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2017 Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule Released

RJ Ochoa

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Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott

Life as a sports fan is a weird one these days. The Masters is over, the NBA Playoffs are looming, and NFL Draft talk is all the rage. We’re almost two weeks away from the league’s annual draft selection, and it will mark another milestone across the stretch of the year where football isn’t played. There are a few of these milestones necessary before football actually begins, and one of them is the Preseason. Open up your calendars because we now know the 2017 Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule.

James Palmer on Twitter

The 2017 #NFL preseason schedule: Dallas vs Arizona in the Hall of Fame Game kicks it off on August 3rd

We’ve known for a while now that the Dallas Cowboys will be one of two NFL teams playing in five preseason games before the 2017 season begins. Why? As you know, Jerry Jones will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August, and as a result the Dallas Cowboys will be playing in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Schedule in terms of the regular season likely won’t be released until sometime between April 17th and 21st, but that hasn’t stopped a certain Inside The Star Staff Writer from taking a crack at predicting it.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

My prediction for the 2017 #Cowboys schedule. Huzzah.

What are the storylines across the Cowboys’ preseason games now that we know the schedule? Here is our complete breakdown:

Pro Football Hall of Fame Game: Dallas Cowboys v. Arizona Cardinals

Jerry Jones

Perry Knotts via AP

The Cowboys will be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game against the Arizona Cardinals, thanks to quarterback Kurt Warner’s presence in the 2017 class, with a few different details revolving around the annual game in Canton, OH.

Thanks to 2016’s fiasco concerning the turf at what is now the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, the NFL moved the PFHOF Game up in the weeklong schedule. Previously the game took place on Sunday, the day after said enshrinement. For the first time in NFL History the game will take place on Thursday with the weekend festivities to follow.

Preseason Week 1: Dallas Cowboys At Los Angeles Rams

Dak Prescott, Jared Goff

Jared Goff was the #1 Overall Pick. Dak Prescott went in the 4th Round. What an amazing turn of events.

We also know that thanks to the Cowboys’ presence in the PFHOF game that they will have an extra week of Training Camp. This is of course the Training Camp that will begin in Oxnard, CA where the Cowboys have been known to conduct many a Training Camp across their storied history. As the Cowboys will already be stationed seaside for a bit, it of course makes sense for them to visit the Los Angeles Rams during Week 1 of the Preseason (which they literally did a year ago). Unlike last year we won’t get to see bits and pieces the following Tuesday on HBO’s Hard Knocks, nor the pomp and circumstance revolving around “the NFL’s return to Los Angeles!”, but the NFL will get to milk their golden cow in the Dallas Cowboys for another ratings boost.

It was in Los Angeles against the Rams a year ago that quarterback Dak Prescott got his first official start in the blue and silver, unknowingly partaking in the opening act of what would be a season defined by his storyline. It was only a few months before that game when plenty of Cowboys fans chirped that Jared Goff was the rightful heir to Tony Romo‘s throne. It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it?

Preseason Week 2: Dallas Cowboys v. Indianapolis Colts

Dez Bryant

The Indianapolis Colts will visit AT&T Stadium for the first time in Week 2 of the Preseason since their humiliating loss there in December of 2014.

While the Cowboys will begin their Training Camp period in Oxnard,CA, they will also return home to The Star in Frisco,TX to finish it up. The second and third weeks of their preseason schedule seem to cater to that as the Cowboys will be at home in the middle of August.

The Cowboys will host the Indianapolis Colts, who’s last season of serious success coincidentally came in the year that they also last visited Dallas. Andrew Luck and Co. took it on the chin early and often from the Cowboys in the final days of the 2014 regular season, and we’ll see if Chuck Pagano and his staff can set the stage for a hopeful 2017 season on what will surely be a muggy night in Texas.

Preseason Week 3: Dallas Cowboys v. Oakland Raiders

Dak Prescott, Derek Carr

“The Battle Of 4s” will be on during Week 3 of the Preseason when the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys square off for the official dress rehearsal. They’ll meet each other in the regular season, perhaps the Super Bowl as well?

The all-important “dress rehearsal” during the preseason period is Week 3. This is when starters and significant players will see a bulk of work, typically a half or even three quarters. As both the Cowboys and Raiders continued to have success across the 2016 season, many speculated as to the spectacle that a Super Bowl between the two teams would be. The Oakland Raiders technically are no more as they have announced an inevitable move to Las Vegas – a move with some interesting impacts on the Cowboys themselves – but the potential for hype explosion still exists between the two squads.

