Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

2016 Cowboys Camp: What is the Team’s Weakest Position?

Published

on

Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Cowboys Camp: Weakest Position?

Yesterday, in Part Three of our Camp Preview Series, we talked about which position on the 2016 Cowboys roster was going to be the strongest. Naturally, it's now time to ask...

What Will be the Weakest Position on the Team?

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Randy Gregory Suspended 4 GamesJess Haynie ( @CowboysAddicts ) - Even without the suspensions, defensive end would probably still be my pick. I feel good about DeMarcus Lawrence in his third year, given that he had seven sacks in the last eight games of 2015. Still, he's going to miss four weeks and everyone behind him is unproven. The Randy Gregory news only adds to the drama and the concern. Thankfully (and sadly), Rod Marinelli is used to not getting much out of his defensive ends.

Kevin Brady ( @KevinBrady88 ) - Right defensive end. This one’s a no-brainer for me, especially since our weakest point on the entire defensive line will have to face off with (usually) the other team’s strongest point, their left tackle, each and every week. Randy Gregory was the projected week one starter here prior to his suspension, but now the position remains in purgatory as the Cowboys surf through rookies and unknowns looking for an answer. Benson Mayowa, Charles Tapper, and Ryan Russell seem to be the ones competing for the spot, and while I like all three of the players, I don’t know how ready to play they’ll be Week One of this season.

Cowboys Blog - Bitching Points: Kellen Moore, Jason Garrett, Tony Romo, Et Al. 1RJ Ochoa ( @RJOchoa ) - I've been vocal about the fact that the Cowboys have displayed a sense of arrogance when it comes to certain elements of 2016's roster construction. They've completely dismissed the porous play from Kellen Moore that we saw in 2015 and are choosing to close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears, and say "lalalala." Dak Prescott is fine and dandy, but the backup quarterback crew is a dud.

Sean Martin ( @ShoreSportsNJ ) - While I am not as down as most about the overall situation the Cowboys find themselves in at defensive end, it still has to be considered their weakest position. Get as excited as you would like about Benson Mayowa, Ryan Russell, Jack Crawford, David Irving, and whoever else Rod Marinelli decides to throw on the edge, but the reality is that outside of DeMarcus Lawrence this team does not have a single pass rusher that has proven they can generate consistent pressure on the quarterback. In a league where games are so heavily determined by the passing game, that's simply not good for a Cowboys team that wants to make a serious playoff run this season.

Brian Martin ( @bmart0204 ) - I think the defensive end position is probably the weakest, at least to start the season. The suspensions handed down to Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory really put the Cowboys defense in a tough situation. No one knows who will start at defensive end the first month of the 2016 season, and that’s why I believe it’s the weakest position right now. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli seems to get the best out of his players and he will have to work his magic once again with his defensive ends.

Cowboys Headlines - Is Dallas Done at Linebacker? 2

AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Bryson Treece ( @BrysonTreece ) - Linebackers. Even before Rolando McClain's suspension the linebackers were a toss-up. Signing Justin Durant helps some, but he's not going to be the difference alone. The top LBs are all risky. RoMac is suspended; Durant and Sean Lee are both injury prone. Anthony Hitchens didn't improve much in 2015, and Damien Wilson got snubbed after New Orleans in 2015. Several young guys with a chance to step up, but stepping up hasn't been a common sight on this defense the last several years. The lack of strength, and inability to stay healthy, are sores this team must face with or without the suspended players, and the situation on the line won't be helped any by a lack of solid LB play. But I realize that I'm in the minority here.

Ian Koplowitz ( @BleedingTheStar ) - By bringing on Justin Durant, I think you can safely take the linebacker room out of consideration here. So having said that, you have to say that defensive end is the most questionable position heading into camp. Even with Demarcus Lawrence tallying 8 sacks last season, everyone after him is a question mark. In a league ruled by passing, arguably the most important aspect of playing defense is getting to the quarterback. If these defensive ends can't find a way to do that, it could be a long year.

~ ~ ~

Here are the categories still to come this week…

Part One: Best Position Battle
Part Two: Biggest Name to be Cut
Part Three: Strongest Position
Favorite Dark Horse – Fri
Most Likely Starting Job Change – Sat

All of this, and much more, as Inside The Star helps get you ready for another season of Dallas Cowboys football!



This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

Advertisement
1 Comment
  • George Johnson

    RJ Ochoa: Lalalala. You must not have read or believe what the coaches have said about K Moore. You are letting your eyes deceive you or listening to the comments of many so called experts, because he looks like the equipment manager not an NFL QB and also has physical limitations for an NFL QB. The Dallas coaches who should be some of the best experts have said K Moore can play in the NFL. They have said he is smart/instinctive and knows how to play. They have said they think he will make a good backup for T Romo. They have said he can do things that can't be coached. A significant compliment that you don't hear about many QBs. They have said the receivers like playing with him and have confidence in him. They said his arm is not the strongest in the NFL but is STRONG ENOUGH. They have also said he makes up for not having the strongest arm with his accuracy, timing and uncanny anticipation. They said he played well in 2015 and moved the ball well but made two many mistakes. They expect him to improve on his mistakes. I would add his mistakes/deficiencies were uncharacteristic for K Moore, he was playing for the first time against first team defenses and he had limited reps to get ready to play, so yes I would agree he is likely to improve on his mistakes/deficiencies. I agree with you that the backup QB is a critical position on the roster but I don't think this is the Cowboys weakest position. I think you will start changing your mind about K Moore with his performances in preseason games. I also think if K Moore has to take over for T Romo, he can win some games and have good QB stats. One thing to keep in mind is K Moore has always played way better than anyone thinks he can play including the coaches. I think this has a lot to do with his QB smarts/instincts and outstanding pocket passing skills/abilities which shine in game situations but less in practice.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Seahawks Week 3 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cowboys Offense: More Hot Sauce Needed From Cole Beasley 3
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas isn't the only guy whose playing status is in question for today's game. Other key players for Seattle and the Dallas Cowboys appear on the teams' Week 3 injury reports.

The Cowboys are looking to move to 2-1 and maintain a slim lead in the NFC East. The Seahawks are still looking for their first win of 2018, and the drama around Thomas isn't helping the fear of a locker room implosion.

What players may not be out there to help their teams to victory?

Dallas Cowboys

  • C Travis Frederick (illness) - OUT
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - OUT
  • WR Cole Beasley (ankle) - Questionable
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - Questionable
  • S Xavier Woods (hamstring) - Questionable

Frederick remains out as he deals with his neurological disease. Dallas decided to keep him on the 53-man roster, rather than place him on injured reserve, with the hope that he could return before Week 9. There are still several weeks before we'll know if that was a good move.

Maliek Collins will be out today after a minor knee injury suffered last week against the Giants. Taking his spot will be Datone Jones, who returns from his own knee issue after missing the first two games.

You don't like seeing your quarterback's favorite receiver and your defensive leader on the same injury report. Thankfully, though, it appears both Cole Beasley and Sean Lee will be available today.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

For the #Cowboys, WR Cole Beasley (ankle) is expected to play, and LB Sean Lee (hamstring) should be good to go, as well, based on how he moved around in practice on Friday, sources say.

Finally, we come to the ever-intriguing Xavier Woods. While limited in practice all week, Woods is expected to make his season debut in Seattle. We will see if Xavier gets the start at free safety, or if Dallas will ease him back in and keep Kavon Frazier starting for now.

With all of the hype around Dallas' possible acquisition of Earl Thomas, one has to hope that Xavier won't overdo it and make matters worse with his hamstring. Between the enthusiasm just to play and the threat to his starting job, the second-year stud should be pretty amped up.

Seattle Seahawks

  • WR Doug Baldwin (knee) - OUT
  • C/G Ethan Pocic (ankle) - OUT
  • LB K.J. Wright (knee) - OUT
  • C Justin Britt (shoulder) - Questionable
  • LB Mychal Kendricks (ankle) - Questionable
  • S Earl Thomas (???) - ???

Seattle remains without Baldwin, their leading receiver from 2014-2017, and it shows in their offensive play. QB Russell Wilson is currently at career lows in completion percentage and passer rating, plus has already thrown three interceptions in just two games.

The Seahawks have issues up front as well. Starting left guard Ethan Pocic will also miss today's game. With right guard D.J. Fluker returning this week after missing the first two, that will allow backup J.R. Sweezy to flip over to the other side.

