Friday, November 27, 2020

Cowboys act out 2020 in a nutshell during Thanksgiving loss: The Morning After

 Surely, when one 3-7 team plays another 3-7 team, there should not be so many talking points. But we should have known a Thanksgiving Day game against a Ron Rivera-coached team would bring back memories from 2015. Five Thanksgivings ago, the 3-7 Cowboys took the field having just won a road game on November 22nd (at Miami, not Minnesota) to put them within reach of the divisional lead.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Is Donovan Wilson the playmaking safety the Cowboys have needed? Nolan Report

 Sunday will not go down as anything approaching a dominating defensive effort. The more you review the relative ease with which the Vikings were able to amass yardage and points, the more you realize that at this level of talent, you are just looking for a few plays to be made. And Dallas made them. Now, let’s not get crazy. Play that game 10 times and maybe the bounces that smiled on the Cowboys Sunday would give the Vikings five or six of those 10 games.

How Cowboys' brilliant play designs led to easy TDs: Decoding Kellen Moore

 For the better part of 13 seasons, I have been attempting to analyze the actual gameplans and execution of Cowboys offenses on Tuesdays at one digital platform or another. That means we have examined over 200 different games together, and I might suggest to you that this one is in the top five in a few senses because of Kellen Moore and Mike McCarthy’s vision as well as how brilliantly it was carried by a backup quarterback and a flawed offensive line.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Cowboys surge in Andy Dalton's return, reviving playoff hopes: Morning After

 Sunday featured a fantastic battle between a team that thought it was in a playoff race and a team that just wanted to remember what winning a football game felt like. By the end of the three-hour battle, the roles had switched. Dallas battled with great conviction for the third game in a row — and, for the first time since October 11th, they tasted victory. Of course, 42 days ago, when they beat the Giants in Week 5, it cost them the rest of Dak Prescott’s season.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Cowboys' porous defense meets Vikings & Dalvin Cook: Friday Riffing

 Ninety-eight days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 79 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa (we still assume) and just two days until the 3:25 start at U.S. Bank Stadium for Sunday’s meeting with the Minnesota Vikings…. The Vikings are certainly not having the type of year they planned. As is the case with the Cowboys, there is a proud tradition and a high level of expectations for the Vikings every year.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Early Cowboys draft talk: To QB or not to QB, and other positions that matter

 It’s time to address the sizable elephant in the room. And, unlike Tuesday’s piece, this elephant is largely positive news if it gets solved correctly. It’s a big one, though. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Has Ezekiel Elliott's time run out? The RB's future & the Cowboys' dilemma

 Whether you recognize it or not, nobody is more aligned and merged with the Cowboys in the public spectrum than Ezekiel Elliott. He is their pride and joy, the man they defended with great determination when he was in trouble with the NFL back in 2017. He is their main marketing piece, and he represents what they wanted to be about from the moment they drafted him fourth overall in 2016. The dream was that he and Tony Romo would rule the world for several years.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Cowboys defense, anchored by youth, plays its best game of 2020: Nolan Report

 When we analyze a defense, we should be quick to remember that winning is the final goal, but not the true judge of how the unit played. For instance, the Cowboys won games against the Falcons and Giants earlier in the year. Certainly, nobody thought the defense played well in either game. Conversely, in the last two weeks with the Eagles and Steelers, the defense could be reasonably proud of its efforts in hard-fought losses.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Garrett Gilbert, Cowboys offense had Pittsburgh on the ropes: Decoding Kellen

The Cowboys lost another game. That is not newsworthy; it happens with great routine these days. More specifically, they lost by turning the ball over multiple times. This has also happened with regularity. During Week 1’s game in Los Angeles, the Cowboys lost a game that could have gone either way. That was the only time in 2020 when they did not commit a single turnover. Since then, they have turned the ball over at least twice in every game but one.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Cowboys nearly upset Steelers; is there room for optimism? The Morning After

We just saw the 2020 Cowboys’ most complete effort yet. Full stop. They have now played nine games under Mike McCarthy. That was their best work, given all of the circumstances at play. That matters, since McCarthy and some of his assistants will undoubtedly be here deep into the term of the next president. Will McCarthy make it all the way to another election week in 2024, when his contract will have only a few months left?

Friday, November 06, 2020

Do Cowboys have any shot against undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers? Friday Riffing

Eighty-four days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 93 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa and just two days until the 3:25 start at AT&T Stadium for the Sunday showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers…Later in this piece, I promise to answer some emails. But Chase here sent me one last night and it is my focus. Here is what he wanted to discuss: The Steelers went 8-8 last year with Rudolph and Duck Hodges.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Cowboys' Trevon Diggs could be a huge building block: The Nolan Report

The Cowboys defense played easily its finest game of the season on Sunday night. The most compelling evidence would be finding four takeaways after the first seven games produced just three. As we know, some of that (or maybe even most of that) is due to the opponent’s willingness to risk the ball. And the Eagles have been as generous as any offense besides Dallas this year. Did Dallas make plays or did the Eagles repeatedly make mistakes? In this case, both.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Should Zack Martin be Cowboys' RT? Plus, gadget plays galore: Decoding Kellen

One very useful football analysis exercise is to ask yourself the questions in real time that you will eventually ask of Kellen Moore. OK, Kellen.

Monday, November 02, 2020

For Cowboys, humility comes in every form as hole gets deeper: The Morning After

 “I think like anything in life, the game of football will teach you humility in every form and fashion that you can imagine. So, to me, it’s part of the course of this season. It’s part of our challenge. And I clearly believe we will be better off in the future because of these hard times.” – Mike McCarthy after the 23-9 loss to the Eagles.