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Dallas Cowboys O-Line, Are They Good Enough?

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What makes a good Offensive line? How do we judge their performance? The questions could go on and on, with many different outlooks. I am sure my assessment is different than yours, but one thing is for sure everyone has doubts about the Dallas Cowboys Line and I am not so sure all the doubts are warranted!

Many of us were spoiled by the O-Line of the 90’s teams, and there are some of us that believe that if you cannot operate the way that line did then you’re not any good! Well this is just not true!

The design of the teams offense can make or break a line, just the same as a line can make or break an offense.

There are many out there who always want to look at sacks allowed as the judgment stat, this is the wrong way to look at things.

In 2006 this O-line paved the way for 1936 yards rushing on 472 attempts for an avg. of 4.1 yards per carry. In that same year Bledsoe and Romo combined for 4067 passing yards on 506 attempts for an avg. of 8.0 yards per attempt. They were also sacked 37 times.

Then in 2007 they rushed for 1746 yards on 419 attempts for an avg. of 4.2 yards per carry. While Romo threw for 4211 yards on 520 attempts for an avg. of 8.1 yards and was sacked 25 times.

Finally last year they rushed for 1723 yards on 401 attempts for an avg. of 4.3 yards per carry. The group of QB’s last year combined for 3789 yards passing on 547 attempts for an avg. of 6.9 yards per play and were sacked 31 times (11 of those over a 3 game span from Bollinger and Johnson).

So are you seeing the trend? What I see is a team game planning away from the run, not because they cannot do it but rather just because they want to.

In three short years this team has gone from a super balanced attack (50% runs vs 50% pass) to a very one sided passing team (last year 42% run vs 58% pass) and in every year since 2006 there number of plays and rushing yards have gone down! There average yards per carry have increased to further prove the point that it is not a line problem but more so a scheme problem.

When you are dealing with a line built at an average 6’5” 327 lbs. you cannot expect them to sustain blocks for very long! Guys that big are built to smash folks in the mouth and blow open a hole and then release.

As far as the sack numbers are concerned this unit averages 1.9 sacks per game over the last three years. Just to put this figure into perspective, the Indianapolis Colts give up the least per game with an average of 1.1 sacks per game (12 less per year than Dallas) but the Cowboys line protects as well and better than most in the rest of the league. The Giants come in at 1.7, Patriots 2.1, Eagles 2.0.

What I am trying to get to is very simple, This Line may not be the best in the league but they are most definitely in the top tier!

For those of you who wish to argue and live in the 90’s please go look at the numbers! From 1992 to 1995 (the hay day) the O-Line of all O-Lines gave up an average of 1.5 sacks per game (a mere 6 less sacks over the course of the year)! Over that same time period the Cowboys offense averaged 30 pass attempts     per game , and 32 rush attempts per game with a average of 4.1 yards per rush attempt.

Now I have never claimed to be the smartest guy on the planet but the only thing I see wrong with this group is the way that they are used!

This team has a wealth of talent on the Offensive line that is not being used properly. I have never been one to play around much with predictions, but I feel compelled in this situation!

So I am hereby making my first prediction of the season (it may be my last too!) If this unit (Jason Garrett) changes there scheme and gets back to being more of a 50 – 50 offense, this offensive line will be regarded as one of, if not THE top lines in the NFL!

I am also going to go on record as saying this team will win the division and end its playoff win less streak!

I realize I have opened myself up to some harsh criticisms, but I am willing to defend my thoughts are you?



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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Head Toward NFL Draft with No Glaring Needs

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten Retiring, Joining MNF Broadcast Booth

When the offseason began after the Dallas Cowboys fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs, it was clear that they were a team on the rise, but had several areas they needed to address as free agency and the draft approached.

The team had holes or depth issues at safety, defensive tackle, swing tackle, wide receiver, defensive end, and tight end. Through the first two weeks of free agency, the Dallas Cowboys have taken care of each of those areas.

With the signings of George Iloka, Christian Covington, Cameron Fleming, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Kerry Hyder, and Jason Witten, The Dallas Cowboys have set themselves up to approach the draft with “clear eyes and a full heart.”

As they head into April with the NFL Draft looming, the Cowboys won’t be held back by positional need and can allow their draft board to do the work for them and just add good players. It’s an excellent position to be in as they don’t have to reach for a player at a position of need they may not like as much because they have a veteran presence filling that need.

