Latest posts by Horatio Cornblower (see all)
- Holdout At The OK Corral: Your 2019 Dallas Cowboys Preview – August 21, 2019
- A Wrinkle In Time:Your 2019 Kansas City Chiefs A Day Late Because Horatio Screwed Up The Post Time – August 20, 2019
- Horatio’s Dumbass Mock Draft 2.0 & 2019 NFL Draft Open Thread – April 25, 2019
As I write this Ezekiel Elliott continues his holdout, refusing to report to the Cowboys until he gets Todd Gurley money. Shit-talker and general goggle-eyed crazy person Jerry Jones shows no signs of giving in, praising backup RB Tony Pollard after the latter had a nice performance in an utterly meaningless pre-season game. All you need to know about how this is going to end is that Dallas went 13-3 in Elliott’s first season, went 9-7 and missed the play-offs when he was suspended for the opening weeks of his second season, and went 10-6 and back to the play-offs when he came back for a full third season, presumably having learned a valuable lesson about keeping his hands to himself. For better or worse the Cowboys go as Zeke goes and while Ol ‘JJ may be crazy, a shitty human being, terrible at evaluating talent, and dumb enough to pose for compromising pictures with women of questionable morals, he is also a sore loser. Elliott will be the Cowboys starting RB come Week 1, and he’ll be extremely rich, too. Of course, there’s an approximately 78% chance he’ll be broke in two years after he retires, but that’s another story.
With Zeke likely in camp by Week One, whither the rest of the 2019 Cowboys?
Dak Prescott, or at least somebody working for Dak Prescott, has reportedly demanded a $40 million salary for Dak.
“I want a contract this big!”
I like Dak Prescott. I think he’s a good QB, probably better than average. But $40 million for Dak Prescott in a league with a salary cap and a need to pay Amari Cooper, Zeke Elliott, and a defense is just stupid. Putting aside Dak’s upcoming 2020 holdout, he’s probably the best QB in the NFC East, with Eli aging like the portrait of Dorian Gray, Carson Wentz apparently not drinking enough whole milk to overcome his late-blooming brittle-bone disease, and…I have no idea who Washington’s QB is. Still, I feel confident Dak’s better than Washington’s mystery man. Is he Aaron Rodgers? No, because Dak still talks to his family. But for the Cowboys purposes he’ll be fine.
The Running Backs
(Here we see a rare sight indeed, Zeke Elliott about to not get suspended for using his hands on another human being)
We covered this in the opening. Jesus, follow along. If Zeke isn’t the best RB in the NFL, (yes Barkley’s better, but Dallas has an offensive line and a QB who isn’t ready for AARP), he’s top 3. Pollard might be a really nice back-up. Alfred Morris is on the roster, so there’s that.
(When Amari Cooper misses the first 8 games of the season with a MRSA infection, this is why)
Amari Cooper got out of the hell hole that is Oakland, (Oh wait, so are the Raiders. Again), and seemed to have a pretty much instant connection with Dak. He’s in a contract year, so he’ll be motivated to get the kinds of statistics that will really put the pressure on the GM when Cooper is hanging out and holding out with Dak this time next year. Micheal Gallup seemed to progress towards the end of his rookie season and comes back as a potentially nice complement to Cooper. Cole Beasley took his talents to Buffalo for $30 million, which seems low to live in Buffalo for 4 years. The Cowboys responded by signing Randall Cobb for one-year and $5 million, which seems like a potential bargain. There’s also Tavon Austin and, probably, some other guys. But you give me Cooper, Gallup, and Cobb working with Dak against a defense that has to worry about Zeke Elliott, and for that matter Dak’s ability to run, and I’ll take my chances.
Jason Witten unretired, despite nothing but praise for his spectacular work on Monday Night Football.
(These two made me long for the dulcet tones of Dennis Miller, you know what I mean Cha-cha?)
He’s probably instantly the best TE on the Dallas roster, and he’s certainly better at tight-ending than he is at coloUr commentating, but he’s also 37. Blake Jarwin had some good moments last year, so let’s say he’s the guy who comes in when Witten needs to catch his breath and learn to enunciate. Tight end is a position that is probably not going to be a strength.
For years the offensive line was Dallas’s greatest strength. Last year age, injuries, and weird diseases, caught up with the line and they weren’t quite as effective. Still good, just not as overpowering. This year Travis Frederick
is apparently recovered from Guillaume-Barre, and Zack Martin and Tyson Smith are, (uh, were), healthy. That won’t last, of course, but at least initially the line should be better and more cohesive than it was last year. All the injuries last year also led to some playing time for guys like Joe Looney and Connor Williams, which may lead to increased flexibility when the inevitable injuries start this year. The verdict? If they stay healthy, even just the majority of them, the line will be good, better than most, just not what it’s been in more recent years.
Oh look, Tyson Smith’s already hurt!
The Cowboys resigned Demarcus Lawrence
“I got a contract this big!”
and traded for Robert Quinn. They’re good, but the back-ups are either out-of-position, (Tyrone Crawford), young, (Dorance Armstrong), or really high, (Randy Gregory). Defensive tackle seems to be a collection of bodies that get shuffled in and out. I didn’t recognize any names. Probably not a good sign. That said if Lawrence and Quinn stay healthy they should do enough that the tackles du jour will be just fine. If Lawrence and/or Quinn miss any significant time, however, there could be trouble.
(“I’ll take ‘Last Things Carson Wentz Sees Before Missing Another 6-10 Weeks’ for $800, Alex)
(Also notable because Sean Lee is missing, just like it’ll look after Week 3!)
Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch (the III, I assume), are Pro Football Focus’s 5th and 6th ranked linebackers, making Dallas the only team with two top-10 linebackers. Sean Lee is a valuable middle linebacker until his annual concussion sidelines him, probably by Week 3.
Sean Lee should really retire.
The back-ups are no slouches either, according to this totally unbiased Cowboys blog I found. That said, if Smith and Vanderkamps Fish Stick, (his real nick name is “The Wolf Hunter”, which is much cooler), the Cowboys may have the best linebacking corps in the league, (I could say the same about Lee, but he isn’t going to stay healthy), and if they don’t it’ll be a significant blow.
And now we come to the Achilles heel of the Cowboys. I seem to say this every year, but the Dallas secondary is again the weakest part of the team. Last year I didn’t think that they were quite the dumpster fire they usually were, but as the linked article pointed out Jeff Heath is good for a couple of good hits a game, which is good, but not when compared to 17 missed tackles.
(literally anyone can look good playing the Giants)
has a great name and was considered a steal when the Cowboys got him in the second round, but that article pisses all over him, and it’s sadly not inaccurate. Byron Jones is a UConn guy, so I’ll always root for him, but every game I watch he seems to do something that makes me wince. The Cowboys probably have two options with their secondary, the first is that it get a lot better very quickly, or else the front seven get to the other QB fast enough that the secondary doesn’t have time to screw things up.
It’s Jason Garrett’s 8th season as the Cowboys head coach.
(Oh look, they made a sequel to “Get Out”!)
That’s the 4th-longest current tenure of any NFL head coach. The others are Belichek, Tomlin, John Harbaugh, and Sean Payton. You know what those four have in common? At least one Super Bowl win. Do you know what Jason Garret has in common with that? Nothing. While I routinely shit all over Garrett, I’m not sure anyone can coach the Cowboys so long as Jerry Jones is on this side of the dirt: Jimmy Johnson won three Super Bowls, (don’t you for a moment think that Switzer deserves any credit for that last one), and Jones still ran him out of town because his fragile ego wouldn’t allow him to share any credit for success. Garrett has this figured out and so long as he stays in the background and keeps his mouth shut, and the Cowboys don’t go 2-14 more than once every 4-5 years, he’ll probably be safe.
Rod Marinelli returns as the defensive coordinator. He gets his share of grief, but he’s managed to build a potentially Top-10 defense over the last few years, (Top 5 if they had a secondary), so he’s not going anywhere, and probably shouldn’t.
On the offensive side of things Scott Linehan was let go after two years of declining production. Dallas gave the job to Kellen Moore, who at age 30 is 7 years younger than his starting TE, and whose second career pass was picked off. Still, Moore’s from Boise State, and they used to throw the ball all over the place so it looks like the offense will be fun anyway. It’s an interesting move.
The NFC East.
The Eagles let Nick Foles go and are relying on Carson Wentz, who is basically Dak Prescott with less melanin. They could be good, especially if they come out determined to show that last year was the fluke and not the Super Bowl year. Otherwise it’s the Giants and the Redacteds, and neither of those teams is a threat to do anything, although at least Washington had a good draft. All things being equal the Cowboys seem like the class, (something that generally does not apply to their fans, or indeed any NFL fanbase), of the division. If they stay healthy they should win it.
They’ll probably open 3-0 before things get tough against the Saints and the Packers. Notable games include the aforementioned Packers game; Dallas could be 4-0 going into that if Brees continues to deteriorate like he did last year when he was my FF QB, at New England on 11/24 in a race to the bottom for worst fans ever, and against the Bears on 12/5. They also play the Bills on Thanksgiving, so you can look forward to explaining to your grandmother what a dildo is and why 7 of them are on the field. Just going through it quickly I have them finishing 11-5, although losing three out of their last four, which should provide plenty of schadenfreude for every other fan base.