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Film Review: Getting to Know Cowboys Practice Squad DE Zach Moore

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Film Review: Getting to Know Cowboys' Practice Squad DE Zach Moore

The Dallas Cowboys added some interesting names to their practice squad yesterday, which now consists mostly of players who showed some flashes in training camp and the preseason, but got lost in the numbers game that these coaches must play when deciding to carry established depth over potential.

One player new to the Dallas Cowboys is defensive end Zach Moore, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Moore, a raw prospect out of Division II Concordia College of Minnesota, appeared in just one game for the hometown Vikings.

Prior to that, Zach Moore got his start in the NFL with the New England Patriots - who drafted him with the 198th overall pick in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Active for eight games, Moore did not see any playing time in the postseason that saw the Patriots beat out the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Still, the 26-year-old edge rusher brings a Super Bowl ring to The Star and the Dallas Cowboys.

With the releases of both Ryan Russell and Mike McAdoo, Moore could quickly bring Moore more than that to Dallas' less than stellar defensive line, but he will have to earn a roster spot on a team that is currently settled on the majority of its 53 spots.

Let's dive into some tape to find out more on what Moore can bring to the Cowboys.

 

 

You have to go back to 2014 to find the last time Moore played significant snaps in the NFL, and because of that his rookie tape left a lot to be desired. However, there were plenty of positives to take away on the film, such as the ones you see above.

Rushing from the left end, Moore is able to use his hands to fight off the right tackle and capture the edge. Off the snap, the RT was able to do a decent job of sitting down on Moore, which linemen were able to do to him pretty consistently.

While it certainly wasn't the standard for Moore to be able to get back into these plays, the potential you see here has gone untapped for a while, and could be the beginning of a career under Rod Marinelli for Zach Moore.

 

 

 

As mentioned, Moore gets sat on easily by blockers, and lacks the consistent bend to counter their power moves. When he is able to bend, Moore showed the potential to be a violent player that will rally to the football and break down in tight spaces to tackle.

Should he get practice snaps against the likes of Tyron Smith and Doug Free, the Cowboys will need to see Moore become a lot less predictable with his moves and consistent with his leverage, in order to make any impact at all and earn playing time.

 

 

While it may sound too simple to be noteworthy, a good starting point for Zach Moore is that he consistently knocks his man backwards on first contact. An NFL Combine leader in the broad jump, Moore displays an impressive combination of arm length and lower body strength.

With work in all of the negative areas discussed above, Moore could become an incredibly valuable rotational DE in Dallas, with the ability to take offensive linemen by surprise and capture the edge in the passing game while being physical at the point of attack against the run.

 

 

The Cowboys know that they need help at defensive end to contend in 2016, and are beginning their search for bargain players with upside to develop under Rod Marinelli. Whether a big move is on the way to accompany this is yet to be determined. Or will the Cowboys' reluctance to address a need that has existed for some time now hold them back once again when the season begins on September 11th against the Giants?

Hopefully Moore has something to say about all of this, as he celebrates his birthday today! Inside The Star wishes him a happy birthday as Zach attempts to earn his star in the coming weeks.

Give Moore a happy birthday wish yourself on Twitter by following him @zachmoore_90!

For now, let me know what you think of the newly added Zach Moore by commenting below this article! You can also take the discussion to Twitter, and follow me @ShoreSportsNJ for plenty of analysis and commentary throughout the Dallas Cowboys season!

Tell us what you think about "Film Review: Getting to Know Cowboys Practice Squad DE Zach Moore" 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 Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ethan Chazin

    September 5, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Lot of emphasis on expecting Marinelli to “coach up” these rejects. You mean, like Ryan Russell?

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      September 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Russell actually showed a ton of improvement from last season going into training camp this summer, but couldn’t carry it over to the preseason. Played out of scheme in college. Marinelli can only do so much of course, but I like his chances more with a guy that has been around and played at a level that’s likely better than what these current DEs can provide with any consistency. We’ll see if Moore amounts to anything sooner rather than later. Thank you for reading, Ethan!

  2. Allen A Smith

    September 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    The cowboys really need 2 swallow their pride and bring back Greg Hardy we could use him he already knows the system he’s the best available defensive player out there who’s looking for another chance and could get him 4 cheap under certain clauses.Besides we’re going 2 regret it if somebody else gets him especially somebody in our division.Been a cowboy fan all my life finally came 2 my senses hopefully Jerry will…No risk no reward!

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      September 5, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Allen, you make fair points, but I think Greg Hardy’s time in the NFL is done. If not, his ship in Dallas sailed a long time ago.

  3. Ricklo

    December 16, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Call Ip Zach Moore to Play this Sunday Night

    • Sean Martin

      December 16, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Moore has been called up to replace Chaz Green. We’ll see if he is active, which he should be with Lawrence out.

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/1085291591399546880?s=21

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" 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!



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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams

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Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.



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