Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

2017 Breakout Candidates: DE Benson Mayowa

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Benson Mayowa
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The need for an improved pass rush is the main topic of the Dallas Cowboys offseason. In all of the discussion, though, last year's sack leader has somehow become an afterthought. Could the Cowboys best pass rusher still be Benson Mayowa, and what impact could he have on the 2017 defense?

Whether it's the drafting of Taco Charlton, the delayed debut of Charles Tapper, the hopes placed on David Irving, or DeMarcus Lawrence's contract year, it seems that every other defensive end is being looked at to fix the Cowboys' biggest weakness. However, there is reason to think that Benson Mayowa can also be a major factor.

Benson Mayowa

DE Benson Mayowa

Of his six total sacks in 2016, Mayowa had 3.5 of them in just four games from Weeks 13-16. That is almost one sack per game, and I don't have to tell you what 14-15 sacks would mean for the Cowboys defense. It also means Mayowa would have an almost guaranteed trip to the Pro Bowl.

It's no surprise that Benson Mayowa needed some time to find his footing in Dallas. He'd spent two seasons in Oakland is a backup 3-4 outside linebacker, getting little playing time. Mayowa not only had to learn a new style of play but also an increased level of responsibility. Based on that last quarter of 2016, though, it seems that he made the adjustment.

Dallas certainly showed faith in Mayowa when they signed him to a three-year, $8.25 million contract as a free agent last year. Part of this was to make sure that the Raiders, who'd tagged Benson as a restricted free agent, didn't match the deal. But the willingness to pay Mayowa close to $3 million pear year, given his lack of playing time, was a huge statement about his perceived potential.

Benson Mayowa

DE Benson Mayowa

Even if Mayowa keeps developing, the fight for playing time will still be difficult. The teammates we mentioned earlier will all be contending for snaps. Rod Marinelli's rotation-heavy scheme will allow for every to get time, but it could limit their ability to really have a standout season.

Of course, this isn't the Cowboys concern. If a rotation keeps our guys fresh and keeps opposing quarterbacks pressured, that is certainly the best thing for the team.

That said, a breakout star at defensive end will be hard to take off the field. The rotation plan makes sense when you don't have a catalytic player in the mix, which has been the case for the Dallas defensive line for a while. If someone starts consistently making plays and making teammates better, we will likely see that player start getting more star treatment.

At this point, there is no reason to think that player can't be Benson Mayowa. He has as much a claim to the spot as anyone after last season, and we just may be underrating his upside.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Advertisement
3 Comments
  • Donny King

    I like Mayowa’s potential. Coach Marinelli always gets the best out of his merry band of rushman. It only takes 1 snap for 1 sack. Just because x player gets less time, doesn’t mean they wont be a productive pass rusher, imagine D-Law, Irving, Taco, Mayowa all having double digit sacks this upcoming year, that’s a minimum 10 snaps…that’s allot to think about

  • Kevin Black

    I like Mayowa and Moore at RDE. I can see Taco and Lawrence at LDE. That would allow them to have Irving and Collins together on passing downs. Don’t look now, but that puts Crawford on the bubble. He will probably stay on the roster this year, but he might not be with them next year.

  • http://www.macsavers.com Kevin Black

    I like Mayowa and Moore at the RDE this season. I believe we will see Taco and Lawrence as the main LDEs this year. That will allow Collins and Irving to play together on passing downs. Don’t look now, but Crawford might be a bubble guy. They might still keep him this year, but he might not be on the roster next year.

Game Notes

WAS 20, DAL 17: Cowboys Make 1 Too Many Mistakes

Kevin Brady

Published

on

WAS 20, DAL 17: Cowboys Make 1 Too Many Mistakes

Late in the fourth quarter the Cowboys faced a critical third down, trailing by just 3 points. As they did all night long, the Washington Redskins brought pressure, but quarterback Dak Prescott stood in the pocket this time and delivered a strike to Cole Beasley for a huge first down.

Cowboys fans rejoiced thinking the team might be on their way to a game winning drive. Then, we all noticed the yellow flag on the ground.

Holding, offense number 52.

The very next play Dak Prescott took what was one of the worst sack fumbles you'll ever see in his own end zone, and the Redskins extended their lead to 10 points. As Prescott tends to do, the Cowboys battled back late and got themselves in a position to send the game to overtime if Brett Maher could nail a 47 yard field goal.

Snap infraction.

Snap infraction. Rather than Maher attempting a more make-able 47 yard field goal, he was backed up to 52 yards, where he would miss the game-tying field goal. All of this resulted in an absolutely heartbreaking loss for the now 3-4 Dallas Cowboys, 20-17.

For a Cowboys team that had a chance to take over first place in the NFC East with a win, today's performance is extremely disheartening.

