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Charles Tapper Will Improve Cowboys Pass Rush In 2017

Brian Martin

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Charles Tapper Will Improve Cowboys Pass Rush In 2017

Ever since the Dallas Cowboys’ heartbreaking Divisional Round loss to the Packers (2016), the hot topic has been how to improve their pass rush. It’s completely understandable, but there are no clear answers about how to do it. I’m probably in the minority here, but I think the Cowboys’ pass rush will improve in 2017 because of second-year defensive end Charles Tapper.

Unfortunately, Charles Tapper didn’t get to prove what he can do for the Cowboys’ pass rush last year. He pretty much had to redshirt his first year in the NFL because of a back injury he sustained in training camp.

What was initially believed to be nothing more than back tightness was eventually diagnosed as a Pars Defect injury, or what is better known as a fractured vertebrae. Unbeknownst to him, it is an injury he has had since childhood, but has never caused him any problems.

It looks as if Tapper is now 100-percent ready for the Cowboys’ off-season practices. We still have the rest of free agency and the draft to get through, but as things stand right now, he gives me the most hope for an improved pass rush this in 2017.

You may have forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys drafted Charles Tapper with the first of their two fourth round draft picks in 2016. The second of course was used to draft Dak Prescott and we all know how that turned out.

Hopefully, Tapper can follow suit now that he is 100% healthy.

DE Charles TapperWho is Charles Tapper?

Charles Tapper is a second-year defensive end out of Oklahoma. At 6’2″, 271-pounds, he has the prototypical size for a 4-3 defensive end and the athletic ability to be a really good player in the NFL.

Tapper was one of the top performing defensive ends at the 2016 NFL combine. His 4.59 40-yard dash was the best among the DEs in 2016 and would’ve tied him for third amongst this year’s draft class with UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, who is about 20 pounds lighter.

Of course, a player can’t be solely judged by their 40-yard dash, especially a defensive end. But, that speed can be utilized to chase down ball carriers from behind and to put opposing offensive tackles in a difficult position when rushing the quarterback around the edge.

He is also able to convert that speed into power when he utilizes his bull rush. It often results in offensive tackles looking as if they’re wearing skates.

One of Tapper’s more underrated attributes as a player is his impressive wingspan.

He has 34 3/8” arms, which allows him to set a strong edge in the running game by keeping offensive lineman from getting into his body. That arm length also comes in handy as a pass rusher. He uses it effectively by not allowing offensive lineman to get their hands on him. It really makes him a difficult player to block coming off the edge.

DE Charles Tapper

Charles Tapper will be a difference maker in 2017

You may think I’m jumping the gun a little bit by saying Charles Tapper will be a difference maker for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, but if not for his back injury last season, he probably would’ve been the starting RDE.

Tyrone Crawford was forced to move from the inside of the Cowboys defense to the outside to fill that role, but that shouldn’t happen with a healthy Tapper.

Charles Tapper already has the benefit of being in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 defensive scheme for a year and is probably the Day 1-starter as things stand now. That redshirt year has also allowed him extra time to take advantage of the Cowboys’ strength and conditioning program to redefine his body. This should allow him to be a much more effective player.

Another benefit to basically red-shirting his rookie year in the NFL is it has not only given him extra time for his back to heal, but it has also allowed him to develop a more diverse pass rushing repertoire. When watching his game film coming out of Oklahoma, you didn’t really see him rush with any kind of plan and didn’t really know how to use his hands as a pass rusher.

This should definitely change in his second year, which will make him a more complete player.

∼∼∼

I completely understand if you think that I’m being a little overly optimistic about Charles Tapper helping the Cowboys’ pass rush in 2017. It is completely understandable.

He is still a somewhat unknown commodity, because we didn’t really get to see what he can do in a game situation. However, I believe that he is already better than anybody the Cowboys can draft this year. He has the skill set to be a disruptive force against both the run and the pass as a defensive end.

We’ll have to wait and see if the Dallas Cowboys believe as I do, but we shouldn’t have to wait long to get our answer.

If the Cowboys pass on drafting a defensive end in the first couple of rounds, we can probably assume they think Charles Tapper can take the next step in his career.

Do you think Tapper improves the 2017 Cowboys pass rush?

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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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19 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    I wanna believe this but how do we know this?? What have we seen to make us believe that he will be a difference maker but then again any additions to this defensive line will be considered a difference maker because of the lack of talent already on the roster

    • Brian Martin

      Travis, I agree we haven’t seen anything from Tapper that would suggest he will be a difference maker in 2017. But, that’s basically the same type of assumption you would receive if you drafted a defensive end at 28. The only difference is that Tapper has had a year in the system and a year of NFL coaching to improve his craft.

  • https://www.facebook.com/PoliticalRealities/ LD Jackson

    I think there is every reason to be optimistic about Charles Tapper and his contribution to the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, he is an unknown quality because he has yet to play in an NFL game, preseason or otherwise, but indications were that he was progressing nicely in training camp until he was sidelined with his back. As a Dallas and and Oklahoma fan, I am excited to see what he can do at the next level.

    • Brian Martin

      LD, I agree with everything you said.

      • https://www.facebook.com/PoliticalRealities/ LD Jackson

        I wish there was a way to confirm how Tapper’s back is coming along. You don’t see him mentioned a lot here, or in the Cowboy Forums.

        • Brian Martin

          You and me both. He seemed to think he was 100% ready to go before the Cowboys placed him on IR last season. So hopefully the extra time will allow him to heal up even more.

  • Russ_Te

    A strike for a quality RDE in Round 4 would be a strike indeed. I think you have to figure in a learning curve for Tapper at best, whereby Lawrence is far ahead of him for 2017.

    It’s true Lawrence could still flip sides and Irving could still work both LDE and DT, but I’m guessing the plan for now is to put some chips on Irving turning the next corner in his game. If he does that, that is my LDE down in / down out. That puts Lawrence back at RDE, where I think he can contribute QB pressures at times & play the run well.

    One element in this that can turn things upward is – like Irving – the improvement curve of Maliek Collins. We know he has the physicality to be a great DT. If he is on the rise and Lawrence is at RDE, we’ll get pressure from that side.

    I’d rather get a premiere prospect in here for RDE of course, but if they are gone and the CB’s are not, then IMO adding an impact CB is the shortest route to defensive upgrade this year.

    • Brian Martin

      Russ, everything you say is true. I however think Irving is better when he plays on the inside. His length and quickness off the ball give interior offensive lineman fits. The point I was trying to make is that I don’t know if DE is as big of a position of need as everybody seems to think. I’m sure the Cowboys want to find a dominant pass rusher, I just don’t know if there will be one available in the draft. All off this will work itself out in the off-season practices.

  • dallas1966

    Can’t wait

  • Connie Pratt Wilkinson

    i think we had above average pass coverage last year and that helped the below average pass rush. I dont believe carroll is as good as carr and we have done nothing to improve our pressure on opposing qb,s. so one or the other needs to be addressed at some point or a great defensive coordinator will take the fall for an inadequate general management job.

    • Brian Martin

      I honestly think our secondary is about the same. I think we will add more talent to the secondary and pass rush through the draft, which will hopefully help the defense.

  • John Williams

    I’m in. Wasn’t a fit in OU’s 3-4 yet was still a productive End player for them. I’d like to see him get a bit lighter so he could use his speed and athleticism a bit more. There are enough guys who have the power game, Tapper could be the guy that rushes with speed.

    I think he will make an impact this year.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t know if he needs to get lighter. He’s already a 4.5 40 guy at 270 pounds. That’s a rarity. That should help him hold up against the run and allow him to chase down running backs. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can offer.

      • John Williams

        With his back history, it would help him to shed even 5 to ten pounds and would still leave him with enough size to play the RDE spot. Could only help with his jump, agility, and finishing.

        • Brian Martin

          I imagine that with basically a year in the strength and conditioning program, we will see Tapper with a remade body. I’m sure the staff focused on strengthening his back and getting him to where they think he needs to be to perform at his best.

          • John Williams

            They’ve had a lot of practice with Back/core strengthening with Romo. I’m really looking forward to training camp to see if he can push for a starting spot.

          • Brian Martin

            You can also add DeMarcus Lawrence. He has had back issues as well. I think a lot of us are really looking forward to training camp. There are high expectations for 2017

          • John Williams

            Looking forward to the competition that will be had for EDGE Snaps between Lawrence, Tapper, Irving, Moore, and their draft pick.

          • Brian Martin

            I agree. It is definitely going to be one of the camp battles everyone will be paying close attention to

Star Blog

Think Jason Garrett is a Robot? FOX Sports Agrees

Jess Haynie

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Jason Garrett

Cowboys fans have often complained that head coach Jason Garrett is too robotic in his demeanor, media answers, and constant clapping. Yesterday, with most of the country feeling Star Wars fever, FOX Sports tapped into the zeitgeist while also taking a little jab at Garrett’s robot reputation.

FOX Sports released photographs of several NFL personalities as Star Wars character. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were Jedis.  Bill Belichick, surprise-surprise, was a the evil Emperor.

Garrett… well….

FOX Sports: NFL on Twitter

@AaronRodgers12 @CameronNewton @Panthers @Patriots Jason Garrett is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication.

From 2016 Coach of the Year to punchline, Garrett’s reputation has certainly taken a big swing this season. Things are so bad, they couldn’t give him a C-3PO with matching arms. Oh, the indignity.

Of course, this is all in good fun. Garrett has 12 and 13-win seasons in two of the last three years. 2017 could’ve been very different if not for Ezekiel Elliott‘s legal issues and Sean Lee’s injury. And even now, there’s still a chance the Cowboys can sneak back into the playoffs.

Yes, Jason is repetitive. And yes, he’s no Bill Parcells behind a microphone. But could they at least have made him R2-D2?

