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Could Nick Hayden Return to Dallas?

Last March the Cowboys elected to let three-year starter Nick Hayden walk away as a free agent. Always more of a coach’s darling than an analytics favorite, Hayden stuck around as long as he did for his work ethic and attitude over actual performance. The Cowboys finally decided they needed more and moved on. Hayden remains a free agent right now. Dallas signed Cedric Thornton from the Eagles to play beside Tyrone Crawford.

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Headlines - Could Nick Hayden Return to Dallas?

Last March the Cowboys elected to let three-year starter Nick Hayden walk away as a free agent. Always more of a coach’s darling than an analytics favorite, Hayden stuck around as long as he did for his work ethic and attitude over actual performance. The Cowboys finally decided they needed more and moved on. Hayden remains a free agent right now.

Cowboys Blog - Staff Wars: Was Hayden Correct In Calling Out Broaddus?Dallas signed Cedric Thornton from the Eagles to play beside Tyrone Crawford. They also used a third-round pick on Maliek Collins from Nebraska, who was expected to contribute quickly as an immediate fit for Rod Marinelli’s scheme. With Terrell McClain also returning and guys like David Irving and Jack Crawford able to play inside, there’s been no reason to expect Hayden to return.

Now we know that Collins has a broken foot and will miss most or even all of training camp and preseason. We also know that defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory will miss up to the first four weeks of the season with suspensions. These factors could have opened the door for Hayden’s return.

Collins may not be able to immediately contribute even once healthy, having missed all of this practice work. He could be placed on the PUP list, opening a roster spot and depth need at defensive tackle. Dallas will hope that veteran Terrell McClain can finally stay healthy and be the immediate backup.

Cowboys Blog - The Defensive Line is in Worse Shape Than I Thought 3Hoping in McClain is hardly good bet. He has had injury issues throughout his career and especially since joining the Cowboys. Even if Dallas doesn’t feel the need to bring back Hayden now, would another McClain injury cause them to pick the phone?

What if Dallas feels they need to play Tyrone Crawford at defensive end while Lawrence and Gregory are out? The group of Benson Mayowa, Charles Tapper, Ryan Russell, Jack Crawford, and David Irving should hopefully produce two capable starters. But “should” allows for the possibility of failure.  Dallas could elect to re-sign Hayden as a temporary starter.

This is all assuming, of course, that Hayden still want to play football. He did visit with Seattle in free agency but remains unsigned. He turned 30 last February and may be already mentally checked out from the game. Given the rise of early retirements in the NFL it would not be hard to imagine.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Top-Five Needs as Free Agency Nears 3There is a precedent for a late re-signing like this. Last year Dallas tried to find better options at fullback before ultimately bringing back Tyler Clutts in late May. In the absence of a clear upgrade, something you’re comfortable with is often the preferred option.

In all likelihood Dallas will stick with younger players given the temporary nature of their issues. They will suffer through whatever early-season problems comes from Collins, Gregory, and Lawrence’s absences and hope that the young guys benefit from the real-game work.

However, with games against the Giants and Washington to open the year, you could hardly blame Dallas for being worried about takings risks. Nick Hayden may be a low-risk, low-reward player but he was their starter when they went 12-4 and won the NFC East.

He may be closer to returning than you think.

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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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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