2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 4 Dallas Cowboys
I bet my boss (a meal, nothing crazy). He said the Cowboys would finish the season with at least 12 wins. I gave them nine or less. It's not that I'm a pessimist. Pessimism isn't gangsta. It's just that I'm an actual Boys fan. He is not. He's affiliated with the team, although I won't go into specifics.
For years, I've read the headlines, watched countless hours in which [insert analyst here] declared Jerry's squad paper champions, and listened to Jerruh's long-winded and mostly nonsensical rants on expectations. I've sipped so much Kool-Aid at this point that I'll be damned if the football Gods don't haul me out on a stretcher after falling victim to diabetic shock. Like many disciples of America's Team, I've been disappointed by the result. I won't go into detail, but I'll name four things that cause all of our pain (mind you I was born in '92 and could name the offense by the age of three): Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, Botched Field Goal by Tony Romo, Dez Caught It. If you know, you know.
Now 2019 brings a sense of optimism. First and foremost, Scott Linehan isn't handcuffing the offense. Let's toast. The days of three receivers running the same route with none being longer than 15 yards are finito. Like a normal football team, we finally throw defenses off balance by putting players in motion pre-snap. I mean, we actually run RPOs with a 240-pound quarterback who left Mississippi State as one of four SEC field generals to throw for 70 touchdowns and run for at least 40 scores. In Kellen Moore, we have our very own boy genius who uses his personnel to the best of its ability.
After beating up on the three worst teams in football -- Redskins, Dolphins and Eli's Giants -- by a combined 53 points, the Cowboys got shell-shocked Sunday night, losing to the Drew Brees-less Saints, 12-10. I've never been the biggest Dak Prescott proponent, and I'm still not. The New Orleans loss, however, wasn't his fault. The offensive line got bullied, especially Connor Williams, who’s soft as baby shit if you ask me. Jason Witten/Zeke fumbles killed a couple of drives, and the Randall Cobb drops hurt. With that said, I want you to ask what Dak does that Teddy Bridgewater doesn't? They both manage games, and the only reason why Dak opens it up slightly more is that he's started more outings in his offense. Now missing Michael Gallup, who was amid a brilliant start to the campaign, doesn't allow us to see the offense at all cylinders, but I'm skeptical. I have to see Dak dom a secondary that isn't mourning its franchise tank mode. Green Bay without Tyron Smith will be test No. 2.
My only complaint about the defense is the unit's still allergic to turnovers. Chidobe Awuzie pulled in an interception during the Saints game -- the team's first of the year -- but the number of opportunities missed throughout this young season is bothersome. Great defenses get the ball and put their offenses in favorable field position. That's mando. Enough with the bend but don't break shit -- time to put on the ski masks and steal some pigskins.
On paper, the defense produces raging hard boners -- pause. Ya, Jeff Heath still starts -- that could end soon with the addition of Josh Jones -- but there's little flaw in the unit. Antwan Woods, Tyrone Crawford and Maleik Collins are perfect fits on Rod Marinelli's scheme. Demarcus Lawrence is worth every penny. Don’t tell me that he’s not as productive. The man’s drawing double teams every play. Puerto Rican Bobby aka Robert Quinn recorded 3.0 sacks in his first two games. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch form the best linebacking duo in football -- yes, I fucking said it. I'm also in love with the way Byron Jones and Xavier Woods are performing thus far. Woods is becoming every bit the free safety the Cowboys thought he could be, and Jones has elevated into one of the game's most consistent lockdown corners.
Offensive Players to Watch: Michael Gallup, Connor Williams
Defensive Players to Watch: Chido Awuzie, Xavier Woods, Maleik Collins
Verdict: I was surprised by who Jerry paid in the offseason. Didn't see Jaylon Smith or La'el Collins deals happening so soon, but I'm thrilled they did, as each has performed like the best at their perspective positions. I also remember Cowboys fans were pushing to deal Zeke. He's paid. If that was your opinion, stop talking football. Ezekiel Elliott is the offense. I'm still part of the contingent that thinks we should sign Dakota to the franchise tag, let Amari Cooper walk and draft one of these young bouls in the first round of next year's draft. This is the best wide receiver group ever. But for 2019, I have the Cowboys sitting at a pretty 11-5. Yup, I'm counting myself out of the bet. Division winners.