When Ezekiel Elliott lobbied for the Dallas Cowboys to select Wide Receiver Noah Brown in the 2017 NFL Draft, it was the blocking of Elliott’s former Ohio State Buckeye teammate that drew rave reviews from Elliott. The Dallas Cowboys likes what they saw and made him a seventh round selection that year with the hopes of utilizing his excellent run blocking in their run-heavy offense.
Noah Brown was slowly integrated into the offense his rookie year, and found a role in the Vince Mayle mold. That player who has the size to motion in-line and crack line backers, but also the ability to move in space to neutralize defensive backs in the run game. Not big enough to be a full-time tight end, but does everything you want your tight end to be.
So perhaps a “light end.”
Injuries derailed his 2018 season thus far and when he finally got back into the lineup the results were mixed. Solid blocking, but also drew a couple of penalties and wasn’t effective in the passing game. He saw his largest offensive snap count of the three games he's played this season and third highest total of his career.
On Thanksgiving Day, Noah Brown flipped the script and made a big impact for the Dallas Cowboys offense. Let's take a look at what makes Noah Brown such an important piece for the Dallas Cowboys.
On this play you see Noah Brown motion into the backfield and on the snap works across the formation to engage the linebacker on the second level. He uses excellent leverage and positioning to neutralize the defender. It's a modest gain for Elliott who cuts back against the grain and Brown limits the linebacker's ability to flow with Elliott. The league leading rusher runs it in for a score.
This time Brown coming in motion draws the attention of Safety DJ. Swearinger. Again, Elliott cuts back to the weak side of the formation where he finds more running room, but Brown's ability to occupy Swearinger prevents him from being able to work to the play side and gives Elliott more room to run.
This time Ezekiel Elliott follows Noah Brown's block through the hole for a nine yard gain. Again, it's Noah Brown taking on a linebacker at the point of attack and neutralizing him in the hole with good leverage and positioning. Brown holds him up long enough for Elliott to get by him for a nice gain.
This time the Dallas Cowboys are in a two tight end formation to the right side with a single wide receiver to the left. They bring Brown in motion to the weak side and Brown is the lead blocker for Elliott. Brown shows a lot of patience working behind Xavier Su'a-Filo and Cameron Fleming as he works to the second level. Brown holds up the defensive back long enough for Elliott to turn the corner and out run the defensive back for the first down.
This is one of my favorite plays from Brown's day. He's motioned wide to the numbers, but hustles to the inside to seal the defensive back, which puts Rod Smith in a one-on-one situation with the safety as he takes the play wide. Smith is nearly able to pick up the first down before being forced out of bounds. Also, what are you doing Rod, stay in bounds.
This is another favorite of mine. Brown again on the outside of the formation is working against a cornerback and completely eats his lunch. From a wider view, you can see the DB begin to get frustrated. Brown drives him nearly 15 yards downfield and continues to work him even after the play is over. It's this tenacious work as a blocker that keeps him getting snaps and may see him get even more snaps moving forward. It may be his blocking that got him on the field, but Noah Brown has another element to his game that is pretty underrated.
His receiving ability.
This is the kind of win you want to see from your fifth wide receiver when you give him an opportunity. Noah Brown runs a comeback route by driving the defensive back downfield and creates a ton of separation at the top of his route and provides a large window for Quarterback Dak Prescott. Brown isn't satisfied with just the reception as he turns up field and with a block rom Ezekiel Elliott gets some nice yards after the catch. It's a huge pickup for Brown who doesn't get a lot of targets in this offense.
We've seen Noah Brown take on corner backs, safeties, and linebackers and when his blocking assignments. When Brown is on the field, he adds an excellent blocking element, which is why I think they need to use him more and more as the season moves forward. He brings more to the table than either Blake Jarwin or Rico Gathers at the tight end position, so the Dallas Cowboys should look to use Brown as a "light end" when they want to have a tight end on the field. At worst he should replace your second or third tight end when the Cowboys want to resemble 11 or 12 personnel.
Noah Brown as the team's "light end" is a matchup problem moving forward if Head Coach Jason Garrett and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan want to use him that way. When the Cowboys go with Noah Brown instead of a tight end, it forces the opposition to make a difficult decision. Do they keep their defense in nickel and risk a linebacker having to cover someone like Cole Beasley or Amari Cooper in the slot, or do they bring their dime package on the field and risk a size/talent mismatch between Brown and the fourth corner.
The NFL is about mismatches and the Dallas Cowboys have several and Noah Brown is one of them. It's time to increase his snap count to take advantage of his blocking and receiving ability.
Cowboys Offseason: Landon Collins Cleaned Out Locker, Set to be FA
It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2019 offseason looking to upgrade at the safety position on a defense that finished inside the top 10 in 2018. With much of the focus on Earl Thomas, New York Giants Safety Landon Collins has become the center of attention in the last couple of days.
Per a report by Josina Anderson, Collins cleaned out his locker on Wednesday as he gets ready to go into free agency for the first time.
I'm told that Giants S Landon Collins cleaned out his locker today at the team facility and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches and trainers. It doesn't seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer, per sources.
After Paul Schwartz attempted to assert that there was no claim to the report...
Attention those who care about the New York Giants: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Repeat: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Go about your business and have a nice day.
And Landon Collins had this to say...
@NYPost_Schwartz The stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need💯
If cleaning out a locker is any kind of evidence, then Collins is prepared to hit the market when free agency opens on March 13th. He joins a loaded safety group that includes Thomas, Houston Texans Safety Tyrann Mathieu, Los Angeles Rams Safety LaMarcus Joyner, Glover Quin of the Detroit Lions, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix formerly of the Green Bay Packers, but most recently of the Washington Redskins, and several others who could find new homes this offseason.
The Cowboys are very familiar with Landon Collins, as they've seen him nearly twice a year over the last four years. The three time Pro Bowler was one of the best players on the Giants defense. They would line him up in the box and at time use him to cover Cole Beasley.
Collins ranked first in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus in run stop percentage at 7.2%. Meaning on running snaps, he made a tackle that rendered the running play ineffective 7.2% of the time.For further reference, Jeff Heath made a run stop on 4.2% of his run plays, which was 15th in the NFL among safeties.
The only positions to have more of an impact on the running game were linebackers and the defensive line. Even if you include linebackers, his run stop percentage was 31st in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch led the Dallas Cowboys with a run stop percentage of 11.3%, which was third among linebackers. Collins number nearly matched the run stop percentage of Jaylon Smith at 7.6%.
Add Collins to a defense that stops the run as well as the Dallas Cowboys did last season and you take your team to another level against the run.
Landon Collins will probably get the most money this offseason. He's only 25 and has had success in the NFL. Many teams will be reaching out to Collins when free agency opens and the Dallas Cowboys should certainly be one of those teams. Collins would be an excellent addition to the Dallas Cowboys defense and would allow Xavier Woods to stay in his role as the free safety.
We're just under three weeks away from the start of NFL free agency and the drama will only get bigger as the Cowboys look to add to their team.
Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans
The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.
Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time https://t.co/vqMNZty6Aq via @sportsdaydfw
Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.
The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.
The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.
But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.
Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.
It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.
Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.
BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.
Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.
Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.
After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.
The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.
While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.
While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.
The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.
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