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Dallas Cowboys: Early Offseason Review

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Well I'm excited to start writing for the site however I am not excited about our recent offseason moves. Don't take this as me slamming the Cowboys I'm just simply highly aggravated lately with our front office management.

So far my grade for this offseason's moves is a D it certainly can be worse but not much.

We all know Jerry Jones is the GM for the Cowboys and I have to say I am completely disgusted already with the off-season moves.

First we trade Anthony Henry whom lead The Dallas Cowboys in interceptions in 2007 and we already cut Pacman Jones so now all we have is Terence Newman who can't seem to stay healthy for an entire season to save his life and the Dallas cornerbacks  are weak to begin with!

So we get rid of Henry now it's Newman, Jenkins, and Scandrick as the top three corners?

Give me a break; remember when Jenkins refused to even attempt to tackle Derrick Ward last season? (footage here) that's a great guy to have in your top three corners.

I've heard rumors about Shaun Springs coming to Dallas and that would certainly help the cornerback situation. However, either way, by trading Henry we lose much needed depth at Corner and actually lose cap space because of Kitna's contract, when we could have just signed a free agent backup such as Kyle Boller or Rex Grossman who is younger and likely better.

Dallas gave up another late round pick to the Lions did Dallas give them enough this year? We already gave them our 1st round picks and 3rd for Roy Williams and we don't learn we get ripped off by them again. Kitna is 36 years old I really don't see much of a difference between him and Brad Johnson.

The Lions were 0-16 last year and by those standars aren't by any means a good football team yet we keep giving them picks and taking their players that leave much to be desired.

And another thing about the Kitna trade, his best friend on the team is Roy E. Williams so our apperant "heir" to Owens is going to likely spend more time with our backup Kitna then Romo. That's going to go over well and certainly help a divided locker room. 

Lastly, hasn't our entire defense had a problem with this guy? Terence Newman, Ware, and Bradie James. Definitely a good way to get a locker room closer together.

We get the chance to sign Ray Lewis a MLB something we actually need, someone who would take command in the locker room and instead we get Keith Brooking.  The Cowboys had their most disappointing season possibly of all time last year and what do they do to start the off-season? Trade a needed Corner, get a washed up outside linebacker we don't need and waste a bunch of cap space.

Dallas also has not resigned Chris Canty who was a vital part of the 3-4 defense last year, now he is on the New York Giants.

Now im not completely ignorant not everything you want can happen. Maybe signing Ray Lewis was a strech but wait Demarcus Ware had this to say

"You know, actually, when we played Ray Lewis and Baltimore at the end of the season, he came over and pointed to my helmet. He said, 'I want to wear this star on my helmet, that's my dream...that's my dream.' When we got to the Pro Bowl, he did it again. He came at me every day. It's a great opportunity for him. His door is open. He's an unrestricted free agent. He's trying to get down where the star is. He told me he needed me to get him Jerry Jones' phone number for him. I just busted out laughing." (Link here)

Wait a second...You're telling me Demarcus Ware and Ray Lewis our both good friends off the field. Yes they are, so with me typing this seething I think to myself we could have had Ray Lewis and Demarcus Ware the two captains of the defense and take over the entire locker room.

There would be no split locker room or animosity with Lewis coming into the Cowboys defense and Ware saying "this is my defense" The two are already friends!

 We aren't getting a 1st round pick this year so virtually we head into next season with the same exact team as last year. If not a little worse. If that doesn't scare us Cowboys fan's i'm not sure what will.

 I hope I'm wrong about all this, because all I want is the Cowboys to actually succeed and not be a joke to the media and fans. 

But I'm starting to think the longer Jerry Jones is GM the worse this team is going to be. Don't get me wrong, he's a great owner and business man and has made the Cowboys into an economic powerhouse in the NFL. But looks how many coaches we've been through in the last 13 years of not winning a playoff game. How many times do you think he would have fired the GM if it wasn't him?

Dallas fan's deserve better, and so does this team.



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6 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/ bags030404

    I am not either for or against this signing, but Keith Brooking had the two best years of his career in 2002-2003 while playing the sam backer position for Wade Phillips! This is the reason they signed him! Not because they are stupid, but because of familiarity! I would love to have Ray Lewis, but not at 7-8 million per season when he plays the same position Bradie James plays. As far as Anthony Henry goes, he is done he just cannot cover anymore, and we desperately needed a solid back up QB that will be a good locker room guy. Don’t think he was brought here to sit back and do nothing. Kitna was brought in more for what he can do to the locker room than for what he can do on the field. I am just not a big fan of blasting people for decisions in March, when we have yet to see the people on the field!