It’s harder to ask for a better dress rehearsal than this. The nucleus of offensive talent for the Cowboys gets to go up against the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Khalil Mack, and a questionable – that will likely be aided through the NFL Draft – secondary for the Cowboys will try to contain Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. This game will also mark Tight End Jared Cook’s – who signed with the Raiders this offseason – first trip back to AT&T Stadium since the infamous 3rd and 20 conversion he made in the Divisional Round as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

It’s no coincidence that the Cowboys and Raiders will square off in the dress rehearsal week. The NFL wants to protect its ratings early on, and this is how you do it.

Preseason Week 4: Dallas Cowboys At Houston Texans

Dak Prescott

Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News

It’s thanks to former Right Tackle Ralph Neely that the Cowboys and Texans (since the Oilers are now the Titans) meet in the annual Governor’s Cup during the preseason period. The little brother Texans fans treat this game as the Super Bowl, and I mean… can you blame them? It’s their chance to play against the Dallas Cowboys!

This year the Governor’s Cup will take place in the stadium that actually hosted the most recent Super Bowl as it’s Houston’s turn to host. Had Tony Romo chosen to lend his services to the struggling Texans instead of the cushy lifestyle retirement and broadcasting have to offer, this could have been a Texas-sized week of “What’s going to happen?” stories everywhere you looked.

Instead this will just be one of those games you have on in the background as nobody remotely important to either team will play since the season will be ten days away at that point. It will be fun, we’ll power through it, and when it’s over the next time our ‘Boys suit up it’ll be for real.

Tell us what you think about “2017 Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule Released” in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

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I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let’s roll.

@RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job

Sean Martin

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job 1

By keeping all three top coaches (Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli) in place for 2018, there isn’t a Dallas Cowboys coaching hire that feels like they “must” get it right to contend next season. This is how it should be.

Producing nine wins, despite missing key players throughout the season, the Cowboys are changing things up at the position coach level to hopefully introduce new ideas and give the talent on this team a better chance at sustained success.

One coaching vacancy that needs to be filled by the right guy above any else is on the offensive line, where things haven’t been the same since the great Bill Callahan departed.

Frank Pollack took his place, and now finds himself with the Cincinnati Bengals after not being retained by Dallas this offseason.

Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job

Tom Cable (Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)

The first name that was thrown around in consideration for the Cowboys job was Tom Cable, which sent a panic throughout Cowboys Nation before Cable decided to sign with John Gruden and the Raiders.

Cable had been coaching the Seahawks’ OL, a position that franchise has not valued in some time, and struggled to develop any talent in protection of their franchise QB Russell Wilson.

Now, two new names have emerged as candidates to coach the likes of two-time 1st Team All-Pro LT Tyron Smith, 1st Team All-Pro C Travis Frederick, and two-time 1st Team All-Pro RG Zack Martin.

Mike Solari and Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander has already met with the Dallas Cowboys, looking for work after 23 seasons with the Bengals. During this time, Alexander served as Marvin Lewis’ assistant head coach, in addition to his duties as their OL coach.

Judging on reactions out of Cincinnati to Alexander’s departure, the Bengals offensive line regressed under him in 2017, warranting change from a franchise that is as reluctant as any to move on from coaches.

Goodberry on Twitter

Paul Alexander better be gone

Most recently, Mike Solari has served as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants — far from a renowned unit around the NFL lately. He does have previous experience with the Cowboys, having served as an assistant OL and special teams coach here from 1987-88.

From 2006-07, Solari did reach the rank of offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, which shows the level of respect that the 30-year NFL coaching veteran has earned.

He will be the Dallas Cowboys’ next interview for their open OL coach position.

Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack 1

Dallas Cowboys RT La’el Collins, RG Zack Martin

Depth at tackle, a long-term answer at left guard, and an extension for Zack Martin are among the questions facing the Cowboys offensive line moving forward. Whoever is in charge of keeping this unit up to standard in 2018 though, may hold the keys to getting the entirety of the Cowboys’ program back on track.

Whether it’s Alexander, Solari, or another outside candidate yet to emerge, Inside The Star will keep you updated on the Cowboys’ ongoing coaching search.

Tell us what you think about “Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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