As has been covered about 100 times the last few months, the Cowboys have overhauled their wide receiver corps this offseason. By bringing in players like Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup, and releasing veteran wide out Dez Bryant, the Cowboys have made a conscious effort to bring in new blood on the perimeter.
So far, the Cowboys' overhaul has went pretty well. Gallup and Dak Prescott are already developing a strong rapport, Hurns possesses some veteran experience and talent, and Cole Beasley is the most comfortable and established of the group.
At this point five receivers seem like locks to make the team: Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Tavon Austin.
Outside of those five are three receivers who have flashed at times, or at least came into Dallas with some decent expectations. Still, it's hard to imagine the Cowboys keeping more than six receivers on their active roster, meaning that these three might be fighting for just one spot.
Let's review those three players and discuss what they have to do over the next two weeks to snag that final roster spot.
Ah, what else to say about Lance Lenoir. Lenoir has been the talk of training camp from these receivers, as it seemed as if everyone present at camp fell in love with his consistency and big play flashes. Lenoir developed some trust with quarterback Dak Prescott during practices, but lack of first team reps have stopped us from seeing their connection during actual games.
Prescott won't play the rest of the preseason, meaning that Lenoir will have to figure it out with Cooper Rush, Mike White, and a banged up backup offensive line. It's going to be tough for this offense as a whole, but if Lenoir can continue to prove to be a consistent third down threat and reliable route runner, he could win over the coaches one last time.
Lenoir's week one touchdown was impressive, but I'm not sure if it can hold him over for the final three weeks of preseason. He's going to need to continue to get it done if he hopes to find himself on the 53 man roster.
The Cowboys signed Thompson nearly directly after releasing Dez Bryant, making Thompson the butt of some jokes since joining the team. Though he got some first team reps early on in camp, injuries have sidelined Thompson for most of the preseason.
He hasn't been able to show what he can do, though he is known for his speed down the field from his time on previous rosters. Thompson might be a long-shot to make this roster due to both his injury and team competition, but the team clearly liked him enough to bring him in during the free agency period.
I originally thought Thompson had a chance to beat out Terrance Williams for a roster spot, but they have had very different camps thus far. Lance Lenoir has proven to be valuable on Special Teams, Noah Brown is a valuable blocker, and Tavon Austin is the speedy weapon that Thompson would be.
This all probably results in Thompson being the odd man out.
And finally, the fan favorite, Noah Brown.
Considered a long-shot to make the team his rookie year, Noah Brown stole the sixth receiver spot in 2017 after a downright impressive training camp and preseason. Brown also proved valuable during the regular season, especially as a blocker both on the perimeter and at the line of scrimmage.
Like Thompson, injuries have hindered Brown's ability to impress during this year's training camp, but we know how the coaches feel about him based on him making the team a year ago. I'd love to see the Cowboys keep Noah Brown around, but it's looking more and more like that sixth spot is Lance Lenoir's.
Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.
After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.
The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.
I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.
Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.
As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.
I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.
Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019
It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.
After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.
But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."
The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.
Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).
The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.
This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.
These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.
Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.
Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.
Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations
Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.
The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.
And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.
“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.
Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.
"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com.
Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.
Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.
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