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Can the Cowboys Use Trades to Upgrade the Defensive Line?

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Cowboys Headlines - Can the Cowboys Use Trades to Upgrade the Defensive Line?

Now that the first and most of the second tiers of free agency have been signed, the Cowboys are still staring at a glaring need that they had before the free agency period began.

Defensive line.

While there are still players available that can come in and contribute, you have to wonder if Dallas would be inclined to work the trade market to their advantage.

With high picks in every round they should garner interest, but some of the players that come to mind would most likely not be too expensive.

Rather than look at big names that are nothing more than pipe dreams, I have thought of three players who are fairly realistic. While I can’t say that the Cowboys would or should show interest in any of these players, I can say that the asking price shouldn’t be too extreme, they would be fits, or Dallas has shown interest in the past.

Willie Young

Cowboys Headlines - Can the Cowboys Use Trades to Upgrade the Defensive Line? 1

I’ll start with Willie Young of the Chicago Bears.

Young had requested a trade from the Bears during the 2015 season after the Bears transitioned from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. Young never felt comfortable as an outside linebacker and asked to be traded back into a 4-3. As you know, the Cowboys are one of around fifteen teams employing a 4-3 defense.

In 2014, Young put together a really nice season for the Bears posting 10 sacks in 15 games playing just under 64 percent of snaps as a true 4-3 defensive end.

Young is due $3 million in 2016 and becomes a free agent after this season.

When looking into scouting profiles of Willie Young, the common theme tends to be that he has an excellent first step and burst off the snap. This is probably the most important factor for defensive ends in this scheme.

Willie Young is cheap and has asked to be traded before. The Bears traded Jared Allen during the season last year because he didn’t fit their transition to a 3-4. With Young due to hit free agency it may make a lot of sense for the Bears to trade him and get what they can. Young would be a nice fit for Dallas and can make an impact in a defensive line rotation.

Barkevious Mingo

Cowboys Headlines - Can the Cowboys Use Trades to Upgrade the Defensive Line? 2

Barkevious Mingo has never found it at the NFL level.

Mingo was a huge athletic talent at LSU, but was considered raw to say the least. As a member of the Cleveland Browns Mingo has done little to show development.

However, the potential of Mingo could be really intriguing to the Cowboys.

For starters, he has been a 3-4 outside linebacker for the Browns and a transition into a 4-3 defensive end could be really beneficial for him.

If we’re being honest, leaving the Browns organization would be the ultimate benefit for him. How can you develop a player when an organization has so much instability.

Mingo was Dallas’ ninth ranked player on the leaked 2013 draft board. We know that they had interest in the player considering the fact that he was given a first round grade and was ranked so highly.

What drew scouts to Barkevious Mingo during the draft process was his elite athleticism. Mingo ran a 4.58 40 with a 1.58 10-yard-split. These are elite numbers and show you how great an athlete Mingo really is. He clearly has great short area quickness and can be explosive off the snap.

This would give Dallas a much needed right edge rusher with speed. This is the role Randy Gregory is supposed to play, but he cannot be counted on for obvious reasons.

A trade for Mingo shouldn’t cost all that much… He hasn’t done much at the NFL level and is due to hit free agency after the 2016 season.

Dion Jordan

Cowboys Headlines - Can the Cowboys Use Trades to Upgrade the Defensive Line? 3

This is where it gets controversial.

Dion Jordan has all the talent in the world, but his off-the-field concerns have gotten in the way of success for him.

Jordan is ahead of Randy Gregory when it comes to the substance abuse policy.

Ahead of last year’s NFL Draft Jordan was suspended for the entirety of the 2015 season. Jordan actually didn’t fail a drug test, but the sample was diluted which is grounds for another failure. Jordan had already been deep in the program, so a season long suspension was the next step.

I don’t know if Dallas would go this route. I am also not so sure that it would be the best plan of action. However, this is a player that Dallas had rated as their third highest prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft.

There is no questioning that Dion Jordan has talent. With Miami completely revamping their defensive line it should really cost almost nothing to acquire Dion Jordan.

Like Mingo and Young, Jordan is also set to become a free agent after the 2016 season.

Jordan is a low risk, high reward player that the Cowboys could show some interest in. If Jordan were to fail another drug test he’d simply be suspended again and done with from the Cowboys perspective since he is due to hit free agency.

These three players would be such low risk high reward options for the Cowboys. Each of these players should cost virtually nothing since they are free agents to be and unlikely to be retained by their respective teams.

The Cowboys would be getting some solid production with the potential to really reap the benefits. Especially with Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan, the talent is there and if Rod Marinelli and the rest of the Cowboys staff can just tap into it they can be getting a huge steal. We already know Dallas saw something in Mingo and Jordan for them to have them rated so highly. Willie Young has shown the ability before to be an impact edge rusher in a 4-3.

These are some options the Cowboys could exploit using late round draft picks or even explore during camp as teams cut their rosters down.

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I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” 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

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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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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