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Film Room: Despite Penalties, La’el Collins Continues To Improve At RT

Kevin Brady

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La'el Collins

Moving positions on the offensive line isn't easy. Even a change from left guard to right guard can be a headache for most players, so imagine how tough the adjustment from left guard to right tackle must be.

Switching your stance, footwork, and playing style can be challenging for an offensive lineman, and in the case of La'el Collins there certainly have been some growing pains.

Saturday night's battle with All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack was built up as Collins' first real test. An entire half against one of the best edge rushers the league has to offer. After the game, many were disappointed in Collins' performance, mostly due to him being flagged on three occasions.

After reviewing the film, however, I believe Saturday provided reason for optimism about Collins' switch to right tackle.

dalvsoak mack - Streamable

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One of the major concerns I had with Collins moving to right tackle was with his patience in his pass set. Collins has been caught leaning at times, allowing good edge rushers to swipe his hands and fly by him. Sometimes, offensive tackles will turn their shoulders in their pass set attempting to overcompensate for the rusher's speed.

Both of these issues have to do with patience in pass protection. On Saturday night, La'el Collins remained patient, hitting his landmarks more consistently than he has all preseason. This allowed him to push Mack past the pocket, as he does on this rep.

dalvsoak 71 - Streamable

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Here we see Collins survive a strong initial strike from the defensive end by re-anchoring and sinking his hips. A key to Collins succeeding in this position switch will be to trust his coaching and technique. Despite losing at the point of attack initially here, he remained calm and trusted what he has been taught to do. A rep like this was great to see from La'el Collins.

Two of the three penalties called on Collins were for illegal hands to the face. I see two reasons for these flags. First off, I think he was tired. Early in the game he was pretty consistent with his hands, delivering a solid punch and hitting his spots. As the game wore on, however, those punches became more inconsistent. This could also be the reason his right hand seems to drop in his pass set at times.

Second, he just needs more work. With more reps and practice, I believe La'el will get this punch right. While he did have these problems with his punch, Collins' lower half looked better than it ever has last week.

Though Collins doesn't always look that smooth in his set, often appearing awkward with his feet and hands, he was able to get the job done against Mack rather consistently. And that is certainly encouraging.

Overall I think La'el Collins showed some good signs on Saturday night, and is certainly worthy of starting at right tackle this season. He will be tested early and often this year, as the Cowboys open up against the Giants and Broncos, each possessing impressive pass rushing units.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Randy Martin

    August 28, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I appreciate you shedding the proper light on this. Others have criticized his play in the game because of the penalties but it needs perspective and you gave that here. After one of the drives ended and he came to the sideline he was huffing and puffing. The great thing about this game is he faced one of the best in the business in Mack and didn’t give up a sack and aside from the penalties had a pretty good game.

    • Kevin Brady

      Kevin Brady

      August 28, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for reading, Randy. I think with continued practice Collins will get it right. He’s too talented not to.

  2. Russ_Te

    August 29, 2017 at 6:19 am

    He is far more athletic than Free, just as powerful and when he gets his coaching down, Collins should bring an upgrade at RT. And I wasn’t convinced he was staying healthy at LG, so it’s better IMO in that regard also. Less punishment than inside.

    I saw Cooper swing to C at some point later in one of the PS games. I like that, but the fact he hasn’t beaten Green out for LG – comports to his struggles in the NFL. Supposed to have the talent, maybe not the motor or the smarts.

    Pretty sure Noah Brown is on the team as WR #6. They might have to try shopping Williams for a proven LG.

    • Kevin Brady

      Kevin Brady

      August 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      I agree that in a vacuum, Chaz Green is the better option at guard. His health is a serious concern, however, so that will probably sway the decision. Both Green and Cooper offer important position versatility as well.

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Cowboys Offseason: Landon Collins Cleaned Out Locker, Set to be FA

John Williams

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Cowboys Headlines - #DALvsNYG: Dealing With Giants Safety Landon Collins

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.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

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...

Paul Schwartz on Twitter

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...

https://twitter.com/TheHumble_21/status/1098315997839265792

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.



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Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

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.

David Moore on Twitter

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.



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BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

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.

David Moore on Twitter

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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