FRISCO, Texas – The NFL Playoffs will start this weekend though a Cowboys in a 12-team contest to consummate a subsequent Super Bowl champion.
Ultimately, that was a team’s thought when training stay began some-more than 5 months ago. The Cowboys did secure their initial back-to-back winning deteriorate given 2007, though their 9-7 record wasn’t adequate to acquire a wild-card spot.
Today, a DallasCowboys.com staff reflects on a ups and downs from a 2017 deteriorate that finished in disappointment:
Rob: Kansas City. Probably a many finish feat of a season. The invulnerability hold one of a NFL’s many energetic offenses to 17 points and intercepted Alex Smith once. The offense didn’t spin a turn over, scored 28 points and achieved nearly-perfect balance: 33 passes, 32 runs, 4-for-4 converting touchdowns in a red zone. Everything altered a following week when Ezekiel Elliott’s cessation got reinstated. But during this indicate in a season, a Cowboys looked like challenging contenders for a second year in a row.
Nick: I’ll go with a Raiders win given of what it meant during a time. Let’s not forget a Cowboys had win-or-go-home games given Thanksgiving and a approach they fought by adversity and finished a goal-line mount to save a deteriorate was dramatic.
David: Hard as it competence be to believe, a Cowboys usually had one genuine win opposite a playoff organisation (no, I’m not counting that awful deteriorate culmination in Philly). So that’s got to be a best win. The Chiefs rolled into Dallas with a 6-2 record, and a Cowboys went to work. Dak Prescott played one of his many fit games of 2017, a belligerent diversion rumbled for 131 yards and a Cowboys’ receivers played their best common diversion of a year. More considerable than that was a Dallas defense, that singular a Chiefs to usually 17 points – 10 of that came on a fluky Hail Mary. It was a illusory bid that reminded us what this organisation is means of when all a cylinders are firing.
Bryan: Kansas City. At a time we suspicion a Chiefs were one of a best teams in a league. It was a many finish diversion a Cowboys played all season. They were superb in a approach they dealt with a Chiefs’ weapons on both side of a ball
Rob: Atlanta, Elliott’s initial diversion on a dangling list. The Cowboys couldn’t duty on offense, plain and simple, due to insurance issues though Tyron Smith during left tackle. The final measure was 27-7, though Dallas trailed usually 10-7 during halftime and had a prolonged expostulate during a start of a third entertain that got derailed by one of 8 sacks on Dak Prescott. Although a offense stable Prescott some-more consistently a following week opposite Philadelphia, they didn’t get behind on lane for weeks. It all started opposite Adrian Clayborn and a Falcons.
Nick: The apparent one is Atlanta given it altered all from there. But they had their 3 best players out. What’s a forgive for the Denver debacle? Altitude? The Broncos valid to be unequivocally bad this year though they looked like Elway and Terrell Davis were saluting a throng again. Never seen a O-line and Zeke get dominated like that.
David: Take your collect from about four, though we consider a detriment we’ll remember a longest is a one in Atlanta. It was usually so inexplicable. Chaz Green had played so good in his brief stints during tackle in a past. And when he showed that he clearly wasn’t adult to a charge of restraint Adrian Clayborn, a Cowboys’ coaching staff did so small to assistance him out. The sum inability to strengthen Prescott sunk a rest of a diversion plan. And with a offense doing nothing, a invulnerability – that mislaid Sean Lee – eventually couldn’t do adequate to extent a Atlanta offense. It was baffling during a time and it’s still baffling now.
Bryan: Green Bay. Had a Packers passed to rights and couldn’t finish them. Still believed that throwing a turn on a thought line was one of a misfortune mistakes they finished all season. Only approach they remove that diversion is giving a Packers time on a clock, and they did usually that.
Rob: Jeff Heath’s forced fumble on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Terrific dispatch play that saved a deteriorate during that point, and a correct consummate to one of a many fascinating (and bizarre) finishes to a Cowboys diversion we’ve ever seen. Don’t forget Heath finished a diving pass dissection one play progressing that kept Oakland out of a finish zone.
Nick: I like Dak’s flip in Arizona and Heath’s game-saver in Oakland. But a best play to me was Dak’s touchdown pass to Rod Smith against a Giants. we desired a approach he found a hole in a invulnerability and motioned Smith to get a mismatch over a middle. That was usually a good play – a longest of a year – to win a diversion a Cowboys had to have.
David: Nobody ever remembers a invulnerability or a special teams during this time of year, so I’m going to give some love. Way behind in Week 8, Nick Rose was backing adult for a 36-yard margin thought that would’ve given Washington a 16-7 lead usually before halftime. Instead, Tyrone Crawford fought by a line and got a palm on a kick, knocking it to a belligerent during a Dallas 10-yard line. Orlando Scandrick scooped it up, found a dilemma and followed his blockers all a approach to a Washington 4-yard line. Two snaps later, Dallas had a 14-13 lead it would not relinquish. A classical instance of all 3 phases of a organisation contributing to a win.
Bryan: Jeff Heath’s tackle of Derek Carr in Oakland saved a deteriorate for during slightest one week.
Rob: Keenan Allen’s 42-yard touchdown. Like any of a 3 blowout waste during Elliott’s suspension, a Cowboys unequivocally did have a possibility to flog a Chargers during home on Thanksgiving. But Allen pennyless a diversion far-reaching open with 10 mins left in a fourth quarter, eluding 4 tacklers on his approach to a finish section to give L.A. a 22-6 lead. It was symptomatic of Dallas’ large struggles in a second half of those games.
Nick: I’ll go behind to a Week 2 detriment in Denver. What about a dropped pass by Dez Bryant, ensuing in an interception to Chris Harris? Not usually that, though you’ve got Zeke not hustling to make a tackle. Just a lot of unequivocally bad things duty during a unequivocally bad game.
David: we don’t know how we could collect a play other than Keenan Allen’s 42-yard touchdown to mangle open a Thanksgiving loss. The genuine kicker is that Allen usually ran a 10-yard route. He held a elementary out lane from Philip Rivers during a Dallas 31-yard line. What happened subsequent defied belief, as he separate dual tacklers – conjunction of whom overwhelmed him — during a Dallas 25-yard line. Two some-more tacklers had a possibility to corral him during a Dallas 10-yard line, though he simply sidestepped them. Finally, one final tackler had a possibility during him as he cut inside – though he shook that off, too. In total, Allen posterized half a Dallas invulnerability en lane to a touchdown that put a Chargers up, 22-6. we consider it was a misfortune play a Cowboys put on fasten this whole season.
Bryan: Keenan Allen of a Chargers using by a delegate for a 42-yard touchdown. It seemed that nobody in white wanted to tackle him. Just one of many “bad plays” that day.
Rob: Tyron Smith. Elliott is a best actor on this football team, in my opinion, and he’s a substructure of a Cowboys’ descent philosophy. But Smith’s deficiency to do damage competence have contributed many to a offense’s struggles down a stretch. The using diversion was plain during Elliott’s suspension, though though Smith, Prescott got pressured too many and a offense as a whole wasn’t as fit with a run or pass. Swing tackle sum to be an offseason focus.
Nick: It’s Zeke. He’s a MVP of a organisation and maybe a league. Yes, they went 3-3 though him though a waste were blowouts to some good teams and a wins were opposite non-playoff teams. This organisation isn’t a same during all though Zeke using a ball. It’s easy to see.
David: we design a renouned answer here to be Elliott, and that’s totally understandable. But in a grand intrigue of things, a Dallas using diversion functioned effectively for a many partial of his six-game suspension. It’s tough to contend a same about a Dallas descent line once Tyron Smith was injured. Prescott was usually sacked 10 times in a initial half of a season, and a whopping 22 times in a second half. This offense usually didn’t duty as well, opposite a board, when a All-Pro left tackle wasn’t healthy.
Bryan: Ezekiel Elliott. The offense wasn’t a same though him in a lineup. The hazard wasn’t there and opponents played Prescott differently. we am still repelled that he didn’t get a lift on a thought line in that Seattle game.
Rob: DeMarcus Lawrence. He started all 16 games entrance off behind surgery. He tied for second in a joining with a career-high 14.5 sacks. He was superb opposite a run. Lee has pronounced he believes Lawrence is a Defensive MVP of a whole league, so D-Law has my opinion for Cowboys MVP.
Nick: Sean Lee, of course. Not even a debate. Yeah, D-Law had a good year. But a organisation couldn’t stop anyone though Lee.
David: It can’t be anyone other than Sean Lee, can it? The Cowboys authorised an normal of 100 some-more yards per diversion and 10 some-more points per diversion when Lee wasn’t on a field. He finished with an absurd 118 tackles notwithstanding blank 4 full games and a infancy of another. That’s an normal of 11 tackles per game. As we all know, a invulnerability played during another turn when he was on a field.
Bryan: Sean Lee. Really don’t need to contend many about this. When he played, a invulnerability was on point. When he didn’t, there was a good possibility they were going to lose.
Special Teams MVP
Rob: Chris Jones. He substantially didn’t make a Pro Bowl formed on a apparent stats. (Six other NFC punters had a aloft net average.) But Jones led a NFC in punts inside a 20, and he had a fewest yards returned opposite him in a whole joining (75). He’s a superb athlete, too – his feign punt and run was a outrageous play in a Oakland game.
Nick: It’s simply a punter, though we don’t wish to disremember a low limp L.P. Ladouceur. He’s still a many unchanging actor on a organisation and has been for years. At his age, he’s not a guilt using down on a punts, either, and had a large fail recovery.
