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Cowboys Set To Reload, Not Rebuild For 2017

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Martin's 5: Morris Claiborne Next In Line For Interception

The mass exodus of Cowboys defensive backs through free agency is now complete, and while the current defensive back depth chart looks thinner, it is no-less capable of playing winning football.

So while the internet burned on Thursday afternoon as Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne both signed with new, AFC teams, I can almost guarantee you that no one involved in the running of the Cowboys broke a sweat.

Don't get me wrong. Brandon Carr, Barry Church, JJ Wilcox, and Morris Claiborne have each been solid contributors to the Cowboys for a while now. Carr and Church the steady leaders, Wilcox and Claiborne the late bloomers, all four made key plays in 2016 en route to the 13-3 record.

And yet, it was still not enough.

As Aaron Rodgers shredded the Cowboys for 34 points and an early playoff exit, every one knew what time it was in Dallas. It was, and now is, time to make drastic changes on the defensive side of the ball.

And now, months later, the re-construction of the defensive roster is in progress. Like the old adage, the Cowboys are out with the old, and in with new. Out with the JAGs, and in with star-caliber defensive backs (we hope). Out with the overpaid or the injury plagued, and in with the youth and rookie contracts.

So, you can miss me with the "sky is falling" takes after the events of these past two weeks.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

cowboys found a starting outside corner in rd. 6 last year.

Of course, the Cowboys must now replace the departed players, primarily through the draft. This should not scare you, however, it should excite you.

Last year, the Cowboys found their number one cornerback in round six. Anthony Brown, the sixth round pick out of Purdue, has turned into a solid outside corner, and someone who should continue to develop through the years.

Brown started nine games last season, most of which came when the newly-signed New York Jet Morris Claiborne missed time due to injury.

This year, it won't take until the sixth round for a starting cornerback to be found. The 2017 NFL Draft is filled with quality corners, including guys like UCLA's Fabian Moreau and Florida's Teez Tabor, both of which would make the perfect outside cornerback in Dallas.

Since Will McClay took over the draft in 2014, the Cowboys have found two quality starting defensive backs in Anthony Brown and Byron Jones.

In 2017, they will find the third.

Sure, it sucks to see players who have been solid contributors for a few years leave your football team. Church, Carr, Claiborne, and even Wilcox will all be missed. But this is how the NFL works. The veterans play themselves out of their team's price range, and both sides move on.

Usually, the team who brings in the younger, fresher talent continues to win, while the older free agents tend to bust in their new situations. Of course, I don't wish that upon any of the departing Cowboys, but I certainly hope us fans can realize that the Cowboys are playing this the right way.

Remain patient, financially responsible, and draft well. That is the winning formula.

It's worked for the offense, now it's time to reload on defense.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • Travis Diggs

    Why did it take for this playoff game to revamp the D ??? This defense has been bad for a LONG….. time, I personally as a fan wasn’t Hart broken from any losses from this defense in FA, we only have one All Pro caliber defender(Lee obvious) I like Byron and Brown but we need some help to make this run next season. I want them to get Obi from Uconn, It might take a 1 to get him but I trust Will. He pulled four starters out of last year’s draft class

    • leo thomas

      Obi from UConn. would be great. Byron has been working out with him. I’m not heart broken from any of the FA we lost either. Time to change the DB field. Add de,linebacker,RB and OT.

      • Travis Diggs

        We should duplicate last year’s draft, same selections different order. Qb, Rb, Lb, De, Dt, Cb, S, but I like that OL pick too like u said. I would look at a Wr too

        • Kevin Black

          Okay, I count just about every position on the team outside of TE, Kicker and Punter. Are we in rebuild mode and no one told me?

      • Kevin Black

        Would you use your 1st round pick on him? Because he won’t fall to you at 60. If you do get him at 28, you will be passing on an awful lot of talent.

    • Kevin Black

      Sometimes the players you need aren’t available when you draft. This is a draft with a lot of what Dallas needs on D, so it aligns up well. You don’t draft a DE in a weak DE draft and claim you got your savior. You have to have patience and let the players and game come to you, don’t force it.

  • Terence Rendon

    Thanks Mr. Brady for doing your Homework and working Hard on the problem about Dallas Defends. I could only wish Dallas would had done this fews years ago. By releasing or started replacing players on defends side of the balls. That way we have better players in place. Instead replacing them all at once when Dallas don’t have that many drafts picks. They also need to pick up a great TE to replace soon to be Hall of Fame Witten. Dallas also need to stop handing out Mega Contracts and over paying players like they are the best that ever play the game. ( ROMO, Lee, Brant, OL, Witten, others) .

