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Cowboys Nation Position Breakdown – Safety

Bryson Treece

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Since I believe the biggest need this off-season for the Cowboys is at safety, I'm going to offer my breakdown of the players we currently have on the roster.

Roy Williams -
I know, obvious first pick, but Williams is coming off his seventh year in the league and deserves first mention. After all, he has been a safety on the Cowboys roster longer than any other safety here.

Sad to say though, that after Woodson retired, Williams has done little else to warrant first mention, anywhere.

He missed most of 2008 after breaking his forearm not once, but twice, and landed on IR. Many will still agree now, as we did then, that him being injured actually solved the problem of how to limit his liability on the field in coverage.

I think he still has talent, but he doesn't seem to keep his head in a game and loses focus, which leads to mistakes in all aspects of his game. If Campo, having a full season and two off-seasons to get Williams thinking like a football player again, then I say he stays. But he'd have to really wow the coaches and Jerry Jones in order to justify his salary for the year.

If he takes a pay cut, I say he stays here, but only if he takes a pay cut. I don't see him giving up enough money for the Cowboys to keep him. Personally, I'd like to see him take a shot at middle linebacker, especially if Thomas and/or Burnett leave. If his biggest weakness is coverage, then put him in a position with less coverage duties. Might work, worth a shot at least.

But overall, I don't see Roy Williams having a big future on the Dallas defense.

Keith Davis -
What can you say about this guy? He's got heart, and he's about as tough as they come; fighting through a third degree sprain in his knee to at least try to play the season finale. He did get hurt in that game, but it took more than a down or series to bring him out.

Coming back from the Dolphins in 2008, he was immediately named a team captain, a role he had assumed before. His drive exceeds his ability in many ways, but it all seems to level out on the playing field. As a safety he isn't the best we could get, he might not even be the best we have, but on special teams he is a monster and should be retained.

The Cowboys will get Davis resigned, and he should be willing now after seeing how loyal this team is to him.

Ken Hamlin -
In 2007, everyone was ready to dub this guy the next great safety for the Cowboys, and if not for his lacking leadership skills and a couple of missed plays, he might have been. Instead, Jerry gave him the big contract he wanted anyway, and since we haven't seen the same level of play from him.

He's good at getting to the ball, and he isn't easily fooled, of course it's hard to say that after the miss he had in the Baltimore game, but the guy is a good safety when he is playing his best. I don't think age or ability is slowing him down.

He needs to get himself back on track for the 2009 season, to refocus himself on his goals, and the teams goals. If he can get ready to play, I see him making a big impact next year. And if not, there are guys waiting in line behind him for a chance.

Having watched it happen to Williams over two seasons now, he knows that the coaches will make him a two down player if he doesn't improve, and fast.

Tra Battle -
Not a lot of info out there on this guy. He's been signed to practice squads and active rosters a lot, but none of it really stuck.

Thanks to an injury riddled season on defense, we got to see him play and from what I saw, he's got good enough skills to keep him around. I was particularly impressed when he was signed during the week, then on the opening kickoff he makes a very solid tackle on the returner. It caught my eye right away that #35 didn't waste time doing his job.

He looked at times like he could use a little more training, which is why it's good he's in Dallas with Phillips. The system is similar to what he's dealt with at all in his young career, and a full off-season with the team should do him good.

With the issues of depth and performance at safety on this team, I look to see #35 back in blue and silver come training camp.

Pat Watkins -
There isn't much to say about Pat, except that someone needs to show him how to protect himself better. These nagging injuries, while minor, have cost him valuable playing time recently. No doubt a missed opportunity considering the need at safety this year.

He will be back in 2009. He has displayed great upside when healthy, it's just a matter of keeping him healthy for a whole season.

Courtney Brown -
He has also had some injury problems, but nothing too major. He's displayed good quickness when he has played, which has been limited.

Maybe it's because he was a cornerback in college and drafted as such, but the transition to safety hasn't been a smooth one for him. He's a seventh round pick and has offered seventh round production thus far.

Cowboys will likely keep him due to depth concerns at the position, but look mostly to continue grooming him.