David: we could go on perpetually about how underappreciated Chris Jones is. He doesn’t have a biggest leg in a league, though his ability to extent punt returners is amazing. This season, Jones punted 56 times, and usually 14 of those were returned. Of a 14 that were returned, a returner averaged 3.9 yards per attempt. Fifty-two percent of his punts, or 29 in total, were downed inside a 20-yard line. To put it simply, a man is a weapon. I’m still perplexing to hang my conduct around a fact that he hasn’t been named to a Pro Bowl.
Bryan: Chris Jones. Will not get a credit that he deserves for this season. His directional punting was superb during pinning opponents and finished things easy for a coverage teams.
Most Surprising Rookie
Rob: Xavier Woods. Sure, Woods played some nickel container during Louisiana Tech. But it’s flattering considerable that a sixth-round collect stepped in and warranted snaps there as a rookie, recording 41 tackles, 6 pass breakups and an interception. He’s partial of a contingent of immature defensive backs (Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie) that a invulnerability clearly hopes to build around.
Nick: The many startling rookie – on a certain note – was Jourdan Lewis. we didn’t design a lot after he missed all that time due to damage and off-the-field issues. But he stepped right in and achieved during a high level. He had his normal rookie flourishing heedfulness though a destiny looks splendid for him.
David: It’s tough for me to contend I’m astounded by anything that Taco Charlton, Awuzie or Lewis did. Those guys were all approaching to make an evident impact. But how about Xavier Woods? The Cowboys traded adult to get him in a sixth round. By Week 3 of a season, he was removing personification time not usually during safety, though as a nickel dilemma – that we don’t consider anyone expected. He was even credited with 4 starts – 3 during dilemma and one during safety. All told, Woods played 51 percent of a Cowboys’ sum snaps this deteriorate and finished with 41 tackles and a pick. Not bad for a Day 3 pick.
Bryan: Xavier Woods. When they played him during nickel dilemma we was meditative that competence be a bad idea. Woods wasn’t unprotected one bit and gave me some wish that they can do some-more of that in a future. If he does need to urge in an area, it would be as a tackler. He wasn’t scarcely unchanging adequate in a chances he had.
Rob: Kavon Frazier. The second-year reserve warranted a mark in a defensive revolution as a earthy tackler, and he tied Byron Jones for a team’s many special teams tackles (11). His forced fail in punt coverage was an early momentum-changer for a Cowboys in Week 7 during San Francisco.
Nick: Here’s where I’ll give Chris Jones some love. His ability to not usually directional flog though to pin opponents down inside a 10 is amazing. If a Cowboys can urge on invulnerability and take advantage of teams being pinned back, it’ll be even some-more of a arms subsequent year.
David: I’m going to go forward and chuck Chris Jones out there one some-more time. The man was usually a indication of consistency, and it was easy to remove lane of how many times he helped this organisation by pinning an competition in an adverse position. In a deteriorate that was noted by unsuitable play, Jones never wavered. He played during a unusual turn all year long.
Bryan: Anthony Hitchens. Like Chris Jones, he will substantially not get a credit he deserves for how good he plays. we don’t know if they will be means to re-sign him, though he gives we all he’s got any week. Doesn’t matter where he plays, position correct or his health – he’s going to get a pursuit done. Not going out on a prong here, though we would theory that he’s one of a many reputable players on a squad.
Rob: The initial 3 games though Elliott. The Cowboys mislaid all 3 by a total measure of 92-22. They were outscored in a second half 72-6. You can disagree that it was too many to overcome a detriment of Elliott for all three, Lee for all scarcely all three, and Smith for dual of a three. But a Cowboys aren’t creation excuses, so conjunction can we. They didn’t hoop those absences good during all, and that bad widen is what eventually cost them a playoff spot.
Nick: I’ll go with those two home waste in October. The Cowboys still had Zeke and were perplexing to rebound behind from that nauseous Denver game. Both games they scored 30 though couldn’t get a pursuit finished during a end, losing to a Rams and Packers. They practically should’ve separate those given they had copiousness of chances to win both games. Get one and we competence be in a playoffs, though win them both and we’re not essay this story right now.
David: The whole receiver corps. we remember how many hype surrounded this organisation over a summer. Prescott’s whole receiver corps was entrance behind after a successful season, and certainly a chemistry with Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams was going to be even improved than before. On tip of that, a front bureau invested a profitable breeze collect in Ryan Switzer to supplement another component to a team. Not including a rookies, this was a third-straight deteriorate these receivers had all been together – though my goodness, it did not show. Week after week, it was always something – either that be forsaken passes, disintegrating acts or something else. Prescott confidently deserves some partial of a blame. But it was usually baffling a approach that not one – literally not one – of a Dallas far-reaching receivers put together a good season. Easily a biggest beating in a deteriorate that was full of them.
Bryan: Said it in Aug and I’ll contend it again. I wish Ezekiel Elliott would have usually sat out a initial 6 games of a season. The weekly back-and-forth did not assistance this team. If they could have put this behind them progressing in a year, we trust that this organisation could have won adequate games though him to make a run when he did come back. Read