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Dallas Cowboys

Change Is In The Air

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Summer is in full bloom, and that means we are getting ever so close to the beginning of training camp. It is this time of year that has every football fan tied in knots, and I am no different.

While the Cowboys have yet to don anything but shorts and helmets the style of this team is beginning to take focus.

Every team in the NFL is good enough to win the Super Bowl! Or at least that is what they want us to believe. This years Dallas Cowboys are no different, at this moment many of us have very legitimate concerns about the receiver, quarterback, and O-line positions and basically the overall play of the offense.

Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips can tell us all day long that they have faith in the young receivers and that the offense is working hard and coming together, and blah, blah blah! We all know that the majority of that is just a bunch of crap to make us feel warm and fuzzy about the upcoming year!

Let me be clear about something, the offense in my opinion should be as good as and possibly better than last year’s team. I honestly feel and believe that Romo will be a better QB this year, and that Roy Williams can and will do a more than adequate job as the teams #1 receiver, and with the running game that the Boys have this should be enough to carry that side of the ball.

The offensive unit will always be the most glorified, it has all the stars, and scores all the TD’s, but I am here to tell you that if you are an offensive person, and like to see scores in the 40’s each week you are in for a rude awakening.

This is now a control and time of possession unit, we should no longer see play after play of three receivers all running 40 yard triple move routes (not saying we are not going to see these still, just not as many), instead we will see a lot of two tight end sets, short hooks, out routes, slants, and fades, but primarily large amounts of MBIII, Felix, and T-Choice.

There is something taking place on this team that everyone should start paying attention to, THE DEFENSE!!

Granted there has been very minimal contact so far so we cannot quite see the full picture yet, but all the early reports talk about how attacking, and pressure filled this unit is. Mickey Spagnola at DC.com had a great article up on Tuesday about this very thing. Here is my rookie attempt at designing a graphic that shows the alignment!

Def Alignment

In his article he went into pretty in depth detail about how the defense was lined up at one point in the day, and I must tell you this type of scenario is going to cause major headaches for opposing offenses.

Everyday it seems I hear about the competitions taking place on the defensive side of the ball, and each and every one of these guys are pushing each other to be the best. This unit already has there competitive juices boiling over, and its FREAKING JUNE!

This unit is priming itself to have a major impact not only within the team, but they are looking to, in the immortal words of Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke” LaLoosh “Announce their presence with authority!”

We have all heard the old saying “where there is smoke there is usually fire!” all I can say is that the defense of the Dallas Cowboys has had a ton of smoke emitting from its smoke stack!

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8 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/ Doran Palmer

    Not bad. I agree. The defense is looking to be a serious beast just based on the schemes and alignments being used in practices. Full contact will change things up a little because the speed of the game will change from it, but I think we’re all fairly confident that these guys aren’t afraid to hit. The rookies we don’t know about so much, but there’s enough vets to take care of that part.

    I’m just glad to finally hear about Alan Ball and Courtney Brown doing something worthy of a roster spot. I hope that continues through the offseason.

  • Jonathan

    3.4 yards. That’s the goal. If you want to avoid the dreaded 3 and out, averaging 3.4 yards per carry/pass moves the sticks on third down. If you want to keep your defense fresh, the baby step approach to offense is the most ideal. If you want to dominate the clock and control the game, then exhausting the run, the flats, and the intermediate seam is where your offense should live and die.

    I’ve been saying it for years now: The scheme that T.O. demanded, handicapped this team as a whole. With age, T.O. is not ideal for the slant or the WR screen. He doesn’t have the wiggle or the strength to shed off potential tacklers, to be effective, used in that capacity. The only way he was effective is if he caught the ball in stride and had already reached max speed. But beyond that, truth be told, he was ineffective to say the least.

    The addition by subtraction cliche truly does apply to the release of T.O. for two reasons: One, he won’t be campaigning for the ball and therefore, Romo, won’t have to second guess his initial reads on who should be open. In 07 and 08, his eye’s would look from T.O., to Witten, back to T.O., to the other eligible receiver, which resulted in way too much time spent in the pocket. Now, he can make his presnap read without prejudice and get the ball out quick like we all know he is capable of doing.

    The second addition is the ability to get different talent on the field in different ways to keep the opposing defense quessing; think two TE sets, dual or all three RB’s at once, the Razorback, a HB in the slot…the list goes on and on. With T.O., it was though the Cowboy’s paid a T.O. tax to shut him up by forcing balls in his direction.