And that's it. We head into free agency and the draft with big concerns for the safety positions on this team, concerns that will have to be addresses, especially if Roy Williams is released as many expect.

Anyone have anything to add?



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. The Wizard

    January 23, 2009 at 8:16 am

    You’re right the safety position is one of the most important the Cowboys have to solve this off-season.

    Personally, I would like to see Roy Williams stay. I think the coaches need to find a way to maximize his talents and hide his weaknesses. I believe having him in on 1st, 2nd, and short yardage downs is the best thing. But, they have to keep him around the line of scrimmage. With the secondary playing more man he can do that. They need to make defenses account for where he is on the field and try to find out if he is blitzing, covering the flat, or what.

    I think Hamlin is a good safety as well. But, I think he is playing out of position. He is more of a strong safety rather than a free safety. Still, I think you let him play free when Williams is on the field and then slide him over to strong safety on passing downs/nickel packages and bring in Anthony Henry to play free safety. It may help extend Henry’s career and also keep him healthy.

    I like Keith Davis and Tra Battle but I believe they are best suited to play special teams.

    The wildcard I beleive is Watkins, who should be a great free safety if he allows himself to be. He really needs to work on his game because with his size and speed he could really be the ballhawking free safety this team needs.

  2. Bryson

    January 23, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Good points. Something that’s been nagging at me for a while now is just like you said, Hamlin is better as a strong safety.

    Strikes me as odd that he is playing FS and Williams is playing SS when Williams made a name for himself as a FS next to Woodson.

    Obviously, Roy doesn’t quite fit the mold of free safety, but he makes it work when he’s there. Just seems like the Coaches should be noticing that as well, and regardless of what’s what on paper, they should be seeing how the fit is on the field.

  3. The Wizard

    January 23, 2009 at 11:31 am

    When Williams and Woodson were playing together there really wasn’t a free safety. It just depended on the which side was the strong side of the formation and they adjusted accordingly.

    I just think over the last few years, back to the Parcells days, none of the coaches have done a good job of putting Williams in a position to succeed. Everyone knows he struggles when he is lined up 15 yards away from the ball. Yet, they still put him back there. His obvious strength is in and around the line of scrimmage where he can be force against the run and blitz.

    Now, Williams is not completely innocent either. He needs to get into better shape. I think his conditioning, or lack thereof, has been a part of his problems.

  4. Bryson

    January 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    This year, after his first arm break, I think it was during the first Redskins game, he looked to be a lot quicker. I was actually surprised at how fast he was getting to the ball. But before that, I agree that he seemed out of shape.

    He has always been good on the line, but I think some of the problem came in when you look at Hamlin, and he isn’t good enough at FS to let Williams get on the line and make a play.

    But we agree that Hamlin is more of SS, and we know that Roy Williams did a good job next to Woodson, it just doesn’t make sense not to switch them around at safety. Williams is good from the FS spot when he has a good SS next to him, and I think with our current personnel, that is the best way to utilize both players.

    I do wonder if Williams would be any good as a middle linebacker though. he’s a bit small, but no more so than Dat was. he is quick when in shape, and he’s good closer to the line, just seems like a logical choice get Williams up to speed as a linebacker, especially if Thomas doesn’t return. You could rotate Williams and Burnett maybe at the weak middle linebacker spot.

    Of course I also think we should move Barber to fullback and Henry, a zone corner, to safety.

  5. The Wizard

    January 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I’m not sure about Williams at linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Maybe if the Cowboys went to a 4-3 he could play the weakside. I just think he’d get eaten up by the OL in a 3-4.

    As far as your other moves, I agree with Henry to safety. But, I would leave Barber at running back. I think the Cowboys have the ability to have a great running game next season. If it were up to me, I would use Barber and Choice as my primary runners on 1st and 2nd down. I would continue to have Barber start and then have Choice spell him mostly in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and then have Barber close the show.

    I would use Felix as a 3rd down back and also my kickoff and maybe punt returner. I will also design new packages each week for Felix that we could use 5-10 plays each game where he would be in the game also on 1st and 2nd downs. This would cause DC’s to account for him every time he is on the field. Plus, it would ensure that we found creative ways to get him the ball. Especially in space.

  6. Bryson

    January 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    That’s what I’m talking about, finding ways to use the best players in ways that free them to perform at their best. I’m not convinced that your idea would work, but at least we each have an idea of what could be done, or attempted. Bugs me that I don’t see the same thing out of the Cowboys, not even when Barber and Jones were healthy.

    I like the idea of having that trick play built into the roster. With your idea, I just see that when certain personnel is called in because of roles, the opposing defense gets an idea of what’s coming just from who lines up. That’s why Barber at fullback works, because you get all the options without tipping off the D right away.

    I seriously doubt, though, that Felix will be a 3rd down back. He just has too much upside to not challenge Barber for the starting job, inexperience and all. But that plan kind of works in that you beat ’em with Barber early, make em run us down with Choice and Jones at random, then sock it to them for the finish. That’s nearly a whole game won with the running game right there, excellent possibilities.

    I tend to think that about Williams as well, but then I just remember back a few years ago when he was playing great football. He didn’t seem to struggle that much with the size up front, even though on paper he most definitely should struggle with big offensive linemen. A good example is McNabb and how Williams used to get to him. I know scheming has a lot to do with it, but when Parcels first switched us to a 3-4, Roy was still doing good and being used at the line more. McNabb is hard to bring down, and while Roy did use his now illegal horse collar technique, he got him down. Roy shouldn’t be able to contest a guy like McNabb as well as he did, but he did.

    I gotta think there’s something to that.

  7. Bryson

    January 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    That includes one of the best right now, in Westbrook, teams know that even when he lines up at wide out, there’s only a few choices for that play.

  8. The Wizard

    January 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I’m not really talking about trick plays per se in the package I’m talking about. One week the package could be to line him up in the slot, another week on the outside with a receiver in the slot. Another week could have him and Barber/Choice in a split back. Their could be weeks where trick plays using him could be built in (reverses, wildcat, etc…) Just something that gives the DC headaches trying to figure out.

    I don’t like the idea of having him as a starting back because I don’t think he can handle the pounding over the season. Plus, I don’t think it plays to his strength. As a third down back, he’ll play more on a spread field, which will enable him to use his speed more effectively. Plus, he is the ideal back to use in that draw play that Garrett loves so much.

    As far as Roy is concerned, we are in total agreement. I think his stock actually went up this past season. Especially, in the Baltimore game. I just don’t see those 2 runs happening with him there. Plus, receivers had no fear of going over the middle. In past years, you could see receivers running over the middle with their heads on a swivel because they didn’t want to end up on SportsCenter.

  9. Bryson

    January 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Now that’s funny. I remember some great plays watching the look of fear in the eyes of a receiver as they saw Williams coming. And no, those two runs don’t happen with him there. I’ve seen some people talk about it being the fault of Davis on those two runs, but people forget that Hamlin was lined up strong side for both of those plays. I still think is a keeper, not a full time starter, but he can play safety, and he’s a monster on special teams. I wonder how good he’ll be with DeCamillis in charge this year.

    You’ve got a great point about Jones on third down. Easier to use speed when the D is looking for a pass. If he were to start, it would be in a close tandem with Barber because you need a guy that can pound the line forward.

    That trick play thing wasn’t so much about the plays, just the idea of being able to achieve the same effect on the defense by job title.

    I actually like the idea you bring up a lot. But I don’t have the confidence in Garrett to keep an effective offensive scheme going while finding new ways each week to use the runners right. We saw his inability to even try it with Owens this year. But it doesn’t hurt to dream though.

    It’s a catch 22 … when he plays, it’s easy to find the areas where he sucks, and when he’s injured you see just what he brought to the game. I want Williams here, I just don’t see it happening.

  10. The Wizard

    January 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I’m in agreement with you about Garrett, who I truly believe is the biggest problem on the team right now. People can’t point at TO all the want. But, when they were 13-3 and Owens was heavily involved in the offense there were no problems. In fact, he ws being called a model teammate. Now, with Sparano gone and Garrett’s reluctance to use Owens more effectively he was upset.

    But, that is another topic.

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Dallas Cowboys

5 Potential Candidates Cowboys Could Target to Replace OC Scott Linehan

Brian Martin

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5 Potential Candidates to Replace Cowboys OC Scott Linehan

Should he go or should he stay!? That seems to be the question the Dallas Cowboys are asking themselves about their current Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Many of us would say it's an easy decision to make, but we really don't know what's going on behind closed doors.

The only thing we know for sure right now is Scott Linehan is still employed by the Dallas Cowboys and it might be a while before we know his fate with the organization one way or another. The Cowboys coaching staff, including Linehan, will coach the Pro Bowl in a little over a week, which is why any decision regarding Dallas' coaching staff will likely be delayed.

I know my opinion means little, but I have a hard time seeing Scott Linehan returning to the Dallas Cowboys next season. His playcalling has been pretty predictable and dated the past few years, plus there's the fact he was nearly fired earlier this season during the bye week. I don't think he's done much since then to improve his chances of sticking around. But, that's just my opinion.

That's why today I thought I'd share with you a few of the potential OC candidates I'd personally target if I were the Dallas Cowboys. Let's get started…

Tony Romo

Tony RomoHow elated would Cowboys Nation be if Tony Romo returned to the Dallas Cowboys as their next offensive coordinator. Everybody understands he doesn't have any formal coaching experience, especially in the NFL, but I seriously doubt that would matter.

No one would question his knowledge of the game, especially after hearing him break down the X's and O's first hand while he's commentating on game days. It's one of the reasons why he's grown in popularity as a commentator in such a short time.

Honestly, bringing in Romo as the OC could be the match made in heaven for the Cowboys. He already knows the system Jason Garrett likes to use offensively and his coaching philosophy. It would likely be a seamless transition, especially since he's already so familiar with the personnel. But, there's really no way of knowing if he's ready to leave his cushy commentating job to become a coach.

Todd Haley

Todd Haley

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

As much as I'd like to see Tony Romo make his return back to the Dallas Cowboys in a coaching capacity, bringing back Todd Haley to the organization would be a close second. He spent 2004-2006 with the Cowboys as their wide receiver coach before moving on to become the offensive coordinator for several teams (Cardinals, Steelers, Browns) and the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Unlike Romo, Haley has a proven track record as a play caller in the NFL. I personally like what he would bring to the table if made the new OC in Dallas. He is an aggressive play caller with a fiery attitude. I think his addition to the Cowboys offense could have the same kind of impact as Kris Richard's did to the defense this past season.

There is a downside about Haley though. He can be a bit abrasive with those he's working with. He's known for not always getting along with some of his players or with his coaching staff. It's one of the reasons why both he and Hue Jackson were fired this past season by the Cleveland Browns. I don't think it would be a problem with Dallas, but it is something to think about.

Eric Bieniemy

Eric BieniemyI'm grasping a little bit here because it would take quite a bit to lure Eric Bieniemy away from the Kansas City Chiefs, but it's not completely impossible. Jerry Jones would have to really put on his business hat to get Bieniemy's attention, especially after he was in the running for a few head-coaching jobs here recently. But, we all know how persuasive Jerry Jones can be when he wants to.

First off, the Dallas Cowboys would have to make Bieniemy their assistant head coach as well as their offensive coordinator. He is already the OC with the Chiefs, just not the playcaller. Andy Reid still handles those responsibilities. He does however handle the majority of the game planning, which is raved about because of his attention to detail.

His players have also raved about his personality and aggressiveness as a coach. This is something that has endeared Cowboys players to Kris Richard in a short amount of time and it could be the same if Eric Bieniemy comes aboard. Unfortunately, I think this is a longshot. He's probably is eyeing a head-coaching job that could come as soon as next season. Jason Garrett replacement?

Joe Lombardi

Joe LombardiJoe Lombardi, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, isn't on a lot of people's list as a potential offensive coordinator candidate, but probably should be. He does have one year of experience as an OC in the NFL, but that was with the Detroit Lions in 2014-2015 and we shouldn't count that against him. No play callers last long in Detroit since Matthew Stafford took over as their starting QB.

The reason I really like Lombardi as a potential Scott Linehan replacement is because of the time he spent with Sean Payton and Drew Brees in New Orleans. Minus the one year in Detroit, he's been with the Saints since 2007. The majority of that time was spent as the QB coach to one of the best ever played the game.

