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Dallas Cowboys: Moving La’el Collins To RT Is A Mistake

Brian Martin

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La'el Collins

I know I’m going to be in the minority here, but I truly believe moving La’el Collins to right tackle is a mistake by the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve tried this experiment before when they signed Collins as an undrafted free agent, and determined then his best position was on the inside at guard. So, what has changed since then?

Well, Doug Free decided to hang up his cleats in the off-season, which left a void at the right tackle position. Many Cowboys’ fans have openly celebrated Free’s retirement, but they may sing a different tune once the 2017 season kicks off.

You see, Doug Free’s retirement and Ronald Leary’s departure via free agency has now created two open spots on the Cowboys offensive line. Yes, they still have Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin to anchor the OL, but Dallas’ coaching staff is having to shuffle things around in order to find the best starting five.

I’m a firm believer that La’el Collins’ best position in the NFL is at offensive guard. In fact, if not for the foot injury that wiped out nearly his entire 2016 season, he likely would have been named to his first Pro Bowl. That is why I believe he should be reinserted at left guard immediately.

You simply don’t take a potential Pro Bowl caliber player from one position and put them at another one. But, it’s starting to look as if that is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys are doing.

I think at best, Collins is probably an average right tackle in the NFL. I’m not even sure if he will be an upgrade over Doug Free. Collins couldn’t unseat Free before, but now he’s the best option? Does this not concern anyone else?

La'el Collins

(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

La’el Collins hasn’t recorded a single NFL snap at right tackle in his career. But, fans are already sold on him as he starting RT, despite the fact the Dallas Cowboys haven’t even put on pads yet. That’s a lot of faith to put in someone who has yet to prove much of anything as of yet in the NFL, especially at right tackle.

Whatever the Dallas Cowboys decide to do with La’el Collins will likely shape the success the offense will have in 2017. This decision will impact every facet of how the Cowboys’ offense operates. Yes, I believe it is that important.

Collins is the only player on the Cowboys roster who can play left guard and improve the position after Ronald Leary’s departure. Anyone else is probably a downgrade, which impacts both the running and passing game.

I just don’t really think there is any need for Collins to play RT. There are options available that I believe can play the position just as well. In fact, Chaz Green was drafted to take over for Doug Free. He is likely the best option if he can remain healthy.

I’m hoping that this is just a trial run the Dallas Cowboys are giving La’el Collins and that nothing is set in stone as of yet. I personally don’t really like the move, but I understand why others do.

Fortunately, there is still quite a bit of off-season left to work things out. But, I for one am hoping to see La’el Collins lined up between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith on the left side in 2017. I think it’s what is best for not only Collins, but for the entire Cowboys’ offense.

Do you agree or disagree?

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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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18 Comments
  • I’m Okay w La’el @ RT

    Personally, I think this is nothing more than homage to the ‘Versatility Gods’ that the Cowboys seem to worship, at least on the O line. BY TC they will have multiple players that can play both LG & RT to offset the injury bug.

    I don’t share your high opinion of Collins @ LG. He is not better than Leary @ that spot.

    • Brian Martin

      Collins was still developing as a LG. I think he would’ve ended up being better than Leary and been in the Pro Bowl conversation last season if he remained healthy. But, I agree that the Cowboys will have multiple players being looked at in training camp at LG and RT. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Travis Diggs

    I believe even tho we have the best offensive line in the league, it was clear Doug Free was the weak link. So why would us as fans think Collins couldnt do better than him??? We have come accustomed to Chaz green injuries, Cooper was a first round bust, and Bell is fighting just to make weight incentives. Unless Cleary takes over one of the spots, We expect Collins to be the clear cut starter out right

    • Brian Martin

      Travis, I agree with what you said, but I’m not sure Collins is better than Free. I do believe Collins is an upgrade at LG, but now he’s being looked at as the RT. I think the OG spot is more important to the running game and keeping the pocket clean for Prescott to step up and make a throw. I understand the optimism about Collins at RT, but I personally don’t see it.

      • Travis Diggs

        I believe we have one of the best coaching staffs So i think they will put the best 5 guys out there If they believe Collins is well suited for Tackle I trust them. The only reason why he is out there is because of uncertainty of Chaz Green. Come training camp we will know

        • Brian Martin

          Travis, I agree. I think Green’s health will ultimately decide what they do with Collins. Fortunately, there still a lot of off-season left to figure things out.

  • Randy Martin

    Your assertion is misplaced Brian. Your idea that he will not be good at RT assumes that he hit his ceiling his dokie year. You stated they tried it and it didn’t work. Well, let’s not forget he was a deer in the headlights rookie. There was some talk on one of shows that Bryan Broaddus is on before this move was even made that stated he is likely an all-pro guard and an average tackle but over time they seemed to change their time. I choose to believe that he needs reps and snaps, and he is improving physically in what is now his third year and he is more physically and mentally prepared for it. The beauty of OTA’s and training camp and pre-season is so that you can try these type of things and see if it will work. Do you believe that the coaching staff would purposely make a move such as this and leave it in place if they thought it would cause the offense to regress? Collins played tackle in college and I have every confidence he can play it in the NFL. Give it some time my friend. Its not like they can’t move him back to guard if it doesn’t work but based on early indications he has looked pretty good there.

