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Is Trevor Siemian The Long Term Answer In Denver?

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Trevor Siemian

A year removed from a SupeBowl 50 championship which resulted in Peyton Manning’s second ring and the Broncos third (first since 1998) began again with a new sheriff leading the most coveted position in professional football: Trevor Siemian. After his 2016 season that ended with a number of highs and lows left many fans seeking the answer to a very important question; Will Siemian be the guy leading the storied Denver franchise going forward?

Trevor Siemian came into the league with critics and from all accounts they seemed warranted. The Northwestern University play callers 4 year career ended with  27 touchdowns accompanied by 24 interceptions. These are pretty average numbers for a college kid wanting to be an NFL starter. According to Sportingnews.com “There have been 730 FBS Division I quarterbacks over the past 20 seasons who have thrown at least 50 passes while accumulating a completion percentage worse than 60 percent and a passer rating worse than 120. Seems like a high number, but only eight of them (1.1 percent) have also started a game in the NFL”. Out of those eight quarterbacks over the past 20 seasons Siemians touchdown percentage was worse. Not to mention none of those eight quarterbacks over the last 20 seasons paned out into NFL stars.

With the odds stacked against him and a 2015 year where Trevor saw no on-field action,  he was still able to put together an average season behind 14 games, 3,401 yards, 84.6 percent passer rating, and a 18/10 touchdown to interception ratio. However, after I watched Siemian play the Titans at Nissan Stadium in a week 13 matchup, it was evident that concerns surrounded the 25 year old as a legitimate starter.

Although he went 35/51 on the day with 334 yards and 1 TD, his releases were often late and passes inaccurate. The Titans defense (two sacks for a loss of 15 yards) likely didn’t help his overall numbers, the red zone efficiency of 1/3 (33%) showed that Trevor is having trouble putting it all together. Only in his second year and not possessing the experience or masterful football mind of now retired Peyton Manning its easy to see that Trevor is a good “in the moment” decision maker but lacks game management, passing accuracy and overall football IQ.

Going Forward:

The off-season and  beginning of the 2017 season will be an interesting one. Siemian and Lynch will likely battle it out for the starting job and both are John Elway’s personal picks. An in depth competition for the starting job will almost certainly be granted under first year coach Vance Joseph. However, its possible neither get the starting role and that Denver’s office looks for a veteran. An experience veteran like Tony Romo who is likely to depart from Dallas could lead the Broncos back into playoff and SuperBowl contention sooner rather then later.

As reported by ESPN, “If the Broncos determine Trevor Siemian is not the solution, and Paxton Lynch still needs one more year of seasoning, Romo could finish his career in Denver, following the path of Peyton Manning”. While this is a long shot its not impossible and would lead to some interesting 2017 headlines if Jerry Jones decided to part ways with his favorite player. It seems the jury is still out on who the long term QB will be in Denver. But one thing is certain, The 2017 season in Mile High is sure to be chalked full of questions-and hopefully answers.

Matt Ladd is a Graduate of King University B.B.A. He writes on NFL, NBA, and College Athletics.Follow on Twitter: @MattLaddTN

Dallas Cowboys

I was wrong about Leighton Vander Esch

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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

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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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Cowboys Cut Dan Bailey From Team

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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

Credit: Ottawaredblacks.com

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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