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Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League’s Best

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League's Best 3

The spring semester kicked off last week for some and this week for others, but grades are already out!

Pro Football Focus put out their official Offensive Line Grades for the 2015 season on Wednesday, and Cowboys Nation is going to really like them.

Keep in mind that after the 2014 NFL season PFF graded the big boys up front for Dallas as the number one offensive line in the land. And you know what? The crown is staying atop the helmets with the Star on them!

That’s right. Numero uno, baby!

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League's Best 1

Prior to the 2015 season the O-Line was heralded across the country as the league’s best… and that was before the addition of La’el Collins!

Once Jerry and Co. added that extra beef to the stew of Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Doug Free the hype surrounding the new Great Wall of Dallas only grew, and they have delivered.

Now to be totally specific the Cowboys were graded (you can view PFF’s entire O-Line ratings here):

  • 1st in Pass Blocking
  • 1st in Run Blocking
  • 32nd in Penalties

That last little bit is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s unsurprising given the multitude of changes that the line had to endure at every offensive position around them.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League's Best 2

With their annual grades PFF also hands out a “stud” and “dud” for each O-Line. They deemed Tyron Smith the stud (big shocker!) and La’el Collins the dud… simply because he’s just the least best of the group. That’s like being the least cool dude in The Beatles.

I wrote a few weeks ago about an achievement attained by this line that I believe transcends any ranking they can be given – the resurrection of Darren McFadden’s career.

In my “Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line” post I discussed how this team propelled a running back that many thought was past the point of significant contribution to the top tier of ball-carriers in the NFL.

Ultimately this is a game played with an oblong-shaped ball made out of leather so the bounces don’t always go your way, and the Cowboys were on the wrong side of a few injury bounces in 2015. The foundation of this team though, the offensive line, played to the level that we expected them to… even if it didn’t always feel like it.

It’s important to consider just how much of a point of strength this aspect of our team is when we’re looking at draft prospects. We boast a line that few can even come close to, and it’s evidenced by the Cowboys finishing first in PFF’s grading… for the second year in a row, mind you.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League's Best

As fantastic as PFF’s #1 ranking is, the accolades won’t stop here for some of the linemen.

Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith will represent the Dallas Cowboys at the Pro Bowl next week, along with Dan Bailey and the recently added Sean Lee, so their hard work is being noticed by many beyond Pro Football Focus.

For now let’s relish in the fact that the offensive line is what we thought it was and that these boys are going to be here for a while. Life is good in the trenches for Cowboys Nation.


RJ Ochoa on Fancred

What are your thoughts on the Offensive Line? Who’s your favorite lineman? Let me know! Comment below, Email me at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about “Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League’s Best” in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

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I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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