    • Kevin Black

      Okay, I’m confused here. Romo was worth his contract. Witten is worth his, Bryant is arguably worth his contract and Lee is worth his. If any of them had hit the FA market when they got their last contract, other teams would have easily paid that much or more, so how are they overpaid? I’m still not sure how you think our OL is overpaid. Free would be the only one and he took a pay cut to bring him more in line with his skill, which I suggest he actually out-played the last two years. If you had mentioned Tyrone Crawford, I could have agreed with you there as injuries have taken his potential away. Although Lee has been injured, his contact accounts for that and he wanted that language in the contract. So, the only ‘overpaid’ player I know of is Brandon Carr and people are up in arms that he was allowed to sign for $6m a year in Baltimore. Carroll is almost a Carr clone, but with slightly better athleticism and for half the cost.

      As for getting players ahead of time to replace leaving players, Dallas actually does do that. Chaz Green for Doug Free… Anthony Brown for Morris Claiborne… Kavon Frazier for Barry Church… It’s actually something we track when projecting possible draft picks as Dallas has been pretty good at this. You could complain about Green, but only due to injury. His ability is not in question after his ability to play for Tyron for the first couple of games of 2016.

      Just remember, every team has holes. It’s all about trying to keep those holes to a minimum and mask the ones you do have. Teams across the NFL are now trying to copy the OL model of the Cowboys, but the ability of Dallas to identify and draft those players will be hard for other teams to match, especially this year when the tackle class is very weak. Teams will be reaching for players to try and duplicate the Great Wall and will get leaky copies at best.

      As for TE, we might actually already have his replacement if the voices at The Star can be believed. Rico Gathers was actually getting snaps with the first team at the end of last year. You have to earn that and the departing safeties both said that Romo and Gathers were wearing them out in practice.

      One last thing: Don’t reach for players. Let them come to you. You can’t get O.J. Howard, Fabian Moraeu and Jordan Willis in the first round. You only get one pick. Will McClay has proven the last few years that he knows what he’s doing. Thank the gods above that he keeps turning down GM interview offers. If we lose McClay, our drafting will start to suffer.

      • Terence Rendon

        Now you want to reply to my statements. If you don’t get it. You need to stop posting your articles on football and go back to college. You don’t see teams like Denver , New England , Baltimore, Atlanta, Seattle, Pittsburgh and the likes. Every year in salary cap problems. Why they don’t over pay there players.. Now let get real. How many teams pay there QB lie he is the king of the world. None of teams above over pay there players not even Tom Brady or Dree Breeze don’t even make half what Rome is making. Of all those team above only Denver and Pittsburgh pays there WR like Dallas does Bryant. All the rest of the teams in the league that does pay there WR a lot don’t see playoff. None of those teams above pay there TE as much as Dallas paying Witten either. Now for Lee. Look at his history of injury. Has he play more 5 back to back 16 games season in his NFL career. I don’t thinks he has. That mean he is well overpay. Most of those team would let every one of those players test the open market just to see what is the market is at for those players. Right now our OL is not over paid. I guarantee once they get in there 5th year of there rookie contract they will be. You can not look at how much a player is worth on a one to one bases, Look at how much it will cost you to replace them and how soon they can get there. Every player can be replace at one point or another and how much you want to pay them.
        Now on replacements players. Steven Jones came out this past week and said Chaz Green is not there yet to be able to replace Free. Same way for Kavon Frazier to be able to replace Church. Not just those 2 players was I talking about. I was talking about the placements players across the board on the roster. Were is Lee replacement. Then you talk about Wittens replacement. Was not even on the roster if you go by what I heard from Garrett when he was talking to people. But I wish Gathers can replace him in due time. I also loo at this might be Wittens last years his body can take the blows.
        I have no problem with this. I now every team does this. But some are better at it then other. Just remember, every team has holes. It’s all about trying to keep those holes to a minimum and mask the ones you do have. Teams across the NFL are now trying to copy the OL model of the Cowboys, but the ability of Dallas to identify and draft those players will be hard for other teams to match, especially this year when the tackle class is very weak. Teams will be reaching for players to try and duplicate the Great Wall and will get leaky copies at best.
        One last thing: Don’t reach for players. Let them come to you. You can’t get O.J. Howard, Fabian Moraeu and Jordan Willis in the first round. You only get one pick. Will McClay has proven the last few years that he knows what he’s doing. Thank the gods above that he keeps turning down GM interview offers. If we lose McClay, our drafting will start to suffer. Will McClay should had been shown the door many many years ago. He is not no GURO when it come to the NFL. At best this guy is very weak when it come down on judging players.

Star Blog

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Could Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

The NFC East is a wild, wild division. Since 2004, the division that hosts some of the most popular franchises in the NFL hasn't seen the same team winning the NFC East title two years in a row. It's crazy! Who expected the Dallas Cowboys to become the #1 seed in the conference in 2016 after seeing Tony Romo go down during the preseason? Who was able to predict the Philadelphia Eagles' amazing run for the Super Bowl last year?

