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How James Hanna’s Return Could Impact the Cowboys Offense

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - How James Hanna's Return Could Impact the Cowboys Offense

Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna is eligible to return against the Philadelphia Eagles at home on October 30th. The team will be off this Sunday for their bye week, and then they will have a decision to make on Hanna.

If the blocking-specialist tight end is ready to practice and play, he can begin working his way back into Scott Linehan's offense. If not, Hanna will have until the end of Week 11 to begin practicing before being forced to the injured reserve. Once practicing, the Cowboys will have three weeks to activate Hanna, or he will again have to be placed on the injured reserve list or released.

//insidethestar.com/cowboys-headlines/cowboys-james-hanna-having-knee-surgery/

Hanna was signed to a new three year deal this off season, so not only is his status on the Cowboys safe, but the element he brings to this offense will be welcomed. Shining in 2014 as part of Dallas' rushing attack, led by DeMarco Murray, Hanna was found consistently steering defenders off the edge to allow Murray to turn the corner.

Emerging at the tight end position to help in this aspect with rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has been second-year player Geoff Swaim. While Swaim is not nearly the blocker that Hanna is, he has helped with the Cowboys' versatility on offense as a more complete tight end. I expect Swaim to still find snaps when Hanna does return to the field along with Jason Witten.

Another tight end could be on his way out in Dallas though. A roster spot would need to be cleared to bring in Hanna, and moving on from Gavin Escobar in his final season under contract makes the most sense. Escobar has never fit in offensively with the Cowboys, but did bounce back from a late 2015 Achilles tear to show flashes in training camp - ahead of schedule with his rehab.

Even still, the athletic former second round pick has not caught a pass all season for the Cowboys. Moving on from him will merely be an admission that his draft pick was wasted, and the Cowboys can then move on with the best possible depth chart at tight end.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott: "I have yet to show the dominance at the second level...Once that starts happening, it's going to be kind of scary.

The Cowboys running game has fueled their success once again in 2016, and the hungry rookie in Ezekiel Elliott still sees room for improvement. With James Hanna back on the field as one of his blockers, Elliott will get to the second level even easier and with more speed, allowing him to continue to eat opposing defenses.

Inside The Star will keep you updated on Hanna's practice status along with any roster moves that occur in eventually activating him.

What are you expecting from James Hanna when he is back on the field? Let us know! Comment below with your thoughts, or email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!

Tell us what you think about "How James Hanna’s Return Could Impact the Cowboys Offense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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4 Comments
  • http://www.PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

    I disagree that Swaim is a “more complete” tight end than Hanna. We’ve seen that Hanna can be a good receiver in the past. He’s just been stuck behind the failed Gavin Escobar project.

    • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

      Swaim looks more comfortable as a route-runner, has a better down field element in the passing game. Can only remember Hanna getting check down throws that were wide open after Romo bought time in the pocket. Those are still valuable, but it doesn’t make him that complete player that Swaim could be.

  • M. Dion Douglas

    James Hanna just hasn’t had the donwfield opportunities that have been afforded Swam. He is one of the fastest players on the teamand came out of OU as a receiving TE.
    It is his meteoric rise as a blocker that has limited his receiving role.

    • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

      Swaim is just the better receiving option right now. They’ll find a way to keep him on the field some. But you’re spot on when it comes to Hanna’s value as a blocker, and with this team built around the run, he is going to have a much more important role than Swaim. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Facing Multi-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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Terrance Williams
Ric Tapia via AP

An arrest last May for public intoxication may finally result in a suspension for Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams.

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who reported the pending suspension, outlined the details of Williams' case. Charges were ultimately dropped once Terrance completed an alcohol education course and paid damages to the city.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys WR Terrance Williams faces suspension stemming from May arrest for public intoxication https://t.co/3RmwQOllim via @sportsdaydfw

However, as Cowboys fans know too well, the NFL reserves the right to suspend players under the Personal Conduct Policy regardless of legal outcomes. The 2017 season was marred by the league's persecution of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence despite no arrests or charges coming from any legal or police entity.

In Williams' case, there's no dispute of his guilt. It is unlikely he will appeal any decision the NFL makes.

The potential that Terrance will be missing for 2-4 games helps explain the Cowboys' move earlier this week to bring back WR Brice Butler. With both currently active, Dallas has an unusually high seven receivers on their 53-man roster.

It's already Friday, so the suspension is doubtful to come for this week's game in Seattle. But Terrance could easily be one of the seven inactive players on game day, having received the fewest snaps of any Cowboys WR last week against the Giants.

We'll see soon enough, likely as soon as next week, just what the league has in store for Terrance Williams.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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