2020 has been a rough year for the Dallas Cowboys.
Nothing about this NFL season was ever going to be normal. It was only four months ago that Ezekiel Elliott tested positive for COVID-19. The Cowboys hoped to succeed in the face of an unprecedented season amid a challenging time in the world.
Ultimately, very little has gone according to plan, and Elliott will be the first one to tell you.
“I think it’s kind of 2020 summed up,” Elliott said of the current situation the Cowboys are in. “No one here was expecting to be in this position. You can’t really control what has happened up to this point. We had a lot of injuries. We haven’t played the best in some games.”
Elliott has in some ways been the last man standing in a season in which his offensive line has been decimated by health problems and his first and second string quarterbacks have left games with injuries that were, frankly, difficult to watch. He has played through near comebacks and demoralizing blowouts in the first seven games, and his play has been more inconsistent than it ever has.
Elliott had previously never made it through seven weeks of an NFL season without a 100-yard rushing game. But he hasn’t cracked that mark once this year. He has also fumbled it five times in those seven games. On Wednesday, he had no specific explanation for his poor play besides the fact that everything has simply gone wrong.
Michael Irvin: ‘The Cowboys may be the worst team in the National Football League’ - Shelby Lopez, Dallas Morning News
The legendary Dallas Cowboy was extremely critical of his former team.
Still, Irvin isn’t optimistic about the Cowboys’ postseason outlook. He even compared them to the league-worst New York Jets (0-7). “I know the Jets haven’t won a game. Would you take the Cowboys over the Jets right now?” Irvin said. “The difference is, I know the Jets look bad. But the Jets were expected to look bad. The Cowboys had people really thinking, including myself, that they were ready to be Super Bowl-bound, and they’ve been a Super bust.”
Before the season, Irvin was high on the Cowboys’ offensive prowess. Dallas already had Prescott, who was coming off a career year, Ezekiel Elliott and two stud receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but then star Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb fell into Dallas’ lap in the April draft. Irvin compared that acquisition to Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors.
“What the Cowboys did in the 2020 NFL draft, by adding CeeDee Lamb to the No. 1 offense in the National Football League — what Will McClay did, what Jerry Jones those guys, what Mike McCarthy did by adding this guy CeeDee Lamb, is akin, or almost tantamount to Kevin Durant being added to a 73-win Warriors team,” Irvin said. “They were already great offensively and they got one of the best players and one of the best young talents, at wide receiver in the National Football League. It is crazy what the Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to do.”
Film room: 3 prospects in the 2021 NFL draft who fill major needs for the Dallas Cowboys - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
If you are team tank, here’s three prospects to take a look at.
Shaun Wade, Ohio State • TDN rank: 16th • Brugler rank: 16th.....Listed at 6-1, 194 pounds, Wade is a cornerback prospect who Cowboys fans need t0 closely monitor as the college season unfolds.
In 2019, Wade finished with 23 tackles — 15 of which were stops — and was targeted 48 times in coverage, resulting in 27 catches (56.3% completion rate) for 261 yards, one touchdown, one interception and seven pass breakups, according to Pro Football Focus. Quarterbacks managed just a 69.9 passer rating when targeting Wade in coverage, which is very impressive.
Before 2020, Wade primarily played in the slot (83.9% of his snaps) while future first-round picks Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette manned the boundary and field cornerback positions. An abnormally long slot cornerback, Wade did well to use his length to his advantage with effective jams and physical play throughout routes. He has the speed and acceleration to run with crossing routes and stay on top of vertical routes and has enough change-of-direction ability to stay tight in and out of breaks.
Other Positions Than QB for the Cowboys to Consider at 2020 NFL Trade Deadline - Joe Tansey, Bleacher Report
Why the Cowboys would buy at the deadline is a mystery, but if they did, here are some considerations.
Defensive Tackle....Dallas' rushing defense has been one of its many glaring issues in 2020. The Cowboys conceded back-to-back 200-yard rushing games to Arizona Cardinals and Washington Football Team, and they have allowed the most ground yards in the NFL.
The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs are the only other teams to allow over 1,000 rushing yards this season, but Dallas is the lone member of the trio to allow double-digit rushing touchdowns. A combination of poor showings from Dontari Poe, an injury to Trysten Hill and the release of Gerald McCoy led to Dallas' awful play on the defensive interior.
Hill, who had six solo tackles, is the top defensive tackle in that category. Seven defensive backs, three defensive ends and three linebackers reached 10 solo tackles before any defensive tackle. If the Cowboys find a run-plugging DT, they may be able to ease some concerns about their rushing defense. Something has to change, whether it be better scheming or a personnel adjustment, before Dallas leaves its Week 10 bye. Minnesota, Washington, Baltimore and San Francisco could tear apart its defense in four of the five games from Week 11-15 either through how much they run the ball, or in Washington's case, its past success against Dallas.
Would Dallas really consider moving the Pro Bowl wideout?
Yes, the Cowboys gave up a first-round pick to get him two years ago. Yes, they gave him a new contract after the 2019 season ended. But consider these facts. First, CeeDee Lamb fell into their laps after Cooper re-signed. Second, Michael Gallup is signed through 2021 to a bargain-basement rookie deal. Third, Cedrick Wilson is pretty damn good. Fourth, with Dak gone for the rest of the season, Cooper becomes a luxury the Cowboys don’t need.
Even though Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million contract, it’s really a two-year, $40 million deal. If someone would offer them a first-rounder for Cooper right now (last year, Mohamed Sanu brought in a second-round pick at the deadline), the Cowboys would be crazy to say no.
Cowboys release Dontari Poe, Daryl Worley; Zack Martin returns to practice, Xavier Woods absent - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
ICYMI, the news from Wednesday afternoon.
The Cowboys are continuing their purge on the defensive side of the ball. Yesterday they traded defensive lineman Everson Griffen for a conditional fifth/sixth-round pick, and today they released two other free agent acquisitions.
Defensive tackle Dontari Poe and cornerback Daryl Worley have both been cut from the team. The Cowboys tried to trade them to get something back in return, but couldn’t find a taker. This continues the decimation of a free agent class that was thought at one time to be a benefit for the Cowboys. Gerald McCoy went down with injury, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was cut before the season, Griffen was traded, and now Poe and Worley have been released.
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