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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys At Vikings: This Cowboy Had His Best Game Of 2016

Kevin Brady



Demarcus Lawrence, Vikings

Though the offense had their worst performance of the entire season, the Cowboys defense rose to the occasion on Thursday night and had their best.

In particular, the Cowboys defensive line caused more havoc than they have all year long. This occurred in part because of how weak the Vikings offensive line is, of course, but Cowboys rushmen playing to their best ability also played a part.

For my money, DeMarcus Lawrence was the best defensive lineman for the Cowboys last Thursday. Even though he failed to record a sack, Lawrence had several successful rushes against Vikings tackle TJ Clemmings, and hit quarterback Sam Bradford multiple times.

Let’s take a look at the film to see where Lawrence was good, and where he was bad during the Cowboys win over Minnesota.

The Good

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On the Vikings first offensive possession, DeMarcus Lawrence makes his presence felt immediately. Working on left tackle Clemmings, Lawrence breaks his hands quickly, and swims around him. This quick swim move keeps Clemmings off balance, and allows D-Law to get a hit on Bradford.

While Lawrence does execute a nice rush on this play, I think the hit has more to do with the ineptitude of Clemmings, who is leaning forward and gets next-to-no punch on DeMarcus.

On the very next play, Lawrence hits Clemmings with a spin move and wins once again. After setting the tackle up with the outside swim the play before, Lawrence comes back inside after faking outside, and gets by the tackle on a nice rush.

Unfortunately, Lawrence’s spin move is just a tad too slow, a problem which will rear its head again later in the game.

Side note: I hate cover 2.

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On his 2nd quarterback hit of the evening, Lawrence once again shows the ability to break the tackle’s hands, and get around the edge to create pressure. What I really love about this rush is Lawrence’s bend around the corner.

Too often, his bend has been too awkward or nonexistent this year, but he shows good burst and bend on this rush, and delivers a solid hit on Bradford.

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Clemmings leans, Lawrence wins: the story of week 13, 2016.

Say what you will about the competition, but DeMarcus sensing the deficiencies of his opponent and using those negatives against him is certainly a cause for enthusiasm over the young pass rusher.

He knew that Clemmings is bad with his hands, he knew that Clemmings has the tendency to lean forward and lacks a punch. He then used this knowledge to his advantage and developed a plan to win on each and every rush.

DeMarcus Lawrence rarely looked lost on plays, he took every step and made every move with a purpose. It is because of that, that he was able to create pressure and cause havoc in the Vikings backfield all game long.

The Bad

Are you feeling good about his performance yet? Feeling like DeMarcus can carry this over into next week and get after Eli Manning? Okay, now let’s take a look at the bad from Thursday night.

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Earlier I mentioned how Lawrence showed good burst and bend at times against the Vikings. This is not one of those times.

Lawrence tries to break Clemmings’ hands and get around the edge like he had multiple times during the game. This time, however, Clemmings stays patient and uses Lawrence’s momentum against him.

Lawrence is unable to bend around the edge, and gets shoved onto the ground and disposed of quickly.

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Remember earlier I mentioned that Lawrence seemed sure on most of his rushes, which helped him win on multiple snaps?

Once again, this is not one of those times.

DeMarcus is slow out the gate, and then seems unsure of himself when trying a spin move on Clemmings. Once again staying patient and avoiding leaning too far ahead, Clemmings is able to force Lawrence into no-mans’ land.

Lawrence’s spin move needs some work, as was evident all game long, but his uncertainty from the snap of the ball is alarming on this play.

All in all, Lawrence played a pretty solid game. As I’ve said, though, the competition (or lack thereof) which he was facing certainly has to be considered when evaluating his play. The key for DeMarcus Lawrence, and the entire Cowboys defense, will be to string together a few of these solid performances, creating some momentum heading into the playoffs.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie



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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Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady



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.

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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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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