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Cowboys Film Review: UDFA Center Jake Brendel

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Headlines - Film Review: Cowboys Center Jake Brendel 1

Anyone with a basic knowledge of the happenings of the NFL understands one thing; the Dallas Cowboys have the best offensive line in football.

Maybe a team such as the Oakland Raiders could challenge for their spot, but I doubt it. It's pretty clear to most how great this offensive line is in Dallas, with three All-Pro quality players and another one (La'el Collins) in the making.

However, as is the case with most teams, depth behind these five starters is a problem. I recently detailed the swing tackle problem which faces the Cowboys, but on the interior line it's not much better.

Sure, guard Ronald Leary has proven to be a legitimate starter in this league, but being as disgruntled as he is about his current role it's fair to ask if he is even willing to be just a backup. The odds are Leary wouldn't even be active for regular season games as it is, due to his lack of position versatility and inability to play center.

The importance of a reliable and smart backup interior offensive lineman cannot be understated, and the Cowboys might have found just this in undrafted free agent Jake Brendel.

A four year starter at UCLA, Brendel is the all time leader in starts for the school with 52. Being a four year starter on the offensive line is damn-near unheard of as it is, but starting a total of 52 games over those four years is simply incredible.

Aside from one game in 2014 where he was forced to miss with a knee injury, Brendel started every single UCLA football game from 2012-2015. Brendel was also named team captain in 2013, and remained captain until graduation. That's right, he was voted team captain as a sophomore, wow.

Brendel was also named first team Academic All-Conference, and second team All-Pac-12 during his junior and senior seasons.

Maybe I am overstating his reliability and leadership qualities, after all he is just an undrafted free agent. With all of these positive character qualities, you would expect teams to find any reasons they can to fit him into their draft board.

While this is true, most of Brendel's on-field troubles come from a lack of lower body, functional strength. His average lower body movements lead to a loss of balance, and his lack of functional strength stops him from re-establishing position with his feet and hands. When all of this comes together, you end up with either a missed block or a holding penalty. In other words, it can be a big problem.

Jake Brendel - UCLA Football - C - 2015 BYU Game

Make or find animated gifs like Jake Brendel - UCLA Football - C - 2015 BYU Game on gifs.com

Here we see why that lack of strength is an issue. He is immediately stood up after snapping the ball, and is unable to get any type of movement on the down-lineman. Then, he loses his balance a bit and gets beat across his face. You can never get beat across your face.

What Brendel lacks in brute strength and power he was able to make up in quickness and hand placement while at UCLA. He may not be able to push those big 1-tecnhqiues a few yards off the ball, but he is quick and smart enough to be in the right position to occupy and shield the defender from the running back.

Jake Brendel - UCLA Football - C - 2015 BYU Game

Make or find animated gifs like Jake Brendel - UCLA Football - C - 2015 BYU Game on gifs.com

Here is that quickness I am referring to. Brendel gets off the ball with a purpose, gets the right positioning on the defensive lineman, and does just enough to clear a path for a touchdown. No, it isn't a La'el Collins-esque pancake, but it is effective.

Jake Brendel - UCLA Football - C - 2015 BYU Game

Make or find animated gifs like Jake Brendel - UCLA Football - C - 2015 BYU Game on gifs.com

These are the plays where his smarts come into play. He recognizes the blitzing linebacker and the stunting defensive lineman, remains patient, and makes the block.

He also served as an effective pulling center at times, showing me that he could transition to guard if needed.

The smarts, reliability, and toughness of a kid like Brendel are very appealing. Being named captain as a sophomore, we can assume he is a strong locker room presence, and the kind of player that Jason Garrett would adore.

With all that being said, I simply don't know if Brendel can match up physically with NFL defensive lineman. While he can develop more strength and improve his power and punch, it is impossible to say if it will be enough to keep him in the league for any serious amount of time.

Regardless, Brendel is still a player you should keep an eye out for during training camp and preseason games.



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.

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Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Facing Multi-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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Terrance Williams
Ric Tapia via AP

An arrest last May for public intoxication may finally result in a suspension for Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams.

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who reported the pending suspension, outlined the details of Williams' case. Charges were ultimately dropped once Terrance completed an alcohol education course and paid damages to the city.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys WR Terrance Williams faces suspension stemming from May arrest for public intoxication https://t.co/3RmwQOllim via @sportsdaydfw

However, as Cowboys fans know too well, the NFL reserves the right to suspend players under the Personal Conduct Policy regardless of legal outcomes. The 2017 season was marred by the league's persecution of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence despite no arrests or charges coming from any legal or police entity.

In Williams' case, there's no dispute of his guilt. It is unlikely he will appeal any decision the NFL makes.

The potential that Terrance will be missing for 2-4 games helps explain the Cowboys' move earlier this week to bring back WR Brice Butler. With both currently active, Dallas has an unusually high seven receivers on their 53-man roster.

It's already Friday, so the suspension is doubtful to come for this week's game in Seattle. But Terrance could easily be one of the seven inactive players on game day, having received the fewest snaps of any Cowboys WR last week against the Giants.

We'll see soon enough, likely as soon as next week, just what the league has in store for Terrance Williams.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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