The NFL.com staff found a way to count more than ten of the league’s best triplets before putting Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper on the list? Really?
However, Dallas isn’t the only home to a potentially prolific trio in 2019. NFL.com’s deputy editor Ali Bhanpuri recently ranked each NFL team’s group of triplets heading into next season, and in what may be a surprise to some, the Cowboys’ group couldn’t even crack the top 10.
The Cowboys came in at No. 12, and only came in that high thanks to Bhanpuri ranking Elliott as the No. 1 overall back in the entire league. (See more about his ranking system here.)
”As the engine of the Cowboys’ offense, Elliott is even more impactful than his gaudy stats suggest and is certainly more than just a product of a great offensive line,” Bhanpuri said. “He’s a powerful, elusive runner who’s also become an essential component to the team’s passing attack, both in terms of his hands and his blocking ability.
Some other media, though, see the Cowboys near the top.
Talk about a swing! The Cowboys headed into 2018 with Ezekiel Elliott and a laughably bad receiving corps, but one year later, there’s a lot to like for Dak Prescott. The trade for Amari Cooper revitalized Dallas’s passing game; Prescott posted a 104.6 passer rating with the star wideout on the field and an 86.8 rating with Cooper sidelined or in Oakland. Michael Gallup got better as the year went along, finishing with a 119-yard performance against the Rams during the postseason.
And though Jason Witten might not have much left in the tank at age 37 after returning from a year of broadcasting, Dallas’ starting tight ends last season posted a combined line of 38 catches for 345 yards and one touchdown. Even a limited Witten should be a comfortable upgrade in offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense.
The Cowboys have a talented roster but can they make it all work?
The Cowboys went from 30th to fifth in one year. Call that the Amari Cooper effect. But Barnwell also shines the light (as we did recently) on the improvement of Gallup. That combo with Randall Cobb manning the slot has made the receiver group viable again. With Zeke in the backfield and the returned Jason Witten, that’s serious firepower for Dak Prescott.
Now, just because you have weapons on offense, it doesn’t mean you are going to be a good football team. As an example, the New York Giants rank eighth on this list, and we know that team will struggle. You still need a quarterback and an offensive line that can control the line of scrimmage. The team from Washington doesn’t even factor in here as they were rated 28th.
Don’t believe everything you read; busting some myths.
Myth: Tyron Smith is no longer elite
Still, Smith’s past injuries have sapped a little bit of his athleticism and foot quickness, but the USC product has done a great job of compensating by taking better angles in pass protection and run blocking along with improving his hand technique to combat defenders within striking distance.
In 2018, he finished second among offensive tackles in pressures allowed -- finishing behind only the New Orleans Saints’ Terron Armstead, who played in three fewer games -- and first in sacks allowed (zero), according to PFF.
If that’s not elite, what is?
How will Jason Witten help the Cowboys’ offense in his return from retirement and how much impact could he have?
Bryan Broaddus: I am honestly shocked that Jason Witten came back. I thought he would have given broadcasting another season before making the decision to return to the field. I have gone record saying that I didn’t like the idea of him returning. Sure, the passion and desire for Witten were going to be strong, but how was the skill level? I have to say that from what I have seen from him during these OTAs and minicamp practices is a player that appears to have physically improved from the year away from the game. Witten is moving with better ease and without that stiffness that was part of his final season with the club. Where Witten is going to help this club will be on third downs on underneath routes with secure finishes. He will also be a go-to guy on those trips inside the red zone from the 18-yard line in. Witten knows how to use his big body to position for space and once again provide that trademark finish.
Can Blake Jarwin get a hot start and give the Cowboys a future at tight end?
His production outside of those two games was negligible on the stat sheet, but when injury forced him onto the field more often late in the year, he clearly had a positive impact on the offense.
At 6’5” 260 pounds, can Blake Jarwin be the athletic beast of a tight end that every team yearns for in 2019? Probably not to an elite level, but he certainly can provide that surprise production when needed in big moments.
The Cowboys didn’t seem to have much confidence in Jarwin’s potential heading into this offseason, as tight end was reportedly towards the top of both their draft and free agent wishlists. They didn’t make any truly new acquisitions at the position, however, though they did bring Jason Witten back out of retirement. Bringing back about the same tight end depth chart from a year ago, with Witten simply sliding in as Geoff Swaim exits, make Jarwin a virtual lock to make the team.
Jon’Vea Johnson was undrafted out of Toledo but there is plenty of excitement about what he could be given the opportunity.
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: You have to give this young man credit for hitting the ground running. He comes from a solid program and background, but not one that you would say puts out tremendous receivers. The game is not too big for him. He appears to be comfortable as a route runner. There is a smoothness to his game. He gets in and out of his routes without difficulty. I’m impressed with his ability to finish. His hands are natural. Doesn’t fight the ball at all. I have noticed that he’s a player who doesn’t appear to get rattled. He has a calm demeanor about him. This is a gifted player that is capable of putting good practices and games together to make the final roster. From what I’ve seen, I would not bet against him.
The Cowboys linebackers may be one of the very best in the NFL and could be a difference-maker for them in 2019.
Recently, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com ranked the NFL’s deepest position groups heading into the 2019 season. The Cowboys of course won best offensive line, but they also were awarded the deepest linebacking corps.
Here’s how Wesseling explained it:
”Jason Garrett’s on-again, off-again record as the lone-star commander might shine a bit brighter had he the luxury of snakebitten Sean Lee as a component part rather than the backbone of his defense over the past decade. Now that Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have emerged as sideline-to-sideline marauders reminiscent of Carolina’s Luke Kuechlyand Thomas Davis in recent years, Garrett can afford to choose his spots with Lee, now a premium insurance policy alongside the dynamic, young duo. At their best, Smith and Vander Esch shrink the field to the 10 yards between the line of scrimmage and the first-down marker, smothering opposing playmakers. We could include QB nightmare DeMarcus Lawrence and the restocked defensive line here, but the linebackers deserve the limelight after putting the clamps on high-flying offenses late last season.”
It truly is impressive how well these linebackers played last year, and it’s incredible to think how public opinion has shifted on the younger guys.
On Friday, Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith will host the finals of a venture pitch competition for entrepreneurs in his hometown of Fort Wayne.
Think Shark Tank with a grassroots twist. Let the best pitch win.
“I want to close the gap,” Smith declares.
It’s a noble pursuit. Smith, whose father is a mechanical engineer and mother worked as a nurse before establishing a day-care center, says he is driven to help minority entrepreneurs compete – and fitting, they’ll compete against each other for the top prize -- in a business environment where promising concepts are so often snuffed out by the details.
“A lot of us want to be successful, but we don’t always have the mentorship and strategic planning,” Smith said. “Part of this is to increase the assets and provide for people who can make a difference.” Ask about his advice for new business owners and a “clear-eye view” (the line of eye wear he has produced and markets is “Clear-Eye View”) emerges. He is keenly aware that more new businesses fail than survive.
Well, that was a close call for the Cowboys’ legend Gil Brandt and his wife, Sara.
On Thursday, Brandt tweeted about an incident that took place en route to Billings, Montana to see a friend.
Brandt and his wife, Sara, missed their turnoff on the highway and went to turn around at the next exit. However when they did so, the pair got shot at.
Bullets came through the windshield and almost hit Sara. No one appeared to be injured in the shooting.
True story. Sara and I were driving to see a friend in Billings just now, missed our turnoff and turned around at the next exit where someone shot at us. Bullet comes through windshield and just misses Sara. Waiting on police. So, how's your day going?— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) July 11, 2019