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Dallas Cowboys

Bleeding Silver and Blue

Bryson Treece

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48357055-29174307As a Dallas Cowboys fan I am excited to know that it’s only two days until the first game of the season, albeit only a preseason game I’m still looking forward to seeing my ‘Boys in blue kicking some tail on the turf once again.

Needless to say, I, and many of you too, was left with a bitter taste in my mouth after the crushing defeat at the hands of the Eagles last season. It was the icing on a crap cake after all the injuries and drama fueled on by the mediots in need of a story. So some of it turned out to be true, or more true than the Cowboys organization wanted us to believe at the time, it merely turned a sad and frustrating situation into a disappointing end of an era and end of a season that started so full of promise.

But as a blogger I’ve been feeling somewhat without during this training camp.

Maybe it’s because my fandom has found itself in the backseat for the last month as life presented me with much more pressing issues to contend with than finding a way to watch the games at work and the best places for complete camp coverage.

From the numerous and annoying references to “Coachable” Roy Williams on the DMN – you know what I’m talking about – to the news of players being held of practices and those slated to miss the preseason opener in California this Thursday evening. It’s been enough to read, but nothing to get excited about.

The only real bright spot coming out of camp, considering that we don’t get the full scoop on everything being done as far as plays and schemes go is the increased communication between Williams and Tony Romo. You know, the kind of communication that makes Cowboys fans cheer until their throats are sore and opposing fans boo their own teams’ secondary. Pass and catch.

So now we have Terence Newman and mike Jenkins both out and while the word is that neither injury is serious, it causes me great concern. Didn’t we hear the same thing last year when Newman got hurt in camp? Didn’t he end up missing like six games in total because of that “not too serious” injury?

What about the injuries that aren’t too serious, after last season how can any of us really believe that the severity of the injury at first means anything? I mean we pretty much knew what was up with Felix Jones last year, and it was a totally different and non-football related injury that landed him on injured reserve for more than half of the season.

It makes it harder to be a fan when you see things like I am seeing them now, undoubtedly, but it’s the eternal optimist in me that still peaks it’s head to let know these Cowboys could do it this year.

We’ve got all but one of the weapons that we had in 2007 when we outscored all but one team in the league and lead the NFC. The one weapon we’re missing is missing because he began to backfire on us every other game by doing interviews with the likes of Deion Sanders and steadily causing the ball to be forced his way far too often, and I might add into the hands of a quick defender far too often as well.

Our defense is missing some of the bigger and long standing forces of the past in guys like Greg Ellis and Anthony Henry. But we’ve finally broken free of the liability known very simply as Mr. Horse Collar a.k.a. SS Roy Williams. Not only that, but we also replaced him with a guy that can do what safety in a 3-4 defense should do best – cover – and he does it better than a lot of other guys around the league at his position. Now maybe that’s an overstatement since we haven’t seen him in a game yet and especially since the first preseason game will be a very short one for him. Gerald Sensabaugh is likely the biggest upgrade we’ve made on defense in several years, aside from the miracle of drafting DeMarcus Ware.

We even get the sheer joy of having one the leagues all-time defensive minds not only leading our defense, but taking direct and hands on control of it as the new defensive coordinator by title and duty.

Even the special teams unit has gotten a huge face lift with a new coach known for running a tight and very effective unit in Joe DeCamillis. Add to it the return of a healthy core of kick and punt returners and the addition of some muscle and athleticism from the new linebackers drafted this year, and you’ve got a special teams unit that should be vastly better than the one we booed so often in 2008.

So yeah, maybe the steady and somewhat unremarkable progress during camp has made things boring for a blogger like me, but for a fan, things are definitely looking up.

Are you ready for some football?


 

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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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1 Comment
  • http://www.defendingthestar.net romo2witten

    I agree on the endless “coachable” comments by Tim MacMahon on the DMN site. It is just juvenile and annoying. That guy just loves to hate the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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