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9 Things to Right the Ship in Dallas

You know, since the season ended, you’ve been offered dozens upon dozens of articles and columns from journalists and bloggers alike with the top five or ten, or whatever number, things that the Cowboys must do to bounce back from the woes that buried them in 2008. A season that ended with the unsightly demise of the team’s final shreds of hope in Philly.

Bryson Treece

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You know, since the season ended, you’ve been offered dozens upon dozens of articles and columns from journalists and bloggers alike with the top five or ten, or whatever number, things that the Cowboys must do to bounce back from the woes that buried them in 2008. A season that ended with the unsightly demise of the team’s final shreds of hope in Philly.

So here’s the top ……. You know what? I don’t know how many things we’re going to come up with here for the Cowboys to do this off-season, I mean in addition to what they’ve already done of course. So we’re going to take a stab at it from a more site-wide perspective and let the number fall where it may. Here’s what the Cowboys need to do before August:

  1. It’s obvious, but playing as a team is potentially the best thing they can do. No more appeasing wide receivers who want the ball more, no more trying to prove who can do what and journalists wrong in their doom and gloom opinions. It’s time to step up and give everything you have every game, to play for your teammate as though your life depends on it.
  2. Because their life sort of does depend on it, or their livelihood rather. Now that Jerry Jones has cut Terrell Owens, it should be crystal clear to all the players that who you are, what you can do, and what you bring to the game on the field doesn’t matter. If Jerry can cut T.O. then he can cut anyone on that team, and that message needs to be replayed through the P.A. system at Valley Ranch for the next five months.
  3. Finding the proper motivation to go and out win some ballgames can be a challenging task nowadays, but it should be simple. These players all want a Super Bowl, and we’ve just gotten a real good demonstration of how a 9-7 team can reach the Super Bowl and lose it by so little … use that to motivate these players.
  4. Now that Owens is gone and that message from #2 is still resonating in everyone’s mind, stop overpaying the players! It’s time to go by market value and if a player doesn’t like it, he can go elsewhere. Cutting Owens just proves to him that it’s not a matter of if he’ll be cut for being selfish or greedy, but when. Fear is a great motivator.
  5. Be mean. It’s time for Colombo and Ratliff and Davis and Newman and … everyone … to get mean on the field. Start dominating the field and even the players that can’t dominate, act like it cause you’ll play harder that way. Get mad, show some emotion and go after the hit like that guy just beat your sister! It’s time to make the rest of the league fear the amount of talent on this team.
  6. Someone has got to step up and lead this team. Even if Wade didn’t resemble a puppet and Garrett wasn’t too afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes, they can’t lead this team. It needs to be a player that does it and there is none better for the job than the quarterback. Troy Aikman never hung his head in shame after a bad play, he yelled across the field so that whoever just screwed up could hear him over the crowd noise! It’s time for Romo to find his outdoor voice and tell everyone very loudly when they screw up, including himself.
  7. Fans need to bring their outdoor voices to games too! What is the point of home field advantage if the fans don’t do their part? Fans at games should leave a game calling in sick to work for the next day because they can’t talk anymore. When the team organizes a special deal like a white out, the fans need to go overboard trying to do it. I’m talking about white jerseys, shoes, pants, hell … white faces and hair even.
  8. Fans should also stop buying into everything that is reported by ESPN (Everlasting Sorry Pieces of …. Nevermind). ESPN has a reputation for stirring up controversy where there is none, and in the case of Owens prematurely, for a reason, it’s because they do it! Reporters rarely have as many answers as they proclaim and very often a good journalist is one that will fudge a couple of details for a really juicy story. That’s not the hype you should be buying into … it only feeds their narcissistic need to do it again and again and that kind of attention is bad for any team.
  9. And finally … when is Darren Woodson going to go all Dat Nguyen on us and become a coach for our struggling secondary? I can only imagine …

Well there you have it … 9 things this team must do to be successful next year. And just so nobody confuses me with any one of these journalists who pretend to have all the answers in five easy steps, these nine things are but nine of the many that need to be done, but these are a good start and in logical order after cutting Owens.

GO COWBOYS!!!

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Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter – @InsideTheStarDC

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9 Comments
  • Theo

    Hey man you are so right about this stuff. The funny things is though is none of those 9 listed have to do with talent, it all has to do with is this team being able to give it everything they got, because the talent is already there.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    Absolutely … the talent is there by the truck load. It’s just a matter of letting it show. I actually forgot one thing … and that’s that this team must be play the right way, Garrett and Wade must learn to utilize their players correctly and quit trying to make them play in roles where they aren’t any good. There is enough diversity on this team that you can actually make a game plan based solely on what he each player brings to the table offensively.

    The running game is set based on what each back can do. Choice is the best starter because he is a good mixture of speed/elusiveness and power. Jones has great speed and elusiveness, and Barber is the closer. A good running game, one like that which keeps defenses on their toes trying to find a way to predict what’s being done each play, opens up the passing game so Williams, Austin, Witten, and Bennett can shine.

