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Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable

The Dallas Cowboys battled through their fair share of injuries in 2015 and if they want to have any kind of success in the upcoming 2016 season, they have to avoid the injury bug. The unfortunate thing about injuries is that they are unpredictable and they can really have a major impact on a teams performance depending on which players are the ones to go down. The sad truth for the Cowboys in 2015 was that the injuries that the team endured was to key members and was a major reason why they finished with a 4-12 losing record. I decided to try and identify a few of the Dallas Cowboys players that are simply irreplaceable and would be devastating to the entire team if anyone of them where to go down with an injury and miss an extended period of time. Tony Romo Tony Romo obviously makes this list because we all witnessed firsthand how this team functions without him at the helm leading the offense.

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable

The Dallas Cowboys battled through their fair share of injuries in 2015 and if they want to have any kind of success in the upcoming 2016 season, they have to avoid the injury bug.

The unfortunate thing about injuries is that they are unpredictable and they can really have a major impact on a teams performance depending on which players are the ones to go down.

The sad truth for the Cowboys in 2015 was that the injuries that the team endured was to key members and was a major reason why they finished with a 4-12 losing record.

I decided to try and identify a few of the Dallas Cowboys players that are simply irreplaceable and would be devastating to the entire team if anyone of them where to go down with an injury and miss an extended period of time.

Tony Romo

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable 1

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tony Romo obviously makes this list because we all witnessed firsthand how this team functions without him at the helm leading the offense.

The 2016 season will ultimately come down to the health of Romo and how he performs. There simply isn't another quarterback on this team that can come in and play anywhere near as well as Romo.

Kellen Moore has been receiving some positive reviews, but he is still somewhat an unproven commodity in the NFL and has never won a game during his time in a league.

Let's just hope that Romo's surgically repaired collarbone can last out the entire season and that no other injury mishaps occur. The Dallas Cowboys simply can't afford to lose their starting quarterback for any amount of time.

Tyron Smith

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable 2Do you think Tony Romo will last the season if Tyron Smith misses any amount time due to an injury? I know I don't.

Smith is arguably the best left tackle in the entire NFL and does an amazing job keeping Romo's blindside well protected. He is perhaps the second most important player on the entire Cowboys roster behind Romo.

I honestly don't know what the coaching staff would do if Smith went down with an injury.

Would Doug Free move over to the left side? Is Chaz Green ready to fill in as a left tackle?

Whoever is asked to protect Romo's blindside would be a huge downgrade from Tyron Smith. There is a reason he has been voted into the Pro Bowl three times already and the great thing is he is only 25 years old.

Travis Frederick

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable 3

(Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

Travis Frederick might just be a little under the radar when you think about the Cowboys offensive line, but his importance to the team is not.

Tyron Smith and Zack Martin seem to receive the majority of praise, but Frederick's contribution is on par with both Smith and Martin. That is why he is a Pro Bowler as well.

Frederick is responsible for making all the pre-snap line adjustments and identifying where the defense might attack. He is also responsible for keeping the pocket from collapsing and giving Tony Romo a clean space to step up and make a throw down the field.

Like Tyron Smith, there isn't another player on the team that can step in and provide the same type of stability at the center position. I'm not even quite sure they have a valuable option as a backup to fill in an emergency situation.

Joe Looney was signed to hopefully be that player but there's a reason why he was a free agent and in my honest opinion I think he is probably better as a guard than a center.

Jason Witten

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable 4Jason Witten's importance to the team is more than just what he's able to do on the field, although that would put on the list by itself.

Witten is the type of player that everyone looks to for guidance and support.

The Dallas Cowboys have been extremely fortunate to find a player of Witten's caliber and toughness. He is a surefire Hall of Famer in the future and although he is starting to slow down just a bit, he is still a player that has to be game planned for by defensive coordinators around the league.

The Cowboys offense would be drastically different without #82 in the lineup and like everybody else on this list there isn't another tight end on the roster that could come close to having the same type of production on the field.

Witten is used in so many different ways that finding one player to fill in would be virtually impossible.

Dez Bryant

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players That Are Irreplaceable 5

(AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

Again, we already know what happens when Dez Bryant goes down with an injury and what the offense looks like without him in the lineup or with him in the lineup at less than 100%.

There's no denying that Bryant is one of the top receivers in the entire NFL and his presence on the field has to be accounted for wherever he lines up.

He is one of those players that can be truly labeled as a playmaker and a quarterbacks best friend when he's on the field.

The sad thing is that the Cowboys wide receiver group is simply lost without him and there's no one else to step up and fill in is that #1 WR.

Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide your thoughts and opinions on the players that made this list. I look forward to discussing this topic further.

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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3 Comments
  • George Johnson

    I agree with everything you said about T Romo and how critical he is to the success of the Cowboys. As you know I am a K Moore fan and have followed him his whole career. I am optimistic that he could do well if T Romo was to go down. He should be ready, confident and experienced enough to step in and get the job done. There was a video interview of S Linehan last week where he made some positive statements about K Moore and his ability to play in the NFL. One of the things he said is that he is very experienced. The most surprising thing to me was he said that he would not have to change the game plan much if K Moore had to play for T Romo. This implies he thinks K Moore can make most of the throws necessary for the vertical offense. He mentioned K Moore throwing more 20 yard passes or longer in the Washington game then had been thrown in the previous ten games. I think the Cowboys offense could be pretty potent with K Moore at the reins. It should look like this. They should have one of the most potent running games in the NFL with Elliot and a top NFL offensive line. K Moore should be able to run a very potent short to intermediate passing game because of his outstanding pocket passing skills. He also seems to have enough velocity to conduct the short to intermediate passing game just fine. The pass to run ratio would be about 50/50. If the defense does their part, then K Moore could win some games and have good QB stats. I personally think S Linehan should adjust the play calling, strategy, offense some with K Moore playing to minimize the impact of his lack of a strong arm and to maximize his strengths. S Linehan's comments in this interview didn't seem like he would do that much or that it was even necessary, but maybe he doesn't want to give away any strategy.

