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Cowboys Right Tackle: Who Replaces Recently Retired Doug Free?

Brian Martin

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How Should The Dallas Cowboys Replace RT Doug Free?

With the recent announcement of Doug Free‘s retirement, the Dallas Cowboys now have a hole to fill in their offensive line at the right tackle position. Whether or not the new Cowboys right tackle is currently on the roster or if they have to look outside for help, I thought it was a good time to explore all of their options.

You can say all you want about Doug Free, but he’s been a mainstay on the right side of the Cowboys offensive line for nearly a decade and his veteran leadership will certainly be missed in the locker room. Unfortunately, age catches up with all athletes and his play on the field was noticeably starting to decline. He chose to leave the game on his own terms, instead of waiting for his fate to be chosen for him.

For the Dallas Cowboys offensive line to continue to be one of the best units in the NFL, they absolutely have to do their due diligence in order to find their next starting right tackle. Below we will examine the Cowboys options to find Doug Free’s replacement for 2017 and beyond.

Cowboys In-House Options

OT Emmett ClearyThe Dallas Cowboys are certainly hoping that Doug Free’s replacement is currently on the roster. That means they don’t have to bring in anyone else and can put their minds at ease they will once again have arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. But, only they know how comfortable they are with their current in-house options.

Chaz Green is probably the favorite to step in and become the right tackle in 2017. That is why he was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft to begin with. Green has filled in nicely as an injury replacement and played well when given the chance, but he simply can’t stay healthy. That’s not very encouraging if you’re looking for stability at the right tackle position.

Emmett Cleary is another in-house option the Cowboys could look at to replace Doug Free. Like Green, Cleary has played well as an injury replacement, so we could see an open competition between the two tackles this off-season.

Of course, the wildcard here is La’el Collins. The signing of offensive guard Jonathan Cooper gives the Cowboys some flexibility with what they want to do with Collins. He was a tackle in college at LSU, but the Cowboys like him better inside as a guard. Cooper can be the Cowboys new starting left guard, which would allow Collins to kick outside right tackle.

Unfortunately, will have to wait and see exactly how they feel about their in-house options.

Sign a Veteran Free Agent

OT Austin PasztorI think it’s unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys decide to go this route, but signing a veteran free agent tackle they could plug-in and play right away has its advantages. The reason I don’t see them going this route though is because of the money involved. But, if they could find a bargain, that certainly changes things.

Ryan Clady, King Dunlap, Sebastian Vollmer, and even Austin Pasztor are all available free agent tackles the Cowboys could look to bring in. All of them have started in the NFL and could even be an upgrade if all parties can come together by working out a contract that is mutually beneficial to everyone involved.

I personally don’t see them going this route with both with Chaz Green and Emmett Cleary on the roster, but things can change in a blink of an eye if they decide they don’t like their current options.

Draft a Rookie Replacement

OT Cam RobinsonThe Dallas Cowboys have built their impressive offensive line through the draft, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they decided to go this route once again. This isn’t the deepest class for offensive lineman, so they might have to invest yet another early round draft pick if they’re looking for someone to plug-in as a rookie.

If the Cowboys are looking for an instant starter as a rookie, then they will probably have to hope either Ryan Ramczyk, Garett Bolles, or Cam Robinson are still available when they’re on the clock at 28 in the first round. Of course, there are other options available later in the draft, but they might not be ready to step in right away.

Since the Cowboys do currently have options on the roster, they don’t have to reach for a prospect. They can let the draft play out and if there’s an offensive tackle sitting there they think can come in and be an upgrade, then they will certainly pull the trigger.

There’s no way of knowing right now what they will do to replace Doug Free, but this will certainly be a situation we will all probably be keeping a close watchful eye on. For the Dallas Cowboys to have a successful 2017 season, finding the right replacement at right tackle could be the deciding factor.

How do you think the Dallas Cowboys should replace Doug Free?

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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.

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4 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    Would expect the OL draft strategy is to look for value and/or a project with talent down the draft. Especially someone with swing ability like Collins. But unless it’s just an offensive player that can’t be passed on, pretty sure the focus up the draft stays on defense this year.

    So they have to add on the OL – whether that way or F/A. I like the idea of Collins at RT because it should be an instant upgrade from Free, and it may be the thing that keeps him healthy. Also LG should be an easier proposition to fill – whether that is Cooper, draft or F/A.

    And LG is a lucky position for Dallas. Nate Newton and Ronald Leary, both went undrafted.

    • Brian Martin

      There is no way of really knowing what the Cowboys are going to do to address the RT position. Personally, I don’t understand why everybody wants to move Collins. The Cowboys tried him there previously in training camp and obviously didn’t really like what they saw. That is why he has been the left guard. I think they are ready to go with Green and Cleary, but wouldn’t hesitate to draft a OT if they thought it was an upgrade.

      • Russ_Te

        Collins has the size and athleticism for T, but if he just doesn’t look as good there, no doubt that will affect what they do. I see the move outside as a possibility not really a probability. If they think Cooper fills the LG, they may decide to look again at Collins for RT. But if it’s a drop off for him, better to go another direction of course.

        More confident about the draft approach – defense early unless an offensive player falls whom it would be foolish to pass on. In any case, I think they’ll find an intriguing project or two who could turn into an OL starter down the road.

        • Brian Martin

          Russ, I agree with all that.

Star Blog

Think Jason Garrett is a Robot? FOX Sports Agrees

Jess Haynie

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Jason Garrett

Cowboys fans have often complained that head coach Jason Garrett is too robotic in his demeanor, media answers, and constant clapping. Yesterday, with most of the country feeling Star Wars fever, FOX Sports tapped into the zeitgeist while also taking a little jab at Garrett’s robot reputation.

FOX Sports released photographs of several NFL personalities as Star Wars character. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were Jedis.  Bill Belichick, surprise-surprise, was a the evil Emperor.

Garrett… well….

FOX Sports: NFL on Twitter

@AaronRodgers12 @CameronNewton @Panthers @Patriots Jason Garrett is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication.

From 2016 Coach of the Year to punchline, Garrett’s reputation has certainly taken a big swing this season. Things are so bad, they couldn’t give him a C-3PO with matching arms. Oh, the indignity.

Of course, this is all in good fun. Garrett has 12 and 13-win seasons in two of the last three years. 2017 could’ve been very different if not for Ezekiel Elliott‘s legal issues and Sean Lee’s injury. And even now, there’s still a chance the Cowboys can sneak back into the playoffs.

Yes, Jason is repetitive. And yes, he’s no Bill Parcells behind a microphone. But could they at least have made him R2-D2?

At least FOX Sports didn’t make him Jar Jar Binks. That should go to Roger Goodell.

Just for fun, what other Star Wars characters would you compare Cowboys players and other staff members to? Maybe Sean Lee as Boba Fett, hunting down targets in the open field? Or maybe Cole Beasley as Luke, since they’re both a little short to be Stormtroopers.

Have any other good Cowboys/Star Wars comparisons? Share them in the comments!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott, Offensive Line

Es increíble pensar que ya estamos en la semana 15 de la NFL. Más increíble aún, los Dallas Cowboys que se fueron 13-3 con el sembrado #1 de la NFC hace un año, ahorita cuentan con un récord de 7-6 y unas esperanzas de pasar a playoffs muy, muy pequeñas.

El domingo pasado, a pesar de llevarse la victoria en el campo contra los New York Giants, los Cowboys no recibieron la ayuda que necesitaban alrededor de la liga.

Pero a pesar de ser pequeñas, las esperanzas siguen vivas. Y este domingo, los aficionados a Dallas no sólo apoyaremos a los Cowboys en el Sunday Night Football, sino también a otros cuantos equipos.

Para los Cowboys, ¿cuáles son las combinaciones necesarias?

  • Dallas Cowboys termina la temporada 10-6, ganando los últimos tres partidos. 
  • Que los Green Bay Packers pierdan un partido. 
  • Que los Detroit Lions pierdan un partido. 
  • Que los Atlanta Falcons o los Carolina Panthers pierdan dos partidos. 

En mi opinión, incluso con Aaron Rodgers volviendo al campo, los Panthers y los Falcons presentan el mayor reto. Y creo, que lo que deberíamos estar apoyando en este momento, es que sean los Falcons los que pierdan dos partidos.

¿Por qué? Porque este domingo, Carolina se enfrentará a Green Bay. Francamente, Panthers es el equipo que más probabilidades tiene de echar a perder el regreso heroico de Rodgers. Panthers también puede vencer a los Falcons en la semana 17.

Así que, mientras los Panthers no podrían ayudar perdiendo, creo que más bien nos podrán apoyar ganando. Sin embargo, los resultados de la semana 15 influenciarán mucho a quien apoyaremos como fans de los Cowboys.

Por ahora, estos serían los resultados ideales de la semana 15:

  • CHI Bears vencen a DET Lions. 
  • CAR Panthers vencen a GB Packers.
  • TB Buccaneers sorprenden a ATL Falcons. 

Claro, dos de estos resultados parecen muy optimistas, pero todo puede pasar en la NFL y sobre todo con equipos tan inconsistentes como los Lions.

Por supuesto que, todo esto no tiene ni sentido si los Cowboys no se van 3-0 en las siguientes tres semanas. El rival más fuerte que le queda a Dallas son los Seattle Seahawks. Con Ezekiel Elliott volviendo esa misma semana, será un duelo increíble en el AT&T Stadium.

En mi opinión, será el partido que definirá de que son capaces los Dallas Cowboys del 2017.

Pero primero que nada, los Cowboys se tienen que preocupar por un partido que puede resultar siendo un juego “trampa.” Un juego trampa, es cuando un equipo tiene una semana muy importante por venir (Seahawks) y subestima al rival (Raiders) que tiene enfrente dentro de los próximos días.

Sobre todo cuando es de visita, estos partidos pueden resultar siendo peligrosos en la NFL y realmente, en todos los niveles de football americano.

Fantasy Football - #FantasyFootball Hot Sauce/Weak Sauce and Waiver Wire Adds for Week 9 3

Oakland Raiders Derek Carr (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Y sí, los Raiders han tenido una temporada muy decepcionante en la que ni Derek Carr ni Amari Cooper han sido lo que se esperaba, pero Derek Carr es un QB que puede echarse al equipo a los hombros en cualquier momento.

Todos pueden tener una mala temporada, y ese ha sido el caso para el #4 de Oakland. Sin embargo, si los Cowboys mantienen el partido cerrado en el cuarto cuarto, Derek Carr puede demostrar que tan peligroso es.

Con jugadores clave como Khalil Mack, que por cierto tendrá una batalla épica con La’el Collins, es un juego que no es tan fácil como parece. Sí, los Raiders tienen un récord de 6-7. ¿Y? Los Cowboys tienen un récord de 7-6. Es mejor, claro. ¿Pero realmente es tan bueno como para pensar que será una victoria fácil?

Podemos criticar a Jason Garrett por muchas cosas, pero una de las cosas que no podemos criticarlo, es la motivación que le da a los jugadores. A pesar de muchos reportes acerca de que los jugadores “estaban molestos” con los coaches, definitivamente no han jugado como si se hubieran rendido en su entrenador.

No creo que los Cowboys pierdan el domingo. Pero esperemos que no sólo ganen en la noche, sino que obtengan victorias indirectas alrededor de la NFC.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

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