Connect with us

Star Blog

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

Brian Martin

Published

on

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?



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.

Advertisement
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

A Look Around The NFC East: Week 2

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

The usually competitive NFC East got off to a shaky start last week, with half the division winning their season opener and the other half falling short.

Now entering week 2, the Eagles and Redskins have a chance to begin to distance themselves from the loser of the Cowboys/Giants game, and both of those 0-1 teams are looking to "save" their season. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but a home loss within the division to fall to 0-2 could be debilitating for the Dallas Cowboys moving forward.

Regardless, let's go around the division and see what each team has on tap for this Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles

The defending champs opened up their 2018 campaign just as we expected: with a home victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta sort of gave that game away last Thursday night, but if the Eagles can stack Nick Foles-led wins on top of each other they'll put themselves in a great spot to win the East when Carson Wentz returns.

The Eagles will be on the road this week for the first time, traveling to Tampa Bay to play the 1-0 Buccaneers. The Bucs pulled the upset of the weekend last week, defeating New Orleans 48-40. It's hard to imagine that "Fitzmagic" continuing against the vaunted Eagles defense, though.

Philly is a three point road favorite against Tampa Bay this Sunday.

Washington Redskins

My "sleeper" team in the NFC East, and pick to finish second in the division, looked rather impressive in their week one drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, Arizona isn't a very good team, and will probably be picking top 5 in the draft next April. Still, it was a good showing for the Redskins to open the season.

Washington got Adrian Peterson going on the ground for nearly 100 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Thompson helped keep them on schedule offensively as well. Washington hasn't been talked about much this offseason, but is sitting at 1-0 with a game against the 0-1 Colts on the horizon.

Washington is a 6 point favorite against Indianapolis this Sunday, and has a good chance of starting 2-0 on the year.

New York Giants

Though we are just one week into the 2018 regular season, an important matchup is brewing within the NFC East. After falling to 0-1 with a home loss in their season opener, the Giants will travel to Texas to face the Cowboys on Sunday night football this week.

With both teams sitting at 0-1, neither can afford to put themselves into a nearly-insurmountable hole with a second straight loss. Since the merger 90% of teams who fall to 0-2 fail to make the playoffs, and it would be back-to-back seasons of missing out for both the Cowboys and Giants.

New York is a three point road underdog on Sunday, and it seems like most of the football world is leaning towards them and their weapons coming away with the victory.

Either way, this game will have massive implications on the 2018 season.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Sigue Para la Ofensiva de los Cowboys?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Sigue Para la Ofensiva de los Cowboys?

En lo que fue una de las actuaciones más decepcionantes de la semana 1, los Dallas Cowboys no fueron capaces de avanzar en la ofensiva más que en una serie en la que anotaron un touchdown y una conversión de dos puntos. Fue un juego en el que nada funcionó más que la defensiva, la cual limitó a Cam Newton y compañía a sólo 16 puntos en un partido que pareció parejo, pero realmente no lo fue.

Ahora, antes de que los Cowboys jueguen su primer partido divisional del año contra los New York Giants, los aficionados del America's Team se preguntan ¿qué sigue para la ofensiva de los Dallas Cowboys? La ofensiva que tanto prometía hace un par de años, cuando Ezekiel Elliott y Dak Prescott lideraron a su equipo al primer sembrado de la NFC como novatos.

No se puede culpar a una sola persona por lo que sucedió el domingo pasado. La actuación fue tan deficiente que se tiene que señalar todo lo que falló. En primera instancia, hablemos del pésimo plan ofensivo de parte del coordinador de esta ofensiva, Scott Linehan.

Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan

Dallas Cowboys coaches Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett

Si algo hemos escuchado decir una y otra vez acerca de la ofensiva de Dak Prescott y los Cowboys es que es una sencilla, pero una difícil de vencer. Naturalmente, eso ha cambiado los últimos dos años. Esta ofensiva ya no debería de ser la misma que tomó a la liga por sorpresa en el 2016, no obstante, lo es.

