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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Guard & Center

Jess Haynie



Travis Frederick And Zack Martin Disrespected By Pro Football Focus?
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Last season was the first since 2013 that the Dallas Cowboys didn't have the All-Pro tandem of Travis Frederick and Zack Martin anchoring their interior offensive line. With Frederick thankfully returning from last year's medical issues, Dallas looks forward to having their dynamic duo back for the 2019 training camp and beyond.

In addition to Frederick's return, the Cowboys are hoping to enjoy the second-year progress of Connor Williams at left guard. He's reportedly put on weight and continued his physical development to better play the position after converting from a collegiate offensive tackle.

Like most positions for the 2019 Cowboys, there's no questioning who the starters are this year. The real intrigue for camp and preseason comes further down the depth chart, where a surprising draft pick may have a major impact.

Here's the projected depth chart for the guard and center positions in 2019 so far:

  1. C: Travis Frederick, G: Zack Martin, Connor Williams
  2. C: Joe Looney, G: Xavier Su'a-Filo, Connor McGovern
  3. C: Adam Redmond, G: Larry Allen Jr., Cody Wichmann

Dallas may have the best and deepest G/C talent in all the NFL. Joe Looney could start for a lot of teams, and he's back this year as a fantastic reserve coming off a full year of starting experience.

Su'a-Filo started eight games last year, moving up due to an injury to Connor Williams but then holding the job with solid play. Williams earned the job back by the playoffs, but Xavier still has plenty of value.

Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys G Connor McGovern

Given their depth with Looney and Su'a-Filo, it was a surprise when Dallas used their 2019 3rd-round pick on Penn State's Connor McGovern. But if you look beyond this coming season, the pick makes a lot of sense.

Most expect this year to be Offensive Tackle La'el Collins' last with the Cowboys, as he should be too expensive to re-sign next year. McGovern has the versatility to play tackle, but so does Connor Williams. We should expect one of the Connors to be the starting right tackle in 2020, and the other starting at left guard.

Even if McGovern isn't a big factor in 2019, though, he still occupies one of the 53 roster spots. Will Dallas go long to keep him, or Connor steal that spot from Looney or Su'a-Filo?

Joe Looney is the more valuable player given his versatility, but that also makes him a more attractive trade piece. If the Cowboys can get a good return moving Looney to another team, they may be content with McGovern as the reserve center and Su'a-Filo backing up at guard.

Adam Redmond, who was with the team most of last year as the backup center, is also a factor. If the Cowboys trade Looney but don't love McGovern at center, they could also keep Redmond as the sixth interior linemen or even keep him over Su'a-Filo.

Cody Wichmann is an underrated name given that he has 18 career starts from his time with the Rams. But his career hasn't had any momentum since 2016, and he feels more like a camp body now than a legitimate contender for a job.

Lastly, we have to mention Larry Allen Jr. There is no denying the intrigue in the son of arguably the greatest guard in NFL history. But Junior doesn't have his father's physical gifts, and the practice squad is probably the best he can hope for this season.

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


Player News

Cowboys K Brett Maher’s 63-Yard Field Goal Sets New NFL Record

Jess Haynie



Brett Maher

After hitting a 63-yard field goal last night in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Kicker Brett Maher now owns the NFL record for most field goal made at 60 yards or longer. It was the third 60-plus FG of his career and second so far this season.

Maher hit a 62-yarder last week in Dallas' loss to the New York Jets. That kick tied him with Sebastian Janikowski and Greg Zuerlein for having two career field goals of 60 or more.

Now Brett stands alone in that category. Last night's kick also was just one yard shy of Matt Prater's record for the NFL's longest field goal; Maher hit from 64 yards in 2013.

If Brett Maher ever gets a chance to kick in Denver, he may have a great shot at breaking Prater's record as well. According to NBC's data from last night, Maher's kick would have been good from 66 yards out.

It was a good night overall for the Cowboys kicker. Maher had two other makes from 26 and 29 yards.

Despite his heroics at times, Brett Maher has been one of the least accurate kickers in the NFL the last two years. Even after last night Brett is hitting just 71.4% of his field goals so far in 2019; that ties him for 25th in the league.

The most puzzling aspect of all with Maher is how much he struggles with shorter range kicks. You almost have more confidence in him kicking from 60 yards out than attempting an extra point.

Few kickers could survive that kind of performance and uncertainty, but few can do what Maher can with his long range ability. It's a risk/reward situation that the Cowboys are continuing to work with.

For today, at least, Maher and his team are basking in the glory of a great game. Let's hope both can keep up the positive momentum.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Defense Dominates in Crucial Win vs Eagles

Matthew Lenix



Cowboys Defense Dominates in Crucial Win vs Eagles

Coming into yesterday's battle for NFC East supremacy against the Philadelphia Eagles the Dallas Cowboys defense was looking to regain some swagger. The Green Bay Packers were led by Aaron Jones who had a career day with 182 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago in a 34-24 beatdown of the Cowboys. Last week at Metlife Stadium, the New York Jets got a career day themselves from their former third overall pick in Sam Darnold who threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns in his return from Mononucleosis that kept him out since Week one. The Cowboys were handed their third consecutive loss 24-22 and their season was headed down the drain.

It would be paramount for the Cowboys defensive unit to set a tone and they didn't waste any time doing so. The Eagle's first possession would only last five plays as Jaylon Smith forced a fumble by Tight End Dallas Goedert that was recovered by Maliek Collins. Just two plays into their second drive, Carson Wentz was strip-sacked by All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence inside the Eagles own 15 which was recovered by Antwaun Woods. Both turnovers led to scores for the Cowboys as they took an early 14-0 lead in the games first six minutes.

After the Eagles scored on a seven-play 87-yard drive with a little over four minutes to go in the first quarter they would only run 12 plays the rest of the first half, and the Cowboys went into the locker room with a commanding 27-7 lead.

The second half would be a continuation of the first 30 minutes of play. After an exchange of field goals in the third quarter, the Eagles were simply out of their misery early in the fourth. Wentz was intercepted by Safety Xavier Woods and he committed his second fumble of the game on the very next drive. In the end, the Cowboys whipped the Eagles from start to finish 37-10 and claimed outright first place in the NFC East.

There were several encouraging signs defensively for the Cowboys vs the Eagles. Maliek Collins matched his season total with five tackles and also recovered a fumble. Both starting defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn each had a sack showing exactly why the Cowboys put this combo together, to terrorize quarterbacks. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis had four tackles and a sack, a great follow up to his four tackle performance with an interception a week earlier, further making his case to be the top guy at nickel corner in this defense. The old veteran Sean Lee didn't go unnoticed either as his seven tackles were tied for of the team lead. He got more snaps due to Leighton Vander Esch's early exit with a neck injury.

You expect an offense like the Eagles to make plays and score points eventually, but the Cowboys defense wasn't having any of it in this contest. In addition to giving up under 300 yards of total offense, they only allowed the Eagles to convert three third downs, go 0 for 2 in the red zone and forced four turnovers. That's a recipe for victory any Sunday.

Now, the Cowboys go into the bye week sitting on top the NFC East throne. This is the perfect time to get guys fully healthy with a clash against the New York Giants on the road awaiting them in two weeks. The Cowboys defense played with their backs to the wall and pulled out a big-time performance when they needed it the most. Consistency is what has kept them from looking like the top seven unit they were in 2018. Was this game the turning point? We shall see, but nonetheless, this showing by them was exactly what the doctor ordered.

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Player News

Cowboys Get Good News on Vander Esch, Quinn Injuries After Eagles Game

Jess Haynie



Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch off to a Fast Start 1

The Dallas Cowboys got a big win last night over the Philadelphia Eagles, but there was concern that they also suffered some big injuries. But good news; despite their leaving the game and not returning, both LB Leighton Vander Esch and DE Robert Quinn appear to have avoided any significant issues.

Vander Esch suffered a neck stinger in the second quarter and did not come back. It appears he was held out as a precautionary measure, and the Cowboys' 21-7 lead at that point may have contributed to the decision.

Jane Slater on Twitter

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch just told me he's good. First neck stinger. Disputes "history" of neck issues reports. Told me he would have continued playing but "wasn't up to me

Quinn's rib injury also occurred before halftime and ended his night. The veteran picked up his obligatory sack before going out, and it sounds like he should be fine for Dallas' next game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @GMFB: The #Cowboys got a few injury scares, but LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and LB Robert Quinn (rib) are expected to be OK.

These defensive standouts join a host of Cowboys starters who are going to benefit greatly from the team's bye week.

Dallas went into the game with injury concerns to WRs Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, OTs Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, and CBs Byron Jones and Anthony Brown. Of those, Brown was the only one who did not play last night.

Still, all of these players need a week to rest and be ready for the long haul of the regular season.

The Cowboys will get back to work in Week 9 with a road trip to New York, facing the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Thankfully, it looks like Leighton Vander Esch and Robert Quinn will both be ready to play in two weeks.

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