The Vegas Raiders are trying to brand their new stadium ‘The Death Star’ and I’m having none of that.
There is only one Death Star and it’s right outside of Dallas. There is only one Empire team and that’s America’s Team. Fuck this noise.
Everyone in Dallas has been calling our stadium the Death Star since day 1. The UnTicket explains the origin (and also is where this badass cover image came from).
Early in 2009, months before the stadium first opened, the Cowboys changed their flagship radio station from The Ticket (a legendary radio station) to The Fan (a trash radio station).
As part of the move, Jerry had to fire Ticket morning host George Dunham (co-host of the tweeter above) from his stadium PA job and replace him with a host on The Fan. It was bullshit because Dunham had been awesome at that job for years, and long before the Ticket had flagship rights as well.
Those morning show hosts found a way to exact revenge through the Death Star moniker, and it’s stuck ever since. It’s an awesome nickname that we should all be proud of.
Fuck you Jerry. We don’t have to call it Jerry World. Thanks for building a beautiful DeathStar, Jerry.
This must’ve seethed our owner more than I realized because Jerry is 100% behind this new Vegas branding. Mark Davis is a puppet owner of the new stadium, while Jerry is the real owner.
Jerry thinks that by having Mark Davis run with this Death Star schtick in Vegas, we might be forced to stop saying it back in Dallas. Again, I’m having none of that. Fuck off Jerry. Be a better emperor.
Not a great start for America’s Team, but we would’ve won if not for that cowardly flop by Jalen Ramsey or if the fans hadn’t whined PI reviews away. I’m not worried by the loss.
Also, the Rams are good again. I was leaning on them at +6000 and that definitely should’ve been a full bet. They dropped to +2200 overnight and that’s still a play. They’re also a pick em at Philly on Sunday and that’s a lock.
McVay’s o-line is healthy again and he’s got that RPO scheme rolling like the new age triple option – so simple, yet so diverse and dangerous. 60% time of possession, including a devastating nine minute, 17 play drive in the first quarter.
Still, the Cowboys found a way to enter halftime with a lead and nearly managed to end the game with a win if it weren’t for that cowardly flop. We did have some issues yes, but the two minute drills nearly made up for them.
Great teams find ways to win after playing poorly, and the Cowboys almost did that against a good Rams team. I’m not panicking yet, especially considering the circumstances of a brand new coach with no preseason or offseason.
McCarthy’s first game certainly didn’t win anyone over, but it’s way too early to judge him. Nothing to complain about on that front yet.
The most controversial coaching decision was the late 4th and 3 attempt. It fell a yard short and failed, but NFL fans these days will blindly laud all 4th down attempts as good decisions so McCarthy is not getting heat for it.
Aggressiveness is good, obviously, but this was the wrong decision. If it was 4th and 1, maybe 4th and 2, I’m okay with it. Otherwise, just tie the game and guarantee us to be within one possession of the lead max til the end.
Losing like this is still way better than how we lost with the last coach… I won’t complain.
After a further deep dive into the game, here are the main takeaways…
1. Blake Jarwin Tore His ACL and Fucked Us
Jarwin looked pretty great for almost two quarters until he tore his ACL without contact. God damnit what a shitty Week 1 blow.
Our replacement, Dalton Schultz, was in way over his head. The 4th and 3 failure was technically on him for not getting enough depth on his pick route. He was likely being overcautious because, on his first series after replacing Jarwin, he had a terrible OPI that negated a badass slip screen touchdown by Zeke.
On a screen pass, man? Come oonnnnn. Definitely not the type of mental mistake we should expect from a Stanford alum ‘lunch pail’ guy.
In fact, the 4th and 3 would’ve never happened to begin with if he doesn’t have this awful drop two plays earlier.
Hopefully we can chalk this up as a preseason game for him and see some better results with starter reps. He did have a sick conversion on 3rd and 10, making a play that Witten hasn’t been capable of finishing for years.
That’s a good sign at least.
2. We Need La’el Back ASAP
We started UDFA rookie Terence Steele at right tackle. It was surprising considering we had just signed a decent swing tackle in Cam Erving, but Erving got injured himself on a field goal play anyway. Jesus Christ.
