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Cowboys DL David Irving Returns Today; Who’s Out?

Jess Haynie



David Irving

One of the most intriguing players on the Cowboys roster, defensive lineman David Irving, will rejoin the team today after serving his four-game suspension for PED use. Irving will make his 2017 debut this Sunday as the Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in a critical Week 5 matchup, with the difference between 3-2 or 2-3 on the line.

Because suspended players don't count against your 53-man roster limit, Irving's return means the Cowboys will have to lose somebody to make room. There has been a lot of speculation about who will hit the discard pile. Here's my take.

Kellen Moore

QB Kellen Moore

The question of who should be released is an easy one for me.  Backup quarterback Kellen Moore, who got outclassed during the preseason by rookie Cooper Rush, could probably be put on the street and remain a free agent. He also still has practice squad eligibility, meaning Dallas could keep him associated with the team to assist the other QBs and coaches in game preparation. I would pull that trigger without hesitation.

The fact that Moore is still here, though, suggests the team doesn't want to make that play. Therefore, we have to look elsewhere for our roster limit casualty. After being inactive for the first four weeks of 2017, running back Darren McFadden could make sense.  Alfred Morris is the clear number-two RB now and Rod Smith brings too much on special teams. McFadden is the odd man out.

However, Ezekiel Elliott's ongoing legal status is why Dallas may not want to part with McFadden just yet. Until they have complete certainty that Elliott will play the entire season, the Cowboys will likely hang on to McFadden as he would probably find work if he hit the open market. Nothing in the NFL emulates fantasy football more than the RB position, where teams are scouring the waiver wire all year to deal with injuries.

Charles Tapper

DE Charles Tapper

Since David Irving is a defensive lineman, some might assume that's where the cut will come from. Second-year DE Charles Tapper has been targeted by some as he's been inactive the last few weeks. Irving is also able to play inside tackle, so Brian Price has also been discussed.

Right now the Cowboys only have nine defensive linemen, so adding Irving as a tenth would not create an unusual surplus. My gut feeling is that they don't want to lose any of their DL pieces this early in the year and with so much time for injuries to take a toll.

That same logic could be said about cornerback, where Dallas has six guys right now. Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie were out last week with injuries, allowing veteran Bene Benwikere to be active. Awuzie is expected back this week, though, to join Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis at the top of the depth chart.

If the Cowboys are going to have those CBs active, and Carroll waiting in the wings, I think Benwikere is the easiest cut they can make. He doesn't do you any good in street clothes. If a future need arises at CB, Dallas might call up Marquez White from the practice squad or could potentially re-sign Benwikere from free agency.

There are plenty of options but these are the most likely routes that the Cowboys will take. We should find out pretty soon.

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!

  • Dan


  • George_Johnson

    Jess Haynie: You along with many others continue to under estimate K Moore. For some reason you also don’t trust the coaches overall assessments and evaluations of K Moore and who they believe is more likely to be successful than C Rush, if something happened to D Prescott. The coaches OBVIOUSLY don’t feel C Rush is ready or tested enough to be the 2nd team backup even though he has shown great promise in preseason. They see these two QBs every day in practice so should be the best people to make a judgement about which QB would be the most successful all things considered. I am glad you are not coaching based on your definitive comments about K Moore and what you would do if you were coach. The 2nd team QB position is a key position on the team and the risk to the starting QB is great, therefore every team needs a 2nd team QB that can come into the game and be able to move the offense and have some success. There is plenty of evidence for the coaches to have more faith in K Moore vs C Rush such as 1) K Moore has had some success in the NFL both in preseason and season games. C Rush has played about six quarters in preseason at mostly 3rd team QB., 2) K Moore has more experience and has been in the NFL for going on six years and has played for two teams, 3) K Moore knows the offense/playbook/Linehan game plans annd thi

    • Ervinlang318

      If any of this was the case he would have remained #2

      • George_Johnson

        He did remain # 2. Did something change since the last game?

  • Travis Diggs

    They aint getting rid of 9 live kellen moore. He’s the only Nfl player besides Mark Sanchez that i know who gets rewarded for poor play But you cant tell cowboys fans anything. I got called a racist for stating that Jeff Heath wasnt athletic enough to be our starting safety ?? 4 weeks in and theirs a article on here calling for his job. Im a cowboys fan but cant stand the logic of some fans You know why we havent been to a super bowl in 22 years?? Because we accept mediocre players and make up excuses for them, case and point, Kellen Moore and Jeff Heath

    • George_Johnson

      A few points. K Moore is not playing and not likely to play as Dak is young, big, strong and athletic and not likely to get hurt. If K Moore had to play this whole issue would come to a head fast. K Moore would either play okay or not. The coaching would also be brought into question if K Moore played lousy which most fans think he would. Again as I said above the coaches are not fools. Their careers can be on the line. They see something in K Moore that the fans don’t and it is not his ability to mentor and coach D Prescott. If Dallas even now could get a better player than K Moore at 2nd team at a similar cost they would likely go for it. Again they are not fools.

  • Russ_Te

    9 on the DL should be enough IMO, considering Marinelli’s propensity to drop 8 on long downs.

    The other pressing question is how to work the jigsaw puzzle of the DL. I posted last week about trying Collins at LDT since he could in theory cash in the coming double-teams on Lawrence. They did it and we didn’t get anything from it.

    But I cannot mess with the emergent Lawrence. I don’t want to flip him as he’s done in the past. Irving showed bursts last year at LDE, but I doubt can do it at RDE. I think that puts him inside for most of his 2017 reps.

    We need somebody to be a wrecking ball next to Lawrence.

Player News

Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room 1

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, keeping playoff hopes alive on the road with a 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering the hostile home of the defending Super Bowl champions with three previous road losses already on their record, the Cowboys performance on Sunday night was truly about getting back to their roots. In their second week with Marc Colombo as the Offensive Line Coach, the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards and protected Dak Prescott very well. It was revealed after the game that Frederick was on a coaches headset with Colombo and his new assistant Hudson Houck.

Jane Slater on Twitter

Travis Frederick just told @BenRogers on @1053thefan that Marc Columbo has him on a coaches headset now helping him and Hudson Houck. That's a smart move from Columbo. Smartest guy on the line

The anchor of the Cowboys offensive line since being drafted in 2013, Frederick is regarded as the smartest linemen on the team. It's his mental edge that's made up for a slight lack of size at the position, regarded as one of the worst first round picks in his draft because of this oversight.

Not only is Frederick a welcome addition to the Cowboys brain trust at offensive line, but he did receive some great news on his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) that's kept him out this season. Frederick was placed on injured reserve on October 6th, announcing publicly his GBS diagnosis on August 22nd.

Frederick has a long way to go before he's playing football again, not eligible to do so until week 14 at home against the Eagles. Regaining feeling in his hands is about the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee getting as healthy as possible away from football. If a return to the Cowboys is possible through his recovery, the team would of course welcome Frederick.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Travis Frederick regains sensation in his hands: "There is some light at the end of the tunnel"

What Frederick has gained in upper body strength, he must remain patient for in the lower body. While pointing out that over 95% of patients make a full recovery from GBS, Frederick is still waiting to feel sensations in his feet.

The Cowboys have been optimistic that Frederick's condition was caught early enough for a full recovery to be probable.

Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier following their uplifting win. Returning to the site of last year's demoralizing loss at the Falcons, Frederick likely wishes he could make a miraculous return just a bit more this week.

To make matters worse, Left Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to back spasms. It's unknown if rookie Connor Williams will reclaim his starting left guard spot on Sunday, or if Xavier Su'a-Filo has earned another opportunity.

Despite the patchwork nature of a Cowboys offensive line once regarded as the best in the league, and still vital to the entire team's success, Dallas has an abundance of hope that Sunday in Atlanta can be much better than 2017. This starts with Frederick's strength to fight GBS and attempt to rejoin his teammates, wisely given some added game day influence on them by Colombo.