If that wasn't enough, starting center Justin Britt missed the entire week of practice with a shoulder issue. He has not been ruled out, though. Regardless, those are a lot of red flags on your offensive line with the Cowboys' emerging defense coming to town.

Also out today will be Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright. That means we could see Mychal Kendricks, who was just recently booted from Cleveland after being charged with insider trading, playing a major role today. Kendricks knows the Cowboys well, having played with the Eagles from 2012-2017.

And lastly, Earl Thomas.

No health or injury-related reason has been given for why Thomas missed practices on Wednesday and Friday. "Personal reasons" is all you're getting from Seattle, fueling rampant speculation that a trade is in the works. Whether or not that trade is with the Dallas Cowboys is pure conjecture at this point.

What we do know is that Seattle is 0-2 and trending down this year. Holding onto Thomas and his expiring contract, only to lose him for nothing next year in free agency, would be foolish.

We'll see if Earl plays at all today. If he doesn't, the trade talk is going to explode.



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dallas Cowboys VS. Seattle Seahawks

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Cowboys Center Travis Frederick Still Hoping to "Be a Rock" for Teammates Despite GBS Syndrome

It's week 3 of the 2018 NFL season and this match-up already feels like one of the most important ones the Dallas Cowboys will play in the season. The reason why is they need to prove they're good enough to win consistently and that they won't have another year that feels like a roller coaster of wins and losses like 2017 did. As they travel to Seattle to face the 0-2 Seahawks, the 1-1 Cowboys can't miss a perfect opportunity versus one of the weakest units in football: the Seahawks' offensive line.

As every gameday, here is my Cowboys Wishlist for this week's action. As always, I encourage you to share your wishes with me in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Meet Brett Maher, the Cowboys Kicker Replacing Dan Bailey for 2018

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher (Shanna Lockwood / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Brett Maher Kicks a 50+ yard FG.

Dan Bailey recently signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Cowboys Nation will experience a very odd feeling when they see their former kicker wear purple. If there's something that can make fans feel better is watching the guy who replaced Bailey nail a long field goal in Seattle.

Brett Maher showed he could kick a 47-yard FG in preseason, but we want to see him pull it off in a kick that will actually go down in the books. The decision to release Dan Bailey won't leave our minds until we see Maher do his job.

Wish #2: Rico Gathers Scores His First Career TD.

It felt like forever, but tight end Rico Gathers was activated for the first time in his career last Sunday. Rico didn't get his first catch even though he was targeted twice by Dak Prescott. The most notable moment was when Gathers seemed to be open in the endzone but Dak missed him.

Although Prescott's pass could've been better, Gathers did stumble a little bit and wasn't where he should've been to catch that touchdown. No worries, Rico's career is only beginning. I wish his first touchdown ever finally comes this week.

Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie (AP Photo / Michael Ainsworth)

Wish #3: Defense Gets Its First Interception of the Year.

Through two weeks of NFL action, the Dallas Cowboys defense has been one of the most impressive units. Ranking as the third best in total points in the league, the Cowboys' defense might begin being the team's best side of the ball. At least, it has been for the first two weeks.

Last week, they limited Odell Beckham Jr. to only 51 yards. Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie have played pretty well so far, but I wish they're able to get their first interception of the year. Dallas has one takeaway from week 1 versus the Panthers, but it came in form of a fumble.

Let's get that interception from Russell Wilson, who will be pressured most of the day by a very productive Cowboys' front seven.

Wish #4: 20+ Point Performance

Despite a very exciting first drive versus the Giants last week, the Cowboys' offense still needs to prove it can be successful enough to win games. Scott Linehan's unit had some good drives but it also failed to maintain a consistent attack all game. That may seem okay, but the Cowboys will have to win against some pretty tough defenses.

Seahawks will present the team with a very interesting challenge and one that I wish they pass. As good as the defense is playing, the offense needs to show up in order to win later games.

Wish #5: Contain Russell Wilson

Wilson is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL. His agility might be the best among every other signal caller in the game, becoming a very tough guy to defend. He can hurt you with his arms and legs and can throw on the run pretty well. All week we've been talking about how sacking the Seahawks' QB is a key to the victory, but it's more than that.

