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Despite No Safety Upgrade, Cowboys got Better Before Deadline

John Williams



Despite No Safety Upgrade, Cowboys got Better Before Deadline

The NFL trade deadline has actually become an enjoyable event over the last few years as there has been more player movement in recent seasons. Last year the Dallas Cowboys made a move for Amari Cooper that propelled them to the NFC East title and helped them reach the divisional round of the playoffs for the third time in five years.

In the last couple of years, the Cowboys have been connected to just about every safety on the market as fans and analysts alike have tried to upgrade the position. In 2019, the big name the Cowboys were linked to was Jamal Adams. Over the last couple of days, there's been a debate of whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should have pulled the trigger for New York Jets Safety Jamal Adams. Given what the Jets were asking,

It's easy to see both sides of the argument, but the thing that's gotten lost in the Jamal Adams discussion is that the Dallas Cowboys are a better team Specifically a better defense heading into week nine than they were when we last saw them play. Adding Defensive End Michael Bennett is one of those moves that's going to make the defense better at every level.

Along the defensive line, DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn are the immediate beneficiaries as teams will have to concern themselves with Bennett when he's on the field as the 3-technique defensive tackle. His ability to rush from the inside will cause problems and make it very difficult for opposing quarterbacks to step up into the pocket.

Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins also benefits as well as he'll get spelled a little bit more with Bennett's ability to play the interior. This will allow Collins to be fresher for his own pass rush downs, but will also make him a better run defender. He's currently playing at a career-high 73% snap rate. His previous high was 66% back in 2017. Collins has played the highest percentage of snaps of anyone on the defensive line in 2019. Yes, more than DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn. In fact, only six defensive players have played a higher snap percentage than Collins has through seven games of the 2019 season. Get him fresh and let him work.

An improved interior pass rush from Bennett and the fresh Maliek Collins will help the linebackers and defensive backs not have to cover for as long. If Bennett is helping to collapse the pocket from the middle, there won't be anywhere for quarterbacks to go to avoid Quinn and Lawrence off the edge.

As a run defender, Bennett will play snaps on early downs at right defensive end, similar to how the Cowboys deployed Tyrone Crawford. His ability to set the edge will help Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch and the rest of the linebackers be able to run free to the ball carrier while the rest of the defensive line pursues from the backside.

I know we're all a bit disappointed that the Dallas Cowboys didn't pull the trigger or that the price was too high, whichever camp you land in, but the Dallas Cowboys defense is a better unit now than it was a week ago. The move for Michael Bennett, though because it was a surprise to many and didn't get near as much hype, was a significant addition that could propel this team on a run similar to how the Amari Cooper trade did in 2019.

As much as we should be excited about what Michael Bennett means on the field, what this all means for the front office is just as significant.

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones

Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) with his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For years, the Dallas Cowboys front office sat on their hands and watched opportunities to improve go by the wayside. When other teams were making trades, the Dallas Cowboys would talk about how much they liked their team. Well, in a little over a year, the Cowboys front office has made three significant trades, adding Amari Cooper, Robert Quinn, and Michael Bennett and only had to give up one first-round, one sixth-round, and one conditional seventh-round pick to add an All-Pro and two Pro Bowl players.

For as good as this team has been in the draft, this was an area where the Cowboys needed to become more opportunistic. Taking advantage of teams willing to sell important players at a discount is one of the ways New England Patriots have stayed so good for so long. Seeing the Dallas Cowboys take shots on veteran players that simply needed a change of scenery has already paid huge dividends with Amari Cooper and Robert Quinn. Michael Bennett is another that will be another difference-maker for the Cowboys who have Super Bowl aspirations in 2019.

Executive Vice President and Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones talks about player acquisition as a 365 day a year process. Over the last 365 days and change, they've finally shown that they mean what they say. Sure, they've added guys off the street or claimed players off of other team's practice squads, but they never made a move that made everyone take note. Seeing the success that they've had with Cooper and Quinn hopefully reinforces this evolution that's taken place and encourages them to deal picks for players in trades that make sense moving forward.

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.


Player News

Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks

Matthew Lenix



Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks

The Dallas Cowboys received a bit of bad news today. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Connor Williams will have surgery on his knee Tuesday but the hope is he will be able to return after a few weeks. Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely move into the left guard role, which is how the Cowboys handled Williams' absence last year because of a knee...

Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This is a minor procedure but will keep Williams sidelined for a few weeks. Backup Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is expected to fill in during his absence, just like he did in 2018 when Williams missed time with a knee issue. More to come.

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Game Notes

Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays

Jess Haynie



Jason Garrett, Kellen Moore

There's a lot of blame game being played around the Dallas Cowboys right now after a demoralizing home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Even the head coach seems to be getting in on the act as Jason Garrett went out of character and got unusually specific in explaining Kellen Moore's responsibility for play-calling.

Garrett is not known for calling people out. In fact, many fans have criticized him for not being more critical of his players. He tends to speak in vague, nebulous terms when it comes to discussing the Cowboys' weaknesses or failings after a loss.

But in a radio appearance this morning, Garrett didn't mince words on who was deciding the plays during the Cowboys' final drive.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett on @1053thefan on the two run plays late: "Kellen's calling the game. In that situation it's 2nd and 2. He felt like he had a good opportunity against a favorable box to run the ball in those situations. On each of those plays we had options beyond just the run.

Jason did try to excuse his offensive coordinator's decisions with some context, but he also made sure to clarify who was responsible for those calls. It was not very Garrett-like, and it may speak to his own growing frustration and concern over his future.

Garrett is on the final year of his contract and the Cowboys' front office has made it clear that any extension depends on the results of the 2019 season. With Dallas now dropping to 5-4 and only leading the division by a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, the future is increasingly unclear.

Jason Garrett famously uses "we" and "us" terms when talking about the negatives, not wanting to assign blame to any particular player or person when things aren't going well. That he strayed from this well-established behavior today may be an anomaly, but it shouldn't be ignored.

With a tough second-half stretch coming in this 2019 schedule, Garrett may be starting to feel like a dead man walking. We'll see in the coming weeks if this leads to anymore shifts in his usual demeanor with the media.

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Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings

Brian Martin



Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings

Well Cowboys Nation, the Dallas Cowboys let yet another winnable game slip to their grasp Sunday night after the devastating 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. By my count, that's three out of four games the Cowboys probably should have won this season. But, probably… maybe… and should have don't mean diddly squat in the NFL.

I'm not going to beat around the bush today because I would likely end up going into a long winded rant about what took place last night. So, let's go ahead and jump right into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section to voice your opinions and thoughts on the subject.

The Good

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Unlike in weeks past, I had absolutely no problem deciding what to go with this week for this category from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. I don't think anyone would argue that the good had to be Quarterback Dak Prescott's play and the Cowboys overall passing game. This unit was the sole reason they had a chance to win at the end.

Prescott was simply phenomenal Sunday night. He threw for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. He was on point last night and was dropping dimes all over the place. It's one of the reasons why both Amari Cooper (147 yards, 1 TD) and Randall Cobb (106, 1 TD) both went over the 100 yard mark in receiving, and Michael Gallup wasn't too far behind (76 yards, 1 TD). All in all it's an MVP caliber performance from No. 4, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to seal the victory.

The Bad

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

I thought and thought about what I wanted to go with in this category and I'll have to admit, I had a hard time deciding. There were individual players who deserved a nomination here, but in the end I think the bad for the Dallas Cowboys was them getting off to yet another slow start against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, it's been a trend for them this season.

It all started when Jason Garrett decided to send out Kicker Brett Maher to attempt an ill-advised 57 yard field goal. Maher is capable of making such kicks, but there's a time and place to use that kind of weapon. Last night on the opening drive of the game was not one of those times. After the missed FG, the Vikings had excellent field position and scored a quick TD. Not long after they scored another TD to go up 14-0 after another stalled drive by the Cowboys offense. It's a hole they were never quite able to dig themselves out of.

The Ugly

Dalvin Cook

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook

Deciding what to go with here in this category was pretty easy after narrowing down what I wanted to put in the bad category. I think the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings was their defensive play. In all honesty, it was absolutely sickening to watch the Vikings have their way with the Cowboys defense. Dallas has far too much talent on that side of the ball to be manhandled like they were.

The tackling was atrocious and so was the execution. I'm pretty sure the game plan was to neutralize Dalvin Cook the way they did Saquon Barkley in Week 9, but the league's leading rusher (Cook) would have none of that. He pretty much did what he wanted. He ran through arm tackles and had room to run, whether it was as a rusher or receiver. It looked a lot like what Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones did to the Cowboys in Week 5. It was completely inexcusable and unacceptable!

What is your good, bad, and ugly from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup?

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