Backup running back appears to be the only position where the Cowboys could use some depth, but that player for this team is more of a special teams player who gets limited snaps on offense because of the greatness of Ezekiel Elliott. It’s generally a position where there is a lot of talent deep in the draft and undrafted free agent pool, which allows the Cowboys to be patient filling that need behind the NFL’s leading rusher.

Mother than that, if the Dallas Cowboys has to go play a football game and win today, they’d be in great shape to do so.

On the flip side, however, the Cowboys can still add players at defensive tackle, wide receiver, tight end, safety, and defensive end because they aren’t restricted by big contracts to those veteran players. Each of them came to the Cowboys on one-year deals. The veterans that they signed would prohibit them from drafting at that same position, and that’s the point.

The Cowboys have created a formula that works really well for them. Sometimes it get frustrating watching the team not make any big splashes in free agency, especially that first week when other teams are bringing in big-name players to add to their rosters. That formula has led them to a 48-32 record over the last five seasons with three NFC East titles, and two playoff wins, and three divisional round appearances.

And the playoff runs could have been deeper with a bit of luck and correct officiating.

The Dallas Cowboys have set themselves up really well as they now set their sights on the NFL Draft at the end of April. Though they won’t have a first round pick to add to their talent pool, the Cowboys have shown that they can find talent in the second round and beyond. This year will be no different.

Now it’s time to sit back and trust the process.



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Have Had Quiet, Yet Successful, Free Agency

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones

Yet another free agency without a big splash by the Dallas Cowboys. What a surprise. Despite entertaining Earl Thomas rumors for a long, long time, the Cowboys' front office has stuck with its philosophy of not overpaying free agents and building the team mainly through the NFL Draft. However, they've actually had some pretty good signings over the last few days that will really benefit the Cowboys when the season comes around.

They've done so with inexpensive free agents who will contribute at a high level on their respective positions. Sure, top free agent signings are fun. But many times, they end up backfiring to teams for spending so much money in one single player. At the end of the day, the Cowboys' way has gotten the team three NFC East Championships since 2014. Many factors come into play, but their team building philosophy can't be as bad as many claim it to be.

George Iloka

The most recent acquisition came in form of former Cincinnati Bengal and Minnesota Viking Safety George Iloka. The Cowboys had a desperate need at the defensive backfield and finally they've done something about it. On a heavy safety market, the Cowboys sat tight while watching the top free agents get top contracts around the league, including Landon Collins' record breaking deal with the Washington Redskins.

Now, they've gotten a guy who can play both safety positions. I'll be surprised if he doesn't take Jeff Heath's job. He's played as a free safety most of his career but being a good tackler, he should do a good job in the box. Iloka will also shine on special teams in Dallas.

So far, my favorite signing may be that of former Green Bay Packer, Randall Cobb. The Cowboys had an important need at the wide receiver position despite counting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup leading the room. Cole Beasley is a tough guy to replace and although Cobb may not be a better slot receiver than him, he certainly has the experience and the skill set to be a starting slot WR.  What's more, he'll only cost the Cowboys five million while Beasley got a four year deal with which he'll earn $17M over the first two years.

Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb

Cole Beasley will be missed, but the good thing is the front office did a pretty good job at filling the concerning hole on offense. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb are definitely not a bad starting trio to have.

Other under the radar moves will also help the Cowboys. Kerry Hyder may not be a well-known in the NFL but he'll surely contribute to this defensive line as a rotational player. Hyder had eight sacks in 2016 with the Detroit Lions before suffering an Achilles injury in 2017 and dealing with a scheme change last season. Hyder will surely be happy about being back to a 4-3 defense in Dallas.

Christian Covington was another overlooked signing. Covington will help on the interior of the defensive line and although he'll likely not be a starter, he'll be an important piece in the rotation for a very reasonable contract ( also a one-year deal).

For a football team that's constantly criticized for not being active in free agency, the Cowboys have done something at pretty much every position where they need help. Safety, defensive end, defensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end have all been addressed this offseason prior to the NFL Draft. This will give them great flexibility in April and could lead to a pretty good "best player available" strategy.

Now granted, there are still concerns regarding the young "to be extended" group of players. DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't reached an agreement with the Cowboys and will continue to postpone surgery until he does. If the front office doesn't strike a contract with the star pass rusher, it won't be possible to consider this offseason a good one no matter what happens. Dallas can't let him leave.

In the meantime though, they've had a pretty quiet yet successful March. And they're not done yet. Robert Quinn could end up wearing the Star if a trade with the Miami Dolphins does end up taking place. We'll see if the Cowboys continue to build on an already pretty good free agency.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Have Had Quiet, Yet Successful, Free Agency" 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!



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.



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