Dallas Cowboys Report

Let the Games Begin! Cowboys ready for season opener

Dak Prescott will shoulder a heavy load. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Thursday night’s preseason finale was not much of a game for most teams.  The Cowboys and Texans were no exception. They rested their starters, which led to the Cowboys taking another loss.  The 14-6 result left the Cowboys winless (0-4) before starting the regular season.

Backup quarterbacks Cooper Rush and Mike White split halves and once again White looked like the better option as QB2 on the depth chart.  He went 13 of 21 for 118 yards and no turnovers. Rush was 14 of 25 for 83 yards and two interceptions although one was a Hail Mary at the end of the first half so that shouldn’t really count.  Head Coach Jason Garrett and staff need to make a decision on who will back up starting QB Dak Prescott and it looks like rookie White is the right choice.

In a surprise move the Cowboys cut longtime kicker Dan Bailey.  He had been a cornerstone at the position for the last eight years and is the second most accurate kicker in NFL history with 88.2% accuracy.  They are going forward with Brett Maher, a kicker who is coming over from the Canadian Football League. Maher has never kicked in an NFL regular season game but has shown promise going 4 for 5 with a long 57-yard field goal against the Texans.  The decision seems to be purely financial as Bailey was set to make over $3 million dollars this season while Maher is set to make a little under $500,000. I am curious to see how well this decision works out through the course of the season.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Allen Hurns (wide receiver): Signed a two year, $12 million dollar contract this offseason to come over from Jacksonville.  He is slated to be the replacement to former Cowboys great Dez Bryant and hasn’t had much opportunity to show off his skills so far.  With Week 1 approaching let’s see if he can develop a good rapport with Prescott.

  2. Geoff Swaim (tight end): In the absence of Cowboy legend Jason Witten, Swaim is now the starting tight rnd.  It will be intriguing to see if this fouth year player can help the Cowboys reclaim an above average passing attack. He has never scored a touchdown and has only nine career receptions.

  3. Tyree Robinson (free safety):  The 6’3 slender defensive back from University of Oregon made the 53-man roster and is the backup free safety.  With starter Xavier Woods listed as questionable for Sunday’s regular season start due to a hamstring injury, Robinson could be in line for his first start.

Coming up

It is finally here, the start of the 2018 NFL Regular Season!  The Cowboys start off on the road against the Carolina Panthers and former NFL MVP Cam Newton on Sunday Sept. 9 at 3:25pm Central Time.  The Cowboys are still dealing with offensive line injuries (Travis Frederick and Zack Martin).  

If the Cowboys struggle with the running game, it is going to up to Prescott to get the ball downfield to his unproven pass catchers.  On the defensive side of the ball, the main threats are going to be Newton’s ability to escape the pressure and run for first downs as well as containing versatile second year running back Christian McCaffrey.  Luckily for the Cowboys, the Panthers don’t seem to have many playmaking wide receivers.  

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas +3.  If you are going to bet on the Cowboys, bet them early because they are a very public team and the line usually goes lower on their side closer to game time.  Meaning, it will probably end up less than 3. I would only bet them if you can a number more than 3.




 

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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