Connect with us

Star Blog

Cowboys’ Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?

Brian Martin



Cowboys' Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?

The Dallas Cowboys pass rush will be under heavy scrutiny throughout the remainder of the off-season, which is why the majority of Cowboys' fans will be paying extra close attention to training camp this year. There's really no way of determining how things will turn out just yet, but I decided to share with you who I think could possibly lead the team in quarterback sacks in 2017.

We are all hoping the Cowboys' pass rush will improve this season and that the defense can effectively apply pressure to opposing QB's. The Cowboys have some pieces to work with, but there is still that element of unknown.

I decided to break this up into three categories: the most logical candidate, the dark horse, and the player who is still a little bit under the radar. Continue reading below to find out who the three Cowboys' pass rushers are I personally think could lead the team in QB sacks in 2017.

Most Logical Candidate

Benson MayowaA week ago if you would've asked me who the most logical candidate to be the Dallas Cowboys 2017 quarterback sack leader is, I would've told you I think it would be David Irving. But, he is going to miss the first four games this season due to a suspension, so that seems a little unlikely now.

My next logical candidate would be DeMarcus Lawrence, since he is probably going to be the starter at one of the defensive end positions when the season kicks off. But, he has only had more than one QB sack once in the regular season in his entire career. Plus, he will be coming off his second back surgery, which is never a good thing.

No, my choice for the most logical candidate is Benson Mayowa, the best Cowboys' pass rusher in 2016. Mayowa finished the 2016 season strong after climbing out of the doghouse from earlier in the season, finishing with a career-high six QB sacks. He should once again be the Cowboys' pass rush specialist, and hopefully pick up where he left off last season.

The Dark Horse Candidate

Damontre MooreThe Cowboys' pass rush is a big unknown right now, so there are number of different directions I could have went here as to who the dark horse candidate to lead the team in QB sacks will be. But, I ultimately decided to go with Damontre Moore. Yes, I know he's a longshot to even make the team, but supposedly he's been pretty impressive so far in practice.

Moore has been a journeyman defensive end so far in his NFL career after being selected in the third round by the New York Giants back in 2013. He hasn't really been able to find a home so far, but he's hoping that Dallas will be his last stop.

Moore has the talent to make the Cowboys' pass rush better, but for some reason or another he hasn't been able to live up to his potential just yet. He is a chance to start at the right defensive end position for the Cowboys, which is why I believe he could end up being the 2017 sack leader.

Under the Radar Candidate

Maliek Collins

Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

My under the radar candidate to lead the Dallas Cowboys in QB sacks in 2017 had a fantastic season last year, but is often left out of the conversation when discussing the Cowboys' pass rush. It's a little bit odd, because he finished second on the team with five QB sacks in 2016, but it probably has a lot to do with the position he plays.

It's not often defensive tackles lead their team in sacks, but that's what could possibly happen this season if Maliek Collins picks up where he left off after his rookie season. Collins will once again be the starter at the 3-technique and there is reason to expect quite a bit of improvement from him entering his second year.

Collins will have the benefit of a full off-season with the Cowboys, after having to miss out on that opportunity last year due to a broken foot. He should also be quicker/stronger after a year in the strength and conditioning program. He has already been giving All-Pro offensive guard Zack Martin all he can handle in practice, which is encouraging considering Martin is arguably the best OG in the entire NFL.

Who do you think will lead the Cowboys in QB sacks?

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.

  • Charles

    It’s hard to say considering how much Coach Rod likes to rotate. I do believe if Tapper was a full time starter he would be a pass rushing monster

    • Brian Martin

      Charles, you’re exactly right. Marinelli likes to rotate his DL to keep them as fresh as possible. That is why I’m hoping we see several pass rushers with 5-6 QB sacks. I also have high hopes for Tapper.

      • John Williams

        Yeah, I see 8 sacks as the leader with a handful of guys with 4-6 sacks each. What’s important to me is the total number by the team and the timing of them.

  • John Williams

    If I was going to pick one it would be Maliek Collins. He’s the only guy on the defensive line who has a defined role carved out at the moment.

    With Irving’s 4 game suspension, Tapper getting back into game shape and the way Rod rotates the defensive lineman, I have a hard time thinking any one of the ends could lead the team in sacks.

    Collins however, will be on the field in every situation. The only thing that will limit him is his snap count.

    If they give him a full compliment of snaps, then I think his 8 sacks could lead the team.

    Next bet would be Mayowa, Tapper, Irving, Taco, Lawrence.

  • Colston Ballew

    Think about this, if Moore pans out and plays up to his potential we could be in pretty good shape in terms of the D Line. Lawrence, Collins, Crawford, Moore as starters. Having Irving, Thornton, Tapper, Pea, Mayowa, and Taco rotating in and you the makings of a pretty solid D line. McClain will definitely be missed in the run D and in the locker room tho. But if our D line becomes dominant it will make our secondary better by default.

Star Blog

Should the Dallas Cowboys Trade for These 2 Oakland Raiders?

John Williams



Should the Cowboys Make a Trade for These Oakland Raiders?

The trade deadline on October 30th will be here faster than we know. It's the final opportunity that NFL teams will have an opportunity to make a significant upgrade to their roster. And if you're a frequent reader of the Dallas Cowboys, then you know that the Dallas Cowboys could use some help, especially on the offensive side of the football.

On Thursday, Marcus Mosher from The Raiders Wire on USA Today posed a hypothetical trade involving the Dallas Cowboys. In his scenario, he has the Dallas Cowboys trading for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and thinks that Cooper could net the Raiders a top 75 draft selection.

Amari Cooper is a good wide receiver, but he's not a receiver I would trade a top-75 pick for. Cooper is a player that has a lot of talent, but has struggled with drops and inconsistency. Even now, with the Raiders he's having a hard time getting consistent opportunities.

Cooper's second on the team in targets, but third on the team in receptions behind a tight end and a running back. Cooper's also third on the team in yardage behind the two guys that I'd be way more interested in trading for; Tight End Jared Cook and Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson.

Yes, these guys are on the wrong side of 30, but they are guys that have been around a long time and can help your offense this season. Both would be upgrades at the position, even at their advanced NFL age.

Jared Cook - Tight End

You've heard the adage, "if you can't beat em, join em." Well, this is the reverse of that. "If he always beats you, acquire him."

That's what Oakland Raiders Tight End Jared Cook is to the Dallas Cowboys. Point of evidence.

Game Winning Jared Cook Catch Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Uploaded by Kafin Walker on 2017-01-16.

That remarkable catch by Jared Cook still haunts me and many of you in Cowboys Nation. It was a perfectly thrown ball by Aaron Rodgers and Cook made an incredible catch along the sidelines that led to Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.

Jared Cook's Oakland Raiders team isn't going anywhere this season. They're already four games back of the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC is looking deeper than it has in recent years. The Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts are the only teams in the NFC with less than two losses. That means there are 14 teams with better records than Jon Gruden's Oakland squad. This week the Raiders face a Seattle Seahawks team that beat the Dallas Cowboys and lost by only a couple of points to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.

Cook has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season and would be a veteran presence that the Dallas Cowboys could add if they felt like they could make a run at the playoffs.

At 31, Cook is averaging six catches and 78 yards receiving per game. He'd give the Dallas Cowboys someone they could run on post, corner, and seam routes to challenge safeties deep. Something that they're lacking from the tight end position at the moment. Cook is leading the Oakland Raiders in targets, receptions, yards, and is second on the Raiders in touchdowns in 2018.

No offense to Geoff Swaim, who's been surprisingly good this year, but Jared Cook makes this offense better. He allows you to make Rico Gathers your TE3, which would allow Rico to continue learning the game without the responsibility of being a primary target on certain pass plays.

Jared Cook is in the last season of his deal, so you wouldn't have to be committed to him beyond 2018. The perfect rental who could step in and play pretty quickly.

Jordy Nelson - Wide Receiver

I know this team is allergic to adding veteran players, especially veterans over 30, but Jordy Nelson is another name that they should take a long look at.

At 33 years of age, Nelson leads the Raiders in receiving touchdowns and is second on the team with 15.9 yards per reception. He's also third in receptions and second in yards.

His numbers -- 20 receptions for 317 yards and three touchdowns -- would lead the Dallas Cowboys in all receiving categories.

Nelson's still got some juice left and he's always been a good route runner with good hands.

Here are some highlights from Jordy's week three performance against the Miami Dolphins.

Jordy Nelson Can't Be Stopped w/ 173 Yards & 1 TD vs. Miami!

Check out Jordy Nelson highlights, racking up 173 yards receiving! The Oakland Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins during Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season. Subscribe to NFL: Check out our other channels: NFL Vault NFL Network NFL Films NFL Rush #NFL #Raiders #JordyNelson

Nelson doesn't have any guarantees left on the deal he signed this past offseason so if you cut him in the 2019 offseason, you'd get zero dead money added to your 2019 salary cap, but would get $7.2 million in savings.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Because of their age and the fact that they'd likely be one-year rentals, I don't imagine that you'd have to give up much more than a fifth round pick for either of these guys. And while I don't think the Dallas Cowboys would take a look at trading for either veteran, it's something they should do if they have aspirations of making the playoffs in 2018.

The Dallas Cowboys offense could use a boost.

What's the most you'd be willing to offer for either Jordy Nelson or Jared Cook?


Continue Reading

Star Blog

Cowboys’ Issues Are Deeper Than The Division Race

Kevin Brady



Are The Cowboys' Players Unhappy With Their Playbook?
Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News

Yesterday, Inside The Star staff writer Jess Haynie posed an interesting question: "could the wide-open NFC East help Jason Garrett's job security?"

The Dallas Cowboys started off their season a disappointing 2-3, but despite this rough start, they are right in the thick of things in the NFC East. The defending champion Eagles, who most expected to run away with the division, are now just 3-3. The lowly New York Giants are probably done at 1-5, and the Washington Redskins looked pathetic on Monday night, dropping to 2-2.

This division looks average at best, though I still somewhat expect the Eagles' talent to take over at some point and allow them to make a run. Still the Cowboys are alive, and if they can pull off the upset at home this Sunday, they may even be in first place come Monday morning.

So, Jess fairly asks, could this help Jason Garrett and the Cowboys' coaching staff keep their jobs? After all, it's rare you see an owner change coaches after remaining competitive within the division throughout most of the prior season. And given Jason Garrett's relationship with Jerry Jones, it might take an awful season to see any real change occur.

Here's the thing: this team could win the division at 9-7, and it would still be time for changes. Incompetence of others does not mean that you are competent, even if you are competent in comparison to those others.

The Cowboys have players openly questioning play calls, alluding to lack of trust in the quarterback, and pretty consistent drama swirling around the locker room. Yes, some of that is the media created Cowboy drama we always see, but there is disfunction within the organization without a doubt.

As a franchise the Cowboys need new blood in the building. To be honest, they could use a general manager separate from the Jones family name, but that is very unlikely to ever happen. So we focus on the coaching staff, specifically on the offensive side of the ball where the Cowboys have struggled the most.

Dallas is 29th in passing yards, 28th in passing yards per attempt, and tied for 26th in passing touchdowns through five weeks. Plainly put, they're horrible, and bringing back an offensive minded head coach and/or offensive coordinator who oversaw this terrible passing offense is counterproductive.

Regardless of where the Cowboys stand within this average division, they need to look themselves in the mirror this offseason. They need to be seriously comparing themselves to teams like the Rams (and not by lying to themselves like Jerry Jones did), not the 1-5 Giants.

The Cowboys should be striving for more than just being the best of a group of average football teams, and if that means cutting ties with Jason Garrett, then so be it.

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Opposition Outlook: Versatile T.J. Yeldon Too Much for Dallas Cowboys?

John Williams



Opposition Outlook: TJ Yeldon Will be a Problem for the Dallas Cowboys

If you haven't heard the news yet, then let me be the first to tell you. Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back Leonard Fournette has been ruled out of this week's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jaguars. Don't let his absence fool you, though, T.J. Yeldon is a back that can hurt the Cowboys in many ways.

T.J. Yeldon was the Jaguars second round pick out of Alabama in the 2015 NFL Draft and was expected to be a featured back for them. That never really materialized and the Jaguars then went out and selected Fournette early in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Yeldon is now more of a passing game back for the AFC South contender, but with Fournette out, he's getting an opportunity in a full-time role. He's not at all the same back as Fournette, as Yeldon has much more ability in the passing game.

Already in 2018, Yeldon's caught 22 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, which is more than any Dallas Cowboys wide receiver this season. T.J. Yeldon's averaging 8.8 yards per reception to go along with his 4.4 yards per carry on the season.

He's averaging 90 total yards per game on 16 touches and a touchdown a game. Even when Fournette was active in weeks one and four, Yeldon still received 17 and 21 touches in those games.

He's not at all an afterthought in the Jaguars offense and shouldn't be as the Dallas Cowboys defense prepares to stop them in week five.

Here's how he ranks among running backs with at least 24 targets:

  • Tied for second in receiving touchdowns.
  • 11th in receiving yards.
  • 14th in reception percentage.
  • Eighth in targets
  • 10th in receptions
  • Fourth in yards per reception
  • Seventh in yards after catch
  • Fifth in yards after catch per receptions.
  • Sixth in receptions that led to a first down.
  • Second in drops.
  • He has the 10th highest quarterback rating among running backs when targeted.

T.J. Yeldon isn't the best back in the NFL, but as a dual purpose back, he's really good. He's 15th in the NFL in total yards and for two of those games he was sharing the load with a former top five pick.

The Dallas Cowboys have been really good against the run this season. They've allowed the 11th fewest rushing yards and their 3.4 yards per carry allowed ranks tied for second in the NFL. Where they've struggled is with running backs in the passing game.

Through five weeks this season, they've allowed running backs to go for 47.6 yards per game. In weeks one, two, and five, they allowed 66 yards receiving to Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Alfred Blue.

If there's an area where the Jaguars can exploit the Dallas Cowboys defense, it will be in targeting T.J. Yeldon in the passing game. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and (hopefully if he plays) Sean Lee will be enough to slow him down and make Blake Bortles take chances down the field.

Continue Reading

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here