Connect with us

Player News

Is It Time for Cowboys to Return to Connor Williams at Left Guard?

Sean Martin

Published

on

Could Connor Williams Be Option at Tight End for Cowboys? 1

The Dallas Cowboys have ten days off from the time of their last game on Thursday, the most watched edition of TNF ever. Looking to carry momentum from that win over the New Orleans Saints into the final fourth of their schedule, the Cowboys will potentially look much different -- and healthier -- against the Eagles in week 14.

As I wrote on Saturday, Left Tackle Tyron Smith, Linebacker Sean Lee, and Defensive Tackle David Irving are all expected to be available for the Cowboys. Their rookie Left Guard Connor Williams, who has been available to play for the last two weeks, may also need to make his return to the starting lineup.

Xavier Su'a-Filo had previously done a great job filling in for Williams, helping the Cowboys earn their first road win by paving a path for Ezekiel Elliott to gain 151 yards against a stout Eagles defensive line.

Despite being a fifth-year pro, Su'a-Filo's play has slipped in recent weeks. The former Houston Texan and Tennessee Titan allowed two sacks on third down drop backs from Dak Prescott against the Saints, as the Cowboys offense survived with 13 points while allowing seven total sacks.

The Cowboys have every reason to still believe in Williams as their long-term answer at left guard, drafting the collegiate tackle at 50th overall. Williams was available in the second round due to injuries he suffered his Junior season at Texas, diminishing his level of play as a perennial first round talent.

Where Williams struggled in the first eight games of the season making the transition both to guard and the NFL, Su'a-Filo has been worse off with his technique and consistency as of late. The Cowboys decision at left guard is no longer about riding with the better player, but rather finding out if they can help Williams reach his potential and solidify this offensive line for a playoff run.

With Marc Colombo taking over as offensive line coach, the Cowboys have rediscovered their strengths as a unit. The team's focus on getting to the second level and blocking in space has been evident through the team's recent success.

These are both strengths of Williams'. At a time where the Cowboys must explore every possible upgrade before December football, a difficult decision could be made at left guard.

It didn't take long for opposing defenses to attack Su'a-Filo, as it did Williams from the very start of his career at the Panthers in week one. Williams has plenty to learn from his earlier playing time, and the drive to perfect his craft, while Su'a-Filo is a finished product that's on the verge of holding the Cowboys back.

When Dallas traveled to Philadelphia, they began a stretch of difficult games that would define this 2018 season. Coming full circle with Williams retaking the left guard job in a second meeting with the Eagles, after the Cowboys went 4-0 in their last four, is just one way this Cowboys team can show their best football is still to come - atop the NFC East at 7-5 and enjoying the rest of this Sunday off.

Tell us what you think about "Is It Time for Cowboys to Return to Connor Williams at Left Guard?" 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.

Advertisement
1 Comment
  • David Anthony

    Oh no! We have something that’s working! What can we do?
    Giving Williams reps over Su’a-Filo makes as much sense as taking LVE off the field to play Lee. If you have a predilection for losing, why not do both?

Player News

Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense

John Williams

Published

on

Maliek Collins

For the Dallas Cowboys on the interior, a lot of the news consistently surround the availability of Defensive Tackle David Irving, but Maliek Collins is playing excellent right now. While I'm willing to be very patient with Irving because of the elite talent he brings, Maliek Collins should continue to start for the Dallas Cowboys at 3-technique defensive tackle.

Collins has been a player that the Cowboys have bounced between the nose tackle and the 3T position with the hopes of getting their best players on the field, and because of the lack of a consistent presence at the 1-technique or nose tackle position. Well, with Antwaun Woods taking control at the 1T, Collins has been able to play at the position where he's at his best. The 3-tech.

He hasn't put huge numbers in the sack column this season, but that doesn't mean he's been absent from being the disruptive player he's been through his first two and a half seasons.

During the Dallas Cowboys five game winning streak, Maliek Collins has led the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackles in total pressures with 13, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF combines sacks, quarterback hits, and hurries into their "pressures." Collins hasn't recorded a sack during the winning streak, but he has four quarterback hits and nine hurries. He's tied with Tyrone Crawford for third in total pressures behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory over the last five weeks.

Over the last five weeks, Collins leads the defensive tackles in solo tackles with five and is tied with Crawford and Antwaun Woods with three run stops on defense, according to Pro Football Focus. Collins has also has two tackles for loss in the last five games and recovered Tyrone Crawford's force fumble on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Collins had six sacks in his rookie season when he played primarily as the 3T, which allowed him to see more one-on-one blocks against opposing interior offensive linemen. Especially with the way the rest of the defensive line is playing.

With the Cowboys on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts this week, Collins is going to have a tough matchup with a very good Colts offensive line, in particular, rookie Quentin Nelson. Collins ability to get pressure on Andrew Luck on the interior is a huge key for the Dallas Cowboys this week. We know that Gregory and Lawrence will get their pressures, but if Andrew Luck is able to step up into a clean pocket, it will make for a much more challenging game for the Cowboys secondary.

Collins has proved to be up to any task over the last five weeks and if he's able to keep playing at such a high level, he'll make the Cowboys coaching staff, and the rest of Cowboys Nation forget about using other defensive tackles. For the Cowboys to make a deep push in the playoffs, they'll need Collins to be a big time player for them moving forward.



Continue Reading

Player News

Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Amari Cooper

For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote

As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.

Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.

Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.

His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!



Continue Reading

Player News

David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?

Sean Martin

Published

on

David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.

In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.

There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.

While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.

Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.

Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.

In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.

Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.

Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.

At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.

The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.

Tell us what you think about "David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending