If the Dallas Cowboys want to break their extended Super Bowl drought, the time is right now - Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Morning News
Sure seems like the Cowboys have their best shot in years to finally break the drought.
When you really think about it, that’s pathetic. Especially since the 2007 team had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cowboys need to win now because age and free agency will rob this roster of the talent and depth that makes them a contender. Think about it, the Cowboys have 23 players on the 2021 roster who weren’t on the team last year. Do the math: that’s 43%. In today’s NFL, that’s normal. Look at how many contributing players will be free agents when the season ends.
We’re talking key starters such as Randy Gregory, Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal. And important role players such Leighton Vander Esch, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins. They’re not all coming back.
Gregory has made up for the loss of Demarcus Lawrence (foot), Schultz has taken Blake Jarwin’s job. Wilson and Brown have played so well, the Cowboys don’t miss Gallup. Neal made it possible to get rid of Jaylon Smith and Kazee has solidified the troublesome safety spot. The vast majority of those guys will be wearing different uniforms next season. Plus, the core of this team is moving quickly through its prime years.
Cowboys roster moves: Brent Urban and Maurice Canady placed on injured reserve, out next three weeks - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Some injury news coming out of the bye week.
With so many players due to return for Dallas (DeMarcus Lawrence and Neville Gallimore will also be back at some point) many have been wondering where open roster spots will come from. Recently here at BTB our own Danny Phantom took a shot at predicting this idea, but one always unforeseen thing is how injuries are going to take their toll.
Dak Prescott headlined injury news following the team’s win against the New England Patriots two weeks ago, but Brent Urban and Maurice Canady both had their names on the list following Week 6 as well. On Tuesday, the Cowboys placed them on injured reserve which helped create two open roster spots.
Film room: How CB Trevon Diggs makes the Cowboys defense dangerous - Nick Kehoe, Dallas Morning News
A closer look at Trevon Diggs’ extraordinary start to the season.
Diggs dropped under control, almost anticipating his receiver’s route would break off at 10-15 yards. He was in position to sit on that route and yet still had enough speed to intercept a throw 50 yards downfield. Impressive.
Those physical traits are nice to have. But the NFL is filled with plenty of talented, yet unsuccessful players on both sides of the ball. Diggs has been able to stand out because he combines his talent with a great understanding of what an opposing offense is trying to do on a given play and how the defense called is meant to stop it. This awareness allows him to play fast.
On the below play against the Panthers, Diggs knew that the Cowboys were bringing pressure inside which would likely lead to a short route and a quick throw from Sam Darnold. So Diggs sat on D.J. Moore’s route on the outside despite no help over the top.
Some high praise for the rookie linebacker.
So yes, Cowboys defensive assistant coach George Edwards has certainly seen linebackers such as Micah Parsons move all over the field to play different spots. Actually, just two came to Edwards' mind when asked. The names he threw out were Junior Seau and LaVar Arrington. And make no mistake, none of those guys were freelancing on defense as rookies, especially just six games into their careers.
"Micah has been very, very impressive," Edwards said of his rookie linebacker/defensive end. "For the number of hats that he wears going into a game is very impressive, the things that we ask him to do and the things that he's capable of doing is very impressive."
And while most coaches typically don't like to compare players to others, Edwards was simply asked if he could recall linebackers who moved around as much as Parsons has done this year. "I'll tell you when I coached LaVar Arrington in Washington he was kind of that role," Edwards said. "In base defense, he was the Sam linebacker and the sub defense he could be a Mike and in the third down he was a rusher. I've had some experience with guys in the past that could do that. We did the same thing when I was coaching Junior Seau in Miami. He wore a lot of different hats."
Taking a look at some storylines for the Vikings game.
Vikings. Following their start to the season, Minnesota had quite the task getting back to .500 against a reeling Carolina Panthers squad in Week 6. The Vikings jumped out to a 28-17 fourth quarter lead on the strength of two early touchdowns from Kirk Cousins and a Dalvin Cook score. However, the Panthers stormed back to tie the game at 28 with just 42 seconds remaining on a Robby Anderson touchdown grab to force overtime. Almost ten minutes into the extra period, K.J. Osborn reeled in a 27-yard pass and took it into the endzone for the walk-off win, entering the bye week.
Things don't get easier for the Vikings now that they're back at a .500 record. Minnesota faces four straight division leaders over the next four weeks. Their tough stretch starts with Dallas at home before traveling to Baltimore and to Los Angeles to face the Ravens and Chargers leading into a divisional bout with Green Bay in Week 11. Minnesota was playing their best ball prior to the bye, but Mike Zimmer and company are thankful the time off and extra rest came when it did.
Speaking of playing their best ball, Kirk Cousins has been doing that through his first six games. Outside of scoring on their opening drive in each of their last five games, Cousins has led the Vikings offense with close to 300 yards and two touchdowns more than he had through six games in 2020, all while throwing eight fewer interceptions. Part of the reason for his success is the trio of receivers Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and K.J. Osborn have been some of the more efficient receiving corps in the league.
As we learned this weekend, a lot can change in the NFL in just one week.
Of the top teams in the NFC, it’s fair to say the Cowboys are the hardest team to put into context when comparing their results to others. They’ve had games where the defense overperforms, others where the offense carries the defense, and a road win at the Chargers where they held Justin Herbert to 17 points.
A cautious look ahead at their upcoming schedule could warn the Cowboys won’t be truly tested until the week before Thanksgiving at earliest. Judging by fan optimism thus far, Halloween night against the Vikings followed by the Broncos and Falcons raises little cause for concern. Of course, this Sunday taught us that all three of these games are a coin flip between statement wins for Dallas or reality check losses.
The closest absolutes that Cowboys Nation can hold onto is that this team is almost certainly going to the playoffs, and from now until those games they’ll be taking the field with a quarterback that always gives them a chance. That pre-Thanksgiving game against the Chiefs has looked less daunting since the season began, given the Cowboys prolific offense and Kansas City’s enormous struggles on defense.
Blogging The Boys Podcast Network and YouTube Channel
We offer a different show every single day on the Blogging The Boys podcast network.
- Monday: CowboysCast with Bobby Belt
- Tuesday: The 75O with Tony Casillas and RJ Ochoa
- Wednesday: The NFC East Mixtape with RJ Ochoa and Brandon Gowton
- Wednesday: Talkin’ The Draft with Connor Livesay, Cole Patterson, and Dalton Miller
- Thursday: Ryled Up with Roy White and Tom Ryle
- Friday: Girls Talkin ‘Boys with Kelsey Charles and Meg Murray
- Saturday: Cowboys Hoy with Mauricio Rodriguez
- Sunday: Jersey Boyz with Dave Sturchio, Bret Ernst, and Keith Ernst
We also offer daily episodes of Dallas Cowboys Roundup where we give you that day’s latest headlines so that you always stay caught up. Consider it an audio version of the links, and every episode is 10 minutes or less so you can catch up in a hurry.
The Blogging The Boys podcast network is available on all major podcast platforms.
Make sure to subscribe, rate the feed, and leave a review! Our latest episode is available in the feed down below.