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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

3 Comments

  1. Russ_Te

    May 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    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.

  2. Russ_Te

    May 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    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 ;^)

  3. dallas1966

    May 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    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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Cowboys Offseason: Landon Collins Cleaned Out Locker, Set to be FA

John Williams

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Cowboys Headlines - #DALvsNYG: Dealing With Giants Safety Landon Collins

It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2019 offseason looking to upgrade at the safety position on a defense that finished inside the top 10 in 2018. With much of the focus on Earl Thomas, New York Giants Safety Landon Collins has become the center of attention in the last couple of days.

Per a report by Josina Anderson, Collins cleaned out his locker on Wednesday as he gets ready to go into free agency for the first time.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

I'm told that Giants S Landon Collins cleaned out his locker today at the team facility and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches and trainers. It doesn't seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer, per sources.

After Paul Schwartz attempted to assert that there was no claim to the report...

Paul Schwartz on Twitter

Attention those who care about the New York Giants: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Repeat: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Go about your business and have a nice day.

And Landon Collins had this to say...

https://twitter.com/TheHumble_21/status/1098315997839265792

If cleaning out a locker is any kind of evidence, then Collins is prepared to hit the market when free agency opens on March 13th. He joins a loaded safety group that includes Thomas, Houston Texans Safety Tyrann Mathieu, Los Angeles Rams Safety LaMarcus Joyner, Glover Quin of the Detroit Lions, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix formerly of the Green Bay Packers, but most recently of the Washington Redskins, and several others who could find new homes this offseason.

The Cowboys are very familiar with Landon Collins, as they've seen him nearly twice a year over the last four years. The three time Pro Bowler was one of the best players on the Giants defense. They would line him up in the box and at time use him to cover Cole Beasley.

Collins ranked first in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus in run stop percentage at 7.2%. Meaning on running snaps, he made a tackle that rendered the running play ineffective 7.2% of the time.For further reference, Jeff Heath made a run stop on 4.2% of his run plays, which was 15th in the NFL among safeties.

The only positions to have more of an impact on the running game were linebackers and the defensive line. Even if you include linebackers, his run stop percentage was 31st in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch led the Dallas Cowboys with a run stop percentage of 11.3%, which was third among linebackers. Collins number nearly matched the run stop percentage of Jaylon Smith at 7.6%.

Add Collins to a defense that stops the run as well as the Dallas Cowboys did last season and you take your team to another level against the run.

Landon Collins will probably get the most money this offseason. He's only 25 and has had success in the NFL. Many teams will be reaching out to Collins when free agency opens and the Dallas Cowboys should certainly be one of those teams. Collins would be an excellent addition to the Dallas Cowboys defense and would allow Xavier Woods to stay in his role as the free safety.

We're just under three weeks away from the start of NFL free agency and the drama will only get bigger as the Cowboys look to add to their team.



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Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time https://t.co/vqMNZty6Aq via @sportsdaydfw

Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.

The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.

The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.

But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.

Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.

It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.

Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.



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BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.

Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.

David Moore on Twitter

Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.

After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.

The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.

While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.

While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.

The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.



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