En varias ocasiones, los Panthers no tuvieron ningún problema "telegrafiando" las jugadas de los Cowboys en cuanto sacaban el balón, resaltando la poca creatividad en la ofensiva de Linehan. Peor aún, en los momentos en los que se podría decir que fue creativo, lo fue en un mal sentido. Después de firmar y obtener a tantos receptores talentosos (que a pesar de no tener un claro #1, hay mucha profundidad), Dallas se alineó con dos tight ends en formaciones con cinco jugadores abiertos. ¿Por qué?

Esto le dio muy pocas oportunidades a Dak Prescott, quien hizo el problema más grande. Cuando tuvo esas pocas ventanas para lanzar profundo, la puntería del QB les costó bastantes series a los Cowboys. La más notable de estas, un pase profundo en la que el TE Blake Jarwin se había desmarcado y pudo haber llegado muy lejos, incluso quizá a la zona de anotación. En cambio, Prescott apenas llegó el balón a sus pies.

Sin embargo, la puntería profunda de Prescott es la menor de mis preocupaciones. Siempre hemos sabido que no es un Aaron Rodgers ni un Tom Brady. Lo que más me sorprende es la falta de calma de Dak. Siempre se le respetó por eso como novato, pero ahora se ve incomodó en el bolsillo, algo que tiene que cambiar inmediatamente puesto que era una de sus fortalezas.

Finalmente, la línea ofensiva, que se supone es una de las unidades más fuertes del equipo, se vio mal. La'el Collins y Tyron Smiths fueron responsables de múltiples castigos de holding, que terminaron matando series ofensivas. Connor Williams tuvo un debut bastante complicado contra el DT Kawann Short. Joe Looney, a pesar de ser un backup, se vio bien.

La pregunta de muchos es, ¿habrá cambios?

 1

La respuesta a corto plazo es un rotundo no. Nada cambiará en el equipo de coaches ni en la posición de quarterback durante este inicio de la campaña 2018. Sin embargo, si el equipo continua perdiendo y se llega a topar con un récord muy perdedor en la semana 8 o 9, preparémonos.

Comenzaré diciendo que el primer cambio que considero más probable es en la posición de coordinador ofensivo. Si bien Dak puede resultar no ser el mariscal franquicia que tantos queríamos, ¿no vale la pena verlo jugar bajo el mando de otro coordinador? Un coordinador que lo ponga en una mejor posición para tener éxito y que se encargue de reducir el aparente miedo que hay a la hora de lanzar a lo largo. Eso sería ideal para el desarrollo de Dak, si es que llega a haber cambios.

Lo mismo para Jason Garrett, quien para mantenerse vivo debe voltear el rumbo de su equipo ya que lo que vimos en la primera semana fue desastroso. Garrett podría estar en peligro si las cosas no cambian pronto, sobre todo considerando la presencia de alguien como el coach de la secundaria defensiva, Kris Richard.

Finalmente, hablemos de lo que le espera a Dak Prescott.

Si Dak no corrige su manera de jugar y continua actuando como lo hizo la primera semana, habrá problemas en su futuro. Considerando que una extensión de contrato se avecina, Dak tiene que demostrar que puede tomar ese siguiente paso. Esperemos que lo logre, porque al final de cuentas, esperamos que todos en el equipo mejoren, pero ¿qué pasa si no es así?

Un juego no es suficiente para quitarle el trabajo, pero una mala temporada podría serlo. Ya sea por agencia libre o por medio del NFL Draft, los Cowboys podrían estar buscando alternativas si Prescott continua con este nivel todo el año.

Personalmente, tengo fe en Prescott. Creo que a pesar de que no será un MVP que cargará al equipo a la gloria, puede hacerlo con un buen apoyo. Y francamente, creo que Dallas tiene justo eso. Simplemente hay que ejecutar. Puede ser la parte más difícil de todas, pero hay mucho talento en el roster como para ser limitados a ocho puntos.

Las primeras impresiones son duraderas, pero no siempre son ciertas. Esperemos que el equipo encuentre una manera de darle la vuelta al barco cuando se enfrenten a los Giants este domingo en el NBC Sunday Night Football que se transmitirá en ESPN 2 en México.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Sigue Para la Ofensiva de los Cowboys?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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!



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Film Review: Analyzing The Sacks Given Up Vs. Carolina

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Film Review: Analyzing The Sacks Given Up Vs. Carolina

There's no question the Dallas Cowboys passing game failed as a whole on Sunday in their season opener. But, as usual, everyone is looking to assign the blame to someone in particular.