I've been trying to figure out a way to get Sean Payton back as a Cowboys coach for the past several seasons without any success. Turning to someone he's personally groomed could be the next best thing. He was there through all of Drew Brees' numerous passing records and his Super Bowl victory. He has also help develop Taysom Hill into the playmaker he's become this season. He could just be the guy to take Dak Prescott's game to the next level.

Doug Nussmeier (In-house Candidate)

Doug Nussmeier

Dallas Cowboys TE Coach Doug Nussmeier

If the Dallas Cowboys do indeed decide to move on from Scott Linehan, it doesn't necessarily mean they will look outside the organization for a new offensive coordinator. They could quite possibly already have his replacement on the team in Doug Nussmeier, who served as their tight end coach this season.

Nussmeier's coaching background mostly consist of him being a QB coach or offensive coordinator at the collegiate level. In fact, those are the only two coaching titles he's held throughout his career until this year when he became the Cowboys TE coach. I don't know about you, but I find that pretty impressive, especially after seeing Dallas' young tight ends progress through the season.

Promoting Nussmeier to OC would virtually be a seamless transition for everybody involved. He knows the system, the players, and has been involved in the game planning this past season. I don't know however if he would be an upgrade over Scott Linehan. The two have known one another for years and have worked together in the past. Not exactly a ringing endorsement in my opinion.

Do any of these Dallas Cowboys OC candidates intrigue you? If not who?



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Top 5 Offseason Priorities for the Dallas Cowboys

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

The 2018 NFL Season has come to an end for the Dallas Cowboys and now the team looks to the offseason to gear up for what should be another run toward the playoffs in 2019. As with every team heading into every offseason, they'll have some difficult decisions to make with some of their own players as well as deciding how they want to attack free agency and the draft.

The Cowboys have drafted really well over the last three seasons in particular, but have had a long track record of success in the Jason Garrett era. How we judge the draft this season should take into account what Amari Cooper has been to this team. He's been everything the Dallas Cowboys hoped for when they sent their 2019 first round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders for Cooper. The Cowboys, without a first round pick, will have less room for maneuvering around the draft, but as we've seen in the past, they are just as effective in the second round and beyond as they are in the first round.

As we get going in the offseason, let's look at the Dallas Cowboys 5 Most Pressing Priorities.

1. Dealing with DeMarcus Lawrence

The NFL is a passing league. You need players who can throw the ball and catch the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, you must have guys that can get after the passer and cover the receiver.

After moving to the 4-3 defense and the departure of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys struggled to find any pass rushing consistency at the defensive end position. They were led at the position by players like Jeremy Mincey, George Selvie, and Benson Mayowa. Finally, the Cowboys selection of DeMarcus Lawrence is paying off has he's had double-digit sacks each of the last two seasons and has been equally effective against the run.

The Cowboys have the option of using the franchise tag on Lawrence again this offseason, which is a possibility as it would prevent other teams from negotiating with the Cowboys best defensive player. While the Cowboys need to continue to build the team through the draft and extend a few players, there isn't a bigger offseason priority than getting DeMarcus Lawrence's deal done.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Jason Garrett on soon-to-be free agent DeMarcus Lawrence: He's certainly as big a priority as there is

 

2. Making Big Adjustments to the Offense

There was a lot of consternation yesterday at the comments Jason Garrett made to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth about Scott Linehan's future with the team. It's obviously a possibility that he returns in 2019, but as Stephen Jones mentioned later in the day, it's too early to begin discussing those things as they haven't really began to review the season.

Scott Linehan has been good as an offensive coordinator and he's been a part of Dak Prescott's progression, but there are certain areas of this offense that need to be reworked or shaken up. Whether the Cowboys decide to move on from Linehan or they decide to make adjustments to the scheme, something needs to change. In particular, the team's insistence on using jumbo packages on every short yardage situation has made them predictable.

On 4th and 1 on Saturday, the team went to the Ezekiel Elliott in jumbo formations one too many times. In an era when most of the NFL is attempting to spread things out with 11 and 10 personnel, the Cowboys continue to force two and three tight end formations.

This offseason is just getting started and the Cowboys have a lot of decisions to make about their offense, but none is bigger than figuring out who the play caller is going to be. While the team may be publicly supporting Scott Linehan at the moment, it would be highly unlikely for the team to bring him back for another year.

#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

3. Continue Building the Wide Receiver Corp

The Dallas Cowboys began the process of overhauling the wide receiver corp last offseason when they released Dez Bryant, signed Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, drafted Michael Gallup and Cedric Wilson, and traded for Tavon Austin and most importantly Amari Cooper.

Generally, when the Dallas Cowboys have attempted to rebuild a position, they've done it over a few seasons, like they did with the offensive line, the defensive line, and the linebackers.

This offseason, the Cowboys will have a few decisions to make at the wide receiver position. Do they bring back Cole Beasley? What about Tavon Austin? Allen Hurns would have likely been a player the Cowboys could have used in the slot to replace Cole Beasley, but he's hurt and possibly won't be ready for training camp.

On offense, the passing game began to take shape in the second half of the season as Dak Prescott began to get more comfortable with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. They'll make a nice 1-2 punch heading into 2019, but there is still room for adding a player or two. Depending on the type of contract he'd want, it would be great to bring back Cole Beasley. It's become clear that he's not as big of a focal point in the offense since Amari Cooper has emerged, but he's still a good player that can make some big catches for you.

If the team looked to the draft, one player that is high on my list is Oklahoma Wide Receiver Marquise Brown. He's a home run hitter in every stretch of the imagination. With speed for days, he could be the field stretcher that the team has struggled to find. Not only does he have speed, he's an excellent route runner and has excellent hands and spends the offseason training with Steelers Wide Receiver and cousin Antonio Brown.

If the Cowboys wanted to go the free agency route to add a wide receiver, they should look at Jamison Crowder of the Washington Redskins or Adam Humphries of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to fill their slot wide receiver role. If you remember back to the Bucs game, Humphries was giving the Cowboys fits totaling 10 catches on 12 targets for 79 yards. Crowder struggled with injuries this season and had a down year, but that could mean he'd be cheap to sign, which is the way the Dallas Cowboys do free agency.

There are some nice players in the draft and free agency that the Cowboys could look to add to their wide receiver group, but they'll also be getting back Cedric Wilson, their sixth round pick from last season. The team really liked the production that Wilson had at Boise St. and Wilson was playing well in training camp and was pushing for a roster spot before his season ending injury.

Noah Brown is also a player in line to see more snaps moving forward. He's played well when called upon, using his superior blocking to make an impact in the running game while displaying nice route running and hands in the passing game. If Cole Beasley didn't return to the Cowboys this offseason, I could see the Cowboys giving Brown an expanded role on the outside or using him as a big slot receiver, similar to how the Arizona Cardinals use Larry Fitzgerald or how the New Orleans Saints use Michael Thomas. He has the size to be a mismatch for slot corners and the route running to be a mismatch for linebackers. They could also use Brown on the outside, put Cooper in the slot and then when they want to use Brown as a blocker, could motion him in-line.

Wide receiver will be a big question this offseason as teams must have three or four solid receivers to run their offense. The Cowboys have some players that could be given expanded roles, but should continue to add to the position through the draft.

4. Safety

Most of 2018 was spent discussing the possibility of trading for Seattle Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas, and I imagine that much of this offseason will be spent discussing him again. If you got tired of Earl Thomas talk last year, get ready, it's about to pick up.

Earl Thomas will be a free agent this offseason, so he'll be free to sign with any team he chooses and he's made it known that he'd like to play for the Dallas Cowboys. There are several question marks when it comes to Earl Thomas that the Cowboys will have to consider.

When will he be ready to go? What kind of money will he demand? Has health become a concern?

All legitimate questions for a player that will be coming off a broken leg suffered this season. He should be ready for offseason training as there have been videos posted to his Instagram showing him running stadiums. If he's ready to roll by free agency and is able to pass his physical, I bet they take another long look at adding him to the roster.

