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Cowboys RB Rod Smith Should Contend for 2017 Roster

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - 5 Offensive Players To Watch In Training Camp 4

While his brother Jaylon will command our attention this offseason, running back Rod Smith should not be ignored. After playing 17 games for Dallas over the last two seasons, Smith will return with an excellent opportunity to make the 2017 roster.

To my surprise, Rod Smith made last year's team at final cuts. He did not win the fullback job over Keith Smith but still emerged as one of the standout players on special teams. When he was released in November, Smith was one of the leaders in special teams tackles.

The Cowboys signed Smith to their practice squad after injuries at other positions forced Dallas to release him. He remained there until Dallas signed Rod to a two-year futures contract in January.

A few days ago, one reporter shared a small tidbit about Rod Smith's prospects for the upcoming season:

Justin A. Cohn on Twitter

Rod Smith tells me today he's now a running back, not a fullback, with the Dallas Cowboys.

It makes sense that Dallas would want Smith to compete at running back. Lance Dunbar has left in free agency, opening up a spot if the Cowboys wish to keep four players there again. Rod's special teams value could even make him a keeper over Alfred Morris, who has fallen down the depth chart and could be cut for $1.6 million in cap savings.

With Ezekiel Elliott's heavy workload and Darren McFadden back as the primary backup, any other running backs should either have special teams value or be developmental prospects. Rod Smith not only give gives you the special teams use but could also serve as an emergency fullback.

At over 230 pounds, Smith might even give the Cowboys a short-yardage option in case Elliott was fatigued or otherwise unavailable. Clearly, Rod offers versatility and we all know how much the Cowboys appreciate that.

Rod Smith

RB Rod Smith

It likely won't be as simple as beating Alfred Morris for a job. The Cowboys should be adding at least one more running back to the mix, likely with a late-round pick or from among the undrafted free agents. While still just 25 himself, Smith will have to fight off even younger legs in addition to the veteran above him.

Still, with 10 games in 2015 and seven games last year, Rod Smith has been able to keep the Cowboys interested for a while. With nothing certain after Elliott and McFadden on the RB depth chart, he has an excellent opportunity to once again make the team.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


    It all goes back to a simple fact the front office lacks Scouting ability and an eye for talent. Sure they get lucky but to get a player that start right away is far and in between.

    • Jess Haynie

      Dude, I’m so glad you finally found a way off that island. A lot’s happened with the Cowboys since you were lost at sea. I’m sure you’re busy with other things, but I hope you can catch up soon.

      • TD4SPORTS

        What ? Are you smoking your own stash, don’t answer that…Dez, Dak, Zeke, Tyron, Fredricks, and Martin. Zeke was this year’s starter, they didn’t want Dak but they got Lucky he fell to them. Gregory and Collins was a given because of drug test and question about the murder of Collins ex girlfriend. Let’s stay there we got Lawrence and Gregory but they were suspended so how much did they help. Oh did I forget Williams the one when Dez went out couldn’t step up. I don’t get paid to write articles or interesting stories, I’m a True Cowboy Fan that follow my Boys !!!

        • Jess Haynie

          Byron Jones, Maliek Collins, Anthony Brown, David Irving….. I can list players, too.

          You guys really amaze me sometimes. The Cowboys are drafting better than they have in decades and winning more than ever, and yet you still want to hold on to these archaic notions about the front office.

          If that’s the definition of a “true fan,” then I don’t wanna be right.

          • TD4SPORTS

            Trust me You are Not Right and you Write the Articles, since the last Super bowl win please tell me how many winning seasons have we had. Better yet tell me how many winning seasons or playoff victories have we had with Romo. Your number will only Solidify my point that in that time JJ has been GM and like I said from my first comment they get lucky and a player that Starts Right Away is far and in between. I’m sure I named the ones that did because Malik, Brown nor Jones started right away and if you did your homework you would know Irving come off the Chiefs practice Squad. Yeah I’m a True Cowboy fan from Staubach, and Landry days and anyone that is know Jerry’s role as GM is our weakness. He is a Great Owner but the only problem he won’t separate the two because of his ego. We would be the first team with 10 Super bowl wins, look at the teams Jimmy had and look at the teams that won Super bowls in the Lasthe 10 years. Baltimore, Pittsburg, Giants, Seattle, Greenbay and the Patriots. J Johnson knew players, football and discipline, Our front Office and HC does Not but you believe what you want because I AM FOREVER A COWBOY4LIFE !!!

          • Jess Haynie

            You seem to be under the delusion that rookies start Week One all the time. This is hardly the case in the NFL. Do some research on that and get back to me.

            Also, I know perfectly well that David Irving came off the Chiefs practice squad. Why does that matter one bit? One of our scouts still had him on the radar and our general manager made the decision to acquire him when available. Talent evaluation and player acquisition doesn’t just happen for three days in April.

