On Friday, I have this Facebook ritual of capturing the current mood I’m in with an adorable picture of the most recent addition to our family, Ontara Faith. She’s been with me through the three-game win streak, and she was there last week when we had no idea what to expect entering the game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
And this week, I have to say - she wasn’t in all that good of a mood. It must be due to the fact that there was no Cowboys football game this week.
The bye week is a great time for the Cowboys team as they get to recuperate from injuries and get recharged for the second half of the season; however, it’s no picnic for us fans as we have to endure a two-week stretch without watching our team in action. So, to help deal with this lull in action, we decided to hand out some awards based on the first seven games of the season.
The most improved player over the first couple games of the season was Michael Gallup. After all, he was fast out of the gate setting new career highs as he had already compiled 226 yards receiving. But then, a knee injury sidelined him and he hasn’t been able to get back on track. In each of the last two games, he’s had less than 50 yard receiving.
But one guy who has showed up every week is La’el Collins. Many expected Collins to be playing his last season with Dallas, but the Cowboys front office had other plans. This offseason, they signed LC to a five-year, $50 million extension, fortifying their offensive line for years to come. And while there is this urban legend going around that players stop playing hard once they get their money, that is certainly not the case with Collins. He’s been outstanding, week in and week out, and if he keeps it up - he’ll be the fourth member of this illustrious Pro Bowl earning offensive line.
From the moment Trysten Hill was selected with the team’s first draft pick this year, the mood has been pretty dark when it comes to what the Cowboys got. It’s not his fault that many of us fans had our hearts set on one of the good safeties still available. It’s not his fault that some of us viewed him as more of a third-round target. But hey, what does it matter what we all think, right? The Cowboys loved him, so we should love him too. That’s sorta the rule.
Unfortunately for Hill, he’s given us very little to like so far this season. He’s been inactive at times this year, and when he does dress - we don’t see much of him. He’s only tallied 85 defensive snaps so far this year. The Cowboys knew that Hill was a guy that they needed to develop as the raw traits are there. He has the explosiveness to get off the line of scrimmage and the flexibility to play both defensive tackle positions, but so far - there just hasn’t been much to like about him. Some will blame the coaches for not giving him enough of a chance, but let’s keep in mind that there has to be a reason he’s only seen limited snaps this year. He has to earn his playing time. This one is a “wait and see” type of situation, but early indications aren’t looking too favorable.
SHOW ME MORE OF...
I love Tony Pollard. You love Tony Pollard. The Cowboys loved Tony Pollard as proven by them taking him way earlier than many expected. And when he touches the ball, good things happen. So, the only question that remains is - why aren’t we seeing more of Tony Pollard?
On Saturday, we pointed out that the Cowboys are undefeated when Pollard gets at least five touches. What’s mind-boggling about that stat is that means there have been three games this season where he’s gotten fewer than five touches. That’s inexcusable. Nobody is saying that there needs to be more of a committee approach as we all know the importance of getting the ball in Ezekiel Elliott’s hands, but there has to be a fair compromise. A little more creativity to get 21 and 20 on the field at the same time may go a long way in crossing up the defense and opening the door for some nice plays.
BEST PLAYER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Cowboys have had their fair share of injuries to their starters this season, and overall - the backups have done a pretty decent job filling in. When both Tyron Smith and Collins missed action, Cameron Fleming and UDFA rookie Brandon Knight were okay as all hell didn’t break loose like it has in the past when backup tackles have been deployed. And players like Kerry Hyder and Joe Thomas have done a great job of making plays in what limited action they see.
But the Cowboys best non-starter has to be Jourdan Lewis. Many fans are pounding the table for him to jump Anthony Brown as the team’s starting slot corner. A compelling case can certainly be made considering how well Lewis has played. Of course, let’s not forget that Brown played extremely well last year and it’s hard to second-guess this coaching staff as they appear to know what they’re doing more times than not. We could see more of Lewis down the stretch as he’s only played in 162 snaps on the season (35%), but he’s most definitely making them count.
All Jourdan Lewis does is make plays. pic.twitter.com/aTX3iavrMa— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 27, 2019
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
The future of the Cowboys resides in the hands of Dak Prescott. And so does the present and the past when you look at the last three and a half seasons. Dak’s been “the man” since entering the league as injuries to CBS Broadcaster Tony Romo and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore propelled him into the starting role. It’s been shaky at times as one might expect from a young quarterback that is still developing, but if the 2019 season is any indication - he’s starting to put it all together.
Prescott has already thrown for 2,123 yards on the year which puts him on pace to hit 4,852 yards on the year. He’s getting the ball out faster as his sacks are down to just 10 on the year after being sacked 56 times last season (second-most), but it’s not affecting his accuracy as he’s completed over 70% of his passes. He’s cutting loose more this year thanks to a new quarterback coach in Jon Kitna and Moore’s play-calling.
Nothing correlates more to the success of a team than the performance of their quarterback, but that holds especially true in Dallas. When Dak’s on - the Cowboys just don’t lose as they are 27-1 when Prescott has a QB Rating greater than 100. And it might shock some people, but Dak has been pretty good so far in his career.
Every quarterback in NFL history with an interception percentage under 2, a touchdown percentage over 4.5, and at least two-thirds completion percentage:— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) October 25, 2019
There are a lot of good players that are key to this team’s success, but Dak’s performance this year has been the biggest catalyst in keeping this team in the win column this season. If he has a good second half to the season, it’s going to mean nice things for this Cowboys football team.