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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 have been with ITS since 2016.

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T

The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.

During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.

After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.

This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.

Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.

Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e

Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.

Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.

Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.



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REPORT: Police Detain Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford After Bar Fight

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford Kicked Off Thursday Flight

According to TMZ, Tyrone Crawford was involved in a brawl at a bar in Panama City, FL last Friday night. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman and team captain was detained by police but apparently was not arrested.

The level of Crawford's involvement has not been substantiated, but TMZ's report does have him shoving police officers at some point in the action. The incident was reportedly captured by surveillance equipment at the bar.

Given that he was not arrested, one could assume that Tyrone was not one of the primary players in the melee. But that doesn't mean the NFL won't still review this matter as it relates to the personal conduct policy, and Cowboys fans know too well how "fair" that process can be.

This is certainly not a story you'd expect to see attached to Tyrone Crawford, who has been a model citizen and leader since entering the league in 2012.

Dallas elected to keep Crawford this season despite solid potential savings. He will count $10.1 million against their 2019 salary cap, which is high for his average production. However, he can play multiple positions and is one of their most experienced players.

Even if Tyrone were to get suspended by the league, it likely wouldn't be more than a one or two-game ban given his record and reputation. It shouldn't change anything about his status with the team.



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