At least FOX Sports didn’t make him Jar Jar Binks. That should go to Roger Goodell.

Just for fun, what other Star Wars characters would you compare Cowboys players and other staff members to? Maybe Sean Lee as Boba Fett, hunting down targets in the open field? Or maybe Cole Beasley as Luke, since they’re both a little short to be Stormtroopers.

Have any other good Cowboys/Star Wars comparisons? Share them in the comments!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott, Offensive Line

Es increíble pensar que ya estamos en la semana 15 de la NFL. Más increíble aún, los Dallas Cowboys que se fueron 13-3 con el sembrado #1 de la NFC hace un año, ahorita cuentan con un récord de 7-6 y unas esperanzas de pasar a playoffs muy, muy pequeñas.

El domingo pasado, a pesar de llevarse la victoria en el campo contra los New York Giants, los Cowboys no recibieron la ayuda que necesitaban alrededor de la liga.

Pero a pesar de ser pequeñas, las esperanzas siguen vivas. Y este domingo, los aficionados a Dallas no sólo apoyaremos a los Cowboys en el Sunday Night Football, sino también a otros cuantos equipos.

Para los Cowboys, ¿cuáles son las combinaciones necesarias?

  • Dallas Cowboys termina la temporada 10-6, ganando los últimos tres partidos. 
  • Que los Green Bay Packers pierdan un partido. 
  • Que los Detroit Lions pierdan un partido. 
  • Que los Atlanta Falcons o los Carolina Panthers pierdan dos partidos. 

En mi opinión, incluso con Aaron Rodgers volviendo al campo, los Panthers y los Falcons presentan el mayor reto. Y creo, que lo que deberíamos estar apoyando en este momento, es que sean los Falcons los que pierdan dos partidos.

¿Por qué? Porque este domingo, Carolina se enfrentará a Green Bay. Francamente, Panthers es el equipo que más probabilidades tiene de echar a perder el regreso heroico de Rodgers. Panthers también puede vencer a los Falcons en la semana 17.

Así que, mientras los Panthers no podrían ayudar perdiendo, creo que más bien nos podrán apoyar ganando. Sin embargo, los resultados de la semana 15 influenciarán mucho a quien apoyaremos como fans de los Cowboys.

Por ahora, estos serían los resultados ideales de la semana 15:

  • CHI Bears vencen a DET Lions. 
  • CAR Panthers vencen a GB Packers.
  • TB Buccaneers sorprenden a ATL Falcons. 

Claro, dos de estos resultados parecen muy optimistas, pero todo puede pasar en la NFL y sobre todo con equipos tan inconsistentes como los Lions.

Por supuesto que, todo esto no tiene ni sentido si los Cowboys no se van 3-0 en las siguientes tres semanas. El rival más fuerte que le queda a Dallas son los Seattle Seahawks. Con Ezekiel Elliott volviendo esa misma semana, será un duelo increíble en el AT&T Stadium.

En mi opinión, será el partido que definirá de que son capaces los Dallas Cowboys del 2017.

Pero primero que nada, los Cowboys se tienen que preocupar por un partido que puede resultar siendo un juego “trampa.” Un juego trampa, es cuando un equipo tiene una semana muy importante por venir (Seahawks) y subestima al rival (Raiders) que tiene enfrente dentro de los próximos días.

Sobre todo cuando es de visita, estos partidos pueden resultar siendo peligrosos en la NFL y realmente, en todos los niveles de football americano.

Fantasy Football - #FantasyFootball Hot Sauce/Weak Sauce and Waiver Wire Adds for Week 9 3

Oakland Raiders Derek Carr (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Y sí, los Raiders han tenido una temporada muy decepcionante en la que ni Derek Carr ni Amari Cooper han sido lo que se esperaba, pero Derek Carr es un QB que puede echarse al equipo a los hombros en cualquier momento.

Todos pueden tener una mala temporada, y ese ha sido el caso para el #4 de Oakland. Sin embargo, si los Cowboys mantienen el partido cerrado en el cuarto cuarto, Derek Carr puede demostrar que tan peligroso es.

Con jugadores clave como Khalil Mack, que por cierto tendrá una batalla épica con La’el Collins, es un juego que no es tan fácil como parece. Sí, los Raiders tienen un récord de 6-7. ¿Y? Los Cowboys tienen un récord de 7-6. Es mejor, claro. ¿Pero realmente es tan bueno como para pensar que será una victoria fácil?

Podemos criticar a Jason Garrett por muchas cosas, pero una de las cosas que no podemos criticarlo, es la motivación que le da a los jugadores. A pesar de muchos reportes acerca de que los jugadores “estaban molestos” con los coaches, definitivamente no han jugado como si se hubieran rendido en su entrenador.

No creo que los Cowboys pierdan el domingo. Pero esperemos que no sólo ganen en la noche, sino que obtengan victorias indirectas alrededor de la NFC.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?” 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

Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

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