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Moving La’el Collins To RT Indicates Belief In Cooper at LG

RJ Ochoa

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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

La'el Collins, Dak Prescott

We could be seeing La'el Collins protecting Dak Prescott's right side for the next decade if things work out the way we want them to.

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?

Jonathan Cooper

Does the idea of Jonathan Cooper at LG give the Cowboys the confidence to move La'el Collins to RT?

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.

Tell us what you think about "Moving La’el Collins To RT Indicates Belief In Cooper at LG" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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3 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    Right, workouts in offseason in a new spot can go either way. Myself and others on here have speculated Collins may go to RT because it fits the current circumstances well if it works:

    One is Cooper as you mention, and the general truth that G is somewhat easier than T to acquire (Nate Newton and Leary were both UFA’s)

    Another is, Collins has enough ability for it – size, quicks, agility. Again that’s pretty hard to get at OT, and in this case you have a chance for a real upgrade from Free in pass block.

    I like it for one other reason: Collins has actually not shown yet that he can stay healthy inside. It is more pounding than OT is. RT might be the thing that keeps him on the field.

  • Russ_Te

    My current other position-move projections:

    Charlton at LDT
    Byron Jones at starting CB

    less likely but possible > Jaylon Smith at SS

    total wildcard that can’t happen in 2017 > Lawrence to TE ;^)

  • dallas1966

    RJ I’m excited, as well. I truly believe that this offensive line, will go as been better than the 70’s and 90’s Cowboys offensive line, which dominated opposing defensive front lines, for decades. It’s Dak Attack!! Time!!

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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Is Dak Prescott’s Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

John Williams

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Is Dak Prescott's Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

As the final whistle sounded last Sunday with the Carolina Panthers coming away victorious over your Dallas Cowboys, it was pretty clear there were a lot of things wrong with the offense. Many pointed to Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and the play calling. Others to the offensive line. Others to Quarterback Dak Prescott. And others to the wide receivers.

There was plenty of blame to go around in an offensive performance that left Cowboys Nation struggling for answers. Simply put, there wasn't much good from that side of the football in their 16-8 loss. 

Well, as this week has gone on in preparation for the New York Giants Sunday night, there have been answers to questions from within the organization that make me, an outsider, feel really awkward about the relationships inside the organization. Particularly on the offensive side of the football. 

There was this from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan responding to Troy Aikman's critique of a lack of creativity in the play calling of Linehan.

"People have their own opinions. It's hard to be super creative when you're having loss-yardage plays, to be honest with you. But I thought we had some really good stuff for the game that we couldn't use. But he's entitled to whatever opinion he has about that. It's our job to go out and show him that we have some stuff that maybe he'll be impressed with."

Scott Linehan - via Jon Machota, Sports Day DFW

Then this from Wide Receiver Allen Hurns. 

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys WR Allen Hurns on loss to Carolina: "Statistically people are going to say we didn't play well. If you really break down the game, we created separation. That's what you want to do as a wideout.

With Dak Prescott speaking to the media on Thursday, some interesting nuggets of information came out about the communication that takes place on game day between Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, and Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Namely Dak described Kellen Moore as a "mediator" between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.

“Kellen, I guess you call him the mediator at that point, when I come to the sideline. Me and him talk about what we saw and then he gets on the headset and he’s talking with Linehan. Then he’ll get back to me with what Linehan’s thinking with the plays and stuff that we’re working towards, so it’s been great.”

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback

Count 1310 The Ticket's Bob Sturm as one of many confused by Dak's statement about Moore as the go between.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

Thought it was really interesting to day that Dak said he talks to Kellen Moore and QB coach Kellen Moore talks to Linehan. Linehan doesn't talk directly to his QB during the game. I think that is weird.

It's becoming clear that there is a huge disconnect between the play caller and his quarterback and this disconnect is affecting everyone on the offensive side of the ball.  

Everyone, after one week, appears to be placing blame on someone else, which is really odd to me. Normally, when a unified group of players is asked a question that may lead to finger-pointing, they don't really answer the question.

Above, you can see that Hurns basically said, it wasn't the wide receivers' fault. Linehan, reacting to Troy Aikman's comments about the lack of creativity in the offense, placed the reason for the lack of creativity on the players. And Dak Prescott appears to allude to a really odd communication structure.

It has me wondering, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, if there is a trust issue with the Dallas Cowboys offensive staff and players.

Trust is a very important aspect of any group of people who work together to meet a common goal. Football is no different. As far as team sports go, the NFL requires a strong sense of trust and commitment to one another to make the intricacies of an NFL offense work.

As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a "Go-To" Receiver After All?

Oct 8, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) congratulates wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) after a touchdown in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The coach has to trust that the player he's calling the plays for. If the play caller doesn't trust the players to execute, he's going to be much more conservative than he should be. A play caller who trusts his players will allow them to play and will be aggressive in his game planning and play calling. 

The player has to trust that the play caller is putting the player(s) in the best position possible to succeed. If the players don't trust the play caller, they aren't going to buy in to the offensive scheme. If they don't buy in to the offensive scheme then there may not be the necessary effort put in to see the scheme succeed. 

From the outside looking in, the relationship between quarterback and play caller seems fractured.  It's not a good sign for the relationship of the two men tasked with guiding this offense that there is a mediator involved in their communication. If there is an issue in the relationship that is leading to poor communication, then the Dallas Cowboys leadership structure -- Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett -- need to make a change to better enhance offensive communication.

They aren't going to change quarterbacks at this point in the season. The move they can make that Head Coach Jason Garrett appears unwilling to make, is changing who calls the plays. If the relationship between Linehan and Prescott is such that Kellen Moore needs to act as "mediator," then the time has come to change the play caller. Whether it's Moore who takes the reigns or Garrett who returns to calling plays, the change may need to be made soon to salvage this season. 

Trust is a very valuable resource in any organization. It's the reason that Jason Garrett has remained head coach for as long as he has. The ownership trusts him. 

The lack of trust that appears to exist between Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan is something that not only hurts their relationship, but the chemistry with the entire offense. 

Football may be the greatest team sport in the world. And as such it requires a high level of chemistry . It requires everyone on offense and defense buying into their respective schemes and trusting each other to execute those schemes. 

Obviously a win against the Giants would go a long way toward healing whatever wounds exist between Prescott and Linehan. A loss however could potentially deepen a divide between the quarterback and his coordinator.



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