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Connect Four: Dak Prescott To Dez Bryant Connection

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Connect Four: Dak Prescott To Dez Bryant

Growing up one of the best ways we learned things was by playing games. Games help to teach us how to strategize and compete with one another in a fun and interactive  environment.

It usually begins with playing peekaboo as babies and the games tend to increase in difficulty and competitiveness as we get older.

Weather permitting, how many days did you spend outside playing hide and seek, tag, or some other outside game growing up?

Cowboys Headlines - Connect Four: Dak Prescott To Dez Bryant Connection 2If you are anything like me, you spent a large part of your childhood outside playing some type of game. Of course, that probably changed when you were old enough to join a team and play organized sports.

Having said all that, there are some games that will forever stand the test of time and are probably considered classics by a lot of us. Games such as Candyland, Sorry, Battleship, and you might even throw Connect Four into that conversation.

For the sake of this article, I want to focus on the game Connect Four, because I think it pertains to the Dallas Cowboys and in particular Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant.

I know what you are probably thinking, but hang in there and I’ll explain what I’m getting at.

The game Connect Four is a two player game, in which both players try to connect four of their discs in a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on a 6 x 7 vertical grid. This game is all about strategy and trying to outthink your opponent.

Ring a bell?

The game Connect Four popped into my head last week while watching the Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants.

I made the connection in large part due to the fact that Dak Prescott wears the No. 4  jersey and the coaching staff’s strategy to connect Prescott and Dez Bryant seemed a little safe/conservative.Cowboys Headlines - Connect Four: Dak Prescott To Dez Bryant Connection 1

Do you like how I tied the game Connect Four to the on-field connection between Prescott and Bryant? Clever…Too much of a reach?

Hey, give me a break. It’s not always easy coming up with things to write about, but now every time Prescott completes a pass to a wide receiver you’re going to think about Connect Four. Maybe, just maybe it catches on.

“Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant, another Connect Four!”

Okay, maybe not but a guy can hope. Right?

One thing’s for sure, we all want to see the chemistry or connection between Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant improve. Maybe it’s just something that will take a little time, or it could be that Scott Linehan needs to come up with a different strategy to provide better opportunities for the two players to connect.

To target arguably your best playmaker on the offensive side of the ball only five times and to have him finish with just one measly catch for 8 yards is unacceptable.

If you consider the fact that nearly all of those targets were low percentage passes it’s even more concerning. Linehan has to improve the connection between Bryant and Prescott by calling more high percentage passes to help build the chemistry between the two players.

Personally, I would like to see more slants, crossing routes, and maybe even some back shoulder throws to Dez Bryant. Hopefully that is what we will see happen against the Redskins this Sunday.

✭✭✭✭✭

Cowboys Headlines - Connect Four: Dak Prescott To Dez Bryant ConnectionTo close things out, how about a little 2 player math about #4 Dak Prescott and #88 Dez Bryant.

88÷4 = 22

22÷2 = 11

Explanation: It’s important to remember that Dez Bryant 88 and Dak Prescott 4 are just two of the athletes that make up the 22 total players on the field for both offense and defense, hence the equation 88÷4 = 22.

When you split the total players on the field into 2 units (offense and defense) you get the total number of players on each side of the ball, hence the equation 22÷2 = 11.

It takes the entire 11 players functioning as a cohesive unit to become successful, not just two individual players. So, maybe we should focus less on the Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott connection and look at the big picture of things a little more.

Do you Agree or Disagree?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

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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.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job

Sean Martin

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job 1

By keeping all three top coaches (Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli) in place for 2018, there isn’t a Dallas Cowboys coaching hire that feels like they “must” get it right to contend next season. This is how it should be.

Producing nine wins, despite missing key players throughout the season, the Cowboys are changing things up at the position coach level to hopefully introduce new ideas and give the talent on this team a better chance at sustained success.

One coaching vacancy that needs to be filled by the right guy above any else is on the offensive line, where things haven’t been the same since the great Bill Callahan departed.

Frank Pollack took his place, and now finds himself with the Cincinnati Bengals after not being retained by Dallas this offseason.

Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job

Tom Cable (Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)

The first name that was thrown around in consideration for the Cowboys job was Tom Cable, which sent a panic throughout Cowboys Nation before Cable decided to sign with John Gruden and the Raiders.

Cable had been coaching the Seahawks’ OL, a position that franchise has not valued in some time, and struggled to develop any talent in protection of their franchise QB Russell Wilson.

Now, two new names have emerged as candidates to coach the likes of two-time 1st Team All-Pro LT Tyron Smith, 1st Team All-Pro C Travis Frederick, and two-time 1st Team All-Pro RG Zack Martin.

Mike Solari and Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander has already met with the Dallas Cowboys, looking for work after 23 seasons with the Bengals. During this time, Alexander served as Marvin Lewis’ assistant head coach, in addition to his duties as their OL coach.

Judging on reactions out of Cincinnati to Alexander’s departure, the Bengals offensive line regressed under him in 2017, warranting change from a franchise that is as reluctant as any to move on from coaches.

Goodberry on Twitter

Paul Alexander better be gone

Most recently, Mike Solari has served as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants — far from a renowned unit around the NFL lately. He does have previous experience with the Cowboys, having served as an assistant OL and special teams coach here from 1987-88.

From 2006-07, Solari did reach the rank of offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, which shows the level of respect that the 30-year NFL coaching veteran has earned.

He will be the Dallas Cowboys’ next interview for their open OL coach position.

Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack 1

Dallas Cowboys RT La’el Collins, RG Zack Martin

Depth at tackle, a long-term answer at left guard, and an extension for Zack Martin are among the questions facing the Cowboys offensive line moving forward. Whoever is in charge of keeping this unit up to standard in 2018 though, may hold the keys to getting the entirety of the Cowboys’ program back on track.

Whether it’s Alexander, Solari, or another outside candidate yet to emerge, Inside The Star will keep you updated on the Cowboys’ ongoing coaching search.

Tell us what you think about “Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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