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Cowboys Set To Reload, Not Rebuild For 2017

Kevin Brady

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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. https://t.co/gPxHydwyX3

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.



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9 Comments
  • 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 NFL.com 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

Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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