            Oh, and thanks for more drivel about Jimmy Johnson and the entirety of Jerry Jones’ tenure. We all know this stuff. He’s had plenty of problems and nobody denies that. However, things have taken a very positive turn since Jason Garrett came in and Stephen Jones and Will McClay have risen in their power and influence. Why not enjoy the present instead of living in the past?

Game Notes

Cowboys, Falcons Week 11 Injury Report

Jess Haynie



Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are both 4-5 and playing to keep their seasons alive. It's a mutual must-win game, and both will have to try to win it without some key players. Once again, we look at this week's injury reports.

Let's begin with your Cowboys, whose report is getting longer as the season wears on:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) - OUT
  • DT David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • DT Daniel Ross (calf) - OUT
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - OUT
  • DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) - Doubtful
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - Questionable
  • G Connor Williams (knee) - Questionable
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - Questionable
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - Questionable

The biggest news is the guy who won't miss tomorrow's game; All-Pro guard Zack Martin is expected to play despite his knee injury from last Sunday night. The Cowboys, already dealing with Travis Frederick's absence and now health issues at left guard, could ill afford to go without Martin in such a pivotal game.

Even if he was healthy, rookie Connor Williams might have a hard time getting in the game. Backup Xavier Su'a-Filo looked like an experienced former second-round pick last week, and he may be the better player for now.

The defensive line has been hit hard, particularly in the middle. With Irving and Ross out, Woods doubtful, and Collins uncertain, Dallas called up DT Christian Ringo from the practice squad. They will also be without Taco Charlton, who could play inside some. Veteran Caraun Reid will be seeing a lot of playing time.

Sean Lee's ongoing absence has become almost an afterthought now with the stellar play of Leighton Vander Esch. We've seen in the past when missing Lee meant disaster on defense, but Dallas' first-round rookie has helped mitigate the damage.

Atlanta Falcons

  • LB Deion Jones (foot) - OUT

It's a short list for Atlanta, but the one name on it is a big one. Arguably the team's best defensive player, Deion Jones will miss the game with a foot injury.

The Falcons' injury issues have been more in players suffering season-ending injuries. Both starting guards, Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, are on injured reserve. Star running back Devonta Freeman is also there, and those losses help explain Atlanta's 30th-ranked rushing offense.

Both starting safeties are also on IR; Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal. Atlanta has one of the league's worst passing defense this year without them, ranking 30th in yards allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating.

So yes, the Falcons injury report compared to the Cowboys' may raise some eyebrows. But in terms of who has most of their key guys, Dallas is arguably still better off.

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Dallas Cowboys

4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator

Shane Carter



Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan

The big word around the Dallas Cowboys lately is about Jason Garrett and the future of the head coaching job. Some have speculated that either Quarterback Dak Prescott or Jason Garrett will get axed, and the other will stay.

Owner Jerry Jones was quoted on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas about his young quarterback, putting to bed at least half of the conflict.

"Dak is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s young and he’s going to get extended."

This shut the door on the idea of Prescott being replaced.

As far as Jason Garrett? Jerry Jones has been less than committed.

"I’m not in the business of backing anybody; the head coach, or offensive coordinator, I just don’t back them publicly." Jerry Jones said.

So it seems that Jason Garrett’s future is up in the air.

But what about offensive coordinator Scott Linehan? What’s held the Cowboys back this year has been the offense, and a lot of it can be contributed to their predictable play calling and inability to adapt to today’s game and its current players.

Whether or not Jason Garrett retains his job, Scott Linehan’s job doesn’t seem near as secure. His scheme doesn’t really mesh with Dak Prescott and how the offense could look. There’s only so many times you can run a three tight end set and not get furious.

Cowboys fans may want Garrett gone but they might have to settle for a new offensive coordinator instead.

The good news is that there are many options out there. Options that not only could work well with Dak Prescott, but could bring the Cowboys offense into the 2010s.

Shane Waldron

Jerry Jones once said how the Cowboys offense was like the LA Rams. If they are able to sign their Co-Offensive Coordinator, then they could be.

When Matt LaFleur left to become the Tennessee Titans OC, the job became a shared job between Waldron and Aaron Kromer. I wonder if Waldron would rather have the job all to himself?

What makes Waldron so appealing is he is also the Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator. Those are two areas where the Rams excel and where the Cowboys need help.

Teams are going to start copying the offensive juggernauts of the NFL and the Rams are definitely one of them. The Cowboys should do themselves a favor and get out in front before other teams beat them to it.

Scott Turner

Cam Newton is having one of his best seasons. Not only is he an MVP candidate but he’s set to have career highs in completion percentage and QBR, as well as a career low in interceptions. Cam Newton is a very talented quarterback but some of this has to be attributed to his new Quarterback Coach, Scott Turner.

The son of Norv Turner, Scott has seemingly helped mold Cam into a more accurate passer without compromising who Cam Newton is as an athletic quarterback. That has Dak Prescott written all over it.

He's got NFL lineage and a new, scary Cam Newton to add to his resume. He may not have as impressive a track record as others on here but he looks like he could be a chip off the old block and get the Cowboys where they need to be going.

Lincoln Riley

A popular head coach candidate, Lincoln Riley has shown his creativity and offensive innovation during his short time as Oklahoma’s head coach. It’s uncertain if he’ll get any real offers to be a head coach, but as an OC, he would be a serious grab.

Everyone has seen the work he’s done with Baker Mayfield and now Kyler Murray. How he’s able to incorporate different formations to open up the pass game and have the run game seem unstoppable. Just imagine what he could do with the weapons he would have at his disposal in Dallas.

It's likely that Lincoln Riley is a hot commodity for a head coach position, especially in Cleveland where he could reunite with Baker Mayfield. That shouldn’t stop the Cowboys from trying to lure him to Dallas, though. Lincoln Riley could be the real missing piece that Dallas has been looking for.

Eric Bieniemy

Another product of Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. The former running backs coach has the experience under Andy Reid on not only how to run an offense but to use your weapons at your disposal to the fullest.

Maybe I’m over-hyping this man but when you see the work he helped put in with Pat Mahomes and how he uses those weapons around him, it makes me imagine what he can do for the Cowboy offense.

The team has no shortage of weapons and could benefit greatly from a guy like this.

If the Chiefs make it past their first playoff game, Bieniemy could become a more attractive name when it comes time for new head coaches. However, if Jerry Jones comes calling and the right offer is met, who’s to say?

If Kris Richard can be lured from Seattle to fix the Cowboys defense, Eric Bieniemy can be lured from Kansas City to fix the Cowboys offense.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

Sean Martin



Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

The Dallas Cowboys play their next three games in 13 days, all critical to their hopes of winning the NFC East despite alternating wins and losses since week one. For the Cowboys to earn consecutive road wins, their first coming on Sunday night at the Eagles, they'll have to come out of Atlanta in much better shape than they did just a year ago.

As expected in the NFL, a lot has changed in this year. The Cowboys 27-7 loss at the Falcons in their first game without Running Back Ezekiel Elliott was the beginning of the end on a season that forced a multitude of coaching changes in Dallas.

The Cowboys stubbornness in allowing Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn to sack Dak Prescott six times by beating Chaz Green and Byron Bell is something they hoped to move past when new positional coaches were brought in at OL, TE, QB, and WR.

It took the team admitting that these moves below Offensive Coordinator Scot Linehan were not all correct two weeks ago for the Cowboys to see any real progress, but with their win last week there's hope that the Cowboys are the improved team expected weeks ago - arrived just in time for Thanksgiving.

Firing Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander was the first move, as the Cowboys named Marc Colombo OL Coach and Hudson Houck his assistant. Colombo told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week that he has injured Center Travis Frederick on a headset during games as well.

Colombo, Houck, and Frederick have the Cowboys offensive line confident in their ability to play to their strengths, rewarded with a renewed faith in the zone blocking scheme that was forgotten under Alexander.

If the Cowboys offensive line was their first problem in last year's Falcons loss (it was), it's becoming their biggest strength at the right time in the season.

The Cowboys necessary changes didn't stop here though.

In desperate need of a play maker on the outside, the Cowboys are seeing their investment into Wide Receiver Amari Cooper pay off so far. Cooper is averaging 3.2 yards of separation on his routes this season, ahead of Cole Beasley's 2.6 yards as the next closest pass catcher.

Cooper's presence was a big part of Ezekiel Elliott's 151 yard rushing performance at the Eagles. A player that can win on the outside with ease and dictate coverage has benefited Prescott and the Cowboys game plan on offense enough to send away a first round pick.

It will be up to this "rebuilt" Cowboys offense to match the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta is averaging 27.1 points per game this season, but a much more dangerous 32.2 at home. After a 1-4 start, the 4-5 Falcons are playing in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks, losing at the Browns in week ten.

The Cowboys felt they'd be prepared for games like this after their offseason moves, instead needing to show the type of in-season urgency that's been rare for Jason Garrett's team. The same can be said about a Falcons team that's experienced playing with their backs to the wall much sooner than the Cowboys have this season, setting up a big NFC match up in the early slot Sunday.

Dak Prescott will be thankful that Chaz Green nor Byron Bell are protecting him, wanting nothing more than to deliver another win for the Cowboys to take into Thanksgiving against the division-leading Washington Redskins. Not all of the coaches responsible for the lack of adjustment in last year's game are gone. What the Cowboys do have are tangible new ideas from coaches that understand they need more than a win at the defending Super Bowl champions to call this Cowboys season a success.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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