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Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton

Brian Martin



Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton

Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton just aren't living up to the expectations many of us had for them this season. Both players looks like they were on the verge of having a breakout season of sorts, but neither one is having the kind of season they are capable of. It's been overlooked with the way the entire defense is playing, but the Dallas Cowboys definitely need more from them moving forward.

To date, Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton have just one quarterback sack apiece. I don't think that's acceptable considering the amount of playing time both players are receiving. I just don't find that acceptable, especially after I found out Linebacker Jaylon Smith has more QB sacks (3). It's time they step up their game.

I understand it's unfair to judge Gregory and Charlton based on their QB sacks alone, but just imagine how much more dominant the defense would be if they actually lived up to their talent/potential. This defense would be absolutely scary, championship caliber in my opinion.

I know I'm painting a bleak picture in regards to Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton, but that's only because I expect much more from them then the Cowboys are getting. But despite my disappointment in the way they've played so for this season, I think they could turn this around coming out of the bye week.

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton

I actually think the bye week couldn't have come at a more perfect time for the Dallas Cowboys. I think there were several players beaten up both physically and mentally, and that includes Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton. I think they needed a little bit of time to recharge and refocus, which is what I hope they are doing with this time off.

I think we tend to forget how young these players are. Both Gregory and Charlton are essentially just in their second year in the league. Yes, Gregory has been with the Cowboys longer, but most of that time has been spent away from the team on suspension. Charlton is just young and inexperienced, needing more playing time to develop.

But like I mentioned earlier, I think things are going to get better coming out of the bye week. The thing that might help both of these players the most is the return of Defensive Tackle David Irving. He has already tied both of them in QB sacks (1) and has only played sparingly in two games after coming back from suspension. His presence inside should do wonders for this entire defensive line.

I'm not ready to lower my expectations just yet for Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton. Instead, I'm going to continue to expect them to turn the corner and play like they're both capable of. I'm hoping they can do just that, because the thought of Gregory, Charlton, David Irving, and DeMarcus Lawrence rushing the passer is what we've all been dreaming about. Right!?

Do you think Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton can turn things around?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.



  1. oneputter

    October 31, 2018 at 8:43 am

    both definitely need to step up their game, especially 97. he came out firing but has dropped the last few weeks.

    gregory is understandable since he has not been involved in football for some time, i would expect him to get better as the season goes on, hopefully!

    • William C Pagano

      October 31, 2018 at 10:03 am

      I ‘m not giving up on these 2 guys but let’s look at Joey Bosa, 3rd overall pick in the 2016 draft. After holding out a few games he makes his debut with 2 sacks and a forced fumble which essentially won the game a la Demarcus Ware. He had double digit sacks first 2 years in the league. I think Charlton should have been a 2nd round pick at best. We supposedly got a steal with Gregory but maybe the drugs weren’t the only reason 31 teams passed. Now that Irvin is there to disrupt and create opportunities there should be no more excuses. Your either good or not.

  2. BeirutWedding

    October 31, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Charlton definitely needs to step up his game. I feel like even though Gregory doesn’t have as many sacks as we’d like, I’ve seen him have solid games. Which is a big turnaround already. I, personally, was expecting nothing from Gregory before the season started and definitely fell stronger about him now. But with Irving back, things should definitely open up.

  3. dallas1966

    October 31, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Imho, gregory and taco, will be coming on strong doing the second half of the season. Gregory, will not have to worry about a bum knee, now that he’s had surgery to correct the matter. With more reps and experience, taco will have a resurgence.

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Dallas Cowboys

Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?

Sean Martin



Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?

The Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss at the Los Angeles Rams is still fresh on the minds of their players, staff, and front office. So much so that the team had to fan the flames on a Jason Garrett comment expecting Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan to return. Garrett himself walked back this "report" once Stephen Jones noted it's still too early for any coaching staff changes. The focus will remain on Linehan's post until it's removed or the Cowboys OC is retained, but one coordinator the Cowboys now expect to keep is Rod Marinelli on defense.

Marinelli himself disputed the season-long belief that this was likely his last as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. With Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard not taking any of the three HC positions he interviewed for, Marinelli doesn't have to worry about shuffling his title to accommodate Richard - who called the plays from week one this season anyway.

Rod's title does include his specialty as defensive line coach though, a unit that the Rams dominated with their offensive line to a historic degree. The Rams' season-high 273 rushing yards was provided by both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson surpassing 100 yards on the ground, the first time in team history they've had two backs reach this mark in a single playoff game.

Rams HC Sean McVay hardly had to reach into his vaunted 'bag of tricks' to expose the Cowboys defense in a way they hadn't been all year, but there was still an element of brilliance in his offensive game plan. It came out after the game that the Rams picked up on the keys the Dallas defensive linemen used to signal stunts and twists before the snap. While this is nothing more than just great scouting yielding an unforeseen advantage, it's left the Cowboys with more than enough time to ponder what went wrong in the Coliseum.

Danny Heifetz on Twitter

The Rams offensive line knew what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do before the snap on Saturday.

The answer to this may be nothing other than the coaching questions the Cowboys are already considering. With Richard's interviews in Tampa Bay, Miami, and New York coming at the beginning of the week leading up to game day, it's possible Marinelli had a larger say in the Cowboys preparation on defense.

It was Marinelli's defense that conceded 412 yards to the Rams in 2017 in a loss at AT&T Stadium. Matching him up with McVay leaves a lot to be desired, while Richard helps bridge this gap - something he was seen desperately trying to do on the sideline with a battered Cowboys defense.

As each day of the offseason passes, a change at either coordinator position becomes less likely in Dallas. On offense, the play caller has more than a season's worth of evidence showing the deficiencies of the Cowboys attack. In a league fueled by recency bias however, Marinelli certainly didn't leave his best performance on the field in Los Angeles.

Somewhere in the middle of this is Jason Garrett, safely in place as the head coach that should be personally trying to upgrade his top two assistants however possible. Marinelli signing up for another year makes this hard on defense, though Richard should resume play calling duties next season.

Again, this leaves the onus of the Cowboys improvements for 2019 on the offensive side of the ball, something that'll be realized when the shock of their defense letting them down in the biggest game of the season is gone.

Tell us what you think about "Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Getting Over $30 Million Cap Space from Expiring Dead Money

Jess Haynie



Tony Romo, Dez Bryant

You may have already heard that the Dallas Cowboys will be flush with salary cap space in 2019, and that's very accurate. A huge portion of it comes from over $30 million in expiring cap penalties, otherwise known as "dead money."

Quick explanation; dead money occurs when a player is released or retires prior to the expiration of their contract. Any guaranteed money, such as the original signing bonus or money converted in a restructuring, that has not yet been paid out according to the contract schedule is accelerated.

For example, when Tony Romo retired after 2016, he still had $19.6 million in guaranteed money owed to him. Dallas chose to split this dead money over two years, and thus had a $10.7 cap penalty in 2017 and $8.9 million last season.

But now Romo's dead money, along with Dez Bryant's and several other players, is coming off the Cowboys' books. The result is a roughly $30 million infusion of salary cap space for 2019.

Here were the major culprits for last year's dead money:

(All cap figures are taken from

  • QB Tony Romo - $8.9 million
  • WR Dez Bryant - $8 million
  • DT Cedric Thornton - $2.5 million
  • CB Orlando Scandrick - $2.3 million
  • CB Nolan Carroll - $2 million
  • WR Deonte Thompson - $1.8 million
  • DE Benson Mayowa - $1.1 million
  • K Dan Bailey - $800 thousand
  • TE James Hanna - $750 thousand

Those players alone make up a little over $28 million. Another $4 million or so came from over 30 players with lesser penalties that still added up.

Right now, the Cowboys have only $1.76 million in dead money on their 2019 salary cap. Nearly all of that is the $1.6 million still owed to Orlando Scandrick.

That difference is where the cap space comes from, and it will be of tremendous help to Dallas as they have major financial moves coming. They need to re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence, deal with a major salary bump for Amari Cooper, and consider a contract extension for Dak Prescott.

The 2019 number will change, of course, as the offseason rolls on. If Dallas elects to release players like Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, or others, some dead money will appear. But that will be offset by whatever cap savings motivated the move in the first place.

This is a good reminder of why the Cowboys' new era of fiscal conservatism is a good thing. After years of what felt like perpetual "salary cap hell," they are finally getting out from under those penalties and have complete flexibility this offseason. They may not even need to cut a guy like Crawford, who they almost would have been forced to in past seasons.

We'll be talking a lot more about individual players and their contracts in the weeks ahead, but this summary helps us see that Dallas isn't nearly up against the financial wall as they have been. We still miss guys like Romo and Dez, but we won't miss that awful dead money in 2019.

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Player News

Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie



Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.

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