When Jason Garrett speaks, rarely does he give the fans any real knowledge about what's going on with the Dallas Cowboys (unless he's cleaning up a Jerry Jones mess). Instead he chooses to talk about "The Process" for the Cowboys and ways they are hoping to get better.
Lost in all the bore of Garrett's words, however, is something he preaches on a daily basis, competition. Garrett constantly talks about the competition on the Cowboys roster and letting it dictate who's going to play. And in case you've missed it, much to Garrett's delight, there is competition throughout the Cowboys roster; today we'll focus on the offense
Obviously we know who the Cowboys quarterback will be heading into 2013 and that is a good thing because if there's one place you don't want competition, it's at the QB spot. As the old saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks you really have none. However, verywhere else there is going to be a battle for playing time. DeMarco Murray will be the starting running back but all reports are that Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner have looked great this offseason so they might be competing for carries, and maybe even a roster spot.
Dallas also drafted Joseph Randle to backup Murray but he hasn't been through the offseason practices because of a thumb injury so there's no guarantee he'll be the main guy behind Murray. The Cowboys will have three talented backs fighting for carries and a spot on the roster when training camp comes around.
The same thing can be said for the wide receiver and tight end positions. Dallas is set with their startering receivers being Dez Bryant and Miles Austin but there is plenty of competition for the third receiver spot. In today's NFL, the third wide receiver sees a ton of playing time and the Cowboys will have rookie Terrance Williams battling it out with Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley for playing time.
At tight end, Dallas has second-year pro James Hanna trying to hold off Gavin Escobar for reps as the second tight on the field in the Cowboys two tight end sets. Hanna showed great promise down the stretch last season and the Cowboys still drafted Escobar in the second round. They will be in competition all summer long to find out who will be the main second tight end for the Cowboys.
Dallas also brought in veteran Dante Rosario to compete with them, and to compete with Lawrence Vickers, for a possible roster spot. Again, no one's job appears safe and it's about getting the best players on the field.
Of course, then comes the Cowboys offensive line, where will there be greater competition this training camp. The Cowboys are set at left tackle with Tyron Smith but the rest of the positions along the line are up for grabs. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings were the starters last year but soreness and surgeries have limited their work this offseason, allowing Ronald Leary, David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski to get plenty of looks as starting guards. Leary in particular is primed to take one of the starting guard spots for the Cowboys.
Then there's the Doug Free/Jeremy Parnell battle at right tackle. I don't care how well the split time worked last year, the Cowboys should not be rotating their right tackle this season. They need one player to win the job and keep it for the year, unless injury forces the Cowboys hand.
There's even competition at the center spot where it looks as though Travis Frederick will be the starting center, however, former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus reports that Phil Costa has done a better job in his technique than Frederick has done at times. It doesn't mean Costa will start at center in 2013 because the Cowboys drafted Frederick to start at that position but as I mentioned the a few weeks ago, it isn't a stretch to say that both Costa and Frederick could start. If the Cowboys find out in training camp that they need better guard play, don't be surprised to see Costa, or more likely Frederick, starting at guard while the other player starts at center.
As you can see almost every position on the roster has competition in some form. Jason Garrett and the Cowboys have made it clear that they wanted more competition and better depth throughout the roster and that's exactly what they've gotten. There shouldn't be any more entitlement from the Cowboys players and they will have to earn their playing time or roster spot in Dallas.
All of the NFL is a competition and the battles from within should make the Dallas Cowboys a better team in 2013.
Tony Romo Won’t Be the Next Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator
The pipe dream has been going on since former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback-turned CBS Analyst Tony Romo hung up his cleats for the black blazer. Fans from all corners of Cowboys Nation have clamored for a return to the field or at worst the sideline as the Cowboys offensive coordinator.
Let me stop you right there. It's not happening.
First of all. He's never been a coach at any level of football, so to assume that he could leave the broadcast booth and step into coaching an NFL offense and doing so at a high level is a huge leap of faith in number 9. Sure, Jon Gruden left the Monday Night Football booth for his lucrative deal with the Oakland Raiders, but he had won a Super Bowl and had been an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL for years before joining the broadcasting ranks.
Tony Romo has an excellent understanding of football. He displays it on a regular basis during the CBS broadcasts. But doing from the broadcast view, seeing what the defense is trying to do, and calling the plays to counter what the defense is trying to do are very different things.
Secondly, the coaching job would be a major time commitment that at the moment he doesn't have. Even if he's working a 40 hour work week in preparation for his three-hour time slot, the demands on NFL coaches are easily twice that with many coaches putting in 100 hour work weeks in preparation for Sundays. Tony Romo has a family that even he's talked about as part of the reason that he went into broadcasting instead of looking to hop on with another NFL team.
Finally, the job would mean a significant pay cut from what Romo is already making. It's estimated that the former Cowboys quarterback is making anywhere from $5-10 million dollars a year with CBS. Jason Garrett is making $6 million per year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, so even if the Jones family was willing to pay first-time NFL coach Tony Romo a ton of money to come out of the broadcast booth, there's zero chance they pay him what he's making as a broadcaster. To do so, would be to undercut the head coach. Jason Garrett is Jerry Jones' guy. The owner and general manager wants Garrett to be the guy that leads the Cowboys to Super Bowl success, so there's zero chance he'd pay a coordinator close to Garrett's money, which would lead to constant speculation about the head coach and his future with the organization.
I love Tony Romo. His jersey is one of only two Cowboys jerseys that I own -- along with Darren Woodson -- and I think he could make a good coach one day, but I'd be hard pressed to see him come out of the coaching booth to take a coordinator job and have immediate success. The guys that are offensive coordinators in the NFL have been grinding for years to earn their jobs. Most started as position coaches -- see Sean McVay as Redskins TE coach. The Dallas Cowboys will spend the next few days, and perhaps weeks, identifying their replacement for Scott Linehan, but let's put to bed the dream of Romo as offensive coordinator.
It's just not going to happen.
Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick
The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.
Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:
Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh
Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.
Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.
The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.
For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!
Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.
Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.
Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.
The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.
Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.
Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.
In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.
This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.
Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan
Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.
The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.
Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.
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