    Of course, I didn’t begin this comment with the intention of dragging T.O. into another discussion, but it’s important to understand, despite losing his potential production as a receiver, the Cowboy’s have gained some from not having him don the Blue Star on the side of his head.

    Now to the defense:

    Believe it or not, even with the injury to Newman, the suspension to Pacman, the slowing and undersized Anthony Henry, subpar safety play, and rookies manning quite a few starting positions throughout the year, the Cowboys still managed to finish 5th in the league in pass defense. That’s right, I couldn’t believe it myself when I recently looked this up, but it’s true. Now, imagine: We’ve improved our Safety position through Free Agency and Draft – and let’s face it, it didn’t take much. Experience took a shot, but we improved in speed at CB. And if you consider that Mike Jenkins is better suited for man defense and that is a shift the Wade has already indicated we are moving to, it’s safe to assume that our CB position has improved. Then, at LB, another position responsible for coverage duty, once again we lost in experience, but speed was a definite upgrade. One could safely assume that this defense will be extremely stingy.

    I honestly think our interdivisional foes, as well as the rest of the league and sport’s analyst currently underestimating our Cowboys, are in for a rude awakening.

  • bags030404

    Great insight Johnathan! I like the team better when everyone thinks they will suck!

  • Jonathan

    Thanks bags. Sorry for rambling, I tend to do that. I, too, am glad that everyone thinks the Cowboy’s suck. Aside from the ideal mental state that it puts are team in, it gives us alot more to talk about in the offseason; particularly if you are like me and disagree with most of them. And I don’t think I’m being too unrealistic in my assessment of this team.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Doran Palmer

    Not at all. I’ve actually want you to write for us so everyone can better see your thoughts on the team, you’re spot on in everything so far. We appreciate it.

  • Jonathan

    Doran – I’d love to. I actually have a few pieces that I’ve submitted to other forums that might work if you are looking for material. Just let me know where to send them and I’ll let you be the judge. Just be warned, my post tend to run long, as I always have alot to say…

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Doran Palmer

      I tell you what, go ahead and use the contact form, which you can access here or up top, so we can get our email addresses to each other. Typically you’d just register and from there you have access to write posts. We’ve tried emailing you at the address you leave in your comments, but I guess it got caught in a spam filter. But contact us with the form and we’ll get you setup. Material is good, new stuff is good, however – we just like getting more fans involved.

Dallas Cowboys

Can Cowboys Trust Guard Jonathan Cooper in 2018?

Jess Haynie

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Jonathan Cooper

One of the big decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 offseason is at left guard. Veteran Jonathan Cooper started 13 games last year and is now a free agent. Should Dallas bring Cooper back, or should they look elsewhere for next season’s starter?

With a lot of money already being spent on the rest of the starting offensive line, the Cowboys need a bargain at left guard. They didn’t re-sign Ronald Leary in 2017 for that very reason, hoping Cooper or Chaz Green would be able to handle the job for a fraction of what Leary got from the Denver Broncos.

Cooper took over for Green in Week 4 and held the job the rest of the season. The Cowboys rushing attack remained one of the league’s best, even performing well later in the year when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. It looked like Jonathan could become part of future plans.

However, in Week 17, Cooper went out of the game with a knee injury. It thankfully wasn’t serious and he is expected to be ready for 2018. However, it was a reminder of the injury-plagued past that has caused the former first-round pick so much trouble.

Jonathan Cooper

Dallas Cowboys Guard Jonathan Cooper

Taken seventh overall in 2013 by the Arizona Cardinals, Jonathan Cooper was one of the true blue-chip guard prospects in recent draft history. He seemed like a can’t-miss pick, and interior linemen don’t often go that high in the draft. The Cowboys have even said they coveted Cooper in that class.

But constant battles with injuries caused Cooper to be traded, released, and discarded by the Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Cleveland Browns over his first four seasons. While 2017 was looking like a turning point for him, Jonathan’s injury in the season finale was a sobering reminder of why he’s become a bargain-bin player.

Still, at just 28-years-old, Cooper has good years left and will now have another offseason for continuity and chemistry development with the Cowboys.

Dallas should have to pay more than a few million to keep Cooper on the roster.

If Dallas is leery (no pun intended) of Cooper, they will have options. La’el Collins could move back to the guard position, allowing the Cowboys to go find either the best guard or tackle who would fit with their existing group.

Given so many other considerations this offseason, Dallas will likely try to simplify things by giving Jonathan Cooper another chance. His history is a red flag, but sometimes you have to take those gambles and save salary cap space to handle other needs.

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Player News

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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