Connect with us

Star Blog

Charles Tapper Will Improve Cowboys Pass Rush In 2017

Brian Martin

Published

on

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?



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.

Advertisement
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

Will Terrance Williams’ Run Of Bad Luck Continue?

Brian Martin

Published

on

If Suspended, Will Cowboys Cut Ties With Terrance Williams?

To say that Terrance Williams has had a run of bad luck recently would be an understatement. First he breaks his foot, which kept him out of all of the offseason practices so far. Then, he ends up getting arrested on an intoxication charge, a Class C misdemeanor, on May 19 after crashing his Lamborghini into a light pole. Unfortunately for him, his bad luck could continue with training camp approaching because he could be looking at a demotion.

As things stand right now, I have a hard time seeing Williams being any more than the fourth wide receiver on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart. I have him behind Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and rookie Michael Gallup (in that order) right now, possibly falling even further. For now, I'll pencil him in at WR4 though.

I believe a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans wouldn't be too terribly upset if we don't see a lot of Terrance Williams in 2018. Fans have been unhappy with Williams for quite some time and many voiced their displeasure when the Cowboys signed him to a contract extension last offseason. But, he is still on the roster, which means we should probably expect him to stick around for at least one more season.

There is a cloud still hanging over Williams' head though. His intoxication arrest is still an open case and the league could decide to discipline/suspend him for breaking the NFL's conduct policy. That could impact his availability to start the season, which could ultimately determine where he exactly fits in on offense in 2018.

I know, it's a lot to take in, but that's how things stand right now and I don't things get much clearer when training camp gets underway. But, let's try to dive into this little deeper to try to determine what to expect from T-Will this year.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

As I mentioned earlier, I believe Hurns, Beasley, and Gallup are the top three Cowboys receivers this year. If that proves to be true, Williams is looking at demotion. He may be nothing more than an insurance policy in case of injury.

Terrance Williams does have something going in his favor though. He has the coaching staffs trust, which means he could reprise the same role we have seen from him in the past. But, that's where his potential suspension comes into play.

If Williams is indeed suspended, that would give more opportunities to other WRs on the roster to prove themselves, particularly Michael Gallup and Noah Brown. I think these are the two receivers who could have the biggest impact on Williams' offensive role this season.

Gallup will without a doubt receive every opportunity to prove he's ready to hit the ground running as a rookie. I think he will be successful, which is why I have him ahead of Williams on the depth chart to begin with. Noah Brown on the other hand is the wild card here.

I'm a big fan of Noah Brown's. I believe he can adequately replace Williams as both a receiver in the passing game and as a blocker in the running game, something the coaching staff really values about Williams. I think he has a chance to leapfrog T-Will on the depth chart, but he's really going to have to have a good training camp to do that.

Having said all that, I still don't know exactly where Terrance Williams will fit offensively for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, but I think his bad luck will continue. I think he should probably just be an insurance policy in case of injuries, but will have to wait to see if the coaching staff agrees.

Do you think Terrance Williams' bad luck continues?



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Alternate Universe: Where Would Cowboys Be With RB DeMarco Murray?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Dez Bryant To DeMarco Murray: "Come On Home" 1

During the Spring of 2015 the Dallas Cowboys faced what most considered a difficult decision.

Following an unexpectedly successful 12-4 season in which the Cowboys won just their second playoff game since 1996, two of the team's main offensive weapons were set to hit free agency.

On one hand was wide receiver Dez Bryant, coming off of a career year and widely considered a top wide out in this talent-rich league. On the other hand was running back DeMarco Murray, also coming off of a career year in which he led the NFL in rushing yards.

Could the Cowboys afford to pay the somewhat aging running back in this NFL economy? Could they place a premier price tag on a wide receiver despite their run-first, ball control mentality?

Of course, this wasn't exactly an either/or situation, but the Cowboys did re-sign Bryant to a lucrative deal and allowed Murray to walk to Philadelphia.

Now Fast forward to 2018.

Neither Murray nor Bryant are on the Cowboys, Tony Romo is broadcasting for CBS, and Dallas has spent a top five overall pick on replacing Murray at running back.

DeMarco Murray announced his retirement from football last week, making much of Cowboys Nation (including myself) think back upon those Romo-era teams.