Other Notes

  • DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't been getting the pass rush we hoped to see, but he continued to be an absolute menace against the run today. He ended the game with 7 tackles, 3 of them for loss.
  • Dak Prescott's inconsistencies as a quarterback, the inability of any non-Cole Beasley wide out to beat man coverage, and the regression of the offensive line continued to handcuff the offense today. Their play simply wasn't good enough for most of the game.
  • Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie put together another impressive game, and this defensive back group (mostly the cornerbacks) seems to improve week to week.
  • Sean Lee looked healthy today, and made a key third down stop in the fourth quarter, knocking Alex Smith out of bounds and giving the offense a final chance to win or tie.
  • Ezekiel Elliott and this run game failed the Cowboys today. Elliott had just 34 yards rushing on 15 attempts and the offensive line was dominated all night.
  • The Cowboys have their bye this week before hosting the 3-4 Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.



Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline

Sean Martin

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases

This week, Stephen Jones discussed the difficulties of making a trade, saying "it just seems like in the NFL trades are hard to make, to make it all come together for two teams".

The two teams that could be lining up to change that are of course Jones' Cowboys as well as John Gruden's Oakland Raiders. Yet another Raiders player has been in the headlines as a trade target, 24-year old Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

WR-needy Cowboys doing their due diligence on Raiders' WR Amari Cooper: https://t.co/pE2wmrzCXu

Playing at the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys will have yet another reshuffled lineup at wide receiver, playing without Tavon Austin. Their biggest offseason addition to this unit was Allen Hurns, and he's been underwhelming with just eight catches.

Thus the Cowboys are reportedly doing their "due diligence" on Cooper, sensing the need for a mid-season acquisition at WR for the right price. The Cowboys ability to potentially find that price in a deal advantageous to them, given how the Raiders handled the departure of Khalil Mack in a trade to this Chicago Bears, is what makes this story relevant.

A lot has been said about Cooper since his name emerged as the latest player potentially out of the Bay Area. Whether you believe he's still an impact receiver with the potential to regain his Pro Bowl form of 2015 and 2016 or one that "doesn't love football," as some have been inclined to say, the former fourth overall pick represents an investment into the WR position that the Cowboys have not made in some time.

In those Pro Bowl seasons, Cooper averaged over 77 catches a season while putting up over 1,000 yards in both. The Raiders have used this to justify their reported asking price of a first-round pick for Cooper, something the Cowboys are not alone in their reluctance to give.

With Cooper, the Raiders are holding onto their last bit of relevancy. A reeling 1-5 football team that needs to maximize their return on trading Cooper, the Colts and Redskins are also following in the Cowboys footsteps by preparing as much as they can on the player.

Cooper has caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown through six games this season.

For as desperate as the Raiders are to jump-start their organization, the Cowboys should be just as desperate to add a threat like Cooper to their passing attack. Unlike the Raiders, they're in the hunt for a division title, something much harder to put a price on when it comes to the Jones' finalizing any deal for Cooper in the coming days.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30th, at 3 PM Central Time. The Cowboys will be two days into their bye week, not in action again after Sunday until November 5th.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

How Will Cowboys Handle Sean Lee’s Return?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

REPORT: Cowboys LB Sean Lee to Miss Games with Hamstring Injury

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Dallas Cowboys' defense is still dominant without Sean Lee on the field. For many years, Lee's injuries have shown us the worst of this defense but finally that's not the case. Thanks to Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys should feel just fine without #50 wearing pads on gameday.

As the Cowboys get ready to play the Washington Redskins on the road in their quest for a winning record, Sean Lee is expected to return to the field. He was a full participant on practice on both Thursday and Friday and should make his way back to the field today.

But how much will he play?

Usually, we would be talking about this defense being desperate for his help. He's been rushed back to the field on many occasions simply because the team's linebackers weren't doing enough without him. This year though, the narrative is different.

Even before he got injured in week 3 playing against the Seattle Seahawks, Lee had been struggling. Now granted, he wasn't looking bad, but we were watching him miss a few tackles here and there which simply isn't something you'd expect from a player such as himself.

The rookie out of Boise State has made a really good job justifying why the front office decided to invest a first round pick on him. So far, Leighton Vander Esch has accounted for 49 tackles, 40 of which have been solo. The kid can play, period. He's done nothing but get better and better by the week and the snaps he's gotten replacing Lee have helped him a ton.

With the veteran returning, what's in store for this linebacker rotation?

Honestly, with the bye week so close, I think this will depend a lot on how this game starts off. If it comes to a point in which the Cowboys are comfortably leading and have no concerns of losing the match, why not rest Lee as much as possible?

It's clear that the defense is far from desperate for having #50 back on the field and it's also clear that Lee is a player who could get injured at any given time.

Thanks to Smith's and Vander Esch's play, the Cowboys can afford to limit Lee's snaps versus the Redskins today. Rest him as much as possible and throw him on just a few plays out there. Lee has suffered injuries on both hamstrings, which is another reason to take it slow with his return.

If they're able to limit him today and then take advantage of the upcoming bye week it could pay Lee big dividends down the road. Dallas needs to realize they're in a very comfortable position regarding Sean Lee. They have the option to take things slow.

Not only that but once he's healthy, he doesn't have to be on the field every single snap. It might be hard getting used to watching Lee slowly become a "situational" player because he's so good to be only played on specific situations but that might be the way to make his availability improve.

It will be interesting to see how they handle the situation starting today as Lee is slated to play football against an NFC East rival.

Tell me what you think about "How Will Cowboys Handle Sean Lee’s Return?" 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



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