The Offseason is good for a lot of things. I personally use it to read, catch up, and get ready for the upcoming NFL season. Actual NFL teams use it for the Draft - the Cowboys dominated that - and to experiment with potential ideas to implement when it all starts to matter. This might be the case for the Dallas Cowboys as they're currently working with 2015 Undrafted Free Agent superstar La'el Collins at Right Tackle as opposed to his normal position, Left Guard.
Perhaps you believe that Left Guard was La'el Collins' position because that's the one that he's best suited for. Maybe you believe La'el was in between Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick because the Dallas Cowboys didn't want to trust Tony Romo's right side to a rookie two years ago. Or maybe, just maybe, you believe La'el Collins played Left Guard because Doug Free was a legitimate Right Tackle.
Whatever your belief, it seems like La'el Collins could spend his third year donning the blue and silver protecting the right edge of the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line. You'll of course remember that the aforementioned Doug Free retired earlier this offseason, so La'el is filling a need the Cowboys currently have. But what about Left Guard then? There's no more Ron Leary - he defected to the Denver Broncos - to take those scraps, so who will play there? The answer to that may be the reason La'el Collins is kicking outside, and it's an interesting one.
La'el Collins To Right Tackle Isn't A Slam Dunk
To the casual observer the idea of La'el Collins moving out all the way to the right may not seem like a big deal. After all, La'el played Offensive Tackle during his collegiate days at LSU. He was good there... so he should be good here. Right? Isn't that the way it works? Bueller?
John Owning of FanRag Sports cautioned against this move, citing all-world stud Tyron Smith as a prime example of exactly how moving linemen can be filled with growing pains. Consider that La'el Collins has spent his entire NFL life so far learning - and perfecting - the mannerisms, mechanics, and philosophies of playing Left Guard. Playing Right Tackle means that all of that is mirrored and the caliber of pass rusher he's tasked with blocking increases significantly.
The truth of the matter is that La'el Collins is going to have to be paid soon - although contrary to what was some Twitter discussion he will be a Restricted Free Agent in 2018 - and you don't pay prime dollar for Left Guards. La'el Collins was a golden goose the Cowboys accidentally tripped over after the 2015 NFL Draft. To be able to cultivate him into a starting Right Tackle opposite of Tyron Smith and next to Zack Martin for a generation is a huge gift and luxury.
Count me as one who's excited about the prospect of La'el Collins at Right Tackle, but I'm admittedly in this camp under a veil of patience. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can just swing out to Right Tackle from Left Guard and be a beast all the time. Remember this in October.
Does La'el Collins' Move Mean The Cowboys Believe In Jonathan Cooper At Left Guard?
Simple math tells us that if La'el Collins is playing Right Tackle and not Left Guard that the Left Guard position needs someone to play it. I'm kind of a math expert, I know.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have Byron Bell and Jonathan Cooper as options to play along the interior of the left side of the Offensive Line. Byron Bell is a fine lineman - and was partly the subject of a Stephen Jones joke recently - but the sexier option in the minds of Dallas Cowboys fans is the 2013 7th Overall Pick of the Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Cooper.
How do I know that Cowboys Nation finds this option sexy? If Jonathan Cooper is your LG and La'el Collins is your RT, here's your Offensive Line from left to right:
- Tyron Smith, 2011 1st Rounder, 9th Overall
- Jonathan Cooper, 2013 1st Rounder, 7th Overall
- Travis Frederick, 2013 1st Rounder, 31st Overall
- Zack Martin, 2014 1st Rounder, 16th Overall
- La'el Collins, 2015 UDFA, but would've gone in the first if not for what we all know.
Five First Rounders on the Offensive Line.
Everybody wants to be able to say that, you know it. And I don't blame them. I like saying cool things, and this is the perfect coal for the engine-that-crushes-Eagles-fans-souls.
But seriously, it makes sense that Jonathan Cooper is the reason the Dallas Cowboys feel confident enough to take the risks we mentioned to move La'el Collins to RT. The Cowboys brought Cooper in shortly after the 2016 regular season ended, and they liked him so much that they brought him back on a one-year deal.
If La'el Collins were to stick to the position he's played all along in Dallas, LG, then that would mean the Cowboys would have to depend on Chaz Green or Emmett Cleary at RT, although Bell himself is an option... since Doug Free isn't coming back (sigh). It's not hard to see that the Cowboys must view the Cooper at LG and Collins at RT fix as the best one for the sake of the overall unit.
Get excited to say the cool thing, because it could seriously happen. Huzzah.
5 Dallas Cowboys Make 2019 Pro Bowl Roster
The Dallas Cowboys will be well represented in the 2019 Pro Bowl. Last night, five players were named to the NFC roster: RB Ezekiel Elliott, OT Tyron Smith, G Zack Martin, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, and CB Byron Jones.
Dallas tied the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints for the most players to the NFC team. However, the Los Angeles Chargers led all teams with seven players making the AFC squad. The Chiefs and Steelers had six players each.
Congratulations to #DallasCowboys @Byron31Jump, Tyron Smith, @TankLawrence, @thegob70 and @EzekielElliott who are #ProBowl Bound!
Byron Jones is the only first-time Pro Bowler among the Cowboys. He's been one of the best cornerbacks in football this year, switching back to the position after a few years playing safety.
This will be the second-straight Pro Bowl for DeMarcus Lawrence, who remains among the league's most feared pass rushers. It's also the second trip for Ezekiel Elliott, who went as a rookie but missed last year's game with his suspension issues.
Pro Bowl fixtures Tyron Smith and Zack Martin return for the sixth and fifth-straight years, respectively. For Martin, it preserves his streak of making the team every year since he came into the NFL.
Even with these five players being named, you could argue that Dallas deserved a couple more. Rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch has been one of the top defensive players in the league this year. And WR Amari Cooper, once he got to Dallas, has been as productive as any receiver in football.
That aside, congratulations to Zeke, Tyron, Zack, Tank, and Byron for making this year's team!
Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense
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.
Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018
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.
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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