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Interesting Personnel Combinations for Cowboys Defensive Line

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Cowboys' Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?
Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY Sports

There are a bunch of new faces along Dallas Cowboys the defensive line this year, as well as plenty of familiar ones. If there is one thing to remember with this defensive line it's that there is no real stud, but also no real push over.

Starting with the familiar faces: Tyrone Crawford, David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence, Benson Mayowa, Maliek Collins, and Cedric Thornton; these guys will carry a bulk of the responsibility early on, teaching the younger guys the ways of the Cowboys QB Hunters.

Cowboys Minicamp: Taco Charlton Impresses At LDE, Who Emerges At RDE? 3

With Taco Charlton, Damontre Moore, Charles Tapper, Lenny Jones, Stephen Paea, and Lewis Neal finding their places, choosing a defensive line combination is the next step for Rod Marinelli.

Year after year we look for Rod to turn a nobody into a somebody, but I can confidently say that Marinelli has some talent to work with this year.

First, let's sort out our defensive lineman by position.

Defensive Ends

  • DeMarcus Lawrence
  • Taco Charlton
  • Benson Mayowa
  • Charles Tapper
  • Lenny Jones

Defensive Tackles

  • Maliek Collins
  • Cedric Thornton
  • Stephen Paea
  • Lewis Neal

Hybrids

  • David Irving
  • Tyrone Crawford
  • Damontre Moore

Now the reason I sorted these out is simple; the players above are listed with the position I see them playing the most of this year. The hybrids are players who will likely see time at both defensive tackle and defensive end.

David Irving would realistically be my best option at left end, but unfortunately he will be suspended the first four games of the regular season.

Damontre Moore would likely push for a starting spot but--like Irving--is serving a two game suspension.

Schemes and Concepts Chapter 2: The Base 4-3 1

Base 4-3 Defense

In a base 4-3 defense we have a right end, a one-technique, a three-technique, and a left end. In these base packages the best line in my opinion would look like this:

  • Tyrone Crawford - Left Defensive End
  • Maliek Collins - Three-Technique
  • Stephen Paea - One-Technique
  • DeMarcus Lawrence - Right Defensive End

Nickel Defense

The "nickel" defensive line normally looks a little bit different. In nickel the odds of the offensive play call being a pass is normally greater than a running play (due to the number of wide receivers). In these instances, the defense normally tries to put its best pass rushers on the field.

In the nickel packages (without Irving and Moore) the best combination could look something similar to this:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence - Left Defensive End
  • Taco Charlton - Three-Technique
  • Maliek Collins - One-Technique
  • Benson Mayowa - Right Defensive End

You won't see this defensive line much, due to the lack of size on the field to play the run, but when offenses are in passing situation this is certainly the Cowboys' best combination to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Run Stuffing Defense

Maliek Collins, Redskins

DT Maliek Collins (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

There do come instances in games where you have to totally change the defensive line to help stop the run. The Cowboys have the right bodies on their depth chart to do so.

In these instances look for the defensive line to look something similar to this:

  • Taco Charlton - Right Defensive End
  • Maliek Collins - Three-Technique
  • Stephen Paea - One-Technique
  • Tyrone Crawford - Left Defensive End

You might notice that this combination looks very similar to the base 4-3 defensive line, except Taco Charlton will slide in at right defensive end. Taco Charlton's length and power against the run is something that he can certainly bring to the table this year, making him a valuable option at defensive end in certain situations throughout games.

Not having David Irving and Damontre Moore on the field together until week five definitely hurts this football team.

Some may argue that Irving and Moore are the two most talented defensive lineman on the Cowboys' roster and I tend to agree with them. The combinations that can be had with both Irving and Moore in the lineup are almost endless.

David Irving

Both guys have the flexibility to play right end, left end, and three technique in certain situations.

Both play with a great amount of power that is difficult for offensive lineman to deal with. Irving's length makes it extra difficult for blockers to control such a long, powerful, and fast rusher.

When David Irving and Damontre Moore return from serving their suspension, the defensive line will really have nice puzzle pieces to play with.

In the base defense Irving will likely get the start at left defensive end with DeMarcus Lawrence at right end. In nickel situations Damontre Moore or David Irving could slide in and play the three-technique spot with Maliek Collins moved over to one-technique.

When the reinforcements do make their triumphant return the defensive line, I think the most effective combo would be:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence - Right End
  • Maliek Collins - One-Technique
  • Damontre Moore - Three-Technique
  • David Irving - Left End

What DL combination will be the most disruptive for opposing teams?


Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

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Dallas Cowboys “All or Nothing” Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys "All or Nothing" Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett

You likely already know by now that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys season -- by all accounts, a forgettable one for fans, coaches, and big-name players -- will be documented forever thanks to NFL Films' latest All or Nothing series.

