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Is Rolando McClain Key To Cowboys Defensive Success?

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Dallas Cowboys defense for the upcoming 2016. Who will be the starting defensive ends with Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence missing the first four games due to violating the substance abuse policy? How will the cornerback situation shake itself out? Who will be the starting outside linebacker? These are just a few questions that surround the Cowboys defense that should answer themselves once the off-season practices really start getting underway.

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Is Rolando McClain Key To Defensive Success?

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Dallas Cowboys defense for the upcoming 2016.

Who will be the starting defensive ends with Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence missing the first four games due to violating the substance abuse policy?

How will the cornerback situation shake itself out?

Who will be the starting outside linebacker?

These are just a few questions that surround the Cowboys defense that should answer themselves once the off-season practices really start getting underway.

There is one question though that I think may be key to how the defense performs in the upcoming season.

How will Rolando McClain perform after a full off-season in the Dallas Cowboys training program?

Despite the fact that this will be Rolando's third season with the Cowboys, it will be his first full off-season to go through the strength and conditioning programs.

In year 1 with the Cowboys organization he didn't join the team until they were already in training camp. Again, he missed the strength and conditioning program in year 2 because he was recovering from a knee injury.

Finally, he should be able to take part in the entire off-season for the Cowboys and that should help him become more physically and mentally prepared for the 2016 season.

We have a witnessed that when Rolando was on his game he is one of the better linebackers in the entire NFL, but there are also those times where he just seems to disappear and I'm hoping that with a full off-season to prepare those lapses in games will vanish.

I would love to see him finally put everything together and quit running hot and cold, because when he's hot both him and Sean Lee make up one of the better inside linebacker duos in the entire NFL.

Cowboys Headlines - Is Rolando McClain Key To Cowboys Defensive Success?

Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

In all honesty, I believe that he could just be the key factor in determining whether or not the Cowboys defense is successful in 2016.

The Cowboys really don't have another player to play that middle linebacker position that can have the same kind of impact that Rolando McClain does.

In 2015, after missing the first four games for violating the substance abuse policy, Rolando still had a really good statistical season. He finished with 97 tackles, nine for losses, two sacks, 10 quarterback pressures, and that interception he return for a touchdown against Miami.

That's a pretty impressive statistical season, especially considering the fact that he only started 11 games. What's even more impressive though is the fact that he was averaging 11 tackles a game and if you add in the four games that he missed when he was suspended, he would be close to having approximately 140 tackles or so.

It's time for the Cowboys patience in McClain to finally pay off and I think that we will see bigger and better things from him in 2016.

There is no denying that McClain is a really good player, but the Cowboys are relying on him to be on the field. If for some reason he becomes unavailable, his impact on the field will be missed and it could end up being disastrous for the entire defense.

There simply isn't another linebacker that can step in and fill the void left in the middle of the defense. That is why I believe that Rolando McClain is the key to the success of the Cowboys defense in 2016.

Do you agree or disagree?

Please feel free to use the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter @bmart so that we can discuss this topic further.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" 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 & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.



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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?

Sean Martin

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster? 2
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.

This group includes Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, KD Cannon, Mekale McCay, and Marchie Murdock.

The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.

One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.

Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out?

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.

This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.

Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.

Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.

Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.

It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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