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David Irving Injury Creates Opportunity for Maliek Collins

John Williams

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Maliek Collins

David Irving is one of the premier interior defensive lineman in the NFL, when he's on the field. The problem is for various reasons over the last two seasons, David Irving has only been on the field for 10 games since the start of the 2017 season. His latest setback comes at a time when the Dallas Cowboys can't really afford an injury on the defensive side of the ball with the way the offense has played. David Irving out means increased opportunities for Maliek Collins. And the Dallas Cowboys are going to need big play from him.

In his third year in the NFL, Maliek Collins has shown he has the ability to rush the passer. In his rookie, season when they asked him to primarily play the 3-technique (or under tackle) in the Dallas Cowboys 4-3 defense, he was really good. He totaled six sacks while playing all 16 games. In his second season when he played 16 games, yet again, Collins only had 2.5 sacks, but was asked to play more of the 1-technique (or nose tackle) role.

The big difference in the two defensive tackle alignments is that the 1-tech is typically lined up over the center. His job is to attract the double team from the opposing offensive line's interior. Players aren't going to flash in the box score from this spot very often. The 3-tech lines up between the guard and the tackle and looks to just penetrate. The 3-tech in Rod Marinelli's scheme is asked to get quick up field penetration to attempt to disrupt the run or to force interior pressure on the quarterback.

Collins has done his job very well when playing either position, but obviously this team needs an interior rusher with David Irving out.

Antwaun Woods has become the Dallas Cowboys starting 1-tech and has been really good this season. He hasn't made a ton of stops but he's been the most effective at plugging the run game. With Woods solidifying the 1T, Collins can focus more on the position that he's best at, the 3T.

It remains to be seen how long David Irving could be out for, but I'd be surprised if he played Monday night against the Tennessee Titans after being carted off the practice field. Reports are that it's an ankle injury to Irving, which depending on severity, could leave him sidelined for more than a week. Maliek Collins is the Dallas Cowboys next best interior rusher.


Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DL David Irving, who was carted off in practice, is believed to have suffered a high-ankle sprain, sources tell me and @SlaterNFL. X-Rays were negative. He'll still have tests, but the early returns are not as bad as they could've been.

Maliek Collins saw his snap count jump from 17% in the Jacksonville game to 42% against the Washington Redskins. Against both the Redskins and the Jaguars, Collins recorded two total pressures, including one sack against the Jaguars. In four games this season, he's nearly reached his 2017 sack total of 2.5.

With increased opportunities for Collins coming, I'd imagine him continuing to create havoc on the inside. Against the Tennessee Titans, Collins is going to have some chances to effect Quarterback Marcus Mariota.

According to Pro Football Focus, of the 56 pressures (sacks, hurries, and hits combined), allowed by the Titans' offensive lineman, 35 of those pressures have come from the guards or centers in 2018. That's 62.5% of the pressure allowed.

The Dallas Cowboys defense has been playing well as a unit, but they haven't been getting consistent play along the defensive line from anyone other than DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys need Maliek Collins to step up and return to his rookie season form where he was a disruptive interior player who was second on the team in sacks and third on the team in total pressures. Getting back to his more natural role as the penetrating tackle will help him and the Dallas Cowboys get more production out of their defensive line and make things easier on the back seven.

With as well as the Dallas Cowboys defense has played, it's downright scary how good they could be with a consistent pass rush to help them.


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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REPORT: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup Out 2-4 Weeks After Knee Surgery

Jess Haynie

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Michael Gallup

Two games into a seeming breakout season, Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Michael Gallup will now be out for the next 2-4 weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He suffered the injury late into the Cowboys' victory over the Washington Redskins yesterday.

An MRI revealed the extent of the injury today. There were hopes that Gallup had only suffered a contusion, but unfortunately he will be out at least a couple of games after requiring this minor knee procedure.

Gallup is the team leader in catches (13) and receiving yards (226) after the first two weeks of the 2019 season.


Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: #Cowboys promising WR Michael Gallup is having arthroscopic surgery to trim his meniscus, knocking him out 2-4 weeks. No structural damage besides the meniscus tear, so the return should be quick.

The Cowboys still have Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb as a strong starting duo. They also hope to get Tavon Austin back this week after he was inactive in Washington with concussion issues.

Gallup's absence could be big for Devin Smith, who had a 51-yard touchdown catch against the Redskins and should see more work in the coming weeks. It also may prompt Dallas to keep prospect Cedrick Wilson, just called up from the practice squad a week ago, on the 53-man roster a while longer.

Despite this depth, Michael Gallup will still be missed for however long he's out. Hopefully he can return on the quick side of the projection and keep his 2019 momentum going.


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Dallas Cowboys Should Pursue Miami Dolphins’ Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys Should Pursue Miami Dolphins' Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick 1

Every year it seems one team decides pretty quickly to take on the mantel of "NFL Dumpster Fire." In 2019, the Miami Dolphins are so obviously in tank mode that it's become almost sad. Of course, the Dallas Cowboys have been the beneficiary of their sell-off as they were able to acquire Robert Quinn for the low-low price of a sixth-round draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

After trading away Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Britt just before the start of the regular season, Chris Mortenson of ESPN is reporting that the Miami Dolphins have told Defensive Back Minkah Fitzpatrick that he and his representatives can pursue a trade.

Chris Mortensen on Twitter

The Dolphins have granted permission to DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to seek a trade, according to multiple sources who say Miami's asking price is too high. Dolphins have no comment. Story coming with help from @CameronWolfe

Chris Mortensen on Twitter

Dolphins team official now tells @CameronWolfe they are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick but did not deny they have given agent Joel Segal permission to talk with other teams. Segal has been unavailable for comment but other NFL teams have confirmed contact. https://t.co/z3FCN3tyqL

It would appear that the Dolphins aren't actively shopping him, but the second report from Mortenson would indicate that they are willing to deal if the right offer came along.

Fitzpatrick has been a bit disgruntled since training camp, feeling like the Dolphins have been playing him out of position. He was a bit frustrated with the way the Dolphins opening week loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens went down.

After an excellent career at the University of Alabama, Fitzpatrick was selected 11th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. In his rookie season with the Dolphins, the former All-American recorded 80 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and two interceptions. He played in all 16 games and started 11 during his rookie season.

As a free safety, he could fit in really nicely with the versatile Xavier Woods who the Dallas Cowboys could deploy more as the box safety. Woods ability to play coverage and play the run would make him an ideal player to use to match up with tight ends or running backs in the passing game. With Fitzpatrick and Woods, the Dallas Cowboys would have two versatile and dynamic safeties to deploy in a variety of ways.

Benjamin Allbright on Twitter

Source says Phins asking for a 1st for M Fitzpatrick but will likely settle for a 2nd.

If there's much of a market for Fitzpatrick, which there should be, it would likely take a first-round pick from the Cowboys to make this deal as Benjamin Allbright is reporting. However, if they were able to come up with a package that didn't include their first, that would obviously be much better.

I could fairly easily be talked into a first-round pick for Fitzpatrick. So, if the Dallas Cowboys could get him for a second-round pick or a second and a late-round pick, I'd do that in a heartbeat.


Minkah Fitzpatrick is only in the second year of his rookie contract, which would mean the Dallas Cowboys could have player control for three more seasons after 2019.

Dallas Cowboys Should Pursue Miami Dolphins' Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick

Miami Dolphins Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick

If the Dallas Cowboys are looking to make a deal, they shouldn't and probably wouldn't include any of their current defensive back depth. A team that has Super Bowl aspirations won't trade depth on the team, because that depth becomes extremely valuable in December, January, and hopefully February.

Like the Amari Cooper move, trading for Fitzpatrick who still has several more years of control would make a ton of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They wouldn't even have to make him a full-time player in 2019 and could just use him as a matchup piece before making him and Xavier Woods the primary safeties in 2020.

The Cowboys like their team, but they've shown a willingness to be opportunistic over the past year with the Amari Cooper and Robert Quinn trades. With the Miami Dolphins in sell mode, this could be an excellent opportunity for the Cowboys to take advantage and get a discounted rate on a potential star at safety. They've been very clear about what their goals are for this season.

As Stephen Jones says, the player acquisition business is a 365 day a year business. This is absolutely a player that they should inquire about and should seriously consider making a deal for. He's a playmaker that can help your secondary in 2019 and beyond.

Here's what Lance Zierlien of NFL.com had to say about Fitzpatrick during the lead up to the 2018 NFL Draft:

"Fitzpatrick played star early in 2016 and then moved to safety when senior Eddie Jackson was injured. The result? He led the team with six interceptions and 186 interception return yards, returning two more pick-sixes to set the school career record with four. He was named a first-team All-American by multiple outlets for his efforts (66 tackles, five TFL, seven pass break-ups). Fitzpatrick's New Jersey family home was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011."

Lance Zierlien - NFL.com

Like Xavier Woods, Fitzpatrick has a stellar track record of making plays on the football. In the NFL where passing is becoming more and more frequent, you can never have too many guys that can create turnovers. Minkah Fitzpatrick makes the Dallas Cowboys better and could be the final piece to the defensive puzzle. If the price is right, the Dallas Cowboys should go get him.


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Report: Dak Prescott Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Matthew Lenix

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Report: Dak Prescott Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have asked for a better season debut than the one they got from their starting quarterback last Sunday. According to NFL.com Dak Prescott has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

He set a franchise record with 405 passing yards in a season opener. The accuracy he displayed spreading the ball to his top three receivers was impressive. He was 17 of 21 (80.9%) throwing the ball to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb. Prescott was unbelievable on play-action completing 14 of 15 passes for 207 yards and 3 touchdowns. This performance was so good that he became one of only thirty quarterbacks in NFL history with a perfect passer rating (158.3) and only the fourth to achieve it with at least thirty attempts.


Prescott will be looking to continue his hot start versus the Washington Redskins on the road this Sunday, a team he is 5-1 against in his career. Can he win back to back NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards? We'll be watching.


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