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Ray … I must say, I agree with Bags on this one. Brooking isn’t going to be a show stopper out there, but he is still a better player than Thomas is. His native position is also as a middle linebacker, just in a 4-3 for most of his career. The one time he did play in a 3-4 was under then defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and he put up career numbers in both years.

    Mike Jenkins did fail to attempt that tackle, but it was a one time incident that he seemed to learn from, another off-season will help the 1st year corner do better.

  • Scorpion

    Wow…I feel alot better…from the two comments above, I know that everybody has not gone insane!
    Really…some of you DO NOT need to breed!

    Before last season, KITNA has two 4,000 yard throwing seasons with the DETROIT LIONS! I dare say he will have a little better “surrounding cast” to play with. But the key point is he has been brought in to play as a BACKUP QB. Not every game…remember? He can make the throws…Johnson just couldn’t.

    We gave up Henry. Big deal. The way some of you have commented, you would think this guy is a key to our defense! Let the younger guys get on the field.

    KEITH BROOKING…damned if you do and damned if you don’t….Dallas management can’t win with some of you guys. Burnett and Mr. Dolphin were probably not coming back next year, leaving us with what? James and Carpenter…We get a four or five time all pro, played his best years with our coach in the same position he will play here, and for basically nothing compared to what Ray Lewis would have cost. And how many times do you need to hear it before it “sinks in” that we don’t have the salary cap room to sign Canty or a Lewis without not beeing able to sign Ware?

    I am in agreement with a comment given above. Why get so upset and ridicule these transactions until you see the results on the field?

  • mike

    You are joking. The kitna trade is just a salary cap move for both teams. Dallas gets their back up quarterback and saves cap space too. Henry was going to be cut anyway. Picking up Booking a class act to help in the locker room and Atlanta’s top tackler last year isn’t going to help the team at all. He’s 33 and still a good player might just show some of our player what a work ethic is. Canty is gone. We can improve that area by adding Vonnie Holliday. Once again a class guy that shouldn’t be too expensive. Forget Ray he’s just trying to get a better payday. He’ll be back with the Ravens as soon as his ego calms down. As far as not having a first round pick, the entire draft is not based on one pick. We have 6 picks maybe more with compensatory picks in rds 2 through 5. You can build a team with good players in those rounds. Lets see if they can find some gems this year. By the way , whats with all the hate. Lighten up.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    I’m fine with the Kitna deal, and I’m fine with the Brooking signing.

    I don’t like the Stewart signing, but I can step past that as a ST types deal.

    Kitna will be fine as a backup, but we need to draft a QB in the middle rounds. We have to have someone that can push Tony to be what he was in 2007, and only a young QB prospect can do that.

    Brooking is a solid signing. He has had some very good years. And, like was stated above, he had his best years in Wade’s defensive scheme.

    I don’t like the free agency period so far because we have not gone after a safety. Jermaine Phillips would be a very solid signing at SS, but by all reports we haven’t even approached him. If we go into the draft needing a SS, we may be in deep poo. Delmas would be the closest to falling to us, and I highly doubt that happens. Anyway, we need a safety.. stat.

    But, more than anything, we need to address OL early and often in this draft.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • Brad

    Dude how do you even get a post on this website. You my friend are an idiot. Get your facts straight before you run off at the mouth. You were wrong on every statement you made. Are you sure you are a Cowboy fan.

    Scandrick and Jenkins had good rookie seasons. Oh and is it me or has Henry had trouble staying healthy.
    The boys traded for Kitna because they did not want to get into a bidding war. He restructured his deal and we save a little cap space with Henry’s trade. Also um Kitna is way better then Brad Johnson. When did Johnson ever throw back to back 4,00 yard seasons. Hold on I’ll wait………Yah thats right never. Kitna is better then REx and Kyle and he worked out his differences with James and TNew last season.
    We had no shot at R. Lewis. He was using us to drive up his price. Did you not hear the report where Lewis said he never said those statements to Ware. This is not Madden or Fantasy football. There is something called a salary cap.
    Also Brooking is not an outside line backer.
    Dude get your facts straight. Are you sure you are a Cowboys fan?

