to send me a message. In this message, I will need you to show me  an email, Facebook post, text message with a date stamp, something that will prove the belief that you showed in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to transform this once 4-12 team to possible Super Bowl contenders. I’m not sure if I should call myself a writer at this point, or if i’m even worthy to hold a title, but I will tell you that I did minimal research on Prescott due to the fact that I never would have thought that we would be seeing him play. During the season, we have seen Prescott’s college coaches talk about his leadership qualities and his high football IQ, but all of that information is irrelevant because we’ve seen quarterbacks drafted in the first round win Super Bowls and we’ve seen a sixth round pick from Michigan win his way into the conversation of “Who is the greatest quarterback of all-time”. The reality is that as good as this season has been for Prescott, it could crash at any moment. If that does happen, it will not be because he’s a bad quarterback, but because the NFL talent is that good.

The Cowboys are built for traditional playoff football and it only helps that they will be at home for however long their run lasts. After watching the Cowboys dismantle the Lions on Monday night football, this team showed that they are versatile enough to take what defenses will give them. The Lions were not going to let Elliott beat them, so they dropped a safety into the box for the majority of the game. Prescott showed his maturity by spreading the ball to six different receivers. The Cowboys are a more dangerous offense when Terrance Williams and Brice Butler are involved because it makes defensive coordinators account for them in their coverage schemes. As Scott Linehan takes this offense into the playoffs, he should continue to diversify his calls because it seems that teams have caught up with the bootleg plays.

I’m not sure if I am correct in describing this game as the Super Bowl for the Eagles, but the Cowboys are hoping that they leave this game with everyone intact. It will be interesting to see how long the team allows Prescott to play. If I am Jason Garrett, there is no way that I allow him to play deep into the second quarter. With the injuries to the offensive line, I would strongly consider keeping Romo out of the game, no matter how much he is chomping at the bit. The Eagles will be looking to make a statement. In my opinion, that statement should be made against Mark Sanchez and Darren McFadden. Jason Garrett should allow Ezekiel Elliott 18-20 carries and if he doesn’t break Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record by then “So Mote It Be”. As exciting as it would be for Elliott to own the record, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. The Cowboys have taken Elliott out of a minimum of two games to save the wear and tear on his body, so why push it now?

I’m predicting that the Cowboys will lose this game as the Eagles come out attacking the Cowboys defense throwing for 300 yards against the secondary due to the defensive lines inability to create pressure due to injuries. Darren Sproles will have a big play in the punt return game and will catch a touchdown pass from Carson Wentz. I’m predicting that Tony Romo will play the third quarter, throwing a touchdown pass to Brice Butler and Darren McFadden will have ten carries for eighty yards.

Dallas Cowboys: 17 vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 24

So Mote It Be

Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Well….to quote Jay-Z, What more can I say! The Dallas Cowboys are the Beasts of the East again, after the Giants choked in Philadelphia. The Cowboys are riding high after a victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that saw the defense finally get four sacks and two interceptions. David Irving was all over the place again with two sacks and you have to wonder what else he would have to do in order to get more playing time. The coaches are saying that he has to be more consistent but that’s hard to understand when you’re rotating defensive lineman like french fries at McDonalds. I understand the thought process of fresh legs on the field in the third quarter but I believe that defensive lineman need to get into the flow of the game, similar to a running back. What’s your definition of a splash play, relative to snap count? With DeMarcus Lawrence out for the next two games due to a back injury and Jack Crawford limited in practice it is imperative that Benson Mayowa continue the production that he’s had the last three games, chipping in 2.5 sacks. With the return of Randy Gregory to the lineup, he might be able to give the Cowboys a solid twelve to fifteen snaps on Monday night which should be enough to generate enough of a pass rush to make Matt Stafford uncomfortable.

The Lions come into Dallas, winning four of its last five games and hungry to keep it’s playoff hopes alive. If I could speak honestly to Cowboys fans, one of the most exciting parts of the Lions offense is the resurgence of Eric Ebron. Ebron has had issues with injuries in the first three years of his career but hopefully that is behind him. You can see why the Lions drafted him because his athleticism is off the charts and he hasn’t disappointed with 47 receptions for 557 yards, which is an eleven yard average so the Cowboys will have their hands full. Some people may have thought that the Lions passing game would go down the toilet without Calvin “Megatron” Johnson but it hasn’t. The Lions did a great job by adding Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin to the fold and it looks like the offense has benefited. I’m not worried about any of the receivers running away from the Cowboys secondary but I do have concerns about them handling the crossing routes that are employed in the Lions offense. I expect to see Rod Marinelli combat that flooding Matthew Stafford’s passing lanes with his dime defense. The Lions running game is pedestrian with Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington rushing for 600 yards combined and the team only having 309 total rushing attempts which by the way is one less than Ezekiel Elliott has by himself, you could see why Marinelli wouldn’t have a problem with the front four lineman and Pro Bowl snubbed Sean Lee controlling the running game. With that being said I see Stafford throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns, one going to Marvin Jones and the other to Anquan Boldin. He’ll also throw two picks with one going to Sean Lee and the other to Brandon Carr. I could see Theo Riddick having five receptions for 45 yards as an outlet for Stafford.

When the Cowboys have the ball they will play smash-mouth football with Elliott going for 145 yards on 26 carries and i’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised if he breaks a 60 yarder in this game. Prescott will throw three touchdowns against the Lions secondary with two going to Dez and one to Mr. Hot Sauce himself Cole Beasley. Jason Witten will have six catches for 80 yards as he shows Ebron the true definition of a tight-end.

So Mote It Be!

Buccaneers vs. Cowboys

The Cowboys lost two games against the Giants? Who cares? The fans do. There have been calls for Tony Romo to take the first team snaps and get the team right. I’m the first to admit that I think that the Cowboys offense would be more effective if Romo was starting. You can’t throw away the proof of a dynamic passing game that is coupled with Ezekiel Elliott which would be hard for most NFC teams to stop. Jerry Jones has opened his mouth and possibly inserted both feet into the argument of what the team would look like with Romo taking snaps behind Travis Frederick. The reality is no one knows what it would look like because the organization has decided (this week) thrown the 2016 season behind Dak Prescott and the offensive-line.

Tampa Bay rolls into Dallas as one of the hottest teams in the NFC and you can see why with defensive stars Gerald McCoy and rookie Noah Spence has been solid. Linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David are solid linebackers and sure tacklers so they won’t bow down to this offensive line. The reality is that this is a must win game and not for a playoff spot because we know that we are already in but to roll into the playoffs, playing the best football that the team has to offer. We’ve heard about Jameis Winston and Mike Evans being a matchup nightmare and Doug Martin aka Mighty Mouse being a patient runner behind the Buccaneer’s rebuilt offensive line and to be honest with you it doesn’t scare me. What I worry about is this team getting comfortable to the point of thinking that there is no reason to roll into the postseason firing on all cylinders.

Division games are a double-edged sword, due to the fact that no other team knows you more than the one that you see twice a year. The team has lost both games and people are questioning if the Giants have the Cowboys number. It’s possible with offensive systems being replicated over the last two years.

I’m not in the mood to discuss each teams pros and cons or the fact that this offensive group has the ability to run for two hundred yards against the weak Bucs defensive line.  Winston is a young quarterback that if played correctly could  turn the ball over a couple of times. If I was Marinelli, I would break from the norm and blitz this young quarterback until he taps out. Sean Lee is playing like a man possessed and has cemented him becoming a two-time pro bowler when the season ends. Hopefully the defense will get back JJ Wilcox and his physicality in the backfield. You could see Odell smiling once he ran away from Brandon Carr, knowing that him and his ribs would remain as one, knowing that Wilcox was missing.

Dak Prescott is and will remain the Cowboys quarterback but wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in Jerry’s office when team officials are having the argument about when to bring Romo off the bench. I’ll say it again, I believe this offense would be more dynamic in the passing game with Romo playing and I don’t believe that if the Jones’s (it will be their decision, even one that might start to crack their relationship with Garrett) decide to bring him off the bench it will hurt Prescott’s psyche. Prescott needs to get back to his fundamentals which is solid footwork. I hate to mention it but Linehan could have called a better game, does the jet sweep only work with Lucky Whitehead?

The Cowboys get back on track this Sunday Night with a 28-13 victory against the Buc’s by it’s offensive line imposing it’s will on Gerald McCoy and Co. This victory will possibly close out the season for a couple of teams, but heavy is the head that wears the  crown

So Mote It Be!

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Your 11-1 Dallas Cowboys travel to New Jersey for a chance to have home field advantage in the playoffs.  If Giants fans are expecting the same team that they barely beat in week one, they have another thing coming. This Cowboys team is battle tested and ready to rumble, which means nothing because as Mike Tyson would say, “Everyone has a plan until you get punched”.

The Cowboys have had ten days since their narrow victory against the Vikings, so I am sure we will see the team come out focused and hungry. Both organizations are dealing with injuries. The most notable for the Giants being Jason Pierre-Paul, who will miss the game due to surgery for a sports hernia. DeMarcus Lawrence and his troublesome back popped up on the injury list for the Cowboys, and Orlando Scandrick is listed as questionable. This could be a nagging problem for Scandrick until the end of the season (plantar fasciitis). If Scandrick can’t play, it would be a huge loss for a secondary that is already missing Mo Claiborne and Wilcox. Justin Pugh and Johnathan Hankins are listed as questionable, they are supposedly game-time decisions, but I expect them to play. Hankins is a big part of the Giants run defense and it bodes well for the Cowboys running game if he’s not one hundred-percent. I’m predicting that the matchup between Tyron Smith and Olivier Vernon will not materialize like most spectators expect because they will move him around to take advantage of the old veteran Doug Free.

There’s not much more anyone can say about Ezekiel Elliott.  Elliott leads the league in rushing yards (1,265), carries (263), yards before (764) and after contact (521) and rushing first downs (76). He has also caught 28 passes for 322 yds averaging 11 yds per reception. When the Offensive Rookie of The Year votes are tallied, Elliott will win by a landslide. The Giants will hold Elliott in check until the early fourth quarter, when the Cowboys offensive line will take over the game and lead Elliott to 150 yards on 24 carries.

Dak Prescott will throw for two touchdowns, one going to Dez Bryant and one to Cole Beasley. Bryant will have 4 catches for 75 yards and Beasley will have 6 catches for 85 yards on crossing patterns. The Giants defensive backs will have their hands full with this receiving corps. Janoris Jenkins will get the assignment of covering Bryant which will open the passing game for Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. I don’t believe that the Giants have an answer for Beasley considering that Landon Collins will have the assignment of covering Jason Witten which isn’t an easy task. Witten will have 4 catches for 60 yards restarting his streak. In my previous article, I mentioned the disappearance of Williams and Brice Butler.  This would be the perfect game to unleash both players. The key for Scott Linehan to do that is to mix up his personnel packages early in the game. I’ve noticed in previous games that the splash plays that Butler has been involved in seem to be telegraphed by his appearance in games. He’s averaged approximately fifteen snaps in the last seven games and his route tree is predictable. The key to Prescott’s success has been his ability to find the third and fourth options in his progressions and that is what could lead the team to offensive success. The Cowboys will need to have a 55/45%  run/pass percentage to control the clock to keep Eli Manning and Co. off of the field.

The Giants offensive production has been inconsistent this year, but it’s explosive, so it is not something that you take for granted. Realistically there isn’t a Cornerback on this team that can cover Odell Beckham man to man for 60 minutes. Brandon Carr is known to struggle on crossing routes, so it will be imperative for Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee to have the right depth in their drops when the defense is playing zone coverage. Given the way that the Giants running game is struggling, that you would think the Cowboys will want to play coverage, allowing the front seven to control Rashad Jennings. Orlando Scandrick has been struggling with health, but I believe that he will be motivated to prove he’s still the top cornerback in Dallas after being benched at the beginning of the Vikings game. If Justin Pugh is out of the lineup or struggling physically, this could help the defensive line make Manning uncomfortable. Rashad Jennings will run for 85 yards on 20 carries which will give the Giants the ability for play-action passes which could open big plays down the field. Now that Victor Cruz has had some alone time with Head Coach Bob McAdoo you have to wonder if Manning will be looking for Cruz early.

