As a Staff Writer for Inside The Star, it is not always easy to come up with ideas to write about the Dallas Cowboys, especially during the downtime between the end of mini-camp practices and the start of training camp.
Well, I was experiencing every writer's worst nightmare and had developed writers block. No matter what I tried I couldn't come up with any kind of an idea that I could build an article around. That was until I was scrolling through twitter over the Fourth of July weekend and saw a picture that Bryan Broaddus had posted to his account.
This just happened. Love to be on the lake.
Now, you may be asking yourself what does Bryan Broaddus' picture posing with a largemouth bass have to do with the Dallas Cowboys? My answer to you would be absolutely nothing.
What the picture did for me however was provide a spark of inspiration and gave me an idea of how the Dallas Cowboys can handle the backlash from Rolando McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory being suspended.
You see, I used to be really into all the outdoorsy types of activities before becoming a quadriplegic, and bass fishing was hands down one of my favorite things to do. There used to be no other way I would like to spend a nice relaxing day than on the lake fishing. Unfortunately, those days are in the past, but that still doesn't keep me from thinking about it and reminiscing.
Well, while reminiscing after seeing Broaddus' photo I had a thought in the back of my mind that wouldn't go away no matter how hard I tried. I kept thinking to myself how would I handle the suspension situation if I was a decision-maker for the Dallas Cowboys.
The word that kept popping up for me was backlash, but probably not the way you are thinking of the word as being defined. No, you're probably thinking of backlash as when a large number of people have a strong reaction to some type of social or political development, but that's not the type of backlash I'm talking about. I'm talking about a fishing backlash.
What is a fishing backlash?
There are several ways a backlash can happen, but I'll try to walk you through the process of how backlashes occur.
It all starts with pushing the release button on the reel, which allows the spool to spin freely. You keep your thumb firmly on the spool while you are winding up to cast and remove your thumb at the end of your casting motion. This allows the spool to spin and release line.
Then, just before your lure hits the water you want to put your thumb back on the spool and keep it from releasing more line. If you fail to reapply your thumb in time to the spool, the end result will end with you having a tangled mess which is commonly referred to as a backlash.
Fixing a fishing backlash and how it applies to the Cowboys suspended players.
Fixing a fishing backlash can only be done two ways and those two ways are exactly how I think I would handle the entire suspension situation for the Dallas Cowboys.
You've seen the picture above of a backlash by now and probably have a good idea how difficult it would be to untangle all of that mess. In reality, it's not all that difficult. It just takes a little bit of time and patience, and that is how I see the Dallas Cowboys dealing with Lawrence and Gregory.
You start by pulling the line out from the reel and every time it gets hung up you use your fingers to try and un-kink the line. You continue this process until everything is untangled and you can reel all of the fishing line. Like I said, it's a time-consuming process and something that not everyone is willing to try and accomplish.
I think that is kind of the same mindset that the Cowboys have with Lawrence and Gregory. They are going to take the patient approach and hope that it pays off in the long run. They have big plans for both players, but there recent suspensions is concerning. They will receive the benefit of the doubt for now, in the hopes that they can turn their careers around for the betterment of the team.
The other way to fix a fishing backlash is exactly how I would handle the entire Rolando McClain suspension situation.
Last year, the Dallas Cowboys decided to go ahead and reel up the fishing line that was not wrapped around the spool, choosing to address the problem at a later date. The problem with this is that you're going to have to deal with it sooner or later and that is the situation they are faced with currently with Rolando McClain.
At this point, there is no way of untangling the fishing backlash. It's not worth the time to try and fix. It's easier to grab a pair of scissors or a knife and start cutting away the tangled line, thus starting all over.
I think it's time to cut Rolando McClain out right and move on. He has continuously proven to be untrustworthy and that's simply not the type of player you want on your team.
Unfortunately, the talent that he possesses is what has kept him with the Cowboys organization for so long, despit his untrustworthiness. On the field, when he is mentally focused and physically prepared he is one of the better linebackers in the entire league.
But the time is come. The Dallas Cowboys need to send a message to the rest of the team and let them all know that this type of behavior is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.
Would you handle the backlash situation differently?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions. I would love to hear what you think about this topic.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class
Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.
By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.
While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.
The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.
Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.
Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.
Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.
Okay, hear me out.
The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.
Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.
Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.
Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.
It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.
Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.
Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.
Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.
If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
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