If elevating their level of play up front was all it took for the Cowboys to play up to their potential and pull off an upset on prime time last week, the NFC East is certainly still within reach for a team that must now sustain the level of play on offense to match what this defense has given all season.

Tell us what you think about "Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Cowboys LB Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Against Eagles

Jess Haynie



Leighton Vander Esch
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

You already knew that Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker, had a great night last Sunday in Philadelphia. Apparently the rest of the football world agreed, and now he's been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The award is the first of what could be many for Leighton, who has emerged as a defensive leader for the Cowboys. He's been playing more in the absence of veteran Sean Lee, who has been battling hamstring issues all season.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

THE. WOLF. HUNTER. Congratulations to #DallasCowboys rookie LB @VanderEsch38 on being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week! →

This is the second Player of the Week award for a Dallas Cowboys this season. Kicker Brett Maher won the Special Teams version in Week 4 after going 4-for-4 and hitting a game winner over the Detroit Lions.

The Defensive Player award hasn't gone to a Cowboys since Week of 2017, when DeMarcus Lawrence put up three sacks against the Arizona Cardinals.

Leighton's recognition is also well-earned. He led Dallas with 13 tackles and an interception in a pivotal road victory against a division rival. In what was arguably a "must-win" game for the Cowboys, their first-round pick stepped up and stood out.

A few more games like this, and Vander Esch could be in the running for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. But even above personal accolades, Leighton's play could help the Cowboys make a push in the NFC East.

If nothing else, he's making that first-round pick look smarter every week.

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Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott

John Williams



Takeaway Tuesday: Prescott's Legs Give Offense a Much Needed Spark

Things have not gone well for Dak Prescott this season. His play has been up and down and he hasn't given the team or Cowboys Nation much reason to believe that he's the future at the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys. Speaking to 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas today, Legendary Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Roger Staubach offered support for the Cowboys current quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Staubach had this to say when asked about Dak Prescott.

Mark Lane on Twitter

Roger Staubach on @1053thefan said #Dak is a part of the problem with the #Cowboys offense, but he is not the problem.

Roger Staubach didn't start in the NFL until the third year of his career and thinks that's a good time for the quarterback to make the jump. At this point, we are 40 games into Dak Prescott's NFL career and we can see some of the things that he's good at as well as some of the things that he struggles with.

As Staubach points out, Dak Prescott has the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback, even if his play hasn't been what you'd want at the position. Roger admits that Dak shoulders some of the blame for the offensive woes of the last 16 games, but realizes that there are  many reasons for the Cowboys offensive failures this season.

Roger Staubach believes that the Dallas Cowboys can win with Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback despite some of the flaws that have crept up over the last 16 games. He's not wrong.

Staubach's pretty accurate in his assessment that there's been more good than bad. If you look at the first 24 games of Dak Prescott's career, he was really good. Through the last 16 games, he's struggled at times. So technically there's been more good than bad. The problem is that over the last 16 games, there's been more bad than good. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league and lately Dak hasn't done much. We can debate all day on how much of the struggles Prescott's faced are on him, but everyone should be willing to admit that some of the struggles are on him.

It's plausible that the confidence in Prescott that Jerry Jones has comes from Roger's belief that the Cowboys can win games with Dak Prescott at quarterback; and they have. In Prescott's career, the Dallas Cowboys are 25-15. Though wins are a team stat and not a quarterback stat, it just goes as evidence that Dak Prescott can be a winning quarterback in the National Football League.

Dak has some flaws, but the offense and its play caller haven't helped Prescott much this season. We should be critical of Prescott because he has a big pay day coming, if you believe Jerry Jones. While Dak has some flaws, he also has some traits that can make him a good quarterback in the NFL with the right coaching situation behind him. 2018 may be running out of time for the Dallas Cowboys and their playoff prospects, but the Cowboys have time before they have to make a decision on Prescott.

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