Was it the offensive line? The receivers? The coaching? The quarterback? In reality, it was a little bit of everyone. The stars on the team did not perform to their ability, and the role players looked bad at times.

The Cowboys vaunted offensive line surrendered six sacks, and Dak Prescott appeared to be under duress all afternoon. Of course, this doesn't all fall on the offensive line, though. Prescott could not find open receivers down field often, even when they were there to be found.

So, once the All-22 came out on NFL Gamepass, I decided to take a look and see who's "fault" each of the six sacks was. Of the six (one of which looked more like failed quarterback draw) I placed three "on" the offensive line/pass protection and two "on" Dak Prescott.

Let's examine a few of these sacks in greater detail.

dalvscar2018 sack 1

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The first time the Panthers got to Prescott looked way too easy. Backed up in their own territory the Cowboys came out in the I-formation with a tight end inline on the right side. Prior to the snap Carolina shifts their weakside linebacker over the left tackle, creating a two-over-one situation on the backside.

This should have been a red-alert for a blitz, and should've been communicated across the line of scrimmage. Instead, with veteran center Travis Frederick out, there seemed to be communication issues.

Tyron Smith steps down to take care of his inside gap, allowing the blitzing weakside backer to run free. On paper, this should be Ezekiel Elliott's man, but that is a damn-near impossible block for him to make coming across the formation.

Still, it is his responsibility, and he fails to pick up that block. This sack falls "on" the pass protection, but it really has to do more with poor pre-snap communication.

dalvscar2018 sack 2

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Later on in the game we see one of the sacks which really falls on Dak Prescott. The Cowboys come out in trips to the near side, and Ezekiel Elliott and a tight end stacked to the right. Carolina once again shows two-over-one, this time over the right tackle.

This screams blitz, and Elliott is able to step up and take the blitzer head on this time. The interior is where this pass protection breaks down, as left guard Connor Williams gets flat-out beat by the 3 technique.

Despite being beat relatively quickly, there's no excuse for Prescott to take a sack here. He has his tight end flashing open quickly in the middle of the field, and has the option to tuck it and run with green grass in front of him if he doesn't want to try to fit it between zones as well.

Prescott has to process the coverage and blitz quicker here to avoid the negative play. He also has to run more often, but that's another point for another post.

dalvscar2018 sack 4th qr

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This third sack falls mostly on the offensive line, and once again can be attributed to poor communication on the interior. Carolina brings a bit of a modified cross-dog blitz, with the 2i technique defensive tackle occupying both Williams and Looney, allowing for the blitzing linebacker to run free through the b-gap.

Joe Looney and Connor Williams have to communicate this better. Williams completely turns his hips and shoulders rather than staying square, and is unable to slide off the 2i to the linebacker. Looney should take the down lineman over, allowing Williams to slide off.

This has more to do with lack of familiarity than anything else, and is actually somewhat encouraging. This should get better as the season goes on.

dalvscar2018 sack 4th qr 2

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

dalvscar2018 sack 4th qr 2 wide view

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

These final two clips are the same play, just from different angles. I wanted to highlight how sometimes, you just get beat, and I don't think you can really blame any one person alone.

From the end-zone angle you can clearly see Connor Williams get beat by the 3 technique once again, and on first view it appears the sack is his fault. But when you really look at the whole play progression, you see that both the play design and Dak Prescott are also to blame.

Carolina is in two-deep coverage attempting to avoid the big play. Dallas is already down multiple possessions and with time running out, they know they can just sit back and play this type of off-coverage.

Dallas is looking to push the ball vertically down the seams, but both deep safeties are able to sit on the hash and just wait for the receivers to reach them on their route. You could argue that Prescott should have hit the hitch route on the far side, but it doesn't appear to be on his radar.

Overall, Carolina just won on this play. Sometimes that happens, those guys get paid to play too.

If there's a conclusion to be drawn, it's that just about everyone was bad at Sunday. If Dak Prescott, the offensive line, Ezekiel Elliott, the receivers, and the coaches are all this bad going forward, it's going to be a long season.

But, as you can see, simply getting some familiarity with one another and communicating better should help this offense develop throughout the season.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending