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Dallas Cowboy Positional Breakdown Part 1

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The Dallas Cowboys 2009 version of training Camp is now only two weeks away, and there is no better time than now to try and get a head start on some of the positional battles that we need to keep an eye on.

It has been awhile since my last post, I have been in a little bit of a slump, so I would like to apologize ahead of time for a poorly done post!

The Cowboys currently have 82 players on the roster, but do not expect it to stay that way long!

The first position I would like to take a look at is the one containing the most applicants. No big surprise it’s the Linebacker position!

Now I can speculate all day long on how many backers the Cowboys will keep and odds are good I still would not get it right, and since I have next to zero insider information, we'll take it for what its worth!

Here are this years nominees to fill the Linebacker corps:

  1. DeMarcus Ware
  2. Bradie James
  3. Anthony Spencer
  4. Keith Brooking
  5. Bobby Carpenter
  6. Steve Octavien
  7. Justin Rogers
  8. Matt Stewart
  9. Victor Butler
  10. Jason Williams
  11. Brandon Williams
  12. Stephen Hodge

The Top four of this group are essentially locked in as your starters, from here though is where the water gets awfully murky!

Let’s take a look at the guys vying for position at the inside linebacker spots and keep in mind, last year the team kept only four!

Through the OTA’s we must assume (after all the praise handed down) that Stephen Hodge is going to get a serious look at taking over the nickel position vacated by Kevin Burnett.

Bobby (Barbie) Carpenter also gave the coaches something to think about during the work outs. We are all well aware that Barbie practices like a first round pick, but he has yet to play like one.

Jason Williams was the Cowboys first selection in this years draft, and by all accounts is going to need some time to develop, but has some serious athletic ability! And we cannot forget about Victor Butler as he will be in this group of inside guys trying to secure a spot on the roster.

Last but not least Steve Octavien, who spent most of last year bouncing from practice squad to practice squad, does have some ability as a special teams player.

We have five players battling for two spots, who do you think is in? And who is on the outside looking in?

In my opinion Stephen Hodge and Jason Williams are my leading candidates heading into camp, followed closely by Victor Butler and Bobby Carpenter.

The Cowboys do not want to face the fact that the Carpenter selection was one of the worst first round draft selections on record! That is what has kept him on this team, but the coaching staff can no longer afford to carry his dead weight. So he has more to prove than any of the rookies, and I personally do not believe he will hold up to the pressure.

There is one aspect of this that we need to look at. If the Coaching staff decides to cut ties with Carpenter they will be left with only rookies and we know that one of those rookies is a “project” player. So would they at that point decide to carry an extra guy? Quite possible and they may be thinking that way already!

ILB Leading Candidates                                     ILB Outside Looking In

1. Stephen Hodge                                                       1. Victor Butler

2. Jason Williams                                                     2. BobbyCarpenter

3. Steve Octavien

Now let’s take a look at the Outside spots! First let’s meet the contestants!

For those of you who live under rocks the starters are DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. These are the starters and there is only one player who could possibly change this.

Brandon Williams has been the talk of the town around Valley Ranch, not only among the coaches but his teammates as well. The time is now however for Anthony Spencer and he will get the first crack at being the starter opposite Ware, but he better get a grip on it quick because the longer he lets Williams hang around the more opportunity Williams will have at proving he should be the man!

Matt Stewart and Justin Rogers will be battling each other for one available spot, with Ware and Spencer as the starters and Brandon Williams having a tight grip on the 3rd spot, it will be down to these two guys to state their claim to the 4th and final OLB spot.

There is one other very distinct possibility that could occur here! It is very possible that the Cowboys could decide to keep neither Stewart nor Rogers and keep an extra inside guy!

The more I have contemplated the scenarios I would not be one bit surprised to see the Cowboys hold on to Victor Butler and use him as a “swing” player, giving them the ability to keep an extra secondary person.

Victor Butler was an undersized OLB at the University of Oregon State, and while they would rather use him inside in an emergency situation he could fill in outside.

Who knows how this will ultimately work out but I believe the Cowboys will stick with eight!

Here is my final eight leaving camp!

1. DeMarcus Ware

2. Bradie James

3. Keith Brooking

4. Anthony Spencer

5. Brandon Williams

6. Stephen Hodge

7. Jason Williams

8. Victor Butler

Who are the eight that you would want to start the season with?


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3 Comments
  • Jonathan

    Good post. Just one thing: I believe Victor Butler is slotted as an OLB along with Brandon William’s. Though, I’d imagine, as far as the LB’s go, things will remain pretty fluid until the final 53 is decided.

    • bags030404

      What I have heard on Victor is that they “were thinking of having him bulk up and move outside” outside is where he played in college but he is the ultimate “Tweener”. He is too small to be an NFL outside guy, and a little too slow laterally to be an inside guy, so it just seems to me that they may decide to use him in an either or manner.

  • John Buchanan

    Butler played DE at Oregon and was a leader or co-leader in sacks in his division, so I think the tweener scenario is between the line and playing stand up in the 3 4.

Dallas Cowboys

REPORT: Cowboys DL David Irving’s Accuser Retracts Claims Of Domestic Violence

Kevin Brady

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David Irving

After what was a rather crazy day which resulted in reports the Frisco Police Department were investigating Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving for domestic violence, the accuser has now retracted her claims.

https://twitter.com/DCBlueStar/status/988527577915674624

This retraction comes after the mentioned reports of domestic violence claims against David Irving earlier in the day. Irving was neither arrested nor charged for the incidents, though two separate allegations were made.

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

Irving has claimed through his own social media account that his accuser is an ex-girlfriend looking for retaliation over a breakup. Irving has already said he has changed the locks on his house in attempt to change behavior moving forward.

Whether or not Irving abused his reported ex-girlfriend is not for me to say, but it will be interesting to see how Roger Goodell handles the matter after she retracted her claims later in the day. As we know very well, the NFL can claim violation of the personal conduct policy even if the justice system pursues no charges.

And the results of both the Frisco PD's investigation and that of the league office will be intriguing over the coming weeks and months.


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REPORT: Cowboys DE/DT David Irving Suspected of Domestic Violence

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

[4/24/18 UPDATE: Irving's accuser has since recanted with police. However, the NFL could still investigate under their domestic violence policy.]

ORIGINAL STORY

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving is under investigation by Frisco, TX police for charges of domestic violence, according to a report by Jobin Panicker of WFAA-ABC in Dallas.

The following was tweeted from Panicker's account not long ago:

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms it is investigating serious allegations against Cowboys player David Irving. No arrests. Assault-Bodily Injury, Unlawful Restraint, & Assault-Impeding Breath and Circulation @wfaa

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

The veracity of the accusations are certainly not ours to judge, but other recent events on Irving's social suggest he is in the middle of a breakup with his girlfriend. Posts early this morning on his Twitter account appeared to be from an unauthorized user, and David later posted on both Twitter and Instagram that someone had hacked him.

Furthermore, Irving shared that he was already taking steps due to the volatile situation.

David Ja Rodd Irving on Twitter

@DCBlueStar Changed the locks yesterday

While personal lives should stay that way, Cowboys fans are understandably concerned after what happened last year with Ezekiel Elliott. As we saw then, Roger Goodell's "justice" system allows for just an accusation to lead to a suspension. There is no burden of proof on the accuser.

And as in that case, even if the police dismiss the allegation, the NFL can still pursue the matter under the personal conduct and domestic violence policies.

It would be nice to just say "let the process play out," but the NFL commissioner doesn't hold himself to that standard. Therefore, we have to report this as it could mean consequences for David Irving and the Dallas Cowboys no matter how legitimate the claims are.


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Jaylon Smith Practicing Without AFO Brace

John Williams

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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

A lot of the talk circling the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL Draft is the need for the Cowboys to draft a linebacker as insurance to Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith's injury issues.

One of the questions, Sean Lee, will always be a question. When he's on the field, he's as good a linebacker as there is in the NFL. In 2016, he finally got in a near full season and rewarded the Dallas Cowboys with an All-Pro season that led the team to the playoffs. Talent has never been the issue with Lee. Keeping him on the field has been.

Jaylon Smith's question isn't his health as much as it is his recovery. The surgery to repair his ACL and MCL that he suffered at the end of his final season at Notre Dame was considered a success. There was a caveat, however, that there was no telling how much functionality would return because of the massive nerve injury that occurred.

Last year, Jaylon Smith actually played football games. No small step. In some games he made some plays and in other games, it was clear that he was still struggling with changing directions and running with receivers and running backs in coverage.

Time is Jaylon's biggest ally and another offseason removed from his injury should only help him get stronger and more confident in his recovering knee.

Lost in all of the Dez Bryant hoopla was a beautiful little nugget that Jaylon Smith teased Cowboys Nation with last week.

Jaylon provided a great look at his training regimen on the first day of team workouts and if you look closely, you'll see with a Clear Eye View that Jaylon Smith isn't wearing a brace, tape, or any other kind of support. On his knee or foot.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

Focused vision, Determined belief, Earned dreams. #ClearEyeView

Remember that even after Jaylon was playing and practicing without a knee brace, he was still requiring an AFO brace to help with his foot drop.

Oh, how much one offseason can change things.

Mike Fisher, now of 247Sports.com, quoted Smith as saying, "I have more power and more flexibility now. And the dropfoot (issue) is fading. Absolutely!'' over on Scout.com, and there was this:

"As our colleague Bryan Broaddus has previously noted, it does seem that some of the testing is behind him, that the nerve is regenerating, that the repaired knee is stronger than ever and that more improvement is ahead of him. Smith's 6-2, 245-pound body is about as sculpted as is imaginable. His mind is sculpted, too, the result of his faith and his intellect and his personality and more. He suggests now that more improvement is inevitable, and that includes the medical improvement that is now, to him, simply "a matter of timing.'''

Mike Fisher - 105.3 The Fan and 247Sports.com

There is still a lot of hope around The Star and Cowboys Nation that Jaylon Smith can return to the All-American form that was projecting him as a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft. If he's healthy and moving with better lateral movement and agility than he was in 2017, that's a huge step forward for Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys.

The progression of his knee and his confidence in said knee is going to be a huge determining factor in Dallas' plans to draft a linebacker. If they feel confident that he will be a more functional linebacker in 2018 than he was in 2017, then perhaps they could wait until day two or three to address the linebacker position.

We can't fully know their intentions as we get closer to draft day. How they address the linebacker position in the 2018 NFL Draft could give us an excellent indication of how they feel about Jaylon Smith's progression.

What we do know is that Jaylon Smith will never give up working toward being an elite middle linebacker. Let's hope he can realize his dreams. Everyone will be better for it.


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