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Did Tony Romo Just Get Wally Pipp-ed?



Wally Pipp was a professional baseball player. He played professionally for 19 years, predominantly for the New York Yankees. Wally hit 90 career home runs and 998 RBIs; he was a two time American League home run champion, won the World Series in 1923, and is widely considered to be one of the best power hitters in the “Dead Ball” era.

But nobody knows or cares about any of that. Wally Pipp is now remembered for one thing: being replaced by Lou Gehrig.

That is one hell of a legacy. Now any time an athlete is permanently replaced after suffering an injury, he was not merely replaced…oh no, he was ‘Wally Pipp-ed’.

In the NFL getting Wally Pipp-ed is not that infrequent, especially at the quarterback position. Kyle Boller of the Ravens was Wally Pipp-ed by a strong-armed rookie from the DII school of Delaware by the name of Joe Flacco; the same can be said of Drew Bledsoe when he was Wally Pipp-ed by the unheralded Michigan product Tom Brady. And even more recently we saw Jim Harbaugh allow incumbant former 1st overall pick Alex Smith get Wally Pipp-ed by an uber-athlete out of Nevada named Collin Kaepernick.

After this past weekend we may have all caught a glimpse of Wally Pipp’s continuing legacy when the oft-injured Tony Romo took a rough shot, in a meaningless preseason game, which resulted in a cracked vertabrae. With that Romo is projected to miss 6-10 weeks and thereby opening the door for the 135th pick in the 2016 draft: Dak Prescott.

Prescott, the pride of Mississippi State University, has been the talk of the NFL preseason world. Thus far in three games, Prescott is 39 of 50 passes with 454 yards, 5 passing touchdowns, 2 rushing touchdowns, and zero turnovers. And while critics may continue to discount Prescott with their analysis, saying things such as he cannot throw deep and cannot do straight drop backs; their analysis ultimately counts for nothing when the games are actually being played.

Here is the long and the short of the situation: Tony Romo will be missing significant time for the fourth strait year (herniated disc surgery, two fractured back bones, twice-broken clavicle, and now the broken vertebrae). Romo is also 36 years old. While we see older quarterbacks excel on a weekly basis (i.e. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, etc.), it does not negate history and history dictates that as a player gets older, both production and health begin to significantly decline.

The other thing to remember is that winning cures everything. If Prescott goes 5-1 by playing mistake-free and leaning on the Elliott-driven run game, then the Cowboys would be hard-pressed to rush Romo back to the field. And if Prescott somehow goes 8-2 or 7-3, then the Cowboys may decide that the future is now.

A quick look at the schedule shows that of the first ten teams the Cowboys faced, only four made the playoffs; the Redskins, Bengals, Packers, and Steelers. Of those four teams only the Bengals possess a quality run-stuffing defense and none of those teams were in the top 10 of total defenses last year.

It will no doubt be a challenging road for Prescott, but he has at a minimum shown that he has the ability to compete at a high level. You cannot prepare for the future by living in the past and with Tony Romo once again missing significant action, it would appear that the future is now. And while I have always been a big fan of Romo, it appears to me that…

Mr. Romo sir…

You just got Wally Pipp-ed.

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Dallas Cowboys

I was wrong about Leighton Vander Esch



On Thursday, April 26, 2018, I sat inside my friend’s dorm in Commerce, TX, and stared anxiously at his television while the NFL Draft played.

Every year since 2014, Draft Day has been a holiday of sorts for me. I request the day off from my job, find a couple of friends, get some food together and enjoy watching 32 NFL franchises attempt to build the future of their team.

The Dallas Cowboys had just come off a disappointing 9-7 season that had fans and analysts across the country pushing for the firing of head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

America’s Team held the 19th overall pick in the first round. Several names flew through my head as I thought about which rookie I wanted to don the Star in 2018: Vita Vea, Derwin James, Calvin Ridley and Harold Landry just to name a few.

These players all filled glaring needs for the Cowboys. Vea and Landry would cement the defensive line that had seen major improvements in 2017. Derwin James would allow Byron Jones to move back to cornerback and would give new defensive backs coach Kris Richard an amazing slew of talent to use. Calvin Ridley would give the offense a tall, powerful receiver that could learn alongside Dez – prior to his eventual release from the team over the summer.

Vea and James both went before Dallas was on the clock, leading to those of us in the room to argue over whether Ridley or Landry would get their name called. I was pulling for Landry, as I knew he was one of the best defensive talents in the game and our offense would be fine without a cat like Ridley.

One name did not come to mind, however, and that was the name that was announced by Roger Goodell.

“With the 19th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker, Boise State,” Goodell said.

