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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?

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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 @connorx147 !

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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.

Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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