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5 Players Cowboys Should Sit In 2017 Season Finale

Brian Martin

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2017 Dallas Cowboys: Who's The Most Indispensable Offensive Player? 1

Due to the devastating loss on Christmas Eve to the Seattle Seahawks last week, the Dallas Cowboys don’t really have anything left to play for in the last regular-season game of the year. With nothing on the line, this provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate some of the players on the roster. But, which players should play and who would the coaching staff decide to sit in order to get them on the field?

Those are the questions running through my head right now. I’m a firm believer of getting players on the field in situations like this when there is nothing left to play for. Yes, you want to see the Dallas Cowboys finish the season strong, but you don’t get very many opportunities like this to get some game film on some of your backup players.

I believe this is an opportunity the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has to take advantage of. I mean, why not go ahead and get a jumpstart on the evaluation process to get a better understanding of your roster heading into the off-season?

Today, I’m going to share with you five players I am hoping the Dallas Cowboys choose to sit this week in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m hoping I don’t see any of these players suited up, and I wouldn’t be too upset if they didn’t even make the trip with the team to Philadelphia.

Tyron SmithTyron Smith

I honestly don’t believe there is any way Tyron Smith suits up this week, especially since he existed last week’s game against the Seahawks so early and didn’t return. But, I still wanted to make it abundantly clear. In fact, I don’t want to hear anything about Tyron Smith unless it’s how he’s planning on getting back to 100% before the season starts next year.

I’m hoping that he doesn’t even make the trip to Philadelphia and he spends his time getting treatment on his injuries, especially trying to find a way to prevent his back from flaring up. Maybe he can find the fountain of youth this off-season or find a time machine to take him back a few years to the dominant left tackle we all know and love. He is just too important to this organization to have recurring injuries like he battled through this year.

La'el CollinsLa’el Collins

You may not have been fully aware, but like Tyron Smith, La’el Collins was also battling a back injury that kept him out of practices in the later part of the season. Collins didn’t miss a game, but it’s something that he needs to get taken care of before it gets worse. That is why I would personally sit him this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Surprisingly enough, Collins has really solidified and upgraded the right tackle position for the Cowboys. But it’s his versatility that really makes him valuable next season and for years to come. For instance, if the Cowboys draft another tackle in the upcoming draft, they could kick Collins back inside to left guard. But for now, Collins has really solidified that right tackle position, which makes his future health important to the organization.

Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott

This is a meaningless game for the Dallas Cowboys, which means I don’t want to see their starting quarterback Dak Prescott on the field at all. This is especially true since I think it would be a smart move to sit both of their tackles (see above). Without the offensive lines bookends, I’m expecting to see a lot of pressure applied to the QB. That doesn’t benefit Prescott’s development at all and opens him up to a possible injury.

I would really like to see how Cooper Rush performs against starting caliber players in a game type situation that’s not preseason. The Cowboys need to figure out if Rush is capable of being their backup QB next season and what better way to do that than to get some actual game film of him. Plus, Prescott seems to perform better when he’s being pushed like he was last season when he had Tony Romo breathing down his neck.

RB Ezekiel ElliottEzekiel Elliott

I fully understand that Ezekiel Elliott just returned last week against the Seahawks from his six-game suspension, but there is nothing to gain by having him on the field this week against the Eagles. If we learned anything during his absence it is that the Cowboys offense is a different animal when he is on the field and they struggle without him.

I think the Cowboys should get Rod Smith more involved and allow him to carry the heavy workload against the Eagles. He has already proven to be a weapon in small doses this year, but I would really like to see how he performs when he handles the majority of the workload. The Cowboys will probably need to find a RB2 next year, so it would be wise to see how Rod Smith performs as the primary guy.

LB Sean LeeSean Lee

Sean Lee is another player I absolutely don’t want to see in pads against the Eagles in the season finale. He unfortunately has a tendency to sustain injuries at the worst time and I don’t want to put his 2018 availability in jeopardy. Like Ezekiel Elliott does for the offense, Sean Lee dramatically changes how the defense performs when he is not in the field.

I would like to see some of the younger linebackers the Cowboys have on the roster. They have received very little playing time this season, but this is a perfect opportunity to get them on the field. The linebacker position is arguably one of the Cowboys top priorities this off-season and without a doubt could use some new blood. Evaluating their current LBs is a good way to determine just how big of a need that actually is.

Honerable Mention: Sit Dez Bryant and play Noah Brown in his place. Sit Cole Beasley and play Ryan Switzer in his place. Sit Jason Witten and play Blake Jarwin in his place.

Who do you think the Cowboys should sit in the season finale?

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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5 Comments
  • tjones122

    I would sit Beasley and dez too and witten let’s see switzer, brown, and the young tight ends. We’ve seen the shit show long enough. I wouldn’t mind seeing Dan skipper in action on the online as well

    • Charles

      Dan Slipper is no longer on the practice squad

  • Jorge Sure

    those who should not travel is Jason Garret and the other 2 useless who do not have a game plan in situ to win or win, that’s what they should do.

  • EverybodyTalks

    There are a few that can’t play. Scandrick and Irving, plus Tyron and Butler — that’s 4 right there, who will probably be on the inactive list. Zeke will want to go because he hasn’t played and still has a shot at 1,000 yards for the season. If you don’t want Sean Lee to play, hide his helmet. If you sit La’el, then you have Byron Bell and Chaz Green attempting to block — Good GOD!! If that is the case, you need to treat it like a preseason game. No Dak, Zeke, Dez, Beaslley or Witten. BRING in the ALTERNATES!!

  • Russ_Te

    Check on all of those. Too much downside vs no upside, and vs upside in playing their backups.

    Unfortunately coaches start their nucleus in meaningless games to pad their W-L, when they are on any hot seat kind of status. That move has Garrett’s name on it this week.

    Regardless if he’s 9-7 this year, Jones needs to realize Garrett is 0-4 in late season elimination games – none worse than the chip shot he missed Sunday. I think everyone has seen enough.

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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Dallas Cowboys

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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