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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.

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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 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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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T

The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.

During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.

After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.

This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.

Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.

Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e

Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.

Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.

Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.



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