Typically during the offseason we all tend to focus on the incoming and out going players and we often times overlook the changes that are made to the coaching staff, if any. Well, that's what I want to do today because I believe there are three new Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coaches who could have a big say in how the 2018 season turns out.
After the disappointing end to the 2017 season, the Dallas Cowboys decided it was time to make some changes to their coaching staff. They now have several new faces who will be coaching up this year's roster and running the meeting rooms, but there's no way of knowing right now if they can make the difference expected.
I don't know where you stand, but I actually like the new assistant coaches the Dallas Cowboys hired and I expect big things from them this season. In fact, Head Coach Jason Garrett's job could depend on them making an immediate impact. But, some of these new hires should be more impactful than others. Below are the three who I believe will be difference makers this year.
Kris Richard, DB Coach & Passing Game Coordinator
Out of all of the moves the Dallas Cowboys made this offseason, the hiring of Kris Richard, the Seattle Seahawks former defensive coordinator, might be the most important/impactful. He has already received high praise from several of the Cowboys players and has been spoken highly of by Rod Marinelli and several other of the coaches as well.
Richard may be a Dallas Cowboys Assisting Coach right now, but it is expected that he will become the next DC once Marinelli retires, possibly as soon as next season. In fact, you can already see his fingerprints all over the defense.
Kris Richard's main task this offseason is getting the best out of the Cowboys young secondary. He has already decided he wants Byron Jones playing as a CB, and with Chidobe Awuzie starting on the opposite side, Richard has a starting tandem with the height/length he prefers in his defensive backs. But, how he decides to deploy Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, and the starting safeties could impact the outcome of the 2018 season.
Sanjay Lal, WR Coach
No other new Dallas Cowboys Assisting Coach may have more pressure to succeed this season as Sanjay Lal, who was brought into get more production out of the wide receivers. He has the tough task of working with a position that was pretty much overhauled this season and he needs to turn them into players who are more "Dak-friendly".
Working with an almost completely unproven group of wide receivers could be a blessing and a curse for Lal. Ideally, he probably would have preferred to come in and work with a more established group of WRs. That way he has a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in order to know what needs to be worked on. But, he's getting a lot of young receivers who have little to no playing time in the NFL.
Fortunately, these young players can be molded the way he wants. He doesn't have to break bad habits as much and can focus on doing things the way he wants them done. Luckily for him, the Cowboys will still have a run first mentality on offense, but he still needs his WRs to be productive so that the entire offense isn't one-dimensional.
Ben Bloom, LB Coach
Ben Bloom technically isn't a new Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach, but he's never shouldered more responsibility than he is expected to this season. You could say that Bloom has paid his dues in Dallas. He was hired in 2011 to be the teams defensive quality control coach and assistant linebacker coach to Matt Eberflus. He has also worked with the defensive line and as the club's assistant coach/special projects, among others.
After Matt Eberflus left to become Indianapolis' DC, Bloom was promoted as the Cowboys new LB coach. To say that he has his work cut out for himself maybe one of the understatements of the year. It's one of the few positions on the Cowboys roster where there still remains a lot of unknown. Luckily, having a player like Sean Lee is a godsend.
Where Bloom will make the most impact this season is his ability to get Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys first-round draft pick, and Jaylon Smith up to speed, since they are both expected to have major roles this year, possibly both as starters. How Bloom prepares these two players could and should have a major impact on how the entire defense performs.
Which Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coaches do you think will be most impactful?
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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