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Head Coaching Changes Around The NFL Could Benefit The Cowboys

Brian Martin



Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch, 49ers

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.

New Head Coaching Changes In 2017 Could Benefit The Cowboys 1It'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.

New Head Coaching Changes In 2017 Could Benefit The CowboysKyle 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.

New Head Coaching Changes In 2017 Could Benefit The Cowboys 2The 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.

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.


Star Blog

WR Tavon Austin Named Veteran “Most Likely To Be Cut”

Kevin Brady



Who Will be Cowboys' Main Punt Returner in 2019, Tavon Austin?

The Dallas Cowboys spent the 2019 offseason looking to add new dimensions to their offense.

They went out and signed Randall Cobb, the veteran receiver who made his name in the slot for the Green Bay Packers. They then drafted Memphis running back Tony Pollard in the fourth round to add a versatile weapon to their offensive backfield.

They also promoted quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator, hoping he can bring a fresh perspective to an offense many labeled stale over the course of 2018.

All of these changes could leave members of that "stale" 2018 offense in the dust, and Todd Archer believes wide receiver Tavon Austin could be one of those casualties.

Veterans who could be cut by each of the NFL's 32 teams

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Richie Incognito are new to their teams, but will they still be there on opening day? Can Pittsburgh Steelers corner Artie Burns stay out of the doghouse and fight his way back up the depth chart?

Archer named Tavon Austin the veteran most likely to be cut by the Cowboys, and roster math does somewhat point to this prediction coming true. If the Cowboys were to only take 5 receivers, as ESPN is suggesting in their latest roster projection, then it's hard to see a perfect spot for Austin.

Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are complete locks. Randall Cobb is about as close to a lock as you can imagine. That leaves two spots for a lot of talented players, including Austin, Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, and Cedrick Wilson.

It's certainly possible, and more than likely, that the Cowboys go with more than just 5 receivers however. This way they can keep a young hopeful like Wilson around while still maintaining the explosiveness that Tavon Austin can bring them in 2019.

Of course, the Cowboys are not afraid to cut veterans. Just last year we saw Dan Bailey get the axe after training camp, and Dez Bryant get released prior to any offseason activity even began. Tavon Austin is still of cheap value to Dallas, however, and when healthy he was an impressive weapon both on offense and special teams in 2018.

I actually do expect Tavon Austin to survive final cuts in Dallas, mostly because I anticipate they keep more than just 5 receivers on the roster.

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Star Blog

Cowboys Twitter Tuesday: Addressing the 2019 53-Man Roster

John Williams



Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

For the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL, and the NFL fanbase, the waiting game for the start of training camp has begun. As Tom Petty says, "the waiting is the hardest part." The Dallas Cowboys go open training camp in about five weeks. The first preseason game is 53 days away and week one is less than three months away at this point. It's so close we can taste it.

Each week, I'll gather questions from you the Cowboys Nation community. Each week, we'll hone in on a specific topic based on your questions. So whether it's roster related, salary cap focused, or you have a fantasy football question, don't hesitate to send it to me on Twitter.

This week, we're going to take a look at the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster.

jesus flores on Twitter

@john9williams Who contributed to last year's team that won't make this year's team?

The 53-man roster will be one of the more debated topics over the next couple of months as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for training camp and the preseason. Every year there are surprises and we should expect the same this year. The Dallas Cowboys have incredible depth through the roster and so there will be at least one name that doesn't make the final 53-man roster who had an impact in 2018.

To answer Jesus' question, I think the easy answer is one of the wide receivers be it Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, or Tavon Austin. This might be a hot take, but I'm going to go a different direction and say guard Xavier Su'a-Filo.

In 2018, Su'a-Filo started eight games for the Dallas Cowboys and though he started out strong for them midseason, his play tailed off before he was injured allowing Connor Williams to regain his starting spot at left guard. The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff loves position flexibility, especially along the offensive line. Su'a-Filo, though he's a solid backup guard option, doesn't have the ability to play multiple positions along the line like his teammates.

