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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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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