    • Brian Martin

      George, I take everything that is said about an OTA practice with a grain of salt. I want to see players perform well in preseason games against a different team in a game like situation. I'm still not on the Kellen Moore train just yet, but I'm hoping that he can be a solid backup QB.

  • George Johnson

    Brian, I wouldn't be surprised to see K Moore play really well in preseason games. He should be riding high and confidently. He also knows he still has a lot to prove if he wants to stick in the NFL and August maybe his only chance to play. In fact we all hope that is true. K Moore has a reputation of playing better than he practices. This is actually a positive thing. He has been said to have ice in his veins, is very consistent, plays smart/instinctively and knows what to do no matter what the defense tries to throw at him, so I think he is likely to do well against different teams in the preseason.

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Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury

Sean Martin

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Should Cowboys Start Negotiating a Contract Extension With Rod Smith?

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

It's been two years since I've been able to bowl! Man it feels good to have my hobby back. #ClearEyeView #Swipe #StillGotIt! 210 average🤷🏾‍♂️🙏🏾 https://t.co/euVsXDKS2a

This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.

It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.

The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.

He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.

Tell us what you think about "Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Get Bigger Role in 2018?

Jess Haynie

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Noah Brown

While only a seventh-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, receiver Noah Brown was on the Cowboys' roster for all of his rookie season. He returns in 2018 hoping for a bigger role in Dallas' offense, and with some good possibility to get one.

Brown was not a big part of the 2017 offense. He was at the bottom of the WR depth chart, inactive for three games and not seen much even when in uniform.

Noah was only targeted nine times last year. He caught four passes for 33 yards.

Assumably, this had less to do with Brown and more with the other mouths to feed in the Cowboys passing game. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, even fellow rookie Ryan Switzer; you get the idea.

Noah Brown

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown

2018 should remove at least one of those obstacles to Noah Brown's opportunities. Brice Butler is a free agent and there is no indication he is coming back.

Everyone else is still under contract, but that could change if the Cowboys start making any cuts to improve the salary cap. Bryant, Beasley, and even Witten, with varying degrees of probability, are all considerations as cap casualties in the next few months.

In the 2017 preseason, the 6'2", 220-pound Noah Brown reminded us of a young Dez Bryant. He has the same thick body and even showed some of the same punishing running style after the catch.

Of course, Noah hasn't shown nearly enough in college or as a rookie to say he could replace Dez. Nobody's suggesting that. But he has flashed the potential to be given more looks in the passing game.

Another way Brown could get on the field more next year is for run blocking. He has the size and power, and the Cowboys will certainly be leaning on the run with Ezekiel Elliott back and Dak Prescott needing to find his groove again.

Even if he moves up a notch from Brice Butler's exit, Noah Brown's primary way of staying active in 2018 will be through special teams. That was the key for him last year; Brown was active for 13 games because of his special teams work.

Hopefully, Noah can work his way into more targets next season. The Cowboys' receivers need to get younger and a seventh-round pick emerging would be tremendous value.

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Dallas Cowboys Continue Search for Coaching on Defense

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Search for Defensive Coaches Continues

With the hiring of Doug Nussmeier as their tight ends coach, the Dallas Cowboys' new look coaching staff is technically filled out for the 2018 season. Head Coach Jason Garrett, with coordinators Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli underneath him once again, will lead this team into battle with new coaches at LB, OL, QB, WR, TE, ST, and in the secondary.

Despite most of their changes coming on the offensive side of the ball - where the Cowboys certainly under performed in 2017 - the Cowboys did lose one of their most highest regarded defensive coaches in Matt Eberflus this offseason.

Given their personnel on Rod Marinelli's side of the ball, the Cowboys may have actually upgraded in replacing Eberflus with Kris Richard. The Cowboys' young secondary is sure to remain a hot topic all the way until training camp, now being led by the architect of the Seahawks' vaunted "Legion of Boom".

Clarence Hill Jr on Twitter

Cowboys are not done with coaching hires. Still trying to add defensive quality coach, per source

With Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli potentially entering his final season in the NFL though, the Cowboys' search for talented coaches on the defensive side of the ball is reportedly not yet over.

Already promoting a former quality control coach in Ben Bloom to fill Eberflus' role as linebackers coach, the Cowboys' commitment to finally building a top defense is exciting for Cowboys Nation. Another solid draft haul on this side of the ball could turn any spot on the defensive coaching staff here into a highly coveted one.

Not only having the talent in place to return to the playoffs in 2018, the Cowboys are looking to take full advantage of their current staff to secure a bright future for this young team in years to come.

Exactly who the Cowboys are targeting to hire remains unknown, but they did interview former DB Ray Horton prior to hiring Kris Richard. Horton carries six years of experience as a defensive coordinator, most recently holding the position in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys coaching staff changes:

It is also important to note that Marinelli, known as a defensive line specialist, still holds this positional coaching job - a unit the Cowboys should also look to add an experienced coach to. The next Cowboys DC may still be added to the staff this offseason, if not done so already with Richard the heir apparent at the moment for Marinelli.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Continue Search for Coaching on Defense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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