Where the Dallas Cowboys lost starters on offense this offseason in Wide Receiver Dez Bryant, Tight End Jason Witten, and Left Guard Jonathan Cooper, they hope to have made up for it with reinforcements along their league-best offensive line. The foundation of a team that will welcome back Ezekiel Elliott for a full season, the Cowboys OL has not looked this good (from top to bottom) on paper in a long time. As the Cowboys enter OTAs, the team has swapped out backup Offensive Tackle Jarron Jones for Guard Damien Mama.
Damien Mama signs with the Cowboys after spending 2017 with both the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants. A UDFA addition for the Chiefs that earned a practice squad position out of USC, Mama was snatched up by the Giants but waived earlier this month.
The Giants believe they found a long-term option at guard with this year's 34th overall pick, drafting UTEP's Will Hernandez. The Cowboys feel the same way about another Texas player - keeping Connor Williams close to home at 50th overall. With Williams and Zack Martin, both starting guard positions on the Cowboys are secured, along with Center Travis Frederick anchoring the unit.
Rounding out this stellar offensive line is of course Tyron Smith at left tackle and La'el Collins at right tackle. The cohesiveness and versatility from these starting five linemen is truly unrivaled across the NFL. Helping the Cowboys further enjoy their embarrassment of riches up front is Joe Looney, Marcus Martin, Chaz Green, and Cameron Fleming.
All four backup players have starting experience. The Cowboys can't afford to expose third-year Quarterback Dak Prescott to the pressure he faced without Smith or Cooper in the lineup, which is why players like Martin and Fleming were brought in through free agency.
It is going to be incredibly difficult for Damien Mama to find his footing in this league with the Cowboys. Earning a contract with the team out of a large group of recent workout players is a great first step for Mama though. Always possessing the traits and raw size to play at the next level, Mama saw his USC Trojans shuffle through multiple OL coaches during his three seasons in the Pac-12.
This inconsistency hurt Mama, and it is something he won't have to deal with under Paul Alexander in Dallas. At least as of May 22nd, with 90 players to work with, the Cowboys appear committed to being incredibly versatile on offense in 2018.
Perhaps making up for one of their perceived weak spots at TE with additional depth along the line will give Mama a fighting chance to compete with Joe Looney as the Cowboys "Jumbo" player. With Looney being re-signed prior to the Cowboys also adding veteran Guard Marcus Martin though, Mama understandably has his work cut out for him.
The Cowboys will have plenty of difficult roster decisions to make this summer. Fortunately, they've replenished their offensive line to the point where talented players will miss the cut. Whether or not this applies to Dallas' newest addition in Damien Mama remains to be seen, as the California native will undoubtedly impress in pads out in Oxnard.
REPORT: Cowboys LB Sean Lee to Miss Games with Hamstring Injury
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker and Captain Sean Lee will likely miss time with a hamstring injury suffered during the team's Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Lee, who'd hurt his other hamstring in Week 2 against the Giants, had to leave yesterday's game with a new injury to the alternate leg. His status was reported on today by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Hamstring issues also bothered Sean Lee last year. He missed five games in 2017.
As Rapoport mentioned, the presence of rookie Leighton Vander Esch now takes far greater importance. The 2018 first-round pick looked good yesterday in relief of Sean, registering 11 tackles.
Another season of injury problems could put Lee's future with the Cowboys in jeopardy. In fact, it may only cement what was already a strong possibility.
Sean can be released next season for about $7 million in salary cap savings, and his replacement is already on the roster.
Lee is still a top NFL linebacker when healthy. But "when healthy" has been said far too often, and the Cowboys used their first-round pick this year to prepare for such a problem.
We'll see how long the 32-year-old has to sit out, and what impact that has on his career going forward.
Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is out for Sunday's game at the Seahawks with a sprained knee, further opening the door for Datone Jones to earn his spot among the "Hot Boyz". The moniker given to the Cowboys front seven this season, the team's depth up front has been a strength in totaling nine sacks through two games.
Last season, Datone Jones was a part of this rotation late in the year. Coming on strong at the 3T position while Maliek Collins played at the 1T, Jones is the type of versatile defender with veteran experience that Rod Marinelli can get the most out of.
Returning from a knee injury himself, Jones may take some time to be the disruptive interior player we saw at the end of 2017. Through two games, the Cowboys had played Collins at his original position of 3T, with Antwaun Woods doing more than enough to continue playing at 1T.
This potentially makes Collins and Jones two players fighting for one spot. Collins followed up his performance at the Panthers with a sack of Cam Newton by constantly playing in the Giants' backfield last week.
Guessing that means no Irving, I'd say Tyrone Crawford then Antwaun Woods. I have high hopes for Datone Jones once he returns though. https://t.co/9frjFK2J9J
A player determined to not let his team's misuse slow down his progress, after an incredible rookie season at 3T, Collins is returning from his second broken foot in three years.
Through his five years in the NFL, Jones has only played a full 16 games once.
The most games Datone has started in a season is four. Maliek Collins should like his chances of playing over Jones once both are healthy, and the Cowboys should be equally thrilled with the opportunity to keep both fresh in rotation.
Following Sunday's game in Seattle and next week against the Lions, the Cowboys can return David Irving from suspension to play all over their defensive line - his best position also being at three technique.
Without the wealth of talent they now have at all four positions up front, the Cowboys have had too many bodies to fill similar roles in the past. Thanks to the addition of Kris Richard along with strong edge play from Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong, the Cowboys defensive line can do no wrong in 2018, and using Jones in week three and beyond should only add to this.
The Cowboys biggest key to success against the Seahawks will be containing Russell Wilson. Pressuring him in his face to collapse the pocket gives Dallas a chance to really slow the Seahawks offense, something they'll be relying on Jones to help them do as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory also work with favorable match ups at defensive end.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Facing Multi-Game Suspension
An arrest last May for public intoxication may finally result in a suspension for Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams.
David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who reported the pending suspension, outlined the details of Williams' case. Charges were ultimately dropped once Terrance completed an alcohol education course and paid damages to the city.
Sources: Cowboys WR Terrance Williams faces suspension stemming from May arrest for public intoxication https://t.co/3RmwQOllim via @sportsdaydfw
However, as Cowboys fans know too well, the NFL reserves the right to suspend players under the Personal Conduct Policy regardless of legal outcomes. The 2017 season was marred by the league's persecution of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence despite no arrests or charges coming from any legal or police entity.
In Williams' case, there's no dispute of his guilt. It is unlikely he will appeal any decision the NFL makes.
The potential that Terrance will be missing for 2-4 games helps explain the Cowboys' move earlier this week to bring back WR Brice Butler. With both currently active, Dallas has an unusually high seven receivers on their 53-man roster.
It's already Friday, so the suspension is doubtful to come for this week's game in Seattle. But Terrance could easily be one of the seven inactive players on game day, having received the fewest snaps of any Cowboys WR last week against the Giants.
We'll see soon enough, likely as soon as next week, just what the league has in store for Terrance Williams.
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