    You don’t even need to worry greatly about the line then because the run will put a stop to so much blitzing.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    #10: Fire Jerry as GM and hire a real one.

    Sorry, I had to. 🙂

    Craig

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    lol … I know. So far he’s making some good moves, will take some time to see if they stick, but at least some effort to fix the team is there now.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    I think the effort that you see isn’t Jerry making moves, it’s him finally listening to the people around him more. It’s tantamount to him actually hiring a GM. It’s not the same, but at least it’s close.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    Exactly my point. It’s closer than he’s been in a long time, and we’re getting some positive results out of it now, dating back to the 08 draft class. Nobody can call that a bad draft for the ‘Boys after seeing them play. Now he’s making smart moves to help the team be a team, I’m just hoping it’s Steven Jones he’s listening to since he will likely be the one to take over for Jerry someday.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    Whatever.

    Jerry still sucks. 😛

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    That was mature ….

    😉

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    lol

    YOUR FACE!

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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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Defensive Back Questions Still Need Answers

John Williams

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Byron Jones
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys defense took a step forward in 2017, and in the process they answered several questions. They found a “war daddy” in DeMarcus Lawrence, something that’s been missing since DeMarcus Ware left for the Denver Broncos. Lawrence finished tied for second with Calais Campbell in sacks with 14.5, and made the NFL All-Pro Second Team.

We got to see Jaylon Smith answer questions about his health all season long. Smith appears to be trending in the right direction, both in his health and his performance on the field.

The plan to rebuild the secondary seems to be on the right track as they’ve found a couple of aggressive corners in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. They have the look of a dynamic duo that will be impact players on this team for a long, long time.

Kavon Frazier has been a revelation. The thumper at the safety position is something that’s been missing for the Dallas Cowboys since Roy Williams.

However, questions still remain about a defense that carried this team at times, and looked like the Rob Ryan and Monte Kiffin defenses of yesteryear at other times.

To me the biggest questions in the secondary revolve around Byron Jones and Xavier Woods.

Cowboys en Español: Proyectando el Roster de 53 Jugadores 2

Dallas Cowboys S Byron Jones (James D. Smith via AP)

Where do Byron Jones and Xavier Woods Fit?

Byron Jones has been a popular whipping boy for Cowboys Nation. Some of that has been accurate, but he’s not as bad as social media would have you believe.

He’s been sticky in coverage, especially against tight ends, throughout his career, but in 2017 it seemed like he was shying away from tackling a bit too much. He still has that tremendous athleticism and coverage ability that warranted a first-round pick, but the question remains: What is his best position?

After playing where needed his rookie season, the Cowboys coaching staff moved him to safety for the last couple of years with mixed results.

As stated, he’s been pretty good in coverage and made some incredible plays on the ball, even if he’s lacking the interception numbers. The problem comes, in my opinion, when he’s asked to make tackles in space, which is an important aspect of being a safety.

Many have begun to wonder if Dallas would be best served moving Jones back to corner.

As a cornerback, Jones would be able to use his athleticism and coverage skills against the bigger wide receivers in the league, but not be asked to make as many tackles in the middle of the field against running backs and tight ends.

They can still bring him in against some of the better tight ends in the league. We already know the Cowboys will face Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins, and Evan Engram of the New York Giants for a total of six games in 2018.

Dallas will also face the likes of Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Alshon Jeffrey and Marvin Jones, who are bigger more athletic wide receivers who could require a man of Byron’s skill.

It will be interesting to see what they do with Byron this offseason.

Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search For "Fresh Ideas" Begin? 3

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB/S Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

The same question applies to Xavier Woods, but not because he struggled. He was actually quite good as the slot corner throughout much of his rookie season.

Woods primarily played safety in his time at Louisiana Tech, and showed an ability to be the deep middle safety. Because of injuries to the cornerback group, Woods lined up as the slot corner for a lot of his snaps.

He played well there for Dallas, leaving many to wonder if he hasn’t earned the role of third cornerback. That may be a good fit, but it’s not typical to see a guy who was primarily a safety in college become a corner in the NFL.

I’d rather see him as a full-time safety.

With Woods at safety, Dallas can stay in their base defense when teams go to three wide receiver formations, especially on early downs or in situations where a run is just as likely. He can drop down from the safety spot to play in the slot, if — and it’s a big if — you trust your single-high safety.

Woods’ ability to cover in the slot allows you to stay competitive against the run, which was a struggle for Dallas.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

We’ve seen how the yo-yo game between positions can affect a player’s technique and mentality. Chaz Green wasn’t the same player in 2017 when asked to prepare as both a guard and a tackle, as opposed to 2016 when he strictly played tackle.

In my opinion, it would be to the Dallas Cowboys interest to move Byron Jones back to cornerback full-time, and move Woods to safety.

When you decide to go to your nickel package, Chidobe Awuzie and Jones play the outside with Jourdan Lewis moving to the middle. Or you bring Jones in to cover the tight end, leave Lewis and Awuzie on the outside, and drop Woods into the slot and play cover 1.

What do you think?

Where do Byron Jones and Xavier Woods fit best on this team?

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