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How can La’el Collins’ Position Flex Benefit Cowboys Moving Forward?

Brian Martin

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La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

The 2017 season ended up a disappointing one for the Dallas Cowboys. Things didn't quite go as they had planned, but they're probably pleased with the way a few things turned out in the end. One of the things they have to be pleased with is the performance of their right tackle, La'el Collins.

To say that La'el Collins had a good year in 2017 would be an understatement.

He not only saw his bank account increase after receiving a contract extension from the Cowboys, but he was able to play an entire 16-game season.

I would qualify that as a good year. Wouldn't you?

Fortunately, La'el Collins' transition from left guard to right tackle worked out well. It's a move that was met with some skepticism at the time, but Collins proved to be up to the task, and it's actually excellent news for the Cowboys moving forward.

You see, the Cowboys really value versatility in their players.

Collins proved he has versatility in spades, and can now be counted on to play either LG or RT when needed. I can't tell you how beneficial that is to the Cowboys, especially with the concern surrounding Tyron Smith and his future health.

La'el Collins

Dallas Cowboys RT La'el Collins

Tyron Smith has a nagging back injury that has bothered him the last few seasons. Unfortunately, this is the kind of injury that isn't going away, which raises some real concerns about his future. Right now, there's no way of knowing how Dallas will handle concerns about Tyron Smith. They can roll the dice and hope he's able to play an entire season without his back flaring up, but I think that would be unwise.

They must have a contingency plan if worse comes to worst. That is why I believe La'el Collins' versatility is so important moving forward.

His position flex to start at either LG or RT could allow the Cowboys to find another starting-caliber left tackle through the draft or free agency as insurance for Smith. They could then kick Collins back inside to LG, his best position in my opinion, and play the rookie/FA at RT.

To me, this just makes too much sense not to happen.

The Cowboys would have a backup option for Tyron Smith, fill the hole at LG with Collins, and solidify the entire offensive line, all at once.

Of course, this all depends on the Cowboys' ability to find another starting-caliber LT, and wouldn't be possible in the first place without La'el Collins. His position flex has proven to be invaluable and should continue to be so.

Do you think La'el Collins' position flex benefits the Cowboys?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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5 Comments
  • Bill_In_NC

    I don’t think the Cowboys are even considering moving Collins back to LG, at least I hope they don’t. It’s far harder to find good tackles than it is good Guards and Collins appears ready to become a good/great RT. Also, a large part of good O line play is the teamwork/communication that develops among the linemen, not their individual talent level. All it takes is one misread in shifting blocking assignments to get your QB blown up, ala blitzers given a straight shot at the QB (and we saw several of those last year). What the Dallas O line needs is stability, not massive position change. It wouldn’t be fair to the player either. The footwork, hand work, and technique are so different between LG & RT that, if they did move him, he’d have to spend almost all of 2018 ‘re-learning’ the position. Plus the new RT would have to work on his communication/teamwork with RG Martin. The disaster that befell Green when he tried to shift back from Guard to Tackle is an example. When he was concentrating on tackle in 2016 he performed well in the two games he replaced Tyron, in 2017 after working at Guard all season, he was a disaster when they shifted him back to tackle. What you would end up with, I think, is another year of reduced line play as the players learn their new positions and the communication that goes with it.

    Far better to get a decent FA or draft a developmental ‘swing tackle’. There are a few available in FA, not All-Pro/ Pro Bowl players, but guys who can hold their own w help for a couple of games. Dallas also needs to have a plan for the O line when Tyron is out vs when he is in. It seemed to me they expected whomever they put @ LT to play just like Tyron, that is unreasonable.

  • elindio42

    Unless Dallas is willing to pay mega-bucks, it is useless to speculate on finding a suitable left OT in free agency. We will have to rely on the draft.

  • Travis Diggs

    Collins versatility allows you to consider offensive line in the first round which might sound a little crazy but Defenses have picked up on the holes in the line and took advantage(how bout adrian clayborn just to name one). The next Tyron is in the draft and the cowboys could have a chance to grab him, Orlando Brown Jr Tackle from Oklahoma(6,8 345lbs). I would give it a considerable thought

    • EverybodyTalks

      I agree it could happen in the 1st round and believe Orlando could be a fine young Tyron. I just wonder if he will be there at #19.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Collins does add flexibility. I’m not sure he is a better guard. Collins was at guard, but Leary did take it back and kept it until he left for Denver. There’s that. He can play both, but if so, then do the Boys need to resign Cooper?

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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