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NFC East Rookie Watch: New York Giants

The path to the Super Bowl starts by clinching the NFC East. That means beating the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. Fortunately, with the help of the draft, the Dallas Cowboys have improved as a team. Unfortunately, so has the rest of the NFC East. Today, we’ll look at three rookies drafted by the New York Giants that could be the biggest headaches for the Cowboys:

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Cowboys Headlines - NFC East Draft Picks Watch Out For: New York Giants

The path to the Super Bowl starts by clinching the NFC East. That means beating the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. Fortunately, with the help of the draft, the Dallas Cowboys have improved as a team. Unfortunately, so has the rest of the NFC East.

Today, we’ll look at three rookies drafted by the New York Giants that could be the biggest headaches for the Cowboys: Eli Apple, Sterling Shepard and Paul Perkins.

In the first round, The Giants surprised most people by drafting Eli Apple. It was a surprise because most thought Apple wasn’t worth that high of a pick.

Cowboys Headlines - 45Apple is a decent corner. The Giants needed to improve their defense, especially the secondary, so drafting a corner seemed reasonable. There’s no guarantee that Apple’s game will translate well in the NFL. He’ll be tested if he’s tasked with covering Dez Bryant in 2016. That’s a tall order for any corner. It’s Dez Bryant.

Apple is known for being a physical corner. Sometimes, Apple’s physical tendencies with receivers turns into grabbing their jerseys, a tactic that will draw flags in the NFL. Defensive pass interference calls are one way to move the ball down the field. 

But the way the Giants’ roster is currently constructed, Apple may not start right away. The Giants have established starters on the outside in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins so he may get a developmental year anyway.

The Giants also drafted Sterling Shepard, son of Derrick Shepard, former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. In an interview before the draft, Sterling Shepard said that his favorite team was the Dallas Cowboys because his father had played for them. Sorry, New York Football Giants.

Okay, I know I'm being snarky but allow me my petty tortures.

I digress.

Shepard shows flashes of his father and could complement Odell Beckham Jr. very well. If he’s playing WR2, and doesn’t muster many catches, he still has the ability to churn up yards. He reached 50 yards in all but one game and 70 yards in all but three games in his senior year.

sterlingshepardShepard has no problem going up the middle and taking a hit. While this may be admirable of him that he’s willing to put his body in danger to make the catch, it could get him into trouble with the Cowboys, because somebody like Barry Church, Sean Lee or even Jeff Heath could be there to lay him out.

Because of his 5’10”, 194 pound frame it’s reasonable to wonder if he would be able to get off the line against a bigger, stronger corner like Brandon Carr, who is 6’0” 210 pounds. Even if he does get off the line, the Cowboys' secondary was ranked 5th in pass defense last season. A surprising yet comforting statistic.

Paul Perkins, taken in the fifth round, could also be another name for the Cowboys to look out for. I think a running back, especially a talented running back, could really give the Cowboys' defense a headache. They ranked 22nd in rushing defense last season.

Cowboys Headlines - 47Like any fifth round pick, he will have to work his way up the depth chart and get through Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Bobby Rainey and Orleans Darkwa.

Perkins is not the biggest or strongest back, he lacks physicality of power and he doesn’t seem like the kind of back to drive the pile forward. He does have the ability to make guys miss and break through arm tackles. If a hole opens up, his hyper-quick shiftiness could pose quite the problem for the Cowboys’ rushing defense.

With the recent addition of Cedric Thornton, a healthy Tyrone Crawford, and hopefully a speedy recovery for Maliek Collins, Perkins could have a hard time getting to the next level.

If he does, Sean Lee and Rolando McClain will be there to meet him.

Cowboys Headlines - NFC East Draft Picks To Watch Out For: New York GiantsThe Giants might have drafted some decent players, but nothing the Cowboys can’t handle.



I was born and raised in New York state's Hudson Valley and now attend school in New Jersey. Although I live in Montclair, my heart will always have a soft spot for Dallas, Texas. As an intern for Inside the Star, I now have a legitimate reason for the Cowboys to consume my life. Before, I was just a Cowboy fan with no life ... and very concerned parents. When I'm not writing about the Cowboys, I enjoy reading, seeing plays, creative writing, watching TV, and making my friends and family laugh. Follow me on Twitter, so we can connect on all topics related to America's Team. How 'bout em!

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Star Blog

Is it Too Late For Dallas to Fire OC Scott Linehan?

Brian Martin

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Scott Linehan

Grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to run the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan out of town. His playcalling has been absolutely atrocious season and it's time for him to hit the road, even if there are only two regular-season games left on the schedule.

It's completely unorthodox for an NFL team to fire an offensive coordinator this late in the season, but just last week we saw the Minnesota Vikings do just that when they parted ways with John DeFilippo. It was definitely a bold move to make considering the Vikings are still in playoff contention, but it was something they believed was in the best interest of their team.

I believe if the Dallas Cowboys want to do what's best for their team right now and not later, then they should go ahead and cut ties with Scott Linehan. His predictability and un-creativeness as a play caller is holding back a talented offense, which is hurting the overall team as a result. He's been given every opportunity to turn things around, but enough is enough.

I'd personally be on board with Jason Garrett taking over the playcalling duties. He has the experience and held the position with the Cowboys from 2007 until Linehan was hired. I'd even consider giving Kellen Moore a shot as the OC. He knows the system and has worked closely with Quarterback Dak Prescott. Regardless, the Cowboys need to find some way to increase their offensive productivity.

Kellen Moore

Dallas Cowboys QB Coach Kellen Moore

Right now the Cowboys offense is the 26th scoring offense in the NFL and are averaging just 19.7 points per game. To make matters worse they are the 31st ranked Red Zone offense in the league. I don't know about you, but I think that is completely unacceptable with the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball.

Firing Linehan has been a long time coming. The Cowboys flirted with the idea earlier this season during the bye week and should've pulled the trigger then, but for some reason or another decided to let him stick around. They are definitely still paying for that mistake now.

The Cowboys mistake not to replace Linehan could mean yet another early exit in the playoffs, something we have unfortunately become accustomed to. Scoring just 19 points a game isn't going to get them very far, which is truly unfortunate considering the talent they've acquired this season.

Unfortunately, as much as we would love to see Scott Linehan tarred and feathered and run out of town, I just don't see the Cowboys doing that before their season is officially over. But, in no way should he be allowed to retain his position beyond this season. He clearly isn't the answer any longer.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should fire Scott Linehan?



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Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern

Kevin Brady

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Zack Martin

What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?

Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.

Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.

The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.

That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.

With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.

There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.

The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.

Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.

I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance

A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.

It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.



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Star Blog

Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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