Expecting big things from Mike McCarthy in Year 1? History says pump the brakes - Jon Machota, The Athletic
It’s hard not to be excited about a new era in coaching, but if history is any indication, we might want to temper those expectations.
Let’s start with the idea of winning a Super Bowl in a new coach’s first season. Only three coaches have accomplished this in the last 31 years: George Seifert with the 49ers in 1989, Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers in 2002 and Gary Kubiak with the Broncos in 2015. Over the last 10 years, there have been 68 new head coaches hired in the NFL. In their first full year on the job, the 31 NFC coaches combined to go 225-269-2. The 37 AFC coaches went a combined 251-341. Together, the average works out to be a 7-9 finish.
Granted, most organizations make coaching changes after poor seasons. The new coach rarely takes over a team with a high level of talent. But the overall data is not positive. Of those 68 coaches, only 17 coached their team to a playoff berth. The group combined to win a total of 11 playoff games. Four of those coaches reached the conference championship game. Kubiak was the only one to reach the Super Bowl.
Games without fans could have a crippling financial effect for the NFL — and the Cowboys would be the big losers - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News
The coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to professional sports and the financial implications to the NFL are unmistakable.
Seating fewer fans because of social distancing protocols would hamper NFL franchises’ ability to generate the same money as in the past, especially if the league determines fans will not be allowed at all to start the season.
Forbes, which analyzed 2018 revenue figures, reported last month that if fans are not allowed in NFL stadiums, the Cowboys would lose an estimated league-high $621 million. The Cowboys generated $950 million in revenue in 2018 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, according to the magazine. “It will be a very significant amount of money, and in the Cowboys’ case, you’ll be looking at potentially multiple hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue losses,” said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp LTD, a sports consulting firm. “That’s going to impact anybody.”
The loss of income for NFL teams also could mean the salary cap, developed from total revenues generated by teams, will be lowered in 2021. In the last 10 years, the cap has increased close to $10 million per year. The salary cap in 2020 is $198.2 million. In some ways, how much the Cowboys lose in revenue doesn’t matter from a competitive standpoint. Their spending on the salary cap is similar to what other teams spend.
In this positional breakdown, an examination of the Cowboys special teams.
Need to Figure Out
Gone is longtime safety Jeff Heath, who was one of the Cowboys’ best special teams players in recent years. Heath led the team in special teams tackles in 2013 and 2015. Another two-time team leader in special teams tackles is gone as well. Byron Jones became the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history over the offseason, but he also led the Cowboys in special teams tackles in 2016 and 2017.
So will be this year’s studs? The Cowboys signed free agent cornerback Maurice Canady with the intention he will help bolster that unit. They’ve also re-signed cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who led the Cowboys in tackles last season as well. And then there’s rookie Reggie Robinson, a fourth-round pick from Tulsa. He is a proven special teams standout with multiple blocked field goals and punts in his collegiate career.
The Cowboys also re-signed a few veteran linebackers in Joe Thomas and Justin March. Plus, Luke Gifford is expected to have a bigger role on special teams.
So this team has plenty of candidates for core special teams aces – now they just have to figure out which guys rise to the top when the opportunity presents itself.
Profiling a priority free agent signing that could give veteran Jamize Olawale a run for his money.
The Summary: As is the case for many undrafted free agents, Olonilua specializes in one specific area and has holes in his game in others. Luckily the role of a punishing fullback and someone who can block in the backfield is something that’s needed on this current Cowboys roster. Jamize Olawale has filled that position for the past two seasons but could ultimately concede the spot should someone better enter the conversation. One thing that is on the side of Olonilua is that in today’s NFL, the fullback or third running back needs to be a threat in the passing game. Despite his large frame, he showed that he can still break out wide and become a receiver if needed during his time at TCU with 24 receptions. Olawale has only caught two passes with the Cowboys in 32 games. It’ll be interesting to see which type of back head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will prefer come training camp.
DE Everson Griffen is Still Available, Cowboys Should Make the Call - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star
Is there anything else you’d like to see the Cowboys do this offseason? What about sign this veteran pass rusher?
