The Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers are all teams that will start the 2017 season with new head coaches. The vultures were circling around several of these organizations, which is why head coaching changes were made in the first place. The Dallas Cowboys could end up being the beneficiaries when/if these teams start making changes to their rosters.
It's only natural for new head coaches and their coaching staffs to come in and evaluate the roster from top to bottom and then make changes as they see fit. Teams around the NFL will be watching closely and the Cowboys should absolutely be one of those vultures circling to pick up any "meat" that they believe will help their team.
Of course, some of these teams will have more roster turnover than the others. The Denver Broncos for example already have one of the most complete rosters in the entire NFL, so I wouldn't expect much change there. But, the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams could be two teams that the Dallas Cowboys are watching very closely to pick up any unwanted scraps.
I'm going to dive in a little deeper and attempt to show you what I mean for the new head coaches of the 49ers and Rams.
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Shanahan, former offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, was hired by the San Francisco 49ers to take over the head coaching job. To say that he faces an uphill battle would be an understatement.
Now, the 49ers are not the most talented of teams, evidenced by their back to back losing seasons, but there are some players the Cowboys could be interested in.
Kyle Shanahan recently hired Robert Saleh as the 49ers new defensive coordinator, but it hasn't been announced yet if they will operate a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme. The past several years they have been a 3-4 team and a player that hasn't fit into that scheme that could be of interest to the Cowboys is defensive end Tank Carradine.
Carradine is a prototypical 4-3 DE, but during his time with the 49ers he has been tried as an outside linebacker and also been asked to add weight and play a 3-4 DT. Unfortunately, both attempts to try to fit him into the 3-4 defensive scheme has been like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
I believe Tank Carradine would be a great addition and help improve the pass rush for the Cowboys. But, acquiring him from the 49ers could be tricky if he's not released. I would personally trade a late round draft pick to obtain his services, but this is a situation that falls into the of wait and see category.
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay may be the youngest head coach in the modern era of the NFL, but he will have plenty of experience surrounding him. The hiring of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will probably help McVay through any kind of coaching jitters, but it's Phillips' announcement of switching to the 3-4 defensive scheme that could benefit the Dallas Cowboys.
The Los Angeles Rams have invested heavily over the past several years to put together a pretty impressive 4-3 defensive unit. Phillips' change to a 3-4 could mean some of those investments won't quite fit in his new defense, especially former first-round defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Aaron Donald has completely dominated as a 3-technique defensive tackle since entering the NFL. At 6'1", 285, Donald doesn't exactly fit the size criteria to transition to a 3-4 defensive tackle.
It is going to be really interesting to see how/if Wade Phillips is able to fit Aaron Donald into a 3-4 defensive scheme. If things don't go well, the Cowboys could be the beneficiary.
The Dallas Cowboys were all set to draft Aaron Donald back in 2013, but the Rams pounced on him first. They had to settle for Zack Martin instead, but things still turned out nicely. Just imagine if they could have both players.
For this to happen though, the Rams would have to be willing to trade Aaron Donald and the Cowboys would likely have to give up at least their first-round draft pick. Although it's unlikely, it is still a possibility.
Now, there is no telling when/if either of these players will be available at some point this off-season. That's not really the point I'm trying to make.
The Dallas Cowboys need to search every nook and cranny in order to improve their roster. New head coaches in the NFL create an opportunity that otherwise might not be available to acquire players who don't fit into their philosophy.
Of course, if Tank Carradine or Aaron Donald become available or are being shopped, I think the Dallas Cowboys should absolutely entertain the idea of bringing them aboard.
Do you Agree or Disagree?
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
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