Effectively, All or Nothing is a new spin on the popular Hard Knocks series with one major difference. This Amazon Prime exclusive doesn't just follow a team through training camp, as NFL Films gets inside team meetings and games throughout the entire season.

The 2017 Cowboys yielded just nine wins, creating more than enough drama for television along the way. This was yet another season where Head Coach Jason Garrett's job was put on the line, although early reviews of All or Nothing (available to the public April 27th) paint Garrett as the lead antagonist.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett drops at least 10 f-bombs in the first show. Before the Broncos game in Week 2: "You want to quiet the game down? Hand the f---in' ball to 21 and knock their ass off the ball.

Watching the Titanic and expecting a different outcome is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment, as will be reliving a frustrating season in Dallas. By the end though, Cowboys fans will have a much better understanding of where the 2018 team stands - particularly in the eyes of a Head Coach they looked to fire once again this offseason.

Jason Garrett has long been described as a "players coach", one that his Cowboys teams want to fight for. Whether or not the Cowboys have gone too far in constantly churning their roster in Garrett's image for little end result will likely be determined this season.

This is a Head Coach that has been in place for the departure of DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo (serving as a pivotal decision maker for the Cowboys choosing Dak Prescott as their full-time starter in 2016), and most recently Dez Bryant.

An added bonus to All or Nothing will likely be that it captures Dez Bryant's final moments with the Cowboys.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Garrett to Zeke at practice after Broncos loss: "I want that f---in guy at Ohio St. who was running down on that kickoff. Remember after you played your 2nd play in the NFL against the Seahawks, you came over to me and you said, 'Give me the f---in ball!'

The Cowboys did not just lose Ezekiel Elliott in 2017 (serving his six game suspension), and All or Nothing will remind every one of just how much talent came off the field for Garrett's team last season. Coming out at the same time as the Dallas hosted 2018 Draft, Cowboys fans can build their excitement for a 2018 triumph back to the playoffs.

Anything short of this likely costs Jason Garrett his job, although everything he means to the Dallas Cowboys will be put in better-than-ever perspective by All or Nothing.

David Helman on Twitter

I don't wanna spoil the "All or Nothing" TV show more than what you've already seen or heard. But if you watch it, you're going to get a great look at: 1. Jason Garrett's actual persona 2. The dynamics of Dez's relationship within the team 3.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys “All or Nothing” Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Cowboys en Español: Definiendo la Urgencia por un WR este NFL Draft

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Pre-Playoff 7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft
Andrew Dieb / USA TODAY Sports

El líder en recepciones de anotación en la historia de la franquicia más emblemática en la historia de los Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant, ha visto su tiempo portando la estrella solitaria llegar a su fin. Un fin, por cierto, que dejó a algunos cuantos aficionados, administrativos y jugadores en un estado de descontento.

Por más que me gustaría entrar a detalle de si el veterano receptor merecía ser recortado o no, si el equipo tomó la decisión correcta o no, el NFL Draft está a menos de una semana de distancia. Así que, en vez de hablar de lo que pudo haber sido, hablemos de lo que puede ser. 

Los Cowboys, a pesar de ser conocidos como una potencia ofensiva en las últimas temporadas, necesitan a un wide receiver. Sí, Dallas consiguió al agente libre de Jacksonville Allen Hurns, pero siendo honestos, no parece ser suficiente talento para un equipo que quiere construirle una ofensiva amigable a su quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Si el roster sólo tiene a Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown y Deonte Thompson; se necesita un WR. Incluso con Bryant en el equipo, se necesitaba un receptor. Lo cual lleva a la gran pregunta: ¿el despido de Dez significa que a los Cowboys les urge aún más un receptor? ¿Significa que definitivamente buscarán mejorar la posición con su selección de primera ronda?

Algo queda claro, la administración sabía lo que sucedería. Dez Bryant no estaba en los planes para el 2018 y claramente sus planes para abordar el NFL Draft no se verán cambiados por la partida del apasionado #88.

Estas estrategias se plantean por meses y más meses. Los Cowboys se han fijado mucho en la posición de receptor, desde que fue el NFL Combine hasta las visitas privadas que toman lugar a lo largo de Abril.

Es un hecho que tienen en la mira a los receptores. Claramente, quieren añadir más talento a la ofensiva para Dak Prescott.

En una clase de prospectos que cuenta con bastantes receptores, otra pregunta naturalmente, es ¿lo harán en primera ronda o más tarde? Me sorprendería demasiado si el equipo espera hasta la tercera ronda. Sin duda, es algo que tienen que atender con una de sus dos primeros picks.

