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Cowboys Position Battle Evaluations: Quarterback

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Position Battle Evaluations: Quarterback

Looking at the Quarterback position there may be more questions than some would believe.

One of the major discussions has been surrounding whether the team will carry three on the 53 again this year. While I do not have a definitive answer; I hope they do not, at least in the traditional sense. More on that thought in a moment.

Tony Romo is healthier than he has been the past few camps with no signs of back soreness. The questions begin with backup Brandon Weeden, many fans only remember his less than stellar (he was bad) performance against the Cardinals. Yet his play against the Redskins after Romo went down, the week prior, was inspired.

His status on this team as a backup? I believe all the talk of Dustin Vaughan being the primary backup Quarterback this season has been fan engineered, internally it would be hard to believe that was given much serious conversation by the Coaching Staff. Talkin Cowboys co-host Nate Newton said it best on Friday, “Object of this is to win,” when speaking on Vaughan as the lone backup of the team.

While Weeden left a lot to be desired in his lone start of the 2014 campaign, Dustin Vaughan has never taken a meaningful snap in the NFL. When taking into consideration that aside from his performance against San Diego, his Training Camp performance has been okay at best. He has not taken a dramatic leap from his rookie season.

If not for the San Diego game many more would call for Jameill Showers overtaking Vaughan on the depth chart. Bryan Broaddus of Cowboys Break had positive feedback of Showers in June and has reiterated these points recently as well. Showers also brings the potential Special Teams element, having been practicing on several units since the beginning of camp.

On Sunday against the 49ers Vaughan did not distance his play from Showers. Not only did Showers make a crucial tackle on Special Teams, he also showed a lot of poise in the pocket. His play at the worse was equal to that of Vaughn and probably better.

The next two Preseason games are crucial for Vaughan and Showers. If Showers performs well enough to pull himself into a tie with Vaughan, his versatility makes him more deserving of a roster spot. Either way, I believe the team is high enough on Showers to place him on the Practice Squad if another spot is needed during the final cut to 53. If Vaughn does not play well in the upcoming weeks, his time as a Cowboy is over.

Of note, Vaughan is eligible for the Practice Squad as well since he does not have an Accrued Season of NFL Experience, meaning that he has not been deemed active (among the 46 dressed players) for six games or more. The aforementioned Cardinals game being the only game Vaughan has been active for. It could be very interesting to see whether or not they would keep Vaughan if they decided to keep two Quarterbacks on the 53.

I expect Showers to keep improving, which will make the battle between he and Vaughan very interesting for a spot on this team. It is not out of the realm of possibility that they keep both, with one being on the Practice Squad, but I don’t feel that is likely with the depth at other positions.

During yesterday’s Cowboys’ Break I called in and inquired about the play of Vaughan and Showers. My call was at the beginning of the show,Bryan Broaddus seemed to agree with my assessment that Showers could very well outplay Vaughn for at the least a Practice Squad position. Which led to a discussion where Broaddus proposed the 53rd spot could come down to Danny McCray and Jameill Showers. During the show he also stated that in these next few weeks Vaughn will play for his Cowboys future.

At this point it looks like Jameill Showers has the upper hand, especially when looking at the multiple roles he can play. Broaddus highlights them with his eleventh point. Only time will tell which will remain on the roster. With Weeden’s health currently in doubt after the 49ers game, this competition has become even more vital.

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Avid Cowboys fan that will provide analytical analysis to the Draft, Film, and everything related to the team. You can find me @TheRealSmoothG on twitter.

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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