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A week of posturing…

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Posturing.  I really love that word.  I hear it quite a bit during the football offseason, as I watch UFC and WEC to feed my love for all contact sports.  In fighting, in short, it is used to describe the strategy fighters employ to set up their opponent for submissions, knock outs, or to defend against either.  But you could also use posturing to describe various statements from the media, as well as, how teams prepare for upcoming games.


Take for instance the now infamous comments from Emmitt Smith stating that he can see the Cowboy’s winning 7 games, delivered in a manner that would suggest he was being generous with that prediction.  The posturing element, of course, is that had Emmitt adhered to the status quo, you probably would not have heard about it and it would not have any way helped Emmitt’s now dying options as a sports analyst.  This posturing, breathed new life in his visibility to the sports loving world; though, I doubt it helps his chances catching on again with any media outlets.  Maybe Tashard Choice could allow him to be a guest on his Cowboy’s insider column with the Dallas Morning News.


In response to Emmitt’s comment’s, Wade reasserted that the Cowboy’s have leader’s and have had leaders.  He further pointed out that in 97 the Cowboys went 6 – 10, questioning what happened to their leaders then?  In this scenario, Wade was posturing to protect his team.


Or how about Jean-Jacques Taylor’s recent article entitled “Trust Busters:  Dallas Cowboys haven’t rewarded fans’ faith.”  In this he points to the Cowboys lack of a play off wins since the mid-90’s, trying to lend credibility to a trend that, in his mind, should continue to haunt the Cowboys, despite being a completely different team every year, including this one.  As usual, JJT is posturing to look intelligent at season end with his finger lightly tapping the “I told you so” button likely located in full view somewhere on his computer keyboard.


Of course, my favorite use of the word “posturing” involves what Wade intends to do to stifle the big arm of  Byron Leftwich with the slowing, but still effective trio of receiving weapons Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton, and Kellen Winslow.  Not to be overlooked is also another effective trio of RB’s, Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward, and Earnest Graham.  Footnote to Mike Jenkins:  Ward may grant you an opportunity to redeem yourself.  Don’t usher fate by this go around!


Coincidentally, we faced Kellen Winslow last year in the 1st game when he was with the Brown’s.  Acknowledging our deficiencies at Safety last year, Wade challenged Greg Ellis to jam Kellen at the line throughout the game to upset his timing with Derek Anderson and it worked to perfection, Ellis limiting Kellen to 5 receptions for 47 yards and 1 touchdown.  That’s not bad for a linebacker who had played very little in coverage against what many consider to be an elite pass catching TE.  With Ellis gone, though, how does Wade address him this year?  Does he have Anthony Spencer, Greg Ellis’ successor, shadow him, allow Sensabaugh to prove his worth in coverage, or does he try a combination of both?  Anthony might be able to match him in physicality, but he won’t be able to run with Kellen stride for stride down the field.  Sensabaugh should be able to keep up with him, but I have to think Kellen win’s the battle when it comes to getting to the ball in the air.  In my mind, it probably will be a combination of both.  Spencer will frustrate Kellen at the line, but will peel off to either watch for the check down or to pursue the normally statuesque Leftwich while Sensabaugh will pick him up to ensure Kellen doesn’t have an opportunity to create in space.


On offense, the double-move wide receiver route is apparantly the big upgrade Greg Olson brings to the table.  Trouble is, the more moves in a given route, the more time your QB needs.  Add to that the fact that Leftwich has a slow release and a long wind, and Ware and company should have plenty of opportunities to but him on his back.


Much has been made about the lack of tape our defense will be armed with to attack the Bucs offense, considering the recent dismissal of their Offensive Coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and promotion of quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.  In short, the Cowboy’s don’t even have the benefit of tape from the preseason.  In my mind, too much has been made of it.  Considering that most coaches, including that of the Cowboy’s, like to keep things vanilla throughout the preseason, I’m not sure this will really make that much of a difference in the game.  The key, as is always, is execution in all aspects.  Execute identifying the play; run or pass?  Execute flowing to the ball and prevention of play development.  Execute the tackle.  Execute the ball carrier.  As the season wears on, then the film study becomes paramount, because the real meat and potatoes of success comes from knowing each opponent’s tendencies as a team and individually.


From what I've looked at, the Bucs are weak on the edges and a big part of their strategy will be to pin their ear backs and try to keep Romo on his back.  Watch for the Cowboy's to employ a variety of different screens (RB, TE, or WR)  to keep the Bucs defense from putting pressure on Romo.


It’s all posturing, in the end.  The big question is what are the Cowboys trying to do:  Force the Bucs to submit, knock them out, or defend against both?  Hopefully it’s not the latter.


