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Newcomers, Skill Players Make Up 2012 All-Opponent Team
IRVING, Texas – This is the time of year when various publications are releasing their All-Pro teams, while the NFL is selecting its official squad. The Pro Bowl has also already been announced and will be played at the end of the month.
With that in mind, we’ve once again created our own All-Pro list based solely on the opponents the Cowboys played this year, and more importantly, how they fared in their game against Dallas.
The Cowboys faced Pro Bowlers such as Victor Cruz, A.J. Green and Ray Rice, but none of them are on this list. It comes down to their performance solely against the Cowboys this season, whether it was in one game or two.
Today, we'll break down the offensive unit:
Robert Griffin III, WAS – There was a healthy debate between RGIII and Drew Brees, but at the end of the day, Griffin was the main reason the Cowboys are not in the playoffs. And you can argue he’s the reason defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired. Drew Brees was great in his win over Dallas, but the game didn’t matter too much in the big picture. The Cowboys still had a chance to win the division in Week 17, but were stopped again by a less-than-healthy RGIII, who also dominated them on Thanksgiving.
Honorable Mention: Drew Brees, NO
Alfred Morris, WAS – Arguably had the best game of any one player against the Cowboys, especially on offense. While McCoy didn’t hurt them much in the second meeting, it was the first contest that put him on this list, having ripped through Dallas for 185 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA – The Seahawks benefitted from an early 10-0 start against the Cowboys, but down the stretch Seattle imposed its will on the Dallas defense behind strong running from Lynch, who bulldozed his way to 127 yards and a touchdown.
Honorable Mention: Bryce Brown, PHI
Brandon Marshall, CHI – For the first time all season, we saw Brandon Carr have some problems and Marshall was a big reason why. Marshall had seven catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. It was an early sign of a great season to come for Marshall, who had 118 catches for 1,508 yards en route to another Pro Bowl selection.
Riley Cooper, PHI – Of all the players to give Morris Claiborne so many problems, Cooper gave the Cowboys fits in two meetings. He had two catches for 24 yards and a touchdown in the first game, but drew four penalties alone on Claiborne. In the rematch, he had two more catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Julio Jones, ATL – What makes the Falcons so good is the amount of weapons they have on offense. In this game, though, Jones stood out with 129 receiving yards. He came up with clutch catches and even a big first-down run, along with drawing a key pass interference penalty.
Honorable Mention: Marques Colston, NO
Heath Miller, PIT – He really hurt the Cowboys the most in one half, but surprisingly, Pittsburgh didn’t keep attacking with Miller. He did finish with seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, but wasn’t a big factor down the stretch. Miller edged out Benjamin Watson, who scored Cleveland’s only two touchdowns in their game with Dallas.
Honorable Mention: Benjamin Watson, CLE; Jimmy Graham, NO
Joe Thomas, OT, CLE – One of the best tackles in the game who quietly goes about his business. He handled DeMarcus Ware for most of the day without much help. The Browns have some good young players on offense and Thomas is probably the best of the bunch.
Trent Williams, OT, WAS – One of three repeat offenders on the offensive line from last year. Once again, Williams doesn’t get or need much help when facing Ware or Anthony Spencer. He played well in the Thanksgiving Day game when Ware was closer to 100 percent. In the finale, Ware was clearly hurting, and it’s going to take much more than that to get by Williams, who stonewalls healthy players for a living.
Jahri Evans, G, NO – The Saints racked up 562 yards of offense and did it both through the air and on the ground. Drew Brees threw the ball 53 times but was never sacked. Evans and fellow guard Ben Grubbs did a nice job of keeping a clean pocket for Brees, but also provided some running lanes as the Saints piled up 116 ground yards.
Chris Snee, G, NYG – A steady player who is always a pain in the Cowboys’ side. In the second game, he went toe-to-toe with Jay Ratliff, who wasn’t healthy for most of the year. Snee and Ratliff have had some good battles over the year and had one again in the Oct. 28 game. The Giants’ offense wasn’t stellar this year, but it’s not because of Snee.
Max Unger, C, SEA – He makes the team for the second straight year and was a big factor in the Seahawks’ ability to run over the Cowboys. A player the Cowboys heavily targeted back in the 2008 draft and missed out on by just two spots, Unger plays with a mean streak and nastiness that gives his team an edge.
Honorable Mention: OT Andrew Whitworth, CIN; G Evan Mathis, PHI; OT Frank Omiyale, SEA
Kai Forbath, WAS – While he spent half of last season with the Cowboys on injured reserve, Forbath made sure he wasn’t forgotten, especially on Thanksgiving Day when he hit a clutch 48-yarder to ice the win.
Jacoby Jones, BAL – Scoring the longest touchdown against the Cowboys in franchise history should get you on this team. Jones’ 108-yard return played a huge factor in a game Dallas controlled on the stat sheet. Unfortunately, that third-quarter touchdown was the difference maker. Read