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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?

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Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

The NFC East is a wild, wild division. Since 2004, the division that hosts some of the most popular franchises in the NFL hasn't seen the same team winning the NFC East title two years in a row. It's crazy! Who expected the Dallas Cowboys to become the #1 seed in the conference in 2016 after seeing Tony Romo go down during the preseason? Who was able to predict the Philadelphia Eagles' amazing run for the Super Bowl last year?

It's an unpredictable league, but the NFC East side of things can really amaze you on a yearly basis.

Heading into 2018, it all seems to be about the Eagles and the Cowboys. Being the last two teams to win the title, it's only logical to expect them to be the only teams in the division that have what it takes to own the NFC East crown.

But maybe, just maybe, we are overlooking the New York Giants.

Coming from a 3-13 record in 2017, the Giants have quite a bit to prove if they want to become a winning team once again and return to playoff contention. With Odell Beckham missing most of the season and with good ol' Ben McAdoo calling the shots, the team was never able to get a break.

Listen, we all know Eli Manning has been struggling lately. Many thought the Giants should've drafted a quarterback when they held the #2 overall pick back in April. But whether we like it or not, New York seems to have a plan: take advantage of Manning's last years on the field.

Instead of taking a young QB for the future, they drafted the best player available to take the load off Manning's shoulders. Saquon Barkley will probably be able to do what Ezekiel Elliott was able to do in 2016: lead the offense by running the football 20 times a game and have several 100-yard performances.

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

New York Giants OG Will Hernandez

Not only that, but the front office did make an effort to re-build a disastrous offensive line by bringing in a talented left tackle in Nate Solder and by stealing the UTEP product, Will Hernandez in the second round of the draft. If the Giants are able to finally groom Ereck Flowers into a decent starter at right tackle, this could be a pretty solid offensive line.

Of course, Manning will not only be benefited from the running game, but his superstar wide receiver will be back on the field. Beckham is one of the NFL's best wide receivers and will surely be back at terrifying opposing secondaries week in and week out.

The Giants are bringing in Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher, who did a nice job for the Arizona Cardinals' defense over the last few years. With some talented defensive players, the team might not have the best squad in the league, but it doesn't seem like a defense that will struggle throughout the season.

Last but not least, the Giants will have a new head coach in form of Pat Shurmur. He's had some success in the league, lately as an offensive coordinator for a Minnesota Vikings team that managed to get to the NFC Championship with Case Keenum at QB. It was a good hire for the team, and I'm pretty sure it will be easy to do a better job than McAdoo's work with the Giants.

If I was to make a prediction, I'd say the Giants will have a handful of wins in 2018. However, I don't see them getting back into the postseason just yet. An 8-8 record sounds about right. Having said that, though, it really seems like a team that could surprise everyone and emerge as a surprise contender in the NFC East.

Do you think the New York Giants could be a surprise threat in 2018?

Tell me what you think about "Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?" 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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Star Blog

Where Cowboys CB Marquez White Fits In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Dallas Cowboys Draft CB Marquez White at #216

In the 2017 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys selected four new defensive backs, three of which saw significant playing time during their rookie season.

Those three, of course, are Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods. That fourth defensive back, however, should not be forgotten about as we enter the beginning stages of the 2018 season. That player is former Florida State cornerback Marquez White.

Rather than playing alongside his rookie counterparts in the secondary, White spent time on the Cowboys practice squad in 2017. The former sixth round pick was signed to a futures contract at the end of 2017, however, and now has a chance to compete in camp once again.

Entering their sophomore seasons the starting secondary already appears to be taking shape. Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones are just about locked in to the outside cornerback jobs, Xavier Woods is expected to start at safety beside Jeff Heath, and Jourdan Lewis is battling with now third year player Anthony Brown for the slot corner role.

So where does Marquez White fit into all of this?

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

Well, the aforementioned players are locks to make the 53-man roster, but Marquez White should be the favorite to win the 5th cornerback spot going forward. White's raw talent is undeniable, and he has the ability to play under both man and zone responsibilities.

The main reason we should be optimistic about Marquez White's chances to land on the final roster, however, is his athletic profile. At 6'0" tall, just under 200 pounds, and long arms White fits the mold for what new secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks.

And, for better or for worse, Richard clearly values these measureables highly. This is evident in how second year corner Jourdan Lewis has been used thus far in mini camp and offseason activities; being relegated to second team and the slot rather than allowed to compete for an outside cornerback job with Awuzie and Jones.

So with the arrival of Kris Richard, the departure of Orlando Scandrick, the underwhelming play of Anthony Brown, and the raw talent he already possesses, Marquez White has a very strong chance of making the final 53-man roster in Dallas.



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Star Blog

Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?

Kevin Brady

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In Season For Youth, Cowboys Must Make Tough Decision On Jaylon Smith

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.

After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.

Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.

Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.

Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.How Will LB Jaylon Smith Best be Utilized in 2018?

During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.

Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.

Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.

If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.

Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.



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