The Dallas Cowboys and their fans were just spectators for the Super Bowl. But the time between the Cowboys season being over and now has hardly been dull. Some big changes have been made. Plus the roster has a lot of young talent coming back for the coming season. We’ve been detailing all the developments here at BTB https://www.dallascowboysfanshop.com/Rico-Gathers-Jersey
, and looking forward to free agency and the draft. Let’s check in on some reasons to optimistic about the upcoming season.The return of FredbeardIt feels like this has been pushed into the background with the coaching changes. The loss of Travis Frederick to Guillain-Barr茅 syndrome had a huge impact on the team last season. While Joe Looney did a good job filling in, Frederick is an incredible talent at center. His loss affected the entire philosophy of a team built on dominating at the line of scrimmage. It was compounded by having rookie Connor Williams at left guard.Currently, the expectation is that Frederick will be able to go for this season. Add in a full offseason program for Williams, and we will hopefully see a line more like it was in 2016. That in itself could be a real difference maker. We have to hope that there is no setback. Hjaving the Frederick of old back in place would make everything better.Feeling good about the firm of Kellen and KitnaLet’s throw in the entire offensive staff, including Doug Nussmeier, Marc Colombo, Sanjay Lal, and Gary Brown. There are still many who question the decision to promote Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator. Chalk it up to being very convinced that Scott Linehan just had to go, but I am looking forward to just what Moore brings to the table. He comes from a college background that featured so many elements that we have been begging for the Cowboys to incorporate. Now we get to see just how well he can do in fixing the issues that plagued the Dallas offense. The objections to Moore seem to center around his youth, only having one year of coaching experience, and that he was just not a very good quarterback at the pro level. But it is interesting to consider the case of NFL coaching darling Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams, a man who never played in the pros, and who was named offensive coordinator in Washington ten days before his 28th birthday. He had a total of five years coaching in the NFL before that, it is true. But based on what has been reported about Moore, his six years as a backup quarterback gave him a lot of exposure to what goes together in creating an offensive scheme, game-planning, and calling plays. He always stood out for his football intelligence. Besides, when has a really successful NFL QB turned into a great coach? Having to work so hard just to stay on a roster despite some obvious shortcomings as a player probably was more help to Moore than we realize.It obviously is impossible to say that Moore will be even close to McVay in his abilities as a coordinator. But it is also wrong to hold his lack of experience against him. There is a trend to young, open-minded coaches with experience in innovative college systems. Moore fully fits that bill.And now he has Kitna on his staff. Another criticism of Moore was that he was not seen to have done much for the development of Dak Prescott. That may have been because Moore was more oriented towards the installation of the game plan, not coaching up his QB. Kitna seems to be much more that teaching/developing kind of individual, with his high school coaching background. His strengths seem to be exactly where Moore seems weakest. It is a good combination where one complements the other. What about the stubbornness?One of the biggest complaints about Linehan was that he was too stubborn to adapt. He clung to the same things that worked when he had one of the most dominant offensive lines in the league, allowing the Cowboys to line up and dare the defense to stop them. That didn’t work with the degraded personnel he had last season. Yet still he would send out a jumbo package, and send Ezekiel Elliott into the teeth of a loaded box, especially down close to the end zone. Too many times it failed, yet we kept seeing it, including in the playoffs against the Rams.The big question now is whether that was really Linehan Geoff Swaim Jersey
, or was that also coming from Jason Garrett? Just how open the head coach is to change in the offense may be the biggest deciding factor in how successful everything is. Garrett, of course, is in a contract yearAnd all reports are that there will not be an extension. This may be a good thing, because the last time he coached out the final year of his deal was 2014, and had it not been for a playoff game with an untimely fumble, a catch that wasn’t except it really was, and Aaron Freaking Rodgers, that would have changed the postseason narrative a lot. Now, his back is up against the wall.Those are the situations when Garrett rises to the occasion. 2014, losing his starting quarterback in 2016, and the run to make the playoffs last season all were cases where he was under extreme pressure and rallied the team to make the postseason. Looking at it from the standpoint of Jerry and Stephen Jones, it would appear that they like the changes that have been made - but aren’t going to buy completely into them until they see them work on the field. And frankly, they have a ready made solution if things do not go well and they feel it is time to move on from their head coach. That is Kris Richard, who many have tagged as a future head coach. If Garrett moves on, they could promote him with the understanding that the offensive staff remains largely intact. He is, of course, a defensive coach, and would have worked with the offensive staff for a year at that point. Add in that he will have worked for the Jones family for two years by then, and he is far less likely to want to bring in his own offensive people to supplant Kellen and Kitna. Of course, there might also be a shot a Sean Payton by that point. However, he also has a long history with the Joneses, so he might be willing to keep much of the staff intact as well.In any case, it makes a lot of sense to not extend Garrett at this point. If he finally breaks through to the conference championship game, then he will have earned an extension and the lucrative contract. If not, Dallas is in good shape to move on.Youth is goodJust as the coaching staff has a lot of younger faces (to go along with the vast experience of Rod Marinelli and Hudson Houck), the roster is one of the youngest in the league. And the NFL is a young man’s game now. The current structure of the salary cap makes it necessary to have a lot of your team on those first contracts. It certainly helps when those young guys are also pretty good Anthony Brown Color Rush Jersey
, and the Cowboys have a lot of very talented young players. There is a good window for them to have success, but those windows are not long-lived. That fits right in with Garrett being in a make-or-break year. He needs to get the most out of this bunch now to save his job. Motivating his players is one of his real strengths, and the young guys certainly have responded to him.There are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about 2019, and a sense of anticipation about seeing how this all plays out. It may not work the way we hope - but it will be an interesting ride. The staff prioritized evaluation over all, and still got a W out of the deal." Dallas Cowboys 2019 Preseason GamesCrunching stats: Cowboys get it done against Rams, but it wasn’t prettyNew,81commentsThe staff prioritized evaluation over all, and still got a W out of the deal.CDTFor the Dallas Cowboys, the second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams was a much sloppier performance than their first game against the San Francisco 49ers, but came up with a more enjoyable result. Two offensive drives basically salvaged the game, while the defense only had one real breakdown when a muffed punt gave the Rams a short field. The stats are not very pretty to dig into, but there are still nuggets to mine.The first-team offense is clickingThey were missing Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and Amari Cooper. But the 97-yard touchdown drive on their one series was impressive, even if it was against a Rams defense that held out all its starters. Tony Pollard put up a pretty remarkable stat line, accounting for 51 yards and a touchdown on five runs and one reception (a second catch was overturned by penalty). Dak Prescott continues to be perfect passing in preseason. He went five for five on the drive. The highlight of the drive, outside of Pollard’s 14-yard scoring run, was the 31-yard completion to Michael Gallup, the longest play of the day for either team. Even with the missing starters, the offense already looks ready for the real games to start. The offensive line had one breakdown on the sack that forced the Cowboys into second and 22. Initially it looked like Pollard missed a blitz pickup, but subsequent study shows it may have been more a general breakdown in the protection.The defense is ready, tooAs mentioned above, there was only one time when the first team defense failed to stop Blake Bortles and the Rams offense, and some credit for that has to go to a sharp decision by Sean McVay to go to a hurry up play to catch Dallas on its heels. Like the offense, the D was missing a group of starters https://www.dallascowboysfanshop.com/Joe-Looney-Jersey
, including DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn (who faces his two-game suspension to start the season), Byron Jones, and Sean Lee. But the defensive line kept up solid pressure and played the run well. There were no sacks, but two passes were batted down by Antwaun Woods and Taco Charlton. The latter almost turned his into a pick. In general, Charlton helped himself with some relentless play. The secondary continues to look like the best part of the defense. Jourdan Lewis was active and credited with one pass defended to go with a tackle.Going down the depth chart, Kerry Hyder and Dorance Armstrong also showed up well, with Hyder getting three tackles and Armstrong adding two. Trysten Hill looked much improved and picked up a tackle for a loss plus a QB hit. Justin March-Lillard was the leading tackler for the game with nine tackles total, and both Justin Phillips and Nate Hall are making a charge to break through at linebacker. Phillips had the defensive play of the game with the Cowboys’ lone interception. Another player making a real drive to get on the 53-man roster is Donovan Olumba. He had five tackles, one for a loss, and defended a pass. Donovan Wilson was quieter this game, but did notch two tackles.Just one injuryIt happened on the opening kickoff, a shoulder injury to linebacker Chris Covington. Outside of that, the team escaped without anything else as far as we know. That is a win in itself.Penalties, penalties, penaltiesAfter playing a comparatively clean game against the 49ers, the Cowboys slid back into the rather typical sloppy execution that plagues many teams in preseason, having 11 penalties accepted for 88 yards. That isn’t good, but it was at least better than their opponents. The Rams gifted the Cowboys with 128 yards on 18 infractions. The Cowboys managed to at least spread their fouls out for the most part, and only gave the Rams a first down by penalty twice. The Rams were in a giving mood, with the Cowboys getting seven of their 20 first downs courtesy of those flags. LA had one particularly bad stretch during the third quarter touchdown drive by Dallas that wound up winning the game. They had penalties on three consecutive plays, and that netted the Cowboys 34 of the 72 yards they needed for the score.While they may have been less horrible in this department, it is clearly something that Dallas has to work on.The backup quarterback battleTechnically, it is too early to call it. But for all intents and purposes, Cooper Rush has won the job and Mike White is probably looking at a practice squad spot as the best available outcome. Rush was 10 of 16 for 83 yards and that well executed touchdown to Devin Smith. White’s stat line was miserable: 7 of 13 for only 30 yards, the longest completion was only for seven yards Mike White Jersey
, and his game ended with a badly thrown interception.The wide receiver battle is not what we were hoping forPutting it bluntly, Jon’Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton may be balling in practices, but they are wilting in live game action. Johnson only caught one of the five passes that came his way, while Guyton was the only targeted receiver who didn’t get a catch. There were obvious drops involved. It is not a way for either to make the roster. Reggie Davis didn’t help his case by muffing that punt, either. Neither Noah Brown or Cedrick Wilson was available for the game, but that may actually have helped them as far as making the 53. One player who is forcing his name into consideration for making the team is Devin Smith. In addition to the touchdown grab from Rush, he had two other catches on a total of five targets. This could be the year he finally gets over his history of injuries - but it is still a long shot for him.Tight ends who may not be just camp bodiesJason Witten only played the 13 downs that the first team was on the field, and Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz both were held out for what appear to be mostly precautionary reasons. That forced Marcus Lucas and Codey McElroy, a couple of real unknowns, to carry the load at tight end. And they did so surprisingly well. Lucas was the only target that White was able to hit consistently, catching all four of the passes that came his way. McElroy only caught two of the five passes directed at him, but still managed to be the third leading receiver in terms of yards gained. Both are practice squad eligible, and look for one of them to get there as ready depth for the season. And at the moment they look to be better insurance against injury than we expected.Some names to watch on the offensive lineThere were some hopes that Mitch Hyatt was going to be a UDFA gem, but so far, the NFL game has been a bit more than he appears equipped to handle. The team may need to let him marinate on the PS for a year. A bit surprisingly, the team is leaning more on Jake Campos at tackle. He saw 82% of the offensive snaps, which appears to be every play after the starters left the game. Campos would seem to have little chance of making the roster, and could be squeezed out of a PS job by Hyatt. But guard/center Adam Redmond, who also saw 82% of the offensive snaps, may be finding a way to stick around. He could be kept as one of the third year PS players that are allowed.Another miss for Brett MaherIt was from 52 yards in windy conditions, but it was a miss. The kicker concerns continue.