Top 19 NFL games of 2019: Cowboys, Chiefs, Pats dominate list - Elliott Harrison, NFL.com
The Cowboys will always draw big television ratings. And folks over at NFL.com are already excited about the team’s schedule, putting four Cowboys’ contests on their list of 19 to look forward to in 2019.
On that note, below you’ll find my list of the top 19 games of 2019, a mix of heavy-hitting showdowns between potential juggernauts and games offering juicy subplots. Unfortunately, the Steelers don’t play the Raiders this season, so no Antonio Brown’s revenge storyline. Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t set to face the Giants, either, and Broncos QB Joe Flacco doesn’t have the Ravens on the sked. So this year is a little lighter on the star-player-versus-former-team front.
You know where the schedule is not light? The steak. The big games, especially postseason rematches, are plentiful. What’s your choice beef on the list below?
16) Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears: Styles make fights, except these two franchises mimic each other. Every drive will count.
12) Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots: Two titan organizations that put all the networks in a tizzy. Can the Cowboys win in Foxborough for the first time since Herschel Walker went yard?
9) Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints: This could wind up being as exciting as any game on the list. After all, it was one of the tremendous affairs of last season. Dallas handed New Orleans its second loss of the season, snapping the Saints’ 10-game win streak, when these two linked up on “Thursday Night Football.”
4) Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys: A classic old-school NFC matchup and a rematch of last season’s divisional playoff game. Did you know that the Rams and Cowboys have met in the postseason nine times? That’s more than any other two teams in NFL history.
Evaluating the 2019 quarterback class – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Part of Sturm’s evaluation of this year’s QB draft class are his thoughts on evaluating the game’s most important position.
Next, we are looking for leaders of men. We don’t want a player who looks like he has checked out because the day is too difficult or he has been hit repeatedly. We want one who appears to rally the troops and courageously press on. This is anecdotal and dangerous to define, but I believe game study can reveal this some of the time. You better not overvalue it over some of the issues above on this list, but if those all are present, then this is useful, too. We also cannot have a space cadet off the field, and that is why knowing the importance of football in his life is going to be about a thousand percent more vital than if he was a cornerback or a running back. Playing QB requires very little else being a top priority in your life. If building your own brand is more important than being the best and sharpest brain on the roster, than I am going to have my doubts. Also, we will have very little patience for this guy having the most interesting nightlife. Can he vacation and enjoy his offseason? Sure. But, if he shows up at 2 a.m. in nightclubs very often, we will assume he isn’t at the facility at 6 a.m. getting his head ready for battle. If you want to find the next Joe Namath, be my guest. But, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns and would have almost no chance in today’s era to be successful.
Travis Frederick On Hand For Cowboys’ Workouts - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Not unexpected but still good news from The Star, as Travis Frederick returned in an official capacity.
It’s a small step, but an important one.
As the Cowboys kick off their offseason program, Travis Frederick is on hand and taking part in workouts.
“It’s just great to have him working out again. Last year, I think it was well-documented, he did a great job of being kind of another coach,” said Zack Martin. “But to see him back out there working out, you can definitely see a little bounce in his step.”
That alone isn’t exactly big news. Frederick has been working out with his teammates for a healthy portion of this offseason. But with Monday marking the first time the Cowboys were together as a full team, it’s worth noting one of their biggest leaders was on hand.
Daniel Wise has all sorts of Cowboys connections. What would the Kansas DT add to Dallas? – KevinTurner, The Athletic
Could another University of Kansas defensive lineman be on the Cowboys’ draft board as Dorance Armstrong was last year?
Before we dive into some clips and talk about Wise’s strengths and weaknesses, let’s dig into his background. Wise went to Hebron High School in Lewisville, which explains why he was a Dallas Day candidate, but his football ties run deeper than that. His dad was selected by Seattle in the ninth round of the 1988 NFL Draft and his brother was picked by New England in 2017’s fourth round.
Something caught my attention last Thursday when listening to The Draft Show podcast on DallasCowboys.com, which features former NFL Scout Bryan Broaddus, The Athletic’s very own Dane Brugler, and Dave Helman. They were discussing Dane’s seven-round mock draft for The Athletic, and though Dane didn’t have Wise going to the Cowboys his name came up as a consideration. Here’s a loose transcript:
Broaddus: “Who did you have in that area (of their fourth-round pick)?”
