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How The Cowboys Failed To Properly Backup Tony Romo

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Why Splurging For A Veteran QB Now Is A Bad Idea

The Dallas Cowboys are without a viable option at backup quarterback for 2016.

After Kellen Moore suffered a broken fibula during practice Tuesday evening, this statement was true. Left now for the Cowboys are a fourth round rookie quarterback in Dak Prescott and a player who spent most of his 2015 season on the practice squad in Jameill Showers.

If Tony Romo were to go down for any real period of time, it won't bode well for the Cowboys.

Yes, after Moore's injury these statements are all true, but before the Cowboys even opened camp all of these statements were true.

The Cowboys were resigned to believing in Kellen Moore as the backup quarterback. They were resigned to this reality despite the overwhelming evidence which told us Moore was not the answer. They decided to throw their hands in the air and say "well, I guess it's Kellen Moore's job" despite lackluster performances from Moore during the final three games of last season. But most importantly, they were willing to resign themselves to Kellen Moore in large part because of the complete lack of affordable and viable options elsewhere.

Prior to joining Inside The Star, I detailed my elaborate plan for the Cowboys to sign Colt McCoy this offseason. McCoy was a favorite of mine during his time at the University of Texas, and he had proven that he could, at the very least, operate an NFL offense when called upon. McCoy had come into Dallas, during that 2014 season we all lust over, and won. In doing so, he had won over a lot of Cowboys Nation who hoped he'd return to Texas in a new capacity this offseason.

Then Colt McCoy re-signed with the Washington Redskins, and my plan was destroyed.

Many Cowboys fans looked towards the NFL draft as the place where the Cowboys could not only add a legitimate backup quarterback, but also an heir to Tony Romo's throne. Other immediate needs at different positions got in the way, Stephen Jones refused to "overpay" for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, and the Cowboys went without a quarterback for the first three rounds.

Now it's August.

Training camps are open, the Hall of Fame game is right around the corner, and we are only days away from the first "game" week of the 2016 NFL season.

And the Dallas Cowboys are still without a backup quarterback. Or at least we think so.

All signs now point towards the addition of a "veteran" quarterback who could have six weeks to learn the offense and serve as a viable backup to Tony Romo in 2016. Nick Foles is the name everyone is throwing out there. Nick Foles. The player who when we last saw him was being benched in favor of Case Keenum, and the player who's team basically paid him to get out of town.

Yes, you could point to his (miraculous) 2013 season where he threw for 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions averaging a little over 10 yards per attempt, but I would argue that was more of an exception than the rule of his ability. I would also argue that the numbers lie a bit about that 2013 season. The eye test told me Foles wasn't very good, but things just happened to bounce his way for much of that year.Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Sign Veteran Quarterback Nick Foles 1

But Foles has done it before. Foles has been in the league since 2012 and has started in 35 games. That's 35 more than any of the current healthy quarterbacks the Cowboys have not-named Romo. But if the Cowboys were okay with relying on Moore come an emergency this season, then should they really be in a hurry to spend for a veteran quarterback?

Is the answer on the roster?

Those who have been around Cowboys camp so far have all come away saying the same thing; Moore might be the worst of all four of the Cowboys quarterbacks, especially when it comes to arm strength.

Blogging The Boys' Landon McCool noted that Moore was significantly behind the other quarterbacks in terms of arm strength and velocity. Dallas Cowboys' writer and former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus also noted Moore's lack of arm strength during the early days of training camp.

If all of this is true, then why not give Jameill Showers and Dak Prescott a chance to earn the backup job? If this team was totally fine with settling for Kellen Moore, then why the need to jump on every available free agent quarterback for an interview now?Cowboys Headlines - Which Games Could Kellen Moore/Dak Prescott Conceivably Win In 2016? 4

The Cowboys offense relies heavily on the threat of pushing the ball deep down the field at any time. Without said threat, this offense cannot open the field and they struggle to move the ball at all. Moore cannot make those throws which can take the top off of a defense. He simply can't. Showers and Prescott, albeit in a very small sample size, seem be stronger in this area. Does that mean they will be able to command an NFL offense? Not necessarily, but I do believe it is at least worth a try.

The Cowboys are going to sign a veteran quarterback to be the backup in 2016. I think this is basically fact at this point. However, it is just another example of this organization being reactionary and making moves when it is too late. The Cowboys front office failed to be proactive enough in their search for a backup quarterback, and seem to be living in a fantasy world where Romo is invincible and pass rush doesn't exist.

Backup quarterback should have been addressed months ago, so when it finally does get addressed this week, don't celebrate this team for making the move. They should've had this matter settled in April.

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.


Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Have Had Quiet, Yet Successful, Free Agency

Mauricio Rodriguez



Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones

Yet another free agency without a big splash by the Dallas Cowboys. What a surprise. Despite entertaining Earl Thomas rumors for a long, long time, the Cowboys' front office has stuck with its philosophy of not overpaying free agents and building the team mainly through the NFL Draft. However, they've actually had some pretty good signings over the last few days that will really benefit the Cowboys when the season comes around.

They've done so with inexpensive free agents who will contribute at a high level on their respective positions. Sure, top free agent signings are fun. But many times, they end up backfiring to teams for spending so much money in one single player. At the end of the day, the Cowboys' way has gotten the team three NFC East Championships since 2014. Many factors come into play, but their team building philosophy can't be as bad as many claim it to be.

George Iloka

The most recent acquisition came in form of former Cincinnati Bengal and Minnesota Viking Safety George Iloka. The Cowboys had a desperate need at the defensive backfield and finally they've done something about it. On a heavy safety market, the Cowboys sat tight while watching the top free agents get top contracts around the league, including Landon Collins' record breaking deal with the Washington Redskins.

Now, they've gotten a guy who can play both safety positions. I'll be surprised if he doesn't take Jeff Heath's job. He's played as a free safety most of his career but being a good tackler, he should do a good job in the box. Iloka will also shine on special teams in Dallas.

So far, my favorite signing may be that of former Green Bay Packer, Randall Cobb. The Cowboys had an important need at the wide receiver position despite counting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup leading the room. Cole Beasley is a tough guy to replace and although Cobb may not be a better slot receiver than him, he certainly has the experience and the skill set to be a starting slot WR.  What's more, he'll only cost the Cowboys five million while Beasley got a four year deal with which he'll earn $17M over the first two years.

Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb

Cole Beasley will be missed, but the good thing is the front office did a pretty good job at filling the concerning hole on offense. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb are definitely not a bad starting trio to have.

Other under the radar moves will also help the Cowboys. Kerry Hyder may not be a well-known in the NFL but he'll surely contribute to this defensive line as a rotational player. Hyder had eight sacks in 2016 with the Detroit Lions before suffering an Achilles injury in 2017 and dealing with a scheme change last season. Hyder will surely be happy about being back to a 4-3 defense in Dallas.

Christian Covington was another overlooked signing. Covington will help on the interior of the defensive line and although he'll likely not be a starter, he'll be an important piece in the rotation for a very reasonable contract ( also a one-year deal).

For a football team that's constantly criticized for not being active in free agency, the Cowboys have done something at pretty much every position where they need help. Safety, defensive end, defensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end have all been addressed this offseason prior to the NFL Draft. This will give them great flexibility in April and could lead to a pretty good "best player available" strategy.

Now granted, there are still concerns regarding the young "to be extended" group of players. DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't reached an agreement with the Cowboys and will continue to postpone surgery until he does. If the front office doesn't strike a contract with the star pass rusher, it won't be possible to consider this offseason a good one no matter what happens. Dallas can't let him leave.

In the meantime though, they've had a pretty quiet yet successful March. And they're not done yet. Robert Quinn could end up wearing the Star if a trade with the Miami Dolphins does end up taking place. We'll see if the Cowboys continue to build on an already pretty good free agency.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Have Had Quiet, Yet Successful, Free Agency" 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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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie



George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have...

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.

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Dallas Cowboys

What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019

John Williams



Amari Cooper

In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.

Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.

The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?

Let's take a look.

Outside Receivers

As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.

Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.

As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.

Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.

Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.

There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.

Slot Receiver

Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.

While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.

Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.

In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.

Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.

With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.

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