    • Brian Martin

      Randy, I’m not saying that I don’t believe Collins could be a good RT. I just believe that he is a better LG and that it would benefit the Cowboys offense more. I think Chaz Green can play RT just as well as Collins if he can remain healthy. I think the best five OL is Smith, Collins, Frederick, Martin, and Green. But, like you said, only time will tell. There is still a lot of off-season left to figure things out.

  • Anthony Ceniccola

    i want to think that he can transition to RT, i understand his reach is the concern but he made a name as a tackle in college. I think he may eventually be an upgrade to free but it would have been a bigger uphill battle to be an upgrade to leary.

    • Brian Martin

      Anthony, I’m going to have to disagree. I think Collins is already an upgrade over Leary, although it may be just a slight one. He was just getting used to playing OG when he suffered the foot injury that wiped out his 2016 season. I’m not saying he can’t be a good RT, I just think he is a better LG.

  • Kevin Black

    I’m going with the opposite argument for Collins at RT. Collins was a solid LT in college and while he doesn’t project as a premier LT in the NFL, he was considered by some to be usable as a LT. Dallas prefers guards who are light on their feet and Collins gives them that. That quality is what also allows Collins to perform as a RT in this offense. With more and more pass rushers ending up going against the offense’s RT, this is probably the best move for Dallas. Finding a quality RT is much harder than finding a LG. On top of that, the RT is on a bit of an island, although you could have a TE help, that’s less than ideal. With the LG, you put them between two AllPro’s and gives you a bit of protection there that the RT doesn’t have.

    If Cooper can regain his form, which is a pretty big if at this point, then Dallas will win the Offensive Line Lotto once again. If not, there are enough bodies to help there. I don’t think the RT talent outside of Collins is dependable enough to not move Collins to RT. Green has shown he can do it, but he’s also shown he can’t stay healthy.

    • Brian Martin

      Kevin, that’s as good of an assessment as I’ve read anywhere. I’m not against playing Collins at RT, I just think he is more valuable at LG. I think Chaz Green would do just as well at RT as Collins, but his health is a concern. Fortunately we have the rest of the off-season to sort things out.

    • ThePsychodad69

      Well they did get Columbo back to what they thought he could be, Leary for all the prognostication became a very good player, actually we will see if either Free or Leary were weakspots or if Parcells was right about not having steak on every plate, but a nice lamb chop or turkey leg isn’t so bad when you look at what the rest of the league puts on the table.

      • Brian Martin

        Free and Leary were definitely weak spots, but who wouldn’t be playing with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin ha ha. I’m just hoping that whoever fills those two open roster spots on the OL isn’t a huge downgrade.

  • ThePsychodad69

    Just like moving LA to OT, not his best position but the best there now. If Green isnt wowing them @ guard his chances outside are even worse. IMO he wasn’t great and Zeke got on track once Leary got in, I thought he hurt it before the Giants game in practice, if so him playing probably finished it off.

    But why not give him snaps now and see what he can do, if he’s a reach come camp then we have a problem. Better if they find out now than 3wks into Oxnard.

    • Brian Martin

      The entire offensive line struggled in the early part of the season. It took them a little while to get going and it wasn’t just Collins that struggled. I have no problem giving Collins reps at RT right now, but I still believe his best position is LG. It’s good to get him snaps now, but I think the Cowboys are downgrading two positions if he stays at RT.

  • tom

    versatility is something they should explore for Collins. We know what we have in Green at RT and Bell is not better than Green. So why not try Collins at RT and Green at LG. If the experiment fails, put Collins back to LG. In the end, we need to see if Collins gets long term contract with $$$ freed up by Romo release. And teams pay more $$$ for RT than LG.

    • Brian Martin

      The Cowboys coaching staff is definitely exploring their options, but in the end I still believe Collins is better at LG.

Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ranking The Dallas Cowboys Rookies Through Week 8
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

Right now, it’s pretty tough to predict how the 2018 Dallas Cowboys’ season will turn out. Even with Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli all returning for next season, there’s a lot of change going on in Dallas. The Cowboys will have to deal with a lot of new position coaches as they try to get back to the top after a 9-7 season in 2017.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that’ll impact the outcome of this season.

One of those questions hasn’t been discussed much. That question is: how will the 2017 rookie class fare in their sophomore seasons? 

In 2016 and 2017, rookies were very important for this franchise.

Two years ago, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the NFL by storm, ending the season with a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC. Anthony Brown looked to be the Cowboys’ future shutdown cornerback, and Maliek Collins looked very promising.

Last season, the Cowboys didn’t have rookie seasons as spectacular as Dak and Zeke had in 2016 (I don’t think we’ll see anything similar in the NFL for a long time), but the rookie class ended up being a very important one for sure.

