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New Confidence brewing in Dallas

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The 08-09 Cowboys Defense, with the exception of two changes, looks very similar to last year's defense. The most highly publicized change has been the upgrade in the Dallas secondary. With the additions of number 1 draft pick Mike Jenkins, and the off-season trade for Adam Jones, joining the team, these two players should change the defense entirely. Along with undeniable skill, they bring with them a fierce bloodthirsty mentality, which this team has been missing for a long time. Neither of these guys has shown any reluctance to smack their opponent upside the head!

Mike Jenkins is an incredible man defender, he is a guy that you can put on an island and let him take his man out of the picture. So far from what I have seen he has two areas of improvement that need to be addressed. The first area of concern his occasional tendency to bite very hard on a double move. Once he gets more attuned with the NFL game a lot of this will take care of itself. The second area of concern with Jenkins is his zone coverage play. Let us not forget, he is a rookie and I am sure he has never seen a playbook quite this big, nor with this many reads to make. Our resident offensive coordinator is a Princeton grad, if a typical NFL playbook was 200 pages, I'm guessing his is 700. It is very evident to me that he has found himself a mentor, and he is responding extremely well to him. That mentor is none other than Terrence Newman! This floored me at first, not that Jenkins had a mentor, but more that it was Newman. Newman has always been very reserved and not much into teaching another corner how to play his position, especially one that will, one day, be trying to take his job! What has made Newman more willing to counsel the young up and comer?

Adam Jones, as we all know, has not been reinstated. Yet! I say yet because I believe it is merely formality. He, like Jenkins, is strong man defender with an attitude. I have been pleasantly surprised by this guy's work ethic. For a man who has been in all sorts of trouble, doing very immature things, he is coming across now as a throwback player. The league used to be full of players that were, shall we say, “lunch pale” kind of guys. Adam Jones clearly falls into that category. I know, I know, we all see the flashy “Pac-man bout to make it rain up in here” things. These things may be who he is off the field, but on the field he is nothing like that. Now has he suddenly appears to have become a better person off the field. Whether that is true or not, well that I do not know. But from what I have seen so far, if I had to give an answer, I would say probably he has cleaned up his off field act. People do come equipped with the ability to change who they are, and it is not up to you or I to judge anyone. He will have his day when he is judged. So now the next question becomes: Why is he apparently changing now and not 6 months ago?

In my opinion, the second substantial change to this defense is the principle difference! It is an addition that has not received a great deal of press and I certainly did not realize the impact that it would have. Dave Campo! Yes, Dave Campo! He may very well turn out to be the key acquisition for a run at the Super Bowl. Everyone, including myself, dismissed this guy. My opinion of him has always been: “How can he be the right man to turn a sorry secondary into a “Super Bowl Champion potential” secondary, when he failed miserably as the team's head coach”? Something I even neglect to remember sometimes is that when Campo took over as the head man, he acquired a very shitty football team. The players on that team loved Campo and they played hard for him. They simply were not NFL playoff caliber players! In the end, it cost him his job, but was it his fault entirely? My answer is NO! And I believe that if people within the organization were asked they would say the same thing. This, however, is nothing new for the NFL. Coaches get fired all the time when they do not win, no matter who is to blame! This guy has taken a mentally weak secondary and given them something that they have not seen at Valley Ranch in a long time; confidence! Even when they were winning Super Bowls, and were absolutely dominating teams, the secondary as a unit never had the confidence that they are showing now! That's right I said never. And that includes when Prime Time was here. Prime Time was the only one who had confidence or game for that matter. This team is different, and I for one believe it is instigated by one Dave Campo. So to find the answers to our questions about Newman and Jones, You need look no further than their leader!



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.



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What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019

John Williams

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Amari Cooper

In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.

Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.

The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?

Let's take a look.

Outside Receivers

As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.

Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.

As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.

Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.

Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.

There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.

Slot Receiver

Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.

While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.

Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.

In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.

Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.

With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka

John Williams

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Why Cowboys Should Acquire Recently Released S George Iloka

As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.

It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.

The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.

Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.

Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.

Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at InsideTheStar.com.



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