 1

En el primero, la selección #19 global, podrían encontrar a uno de los tres mejores receptores del año. Calvin Ridley, de Alabama; Courtland Sutton, de SMU; DJ Moore, de Maryland. Si buscarán el "remplazo" de Dez Bryant en uno de estos tres jugadores, definitivamente será uno de estos tres prospectos.

Todos tienen lo suyo. Sutton es un receptor estilo "X" (como Dez Bryant) mientras Ridley, por ejemplo, es claramente un receptor "Z" (como Terrance Williams). DJ Moore brinda un poco de versatilidad entre ambos roles, y podría ser un jugador de impacto en cualquiera que se le juegue, aunque probablemente brillaría más si se le permitiera jugar como un "Z."

Afortunadamente para Dallas, el recién firmado Allen Hurns también es capaz de tomar cualquiera de los dos roles. Esto le da flexibilidad a los Cowboys de tomar al que más les guste, o en su defecto, a quien esté disponible.

En mi segundo Mock Draft del año, simulé a Courtland Sutton, producto de SMU a los Cowboys con el pick #19. Los coaches de la Estrella Solitaria han mostrado bastante interés por el producto local y no me sorprendería nada verlos aterrizar un receptor como él la próxima semana.

Ahora bien, si Dallas decide esperar hasta la segunda ronda para conseguir a un par de manos confiables, encontrarán talento. Definitivamente. James Washington, DJ Chark, Michael Gallup, Anthony Miller, entre otros podrían estar ahí en la selección #50 (segunda ronda).

Cowboys Draft: Should Cowboys Consider WR James Washington?

Oklahoma State WR James Washington (Rob Ferguson / USA TODAY Sports)

Si el equipo quiere tomar talento para otra posición en la primera, lo podrán hacer sabiendo que encontrarán un WR talentoso al día siguiente.

Afortunadamente, esta ofensiva se basa en Ezekiel Elliott y el juego terrestre detrás de la línea ofensiva. Los receptores son importantes, por supuesto, pero no es necesario tener algo tan dominante como lo fue Dez Bryant en el 2013 y el 2014, por ejemplo.

Por ahora, sólo falta esperar como abordan los Cowboys esta necesidad la próxima semana cuando el NFL Draft del 2018 tome lugar en el mismo lugar en el que este equipo juega sus partidos e intenta pelear, el AT&T Stadium.

Con un poco de suerte, estrenaran el campo este 2018 obteniendo su primer victoria del año la próxima semana.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Definiendo la Urgencia por un WR este NFL Draft" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Kris Richard Taking Over For Rod Marinelli Earlier Than Expected?

Brian Martin

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How Much Input Will Kris Richard Have in Cowboys Draft?

Believe it or not, a lot of Cowboys Nation has grown tired of Rod Marinelli's simplistic and predictable 4-3 defensive scheme. Dallas Cowboys fans are ready for a change and quite a few of them believe that Kris Richard is the answer.

The Dallas Cowboys hired Kris Richard earlier this offseason to become the new defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator. Almost immediately, rumors and speculation began to circulate that he would be the next defensive coordinator, taking over for Rod Marinelli once he retires.

It's really not that big of a reach to see such a promotion happen, especially since Richard has found previous success as a defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks. But, as things stand right now, Rod Marinelli still has the title of DC in Dallas, but for how long?

Rod Marinelli

Dallas Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli

We have already seen a few changes being made to the Cowboys defense that seem to have Kris Richard's fingerprints on them. Moving Byron Jones from safety to cornerback for instance is a perfect example.

Of course, we could see even more of Richard's imprint on the Cowboys defense next week when the 2018 NFL Draft gets underway. I think he will have a big say in the types of players they select if he is indeed expected to become the next defensive coordinator.

Further evidence Kris Richard will have quite a bit of input on the Cowboys defense this season is the fact that a lot of players have been watching game film of the Seahawks' defense.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Sean Lee said the Cowboys have been watching film of the Seahawks' defense. Said it's been fun being around new DB coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard

I don't know about you, but for me this is pretty solid evidence the Dallas Cowboys are going to make some changes on the defensive side of the ball and that Kris Richard will have a lot of say in those changes.

I may be reading too much into all this or I may be hitting the nail right on the head. But, there's no denying there seems to be a renewed energy from the Cowboys defensive players. Maybe it's the hiring of Kris Richard or something else, but I personally find it intriguing.

I'm really looking forward to finding out how all of these pieces end up falling into place. I really don't care who holds the title of defensive coordinator in 2018 as long as we see improvement from the Cowboys defense.

For the Cowboys defense to improve from last season it's going to take a collaborative effort from the entire coaching staff, not just Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard. That's just the way things work in the NFL, but it's never going to stop us from speculating when some new blood is brought in.

Do you think Kris Richard is taking over for Rod Marinelli earlier than expected?


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