I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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1 Comment
  • Jonathan

    FYI – I realize I get an incomplete on this one. If the above seems to be lacking something that’s because this was the outline that I had intended to add substance to. My method typically involves me writing all the ideas that have been rolling around in my head down first, then I go back, fact check, add to the points that need it, and re-read several times until I’m confident in the product. Trouble is, my week has not presented me with too much time to complete the process, so rather than not submitting it all, I figured I’d just submit what I have and then respond to the comments as needed.

    The one aspect of this that is missing is my prediction. So without further ado Cowboy’s 24 Bucs 13. The Cowboy’s may start slow; don’t be alarmed. I actually think they are planning to see how the Buc’s defense respond’s to various looks. Then from there they will attack the exposed weaknesses. On the other hand, the Cowboy’s defense is going to be looking to hit the Bucs in the mouth hard and often. If the Bucs gain any momentum early, it could be a long day. But I don’t foresee that happening.

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Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Planning

February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.

DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.

Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.

After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.

There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?

David Moore on Twitter

Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.

For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.

Jess Haynie on Twitter

In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys

What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?

First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.

It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.

It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!


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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OL Fails To Crack NFL.com’s Top 10

Kevin Brady

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Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Often considered a top unit in football, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line seemed to take a step back in 2017. Mostly due to injuries and free agent departures on the left side, the Cowboys were unable to form the same solid unit we have seen in years past.

Despite their struggles, most would still consider them a top 5-10 offensive line in the NFL. At least, that's what I'd expect considering they still feature three All-Pro caliber players upfront.

Matt Harmon of NFL.com put together a list of the top 10 offensive lines in football based on performance in the 2017 season. The list was strictly developed through the use of next gen stats, which defined pressure as "pass-rushing play in which a defender gets within 2 yards of the opposing quarterback at the time of the throw or sack." In addition, "yards gained before close" was taken into account. This metric is meant to measure "the amount of rushing yards a running back gains before opposing defenders come within 1 yard of the player."

After compiling all of these stats, the Cowboys offensive line was left off of the list completely. Maybe even more surprising, however, was that the Philadelphia Eagles' line failed to crack the top ten as well. That's two lines with 3-4 Pro Bowl caliber players each missing the cut.

According to Matt Harmon the Cowboys allowed a pressure on 28.6% of Dak Prescott's dropbacks, 12th highest in the league. Dallas also ranked 20th in the league in YGBC in 2017.

While I do have some issues with the methodology of these statistics, the final result is actually hard to argue with. Down the stretch the Cowboys offense was downright pathetic at times. Regardless of how highly we thought of them prior to the year, the offense didn't perform to their standards, or the standards of a top ten unit.

Heading into 2018, however, I do expect this offensive line to begin to regain form. La'el Collins should continue to improve on the right side, and he is already an adequate starting right tackle regardless. I also expect Dallas to address their left guard spot, potentially within the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In the end the success of this line may hinge on the health of Tyron Smith, though. When healthy, Smith is the best left tackle in all of football. But that "when healthy" caveat has certainly hurt the Cowboys offense.

The way the front office handles their offensive line this offseason will play a huge role in the success, or lack thereof, of the Cowboys in 2018.


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Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

After playing sparsely for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, veteran cornerback Bene Benwikere is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Could he stay in Dallas, or will he have to find work elsewhere?

Dallas was concerned about its CB depth with heavy reliance on young players and Jourdan Lewis barely participating in the offseason. Therefore, the Cowboys traded a sixth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Benwikere just before Week One.

After a stellar rookie season with the Carolina Panthers in 2014, Bene had suffered a steep fall before landing in Cincy. Injuries and poor play got him cut midway through 2016 by the Panthers, and then Benwikere bounced from Miami to Green Bay before finally signing with the Bengals in the 2017 offseason.

Though a few years removed from being an All-Rookie Team standout, Bene Benwikere is still just 26 and may still draw interest from scouts who remember his better days. He is likely counting on that, because the Cowboys' secondary is starting to fill up.

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Bene Benwikere (#23)

The Cowboys currently have exciting sophomores Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis expected to start in 2018. Anthony Brown is back for his third season and will be active on game days.

Orlando Scandrick's future is cloudy, but Dallas won't get much cap relief from releasing him this season. They may elect to keep the veteran for one more year, which would all but fill out the CB depth chart.

Even if Scandrick leaves, talk that Dallas may move Byron Jones back to corner from safety would only leave Benwikere in the same disadvantaged position for finding work.

The best chance that Bene Benwikere has to stay with the Cowboys is if new Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard remembers him from 2014. Coaches often feel that can get more out of a player than the last guy, and Richard may see potential in Benwikere that his last few teams couldn't unlock.

Four years ago may be too long, though, and especially with a fresh new crop of young players coming into the league. Especially if they keep Scandrick, Dallas may want to use the rest of their roster spots on younger prospects.

As it stands, Bene Benwikere is unlikely to return to the Cowboys. However, given the flashes of potential he once showed in the NFL, you can't be certain that Dallas won't want to give him one more chance.


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