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup is Team’s Most Important Rookie

Jess Haynie

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Will Rookie WR Michael Gallup Make an Immediate Impact? 1

Almost any other season, a team's first-round draft pick is going to be the most important rookie on the roster. Often, they are drafted to the position with the greatest immediate need. But for the 2018 Dallas Cowboys, third-round Wide Receiver Michael Gallup is the guy that the team needs most.

Dallas drafted Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of last April's draft. In the second round they took Offensive Lineman Connor Williams. The Cowboys hope both will have starting roles on this year's team.

But given the other talent at those positions, it's receiver where Dallas most needs a rookie to excel.

For Vander Esch in 2018, his ceiling is probably to start in the base 4-3 defense and then rotate in the nickel scheme. That means pushing Damien Wilson to the bench, but still having to push for reps with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith when the team only has two linebackers on the field.

That's no small role, and especially if Leighton end up as the starting middle linebacker. But Dallas, like most NFL teams, uses their nickel scheme more than any other.

Vander Esch's importance is almost more about potential injury to Sean or Jaylon, where he can hopefully step in and perform quickly. But if those two stay healthy, Vander Esch may not have a much bigger role than Damien Wilson did last year.

For Connor Williams, Being Shoulder to Shoulder with Tyron Smith is Nothing New

Dallas Cowboys G Connor Williams

Second-round pick Connor Williams is going to get the first crack at being the team's new starting left guard. You could easily make a case that that's more important than the role Vander Esch will have this year.

But Dallas has a lot of options if Williams doesn't immediately excel.

They could flip Right Tackle La'el Collins back to guard and try Connor at his college position of tackle. They might also start veteran Cameron Fleming at RT and make Williams a versatile reserve.

Dallas also has veterans Chaz Green, Joe Looney, and Marcus Martin on the roster competing at guard.

These options make Williams' success less critical to the 2018 Cowboys. As with Vander Esch, there's a cushion for if the rookie doesn't show up right away.

Given the state of things at receiver, Michael Gallup doesn't have that same cushion.

Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

Without the rookie, Dallas has Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Deonte Thompson, as the only established players on the WR depth chart. Each one has a red flag.

Hurns has never succeeded as the top receiver in an offense. His best years in Jacksonville were when Allen Robinson was WR1 and Hurns could do damage with less attention. He needs other guys to keep defenses honest to be effective.

The same goes for Beasley, who had a strong season in 2016 but then wilted last year when teams realized he was the bigger threat than Dez Bryant or Jason Witten. Cole was effectively taken out by opposing defensive coordinators, dropping to the fourth on the team in catches.

Terrance Williams is the guy Dallas probably wish they could cut but whose contract makes it unprofitable. His recent personal issues, on top of years of underwhelming play, don't inspire confidence that he can help balance the offense.

Deonte Thompson broke out a little with the Buffalo Bills last year despite their overall passing issues, but he's 29 and didn't do anything between 2012-2016. He's a vertical threat who might help in some situations, but is doubtful as a major piece of the offense.

This is why Dallas needs Michael Gallup to show up right now. Without some new spark in the passing game, next season could be unfortunately similar to 2017.

While a full season from Ezekiel Elliott will hopefully make life easier for Dak Prescott this year, the Cowboys' quarterback still needs receiver who can make defenses nervous. None of the players we just talked about will do that, lacking the cache of Bryant or Witten from a few years ago.

 

While a full season from Ezekiel Elliott will hopefully make life easier for Dak Prescott this year, the Cowboys' quarterback still needs receiver who can make defenses nervous. None of the players we just talked about will do that, lacking the cache of Bryant or Witten from a few years ago.

Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

Of course, we recognize that Michael Gallup is just a third-round draft pick. Expecting him to come in and immediately change the fortune of the offense could be asking way too much.

That doesn't change need, though. Dallas can afford for Leighton Vander Esch or Connor Williams to take a year to develop. But if Gallup doesn't show up right away, we could see a lot more of guys not getting open and Prescott getting flustered.

Hopefully, the absence of Dez and Jason this year will make the Cowboys less predictable. It will keep defenses guessing enough to help all of these players take advantage.

But nothing will help more than an infusion of new, exciting talent. If Michael can make an early impact, teams will have to adjust. That will open the door much wider for his teammates.

Again, it may be asking too much. We get that.

But that's reality for the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. They just lost two future Ring of Honor members from the passing game and the two most targeted players from last year's offense.

