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2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: CB Deji Olatoye

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: CB Deji Olatoye

For years, the Dallas Cowboys' secondary has been an area of concern. With the likes of Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr struggling to live up to potential, the unit has been an overall weak spot for the Cowboys defense.

Despite Claiborne coming together to play his best season as a Cowboy in 2015, the free agent defensive back's future is still up in the air. The same can be said about Brandon Carr in his cap situation.

However, help may be on the way in the secondary. Rookie Byron Jones appears to have solidified the free safety position while the team will also welcome back Orlando Scandrick next season.

Also on the roster to start training camp will be Deji Olatoye, who was signed from the practice squad for the final seven games of the season. He saw 138 snaps in the Cowboys secondary in total, most of which came in his two starts in weeks 16 and 17. This upcoming will now be his contract year.

While Olatoye wasn't a superstar by any means, he looked solid at the position. The 24-year-old corner out of North Carolina A&T played solid in coverage, and more importantly, was a very strong tackler.

With depth being so important in today's passing-dominated league, let's take a look at what Olatoye must do to earn a future with the Cowboys past 2016.

#29 Deji Olatoye

As mentioned, Olatoye is a solid tackler who recorded five solo tackles in both his starts. He also recorded his first career interception in the end zone against the Bills in week 16. The Cowboys are thin at the safety position, with contract years coming for Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox, so Olatoye can elevate his value by potentially taking some reps at safety.

As a cover corner, Olatoye will still need to prove himself at multiple positions in training camp. Going up against the likes of Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams on the outside, and Cole Beasley in the slot, he will certainly be tested day in and day out.

Currently on the depth chart, Olatoye is listed as the #3 right corner behind Claiborne and Terrance Mitchell. Mitchell was another player that joined the Cowboys late in the season and saw time across from Olatoye.

Should Claiborne move onto a new team for 2016, it would bump up Mitchell and Olatoye - who will likely both be fighting for one spot. That is, unless Olatoye can prove himself at safety or on special teams.

If Claiborne does not return, it also means that Brandon Carr will likely see another year as a starter across from Orlando Scandrick - stiffening the competition for both Mitchell and Olatoye.

It will be some time before we see this all play out, but the theme for the Cowboys 2015 training camp was competition - and it appears there will certainly be much more of that in the secondary this summer.

Tell us what you think about "2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: CB Deji Olatoye" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin

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Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.

After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.

The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.

Kavon Frazier

Dallas Cowboys S Kavon Frazier

I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.

Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.

As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.

I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.

Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?



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Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady

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Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.

After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.

But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."

The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.

Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).

The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.

This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.

These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.

Why The Numbers Expect Regression, But Success For Cowboys In 2017

Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.

Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.



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Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady

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Robert Quinn
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.

The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.

And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.

“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.

Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.

"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com. 

Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.

Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.



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