Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Competition is Everywhere for Dallas Cowboys: Part 1-Offense

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - 2013 Dallas Cowboys Season Predictions: Projecting Awards, Record and Stats 2

jg

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.



Advertisement
1 Comment
  • David Ortiz III

    IT’S A GOOD THING WE DON’T HEAR THAT THE INJURY
    BUG HAS NOT HIT

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Will McClay Breaks Down Cowboys Vision for New WR Amari Cooper 1

Just when all hope was lost, the Dallas Cowboys went on the road and surprised fans with a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Both on defense and offense, it was a game that showed us plenty of silver linings to be excited about. While a playoff run certainly remains pretty difficult to accomplish, at least the team isn't leaving without a fight.

The last Cowboys' victory came approximately a month ago, so it is with great pleasure that I share with you this week's edition of "Takeaway Tuesday!"

Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time

Vander Esch Among Best Cowboys' Players

Just before last game, I wrote about how Leighton Vander Esch could be in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Playing on Sunday Night Football (on national TV), the rookie helped his case a lot with 13 solo tackles and an interception.

Little by little, he's making sure the Cowboys know they can move on from frequently injured Sean Lee down the road. Vander Esch can play. Forget about him being an impressive rookie, he's currently one of the best players on this roster.

Scott Linehan Shouldn't be Off the Hook

As any Cowboys fan, I loved the win. There were quite a few things to like about the offense on Sunday, but there's no denying play calling could've been way better. As much as the Dallas Cowboys are still in the hunt in a mediocre division, Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan should remain on the hot seat.

Ezekiel Elliott took the Cowboys to the 5-yard line by leaping over a human at full speed and right after the Cowboys stopped using him on that drive. Against the Titans, the offense found itself on third and 16 twice and ran a running back screen pass. In Philadelphia, they were on third and 16 once and they ran a RB screen once again.

Dallas has left a lot of points on the field this year and in big part thanks to play calling. Linehan shouldn't be safe right now.

Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It

After two games wearing the Star, Cowboys Nation is feeling a lot better about trading a first rounder for Amari Cooper. On the field, he's proven to be an impact player. An impact that has been felt immediately, by the way. Out of 11 catches, Cooper has gotten the Cowboys' offense ten first downs.

Versus the Eagles, though, his impact is felt beyond his single stat line.

On Sunday Night, he accounted for six catches and 75 yards. He helped QB Dak Prescott get 270 yards through the air and most importantly, to spread the football.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

7 different Cowboys have a reception of at least 13 yards tonight.

That stat above is an underrated one. No wide receiver in next year's Draft would have the kind of impact Amari Cooper is having on this football team. In the long run, lots of people could be eating their words after heavily criticizing the Cowboys' trade for the two-times Pro Bowler wide receiver. Hopefully, that's the case.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver

Sean Martin

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver

The Dallas Cowboys offseason approach at wide receiver was doubted by just about everyone outside of The Star, forcing Cowboys fans to turn down outside noise and once again trust the direction this front office was going. Releasing Dez Bryant, signing Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson (who was released last week), and waiting until the third round to draft a receiver were all questionable moves for a team entering an all-important year three under Quarterback Dak Prescott.

It took a mid-season trade to free Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders for the Cowboys to establish any threat at wide receiver, but with Cooper realizing his first win in Dallas on Sunday night at the Eagles, the Cowboys deserve plenty of credit for this cast of pass catchers.

Cooper has been the key to unlocking rookie Michael Gallup as a second option for Prescott. Gallup attacks the football and runs routes like a number one target, but at this point just nine games into his career lacks the refinement to play at the 'X' position every snap.

Gallup will benefit the most from Cooper stepping into this role for the Cowboys offense. His 25-yard catch and run on a screen pass to set up the Cowboys score before the half was a fine example of how the Cowboys passing game should operate for the rest of the season.

With an emphasis on getting the ball out of Prescott's hands to his home run hitters on the outside, the Cowboys not only have their starters at WR but plenty of depth options below.

It's no secret this team has shied away from the top-tier of free agency in recent years, using the signing period much more for depth players. This should have been the expectation for Allen Hurns coming over from the Jaguars, elevated to starter status out of necessity during training camp.

Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns

Hurns has settled in to a rotational role behind both Gallup and Cooper. Like a change-of-pace running back, Hurns is a big and physical target the Cowboys have used to catch defenses off guard. On the same touchdown drive as Gallup's big gain, Hurns was on the receiving end of Prescott's best throw of the night.

Sliding in behind the Eagles coverage, Hurns caught a dime from Prescott and went down a yard short of the end zone, setting up Dak's rushing score on the very next play. In the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys driving for the winning touchdown, Hurns converted a third and long beating Rasul Douglas on a slant.

Douglas was easily beat across the face on a violent move from Hurns to the inside, squaring his front shoulder to Prescott who made a simple pitch for the 23-yard catch and run.

The one thing the Cowboys didn't improve on from their loss to the Titans before this week was getting Cole Beasley involved, as he was targeted just five times. Catching four of these attempts in the win, Beasley understands his role as a team player better than most, and knows his importance in the top three of the Cowboys new depth chart at WR.

The Cowboys trusted themselves enough to enter this season with uncertainty at wide receiver and come out winners in Philadelphia by week ten thanks to a drastically improved corps. Just how much trust the Cowboys deserve with ensuing decisions because of this is a slippery slope.

If recent history is any indicator, a patched leak at WR is only going to spring one in an unexpected place when the Cowboys next take the field.

The most pressing decision for the Cowboys coming up is on the future of Head Coach Jason Garrett and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Thanks to his play calling on Sunday night, Linehan earned high praise from Jerry Jones. The Cowboys GM even backtracked to dispute a report that Linehan's job was on the line through the Cowboys bye week.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jerry Jones said on @1053thefan that it was "never a thought" to discuss possibly replacing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the bye week. "We've never even contemplated the idea of Scott not calling plays.

Whether or not such confidence will come back to burn the Cowboys as they return to the site of the "Burning of Atlanta" could be determined as early as Sunday. I believe another loss in Atlanta would have to come in embarrassing fashion for an immediate coaching change, but the Cowboys offense has shown more than enough to be evaluated from this point on.

The Cowboys played in the Georgia Dome with Alfred Morris, Terrance Williams, and Dez Bryant as starters in last year's beginning-of-the-end 27-7 loss. If Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup aren't upgrades enough for Dallas to earn a win against Atlanta, returning home off a loss in Cleveland, another look in the mirror may be needed for the Cowboys.

Gone are the days of Prescott throwing interceptions off the hands of Deonte Thompson or forcing red zone fades to Allen Hurns. With it, the expectation that the Cowboys should win arrived with Amari Cooper, whose been worth a first round draft pick in every way.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Cowboys Wide Receivers Now a Strength They Can Count On

John Williams

Published

on

Cowboys Wide Receivers Now a Strength They Can Count On

The Dallas Cowboys (4-5) came away with a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) on Sunday Night Football 27-20 and the wide receiver group had an excellent day. What once looked like a weakness for the Cowboys, now looks like a strength on \ offense. With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, and Allen Hurns, the Cowboys have four players that can hurt opposing defenses all over the field.

Since the Amari Cooper trade two weeks ago, the Cowboys wide receiver group has been better positioned moving forward to help Dak Prescott and the Cowboys move the football. With Cooper, Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, and Allen Hurns, the Cowboys have really nice depth.

On Sunday Night Football each of the Cowboys top four receivers had a reception that went for more than 20 yards. They accounted for 11 of the team's 14 passing first downs. Of Quarterback Dak Prescott's 270 yards passing, wide receivers accounted for 186 or more than two-thirds of the passing yards. Explosive plays from the wide receivers was something that was lacking for much of the season, but they seem to be turning it on at the right time.

On Sunday night, they all had their moments in the Cowboys win.

Per Pro Football Reference, Cooper was the leading receiver on the team with six receptions on 10 targets for 75 yards. Five of those receptions went for first downs and he averaged 12.5 yards per reception.

Michael Gallup led the wide receiver group in snaps on Sunday and logged another nice game as he continues to assert himself during his rookie season. It may not have been as explosive as the three receptions for 83 yards that he put up against the Washington Redskins a few weeks ago, but he had possibly one of the plays of the game.

With the Dallas Cowboys attempting to extend their lead with under two minutes to play in the first half, they faced a 3rd and 15 from their own 35 yard line with 0:58 seconds left on the clock. Scott Linehan dials up a tunnel screen to Gallup who goes for 25 yards  helping to set up the touchdown just before half time. If Gallup doesn't make that play, with help from the blocking downfield, the Eagles get the ball back with enough time to tie the game or potentially take the lead. It was a huge play in the game to allow Dallas to go up by 10 at half time.

Cole Beasley's line wasn't flashy, but he was his typical efficient self, hauling in three receptions for first downs and making a play for 15 yards to get the Cowboys into the red zone after the Eagles had scored on the previous possession in the third quarter to make it 13-13. Beasley's catch helped the Cowboys answer the Eagles touchdown with a touchdown of their own to retake the lead 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Beasley finished the night with four receptions for 37 yards on five targets.

Down in the depth chart with limited snaps, but not at all forgotten is Allen Hurns. Hurns only had two catches (on two targets) for 40 yards on the night, but both catches set the Cowboys offense up with first and goal situations. With 0:40 seconds to play in the first half and the Cowboys looking at a second and nine, Dak Prescott hit Hurns on a deep out route for 17 yards to the Philadelphia Eagles' one yard line. Prescott hurried them to the line of scrimmage and then snuck the ball in for a touchdown to make it 13-3 at halftime. The second reception occurred with the Cowboys facing a third and eight on the game winning drive. Prescott found Hurns for a 23 yard catch and run that helped set up Ezekiel Elliott's game winning touchdown run.

They have four players that can hurt you at various levels of the defense. All four are good to great route runners who can create separation and find the soft spots in zone coverage. Their starters with Cooper, Beasley, and Gallup are a dynamic trio, but being able to bring a guy like Allen Hurns off the bench in sub packages is huge. He's had a thousand yard receiving season in the NFL and showed that he can still win his matchups when he's not required to be a team's WR1.

The move for Amari is proving to be an excellent trade for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the struggles last week in Tennessee, the Dallas Cowboys were able to move the ball through the air as Cooper opens everything up for everyone else on the offense. If you saw some of the windows he provided Dak, you see that Cooper literally makes everything easier.

The Dallas Cowboys took advantage of a bad secondary on Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles were missing three of their top defensive backs, but they also looked like a unit that is starting to find a groove offensively. For the Dallas Cowboys to continue their upward trajectory that hopefully ends with a playoff berth, the wide receivers are going to have to continue to make big plays down the field.If the last several weeks are any indication, more big plays are coming.

Get your popcorn ready. 



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