Do you really want Terrance Williams trying to fill that void? Of course not.

While Leighton Vander Esch, Connor Williams, or even fourth-round rookie Tight End Dalton Schultz could make major impacts on the 2018 Cowboys, there is less risk if they don't. It's at receiver where Dallas suffers most if their rookie addition doesn't perform.

Therefore, for 2018, Michael Gallup is the most important rookie on the Dallas Cowboys.



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Dallas Cowboys

Is Cowboys ST Coordinator Keith O’Quinn Facing Most Pressure for New Coaches?

Sean Martin

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Is Cowboys ST Coordinator Keith O'Quinn Facing Most Pressure for New Coaches? 1

Amidst an overhaul on offense that's seen the Dallas Cowboys hire new positional coaches at every position but running back, and a potential change of philosophy on defense with Kris Richard arriving as Passing Game Coordinator, new Special Teams Coordinator Keith O'Quinn may be the new Cowboys coach under the most pressure for 2018.

O'Quinn has big shoes to fill with Rich Bisaccia now on John Gruden's Oakland Raiders staff, the Cowboys ST Coordinator from 2013-2017. O'Quinn arrived in Dallas as a scout first in 2007, joining the coaching staff in 2010 but not working on special teams with Bisaccia until 2014.

The University of North Texas alum has always been regarded highly around the NFL, as O'Quinn served as the Director of Pro Personnel in Cleveland prior to getting on the Cowboys coaching staff.

It's almost certain that O'Quinn will have to put his scouting and personnel background to the test when influencing the Cowboys roster decisions on special teams. His unit will be a needed destination for talented players on the roster bubble, of which the Cowboys have plenty of at wide receiver, running back, linebacker, and even cornerback.

Where Rich Bisaccia was known for having his way in the Cowboys roster building to maintain a strong special teams unit, O'Quinn will have to be just as assertive and perhaps more diligent.

Players like Lance Lenoir, K.D. Cannon, Trey Williams, rookies Bo Scarbrough and Chris Covington, Duke Thomas, and Marquez White could all rely on being put in position to succeed on special teams by O'Quinn.

Should a player like Scarbrough make the cut as the Cowboys' final pick of the AT&T Stadium hosted 2018 Draft, his role as a compliment in the backfield to Ezekiel Elliott is the perfect depth to receive from a special teams contributor.

This is just one immediate example of the players the Cowboys are looking at to replace the departed Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber, two key ST starters lost in free agency.

Cowboys Roster: Who Are the "Best" Players on the Bubble? 1

Dallas Cowboys RB Bo Scarbrough

The Cowboys ranked 24th in yards per punt with Chris Jones last season, as the burden of turning around Dan Bailey's kicking misfortunes from 2017 also falls on O'Quinn. Bailey missed a career-high five kicks last year, a total he matched the year prior and in 2011.

In their own return game, it won't just be Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan trying to get the most out of Tavon Austin, as he'll serve as one possible replacement to Ryan Switzer.

Of course, it was Switzer's fumble against Austin's LA Rams in a week four loss that stands as a lasting image of the Cowboys shortcomings of 2017. Dan Bailey's missed fourth quarter field goal against the Seahawks, which all but assured that the season would end the following week in Philadelphia against the defending Super Bowl champions, is another special teams miscue for O'Quinn to think back to.

Is Cowboys ST Coordinator Keith O'Quinn Facing Most Pressure for New Coaches?

Dallas Cowboys P Chris Jones, K Dan Bailey (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

This year's Cowboys are not about looking back however, determined to defy the odds and contend in the NFC East despite flipping so much of their roster and coaching staff. When the Cowboys finally arrive in Oxnard, the anticipation for training camp will likely be met with some tense moments early, as new players and coaches adjust.

A coordinator that can't afford to have his head swimming in a new role is Keith O'Quinn. Not only does his special teams unit have to be built with the Cowboys talent level in mind, but they must perform at the standard Bisaccia set in Dallas as not only the former Special Teams Coordinator but Assistant Head Coach as well.

Tell us what you think about "Is Cowboys ST Coordinator Keith O’Quinn Facing Most Pressure for New Coaches?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys 2018 Preview: Which Offensive Starting Jobs Are Open?

Jess Haynie

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Michael Gallup

We're still about a month away from the start of the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Training Camp. However, even now, we have a good sense of what starting jobs are open and which ones have already been decided for the upcoming season.

