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DAL Roster: Battle for WR6 Between Andy Jones, Noah Brown with IND in Town

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Will This Second-Year Cowboys WR Break Out in 2017?

With just three preseason games left and a handful of practices, the battle for the sixth wide receiver position is still up for grabs. Now, on most teams this isn't an important topic, but for the Cowboys it is. The Dallas Cowboys haven't carried six healthy wide receivers on their opening day roster since 2012. What makes that change now?

  • The talent at the position. The depth the Cowboys currently have at wide receiver may make it the strongest position on the team.
  • This is the first year in many that the team will only need to carry two quarterbacks on the 53 man roster.
  • Dez Bryant's health has hurt him the last few years. Keeping a developmental "X" receiver on the roster is a good idea for the long-term success of this team.

Andy Jones and Noah Brown are two very talented "X" receivers who seem to be in a pretty close battle. These guys are practicing and playing so good that they're both making cases to be kept on the 53 man roster.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Stephen Jones asked about players that have stood out in camp so far: Jaylon Smith, Chidobe Awuzie, Charles Tapper, Noah Brown, Andy Jones

Andy Jones--a former UDFA out of Jacksonville University--was one of the Cowboys' training camp Hall of Famers from last year's offseason.

In his first year with the team, Andy Jones was placed on the practice squad but has been receiving high praise and expanded roles from the Cowboys' coaching staff. Jones has started the beginning of his Sophomore season on that same note.

In practice, Andy Jones has been given the role as a back-up punt returner behind Ryan Switzer. Along with the special teams duties, on days that veteran Dez Bryant rests, he has also been getting some work in with the first team offense.

Andy Jones

Dallas Cowboys WR Andy Jones (Paul Spinelli via AP)

What stands out even more is that Andy Jones has made some plays in the first two preseason games, something he struggled to do last year.

In the little playing time Jones has had in the first two games, he's caught six passes for 50 yards. Now that's nothing that warrants a roster spot, but the fact that the coaches are putting Jones out there and he's making the plays that are thrown his way is a good adjustment from last year.

If not for his teammate, Noah Brown, Andy Jones would likely be handed the sixth wide receiver spot on the team's depth chart, but unfortunately for Jones, Noah Brown stands in his way.

Could Noah Brown Have A Big Role As A Rookie?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown

Noah Brown was one of the three draft selections the Dallas Cowboys had in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Brown was drafted as more of a project than a plug-n-play guy, but he's done a nice job transitioning from college to the NFL.

In two preseason games, he has 41 yards on three catches. In his first two games you can seen why the Cowboys like the former Ohio State Buckeye.

Brown isn't overly athletic and doesn't have the route tree that scouts really like to see, but he does have the physical traits you can't teach. Standing at 6'2, 222lbs, Brown has an NFL ready frame and knows how to use it.

In his action with the Cowboys, he has shown that he knows how to use his big frame to bully defenders off the line, high point the ball in the air, and fight for extra yards. Along with being a good receiving option, Brown does a hell of a job in the blocking game.

Blocking is something he took very seriously at Ohio State and it's carrying over to the NFL.

With neither guy really cementing themselves as a sure-fire roster spot, these last three preseason games will be huge for both players. It starts tonight when the Cowboys take to the field to face the Indianapolis Colts in their preseason home opener.

Both players are likely to get plenty of opportunities with only a few games left, but which will prevail? Who do you think will make the final 53 man roster: Noah Brown or Andy Jones?



Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

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2 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    I believe the ceiling for Noah Brown is higher than Andy Jones. Unfortunately for. Brown, he didn’t have the best QB throwing the ball at Ohio St. and just didn’t get enough targets. He also wasn’t called on to do that much. But his blocking pushes him to the forefront of this conversation and his growth potential is outstanding. All that being said, it is highly possible they only keep 5. If they cut both of these guys, it is more likely Brown would be the guy snatched up over Jones.

  • Fatfan

    It appears to me Dallas is getting to the point where it’d be better to trade a couple of draft picks to move higher in the draft. Their drafting is becoming so good, it’s no way they can keep all of them; and hence once they’re released, they are not likely to make it to the practice squad. This may be the case at cb, and more likely wr, and TE. They’ve got a rookie punter/kicker Sam Irwin-Hill that’s gonna be good at one or both those positions for somebody. And…if Dallas doesn’t keep Cooper Rush, he won’t make it to the practice squad either.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.

Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
  • CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable

The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.

Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.

Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.

Washington Redskins

  • WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
  • S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
  • RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
  • RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
  • G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
  • CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
  • CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable

It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.

Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.

Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.

In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.

Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.

Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.

David Moore on Twitter

Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.

Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.

The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.

Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.

Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.

Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.

Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.

He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.

If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.

Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.

Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.

That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Pass Rush Better than They're Given Credit For
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.

But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.

According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.

Brian Burke on Twitter

Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.

What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.

For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.

As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.

Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.

Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).

Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.



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