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Dallas Cowboys Return to Basics with Promotion of Marc Colombo

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Return to Basics with Promotion of Marc Colombo

The Dallas Cowboys bye week shake ups continued Monday with their first coaching change of 2018. First year Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander lasted seven games with his new team, as the Cowboys fired Alexander in favor of Marc Colombo. The former Cowboys starting tackle from 2005-10 had been serving as Alexander's assistant.

Beneath Colombo, the Cowboys brought back Hudson Houck, who has two previous stints as the team's offensive line coach. Houck was most recently in the league in 2011, his 28th year coaching at the NFL level.

Dave campo on Twitter

Great move bringing Hudson Houck back as Consultant with the Cowboys. He's the best!!!

The Cowboys offensive line is in good hands moving forward, primarily because of their talent level as well as desire for Colombo to lead their room. It took the Cowboys admitting to another offseason failure that may still cause this season to fall short of the playoffs, but the Cowboys readily admitting their mistake to hire Alexander -- who shifted the team's blocking focus from zone to power -- is a step in the right direction.

This move could easily be too little too late for Dallas as well. Even with the incompatible Alexander leading the way, the Cowboys offensive line has given Quarterback Dak Prescott the third highest average time to throw at 3.04 seconds and paved the way for Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to rush for 619 yards, despite seeing eight or more defenders in the box on over 24% of his runs.

Expecting to squeeze even more out of this group, hardly playing at full strength with Travis Frederick sidelined and rookie Connor Williams getting acclimated at left guard, feels like a desperate way for the Cowboys to convince themselves they're in the NFC East race at 3-4.

As a long-term move though, the Cowboys offensive line needs to remain the strength of the team for this roster to find any success. Hiring a former player that's worked with revered OL coaches like Frank Pollack and Bill Callahan is a move that had to be made. It's one fortified by the absurd talent level of Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La'el Collins, who can be asked to change technique mid-season and expected to handle it just fine.

Edward Egros on Twitter

DallasCowboys have fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander. The team released this statement from Jason Garrett about that move and promoting assistant Marc Colombo to Alexander's position. #4TheCowboys

The 2017 Cowboys finished with a winning record of 9-7 and began shaking up the coaching staff below Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli. As Defensive Coordinator, Marinelli has effectively handed his tasks to first-year Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard.

Both Garrett and Linehan have survived frequent calls to lose their jobs through just seven games this season, all it took for the Cowboys to give both their Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator even less of an excuse for post-bye-week struggles.

Alexander being shown the door at The Star should send a message to Keith O'Quinn, Ben Bloom, Kellen Moore, Sanjay Lal, and Doug Nussmeier - the remaining first year position coaches for the Cowboys. All five are being held to a very high standard, one Garrett must maintain at the helm of a desperate team that hasn't won consecutive games since last December.

The Cowboys promoting Colombo is certainly not as flashy a move as trading for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, but both moves during their week off signal that Dallas is doing everything they can to play up to their potential on offense.

If the Cowboys are able to do so in support of a defense that ranks third in total yards allowed per game, third against the pass, and ninth against the run, this team has a real case for best in the NFC East.

Such a title currently belongs to the Washington Redskins, who followed up their miraculous home win against the Cowboys two weeks ago with a win at the lowly Giants on Sunday, perhaps cementing the fact that all of these Cowboys moves will be about looking ahead to 2019 - spending the rest of this season admitting to even more offseason miscues, two of which have been realized in a big way over the last nine days.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Return to Basics with Promotion of Marc Colombo" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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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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