If you had a shot at a redo for some of the Cowboys recent decisions, what would be at the top of your list?
Extending LB Jaylon Smith
No player on the current roster is more polarizing than Smith, in no small part due to the five-year, $63.75 million contract extension he signed also in the 2019 offseason. While he hasn’t reached the lofty expectations placed on him, Smith’s NFL journey has been impressive considering how it started. Since missing the entirety of his rookie season, Smith has played in all 64 games since 2017, starting 54 of them. For better and for worse, he’s been an extremely active and featured member of the Dallas defense. Smith played 100% of the defensive snaps in 13 of 16 games last year, which allowed him to lead the team with 154 total tackles. Yet Smith also recorded the third-most tackles for loss (five) on the team, and also chipped in an interception, recovered two fumbles, and 1.5 sacks. He makes a lot of plays, in part because opposing teams frequently target and challenge him, but it’s Smith’s flair for the dramatic that also makes him stand out. Although it’s questionable for a team to invest so much in an off-ball linebacker, the Cowboys have one of their main defensive playmakers under contract through the 2025 season, and can already escape from under it if needed. This one may feel like a huge mistake for a certain segment of Dallas fans, but that may not be the way the team feels about things.
Jaylon Smith challenged critics to “watch the film” so that is what Bob Sturm did in this two-part series to help get a clear eye view of what’s really going on with 54.
Play 1 – Seattle – Q2 – 7:25 – 1st-and-goal – Chris Carson left for no gain.
This play caught eyes because, quite frankly, it was the first of many in which Jaylon clearly became confused mid-play, stopped his action completely and turned the other way. It was like someone’s Xbox controller got unplugged because the rest of the defense continued in their uninterrupted direction. What caused him to make a movement that seemingly made no sense? His eyes and his body were in such direct conflict during this two-second play that it even jumped out to people on their couches. The question of “what is Jaylon doing?” certainly popped up a few times this season.
Sturm concludes with a list of possible explanations of why Smith didn’t look so good last season.
Perhaps most importantly, the issues of losing Leighton Vander Esch for so many games this year after building a good portion of the offseason around switching their positions. He played Week 1 for a few quarters and then didn’t return until Week 7. Then he played until Week 15 against San Francisco, when he was knocked out for the remainder of the season. If we were to look at Smith’s worst games, they do seem to generally overlap with games when he was joined by Joe Thomas rather than LVE. Not all of them, and there is a major issue if you promised huge money to a player who needs another guy to be present to play competent football and that guy also happens to appear to be injury-prone. But I do think if Vander Esch can play 1000 snaps instead of 460, Jaylon might have made a better impression this season. Instead, he was pushed back to the position he was supposed to have vacated, which seems less than ideal.
Penn State Football’s Micah Parsons takes to Instagram to lobby Cowboys - Matt Lombardo, Victory Bell Rings
If the Cowboys were looking to make changes at linebacker, they could go after the top guy in the draft, who just so happens to be lobbying for the Cowboys to draft him.
Throughout the offseason, Parsons has dropped hints that he hopes to follow in the footsteps of Penn State Football legend Sean Lee to the Dallas Cowboys.
However, Saturday, Parsons took to his Instagram stories to make his strongest call yet to Jerry Jones, head coach Mike McCarthy, and the Dallas Cowboys to make sure his name is on their draft card when they go on the clock No. 10 overall:
SportsDay experts pick the NFL conference championship games: Which teams will be headed to the Super Bowl? - Staff, Dallas Morning News
Who do you got in today’s championship games? DMN provides their expert picks, including a couple people are are going completely opposite directions.
Our panel of columnists, insiders and special contributors makes picks each conference championship game, both straight up and against the spread, below:
Will your rooting interest in today’s game have anything to do with pulling for former Cowboys players?
Here’s a quick list of the guys trying to make the Super Bowl:
Tampa Bay: Chris Boniol (coach), Kacy Rodgers (coach), Todd Bowles (coach)
Green Bay: Tavon Austin
Buffalo: Cole Beasley
Kansas City: Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Charvarius Ward, Taco Charlton, Matt Moore.
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