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Cowboys 2009 Free Agent Lineup

Bryson Treece

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Just in case anyone was missing info on who the free agents are this year, here’s a list as taken from DC.com.

The Cowboys face some tough decisions with regards to each of these players, and considering the team has some solid needs at certain positions, look for the Cowboys to make some moves that most of us won’t agree with.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

* OG Joe Berger
* QB Brooks Bollinger
* LB Kevin Burnett
* DE Chris Canty
* S Keith Davis
* DT Tank Johnson
* LB Carlos Polk
* LB Zach Thomas

* WR Miles Austin
* DE Stephen Bowen
* TE Tony Curtis
* WR Sam Hurd
* OL Cory Procter

* Number one in that category would probably be Cory Proctor. His abysmal play in 2008 cost us many things, but above all it taught us that Kosier was sorely missed, and then that Holland was almost as missed as Kosier was. Behind Kozier the Cowboys didn’t lose this year, though that’s not saying much since he only played in three regular season games.

Cory Proctor is the first backup at center behind Pro Bowler Andre Gurode, and for his ability to play at both positions, Proctor will likely be retained assuming his price doesn’t climb too high. Something tells me teams won’t be breaking the bank for this guy. Holland played much better than Proctor, but again, a backup center with experience is still needed even after Holland is resigned.

* Another one of the concerns is backup quarterback, and while Brad Johnson is not a free agent, it’s almost safe to say that he will be sometime in the coming months after such miserable play. So that leaves Brooks Bollinger, a younger quarterback with backup written all over him. He too lacked any real production during Romo’s three game sit, but he was better than Johnson. Bollinger managed to drive the team to a touchdown against the Giants in week 9, which was the only time he looked comfortable behind center.

There are a lot of quarterbacks available in free agency this year, and few available within reach in the draft, but the free agents are mostly guys looking for a chance to start, which is virtually impossible here given Romo’s contract and performance. So I think the Cowboys are going to take a look at each available quarterback before the draft, and if another backup to go with Bollinger isn’t found, they’ll draft one in the later rounds. In either case, I believe the team will resign Bollinger since he did show some marked improvement once he got more practice snaps with the first team.

* Chris Canty has been an issue all off-season. Talks have been on-going throughout the past year between the Cowboys, Canty, and his agent, to work out a contract extension for him, but most of us are aware of his agent’s words that he wants Tommy Kelly kind of money. It’s no question that he contributed to the defense in 2008, just as it’s no question that he isn’t deserving of the kind of money he’s looking for.

To make matters worse, he spoke publicly recently and said that he has always been and will always be a Parcels kind of guy, which seems to point toward Canty actively pursuing a spot with the Dolphins. No matter what though, given that the contract talks have basically stalled here, he will test the market to see what he can get.

* Keith Davis, who last year departed the Cowboys for the Dolphins in a similar situation to Canty’s, returned to Dallas after losing out on the starting job in Miami. Upon his return he was immediately named a team captain and resumed his roles as the special teams leader and backup strong safety. Injuries thrust him into the starting line up by week 5, and he started all but three games after that. This includes the end of the year when he suffered a third degree sprain of his MCL without missing a full game from the injury.

His strength is as a role player, special teams ace and backup safety, and his abilities in both aspects warrant signing him to a long term deal. I expect him to test the market once more though before settling for his role in Dallas.

* Miles Austin is another concern for the club, but only because they have to wait and see who offers what for him. the Cowboys are expected to place a second round tender on Austin, giving them the right of first refusal should another team make him an offer, and if the Cowboys choose not to match the offer, they would receive a 2009 second round pick as compensation. His inability to stay healthy last year is an issue, but he will most likely be resigned. His upside is still substantial and he should make an impact and a bid for more playing time in 2009 as long as he can stay healthy.

* The only other real concern lies at the middle linebacker position since both Zach Thomas and Kevin Burnett are unrestricted free agents come February 27th. Thomas stated after the season ending loss to Philly that he didn’t feel comfortable at his position, the Will linebacker, since he had played his entire career as a Mike linebacker, the spot currently held by should-be Pro Bowler Bradie James. Look for the aging Thomas to explore his options in free agency, though don’t rule him out to return next year.

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Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter – @InsideTheStarDC

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job

Sean Martin

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job 1

By keeping all three top coaches (Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli) in place for 2018, there isn’t a Dallas Cowboys coaching hire that feels like they “must” get it right to contend next season. This is how it should be.

Producing nine wins, despite missing key players throughout the season, the Cowboys are changing things up at the position coach level to hopefully introduce new ideas and give the talent on this team a better chance at sustained success.

One coaching vacancy that needs to be filled by the right guy above any else is on the offensive line, where things haven’t been the same since the great Bill Callahan departed.

Frank Pollack took his place, and now finds himself with the Cincinnati Bengals after not being retained by Dallas this offseason.

Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job

Tom Cable (Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)

The first name that was thrown around in consideration for the Cowboys job was Tom Cable, which sent a panic throughout Cowboys Nation before Cable decided to sign with John Gruden and the Raiders.

Cable had been coaching the Seahawks’ OL, a position that franchise has not valued in some time, and struggled to develop any talent in protection of their franchise QB Russell Wilson.

Now, two new names have emerged as candidates to coach the likes of two-time 1st Team All-Pro LT Tyron Smith, 1st Team All-Pro C Travis Frederick, and two-time 1st Team All-Pro RG Zack Martin.

Mike Solari and Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander has already met with the Dallas Cowboys, looking for work after 23 seasons with the Bengals. During this time, Alexander served as Marvin Lewis’ assistant head coach, in addition to his duties as their OL coach.

Judging on reactions out of Cincinnati to Alexander’s departure, the Bengals offensive line regressed under him in 2017, warranting change from a franchise that is as reluctant as any to move on from coaches.

Goodberry on Twitter

Paul Alexander better be gone

Most recently, Mike Solari has served as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants — far from a renowned unit around the NFL lately. He does have previous experience with the Cowboys, having served as an assistant OL and special teams coach here from 1987-88.

From 2006-07, Solari did reach the rank of offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, which shows the level of respect that the 30-year NFL coaching veteran has earned.

He will be the Dallas Cowboys’ next interview for their open OL coach position.

Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack 1

Dallas Cowboys RT La’el Collins, RG Zack Martin

Depth at tackle, a long-term answer at left guard, and an extension for Zack Martin are among the questions facing the Cowboys offensive line moving forward. Whoever is in charge of keeping this unit up to standard in 2018 though, may hold the keys to getting the entirety of the Cowboys’ program back on track.

Whether it’s Alexander, Solari, or another outside candidate yet to emerge, Inside The Star will keep you updated on the Cowboys’ ongoing coaching search.

Tell us what you think about “Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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