Wilson is good in the pocket, but when he starts scrambling or running out of the pocket only to throw the ball once the defense is out of position, he becomes a pretty painful headache. The Cowboys need to put him on the ground, but they also need to contain him all day long. He's basically his team's entire offense.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dallas Cowboys VS. Seattle Seahawks" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Kris Richard’s Impact for Cowboys Goes Beyond the Defense in Seattle

Sean Martin

Published

on

Kris Richard's Impact for Cowboys Goes Beyond Defense in Meeting at Seattle 1

Through just two games, the Dallas Cowboys addition of Kris Richard to their revamped coaching staff appears to be the team's best move of the offseason. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli revealed that Richard is calling the team's plays on defense, which explains their attacking style of play so far.

It was the Cowboys blitzes that disrupted the Giants offense enough for Dallas to earn their first win a week ago. With the schedule set up favorably for the Cowboys to build off this win, Richard must lead his defense past his old team in Seattle for Sunday's week three match up.

On paper, the Cowboys defense should be able to limit the Seahawks thanks to their strong pass rush and lengthy secondary. Welcoming back Xavier Woods at safety, the Cowboys are getting even better in the back end against the Seahawks, allowing Richard to throw even more looks at Seattle with his front seven.

Starting wide receiver Doug Baldwin and guard Ethan Pocic will both miss this game for the Seahawks.

With an offense still trying to find its footing though, Richard' profound impact on the Cowboys staff has extended past the defensive side of the ball this week. Perhaps the most criticized Cowboys coach this season, Offensive Coordiator Scott Linehan has sat down with Richard to study the Seahawks defense - coordinated by Richard against the Cowboys specifically.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Scott Linehan and Kris Richard have been spending a good chunk of time together this week dissecting Seattle's approach. Richard obviously knows Seahawks well. Linehan said Richard has great recall, taking him through each play of teams' previous games.

At 1-1, the Cowboys are still looking to put a complete game on the field and prove they deserve to sit atop the NFC East. The defense being their strongest unit through an ugly loss in Carolina and grind-it-out win against the Giants, Linehan's offense creating some explosive plays against the Seahawks could be all the Cowboys need to exit CenturyLink field as winners on Sunday.

Since Linehan officially took over as the Cowboys OC, he is 0-2 against Seahawks defenses coordinated by Richard. When Kris left Seattle, it was believed that he got out at the right time, with the Seahawks defense declining in talent ever since 2015 (his first year as DC).

The NFL's top scoring defense in 2015, the Seahawks were a full point per game worse in 2016, and nearly 2.5 points worse than that in 2017. So far this season, the Seahawks have allowed 27 points to Case Keenum's Broncos and 24 to the Mitch Trubisky lead Chicago Bears.

Kris Richard's Impact for Cowboys Goes Beyond Defense in Meeting at Seattle

The Cowboys biggest problem against Richard's defenses had been finishing drives, something they improved on against the Giants last week. Both Cowboys losses coming at home, the Seahawks kept Dallas out of the end zone in both week eight of 2015 and week 17 a year ago.

Last year's loss to the Seahawks should still sting those at The Star who saw a desperate push for the playoffs hit a wall against Seattle's defense - holding the Cowboys to 282 yards in Ezekiel Elliott's return from suspension.

Not having to rely solely on motivation for revenge while sitting back and trusting Elliott to carry them, Richard could be the key to the Cowboys passing game finding some rhythm. After all, his official title beyond "offseason steal" is Passing Game Coordinator - a position occupied previously by Linehan himself back in 2014.

With a win, similarly to 2014 when the Cowboys came out of Seattle victorious, Dallas would go a long way in earning respect around the league.

This goes for both the offense, where the Cowboys will remain a work in progress regardless of result, and on defense where Dallas can expect Maliek Collins (knee) and David Irving (suspension) to return in the coming weeks.

Kris Richard's focus has been on bettering the Cowboys since they added him to the organization with a clear path up the ranks. Just how far Richard ascends, and how quickly, will depend on the Cowboys performance - expecting to be more than ready for the challenge ahead this week thanks to the coach responsible for building the "Legion of Boom".

The Cowboys kickoff in Seattle being FOX's game of the week, this team has never been one to back away from the spotlight, and winning under it with Richard on the sideline would give the Cowboys all the momentum they need returning home for week four.

Tell us what you think about "Kris Richard’s Impact for Cowboys Goes Beyond the Defense in Seattle" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending