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Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility

In a development that rightfully should have surprised nobody, the Dallas Cowboys managed just one sack out of their defensive line in week 1, falling 20-19 at home to the New York Giants.

The team's career active sack leader at the time, Orlando Scandrick (don't shoot the messenger), got home on Eli Manning once while the other sack came from first-year Cowboy Benson Mayowa.

Now the career lead in sacks on the team actually belongs to a defensive lineman, as Ryan Davis was brought in after being released last month from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Davis accounted for 11 sacks over four years with the Jaguars, starting in 2012 after he went undrafted.

Davis' best year came in 2014 when he managed 6.5 sacks. After serving as both a productive and versatile player, Davis' departure from Jacksonville was reportedly due to the coaching staff looking to move him around to different positions - particularly linebacker.

While Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli loves players with flexibility when it comes to where they can play, there is little doubt that he will be asking Davis to focus on getting after opposing quarterbacks - something he has proven to be able to do in a number of ways before.

The same cannot be said about many of the other current Cowboys defensive linemen, so let's dive into some film on Ryan Davis to get a better feel for what he can bring to the team.

 

 

The first tape I studied for Davis came from 2014, his best season as a pro. The Jaguars moved him around their front multiple times to create pressure, with Davis flashing mostly as a penetrating defensive tackle.

On this first play watch how Davis is able to set up his blocker off the ball with his hands on the inside, in order to drive him back using his strong legs and finish the play. When it came to using his hands as a pass rusher, Davis struggled to do so consistently in 2014, but this was as good as it gets.

 

 

 

In this clip below, you see Davis lined up as a left defensive end, and capture the edge with some quickness and bend. While Davis may not excel in any particular area, he rarely failed to capture the edge as both a left and right defensive end from his 2014 tape. You'll see when we get to his 2015 tape, he began to show more in terms of pass rush moves and unpredictability attacking blockers.

 

 

Rushing as an LDE here, Davis is able to feel his blocker trying to extend on him as he powers off the edge. Using his speed and size, Davis disengages and just finds a way to the quarterback - something that only proven defensive linemen like him can do with consistency.

This particular sack of Ryan Tannehill came on a third down play, flipping field position and forcing a punt.

 

 

 

Above, Ryan Davis is now lined up as a right defensive end. The left tackle tries to extend on him, and is able to at least knock him off of his path. Davis quickly recovers to use his leverage around the blocker, first with his quick hands and then with some impressive closing speed.

You'll see all of these things once again on display from Davis as an RDE in the following clip from a different angle, along with another good example of his strength when it comes to controlling both tackles and guards looking to slow him down.

 

 

 

Against the run, Davis was able to fold inside when lined up as an end and fill gaps with some impressive but inconsistent lateral movement. Occasionally he would be caught playing a bit too high, which caused him to struggle to get a push against linemen that could work inside of him.

This was another thing that Ryan Davis improved on when I moved into his 2015 tape.

 

 

 

Right away from last season, Davis showed a lot more consistent and athletic bend as a pass rusher. For all of the plays in 2014 where he simply got beat with bad positioning, there were also a number of plays where Davis could have finished off plays if he had a better ability to finish around the edge.

The Cowboys will take pressures any way they can get them right now, and throwing Ryan Davis out there with the likes of Terrell McClain and Tyrone Crawford - two potentially dominant interior defensive tackles - is a good place to start.

 

 

 

On this next play, Davis uses his speed to his advantage on a stunt to the inside. Already running downhill when he meets his blocker, Davis knocks his man back and forces the attention of a second blocker as he pushes the middle of the pocket.

 

 

 

Ryan Davis is far from perfect, but the Dallas Cowboys don't need perfect right now when it comes to establishing depth along the defensive line. When the likes of Kyle Wilber, a natural SAM linebacker, were called upon last week in order to establish some form of a rotation, it became clear that an upgrade was needed.

The Cowboys have made us all shake our heads when it comes to finding these upgrades defensively, but they just added a quality pass rusher that still has time to develop. Waiting on the practice squad is another defensive end with experience in Zach Moore (who I scouted right here), and awaiting the status on his suspension is the talented but troubled Randy Gregory. 

DeMarcus Lawrence is also set to return in week 5, and Charles Tapper should also work his way into the defensive end equation sooner rather than later. Things could be looking up very soon for the Cowboys front four.

What do you think of newly signed DE Ryan Davis? Let us know! Share your takeaways from this scouting report by leaving a comment below, or you can email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com.

You can also find all of these clips, along with much more when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, on my Twitter account @ShoreSportsNJ

Tell us what you think about "Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility" 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 Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Planning

February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.

DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.

Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.

After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.

There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?

David Moore on Twitter

Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.

For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.

Jess Haynie on Twitter

In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys

What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?

First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.

It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.

It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury

Sean Martin

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Should Cowboys Start Negotiating a Contract Extension With Rod Smith?

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.

https://twitter.com/thejaylonsmith/status/964606764619624453

This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.

It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.

The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.

He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.

Tell us what you think about "Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott

2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.

But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?

Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.

A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.

According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.

Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.

Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.

Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.

It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.

Tell me what you think about "Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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