Brugler: “Daniel Wise is a guy I considered. There are plenty of Dallas and Daniel Wise connections.”
Helman: “Circle that name, Daniel Wise of Kansas”
Finding 58: Why Taylor Rapp Is Everywhere - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com
A name that is fast gathering “most wanted” status among Cowboys’ draftniks is Taylor Rapp.
How’s His Stock: While most mock drafts have Rapp in the second-round range, some outside observers believe his stock could slip slightly after posting a reported 4.7-second 40-yard dash time at his pro day. But Rapp’s toughness, range and instincts are evident on his college tape. He’s still arguably the best safety prospect in this year’s class.
How He Could Help: Newly-signed seven-year veteran George Iloka adds depth behind 2018 starters Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath. But drafting a safety isn’t out of the question if value presents itself on Day 2 or 3. Rapp showed versatility at Washington, able to make tackles near the line of scrimmage and make plays in coverage. He conceivably could help a team at free or strong safety.
Russell Wilson trade: A move from Seahawks could change everything - Steven Ruiz, ForTheWin
Could the Russell Wilson saga signal a potential change in NFL front office strategies regarding the high cost of “franchise” quarterbacks? An interesting read.
Based on everything we know about Seattle’s coaching philosophy, it’s not unfair to say that the staff seems to view having a top quarterback as more of a luxury than a necessity. And while that’s flawed thinking, you can see why they may think that: That Lombardi Trophy in Seattle’s trophy case was won with a team built around defense and the running game while Wilson was still developing into the perennial MVP candidate he is today. If the Pete Carroll/John Schneider brain trust is looking to recreate a similar team, signing a quarterback to a cap-altering contract is not the way to go about it.
Trading that quarterback for a bounty of draft picks would be the best way to go about it. Not only would it save the Seahawks over $30 million in cap space annually, but it would give Seattle a chance to add players on cheap rookie contracts, which are now the lifeblood of Super Bowl-caliber teams.
Snap-Weighted Age: 2018 NFL Rosters - Bryan Knowles, Football Outsiders
If aging curves and the value of “veteranicity” is something you’re interested in then the Football Outsiders folks have what you’re looking for.
We have been tracking snap-weighted age since 2012 -- calculating a team's metric not by just averaging the ages of the roster, but by weighting the age of each player by the number of snaps he played in the regular season. For the third straight year, we saw the league's SWA drop to a record low. We're now down to 26.45 years as the salary cap and rookie wage scale continue to incentivize teams to keep younger, cheaper players over pricey veterans.
However, for the fourth year in a row, the Lombardi trophy was hoisted by a team closer to getting their AARP cards than college diplomas. The New England Patriots have also set a new record; with a SWA of 27.9, they are the oldest team to win the Super Bowl since our records began.
To sum up, being young is in vogue, but experience wins championships, right? After all, each of the last five Super Bowl champs, and eight of the last 10, have been one of the ten oldest teams in the league by snap-weighted age. With the exception of the Legion of Boom Seahawks, we have never seen a team with an SWA below 26 even make the big game. So, teams should load up on those veterans in free agency and start planning their Super Bowl parade, yeah?
Well, no, of course, that's silly. The question about where a team wants to rank in SWA to be the most competitive remains open, and this year's results continue to muddy the waters. Half of the twelve playoff teams had an above-average SWA; half of them were below average. If you're looking for the One True Roster-Building Model, you'll have to keep looking elsewhere.
Miss 'em or dismiss 'em: Which departing free agents will the Cowboys wish they kept on the roster? - Tyler Dragon, SportsDay
Care to voice your opinion? SportDay is running a poll on whether the Cowboys should have retained receiver Cole Beasley. The relevant numbers:
How he left: Signed a 4-year deal with the Buffalo Bills
2018-19 stats: 65 receptions, 672 yards, 3 touchdowns
Career stats: 319 receptions, 3,271 yards, 23 touchdowns
The rundown: It's no surprise that Beasley departed from Dallas this offseason. The slot receiver made it known that he wanted to be involved more in the offense and that just wasn't going to happen the way he wanted it to with Amari Cooper's emergence.