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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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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.



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What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019

John Williams

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Amari Cooper

In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.

Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.

The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?

Let's take a look.

Outside Receivers

As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.

Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.

As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.

Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.

Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.

There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.

Slot Receiver

Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.

While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.

Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.

In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.

Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.

With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka

John Williams

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Why Cowboys Should Acquire Recently Released S George Iloka

As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.

It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.

The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.

Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.

Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.

Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at InsideTheStar.com.



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