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How The Cowboys Are Forming An Impressive Pass Rush Package

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down An Outsider's View of Cowboys Training Camp
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

While complicated in some ways, football boils down to pretty simple concepts. If you want to win games you have to rush the passer and protect your passer from the opponents' rush.

Simple enough, right?

Well, as we all know, formulating a consistent pass rush in the NFL is a very difficult thing to do, and one the Cowboys have struggled with for much of the last decade. Once DeMarcus Ware hit an advanced age and the Cowboys moved on from him, the team cycled through defensive ends looking to find their next "War Daddy" edge rusher.

They've tried, multiple times, early in the draft to snag that big time rusher. And now that there are no injuries or suspensions on the edge, it appears the Cowboys might actually have two top tier level rushers.

One of those guys, DeMarcus Lawrence, has already proven it consistently on Sundays. Last season, Lawrence had a legit case for Defensive Player of the Year, leading the team with 14.5 sacks and dictating pass protections week in and week out.DeMarcus Lawrence

The other guy, Randy Gregory, hasn't played in a regular season game since Tony Romo threw his final touchdown pass in the league. But thus far in training camp and limited preseason action, we've seen all the signs that Gregory is back.

After all, Dallas drafted the athletic edge rusher in the second round of the 2015 draft for a reason. They gave him number 94 for a reason. And they've been so patient throughout the suspensions for a reason.

That reason, of course, is that Gregory possesses elite pass rush traits. The athleticism, burst, bend, and natural ability which Gregory features simply can't be taught. And when you find a player like Gregory, you let him develop as long as it may take.

It's already expected that Randy Gregory might start week one at RDE opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence, giving the Cowboys one of the more dangerous and high-ceiling edge tandems in all of football. But no pass rush group is complete without some interior rushers, and injury and suspension have severely handicapped the Cowboys defensive tackles this offseason.

In an attempt to scrap up some interior presence, the Cowboys might've stumbled into an elite pass rush package, however. With former defensive ends Tyrone Crawford and Kony Ealy working on the inside, and Gregory and Lawrence off the edge, Dallas can put their version of the "NASCAR" package on the field.

The possibilities for twists and stunts between these ends and tackles are endless, especially because of the speed the Cowboys can bring on the interior. When you combine these four with the abilities that a player like linebacker Jaylon Smith has to rush as a blitzer, you begin to see how good the Cowboys pass rush can be.

If all goes well health and suspension wise, of course.

For the first time in a long time, the Cowboys defense is the group giving us excitement heading into the season, and the offense is the one providing more questions than answers.

At the very least, this defensive line should be a fun one to watch for 16 games.



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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Star Blog

Can Rookie OL Connor McGovern Compete For A Starting Spot?

Kevin Brady

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Connor McGovern

Raising eyebrows in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cowboys added Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern to their already deep OL depth chart.

McGovern, who played guard for the Nittany Lions, was reportedly by-far the best player remaining on the Cowboys draft board when they came on the clock in round three. Still, with seemingly more pressing needs yet to be addressed, Dallas' selection of McGovern was certainly a surprise.

When you watch the tape, though, you immediately see what the Cowboys loved about Connor McGovern.

A "plug-and-play" type guard, Connor McGovern is the type of rookie you'd expect to contribute in year one. On many teams he may be a candidate to start at guard or center from the beginning of his rookie season, but here in Dallas, his role for the 2019 season is somewhat in question.

Clearly, being a day two pick, there's no doubt that McGovern will make the Cowboys roster. But can he compete for a starting job?

During OTA's McGovern took reps at both guard and center, pointing towards the possibility of him being the first interior offensive lineman off the bench if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Fellow interior linemen Joe Looney and Xavier Su'a-Filo each contributed in big ways during the 2018 season, however, and will be tough to beat out during camp.

Obviously McGovern won't be starting over All-Pros Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, but could he dethrone Connor Williams from his left guard position?

While possible, I would still say it's unlikely. The Cowboys selection of McGovern seems to be more about 2020 and beyond than it is about the 2019 season. With right tackle La'el Collins coming up on a contract year, Dallas might elect to let him walk in free agency, move Williams back to his college position of tackle, and slide McGovern into the left guard slot.

This seems fool-proof in theory, but this many moving parts across the offensive line could spell trouble early on in 2020. Regardless, Connor McGovern's arrival gives Dallas the flexibility to consider all options on their offensive line.

In reality, McGovern strengthened a strength for Dallas, and may be needed to prove himself as early as this Fall if injury issues arise.



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Cowboys en Español: Analizando al Rival Más Fuerte en la NFC East

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Los Dallas Cowboys se han llevado el título de la NFC East tres de los últimos cinco años. Dos veces han sido con el QB Dak Prescott como el titular. Sin embargo, no han logrado llevarse la división en años consecutivos. De hecho, ningún equipo de la NFC East ha logrado coronarse campeón divisional en años consecutivos desde el 2004. Los Cowboys, actuales campeones del grupo, buscarán romper esa tendencia en la temporada que está por comenzar en septiembre.

Los New York Giants, Washington Redskins y Philadelphia Eagles intentarán evitar que tal hazaña suceda. Sin embargo, parece ser que solo uno de estos tres equipos podrá ser rival para un equipo de Dallas bastante completo tanto en ofensiva como en defensiva.

Prescott vs. Wentz, the Meaningless Debate Continues

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports)

Los Eagles, quienes estuvieron en postemporada al igual que los Cowboys en 2018 (pero en calidad de comodín), cuentan con un muy fuerte equipo para la próxima temporada. En las apuestas deportivas, las casas de apuesta tienen como favorito a ganar la división a Philadelphia. El margen de diferencia entre ambos equipos es muy pequeño, poniendo las expectativas para ambas ciudades en aproximadamente el mismo nivel.

Para Eagles, termina una agotadora discusión entre Nick Foles y Carson Wentz después de que el veterano partiera a Jacksonville en la agencia libre y dejara a la segunda selección global del 2016 al mando de su equipo, como debería de ser. Wentz es un QB prometedor para su equipo. Antes de lesionarse en 2017, era el claro favorito para ser premiado como el MVP de la temporada. Pero la fortaleza del equipo va más allá de su mariscal de campo.

Doug Pederson ha demostrado ser un head coach muy capaz en la NFL, y tiene la fortuna de liderar un equipo repleto de talento. Similar a los Cowboys, los Eagles tuvieron un offseason algo discreto pero efectivo.

En ofensiva, Eagles consiguió talento para el juego terrestre después de conseguir al ex-Chicago Bear Jordan Howard y al novato de Penn State, Miles Sanders. Como receptor hace su regreso a Philadelphia Desean Jackson, quien será un arma peligrosa con Alshon Jeffery y Nelson Agholor.

Catching Up With Dallas Cowboys NFC East Rivals' Offseasons 1

Para la defensiva, consiguieron ayuda en la línea defensiva (que de por sí lucía muy talentosa) firmando al DT Malik Jackson. Como linebacker, una posición en la que necesitaban una mejora, llega Zach Brown. Ese frente defensivo es de temerse, sin duda.

Pero no solo se trata de aquellos jugadores nuevos en Philadelphia, sino las retenciones claves. Con Eagles se quedan después de firmar extensiones y nuevos contratos el centro Jason Kelce, el tackle Jason Peters, el caza cabezas Brandon Graham y el cornerback Ronald Darby.

Los Cowboys tienen un rival fuerte a quien superar si quieren llevarse el título de la división por segundo año consecutivo. Ambos equipos se enfrentan en las semanas 7 y 16, pero la NFC East se tendrá que ganar con un esfuerzo en los 16 partidos de la temporada.

Recientemente, Eagles y Cowboys han representado la rivalidad más importante dentro de la división y el 2019 no será la excepción. A nosotros como aficionados, nos espera un espectáculo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Analizando al Rival Más Fuerte en la NFC East" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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What Will Joe Looney’s Role Look Like In 2019?

Kevin Brady

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Would Cowboys Trade Joe Looney if the Saints Came Calling?

The quick answer to the question the title poses is: he will be the backup center.

And, well, yes. Duh. Right?

Now that veteran center Travis Frederick has returned to claim his rightful spot on the Cowboys offensive line, Joe Looney must slide back into his backup role. Looney filled in for the All Pro center admirably in 2018, playing well above expectation level for much of the season. Still, there was clearly a drop off in play between he and Frederick, especially when it came to communication across the offensive line.

It may not be as simple as "Joe Looney is back to being a backup interior lineman," though, especially considering the offseason which the Cowboys had. Dallas went out and added Penn State guard Connor McGovern with their second selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, adding him to a very crowded interior group.

Now, Joe Looney is joined by two guards which played significant time in 2018 in Connor Williams and Xavier Su'a-Filo, the unquestioned starter Travis Frederick, and this rookie who draft pundits have praised to be plug-and-play on the inside.

Looney himself, however, doesn't sound too concerned about how these pieces may fall during Training Camp. “Whatever happens, happens. My role is to be the best player that I can be. When the team needs me, my job is to be ready,” Looney told DallasCowboys.com recently. "Right now, it’s about getting better. If my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

There's no question that Joe Looney is both a favorite of the fans, and in the Cowboys locker room. The jolly lineman which NBC's Cris Collinsworth dubbed "Jumbo Joe" has proved his worth both on and off the field during his time in Dallas. Still, he isn't the player now that someone like Frederick is, and he doesn't have the ceiling or potential that someone like Connor Williams has.

One of these interior linemen is likely to be released before the season starts, but my guess would not be Joe Looney. Su'a-Filo did a fine job when Connor Williams missed time due to injury in 2018, but he is likely the odd man out on the interior of the Cowboys offensive line.

Joe Looney's ability and comfortability at the center position is extremely valuable, as is his experience from a season ago playing a full season for this offensive line. It would be extremely difficult for Dallas to move on from him in favor of lesser-known players, especially if Frederick's health is still any sort of question mark.



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