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Cornering my concerns for the Cowboy’s Final 53

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First, my final 53 based off of my observations thus far.

OFFENSE

QB – Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee (though, it would be nice if we could tuck McGee away on the practice squad, to save room for additional personnel on defense)

HB – Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice

WR – Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin, Sam Hurd, Kevin Ogletree (I’d prefer Ogletree or Austin handle Kick Returns over Felix Jones)

TE – Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, John Phillips

FB – Deon Anderson

LT – Flozell Adams, Doug Free

LG – Kyle Kosier, Montrae Holland

C – Andre Gurode, Duke Preston (finally someone who can replace Proctor’s ability to be interchangeable at guard and center; Duke Preston was a starter at both position’s for Buffalo last season, and actually did very well, despite their pedestrian finish)

RG – Leonard Davis, Duke Preston

RT – Marc Columbo, Pat McQuistan

I feel pretty comfortable with the above offense.  I’d say the offensive line could afford injuries at the center and guard position, but we our an injured OT away from our offensive line being a turnstile.  Outside of that, we have decent depth.  Considering that since Stephen McGee’s debut against the Raiders, we haven’t seen much of him, I would not be suprised if the Cowboy’s organization isn’t trying to make the league forget about him, so they can sneak him past waivers, but we will know more if that’s their strategy this coming Friday night against the Vikings.  If we see more of Jon Kitna and Rudy Carpenter, that’s exactly what the Cowboy’s are trying to do.

DEFENSE

RE – Igor Olshansky, Stephen Bowen (if we could get McGee to accept a practice squad spot, I might consider keeping Marcus Dixon here)

DT – Jay Ratliff, Junior Siavii

LE – Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher

ROLB – Demarcus Ware, Steve Octavien, Victor Butler

MLB – Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Bobby Carpenter, Stephen Hodge

LOLB – Anthony Spencer, Jason Williams (I actually had hoped Jason William’s would be converted to this position from the beginning; with the season-ending injury to Brandon William’s, he may be the most ideal replacement)

CB – Terence Newman, Orlando Scandrick, Mike Jenkins, Alan Ball, Mike Mickens (we will be watching the waiver wire very closely for this position; Mike Mickens is another who could use some time on the practice squad)

FS  – Ken Hamlin, DeAngelo Smith (again, we will be watching the waiver wire for both Safety positions, as DeAngelo Smith and Michael Hamlin are not ready for pro football and could use some time on the practice squad)

SS – Gerald Sensabaugh, Pat Wakins, Michael Hamlin

I am more concerned about our defense, than our offense, particularly in the Seconary.  First and foremost, corner is my most significant concern.  Terence Newman has been an injury waiting to happen the last few seasons, and behind Scandrick and Jenkins, the options are dismal.  Next on my list of concerns is Safety.  Ken Hamlin has been solid, but behind him is a whole lot of inexperience.  Sensabaugh, has been solid in coverage, but not as good as advertised against the run, taking poor angles and not wrapping up on potential tackles (not to mention the two major penalties levied against him in the last two games).  Behind him, once again, the options are pretty weak.  Linebacker is actually the least of my concerns.  Bobbie Carpenter has done quite a bit to regain some of my confidence thus far.  Granted, when he is headlining the second and third string defense his production is pretty weak, but I think if he is surrounded by good players, he in turn will play well, as would be the case should an injury demand he step up.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Nick Folk, David Buehler

P – Matt McBriar

LS – L.P. Ladouceur

I would have liked to have seen Buehler have more opportunities to kick field goals.  I love the clutch performances Nick Folk has given us, but if David can be solid in this area, it would be nice to have an extra position to offer a corner, safety, linebacker, or even receiver if we would like to see a little more of Isaiah Stanback.  The same goes for L.P. Ladouceur:  Once again, he has been solid, but if Matt Stewart can perform the position, the additional linebacker/special teams contributor would be nice.  On the other hand, unless the coaching staff is absolutely certain in regards to Buehler and Stewart taking over for Folk and Ladouceur, it certainly is not worth a gamble.

IR

Robert Brewster – Torn pectorial muscle

Brandon Williams – Torn ACL

LEFTOVERS

Matt Stewart, Marcus Dixon, Jonas Seawright, Derreck Robinson, Keon Lattimore, Julius Crosslin, Asaph Schwapp, Rudy Carpenter, Manuel Johnson, Isaiah Stanback, Jesse Holley, Travis Bright, Ryan Gibbons, Cory Proctor, Greg Isdaner, Andre Douglas, Mike Jefferson, and Julian Hawkins.