Fans of both teams forget that this is a division game and despite Bryant and Beckham being cordial, both teams would love to dominate this game to prove a point. Beckham will go over 100 yards catching 8 passes and a touchdown and Sterling Shepard will catch 4 passes for 50 yards. The Cowboys are conditioned to win cold weather games on the road and this game will not be any different.

My prediction is Cowboys 31 to Giants 24.

So Mote It Be!

Cowboys vs Vikings Recap

The Cowboys have won eleven games straight and this game tested the teams heart. The Vikings have one of the leagues best defenses and it showed up for all four quarters of Thursday’s game. Dak and Ezekiel aka the Wonder Twins did enough to pull out the victory but it wasn’t the normal offensive output that we’ve come to expect from them. Prescott threw for 139 yards on twelve completions and 56 of those yards came on a long pass to Dez Bryant that put the Cowboys in scoring position. The Vikings are currently ranked third in pass defense allowing 199 yards per game. Xavier Rhodes is the Vikings best cover corner, leading the Vikings with four interceptions this year, his play along with the rest of the secondary held the Cowboys wide receiver corps in check for the majority of the game. Scott Linehan will need to do a better job in getting Terrance Williams involved in the passing game  in the final four games so that opposing defenses can’t key on Bryant and Beasley. The Cowboys offensive line gave up three sacks in the game which is surprising considering the Vikings defense did not blitz as much as I expected. Danielle Hunter led the team with two sacks and Brian Robison chipped in with a sack as well. Ezekiel Elliott had to bring his lunch pail to the field, earning all 86 yards that he collected during the game as well as chipping in four catches for nineteen yards.

In my previous article, I mentioned my issues with Rod Marinelli’s defensive philosophy and I wasn’t proven wrong. Anthony HItchens had a great game with ten tackles, a sack and an interception that was nullified on a bogus hands to the face penalty on Orlando Scandrick. It was disturbing to see Sam Bradford drop back forty-five times and the defense only get three sacks considering he was playing behind a make-shift line. On a good note Benson Mayowa finally got a sack after seven weeks but had problems in the running game and Maliek Collins notched another sack for his third of the season. The Cowboys secondary needs some serious help. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs combined for 15 catches for 145 yards and Kyle Rudolph caught six passes for forty-five yards which doesn’t seem like a big deal but they extended drives. At times it looked like Sean Lee was lost in coverage against Rudolph when the Cowboys were playing zone because his drops seemed to be a little deeper than what was needed. It was good to see Anthony Brown bounce back from his brain fart in the Washington game and have a solid game. He should get used to the attention that he is receiving from offensive coordinators because he’s had issues with looking into the backfield and losing his receiver in the process.

It’s hard to complain when your team is 11-1 and the defense hasn’t given up a 100 yd rusher or receiver and every game will not be a walk in the park but this team has shown a resolve that’s been missing in Dallas for a long time. I do have questions going forward and wonder if you have the answers.

  1. Moving forward with four games left in the season, will Lucky Whitehead’s role decrease due to ball security issues?
  2. What happened to Tyrone Crawford? By my count he only had one quarterback pressure and no tackles. Is it time to move him back inside where he is more comfortable?
  3. Are we starting to see a decline in Orlando Scandrick’s play?
  4. Will the team look at replacing Doug Free in the offseason?
  5. Should the Cowboys consider playing more man to man coverage which would allow the pass rush the opportunity to get to the quarterback?
  6. What happened to Brice Butler?
  7. Will Scott Linehan get a second opportunity as a head coach in the offseason?

So Mote It Be!