Connect with us

Star Blog

Cowboys Vs Cardinals: Dallas’ DBs Prepared For First Test

Sean Martin

Published

on

Cowboys Vs Cardinals: Dallas' DBs Prepared For First Test

The Dallas Cowboys play a football game tomorrow. Read that sentence again, I'll help you out. At 7 PM Central Time on Thursday, the Cowboys will be facing the Arizona Cardinals from Canton, Ohio in the 2017 Hall of Fame game.

The football itself surely will not be perfect - a virtual extension of the scrimmages that have produced some fan-favorite Cowboys videos from Oxnard - but it will be a formidable test for an entirely revamped secondary that has generated plenty of buzz to start training camp.

A Cowboys' offense full of big names has struggled to dominate consistently in camp against rookie defensive backs trying to make names for themselves too such as Chidobe Awuzie, Xavier Woods, Marquez White, and Jourdan Lewis.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett scoring the DBs on their catches Sunday on the Jugs machine. Scored it 1-10. No one got a 10 on any catch https://t.co/IAPxB88p1b

Awuzie has been given the Byron Jones treatment in his first camp, getting reps at both safety and cornerback as he did at Colorado. The Cowboys' second round pick has made standout plays on the ball from both spots and could work his way into the starting lineup as early as week one against the Giants at home.

Xavier Woods finds himself behind some veterans at safety - a position in need of players to step up and define their roles - but has made the most of every rep with the drive for the football that made him a draft crush for many out of Louisiana Tech.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Byron Jones with INT https://t.co/HGIfyqah6L

Perhaps even more exciting are the strides that young leaders on the back-end of Rod Marinelli's defense have made, with Byron Jones getting his hands on even more passes at safety.

Even converted quarterback Jameill Showers ended Tuesday's practice with an interception as a safety.

Cowboys Vs Cardinals: Dallas' Young DBs Prepared For First Test

The first live test for the DBs is going to be a fierce one, as they could not ask for a better passing offense to attempt to slow down than that of the Cardinals. In a best-of-both-worlds scenario, Cardinals' HC Bruce Arians will test the Cowboys with a relentless amount of route concepts and formations - though it will be Blaine Gabbert for the first half and Trevor Knight for the second on Thursday night under center for the red birds.

247Sports on Twitter

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announces no starters will play Thursday vs. Cowboys. 1st half QB: Blaine Gabbert 2nd half QB: Trevor Knight

The Cardinals' offense ranked ninth in yards per game last season both overall and through the air, finishing within less than a point of the Cowboys in average points per game at sixth. Dallas was fifth in the NFL with 26.3 PPG.

Neither of these QBs Arizona will play should strike fear into NFL defenses, and it's certainly likely the Cowboys defense will hardly resemble their week one unit when factoring in the defensive linemen and linebackers.

I know that I won't be alone in staying glued to the Cowboys' suddenly deep, skilled, and entertaining group of play makers at both CB and S though. Lining up against the likes of John Brown, JJ Nelson, Aaron Dobson, and Chad Williams will be quite the test for any DBs on the Cardinals' preseason schedule these coming weeks.

Simply seeing the Dallas Cowboys in an organized football game is going to make tomorrow evening glorious.

Watching to see the Cowboys translate their mantra of competition to a real game that will test the newest bunch of key players here will be even more special, as it very well could be just the start of a long-awaited season of dominant DB play in Dallas in 2017.

Time for some kids to earn their ✭ in Canton.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Vs Cardinals: Dallas’ DBs Prepared For First Test" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Advertisement
1 Comment
  • John Williams

    I’ll be excited to see how your boy Marquez White does in the game. There’s a good chance he sees reps early considering Lewis is out and Scan and Carroll are veterans who may not even play in the game. It will be a good test for the entire defense, albeit not against great quarterbacking, but against a pass happy offense.

Star Blog

How Should The Cowboys, And The NFL, Value RBs?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Will Cowboys' Offense Improve With Ezekiel Elliott's Return?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no one, stand-alone "best" strategy for winning in the NFL. There are, of course, common themes and ideals which run true year in and year out among the top teams.

Strategy in the NFL is dynamic, or at least it should be. Running in place for too long under the same leadership often breeds mediocrity, and refusing to move with current trends can put you at a severe disadvantage.

Succumbing to those trends without fully analyzing the confounding factors your situation presents, however, can also ruin a team building exercise.

With that being said, should teams pay elite running backs top dollar? Or are those running backs expendable, replaceable, and often forgettable within the NFL machine?

To be honest these aren't very fair ways to pose legitimately interesting questions. You can acknowledge that a running back is important to your offense while also acknowledging that you don't want to break the bank for a position with such injury risk and high turnover year-to-year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently facing this dilemma, as their star running back Le'Veon Bell asks to be paid like an elite "weapon," not as a normal running back. And when you examine how the Steelers deploy Bell within their offense, he clearly has a point.

Bell is not your traditional "running back." He lines up on the boundary, in the slot, and is a passing threat out of the backfield as well. On top of all of this versatility, Bell is an excellent pass protector, something which is often lost among other "versatile" backs.

Bell can quite literally do it all for an offense, but the idea of paying that position elite-level money makes teams cringe. As The Athletic's Marcus Mosher pointed out on Twitter, teams like the New England Patriots have been able to replicate Bell's production by using multiple speciality backs rather than one workhorse.

In theory, this takes away the injury risk component to a certain extent. Rather than giving one player 350-400 touches per season, you spread those touches out and allow for players to do what they do best.

Lately, the NFL has seemed to agree that this is the most efficient way to play offense. But when you have a player like Bell or Ezekiel Elliott, in what way is taking the ball out of their hands "efficient" at all? In addition, how is using three players to mimic the skill set of one efficient?

Yes, the NFL is a passing league, but when you have a playmaker who is of the caliber of a Bell or an Elliott, it is up to the offense to deploy in him ways that maximize his value. Teams should be using the Bells and Elliotts of the world as pass catching threats and as weapons all over the field. Force the entire defense to account for your running back rather than just jamming him between the tackles like it's 1975.

The movement towards "running back by committee" rather than the traditional one-back system can also be credited to the lack of workhorse-worthy backs entering the league.

Ezekiel Elliotts don't grow on trees, they are rare and special players. And when you have one, especially when you spend a premium pick on him, you should get the most out of him that you can. Playing winning offense in the NFL is about more than just "do you run or do you pass," and it often hinges on creating splash plays of 15-20 yards.

If you can get those plays through the use of an elite running back, that player becomes intrinsically valuable to your team. No matter what "position" he is labeled as. Of course you want to be able create mismatches in the passing game all over the field, so when you are able to do this with a running back, shouldn't that be deemed as highly valuable?

We can't say just yet if the Cowboys should re-sign Ezekiel Elliott once he enters free agency. After all, five seasons (and a franchise tag year) where he touches the ball more than most players in the league will almost certainly bring about some wear and tear.

But with the way the Cowboys have chosen to play offense, and the way in which they've built their roster, a workhorse back like Elliott is necessary for success.

Once again, at least it is for now.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Is DE Kony Ealy At Risk Of Not Making Cowboys Final Roster?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Sean's Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value at DE

As training camp approaches and we draw closer to the 2018 NFL season, fans are beginning to get excited for new faces, old stars, and new beginnings for the Dallas Cowboys.

One player which has been a bit forgotten about over the last few months, and even overlooked when he was first signed back in April, is defensive end Kony Ealy. Of course, some of this overlooking is justified, as Ealy's career has been filled with more valleys than peaks thus far.

With a fresh start in Dallas, though, some expect Kony Ealy to rekindle his career, and look like the player he was during the Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss just a few seasons ago. The problem is, that game looks like the outlier and not the norm over his professional career.

Originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers, Ealy has had a shaky start to his career. Now joining his third team in the same number of seasons, it's certainly fair to say he hasn't lived up to his second round draft selection.

At 6'4" and 275 pounds, however, Ealy fits the mold of a 4-3 defensive end in the Cowboys' scheme. While he isn't the explosive pass rusher that other players on the roster are (and can be), he could provide solid rotational depth across the defensive line.

With fellow former second round pick Randy Gregory gaining reinstatement to the NFL this week, Ealy could struggle to salvage any real playing time with the Cowboys at all. Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Taco Charlton all feel like locks to make the team.

Then there is 2018 day three pick Dorance Armstrong and former fourth round pick Charles Tapper providing competition as well.

Tapper and Armstrong are unproven, but have the athletic profiles to become solid edge rushers at the professional level. For both, especially Tapper, health is of the upmost concern going forward. If Tapper can remain healthy, he has a real shot of making the team and having his impact felt as early as 2018.

That "if" has been a serious one thus far, however.

When the Cowboys first signed Kony Ealy back in April, I really believed he could provide solid and cheap depth along their defensive line. Now in July, I still have those beliefs, but it's become fair to question if he will even find himself on the final 53-man roster based on the competition around him.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin’s Footsteps?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps?

Connor Williams has yet to play a single snap the NFL, but there are already some pretty high expectations for the rookie Guard. That's because he will be sandwiched between two Pro Bowl players in Center Travis Frederick and Left Tackle Tyron Smith. But, it's the Dallas Cowboys third Pro Bowl offensive lineman Williams should try to emulate and follow in the footsteps of.

Yes, I'm talking about Zack Martin.

Zack Martin's career couldn't have gotten off to a better start coming out of Notre Dame. He hit the ground running as a rookie with the Cowboys and put together a dominating performance his first year in the NFL, earning his first Pro Bowl bid as well as being named to the All-Pro team. He continued to play at a high level ever since and has not only turned into the best player at his position, but continued his Pro Bowl streak every season since entering the league.

To ask, or even expect Connor Williams to have the same kind of immediate success as Zack Martin is probably a little unfair, if not impossible. The kind of success Martin has had already in his career is almost unheard of. But, that's not to say Williams isn't going to try to follow in Martin's footsteps and to become the best player he can.

Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys OG Zack Martin

The footsteps I think Connor Williams should try to follow as it pertains to Zack Martin is how well he made the transition from a collegiate Offensive Tackle to an NFL Guard. I think that should be Williams' main focus right now with training camp coming up.

Williams will be inserted into the starting lineup as the Cowboys new Left Guard. It will be a new position for him after playing mainly Tackle at the University of Texas, that will require an entirely new mindset and technique. But, it's in transition I believe he can make rather smoothly.

Connor Williams should benefit from Zack Martin's similar transition from college OT to an NFL OG. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the rookie shadowing Martin throughout training camp to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It's probably the best way for him to jumpstart his career.

Now, I fully expect to see some growing pains from Williams throughout the 2018 season. It's to be expected from any rookie, especially one transitioning to a new position. But, I do believe he will not only be an upgrade at LG for the Cowboys, but will make the entire OL even better.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see what kind of player Connor Williams ends up being this season.

Do you think Connor Williams can follow in Zack Martin's footsteps?



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending