The Cowboys Report

Trouble in Big D? Offensive line takes some hits

Dak Prescott should see lots of action this week. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the start of the NFL season only a few weeks away, are the Cowboys already in trouble?  At this point in time they are down two great offensive linemen. Last week Pro Bowl Right Guard Zach Martin left the game vs. Cincinnati with a left knee injury and early Thursday morning it was announced that Pro Bowl Center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.   This is a rare auto immune disorder that attacks the body’s nerves and causes muscle weakness and has to timetable. Along with the departures of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, this only adds to the question of “What is the Cowboys offense going to look like this year?”

Logically Jason Garrett and his staff would look to lean heavily on their young stud running back Ezekiel Elliott.  This will probably mean Elliott getting over 400 touches this season which relies on having a healthy O-Line. Luckily, starting QB Dak Prescott and the first team offense have looked good the first two preseason games.  Prescott has gone 13-of-18 for 125 yards, two touchdowns and NO interceptions. On the four drives he has had, they have scored three times. The most notable was a 30 yard TD pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup.

Even with the Cowboys starting 0-2, things might not be so bad if Prescott can bounce back to his 2016 form where he threw for over 3,000 yards, 23 TDs, and only 4 INTs.  This would be a tremendous benefit to both Elliott and the O-Line by keeping the defense honest and not stacking the line of scrimmage.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Joe Looney, Cowboys starting Center due Frederick’s illness.  Looney is a 2012 4th round pick out of Wake Forest.  He is 6’3 and weighs over 300 lbs. but has only started three games in the last two years.  It will be good to see how he fits in with the first team offense.

  2. Tyree Robinson (Undrafted Free agent), who is fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster but has a great opportunity because the Cowboys also have multiple injuries to their secondary (starting safety Xavier Woods and backup Jameill Showers).  He is a 6’3 slender defensive back who put up decent college stats at the University of Oregon. He has the ability be be a great asset in the defensive backfield as well as contribute to special teams.

  3. Michael Gallup, rookie wide receiver from Colorado State who was drafted in the third round this year. (I will definitely have my eye on this one for fantasy purposes.)  At 6’1 he has favorable size and speed, which he has shown already. The coaches definitely see something there because he has been in on 85% of the first team snaps in the first two preseason games.  Not to mention the Cowboys have a few question marks at the position with Cole Beasley and Tavon Austin not being on the field much with lower body injuries.  

Coming up

On Sunday night, the Cowboys will take on the 2-0 Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX (AKA:  Jerry’s World). This should be a good one not only because it is the third preseason game which is said to be the one that most resembles a real game but the Cowboys haven’t won a game yet and I am sure they are going to push hard to get one in the win column.  Not only are we going to get to see a lot of reps out of Prescott and Elliott, but the Cardinals first team is loaded with a bunch of talent too.  Newly signed free agent QB Sam Bradford will be on the field with All-Pro running back David Johnson and potential future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

For you gamblers out there, you might want to put a small wager on the Cowboys at +1.5.  I know I am going to.




 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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