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Dallas Cowboys: An Organizational Blueprint To Become Legitimate Contenders

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728261The Cowboys seem to be in an infinite loop of mediocrity; a perpetual cycle of good enough to tease fans and bad enough to never contend.

Cowboys Nation seems to be in a state of constant demand and ever growing expectations.  While Cowboys fans can be the best in the NFL, often they are blinded by the strategic unethical journalistic assault that sports media tends to launch.  Constantly big platform guys like Skip Bayless twist and turn the words and actions of "America's Team" to conjure up negative perceptions around the NFL and, ultimately, more reads.

As I sit here writing this, I impore you to sit back and look at these Cowboys with an open mind.  Take away your personal biases or individual feelings towards current players.

Now, there are three unequivocal truths about these Cowboys: 1) Tony Romo, like him or not, WILL be quarterbacking this team for the foreseeable future. 2) Jason Garrett possesses the talent to be an excellent head coach in this league. 3) This team remains one of the most talented teams in the league.

Those are the things that we can not control and must stop trying to argue. We can't take back Tony Romo's contract.  We can't justify firing Jason Garrett after two seasons that have seen improvement just to have to rebuild again.  And we certainly can not support an arguement that says the Cowboys don't have the talent to contend in this league.

Cowboys fans let me make one thing abundantly clear, this Cowboys team is a top team in this league.

The only question that remains is how do you get them to play like it?

I'm not talking about just this year, i'm talking about consistently contending thoughout a long-term window that has been created through two years of smart drafting.

So for a minute, I get to escape from my very average life and step into Jerry Jones' shoes and put together a blue print for returning the Dallas Cowboys into an NFL juggernaut.

Here we go....

Maximize Talent While Minimizing Cap

morris-claiborne1The Cowboys have put themself in a incredibly tough situation to navigate through in the upcoming years.  With limited increase projected in terms of salary cap allowance, the Cowboys have little room to add or retain upcoming free agents.

The Cowboys must adopt a philosophy of careful player potential evaluation.  Every personnel move needs to be calculated, meaning that every player needs to be evaluated in terms of long-term cost and long-term potential.

Additionally, the team needs to realize the benefit of player acquisition through the NFL draft.  For years the Cowboys have carelessly drafted and watched picks bust or flame out.  Thankfully, Jason Garrett has began to change that trend and will need to continue to do so to help the burden of potentially losing impact players in the near future.

In the next two years Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray will all be free agents.  Those afforementioned players represent the young core of this team.  The Cowboys must make it a priority to ensure that they retain as many of these players as they can.  Each has superstar ability and it would be nausiating to see them depart to have success elsewhere because the Cowboys didn't know how to budget properly.

Promote Continuity Through Coaching

106827160_crop_650x440For all the crap that Jason Garrett gets I believe that he's doing something very special in Dallas.  He has transformed this roster from a group of individuals to a team.  Changes don't occur over night, no matter how much we want them too.

Finally, Garrett has his type of players and that can't go overlooked.

Let me break it down for everyone.  Players don't benefit from constant coaching changes.  Learning new schemes isn't easy and if you're having to do it every offseason you're never going to be able to maximize your potential.

Garrett may not be perfect and he certainly has a lot to improve on.  However, if i'm Jerry Jones i'm giving him an extension.  Garrett needs to know that he has security in building this team.  If you're making him consistently look over his shoulder in fear he's never going to be able to fully commit to successful coaching.

The players need to know that Garrett isn't going anywhere, they need to know they can commit to him without fear of having to endure change.  Garrett is the glue to a team that is finally starting to come together.

Let The Son Claim His Throne

Stephen+Jones+Dallas+Cowboys+v+Houston+Texans+Ibc5eTzTPvgxJerry Jones is arguably the best marketer that the NFL has ever seen.  He has continued to make the Cowboys one of the most popular teams in the NFL and as a result he is the owner of the most valuable sports franchise in the world.

However, Jerry Jones' ability to be a good business man doesn't mean he's worth anything as a general manager.

For a while now Jerry Jones has been grooming his son to take over the family business.  It has been said that Stephen Jones has the right mind to be a successful GM in the NFL and could do so with any NFL franchise.

Stephen seems to be the anti-Jerry.  He understands how football operations work and seemingly does things for the betterment of the team.  Stephen was reportedly the front man for the Cowboys negotiations with quarterback Tony Romo which is structured in a way that will maximize the Cowboys ability to retain players in '14-'15.

The Cowboys would benefit from having Stephen if for no other reason that he can dedicate all his time to being the GM.  Jerry will always be more committed to growing his bank account than the franchise.  If this team plans to win, they need a GM committed to it as well.

Summary

There is a reason that this blueprint is tailored to the front office.  The talent on this team suggests that the Cowboys are ready to win now.  They have a mixture of older veterans and young budding superstars which is the equation to success.

However, until the ownership recognizes what it wants from this team and the extremely important role it plays in it's teams success, the Dallas Cowboys will remain "Next Year's Champions".



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Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence and CB Byron Jones to Start 2019 Camp on PUP

Jess Haynie

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DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys will be missing two of their defensive leaders when they open 2019 training camp this Saturday. Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and Cornerback Byron Jones will both start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List as they recover from offseason surgeries.

Lawrence, who got a new five-year contract in April, immediately underwent shoulder surgery once his deal was finalized. DeMarcus reportedly was waiting for contract negotiations to be completed before he had the procedure.

Jones had hip surgery in late May. He is playing 2019 on the fifth-year option from his original contract, and is no doubt hoping for his own long-term extension sometime in the near future.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones will open Cowboys camp on PUP and won't practice in California https://t.co/jzWV5FjBO6 via @sportsdaydfw

Neither Lawrence or Jones, who are both coming of Pro Bowl seasons in 2018, are expected to be absent once the regular season starts in September. But either participating in this year's training camp is doubtful, and even preseason appearances are in question right now.

With DeMarcus out at DE, newcomers like Robert Quinn and Kerry Hyder will get plenty of chances to show their stuff.  It's also a nice opportunity for Taco Charlton, assuming he's recovered from his own offseason surgery, to get some work against the first-team offensive line.

No Byron at CB will give Jourdan Lewis a nice opportunity to work with the starters as well. He was likely stuck at the 4th spot behind Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown but should now get more time on the field and against the best competition.



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Breaking News: Allen Hurns Released

Matthew Lenix

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Breaking News: Allen Hurns Released

The Dallas Cowboys are releasing Wide Receiver Allen Hurns after just one season with the team according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys releasing WR Allen Hurns, per source.

Hurns was brought in as a possible replacement for Dez Bryant considering they had a similar skill set, but that never quite worked out. He only managed 20 receptions for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns in 7 starts. He's coming off a horrific leg injury suffered in the Cowboys playoff win against the Seahawks last season.

This saves the Cowboys 5 million in cap space putting them around 24 million overall heading into the 2019 season currently. This now opens up snaps for some of the younger receivers on the Cowboys roster.



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Cowboys Nation Mailbag: What will Kellen Moore’s Offense Look Like?

John Williams

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Can Kellen Moore Have a Kris Richard-like Coaching Impact With Cowboys? 1

Four more days till the Dallas Cowboys hold their first training camp practice and the work begins to build this team into a Super Bowl contender. It's been 23 years since the Dallas Cowboys won their last Super Bowl and Cowboys Nation has been restless for Lombardi number six for about 22 of those years. Is this the year that the Cowboys finally breakthrough? Over the next seven months, we'll find out.

If the Dallas Cowboys are contenders at the end of the season, the biggest reason will be that the offense has turned into an elite unit to match a defensive group that proved to be one of the best in the NFL in 2018.

And if the offense is a top 10 unit in 2019, the biggest reason will be Kellen Moore's ability as an offensive coordinator. The Cowboys have the talent to be one of the best offenses in the NFL like they were in 2016, they just need an offensive play-caller who can add a bit of unpredictability and intelligence to the offense in 2019.

With that let's dig into your questions for this week's Cowboys Nation Mailbag.

So much of what the Dallas Cowboys need to add to their offense has less to do with the plays that are called and more to do with when they call plays and how they deploy their personnel.

The Dallas Cowboys need to improve in the red zone. One way to do that is to scheme guys open using crossing route combinations and rub routes. The Dallas Cowboys have some really good route runners in Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Michael Gallup, and Jason Witten. The Cowboys need to use those strengths.

The other thing the Dallas Cowboys need to do is to begin throwing more frequently on first down and in run formations to keep defenses off balance. Too many times in the last couple of years, opposing defenses knew what was coming based on the personnel groupings and formations they were deployed in. The Cowboys ran a lot on first downs and opposing defenses were looking run on those first down regardless of formation. If the Cowboys can come out and throw the ball effectively on first down it will open the offense up a lot more and keep defenses off-balance.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the offense heading into 2019 focuses on what kind of influence Kellen Moore is going to have on this group. I wrote about this in more detail earlier this offseason when I reviewed Jon Gruden's Quarterback Camp episode with Kellen Moore.

Here were the biggest themes that I picked up on during his interview.

  • Kellen Moore Wants to be "multiple." Meaning Moore wants to be able to run the same plays out of a variety of formations and personnel groupings. Whether he's running 10 personnel (1 RB, 4 WRs) or 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs), Moore wants to be able to run the same types of plays and route combinations. If the Cowboys are able to do this, it will keep the defense from being able to anticipate what the Cowboys are wanting to do on offense.
  • Kellen Moore wants to create anticipation in the offense through week-long preparation. We know that Dak Prescott puts in the work to be as good as he can be. Prescott's work ethic combined with the preparation led by Moore and Quarterback's Coach Jon Kitna should help Prescott improve his anticipation by seeing where to throw the ball before the play even starts.
  • Kellen Moore wants to use presnap motion to keep the offense off-balance and create confusion among the defense. Presnap motion forces the defense to adjust and communication during that adjustment could lead to miscommunication. For too much of the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Dallas Cowboys were a little too predictable on offense, which was a complaint of some of the outgoing players when they left the Cowboys. Kellen Moore's offensive philosophy was learned under current Washington Huskies Head Coach and former Boise St. Head Coach Chris Petersen who's long been known for his offensive creativity and play calling.
  • Kellen Moore wants to get creative in the red zone through gadget plays. Boise St. was known for using gadget plays like the "Statue of Liberty" play they used in the Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.

If Moore is truly able to increase the level of unpredictability of the Dallas Cowboys offense, it should help the passing game and the running game be able to take advantage of mismatches across the formation.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Kellen Moore's football mind has been highly thought since coming out of college. With training camp, the preseason, and the regular season coming, we're finally going to get to see that big football brain at work. For the Dallas Cowboys to have success in 2019, they need the Kellen Moore mind to be as good as advertised.



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