You may know Jason Katz from his published football work on sites like FantasyPros. You may also know him as a member of our Handicapping Group (the band is dusting off the instruments and getting ready for 2017…we’ve been renewed for another season). You may also know him, or will get to know him as a die-hard Dallas Cowboys’ fan.
I asked Jason to follow the Cowboys for us all year…for fandom and fantasy. I did so, because he’s convinced, like most fan(atic)s that thinking something good will happen will jinx it to not make it so. I have a different theory — when I see a jinx potential, I pour it on to reverse the jinx. I see a jinx and yell ‘this is a jinx’ just to spit in the face of the jinx. The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl this season, and I am not a biased fan…and the more I say it…the more it’s likely to come true…and the more l say it…the more likely Jason loses sleep and hair follicles.
Jason is a talented young writer, so please enjoy him manically following the ‘Boys…but also sharing fantasy ideas, as his blood runs FFM green and CFM crimson.
Follow more of Katz’s work on Twitter: @jasonkatz13
Some Hard Knocks thoughts. The second episode focused heavily on the kickers. Normally, I’d criticize that because who cares about kickers. But it was quite intriguing given that we already knew that the Bucs had cut sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayoafter inexplicably drafting him in the second round in 2016. Any other kicker in the league would’ve been cut if he performed like Aguayo did in 2016, but since Aguayo was a rookie and a high draft pick, the Bucs gave him every opportunity and then some to prove himself. The game against the Bengals was a kicking disaster for Aguayo. He clanked a field goal and then wasn’t even close on an extra point.
The scene of Aguayo being cut was quite compelling. Aguayo’s reaction indicated he kind of saw it coming. He came off, at least to me, as more disappointed with himself than anything else.
I actually like Jameis Winston the person. I want to root for him. I wish he was better at football. I’m rooting against RC on this one, but I’m not optimistic.
And the line of the episode. I didn’t catch who said it, but it was during the montage of all the QBs practicing: “Hey Fitz. How was it playing against Bart Starr?”
In other news, Pete Carroll is a truly terrible head coach. Does Russell Wilson really need an entire first half of work in the second preseason game? The starters should not have played a single snap, let alone the entire first half. Sure enough, starting guard George Fant tore his ACL. I feel terrible that this guy’s season is over already because his coach is so incompetent.
Now to the Cowboys. The Colts defense is terrible. We know this. With that being said, Dak Prescott looked fantastic and Dez Bryant looked reinvigorated. That first 95 yard scoring drive was pure perfection. There will be no sophomore slump for Dak and I’m really starting to come around on Dez returning to his elite WR1 self. This team is going to be just fine without Ezekiel Elliott. After the Cowboys go 4-2 or better without Zeke, all doubts about Dak will be erased. This guy is absolutely for real. Darren McFadden also showed a nice burst and was quite capable of running through the gaping holes created by the offensive line. He ran with the 1s clearly ahead of Alfred Morris. This does not look like a timeshare. It’s Run DMC until Zeke returns. Morris is just a change of pace back.
Cole Beasley is in the right place at the right time on every play. He is becoming one of the best slot receivers in the league. He’s the real number two, not Terrance Williams. Brice Butler and Noah Brown are also both better than Williams. He needs to just go away.
The starters played just two series because Jason Garrett understands that these games don’t matter. Meanwhile, brilliant Chuck Pagano had 34 year old Frank Gore on the field in the second quarter because… reasons? How he still has a job is beyond me. Kellen Moore came in and did Kellen Moore things. You won’t get me to say a bad word about Kellen Moore.
Cooper Rush entered the game late in the third quarter. He looks alright against third stringers, which I guess is really all you can ask for from a third stringer. Too many of his throws are high, though. He’s a career backup, at best.
Rod Smith had a handful of really impressive runs late in the game where he ran through a number of defenders. He’s not a special player, but he ran with power and broke a bunch of tackles.
Byron Jones is one of the best safeties in the league. He is an excellent tackler. His ability to take down Jack Doyle before the first down on a 3rd and short on the Colts’ first drive is the type of play that impacts games – it gets the defense off the field.
It was really awesome to see Jaylon Smith on the field. He didn’t play a ton, but the fact that he’s even going to contribute this year is incredible. I hope he’s great, but if he can even be an above average linebacker, that’s more than I would’ve ever expected. He missed a couple reads on running plays, but that can be taught. Most importantly, it looked like his knee was working fine.
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