It's an unpredictable league, but the NFC East side of things can really amaze you on a yearly basis.

Heading into 2018, it all seems to be about the Eagles and the Cowboys. Being the last two teams to win the title, it's only logical to expect them to be the only teams in the division that have what it takes to own the NFC East crown.

But maybe, just maybe, we are overlooking the New York Giants.

Coming from a 3-13 record in 2017, the Giants have quite a bit to prove if they want to become a winning team once again and return to playoff contention. With Odell Beckham missing most of the season and with good ol' Ben McAdoo calling the shots, the team was never able to get a break.

Listen, we all know Eli Manning has been struggling lately. Many thought the Giants should've drafted a quarterback when they held the #2 overall pick back in April. But whether we like it or not, New York seems to have a plan: take advantage of Manning's last years on the field.

Instead of taking a young QB for the future, they drafted the best player available to take the load off Manning's shoulders. Saquon Barkley will probably be able to do what Ezekiel Elliott was able to do in 2016: lead the offense by running the football 20 times a game and have several 100-yard performances.

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

New York Giants OG Will Hernandez

Not only that, but the front office did make an effort to re-build a disastrous offensive line by bringing in a talented left tackle in Nate Solder and by stealing the UTEP product, Will Hernandez in the second round of the draft. If the Giants are able to finally groom Ereck Flowers into a decent starter at right tackle, this could be a pretty solid offensive line.

Of course, Manning will not only be benefited from the running game, but his superstar wide receiver will be back on the field. Beckham is one of the NFL's best wide receivers and will surely be back at terrifying opposing secondaries week in and week out.

The Giants are bringing in Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher, who did a nice job for the Arizona Cardinals' defense over the last few years. With some talented defensive players, the team might not have the best squad in the league, but it doesn't seem like a defense that will struggle throughout the season.

Last but not least, the Giants will have a new head coach in form of Pat Shurmur. He's had some success in the league, lately as an offensive coordinator for a Minnesota Vikings team that managed to get to the NFC Championship with Case Keenum at QB. It was a good hire for the team, and I'm pretty sure it will be easy to do a better job than McAdoo's work with the Giants.

If I was to make a prediction, I'd say the Giants will have a handful of wins in 2018. However, I don't see them getting back into the postseason just yet. An 8-8 record sounds about right. Having said that, though, it really seems like a team that could surprise everyone and emerge as a surprise contender in the NFC East.

Do you think the New York Giants could be a surprise threat in 2018?

Tell me what you think about "Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?" 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

Where Cowboys CB Marquez White Fits In 2018

Kevin Brady



Dallas Cowboys Draft CB Marquez White at #216

In the 2017 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys selected four new defensive backs, three of which saw significant playing time during their rookie season.

Those three, of course, are Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods. That fourth defensive back, however, should not be forgotten about as we enter the beginning stages of the 2018 season. That player is former Florida State cornerback Marquez White.

Rather than playing alongside his rookie counterparts in the secondary, White spent time on the Cowboys practice squad in 2017. The former sixth round pick was signed to a futures contract at the end of 2017, however, and now has a chance to compete in camp once again.

Entering their sophomore seasons the starting secondary already appears to be taking shape. Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones are just about locked in to the outside cornerback jobs, Xavier Woods is expected to start at safety beside Jeff Heath, and Jourdan Lewis is battling with now third year player Anthony Brown for the slot corner role.

So where does Marquez White fit into all of this?

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

Well, the aforementioned players are locks to make the 53-man roster, but Marquez White should be the favorite to win the 5th cornerback spot going forward. White's raw talent is undeniable, and he has the ability to play under both man and zone responsibilities.

The main reason we should be optimistic about Marquez White's chances to land on the final roster, however, is his athletic profile. At 6'0" tall, just under 200 pounds, and long arms White fits the mold for what new secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks.

And, for better or for worse, Richard clearly values these measureables highly. This is evident in how second year corner Jourdan Lewis has been used thus far in mini camp and offseason activities; being relegated to second team and the slot rather than allowed to compete for an outside cornerback job with Awuzie and Jones.

So with the arrival of Kris Richard, the departure of Orlando Scandrick, the underwhelming play of Anthony Brown, and the raw talent he already possesses, Marquez White has a very strong chance of making the final 53-man roster in Dallas.

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Star Blog

Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?

Kevin Brady



In Season For Youth, Cowboys Must Make Tough Decision On Jaylon Smith

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.

After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.

Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.

Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.

Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.How Will LB Jaylon Smith Best be Utilized in 2018?

During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.

Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.

Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.

If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.

Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.

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