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Dallas Cowboys Free Agency: DE Jared Odrick Could Bring Flexibility, Versatility To Defensive Line

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Free Agency: DE Jared Odrick Could Bring Flexibility, Versatility To Defensive Line

As the calendar year moves along, we edge closer and closer to the 2017 NFL season. With this comes roster moves, as teams get ready for the next offseason, and we all wonder what the Dallas Cowboys free agency period will bring.

This past week the Jacksonville Jaguars released veteran defensive end Jared Odrick, making him a free agent in this year's open market. Odrick, 29 years old, was only in year two of a five year, $42.5 million deal with the Jaguars before being released.

In 2015, Odrick played all sixteen games and led the Jags in sacks with 5.5. This season, however, Odrick played in only six games and tallied just 1 sack after being placed on the Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury early in the year.

So, after missing most of 2016 and being less than a "War Daddy" when healthy, why would I be suggesting Jared Odrick be welcomed by the Dallas Cowboys during free agency? Well, he is not be the pass rusher we absolutely need, but he does fit the Rod Marinelli mold to a "T."

Jared Odrick: Versatility

Marinelli and the Cowboys love guys that can be moved around the defensive line. Last year, Jack Crawford was the perfect example of this. Though Crawford mostly played at defensive end, he did see time in the tackle rotation when necessary.

He wasn't the most productive of players, but Crawford made himself useful through his versatility.

Jared Odrick could have a similar story in Dallas. When playing in a 4-3 defense for the Miami Dolphins, Odrick saw time both at defensive end and tackle. While in Jacksonville playing in a 3-4 scheme, Odrick solely played defensive end, but was not a true "edge" player.

At 6'5 304 pounds Odrick can play both inside and out, and make himself valuable for the Cowboys regardless of what his final sack totals look like.

The Cowboys Need Defensive Linemen

The fact of the matter is, the entire defensive line is a need. After a more-than-solid rookie campaign, Maliek Collins looks like he could have a breakout season in 2017. David Irving also emerged as a potential stud, and Cedric Thornton can be a useful defensive tackle as well, but the rest of the depth chart remains in flux.

Terrell McClain is an unrestricted free agent, and may get overpaid somewhere else due to his quality play in 2016. On the outside, Randy Gregory is suspended for 2017 and the health of Demarcus Lawrence is always in question. And for the rest of the roster, who knows what you are going to get each week?

Jared Odrick is not the perfect player by any means, nor is he the double digit sack EDGE player I want in Dallas. But with that being said, Odrick is a solid defensive linemen who can fill in where and when needed to bring decent production.

As long as he remains healthy, Jared Odrick can be an aggressive rotational player who can provide a spark on every third possession or so. He would have to potentially take less money than he could get elsewhere, but Jared Odrick would fit both the scheme and mentality of the Dallas Cowboys defense if signed during free agency.



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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2 Comments
  • Jess Haynie

    I feel like we have enough flex guys with Tyrone Crawford and David Irving returning and probably Jack Crawford with them. Even Cedric Thornton, who is about the same size as Odrick, can do different things. I wouldn’t spend money on another DE/DT when a true pass rusher is what we really need to be worried about.

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      That’s a valid point. I don’t think they spend money on any big time DE/DT though, hopefully it comes through the draft.

Game Notes

Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.

Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.

Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.

David Moore on Twitter

Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.

Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.

The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.

Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.

Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.

Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.

Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.

He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.

If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.

Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.

Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.

That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Pass Rush Better than They're Given Credit For
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.

But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.

According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.

Brian Burke on Twitter

Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.

What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.

For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.

As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.

Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.

Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).

Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.



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Player News

Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018

A groin injury sustained last week against Jacksonville won't send Tavon Austin to injured reserve, at least for now. The Dallas Cowboys receiver has elected to forego surgery at this time, giving him a chance to return to action in 2018.

There was concern that Austin could land on IR initially following the Jaguars game, but he sought a second opinion this week. It appears that this new information was enough for Tavon and the Cowboys to decide that surgery can wait.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Sounds like WR Tavon Austin will not have surgery at this time after getting a second opinion on his groin injury. He could miss a few weeks, however. #cowboyswire

Austin should miss this Sunday's game with the Washington Redskins. He has been the team's punt returner this season and a useful tool on offense, playing mostly receiver but also lining up the backfield at times.

Despite his limited opportunities, Tavon is tied with Cole Beasley for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns in 2018.

How long Austin will remain out is unknown at this time. After the Washington game, Dallas will have their bye week and then host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.

Both of these are games that the Cowboys, feeling good after a blowout victory over Jacksonville, should be able to win without Austin. But they would certainly like him back for the Week 10 road game with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In Tavon's absence, Cole Beasley will likely field punts. We may see more of Deonte Thompson in the speed routes that Austin ran on offense, though Dallas could also finally see what recently returned Brice Butler has to offer.

With an expiring contract this year, Tavon will likely want to get back soon and trying to improve his stock for the 2019 offseason. Hopefully, he can still have a positive impact on his value and the Cowboys season in the weeks ahead.



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