After letting a lot of veteran players walk in free agency, the team went ahead and fixed the secondary by drafting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis in consecutive rounds, and trading up to get Xavier Woods in the sixth.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

Jourdan Lewis made his presence felt early in the season, while we had to wait a bit to see Chidobe Awuzie in action. Both of them had surprising rookie seasons and they truly look like the future in Dallas’ secondary.

Both have shown what they’re capable of; we’ve seen them make plays and turn their heads to the ball… really, something we hadn’t seen in a long time.

Ryan Switzer didn’t get a chance to play as a wide receiver that much, but he was very impressive as a returner. He still has a long way to go, but I’m betting on Switzer to remain among the NFL’s best returners for a long time. After seeing him replace Cole Beasley in the season finale, I’ll be shocked if Dallas doesn’t give him more playing time on offense next year. He deserves a more important role.

Taco Charlton still has a lot to improve on, but surprisingly, he did a nice job during the final games of the season. It’s always premature to call a player a “bust” after a single season, and Taco’s been called a bust since the moment he was drafted. Let’s give him a chance.

For 2017, we set the bar high for the Cowboys’ sophomores.

We thought Dak Prescott would be among the best QBs in the league, that Ezekiel Elliott would pass the 2,000-yard mark, that Anthony Brown would be an ideal CB1, and that Maliek Collins could even lead the team in sacks as a defensive tackle.

There are a lot of reasons this team struggled in 2017, and some of those reasons still preoccupy us when thinking about next season.

The Cowboys will definitely need their 2017 rookies to continue playing quality football. It will be key if they want to leave a painful 9-7 season behind and get back to winning this year.

Here’s to hoping the Cowboys’ 2018 sophomores avoid the “inevitable slumps.” In a season filled with uncertainty, they’ll sure be needed.

Tell me what you think about “Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Dez Bryant es ese jugador que incontables veces me hizo gritar y saltar de alegría con sus excepcionales recepciones y su manera de pelear el balón en el aire. Tantos momentos tan memorables con Tony Romo e incluso algunos con Dak Prescott lo han vuelto uno de mis jugadores favoritos…

Pero ahora, después de una difícil temporada de los Dallas Cowboys, los sentimientos están encontrados.

En muchos momentos, no parece que estamos viendo al Dez Bryant de antes. Claro, podemos decidir recordar esa recepción de touchdown que rompió el récord de la franquicia contra los Redskins, o esa escapada de 50 yardas en New York en la semana 14.

Pero Dez no ha sido el mismo las últimas tres temporadas. Y este 2017, todos los momentos de frustración culminaron en el partido que eliminó a los Cowboys de la temporada.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a los Seattle Seahawks, un fumble acompañado por un pase soltado de Dez que resultó en una intercepción, todos nos pusimos a pensar.

La cosa no es que Dez Bryant sea un mal receptor. El talento está ahí, y es fácil verlo en ciertas jugadas. A veces es visible cuando atropella a algún defensivo, a veces cuando busca el balón y consigue atraparlo de una manera impresionante.

Quizá el próximo año se sacuda la mala racha que ha tenido los últimos años y encuentre una manera de ser el jugador que alguna vez fue… el problema es la cantidad de dinero que se le paga.

Después de la temporada del 2014, cuando Bryant terminó el año con 16 touchdowns y más de 1,300 yardas, el receptor estrella firmó un contrato por $70M.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen frente a ellos una pregunta muy importante que resolver este offseason.

 

¿Deberían Deshacerse de Dez Bryant?

A pesar de tener una mala racha, la razón por la cual Dallas le diría adiós a Dez es su contrato. Dez está listo para cobrar $16.5M en el 2018 y otros 16 millones y medio en el 2019. De ser cortado, los Cowboys se ahorrarían ocho millones y medio la próxima temporada.

Suficiente dinero para firmar a un jugador que realmente haga impacto esta agencia libre.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Normalmente, cuando hablamos de jugadores como él, hay muchos conflictos para los aficionados. Vaya, yo mismo acabo de plantear que es uno de mis jugadores favoritos, pero quizá a veces el cambio es necesario.

Sí, la producción de Dez Bryant no ha sido la misma desde la última temporada que tuvo con Tony Romo. Pero ¿es eso excusa suficiente?

Basta pensar en jugadores como Larry Fitzgerald y DeAndre Hopkins para darse cuenta de que no. Aún con quarterbacks mediocres, ambos se mantienen como receptores de elite en la NFL.

Es cierto que Dak Prescott no es el mismo QB que Romo era, y no es un jugador que vaya a lanzar pases profundos tan frecuentemente como Tony lo hacía, pero eso tampoco significa que sea algo malo necesariamente.

Este equipo le construyó un equipo a su ex-mariscal para sacarle todo el provecho al #9. Es hora de hacer lo mismo por Dak Prescott.

Insisto en que los Cowboys tienen que buscar a un WR tan pronto como en la primera ronda del NFL Draft o incluso hasta en agencia libre.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen tantas cosas que hacer antes de la próxima temporada y decidir que hacer con uno de sus jugadores más emblemáticos de la actualidad, Dez Bryant, es una de ellas.

¿Les gustaría ver a Dez Bryant de vuelta en el 2018?

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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