Connor Williams can play guard and tackle. Connor McGovern will get snaps at guard and center, and to hear him talk, he can play tackle as well, though that's probably a bit of a stretch. Joe Looney, the Dallas Cowboys starting center for 2018, has the ability to flex out to guard if you need him to.

Because the Dallas Cowboys will have difficult decisions to make at wide receiver and defensive line, they can afford to go light along the offensive line because of the flexibility of players like Williams, Looney, and McGovern.

Tommy on Twitter

@john9williams #CowboysQuestions do we extend Dak before game #1? How many WRs on 53?

I'm gonna leave the Dak Prescott question for another day and address the wide receiver question as several people asked about that position group in particular.

The wide receiver group is a really deep group. With Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Allen Hurns, it features three guys who've had at least one 1,000 yard season in their career. Michael Gallup is an ascending player. Tavon Austin is a really nice punt returner and offensive puzzle piece that can take the top off the defense with his downfield speed. I think four of those five are locks to make the roster.

According to Jeff Cavanaugh from 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the team really likes Allen Hurns and his ability to play inside and outside in the formation. He's solid veteran depth at a low cost.

Then if you include Noah Brown's ability as a receiver and as a blocker, I think you have a very versatile and dangerous group in the passing game. Though the coaches really like Brown's ability to block in the run game, if they don't use him in the passing game, it tips their hand to the defense that the team is going to run. If they're going to keep him on the roster, they have to use him. It's a waste otherwise.

Brown and Hurns to me are on the roster bubble at wide receiver. Talented players like Cedric Wilson, Devin Smith, Jon'vea Johnson, Jalen Guyton, and Reggie Davis have all stood out at one point in time or another during OTAs and minicamp and will make the decision difficult for the coaching staff.

In my most recent roster projection, I had the Dallas Cowboys keeping six wide receivers; Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Being a team on the verge of contending for a Super Bowl, I think they go with veterans who can help them win now.

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That'll do it for this week's edition. Make sure to get your questions in via Twitter, or you can leave them in the comment section for next week's post. Also, don't forget to check out Inside The Star's newest podcast, Cowboys Weekly featuring Managing Editor Bryson Treece and Senior Writer Jess Haynie.

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Star Blog

Does Darius Jackson Have A “Puncher’s Chance” Of Landing On Final Roster?

Kevin Brady



Darius Jackson, Bengals

Remember Darius Jackson?

The sixth round running back was an instant fan favorite of Cowboys Nation, as the fanbase hoped Dallas had found the explosive RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott they needed in the very same draft. Jackson, however, had an up-and-down preseason in 2016 and ended up being waived from the team to make room for Darren McFadden later in the year.

Jackson has bounced around the league a bit since then, joining both the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers at different points. He's back with the Cowboys, however, looking to fight his way onto the team's final roster.

But does the fourth year running back have more than a puncher's chance to do so?

The Cowboys spent much of the 2019 NFL Draft rebuilding their running back depth. First, they drafted Memphis back Tony Pollard hoping to find a versatile and dynamic threat to compliment the workhorse that is Ezekiel Elliott. Then, in the seventh round, Dallas took another Ohio State running back in Mike Weber who fits more of the "traditional" running back form.

So with two new touted rookies behind the veteran Elliott, and fullback Jamize Olawale more than likely having a roster spot as well, there doesn't seem to be room for Darius Jackson on the Dallas Cowboys.

That didn't stop him from competing at OTAs, however. named Darius Jackson one of their top ten "head turners" from the OTA practices, and considering that Mike Weber is banged up at the moment, Jackson will certainly have his opportunities to fight for that spot.

Still, the odds suggest that Darius Jackson will not be with the Cowboys come the Fall of 2019. Though he entered the league with some fanfare for a day three pick, his production has been more fitting of his draft grade than of his fan hype.

Jackson hasn't been the explosive player/receiving back that they're hoping Tony Pollard will be, nor has he been the every-down type backup runner that they seem to hope Mike Weber will be.

In the end, the Cowboys-Darius Jackson story is likely to close during this year's training camp.

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