Cowboys Tarnished Star

Tarnished Star?

The start of training camp is seventeen days away and the sports world is drooling at the prospect of the NFL season being around the corner. We’ve made it through the draft, OTA’s and minicamps and in seventeen days the sounds of pads colliding will start the shaping of the 2017-18 Dallas Cowboys team. Much to the chagrin of the CowboysNation.com management, I tend to go into my shell during the offseason. I’m not a big college football fan, although my favorite team is The Fighting Irish, my ADHD makes it hard to follow. In my mind it’s easier to skip the NFL Combine aka “The Underwear Olympics” and go straight to the draft which I would rate a B- due to the lack of foresight of possible future roster issues. I felt that the team was shortsighted in not addressing the linebacker room in the draft and this past Fourth of July holiday an issue arose with a player that was stamped by coaches and management to be a key contributor.

If  you’re a Cowboys fanatic like I am, I get alerts to my phone for anything Cowboys related, and I was awoken on Friday morning by an article on Yahoo Sports titled: “Wilson’s Aggravated Assault Charge Latest in Mounting Personnel Issues for Cowboys”. The article discusses the many Cowboys transgressions during the offseason from Nolan Carroll to David Irving as well as  rookie Jourdan Lewis who came to the team with a pending July trial date for domestic violence charges. To throw a dagger into my heart, Elliott’s domestic violence investigation is discussed. I’m not here to give any excuses for the behaviors of players but let’s not lump everyone’s situation into one big pot or question the teams commitment to having a drama free football team.

David Irving is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the leagues policy on performing enhancing drugs. I understand that players should know what they put in their bodies. It’s been reported that the PED that was in his system is from a company that signed him to promote their products and I hope they reimburse him the money he’ll lose during his absence (highly unlikely). This transgression does not mean that Jason Garrett is not a  disciplinarian or that management is more concerned with talent rather than character. I’m under the belief that this is an honest mistake that the team could not control. If fans and media expect the team to monitor players lives to the point of what they put in their bodies, what has the NFL come to? I’m sure that the NFLPA has a do/don’t list of what the players can take so this falls on Irving’s shoulders and I’m sure he would say the same thing.

Nolan Carroll should have known better to drink and drive and in the world of Uber and Lyft there is no excuse. Carroll has taken personal responsibility for his actions and the league will most likely be suspending him in the near future. The team has enough cornerbacks on the roster to circumvent his loss and he might not have a big part in this season if one of the rookie cornerbacks perform during his absence. When he arrived in Dallas he was signed as a starter but his salary isn’t enormous to the point that he has to play.

The Ezekiel Elliott saga is rumored to be coming to an end in the near future. The NFL continues to do its due diligence in his case and I can see this coming to an end no later than the third preseason game of the season. In my opinion the only reason that Alfred Morris is still on the team is because of Elliott’s legal issues. In recent interviews and comments, it seems that the light bulb has finally come on and everyone can hope that the only thing Elliott will be catching is screen passes instead of cases.

All of these cases are issues that the team has addressed and I would bet a large coke slurpee that Garrett continuously preaches personal responsibility and not squandering an opportunity for one poor decision. With the recent arrest of linebacker Damien Wilson for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon the team is taking the “gathering more information” stance and there are people that feel that Garrett should make an example of Wilson and cut him. Over the years the Cowboys have shown patience with players who step outside of the law and to be honest with you there is no need to read the list of names. The team doesn’t benefit by making decisions about the players status on the team before the court system and I’m certain the team will wait to see how it works out. I’m sure we will see Wilson at training camp and during the preseason while this plays out in the media and court. I’m not worried if Wilson can be replaced on the field because we have Anthony Hitchens, this teams Swiss army knife.

One of the reasons that I am a Jerry Jones apologist is during his ownership, he’s never turned his back on his players. Some people may feel that is because Jerry values the talent over Garrett’s RKOG (Right Kind of Guy) mantra and that might be true but at least he’s been consistent. For every Randy Gregory and Rolando McClain there is a Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant. There is also a Dimitrius Underwood and Alonzo Spellman, two players that the Cowboys gave an opportunity to get their lives together after being diagnosed with mental disorders.

As Jones gets ready to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, these stories should be told as well as how he affected the NFL with his shrewd business moves in advertising and challenging the NFL norm.

So Mote it be

What Role Will Veteran Tyrone Crawford Play In 2017?

Tyrone Crawford

When we take a look into the defensive linemen for the Cowboys’ we see they have plenty of bodies along the line. Whether it’s David Irving, Benson Mayowa, or DeMarcus Lawrence a lot of these guys can play multiple positions along the defensive line. The one guy who may have the most flexibility is Tyrone Crawford.

Tyrone Crawford is going into year three of his five year, $45,000,000 contract with the Dallas Cowboys. When Tyrone Crawford signed his contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 the team had high hopes that Crawford would be a dominant player for their defense. While he has been serviceable he has also been far from dominant.

In his five years in the league and with the Dallas Cowboys, Tyrone Crawford has raked up 12.5 sacks and 77 tackles in 61 career games. While that is nothing to write home about, it’s also nothing to shake a stick at either. Crawford has been banged up throughout his career with the Cowboys. When healthy he is one of the better players along the defensive line, but that’s the thing, he is rarely at full strength. In 2016 alone he dealt with multiple injuries to his shoulder and back that kept him out of practices and limited his level of play in games. Crawford has had multiple surgeries in his career and sooner or later that will catch up to you.

With that being said, it’s not all negative with #98. Crawford is a leader of the defense and brings a veteran presence to the locker room. He also has come up with clutch plays over his career. In 2016 in week two against the Washington Redskins he came up with a huge sack late in the 4th quarter on Kirk Cousins to all but spoil the Redskins comeback attempt.

While he deals with his fair share of injuries and sometimes criticism for disappearing at times in games or sometimes even throughout the season, no player along the Cowboys defensive line has the flexibility that Crawford has. In his career, he has played left end, right end, 3 technique, and even some 1 technique. Having a player that can play on the outside and play with speed and good technique to get his sacks is great. When you match that with the same guy who can play with the amount of strength and discipline to play inside like Crawford does it just makes the deal so much sweeter.

Fans like to look at the former Boise State Broncos contract and compare it to his production and criticize the player and even the team at time, but they fail to realize what Crawford brings to the table with his leadership qualities and the flexibility to play all four positions along the line. Tyrone Crawford is by no means a dominant starting caliber player for the Dallas Cowboys, but he is very important to the team and making the defense work. I have a feeling 2017 may be Crawford’s best season yet as he’ll take on more of a leadership role on this team now, more than ever.

Got a Lot to Say From RVA – Follow me on Twitter- @connorx147