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Controversial Calls: Cowboys At Seahawks Revisited



Cowboys Headlines - Preseason Game 3: Revisiting The Controversial Calls

Not unlike most Cowboys fans, I was extremely displeased by some of the play of the Seattle Seahawks last night. We knew it would be a tough first half, given the third preseason game is typically the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, but there were times where I thought Seattle got a little out of hand with their play.

Yes, we want to be physical and aggressive, but there’s no reason to go beyond that, especially at the risk of hurting other players.

There were two plays in particular that come to mind when we talk about questionable play: Cliff Avril’s hit on a sliding Tony Romo, and Kam Chancellor’s hit on Ezekiel Elliott from seventeen yards and three hours after the ball had hit the ground, ending the play.

Obviously, this is hyperbole. But, I do think there’s something to be talked about here.

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The clip above shows the first play that I spoke of: the hit that knocked number 9 out of the game.

Let me just first say, I was on the road listening to this happen live as Brad Sham announced the game. As soon as he uttered the words “Romo’s hurt,” I immediately put my head down and internally screamed “Oh. My. God.”

HOWEVER, there was certainly a little less dismay on my end than there’s been in the past. Yes, the season would be over before it started, BUT, given Dak Prescott‘s recent play, I saw a slight glimmer of hope, instead of ALL seeming to be lost. But, I digress.

romo_slideFor anyone who doesn’t know, as soon as the quarterback begins the process of the slide, he is down and the play is dead, making any contact after it technically illegal.

If you look at the play closely, and pause the shot as soon as Romo starts to slide, Cliff Avril is well into the process of the tackle. Stopping his momentum, and therefore the tackle, is impossible at this point.

Thus I firmly believe this was a clean hit, and just a bad break for Romo, and Cowboys Nation as a whole. Regardless, I’m glad they took him out for the rest of the exhibition.

The next play, the late hit on Ezekiel Elliott, is a little more controversial, depending on which team you side with.

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It was interesting listening to the play called live on the Cowboys’ app. When Kam hit Zeke, there was no doubt in Brad Sham’s mind that the hit was late, flagrant, and illegal. He agreed with the call, and felt it was rightfully thrown. But, he’s on the Cowboys’ payroll.

Watching the broadcast this morning, however, was from the viewpoint of the Seahawks’ announcers. Thus, they, of course, felt that the call was ridiculous. They felt since the ball was tipped at the line, Chancellor was fully within his rights to dish out the boom to the rookie running back, given that he likely would’ve caught it.

I will admit, at first glance, I sided with Seattle (I know, I know. Sorry…).

I thought, after watching it, that it was too close to a bang-bang play and I didn’t think Kam had enough time to pull up from the hit. But then I watched it. And I watched it again. And I watched it a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth time.

If you watch just this play, you may think that the call could go either way, but I, and everyone else, watched the plays that led up to it, including this one:

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And this one:

Brian Baldinger on Twitter

Haven’t seen many backs do this to Kam…did it 2X in his first 8 plays

Think there may have been a little bit of salt on Kam’s end when he delivered that blow?

Me too.

That notion was only solidified when the great @CowboysNation supplied me with this gem:

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

@BleedingTheStar @R_Will_34 Zeke is in the middle of the hashes, Kam on the hash edge, ball already past Zeke

It’s tough to see, but Chancellor is a good three yards away (Zeke is between the hashes and Kam is on the left hash, two yards up-field) when the ball hits the ground.

So, upon initial review, I genuinely thought that the play was clean, and that it just wasn’t enough time for Seattle’s all-pro safety to pull up from delivering the blow.

But, between the unexpected physicality that Zeke came out with, and the still-frame of the distance Chancellor had to cover to hit #21 on the play, I think the penalty was warranted, and accurately called.

The NFL is a game of inches. We all know this.

That doesn’t just speak to the placement of the ball, but in this case, it speaks to distances between players before the tackle. Avril had very few of them between him and Romo when he began his tackle. Kam had far more.

And that’s the difference between a 15-yard penalty, and just another tackle.


Dallas Cowboys fan since the Drew Bledsoe "era." I love Tony AND Dak. I like to think that I'm the most objective that a fan can get, while still being a diehard, which I truly believe is the 8th wonder of the world. Go Cowboys!!

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin



Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie



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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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady



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

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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