Four days ago the Cowboys made their final cut down to 53. That will be the first subject I want to touch on. Second, four days from today the Cowboys will be gearing up to take on the New York Giants in the first game of the season. Later on in this read I will touch on key match ups for the season opener and players to watch.
There weren’t a ton of surprises on the final 53 man roster but there are a few guys who made it or didn’t make it that I wanted to touch on. To start off on the offensive side of the ball at the position that has been talked about most in the offseason the release of Jameil Showers was one that raised a few eyebrows. Many people thought that Showers was good enough to be the backup to Prescott but the Cowboys staff thought otherwise. There were two reasons the Cowboys decided to cut Showers. 1. The signing of Mark Sanchez gave the Cowboys a backup with more in-game experience than Showers. 2. Jerry Jones announced on Tuesday that the Cowboys would NOT be placing Tony Romo on the injured reserve to return list in hopes of Romo coming back before week eight. This is something I believe the Cowboys front office knew they were going to do all along.
Now onto the defense. I would have bet a large amount of money that J.J Wilcox would have been cut before the start of the season. I was shocked when I saw Wilcox on the final 53. I was even more shocked when I saw Kavon Frazier’s name also on the list, not due to his play but because I believed it was one or the other,not both! The cornerback position also had a bit of surprise in it. Dallas decided to keep Dax Swanson over Deji Olatoye for reasons I can’t fully explain. Olatoye had a rough final preseason game but he was great in the first three preseason games and had a solid training-camp. Swanson showed superior return ability but didn’t catch my attention in coverage. Some people may consider Ryan Russell a surprise cut but he was not good in the preseason and he had plenty of opportunities to show his worth. The only shocking thing about the defensive line position was that no one was claimed off of waivers. Especially after the injury news of Charles Tapper came out. The current defensive line will be ready to go on week one consists of only one natural defensive end in Benson Mayowa the other seven guys in my opinion will have more success on the inside. Those guys are; Jack Crawford, David Irving, Cedric Thornton, Terrell McClain, Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins.
Preview For Sunday
Football is finally here and in four days the Cowboys will be getting ready to go up against a long time division rival in the Giants. No matter who is injured or who is playing whenever these two teams play each other it’s anybody’s game. I’ll be giving some match ups to keep an eye on that could significantly decide this game.
Dallas DLINE vs Giants OLINE
Battle of the weakest to put it nicely. The Dallas defensive line on paper does not look good. Like I said that’s on paper, that could all change when they hit the field Sunday afternoon. If the Cowboys want to win the first game of the season they must put pressure on Eli Manning only rushing four. Earlier in the post I mentioned the defensive line and how it was surprising they didn’t add anyone off of waivers. Now knowing what the final 53 is I can give you my opinion on what the starting defensive line will look like. I think it’s a safe bet that Tyrone Crawford and Terrell McClain will get the starts at defensive tackle. Benson Mayowa will likely get the start at right end and Jack Crawford will likely get the start at left end. This group does not have a lot of careers sacks to it’s ledger but must survive until Demarcus Lawrence gets back. If these four guys can get home without blitzing every other play that could be huge for this team on Sunday and in the future.
Ezekiel Elliott vs GMen LBer’s
Ezekiel Elliott has a good matchup this Sunday against the Giants linebackers. I say linebackers because the Giants defensive line is the strength of the team. If the offensive line can hold its own against the Gmen defensive line and open up lanes for Elliott than he could be in for a huge first game. Elliott is known for making people miss and there’s no better way to do that than building up a head full of steam and getting into the second level.
Cowboys Secondary vs NYG Receivers
A lot of the success for the Cowboys secondary will come from the defensive line. If the DLine creates pressure the secondary will look like All Stars, if the DLine struggles then you might want to turn the TV off because it could get ugly fast. There is tons of talent in the secondary for the defense in 2016. Morris Claiborne has had an outstanding camp and preseason and having a healthy Orlando Scandrick and Byron Jones settling into safety is a big positive for this team. But the Giants receiving core is loaded with talent as well. Odell Beckham Jr. is easily one of the top five receivers in the league, Victor Cruz is finally healthy after having a couple injury filled seasons, and the rookie Sterling Sheppard has been turning heads all offseason. This secondary has a tough task ahead of them Sunday hopefully this defensive line will help them out.
Dak Prescott vs Himself
This matchup is the biggest one. Two weeks ago Tony Romo injured his back and just like that the 2016 fourth round pick was handed the keys to a shiny new toy. Luckily that toy was loaded with features, features he must learn to use quickly. Dak is set up to succeed here in Dallas with the best offensive line in the NFL, one of the best receivers in the NFL in Dez Bryant, a future Hall of Famer in Jason Witten, and one of the likely candidates for rookie of the year Ezekiel Elliott. Sounds pretty easy right? Throw it to Dez and Witten hand it to Zeke and call it a day. Wrong. Dak must continue to do what he’s been doing in preseason. The most impressive thing about the rookie has been his ability to go through his progressions and find ways to move the football whether it’s with his arm or his feet. If he can continue to make plays without forcing anything then I have a good feeling about his chances. What worries me is that Dak will press to do more and that’s when things could go bad. So far Dak has taken everything that has been handed to him and ran with it so there is nothing that should worry you but Prescott is still a rookie and will show signs of that probably sooner rather than later.
The next time you’ll hear from me we’ll know whether the Dallas Cowboys are 1-0 or 0-1. Let’s all hope it’s 1-0 with no more significant injuries.
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