At least the offense stayed functional, unlike what happened under the previous regime with o-line injuries, but that Rams front made for a brutal mismatch. By the end of the game, LA was basically overloading the entire left side because they knew Steele couldn’t block 1v1.
You can’t fault a UDFA rookie for not being good in Week 1. The fact that he didn’t completely fall apart is somewhat commendable.
Instead, the scorn should be directed at whatever fuckhead driver cut off La’el Collins during training camp and caused his injury. Whoever that person is should be outed and banished from the state of Texas. We need Collins back on the field ASAP.
3. Connor Williams Sucks So Much
According to PFF, our worst lineman was not Steele, but rather Connor Williams. He graded out at 49.5 overall with a pass blocking rating of 27.2, (half that of Steele’s).
What a fucking awful second round draft pick. He sucks so fucking much.
4. Skill Position Players Looked Sick
Zeke had a good game (and so did Tony Pollard). The overall scheme didn’t look much different from last year, but we were definitely activating the backs in the passing game more. In the first half especially, it was a big time red zone multiplier.
The second TD was called back because of the Schultz OPI, but still those are some badass scores by Zeke. He had some slick as hell runs too, and you can tell that he’s gonna destroy lesser defenses this year. Feed him!
No complaints on the WR front either. Cooper had 10 catches, Ceedee looked sick, and Gallup had an outstanding game that would be getting a lot of noise if it weren’t for that flop. Man that catch against Ramsey was so awesome.
Most importantly, Gallup didn’t have any drops. He dropped an absurd 10% of his passes last year and still went 80 yards per game. His hands were amazing in college and his rookie year, so we’re hoping last season was an outlier. So far, so good. He’s breaking out this year.
5. Dak Was Decent
Dak was alright. No turnovers, a sick TD run (pretty much), good two minute drills, but a couple of bad 3rd down mistakes in the second half.
The first was losing field goal range after a terrible sack (although more fault goes to sorry ass turnstile Connor Williams). The second was a piss poor throw on what should’ve been a routine conversion for Cooper. Both cost us points.
6. LVE Is the New Lofa Tatupu, Probably
Vander Esch broke his collarbone and is out 6-8 weeks. The neck injuries are piling up and he’s looking more and more like the next Lofa Tatupu. That blows.
Next to him in the lineup, Jaylon Smith had a decent but not dominant game. He’s being paid to be dominant. Need better.
7. Keep Cranking up the Earl Thomas Talk
Our pass D was weak as fuck down the middle, with slot men and tight ends running all day. I don’t care what kind of chemistry issues he may have… If our safety play doesn’t step up, I want ET coming home.
That question about how Aldon Smith’s five year layoff would affect his production? Turns out the answer is NONE AT ALL. Holy fuck what a find.
This means Everson Griffen and Randy Gregory will be BACKUPS to two of the most dominant ends in football. We won’t be lacking for pass rush this year.
9. Trevon Diggs Is Gonna Be Awesome
Keep in mind that Trevon Diggs is a natural receiver with only 1.5 years of prior CB experience at Bama. Once his instincts develop just a tiny bit more, he’s gonna be a star.
There were three plays in particular that stood out where he was an inch away from changing the game.
The first was a perfectly thrown deep pass where he went for a pick instead of deflection. The second was a perfectly thrown short ball that he nearly blanketed. The third was an insane one-handed interception (almost).
He also had a BIG TIME tackle on the most important defensive play of the game. Run support like this from a CB is such an asset.
10. Legatron, Cmoonnnn
Lastly, special teams. Legatron drilled a short field goal but missed a 54 yarder. I know its a long distance, but what the hell man? Where was this kicking in the dome?
Free agent kickers always have the risk of being damaged goods, but if the Rams thought this dude was better than Legatron then I’m confident they misevaluated.
These loud misses are gonna be hilarious this year.
The Cowboys offense was certainly not in Death Star mode throughout most of the night, but we can still be encouraged by what happened in crunch time. In the last two minutes of both halves, Dak and his boys made some spectacular plays.
The first half ended with us getting the ball back at 1:56 remaining and scoring with ease on a surgical ten play drive. Dak was 5/5 for 47 yards and also had 12 on the ground with this badass pretty-much-TD run.
Our two minute drill didn’t have quite the same rhythm in the second half, but there was one moment that was so sensational it could’ve made up for everything that possibly went wrong all game.
What a throw. What a catch. And what a pussy ass flop by Jalen Ramsey.
What in the world has our country come to? Flopping. In mother fucking football… By a defender no less! Disgusting.
Take note all you young DBs out there… Want a $100M contract? Add flopping to your arsenal like Jalen Ramsey did.
Everyone assumes that soccer is the sport for flopping, but that’s not actually true anymore. They started penalizing players for it, and now with VAR it’s basically impossible. Brazil screwed themselves in the World Cup because of it. It’s out of the game now.
Ironically, they did it for us. They did it to get more Americans watching. Yet somehow, the plague of flopping still has life, and that life is flourishing in what was once the great country of America.
Obviously, basketball is to blame here. After all, athletes these days come from a generation that was led to worship a 6’9” 250lb icon that loved to flop. Harden too etc. Thanks a lot NBA fans.
It also would’ve helped to have pass interference reviewable by replay. We finally managed to get that… Yes there was a rough start, but after those October owners meetings it was working.
We could’ve just stopped whining then and had this thing we’d spent decades begging for. But noooo we can’t have nice things.
Congratulations America. You now have flopping in your football. Hope everyone is proud of themselves.
PS – technically none of the games are in America these days, but there’s a badass hockey team from Texas that knows how to take care of flopping
Apparently the Cowboys and Rams had a lot of epic playoff battles back in the day, but I’m not old enough to remember anything of that shit.
In late modern times, there haven’t been many notable games between the two teams. The division round game a couple years ago was huge, but that is too recent.
Quincy Carter’s 13-10 victory back in 2002 was awesome at the time, but not important enough to feature in this series…
(NOTE: #88 is Antonio Bryant, the better version of Dez)
Instead, for this inaugural version of Cowboys Flashback Friday posts, we’re going to feature a top ten moment of Romo’s career – the epic four yard run.
Back in 2007, the Cowboys had the best team I can ever remember following. Bill Parcells had laid the foundation of a roster that was staaaacckkked on both sides of the ball.
Despite dropping the ball in Seattle the winter before and driving Parcells to retirement, Romo was looking sharp as shit in this season. He showing no signs of the career choke artist he would later become.
One of the savviest plays he made all season, and of his entire career, came in Week 4. It was a LEGENDARY four yard run.
You can see the replay at the beginning of this video of Romo’s top ten career moments…
Unfortunately, the season ended with a Cabo trip and an embarrassment at the hands of Eli, but at least we had this memory against the 3-13 Rams.
The long running saga between Earl Thomas and America’s Team began on Christmas Eve of 2017. After beating us in a virtual playoff game in Week 16, the native Texan ran through the Cowboys tunnel to catch Jason Garrett and ask him to ‘come get me’ once Seattle ‘kicked him to the curb’…
(Side Note: That game was the beginning of the end for Dez in Dallas. Here are his full highlights from the game)
Trade rumors were buzzing when he held out the entire 2018 offseason and camp. Dallas offered a 2nd round pick, but Seattle demanded both a 1st and 3rd. That was way too much for a pending free agent, so Dallas declined.
ET was not pleased, and he made his feelings known against us in Week 3 in the form of two interceptions and a bow…
It looked like the saga was over for good last summer when Baltimore opened the bank for ET in a way that Dallas could not afford.
Anyways we all know how that worked out. Despite the choke job vs Tennessee, ET still looked to be in a good spot to wind down the prime of his career with Baltimore. Then shit got super real over the summer.
Early in camp, he got kicked out of practice after getting into an all out brawl with fellow starting safety Chuck Clark. Fighting in football practice is not a big deal, but it was the latest in a string of problems ET’s had with his teammates.
They had already grown sick of him last year because he kept to himself in a tight-knit locker room, called out DT Brandon Williams for not playing through injury in their Week 4 loss to Cleveland, and skipped all the team workouts this offseason (even though he reported to camp in great shape).
The straw that broke the camel’s back was him releasing a video of the pre-fight coverage breakdown on Instagram, and sharing private practice intel to the public is a big no no.
The Ravens ‘leadership council’ requested he be released, and now he’s a free agent.
Dallas was the top team to sign him after he got released, but it’s been almost three weeks and he’s still unemployed. Is ET coming home or what?
Obviously Jerry Jones would love for that to happen, but contrary to popular belief he is not the real decision maker in Dallas. He is a spokesman while his son Stephen runs the football operations with massive delegation to Mike McCarthy and Will McClay.
McCarthy does not seem too keen on signing ET, likely because of his relationship with Seahawks GM John Schneider going back to their Green Bay days. As it stands now, sources keep telling journalists that the Cowboys have no interest and all the ET rumors are bullshit.
That being said, safety is definitely our biggest question mark going into the season. The current starter at free safety is Xavier Woods, who can play in both spots and has very high ceiling potential. Last year however, our scheme got exposed and he struggled along with everyone else on defense.
In the strong safety spot, we had hopes for HaHa Clinton-Dix, but he disappointed in camp and got cut. That leaves the starting job to special teams journeyman Darian Thompson – not good.
We did sign Brandon Carr recently, who is a solid old vet and could be dependable. There’s also been a lot of noise about playing Cheetoh at safety.
I’m cool with rolling with those guys to start the season and seeing how things work. McCarthy has proven trustworthy to this point, and we don’t need entitlement culture seeping through.
If anyone struggles though, Earl Thomas needs to get a call. Kevin Sherrington wrote it best: allow some time for Thomas to humble up, see how our current personnel works under live bullets, and bring him in on an incentive deal if we need him.
If that happens, it means Super Bowl. America’s haters are just gonna have to…
We all the knows the Cowboys offense is certified Death Star status and possibly one of the greatest of all time. The defense? Just needs to be solid enough to hold teams under 35, and the prospects for that got way easier last week when we signed EVERSON GRIFFIN!
Ohh ho hum just a nice little rental for a $6M Pro Bowler to add to this group…
We officially have the best front seven since the glory days. Everson Griffin is just as good at pass rushing as Robert Quinn, except Griffin can actually stop the run too.
Speaking of run stopping, we have big DTs for the first time since like, ever… Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. No more Rod Marinelli banging his god damned hand on the table to make us draft Trysten Hill. We finally have competence over the ball in the form of eight combined Pro Bowls.
That will free up the best young LB duo in the league to do cool superstar LB stuff. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are switching positions – LVE to Mike; Smith to Will – because Mike Nolan does this novel thing with his linebackers called blitzing. It’s going to be awesome to watch.
Speaking of rushing the passer, D-Law is still a top five edge rusher in the league and will actually have a training camp this year. It’s so nice when your star player doesn’t have to hold out on his surgery for four months because you procrastinate on giving him a fair contract. He’ll be certified Death Star status this year for sure.
The depth on the pass rush hinges on Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory. Two huge question mark players yes, but if just one of them works out the pass rush will be so deep and deadly. If both of them work out? Quarterbacks will start looking like Alderaan.
And to top it all off, we have one of the most legendary position coaches of all time – Jim Tomsula baby.
So is it fair to call this front seven a Death Star unit? No. Because as I was writing this blog, Gerald McCoy ruptured a tendon and is out for the season. God damnit. Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford are going to have to not suck, which is possible. But until then we are just badass Star Destroyer status. With our offense, that’s more than fine by me.
We’re still in the offseason but that doesn’t stop Zeke from cranking out some sick highlights for Cowboy Nation:
What a player. What a competitor. You can tell by the way he licks his lips while killing that ‘Feed Me’ is more than a football mantra – it’s a life mantra.
I’m certain I’ve played this game more than Zeke and I feel alright about my skills, but he’s still as better than me at Warzone as he is at NFL football. The C4 throws. The confidence in the final circles. The swagger to assassinate that motherfucker with a finishing move. It’s a classic example of how most great athletes aren’t just great at the sport they play; they’re great at anything remotely resembling a competition.
Partying is a competitive sport for most bros and Zeke has been no exception throughout all his prior offseasons. This year however, he’s been forced to channel that energy into video games and has had the quietest summer since he’s been drafted. That hasn’t stopped scumbag outlets like SI from continuing to slander his name, so we’re getting used to the fact that people will be after his character for the rest of his career.
By all public accounts over the past four years, Zeke has shown nothing but class. Interviews, All or Nothing footage, streams, mic’d up segments – they’ve always portrayed a calm, chill, happy-go-lucky beacon of utter confidence. He doesn’t want trouble, but haters are bringing it to him anyways because they’re convinced he’s a monster whenever we can’t see. At this point, there’s nothing we can do about until the haters have to kiss our rings.
What is worth getting riled up over is the other kind of slander Zeke’s faced this summer – that of his play on the football field. The most egregious culprit is Next Gen Stats, which is owned by washing r-word fan Jeff Bezos. They had a competition to come up with a new stat, and they awarded it some fucking nerds in Austria who have never watched a down of football in their lives. Their new stat, ‘expected rushing yards’, doesn’t even rank Zeke in the top 10. Dumb fucking nerds.
Ahead of Zeke in their rankings is Carlos Hyde, Mark Ingram, Leonard Fournette, and Chris Carson. Utterly ridiculous. Clearly analytics has a long ass way to go to be as meaningful in football as it is in other sports, and until then we should let these euro nerds stick to soccer. I’m with Zeke’s mom on this one…
The best way to live life is to make lemonade out of lemons, and that’s how the Cowboys ended up with their vaunted Death Star Line. Back last decade when Romo held our balls to the fire and squeezed out the worst contract in franchise history, we had to gut our o-line and put Romo on the Russell Wilson plan. That obviously didn’t work, so we tried to save his ass by going o-line first round in three straight drafts.
Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Nick Martin anchored our line to one of the most dominant 5 year stretches in o-line history. They weren’t great enough to save Romo (nobody is), but they’ve been immensely helpful in developing Dak into a perennial MVP candidate. They are the only players of the Garrett era who belong in the Ring of Honor.
Father Time is undefeated however, and he struck early this spring when Travis Frederick retired from GBS. Frederick was still good, but his official retirement statement explains that he was worried about slipping into a Witten-type presence that ends up hurting the team. He will be missed. Fortunately, a clone of him just graduated from Wisconsin as the top rated center and inexplicably fell to the fourth round. Per WalterFootball…
Many haters point to Tyron Smith, who misses games ever year, as the next victim in Father’s Time crosshairs. NFL executives disagree, ranking him as the unequivocal #1 lineman in the league. It doesn’t matter even if he were to fall off because according to PFF’s newly released rankings, La’el Collins is a top 5 tackle. He has finally earned his Death Star stripes. Talk about an ultimate lemon to lemonade story!
Collins was a top 10 prospect of 2015, but became a UDFA after someone murdered his pregnant ex-girlfriend the night before the draft. The OG Death Star trio invited him to Jerry’s house for a recruitment dinner, and he pounced on the opportunity to follow under their tutelage. Jerry was particularly impressed by the fact that La’el Collins is an Eagle Scout, which is the same reason I never believed Throatzilla’s claims later that summer that Collins stiffed her on services to eat his ass out.
At first, Collins was dominant in his natural position at guard, but we took a few years to develop him at tackle for the long term good of the Death Star. The plan has come to fruition now and Cowboys fans should be ecstatic. I don’t want to get too hyperbolic because Larry Allen might just be the best football player ever, but Collins is the closest to a Larry Allen clone we’ve ever seen.
Am I happy that La’el Collins’s ex-girlfriend was murdered the night before the draft? Of course not! That was a horrible tragedy. But God works in mysterious ways, and he knows that pancakes are best served with lemonade.