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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys’ Ed Block Courage Award Winner

Sean Martin

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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

On January 1st, 2016, then Notre Dame star linebacker Jaylon Smith played in what many thought would be his last ever football game - suffering a gruesome knee injury in a bowl game against Ezekiel Elliott's Ohio State Buckeyes. Now teammates with Elliott, Jaylon appeared in his first game with the Dallas Cowboys on September 10th of this year, never looking back to defy all odds and lead this team in tackles through 14 games.

For his resilience, courage, and uplifting play, Jaylon Smith was awarded the Ed Block Courage Award by his Cowboys' teammates yesterday.

David Helman on Twitter

Here's a cool story. The Cowboys have voted Jaylon Smith as their 2017 Ed Block Courage Award winner. Very well deserved, given that Smith rebounded from one of the most gruesome injuries in recent memory to lead the team in tackles, with 96 this season.

Smith will get the opportunity to represent the team that not only took a chance on him with the 34th overall pick in the 2016 Draft, but an organization that has fully supported him through his entire rehabilitation process at the Ed Block Courage Awards in February.

At times, the Cowboys' support of Jaylon Smith felt almost "fake". The fact that he was working - admirably hard - to return to the field certainly wasn't, but believing what the team was selling on Smith being a cornerstone to the franchise after effectively red-shirting his rookie season was understandably difficult.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

I'm honored and humbled to be selected by my teammates and coaches for such a prestigious award. #ClearEyeView https://t.co/s5qjbrfrOP

While he may not be that franchise player just yet, Jaylon Smith is on track to accomplish everything he set out to as a top prospect. If healthy entering the draft, the price the Cowboys would have had to pay for Smith was the fourth overall pick they instead used on Ezekiel Elliott.

Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner

Should the Cowboys miss the playoffs this season, which is beyond their control, there will still be plenty of positives to take from a season that could have gone differently for many reasons.

Jaylon Smith is both of these things. The Cowboys have been ineffective (to say the least) defensively without their leader in Sean Lee, but Dallas can feel much better about their outlook at LB with Smith in their plans at the MIKE position for the foreseeable future.

Regardless the size of the impact Jaylon Smith made on the field for the Cowboys this season, the fact that he is a healthy football player once again is enough for his teammates and coaches to feel rewarded for their ongoing support.

This is why Smith was chosen as America's Team's nominee for the Ed Block Courage Award for 2017.

Tell us what you think about "Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys’ Ed Block Courage Award Winner" 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.

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1 Comment
  • Russ_Te

    Smith has certainly earned it. Imagine how hard is it to be stuck in a 1.5 year rehab program while teammates get to go out and play. Rico Gathers is in the throes of 2 years out, although it was practice squad last year and concussion precautions this year.

    But if you build a dynasty, it’s always with a franchise QB and also players down the draft who turn into pro-bowlers. That means you roll dice on project players like Gathers – even Dak – and take chances on gifted players with injury like Smith, or sometimes with trouble following them from college (Gregory).

    If you take average, safe players down the draft you will not build a dynasty. Where available you take your chances on a talented player who fell, and the Cowboys subscribe to that. I was surprised how fast Smith got his speed back this year. There was a play around Week 5 maybe, where the opponent had a long gain down the field and Smith was flying in pursuit.That made me believe a full recovery is in progress. And he might be great as a spy LB against a fast QB like Russell Wilson, or the way Kaepernick was.

    The Seahawks are getting no betting respect after being routed by the Rams, and are 5 point underdogs tomorrow. I think they may be ready to fold up the season if Dallas gets a big first half lead. You have to believe the Cowboys frame of mind is totally opposite, they get Elliott back and I think will get it going early / 31-17 final.

    Btw Sean, if the Cowboys make the playoffs it might be time to get Gregory out of mothballs… ;^)

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Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense

John Williams

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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.



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

Jess Haynie

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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!



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

Sean Martin

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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!



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