First, there was shock. Then, there was disgust. Finally, there was sadness. Over the course of the next hour, I ignored the television and instead went to Twitter to let everyone know how upset I was.

I wasn’t alone, either. Most Cowboys writers, fans and analysts were upset with the pick. It seemed like a stretch.

Surely Vander Esch could’ve been drafted at a lower spot, right? What if they traded back a few spots and grabbed another second rounder? This was the third year in a row I was disappointed with Dallas’ first-round draft pick.

I didn’t like the Ezekiel Elliott pick at the time, but he proved me wrong very quickly, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 regular season record alongside fellow rookie Dak Prescott.

I still don’t like the Taco Charlton pick. His production has been disgustingly low for a first-round draft pick, tallying four sacks, 25 tackles and a forced fumble in 24 games.

And now Leighton.

I didn’t want to blindly hate the guy, so I went to watch some film, and I found one glaring constant – he played softly. He couldn’t get off blocks, and if he did, he got trucked by the ball carrier. Exactly what the Cowboys needed: another soft defender.

I was unhappy about the pick for the next 5 months. When the season came around, he didn’t start, which I expected as much. Vander Esch’s first start came in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys were 1-2 heading into the game and were without starting linebacker Sean Lee.

Prior to this game, Dallas was 1-7 in the past three years when playing without defensive captain Lee. That’s how big of an impact he has on this defense. Vander Esch’s six-tackle stat line wasn’t jaw-dropping, but it got the job done. The Cowboys won the game 26-24 and improved to .500 on the season.

In the following week’s loss to the Houston Texans, Vander Esch led the team in tackles with 14. This caught my eye. In Dallas’ second straight game without Lee, Vander Esch balled out.

Through the Washington Redskins game on Thanksgiving, Vander Esch has tallied 93 total tackles, two interceptions with 56 return yards, six pass deflections and two stuffs. He currently leads the Cowboys in tackles, 15 ahead of fellow linebacker Jaylon Smith. He is the NFL’s leader in solo tackles with 72. According to @BobbyBeltTX on Twitter, Vander Esch has only played 73.6% of Dallas’ snaps, making this even more impressive.

He is tied for the lead with safety Xavier Woods in interceptions AS A LINEBACKER. His two interceptions lead safety Jeff Heath, cornerback Anthony Brown and defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence.

But, the stat lines don’t reflect just how well Vander Esch has played this season. His ability to recognize the play, change directions and make the tackle in open space is incredible. He’s much more powerful than his college film showed, stopping offensive players running full speed in their tracks.

Vander Esch has the potential to be the next General Lee, but hopefully with better hamstring and ACL health. If he can stay on the field, Vander Esch could be the best player wearing the Star for years to come.

So, this is my official statement on the matter.

I was wrong about Leighton Vander Esch.

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Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman Rips Cowboys Organization, Calls for Overhaul of Organization



Former Dallas Cowboys signal caller, Hall of Famer, and current color commentator Troy Aikman has seen enough of the Cowboys ineptitude following Monday night’s embarrassing loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Aikman, who won 3 Super Bowl titles with the Cowboys, is calling for a major organizational overhaul in order to get things right.

“Go through the list and this team, over a long period of time, has been what it’s been,” Aikman said Tuesday on 1310 The Ticket, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer. “It hasn’t always mattered who the head coach has been. So to me, if you’re asking me, I’d say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization.”

Aikman is probably like a lot of fans, and even analysts, who believe that changes are needed in Dallas, particularly along the sidelines that head coach Jason Garrett currently roams.

Change beyond that seems unlikely as Jerry Jones still rules supreme and has since the late 1980s.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Cut Dan Bailey From Team



Over the weekend, when teams are finalizing their 53-man roster, the Dallas Cowboys makes Cowboys fans say… why? Why did you cut Dan Bailey?

Dan Bailey

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Eight-year veteran kicker out of Oklahoma State Dan Bailey was released from the Dallas Cowboys. When Bailey arrived in 2011 as an undrafted free-agent, he became the highest scoring Cowboys player in multiple games. Also, during those six seasons, he has made at least 95 percent of his kicks becoming the second most accurate kicker in the NFL.

In 2017 during the San Francisco 49ers game, Bailey injured his groin and had to miss four games. When he returned he would miss at least one kick dropping his accuracy to about 70 percent.

Brett Maher


During the 2018 off-season, the Cowboys cautiously signed Kicker Brett Maher. Maher kicked for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Redblacks from 2014-2017. Since he is the only kicker on the roster, he is expected to start in week 1 when the Cowboys travel to Charlotte, NC to battle against the Carolina Panthers.

Now that Bailey is on the market and has cleared waivers, he is on the free-agent market. With that, he is expected to work out with the New York Jets this week.

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