And it's really hard not to wonder, where would the Cowboys have gone if they decided to keep DeMarco Murray? Where would they be had they re-signed Murray, rather than spending a premium pick on Ezekiel Elliott a year later.

If we're being honest, Elliott is a much more dynamic runner than Murray ever was. He brings more explosion and reliability to the offense, and is arguably the best back in football. Even when Murray was the league's leading rusher, this really couldn't be said about him.

There's not much of a chance that DeMarco Murray would still be a productive RB1 in Dallas heading into 2018. His play significantly dropped over the years in Tennessee, even behind their solid offensive line.

Of course the value of the running back position has been devalued as of late, making the Cowboys selection of Elliott a questionable one to some around the league. Paying the league's leading rusher what they would've had to pay him back in 2015, however, would have been even more questionable.

Plus, the Cowboys were able to replace much of Murray's production in 2015 with Darren McFadden, even if the team didn't win nearly as many games.

There might be an alternative universe out there where Tennessee's Murray and Derrick Henry-led backfield existed in Dallas, but Cowboys fans are certainly not upset about having Ezekiel Elliott in a Cowboys uniform.

Even if it took them a top five pick to seal the deal.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

John Williams

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When people consider whether the Dallas Cowboys should trade for Seattle Seahawks' Safety Earl Thomas, one rebuttal fans throw out there is his age, and for good reason. People get concerned about handing out contract extensions to players entering their age-29 season.

In the salary cap era of the NFL, it typically isn't good business to pay age as the team often doesn't get the value out of the player that the contract expects.

One position where I feel that isn't necessarily the case is at the safety position. Let's consider Earl Thomas' accolades for a moment and see if we can find some correlations.

Earl Thomas, in his eight-year career, has been to the Pro Bowl six times, missing out his rookie season and in 2016 when he only played 11 games. He's been selected to the NFL All-Pro's first team three times in consecutive years from 2012 to 2015.

So, let's go over to our friends at Pro Football Reference and see which other safeties have been to the Pro Bowl at least six times and have been selected as a first team All-Pro player three times.

Here's the list:

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

The first thing you'll notice is the elite players on the list along with Earl Thomas. The likes of Rod Woodson, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Aeneas Williams, and Charles Woodson. Those are just the players whose career extended into 2000s.

Then if you consider Ronnie Lott and Cliff Harris, that's some amazing company.

The players with an asterisk are the players that are in the Hall of Fame. Reed, Polamalu, and Woodson will be in the Hall of Fame. Cliff Harris not being in the Hall of Fame is still an NFL injustice that needs to be righted as he was one of the key cogs to the success of the Doomsday Defense of the 1970s.

I know Deion Sanders is on the list, and he's only there because he did play some safety toward the tail end of his career, but we know that it was as a corner that Deion made his money. The key though is that Deion's switch to safety at the end allowed him to prolong his career.

Removing Earl from the discussion for a moment, the average length of the careers of the men mentioned above was 13.41 years. The longest career was Charles Woodson at 18 years followed by Deion at 17 and Brian Dawkins at 16 years. The shortest careers were the 10-year careers of Cliff Harris and Joey Browner.

So, if Earl Thomas, having played eight years, played to the short end of the career length, he'd still have another two years left, this season included. If he played to the average length of those listed above, he'd have another five years left.

Considering that half of the players listed above all played longer than the average, there's a good chance that Earl Thomas has another six to seven years left in his career.

So, when we think about an extension for Earl Thomas, we have to consider the fact that for someone who has had the career that he's had to this point, he's going to be able to play at a good to great level for the life of a four-year extension.

Earl Thomas is an elite player and is on track to one day be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If the Dallas Cowboys could add that to their young and developing defense for the next four years, they shouldn't worry about his age.

Obviously, anything can happen, and people may point to him missing games in each of the last two seasons, but prior to 2016, Earl Thomas played and started 100% of his team's games. That's a six season stretch of being available for every single game.

For a team that is really close to contention and has the makings of an elite defense, Earl Thomas could be the missing piece that could put them over the top, much like Charles Haley did for the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty of the 1990s.

Don't let the age thing distract you from adding one of the best safeties in the NFL and one of the best players in the league. Earl Thomas to the Dallas Cowboys just makes too much sense not to do it, and for the All-Pro safety, age is just a number.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending