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David Irving Among Best PFF Pass Rushing Interior Linemen

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys' Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports

It's a huge year for Dallas Cowboys' Defensive Tackle David Irving. After two good seasons in which he showed the world what he was capable of, Irving will play the 2018 NFL season under a second-round tender given to him by the Cowboys' front office.

A decision that made Cowboys Nation afraid of another NFL team snatching Irving away seems to have paid off for the team. However, concerns surround the young player who's had to deal with a domestic violence investigation (which has been closed) and who's allegedly  "out of shape."

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Dominant interior defenders.

While offseason concerns are present, let's give credit where credit is due. Pro Football Focus recently tweeted its Top 5 interior defenders by "pass rush productivity."

Among said Top 5 is Cowboys' DT David Irving. Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins stand as the only two better linemen on the list with Cam Heyward and David Irving tied for third. Matt Idannidis  occupies the fifth spot.

According to PFF, pass rush productivity "measures pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting toward sacks." Irving was able to rack up seven sacks in just eight games last season but his contributions to the Dallas Cowboys defense went beyond this simple stat.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

Splash Plays per snap - via @notJDaigle

Bob Sturm was able to put together a pretty interesting stat back in February which perfectly portrayed Irving's ability to disrupt as a defender. According to the "Splash Plays" stat, Irving was the second best defender on the Cowboys, despite being suspended for the first four games of the season.

It's more than clear that the team counts with one of the best talents at his position in the entire league. Right now, the question is: can he take the next step?

A good, productive year by Irving would undoubtedly result in a juicy contract for him, if not from the Cowboys, from other team. However, it's about time David Irving realizes where he's at in his career.

It's disappointing to hear that he's not practicing because he's "not in shape." It really is. Irving could earn himself the contract of a lifetime if he's willing to give his very best effort on the field. Sure, it's just the OTAs right now. But Irving is far from a proven veteran who can afford to miss offseason practices.

Perhaps this explains why no team in the NFL was willing to give up a second-round pick for Irving. The talent is clearly there. One has to wonder about Irving's commitment and work ethic.

As for the Cowboys defense, hopes remain that Irving will be one of the most important pieces next season. With him and Lawrence on the defensive line, the Cowboys can win the battle in the trenches both from the offense and from the defense week after week.

The defensive line will be one of the team's deepest and one that will have success under the leadership of Lawrence, Crawford and Irving.

However, Irving's time to step up doesn't being in September. It begins now. Once he gets back into shape, it's time for him to start grinding and start working on getting his next big payday.

The Cowboys want to make a Super Bowl run in 2018. They need a capable defense. With Irving and Lawrence playing lights out like they did last year, they're certainly closer to their ultimate goal.

Tell me what you think about "David Irving Among Best PFF Pass Rushing Interior Linemen" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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1 Comment
  • Sexcdex Xfact

    Other teams do investigative work too
    Meaning :
    David Irving volatile relationship with his daughters mother is said to be well known by Dallas personnel, teammates etc
    Then there was the recent custody battle lined with a very serious domestic abuse allegation
    This is obviously what scared other teams away & allowed Dallas to tender what I personally feel (worth 1st round tender) only a 2nd round tender to Irvin
    Now PFF agrees with my personal assessment of David’s worth & I’m elated that not only has the investigation proved he’s not guilty of domestic violence buy that he’s suitable for dole custody of his daughter
    The only negative opinion I “could” have of D. I. is that he chose to ignore his professional health in the midst of all the baby mama drama when other professionals have used to have a motivated doubled-down stance in healthiness dispite life’s dilemmas
    I think the Cowboys have been playing well with the salary capped deficient recent years hand the owner dealt themselves with much salary next year to final secure a longterm approach to all their immediate & future positional needs

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Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room

Sean Martin

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Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room 1

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, keeping playoff hopes alive on the road with a 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering the hostile home of the defending Super Bowl champions with three previous road losses already on their record, the Cowboys performance on Sunday night was truly about getting back to their roots. In their second week with Marc Colombo as the Offensive Line Coach, the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards and protected Dak Prescott very well. It was revealed after the game that Frederick was on a coaches headset with Colombo and his new assistant Hudson Houck.

Jane Slater on Twitter

Travis Frederick just told @BenRogers on @1053thefan that Marc Columbo has him on a coaches headset now helping him and Hudson Houck. That's a smart move from Columbo. Smartest guy on the line

The anchor of the Cowboys offensive line since being drafted in 2013, Frederick is regarded as the smartest linemen on the team. It's his mental edge that's made up for a slight lack of size at the position, regarded as one of the worst first round picks in his draft because of this oversight.

Not only is Frederick a welcome addition to the Cowboys brain trust at offensive line, but he did receive some great news on his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) that's kept him out this season. Frederick was placed on injured reserve on October 6th, announcing publicly his GBS diagnosis on August 22nd.

Frederick has a long way to go before he's playing football again, not eligible to do so until week 14 at home against the Eagles. Regaining feeling in his hands is about the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee getting as healthy as possible away from football. If a return to the Cowboys is possible through his recovery, the team would of course welcome Frederick.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Travis Frederick regains sensation in his hands: "There is some light at the end of the tunnel" https://t.co/wvQhB6KUQp

What Frederick has gained in upper body strength, he must remain patient for in the lower body. While pointing out that over 95% of patients make a full recovery from GBS, Frederick is still waiting to feel sensations in his feet.

The Cowboys have been optimistic that Frederick's condition was caught early enough for a full recovery to be probable.

Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier following their uplifting win. Returning to the site of last year's demoralizing loss at the Falcons, Frederick likely wishes he could make a miraculous return just a bit more this week.

To make matters worse, Left Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to back spasms. It's unknown if rookie Connor Williams will reclaim his starting left guard spot on Sunday, or if Xavier Su'a-Filo has earned another opportunity.

Despite the patchwork nature of a Cowboys offensive line once regarded as the best in the league, and still vital to the entire team's success, Dallas has an abundance of hope that Sunday in Atlanta can be much better than 2017. This starts with Frederick's strength to fight GBS and attempt to rejoin his teammates, wisely given some added game day influence on them by Colombo.

If elevating their level of play up front was all it took for the Cowboys to play up to their potential and pull off an upset on prime time last week, the NFC East is certainly still within reach for a team that must now sustain the level of play on offense to match what this defense has given all season.

Tell us what you think about "Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys LB Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Against Eagles

Jess Haynie

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Leighton Vander Esch
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

You already knew that Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker, had a great night last Sunday in Philadelphia. Apparently the rest of the football world agreed, and now he's been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The award is the first of what could be many for Leighton, who has emerged as a defensive leader for the Cowboys. He's been playing more in the absence of veteran Sean Lee, who has been battling hamstring issues all season.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

THE. WOLF. HUNTER. Congratulations to #DallasCowboys rookie LB @VanderEsch38 on being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week! → https://t.co/XeSTt2tIpX

This is the second Player of the Week award for a Dallas Cowboys this season. Kicker Brett Maher won the Special Teams version in Week 4 after going 4-for-4 and hitting a game winner over the Detroit Lions.

The Defensive Player award hasn't gone to a Cowboys since Week of 2017, when DeMarcus Lawrence put up three sacks against the Arizona Cardinals.

Leighton's recognition is also well-earned. He led Dallas with 13 tackles and an interception in a pivotal road victory against a division rival. In what was arguably a "must-win" game for the Cowboys, their first-round pick stepped up and stood out.

A few more games like this, and Vander Esch could be in the running for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. But even above personal accolades, Leighton's play could help the Cowboys make a push in the NFC East.

If nothing else, he's making that first-round pick look smarter every week.



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Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott

John Williams

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Takeaway Tuesday: Prescott's Legs Give Offense a Much Needed Spark

Things have not gone well for Dak Prescott this season. His play has been up and down and he hasn't given the team or Cowboys Nation much reason to believe that he's the future at the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys. Speaking to 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas today, Legendary Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Roger Staubach offered support for the Cowboys current quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Staubach had this to say when asked about Dak Prescott.

Mark Lane on Twitter

Roger Staubach on @1053thefan said #Dak is a part of the problem with the #Cowboys offense, but he is not the problem.

Roger Staubach didn't start in the NFL until the third year of his career and thinks that's a good time for the quarterback to make the jump. At this point, we are 40 games into Dak Prescott's NFL career and we can see some of the things that he's good at as well as some of the things that he struggles with.

As Staubach points out, Dak Prescott has the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback, even if his play hasn't been what you'd want at the position. Roger admits that Dak shoulders some of the blame for the offensive woes of the last 16 games, but realizes that there are  many reasons for the Cowboys offensive failures this season.

Roger Staubach believes that the Dallas Cowboys can win with Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback despite some of the flaws that have crept up over the last 16 games. He's not wrong.

Staubach's pretty accurate in his assessment that there's been more good than bad. If you look at the first 24 games of Dak Prescott's career, he was really good. Through the last 16 games, he's struggled at times. So technically there's been more good than bad. The problem is that over the last 16 games, there's been more bad than good. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league and lately Dak hasn't done much. We can debate all day on how much of the struggles Prescott's faced are on him, but everyone should be willing to admit that some of the struggles are on him.

It's plausible that the confidence in Prescott that Jerry Jones has comes from Roger's belief that the Cowboys can win games with Dak Prescott at quarterback; and they have. In Prescott's career, the Dallas Cowboys are 25-15. Though wins are a team stat and not a quarterback stat, it just goes as evidence that Dak Prescott can be a winning quarterback in the National Football League.

Dak has some flaws, but the offense and its play caller haven't helped Prescott much this season. We should be critical of Prescott because he has a big pay day coming, if you believe Jerry Jones. While Dak has some flaws, he also has some traits that can make him a good quarterback in the NFL with the right coaching situation behind him. 2018 may be running out of time for the Dallas Cowboys and their playoff prospects, but the Cowboys have time before they have to make a decision on Prescott.



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