Before we get into the open positions, let's look at the ones that appear to already set. Barring injuries or some other unpredictable occurrence, here are the guys who you can bet on starting this season:

OFFENSE

Even with these probable and assured starters, there are a few considerations to be made.

For example, Allen Hurns may be the team's highest-paid receiver and the assumed replacement to Dez Bryant. But he's still brand new to this team, so chemistry with Dak Prescott and system familiarity make him a little risky early one.

La'el Collins will be a starter, but are we sure it's at right tackle? If nobody impresses at left guard, Dallas could still elect to move Collins back inside and start veteran Cam Fleming at tackle.

Still, these aren't likely. So, of the 22 primary positions on both sides of the ball, we have 12 players who are safe bets to start. What about the other 10 spots? What's are the possibilities and probabilities there?

Today, we'll focus on the offense.

Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley

QB Dak Prescott and WR Cole Beasley (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Wide Receiver

Given his previous success and chemistry with Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley could seem an easy bet for the WR2 position. But there are several factors to consider.

Third-round rookie Michael Gallup is more of an all-around receiver and his play already in OTAs and minicamp has impressed. He also gives the Cowboys a young WR to form a new trio with Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott; an offensive nucleus they would hope to build on for years to come.

If Gallup keeps excelling, Dallas won't hesitate to give him a starting job. Beasley is a free agent next year and the rookie is locked up for four seasons.

There's also Terrance Williams to consider, all of his recent personal shenanigans aside. He offers system familiarity and exceptional run blocking, which is good for a starting role. You want Williams on the field when the ball is going to Ezekiel Elliott on early downs.

This speaks to the reality that being the starter may not necessarily lead to getting the most targets. Beasley could be the slot receiver and still easily get more passes than the WR2 by the end of the season.

The good news is that the Cowboys have options, which should also mean depth once things shake out.

Blake Jarwin

Dallas Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin (Kevin Terrell via AP)

Tight End

Arguably the most wide open position on the whole roster, tight end is a massive crater in the offense with the impact of Jason Witten's retirement. Who will fill the void?

While veteran Geoff Swaim is getting the early deference, he's hardly locked in as the starter. Swaim's nine career catches give him hardly any cache over rookie Dalton Schultz or prospects Rico Gathers and Blake Jarwin.

It truly is a four-man race for the starting role, which makes things fun but also tense for the next two months. The reality that none of these guys will likely be able to perform on Jason Witten's level is also scary.

Thankfully, though, they may not have to. Dallas appears to be moving to more of a spread offense better suited to Dak Prescott's style, which may reduce the expectations of the TE position from the last 15 years of Witten.

As we mentioned before with Terrance Williams, Geoff Swaim is a proficient run blocker. Couple that with his experience and he's the best bet to start, but we could see a steady rotation throughout the year as Dallas tried to figure out which guy is best suited for the long term.

For Connor Williams, Being Shoulder to Shoulder with Tyron Smith is Nothing New

Dallas Cowboys G Connor Williams

Left Guard

Second-round pick Connor Williams will get the first crack at being the new starter at left guard, but rookies rarely have a guarantee when it comes to any first-year role. Throw in that he'll be transitioning from tackle to guard, and Connor has some clear question marks.

As mentioned already, Dallas could decide to flip La'el Collins back to LG and start someone else at right tackle. Ironically, that could also be Connor Williams. The Cowboys might decide that the rookie is better at his college position. It could also be the aforementioned Cam Fleming.

Also competing for the job at guard will be veterans Joe Looney and Marcus Martin. Both have position flex as centers or guards, meaning one could start and the other could be your top interior reserve. That versatility is nice for them and for the Cowboys, allowing the best man to win.

Chaz Green is also still hanging around, and surprisingly got first-team reps ecently when Zack Martin was missing camp. The Cowboys have invested a lot in Green and are understandably desperate to still get something for their trouble. He may get more of a chance to compete here than we'd have guessed.

But still, this should be Connor Williams' job to lose. A second-round pick is no small thing, especially for a guy expected to play interior line. Those picks are made with the goal of finding a starter, and Williams will get every chance to prove if he can handle it or not.

~ ~ ~

As you can see, there's going to be some real turnover in the Cowboys offense this year. But this is only half the roster, and there's even more opportunity on the other side of the ball.

Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the open starting jobs on defense.



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