They have another free agent option that they can look into though in New York Giants Safety Landon Collins. He's a different type of safety than Earl Thomas, but Collins is a player. He's more of a "box" or strong safety that you could use to play the Jeff Heath role, which would leave Xavier Woods playing the free safety spot.

5. Defensive Tackle

Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Tyrone Crawford, Caraun Reid, and Daniel Ross played well for the Dallas Cowboys defense, but as we saw on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams, they were lacking as a group. In Woods, Collins, and Crawford, you feel good with what you have as you approach free agency and the draft, but they need to add a player that can help them with their interior pass rush.

Much of the pass rush that the Cowboys received this season came from their defensive ends and linebackers. The tackles were good, but inconsistent in their ability to collapse the pocket and not allow any room for opposing quarterbacks to step into.

This is a draft that is deep on defense and the Cowboys will have a chance to add to their defensive tackle spot with their second round pick. With Rod Marinelli likely returning to the Dallas Cowboys next offseason, we know his ability to find diamonds in the rough. I wouldn't be surprised if they go practice squad diving again this offseason and find a player that can have a significant impact like David Irving did in 2017 and Antwaun Woods did in 2018.

It's unlikely that David Irving will be back and Tyrone Crawford could be a cap casualty if the Cowboys no longer want to carry his $10 million cap number.

The Cowboys are likely to bring back DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory is still under contract, as well as Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong. They are pretty solid at defensive end, but could still add a player to compete with Taco and Armstrong. Defensive tackle though, is a place where they need to make a move to upgrade the position. The defense was really good last season, but needs to look for ways to improve heading into 2019.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys will do as they always do this offseason as they approach the roster; sign inexpensive veterans with the hope that they outperform their contracts and attempt to draft well yet again. It's a formula that has worked for them and there's no reason to think it won't continue moving forward.



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Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign OL Coach Marc Colombo Through 2019

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign OL Coach Marc Colombo Through 2019

Hiring six new positional coaches and a special teams coordinator prior to the 2018-19 season, the Dallas Cowboys saw plenty of success with this turnover - rebounding from a 3-5 start to reach the Divisional Round before having their season end at the LA Rams. At arguably their most important position, the Cowboys admitted to hiring the wrong fit when Paul Alexander was fired mid-season. Very fortunately, Alexander's assistant was ready to step up and become one of the most respected coaches on the staff, with former Cowboys Tackle Marc Colombo receiving a new contract as OL Coach through next season.

The team announced that Colombo would return on Tuesday. The day prior, Head Coach Jason Garrett said he expects Center Travis Frederick to be ready for the entirety of the offseason program. The two-time 1st Team All-Pro missed the entire season dealing with Gillian-Barre Syndrome.

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Source: Cowboys have signed offensive line coach Marc Colombo to a new contract

There's still work to be done this offseason for the Cowboys to maintain their usual standard on the offensive line. Just days removed from the end of the season, in which the Cowboys became the first playoff squad since 1988 to start all players under the age of 30, the Dallas OL is in great position and should remain an overwhelming strength under Colombo.

With Joe Looney set to return to a backup role and Xavier Su'a-Filo under contract, even the Cowboys depth up front is built up nicely well before free agency or the Draft. Cam Fleming and Marcus Martin are the Cowboys offensive linemen with expiring contracts.

The Cowboys averaged 136.9 rush yards per game under Alexander, who introduced an unfamiliar scheme to established veterans like Tyron Smith and Zack Martin. Alexander's time as the Cowboys OL Coach also stunted the growth of rookie Left Guard Connor Williams, who finished the season strong once returning to the starting lineup.

The Cowboys allowed 56 sacks this season, 23 of which (41%) came in the six games under Alexander. Colombo had served as Alexander's assistant, believed to be a candidate to run his own OL room at some point.

When that opportunity came sooner than expected, the Cowboys brought back former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to assist Colombo.

A projected starting lineup of Smith, Williams, Frederick, Martin, and La'el Collins is what Colombo and Houck will have to look forward to when the Cowboys offense takes the field in 2019 - along with rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott and fourth-year Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Colombo described himself as the "luckiest guy on the planet," when asked about his opportunity to continue coaching with his former team.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign OL Coach Marc Colombo Through 2019" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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