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Cowboys news: Perspective battling panic early in the season

And the obligatory update on the various Ezekiel Elliott stories.

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Sham: We’re Just Getting Started; No Answers Yet For Instant Evaluators | Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
If you are in need of a little perspective on the state of the Cowboys after the Broncos loss, there are few better able to provide it than Brad Sham, longtime radio voice of the Cowboys.

In the days before the Cowboys hosted the Giants to open the season – remember, way back when the Cowboys were still good – several New York writers penned pieces about how the Giants had their best chance this year to make one more Super Bowl run with this team. Several predicted it. Imagine how they feel after the Giants’ 0-2 start. There will be blood.

The problem, of course, is that a season unfolds at its pace, not ours. The fellow in Phoenix who demanded I tell him who the Cowboys are? Had to tell him, I don’t know. They’ve only played two games. Ever hear of a team going 4-0 and missing the playoffs? Happens a lot. Ever hear of a team starting maybe 1-4 and making the playoffs? Happens all the time. It’s not easy. But easy isn’t the point.

This corner has long held the opinion that every football season is like a little lifetime. What a team is at the beginning is rarely what it is at the end. It changes, grows. Some don’t go well. Some run smoothly from start to finish, but not many. Most evolve. This Cowboys team could be a great example.

Dallas Cowboys: Sturm: The significant and disconcerting issues that Cowboys' defense showed in Denver | Bob Sturm, SportsDay
The Marinelli report is, as you might expect, flat-out ugly. The real problem: Uncharacteristically bad tackling.

The play I am speaking of happened during the Broncos' second drive. It happened with 3:51 to go in the first quarter and, ironically, storm clouds had literally started rolling over Sports Authority Field at Mile High. A second-and-10 for the Broncos from their own 33, and they look like they are executing a simple run to the right with a pulling guard after a quarterback read. C.J. Anderson is given the ball at the mesh point and heads off right tackle. The Cowboys' defensive line is blocked pretty well and the weak-side linebacker, Sean Lee, runs into traffic as well. Jaylon Smith gets around the pulling left guard and scrapes to the outside nicely, where he is in a nice spot to bring Anderson to the ground. But Anderson does not cooperate with a little burst of quickness that Smith is not ready for, and his arm tackle effort is not close to ending the play. Instead, Anderson is able to wiggle around him easily and take on a dive-bombing Jeff Heath from the safety spot.

For whatever reason, Heath, who is in a fantastic spot to end the play, channels his inner Roy Williams and decides to try the shoulder collision technique rather than the safer idea of wrapping up and bringing Anderson to the ground. Anderson shrugs him off, spins back to his right, where Nolan Carroll is not terribly interested in getting around his wide receiver's block, but Lee and DeMarcus Lawrence have now rallied back to the ball and, for a brief moment, Anderson is in a triangle of Cowboys as Nos. 50, 90 and 24 are right on top of him. Anderson, however, keeps his legs churning and before anyone can blink, he is in the open field sprinting down the sideline after all three of those white jerseys collided with each other in "Keystone Cops" fashion and fell to the ground. Twenty-eight yards later, Byron Jones finally pushes him out of bounds and the Broncos are on the move again, with all the confidence in the world that the Cowboys aren't going to tackle them today.

Dallas Cowboys got exposed by the Denver Broncos. Is it time to panic? - SBNation.com staff
How worried should the Dallas fan base be? Maybe a lot, maybe not.

Panic index: Not only did the Broncos beat the Cowboys handily, they also cracked the code to shutting down the run game entirely and gave other teams film on how to make that happen. There’s cause for concern.

The good news for Dallas? Not every defense is built like the Broncos’.

NFL1000: Unearthing Every NFL Team's Early Hidden Gem | Doug Farrar, Bleacher Report
There's only one problem with the player selected here as the Cowboys' hidden gem: After recording four sacks in two games, Demarcus Lawrence is suddenly getting a lot of notice.

The Cowboys selected Demarcus Lawrence in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Boise State with the hopes he could replace another guy with the same first name—DeMarcus Ware, who logged 117 sacks for Dallas from 2005 through 2013. Lawrence showed a ton of potential as a pass-rusher in his second season of 2015 with eight sacks, but he had just one sack in 2016 as he struggled with injuries.

So far through 2017, it's clear Lawrence has returned at his best. He has four sacks, and his 13 total quarterback pressures ties him among 4-3 defensive ends with Jacksonville's Calais Campbell and Melvin Ingram of the Chargers.

At 6'3" and 265 pounds, Lawrence can beat offensive tackles with surprising speed off the edge. He can also win with bull rushes, inside counters, a series of pass-rush moves that include a devastating arm-over to put him past any blocker, and a spin move that is hard to beat.

Dallas' defense is still putting its talent together, but as long as Lawrence stays healthy, he's one piece of the puzzle that fits.

Demarcus Lawrence on pace to shatter Cowboys' season sack record - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Demarcus Lawrence is off to the best start of his NFL career. Significantly. And his year is likely to get much better over the next few weeks.

More realistically, he is on pace to take ownership of the Cowboys' all-time single season sack record (20.0) currently held by future first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker DeMarcus Ware. And while some will reach for the emergency brake on a projection like this, they aren't taking into account Lawrence is devouring worlds right now absent elite play on the opposite edge.

And that, folks, is about to change.

The return of Damontre Moore in Week 3 and the coming of David Irving in Week 5 will only help to ensure Lawrence's domination of 2017 continues as planned, and it's full speed ahead as he works to prove he's worth a long-term deal.

Cowboys Film Room: Don't panic about Dez Bryant - Marcus Mosher, Fansided
There has been a lot of talk about how Dez Bryant has really fallen off. This article takes another look, and comes up with a different conclusion, including that what Bryant did against Denver was not as bad as a quick look at the stat sheet indicates.

Of the 18 passes that were thrown Bryant’s way (two of which resulted in penalties), seven were caught and another seven were “uncatchable” – meaning that no receiver in the league could have caught the pass as it was either thrown out of bounds or it was nowhere close enough for Bryant to make a reasonable attempt at the ball. One of the targets was voided due to a pass interference and another was just a good play by cornerback Bradley Roby to break up the ball on a fade pass.

Dallas Cowboys: Tyrann Mathieu: Cardinals not sleeping on Cowboys despite blowout loss to Broncos | SportsDay staff
There was talk about the Denver Broncos putting out a blueprint for how to beat the Cowboys, but Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals has his doubts about how that works.

"I think every team is different, but we're definitely going to look at the Denver game and any other game that pulls a problem for the Cowboys," Mathieu told Eisen. "But they're still a great team. Maybe they had a bad day.

"It's tough to go on the road in the NFL, especially in environments like Denver, Seattle, even our place in Arizona. It's tough to go to those places and get wins. We'll take it with a grain of salt.

Joe Thomas on Zeke Elliott: “You have to learn how to lose” – Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
Joe Thomas, arguably the best player on the Cleveland Browns, has a very good take on just what happened with the now infamous "quit" of Ezekiel Elliott in the Broncos game.

“I think for young players it’s difficult sometimes because they just don’t know how to handle it and it takes sometimes, you know, public shaming like Ezekiel’s getting right now to learn that just because you’re losing a game doesn’t mean it’s time to go quit because you’re quitting on your teammates and you’re quitting on the game. In the NFL, that’s not acceptable and that’s not how you play and hopefully he’ll learn from that situation.”

Dallas Cowboys: Unfiltered Charles Barkley dishes on Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott ... and Confederate statues | Eddie Sefko, SportsDay
Charles Barkley is another celebrity who is also a Dallas Cowboys fan. He was in Dallas to participate in the SMU Athletic Forum, and was asked about the Ezekiel Elliott situation. He had some advice for the young running back, including this.

"I would tell him, 'You're a young kid who's a stud,'" Barkley said. "'We don't get the luxury of being like normal people. We don't get a chance to grow up normal.'

"'Being a famous person is not like being a normal person. You can take your time growing up as a normal person. You can make mistakes and nobody hears about it. We don't have that luxury.'"

Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott's status for Cowboys-Cardinals in Goodell's hands if NFL gets favorable ruling | David Moore, SportsDay
While the Ezekiel Elliott appeal threatens to change the whole NFL disciplinary process, it is obvious that the league is not prepared to give up on certain things - like making it up as they go along.

"We have some discretion and the commissioner will make a decision on eligibility based on when we get something from the court of appeals," said Joe Lockhart, the league's executive vice president of communications. "We don't want to create any false deadlines here.

"We'll know when we know."

Dallas Cowboys: Worried about Zeke? You need to pay more attention to another Cowboy's cruddy effort vs. Broncos | Newy Scruggs, SportsDay
Good Q&A, but here is the money take.

More attention needs to be paid at how cruddy Nolan Carroll's effort was. The corner had NO interest in tackling. I expect Jourdan Lewis to take his spot as a starter real soon.

Dallas Cowboys' L.P. Ladouceur has sprouted a long-snapping tree - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
We've all heard about coaching trees, but this may be a first: L.P. Ladouceur seems to be passing on some things that make good long snappers in the league. Zach Wood is the latest.

Wood is the third long-snapper who has spent a summer or two with the Cowboys and become a regular long-snapper in the league.

He had just a few practices with the Saints before he was forced into action.

"What L.P. was able to teach me was how simple it is and how easy it is to get caught up mentally," he said. "And that's when I feel like snappers screw up is when they think too much and all that. So he kind of helped me get in a routine, get in a mentality of, 'I can do this. I've been doing it my whole life. And I should be confident in this.'"

Will Brice Butler's Inconsistency Create More Opportunity For Young WRs? ⋆ Brian Martin, Inside the Star
Is this another year when Butler fails to follow through on an outstanding camp?

It’s absolutely infuriating at times because in one instance Brice Butler will make an outstanding acrobatic catch, and in the next he drops an easy completion that hits him right in the hands. There is nothing more frustrating for coaches and especially quarterbacks then to have a WR who they can’t truly depend upon to come through when it matters.

Brice Butler’s inconsistency could unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your point of view) create more opportunities for a couple of the Dallas Cowboys young wide receivers.

Former Bears, Panthers CB Charles Tillman reportedly training for FBI - Jeanna Thomas, SBNation.com
This has nothing to do with the Cowboys, really. But at a time when there are so many negative stories going around the country, it is nice to see one gridiron hero making the transition to being a real-life hero.

If you were making a list of careers little kids dream of pursuing when they grow up, both NFL player and FBI agent might make the list. Charles Tillman already accomplished one of those. Now, he’s working on the other.

TIllman, who retired from the NFL following the 2015 season, is currently in training to become an FBI agent, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.