Griffen has been highly productive since entering the NFL in 2010. He had 17.5 sacks in his first four seasons, but the next four would make him a household name. Griffen reached double digits in sacks three times (career-high 13 in 2017) and made three Pro Bowls. After a down year in 2018, Griffen made his fourth Pro Bowl last season recording eight sacks.
So as you can see, even at 32, Griffen still plays at a fairly high level. He would instantly challenge Crawford as the starter coming off the right edge opposite Lawrence. This could potentially replace the 11.5 sacks Robert Quinn produced last season. Lawrence, Crawford, Smith, Gregory, and Anae are already a formidable rotation.
However, adding Griffen would give the Cowboys a plethora of different combinations to work with when it comes to rushing the passer from the perimeter. More importantly, it would keep guys fresh in the fourth quarter, which is when most games are decided. Smith and Gregory haven’t played since 2015 and 2018 respectively, so it’s going to take a while for them to get back into game shape to maximize what they have left in the tank. Griffen would provide insurance just in case there is a setback for either due to another suspension or injury.
Many have written off Trysten Hill after a forgettable rookie season, but that may be a little premature.
Hill’s extremely young, still the youngest member of Dallas’ DL at just 22 years old. Both defensive linemen drafted in 2020, Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore is already 23 and Hill is two months behind Utah’s Bradlee Anae. There was plenty of talk about Hill’s skill set when he was drafted, but he left school a year early rather then spend another season in Frost’s dog house. If one views Hill as a draft pick who spent his senior season interning with an NFL club, gaining actual experience practicing against professionals, then the outlook on someone with his physical gifts warrant consideration as a redemption story.
After spending a year with Rod Marinelli, Hill will now work with DL wizard Jim Tomsula. The latter will be incorporating plenty of 30-front principles, which is where Hill showed a lot of promise at Central Florida. With a year of added strength, and lowered expectations, he could surprise in 2020. With a gluttony of talent now ahead of him, starting with free agent signings Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, no one thinks Hill will be much of a contributor, and it could turn into the perfect opportunity for him.
The Cowboys will have a handful of contracts to address next offseason as the 2017 draft class will enter free agency, but who should be at the top of their list?
The Diamond in the Dirt
When you draft a player with a top pick, you expect them to perform and are disappointed if they don’t. When you draft someone in the later rounds, you don’t expect them to perform but are very pleased when they do. Safety Xavier Woods is an example of a late-round pick that has performed well. The 2017 sixth-rounder has exceeded many people’s expectations in becoming an important part of the Cowboys defense. Within three seasons, he had slowly formed himself into a reliable free safety. This past season he had 77 tackles, five passes defended, and two interceptions in 15 games. With consistent improvements in his play, his value goes up. Now in the last year of his rookie deal, Woods is going to look to get paid. What range would his value be at? If Woods does produce a Pro Bowl season, then I can see him earning the $9 million per year. The leverage he would have against Jerry Jones would be huge. Paying $9 million for a Pro Bowl safety is not much money at all compared to other positions’ Pro Bowl players.
If fans are looking for a bandwagon to jump onto, NFL.com has nine options for you, including - guess who?
Last week, in a bold predictions edition of the Schein Nine, I said Mike McCarthy will win Coach of the Year and the Cowboys will enter the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Now, that is a bandwagon you want to hop on. And given the Cowboys’ nationwide fan base, that’s a bandwagon that’ll fill up rather quickly. So you better hop aboard now! I really think the McCarthy hiring was one of the most significant moves of this offseason. The Super Bowl-winning coach will help Dak Prescott become consistently great. Dallas’ loaded offense is going to sizzle, and CeeDee Lamb is going to become the next great Cowboys receiver to wear No. 88.
What could the Cowboys preseason look like? We discuss on the BTB podcast feed.
Make sure that you never miss an episode from Blogging The Boys by subscribing to the Blogging The Boys podcast feed!
Also make sure to subscribe to the official YouTube Channel from Blogging The Boys. We’ve got big plans coming there throughout the offseason and you don’t want to miss a thing!