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Order Of #52: Dexter Coakley

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Order Of #52: Dexter Coakley

You know when you go to dinner and are particularly starving? And the waiter brings a tray of food and you get your hopes up and BAM! …takes it to the table next to you? It’s demoralizing. That’s what every day of this offseason has felt like waiting for football.

The good news is that we’re 52 days away from filling our bellies with the usual servings of Tony, Dez, and a side of Coleslaw. Consider this your appetizer and enjoy the Greatest 52 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All Worn 52 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Billy Cannon, LB
  • Dexter Coakley, LB
  • Dan Connor, LB
  • Alex Daniels, FB
  • Chris Duliban, LB
  • Justin Durant, LB
  • Dave Edwards, LB
  • Jim Eidson, OG
  • Isaiah Greenhouse, LB
  • Wayne Hansen, LB
  • Jeff Hurd, LB
  • Al Johnson, C
  • Scott McLean, LB
  • Carlos Polk, LB
  • Mickey Pruitt, LB
  • Jim Schwantz, LB
  • Sean Scott, LB
  • Robert Shaw, C
  • Leon Williams, LB

I hope that you really are starving because Chef Boy R-J has prepared not one, but two delectable appetizers for you!

Dexter Coakley

coakley

Dave Edwards

daveedwards

Cowboy Dave

If there’s hair in your food then you usually send it back, right? Well our first appetizer’s nickname was “Fuzzy” so don’t do that here.

dave

Dave Edwards was drafted 194th overall (yes, 194th!) by the Denver Broncos in the 1962 American Football League Draft. Edwards elected not to be a horsey but to ride one, and signed with the Dallas franchise as a free agent in 1963 to become a Cowboy.

Edwards Scissorhands

1963 saw one of our Greatest 54s in Dallas Cowboys History, Chuck Howley, make the move to the weakside linebacker spot, opening up the strongside. Dave Edwards cannonballed his way into one of the greatest linebacking corps in NFL History. Chuck, Dave, and Lee Roy Jordan (our Greatest 55 in Dallas Cowboys History) turned the Cowboys into a contender. While Lee Roy manned the middle and Chuck floated out, Fuzzy thrived against the run.

edwards

Dave Edwards became very well-known for how excellently he jammed opposing tight ends. Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden was so impressed that he had his team study Dave Edwards so that they could emulate his play. Edwards served as a key component that allowed the Dallas Cowboys to win their first Super Bowl in the 1971 season. He was an excellent linebacker, but he is edged out by one other #52.

Dexter’s Laboratory

Raise your hand if you’ve got over 1,000 tackles for the Dallas Cowboys. Ok, I see some of you guys. What’s up? Ok now raise them if you had 7 straight 100-tackle seasons. I see a few of you have left…this is getting awkward. Last one here, tackle a Denver Bronco if you’ve scored four defensive touchdowns with a Star on your head!

coakley2

Dexter Coakley, ladies and gentlemen! This tackling machine was taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Coakley took over the starting duties at the weakside linebacker position in that rookie year of 1997 and never gave it up.

#52: Dexter Coakley

Coakley teamed up with the Greatest 59 in Dallas Cowboys History, Dat Nguyen, to compose one of the better linebacker tandems in the early 2000s. Dexter played so well that he became the first Cowboy linebacker to head to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl since Ken Norton Jr. in 1993.

dc

Dexter Coakley was a breath of fresh air for the Cowboys at the linebacker position. He tackled and tackled and tackled, totaling 1,046 for his Cowboy career…good enough for 4th in franchise history.

In 128 games in the blue and silver Dexter Coakley started 127. He was the epitome of durability and is the Greatest 52 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 51 in Dallas Cowboys History is!


Want to share your opinions on who should be featured on our Countdown To Kickoff? Email me at rjochoa@insidethestar.com or Tweet @rjochoa.

 

Tell us what you think about "Order Of #52: Dexter Coakley" 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!

Star Blog

How Should The Cowboys, And The NFL, Value RBs?

Kevin Brady

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Will Cowboys' Offense Improve With Ezekiel Elliott's Return?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no one, stand-alone "best" strategy for winning in the NFL. There are, of course, common themes and ideals which run true year in and year out among the top teams.

Strategy in the NFL is dynamic, or at least it should be. Running in place for too long under the same leadership often breeds mediocrity, and refusing to move with current trends can put you at a severe disadvantage.

Succumbing to those trends without fully analyzing the confounding factors your situation presents, however, can also ruin a team building exercise.

With that being said, should teams pay elite running backs top dollar? Or are those running backs expendable, replaceable, and often forgettable within the NFL machine?

To be honest these aren't very fair ways to pose legitimately interesting questions. You can acknowledge that a running back is important to your offense while also acknowledging that you don't want to break the bank for a position with such injury risk and high turnover year-to-year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently facing this dilemma, as their star running back Le'Veon Bell asks to be paid like an elite "weapon," not as a normal running back. And when you examine how the Steelers deploy Bell within their offense, he clearly has a point.

Bell is not your traditional "running back." He lines up on the boundary, in the slot, and is a passing threat out of the backfield as well. On top of all of this versatility, Bell is an excellent pass protector, something which is often lost among other "versatile" backs.

Bell can quite literally do it all for an offense, but the idea of paying that position elite-level money makes teams cringe. As The Athletic's Marcus Mosher pointed out on Twitter, teams like the New England Patriots have been able to replicate Bell's production by using multiple speciality backs rather than one workhorse.

In theory, this takes away the injury risk component to a certain extent. Rather than giving one player 350-400 touches per season, you spread those touches out and allow for players to do what they do best.

Lately, the NFL has seemed to agree that this is the most efficient way to play offense. But when you have a player like Bell or Ezekiel Elliott, in what way is taking the ball out of their hands "efficient" at all? In addition, how is using three players to mimic the skill set of one efficient?

Yes, the NFL is a passing league, but when you have a playmaker who is of the caliber of a Bell or an Elliott, it is up to the offense to deploy in him ways that maximize his value. Teams should be using the Bells and Elliotts of the world as pass catching threats and as weapons all over the field. Force the entire defense to account for your running back rather than just jamming him between the tackles like it's 1975.

The movement towards "running back by committee" rather than the traditional one-back system can also be credited to the lack of workhorse-worthy backs entering the league.

Ezekiel Elliotts don't grow on trees, they are rare and special players. And when you have one, especially when you spend a premium pick on him, you should get the most out of him that you can. Playing winning offense in the NFL is about more than just "do you run or do you pass," and it often hinges on creating splash plays of 15-20 yards.

If you can get those plays through the use of an elite running back, that player becomes intrinsically valuable to your team. No matter what "position" he is labeled as. Of course you want to be able create mismatches in the passing game all over the field, so when you are able to do this with a running back, shouldn't that be deemed as highly valuable?

We can't say just yet if the Cowboys should re-sign Ezekiel Elliott once he enters free agency. After all, five seasons (and a franchise tag year) where he touches the ball more than most players in the league will almost certainly bring about some wear and tear.

But with the way the Cowboys have chosen to play offense, and the way in which they've built their roster, a workhorse back like Elliott is necessary for success.

Once again, at least it is for now.



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Star Blog

Is DE Kony Ealy At Risk Of Not Making Cowboys Final Roster?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value at DE

As training camp approaches and we draw closer to the 2018 NFL season, fans are beginning to get excited for new faces, old stars, and new beginnings for the Dallas Cowboys.

One player which has been a bit forgotten about over the last few months, and even overlooked when he was first signed back in April, is defensive end Kony Ealy. Of course, some of this overlooking is justified, as Ealy's career has been filled with more valleys than peaks thus far.

With a fresh start in Dallas, though, some expect Kony Ealy to rekindle his career, and look like the player he was during the Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss just a few seasons ago. The problem is, that game looks like the outlier and not the norm over his professional career.

Originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers, Ealy has had a shaky start to his career. Now joining his third team in the same number of seasons, it's certainly fair to say he hasn't lived up to his second round draft selection.

At 6'4" and 275 pounds, however, Ealy fits the mold of a 4-3 defensive end in the Cowboys' scheme. While he isn't the explosive pass rusher that other players on the roster are (and can be), he could provide solid rotational depth across the defensive line.

With fellow former second round pick Randy Gregory gaining reinstatement to the NFL this week, Ealy could struggle to salvage any real playing time with the Cowboys at all. Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Taco Charlton all feel like locks to make the team.

Then there is 2018 day three pick Dorance Armstrong and former fourth round pick Charles Tapper providing competition as well.

Tapper and Armstrong are unproven, but have the athletic profiles to become solid edge rushers at the professional level. For both, especially Tapper, health is of the upmost concern going forward. If Tapper can remain healthy, he has a real shot of making the team and having his impact felt as early as 2018.

That "if" has been a serious one thus far, however.

When the Cowboys first signed Kony Ealy back in April, I really believed he could provide solid and cheap depth along their defensive line. Now in July, I still have those beliefs, but it's become fair to question if he will even find himself on the final 53-man roster based on the competition around him.



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Star Blog

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin’s Footsteps?

Brian Martin

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Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps?

Connor Williams has yet to play a single snap the NFL, but there are already some pretty high expectations for the rookie Guard. That's because he will be sandwiched between two Pro Bowl players in Center Travis Frederick and Left Tackle Tyron Smith. But, it's the Dallas Cowboys third Pro Bowl offensive lineman Williams should try to emulate and follow in the footsteps of.

Yes, I'm talking about Zack Martin.

Zack Martin's career couldn't have gotten off to a better start coming out of Notre Dame. He hit the ground running as a rookie with the Cowboys and put together a dominating performance his first year in the NFL, earning his first Pro Bowl bid as well as being named to the All-Pro team. He continued to play at a high level ever since and has not only turned into the best player at his position, but continued his Pro Bowl streak every season since entering the league.

To ask, or even expect Connor Williams to have the same kind of immediate success as Zack Martin is probably a little unfair, if not impossible. The kind of success Martin has had already in his career is almost unheard of. But, that's not to say Williams isn't going to try to follow in Martin's footsteps and to become the best player he can.

Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys OG Zack Martin

The footsteps I think Connor Williams should try to follow as it pertains to Zack Martin is how well he made the transition from a collegiate Offensive Tackle to an NFL Guard. I think that should be Williams' main focus right now with training camp coming up.

Williams will be inserted into the starting lineup as the Cowboys new Left Guard. It will be a new position for him after playing mainly Tackle at the University of Texas, that will require an entirely new mindset and technique. But, it's in transition I believe he can make rather smoothly.

Connor Williams should benefit from Zack Martin's similar transition from college OT to an NFL OG. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the rookie shadowing Martin throughout training camp to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It's probably the best way for him to jumpstart his career.

Now, I fully expect to see some growing pains from Williams throughout the 2018 season. It's to be expected from any rookie, especially one transitioning to a new position. But, I do believe he will not only be an upgrade at LG for the Cowboys, but will make the entire OL even better.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see what kind of player Connor Williams ends up being this season.

Do you think Connor Williams can follow in Zack Martin's footsteps?



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