The bolded players represent guys I would like to see make the practice squad.  I would have bolded Stanback, but I don’t think he is eligible.

CONCERNS

For all the emphasis placed on playing perfect, you would think we would see improvement in the penalty area.  3 preseason games down and the Cowboys are the most penalized team in the NFL. But it’s not just the penalties that are bothering me, as much as, when they are happening.  On the offense, their favorite time to a draw a penalty is to negate a 1st down or a score.  The defense loves to commit penalties when the opposing offenses will have to punt or go for it on fourth down without the penalty that otherwise offers them a 1st down on a silver platter.   The Cowboy’s organization has also been telling us that they have focused on creating more turnover’s via the secondary and thus far the Cowboy’s only have 1.  In defense of the defense, the Titan’s and 49ers utilize ball control offenses, running the ball, working the flats and zone is predominantly how they move the ball limiting the number of opportunities to create turnovers via interception.

Positions of interest on the waiver wire in order of need.

Corner – Newman has been an injury waiting to happen the last two seasons.  Behind Scandrick and Jenkins (and Jenkins is still not what I consider solid) the pickings are slim.  Alan Ball, Courtney Brown and Mike Mickens are on the bubble, and were not for the lack of option’s, Ball would likely be the only one considered worthy of a roster spot.

Safety – I know many think linebacker should be 1st and foremost if not, at least, second.  But as I said above, I am much more comfortable with our second stringers at linebacker than I am at Safety.

Offensive Tackle – The position of this concern is debatable.  OT could even be considered a chief concern.  But for all the penalties and mistakes, the QB’s have actually had a pretty clean pocket throughout the first 3 games; though, they haven’t exactly played defensive powerhouses either.  We will know more about this offensive line once the regular season begins, playing our first two games against the Bucs and the Giants.

Linebacker – This probably wouldn’t make my list, though, I know Wade will be keeping his eye’s pealed for linebackers, because they are so crucial to the success of a 3-4.  But ultimately, I’ve been moderately happy with the play from our 1st stringers down to our rookies.

ANALYSIS

Being the preseason, it’s difficult to really gauge how much my confidence has changed prior to the season beginning.  I knew the offense would be a match-up nightmare and could be much more balanced than they have been since Jason Garrett took over.  I even said this team was built to dink and dunk; but I would have liked to see Romo take some more chances down field (minus that duck he threw intended forOgletree), to open the intermediate game up more, as the 49ers did have a tendency to sit on routes expecting the short game.  I don’t think using the go route to back a defense up, show’s too much of your offenses hand.

On defense, the Cowboy’s can be dominating.  But I’ve noticed, the face of their intensity changes once a defender commits a series continuing penalty.  It is as if they really want these younger players to feel the sting of their mistakes, by pretty much allowing the opposing offense to do what ever it want’s from that point forward.  I really don’t believe that’s the strategy; I’m just saying, that is what it seems like.

All in all, I feel pretty confident this team is capable of having a 10 and 6 win/loss ratio by season end.  But the bigger question is if that’s going to be enough in a very tough NFCE.

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I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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4 Comments
  • Joe C

    McGee is out because of a sprained MCL. The first string offense has looked good in the pre-season minus a few flaws here and there. I am hoping for a better record then 10-6, but if 10-6 gets us in the playoffs I don’t care.

  • Jonathan

    Yeah, I completely forgot about the injury he sustained collecting a Touchdown against the Titans with Rodney Hannah. After a second glance, it’s extremely doubtful that we cut him and even more doubtful that we would be able to sneak him past waivers, but I stand by my wish. With a kick off specialist and a long snapper, we are going to have to short-change a position, and McGee is probably the one guy we absolutely won’t need for anything in any given game (knocking on wood).

  • Pierce

    I agree that Austin should handle kick returns in place of Felix. I would like to see Felix used as somewhat of a “set-up” back for Barber. Barbers running style is not one that will result in a lengthy career if he sees the majority of the carries. Hopefully the three headed monster will stay healthy this year and we can control the ball this year which dallas has failed to do in recent seasons. Is anyone else giddy like a school girl for the season opener?!?

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryan Martin

    Hey bro….spot on, looking at the final roster and your projections, spot on!

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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