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Could Cowboys Target Former Sanjay Lal-Coached Receivers?

Kevin Brady

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Could Sanjay Lal

After spending the 2017 season plagued by a disappointing passing attack, the Dallas Cowboys might be in the market for wide receivers during free agency. Of course, there are a ton of different options for them to choose from, but narrowing it down to a couple realistic choices is necessary.

The Cowboys hired Sanjay Lal to coach their wide outs just a few weeks ago, and it would make sense for them to bring in personnel who Lal is familiar with. Lal was most recently the receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts, but spent time in Buffalo with the Bills as well.

Ironically, there are two free agent receivers who were both coached by Lal during prior seasons.

Donte Moncrief

Colts Receiver Donte Moncrief enters the open market after a somewhat disappointing 2017 season. His production drop-off can mostly be attributed to injuries and shaky offensive talent around him, but Moncrief still could have been better.

Moncrief's best season came back in 2015 when he caught 64 balls for 733 yards and 6 touchdowns. This was also the last time he played a full 16 games.

What makes Moncrief so intriguing?

For one, he's just 24 years old. He's also 6'2" and 216 pounds, which would fit the bill for a Cowboys' Z receiver. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine, has functional speed on the field as well, and has become known for creating big plays down the field while averaging 15 yards per reception in 2017.

The Cowboys lacked any type of big plays through the passing game in 2017, and Moncrief could be a deep target for Dak Prescott moving forward.

Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins is a bit of a controversial player throughout the league. The former first-round pick was drafted in the same class as elite receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans. But Watkins himself has never fully reached his potential. This has a lot to do with his injury history.

Watkins has played in all 16 games just once in his career, and has been hobbled throughout multiple seasons. What would give me hope in signing Sammy Watkins to the Cowboys?

Well, his best season by far came in 2015 where he caught 60 balls for 1,047 yards and 9 touchdowns. 2015 was also the last full season he was coached by Sanjay Lal, the current receivers coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Watkins credits Lal with molding him into the receiver he's become, stating Lal was the guy who "groomed me into running routes and doing everything the right way." Considering how strong the relationship between Watkins and Lal seems to be, he may want to come to Dallas for the upcoming season.

The real question becomes, then, is Watkins the type of receiver the Cowboys need? They need to find someone who can create easy separation and has reliable hands. In some ways, Watkins may bring more questions to the passing game than answers.



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.

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4 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    Are these two better than Terrance Williams, sure. But do they make us better, I dont know

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      It’s a fair question, Travis. I also wonder if they really bring the skill set which our WRs are lacking.

    • John Williams

      Watkins makes you better for sure. Moncrief has better speed than anyone on the roster at the moment, so he potentially stretches the field, which opens things up underneath for everyone else.

  • John Williams

    Would love if they could get Watkins in here, but with what WR contracts look like they’re going to be this offseason, and what they already have invested at WR, it makes it unlikely.

    Moncrief to me feels like a more reasonable option. Shouldn’t cost a ton and you may not have to offer him more than 2 years with 1 year guarantee to make it happen.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Draws Comparison to Dallas Legend

Jess Haynie

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Tavon Austin

It will be a few weeks before new Cowboys receiver Tavon Austin can make a big impression on Dallas fans. But apparently he's already done that with team owner Jerry Jones, who went so far as to compare Austin to the biggest legend in Cowboys WR history.

According to Rob Phillips of DallasCowboys.com, Jones said the following about Tavon after a recent practice:

Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Draws Comparison to Dallas Legend

Considering that Michael Irving's energy and leadership were an integral part of the 1990s Super Bowl teams, that's high praise. And given recent developments on the Cowboys offense, that sort of leadership is needed.

Say what you want about their declining performance, but Jason Witten and Dez Bryant were huge voices in the locker room. Their departures left a void of veteran leadership that, hopefully, Tavon Austin is helping to fill.

Personality is great, but a player also has to stand out on the field. Tavon's never been to a Pro Bowl and was almost a non-factor on the Rams last season. He won't keep his teammates' attention long if he's not backing it up with his play.

Michael Irvin's nickname was "The Playmaker." His performance justified his loud voice in the locker room.

Nobody expects Tavon Austin to be the Cowboys leading receiver in 2018, or even in the top three, but he will need to maximize his opportunities on offense and on special teams. He may not get close to the 907 combined yards and nine touchdowns he had as a Ram in 2015, but he still needs to be consistent and do the most with what he's given.

No, Austin's name won't ever be in the Ring of Honor with Michael Irvin's. But playing in his sixth season, Tavon has more experience than a lot of players on this young Cowboys roster. He's seen the highs of being an eight overall draft pick and the lows of being traded for peanuts for by his former team.

Hopefully, all of that has made him a voice of wisdom and encouragement for his new teammates. If so, Tavon Austin is an asset to this Dallas offense.



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Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

Kevin Brady

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Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

The collapse of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys can be, in large part, attributed to the collapse of their offensive line. When left tackle Tyron Smith was forced to miss time with various injuries, neither Chaz Green nor Byron Bell could get the job done in his place. Not only were these two replacements unsatisfactory, however, they were disastrous.

From the beginning of the 2017 season the Cowboys had a problem at left guard as well. With Ronald Leary departing for Denver and La'el Collins replacing Doug Free at right tackle, the left guard spot was left to an open competition between Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green. Quite frankly, neither was impressive.

As a result Dak Prescott's sophomore season was nowhere near as fun or remarkable as his rookie season, and the Cowboys faltered down the stretch as a team. Trying to rectify these issues, Dallas drafted Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams in the second round of last year's draft.

Though it could be argued that, on paper, the Cowboys had more pressing needs than their All-Pro filled offensive line, adding a player like Connor Williams was exactly what this team needed to do if it wanted to emulate its 2016 success.

So, through one preseason game, how does the rookie look? Let's take to the film to decide just how good (or bad) Connor Williams was in his debut.

dalvssf2018 connor williams

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Let's begin with the bad. Really the only completely poor rep of the night for Connor Williams came on the first drive of the game. Williams is working against former first round pick DeForest Buckner here. Buckner, lined up as the 3 technique over Williams' outside shoulder, knows he is in a one-on-one situation with the rookie.

Buckner immediately swipes Williams' hands down, quickly flipping his hips and getting upfield. Besides not getting a strong enough punch, Williams' biggest mistake is that he stops his feet on contact. This allows Buckner to get him off balance, forcing Williams to bend at the waist and look lost.

Buckner then blows by him for the easy quarterback hit.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 2

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Later on the same drive we see Williams struggle to execute a reach block. Once again Williams is faced with a 3-technique, this time defensive tackle Sheldon Day. Day gets a great get-off, beating Williams initially with his first step. Day then does a great job of stoning Williams' playside shoulder and redirecting the running back.

This is another example of Connor Williams needing to increase his play strength and speed a bit. Multiple Cowboys reporters at training camp have mentioned these issues with Williams' game, and they flashed on tape during this rep.

Thankfully for both Connor Williams and the Cowboys, things only went uphill from here.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

On Dak Prescott's touchdown pass to Michael Gallup we see Connor Williams correct everything he had wrong earlier.

Williams comes out of his stance square, delivers a solid punch, and stones the defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. Williams stays strong with his hands even as the defender attempts to swipe them down as Buckner successfully did earlier.

He allows for no interior pass rush and keeps Prescott's vision clear down the field.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Earlier on the same drive we see Connor Williams work well off a double team and on to the second level. Williams delivers a solid punch to the 1-technique on the inside of him, allowing Travis Frederick plenty of time to overtake the man and drive him back.

What's most impressive, though, is how Williams keeps his shoulders square and his eyes on the second level the entire time. He never buries his head or over-commits to the down lineman, allowing himself to be an athlete and help spring Rod Smith for a nice gain.

Despite some legit reasons for concern about Williams' game, I do believe he will be fine moving forward. Connor Williams is an excellent plug and play left guard who provides some tackle depth as well, and is a vital addition to the Cowboys 2018 offense. His debut performance gives all of us even more reasons to be excited about this offensive line.



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Dallas Cowboys

Possible Cowboys Roster Cuts Who Could Have Trade Value

Brian Martin

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Possible Cowboys Roster Cuts Who Could Have Trade Value

I know it's a little early in the process to start thinking about roster cuts with a few weeks of preseason still remaining, but I've been doing just that. You see, the Dallas Cowboys have very few available spots up for grabs, which means they will have to let go of some talented players.

Once cut, players are subject to the waiver wire and have no control over which team puts in a claim to acquire their service. It's just how things work in the NFL. But, if a team truly values someone at risk of being cut, they could try to work out a trade before the player hits the waiver wire. We have seen the Dallas Cowboys do this in the past.

With so much talent on the roster, the Cowboys could end up shopping some of their players before final cuts are made. There is no way of knowing if anybody would be interested in entering trade discussions for any of the Cowboys potential roster cuts, but I do believe they have a few players who have some trade value.

WR Terrance Williams 

Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

With the way some of the Dallas Cowboys younger wide receivers are performing in training camp practices and in preseason, Terrance Williams could find himself on the outside looking in when roster cuts are made. Yes, the Cowboys would have to be willing to swallow the dead money they'd have to take on by releasing him, but it could be worth it if it means keeping someone with more upside.

Williams could be viewed as a progress stopper with the Cowboys right now, which could make him expendable. He may not have value in Dallas any longer, but there are other teams around the NFL who could use his services. It probably wouldn't take more than a 2019 late round draft pick to acquire him if indeed the Cowboys are planning to move on.

TE Rico Gathers 

Rico Gathers

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

There is an unwarranted fascination surrounding Dallas Cowboys Tight End Rico Gathers, despite very little production to justify it. I'll admit, I was excited about Gathers' development and what he could possibly turn into, but I think my excitement has dwindled. He simply hasn't emerged as of yet and I just don't think the Cowboys coaching staff has much faith in him doing so.

We all know Gathers could be a mismatch in the passing game, but the Cowboys ask a lot more from their TEs in their offensive scheme. Unfortunately, Gathers just hasn't been able to pick up the mental side of the game or develop as a blocker since coming to Dallas. I don't really think he's shown enough in the passing game to warrant a roster spot either, which means his fate could be sealed. But, some other team could be interested in trading for him instead of trying to pick him up off of waivers.

DE Kony Ealy

Kony Ealy

Dallas Cowboys DE Kony Ealy

At the time, I thought the Dallas Cowboys signing Defensive End Kony Ealy in the offseason was a good move. He provided some much-needed depth to the DE position, but that was before and this is now. Unfortunately for Ealy, he could be buried on the depth chart behind some young up-and-coming pass rushers with more upside.

This year's fourth-round draft pick Dorance Armstrong hass been a pleasant surprise so far and has probably secured a roster spot. Taco Charlton, the Cowboys first-round draft pick last year, looks like an entirely different player and isn't going anywhere. Then, you add in the return of Randy Gregory and that just doesn't leave much room for Ealy. But, the veteran could have other suitors around the league, prompting the Cowboys to trade him.

DE Charles Tapper

Charles Tapper

Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Tapper (Paul Spinelli via AP)

It's really unfortunate Charles Tapper hasn't really been healthy since joining the Dallas Cowboys. I think he is talented with starting potential, but injuries have prevented him from becoming the player I think he could be. But, just like Kony Ealy, Tapper is stuck in a numbers crunch and will likely be a roster cut when all is said and done.

I'm actually going to be a little disappointed to see Tapper go. I've been a fan of his, but there's comes a time when you have to cut ties, and his time looks as if it's up. He is as physically gifted as just about any defensive end in the NFL, which could mean another team would like to take a chance on him and work out a trade with the Cowboys.

Do you think any of these potential Dallas Cowboys roster cuts get traded?



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