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What Have These Playoffs Taught Us About the Dallas Cowboys?

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Cowboys Blog - What Have These Playoffs Taught Us About the Cowboys? 2

I couldn't help but watch Sunday's games in awe. With the exception of Arizona, these teams seemed absolutely brilliant, both from a personnel and strategic standpoint.

Could the Cowboys have played with these teams? That is a tough question to answer.

My problem with the Dallas Cowboys is their unpredictability. When completely healthy, the common theme for a while now is that the Cowboys will play with some of the league's elite teams and shock you, but they'll struggle, surprisingly, against some of the bad teams.

This makes me think that the Cowboys could have played with these teams this weekend. They play up to their opponents.

Take that out of the equation. Pretend they aren't the Dallas Cowboys. Imagine that personnel, with Jason Garrett and company coaching. Is that a team that can make a deep playoff run? What makes us think they can? What makes us think they can't?

My first observation is that their defense isn't ready yet. It's showing the makings of what some of these teams have, but it isn't there yet. I watched these games and kept thinking to myself how the Cowboys have the infant version of some of these defenses.

I can totally see this Cowboys defense developing into what Denver or Carolina has now. They are kind of lurking in the shadows. From a defense that most said would be historically bad just a year ago, they now have a lot of young and promising talent.

Sean Lee is our Luke Kuechly.

Cowboys Blog - What Have These Playoffs Taught Us About the Cowboys?

Sean Lee is an absolute playmaker. Keep him healthy and prosper

Can Demarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory and Tyrone Crawford develop into a defensive line that strikes fear? Lawrence is that technical guy on the end and Gregory has insane speed and bend. Can those two be a defensive end tandem like Ware and Willer? What will come of David Irving? How about some Terrell McClain?

Byron Jones has all the makings of a rangy free safety and Orlando Scandrick brings that passion and energy to the cornerback position.

If the Cowboys can add more talent to their defensive backfield and re-sign Rolando McClain, they can become a really scary unit.

How about the offense?

I watch the Carolina Panthers and just can't believe what they have. On paper, their offense should be completely mediocre. Their offensive line isn't anything special, their wide receivers are no-names and Jonathan Stewart is far from a running back that garners admiration.

Their offense as a unit...they are unstoppable. This is what intrigues me so much. Their offense clicks and they have a perfect game plan for every game. Plus, Cam Newton is just so good, he elevates the games of everyone around him.

The Cowboys offense needs more cohesion. Find an identity and commit to it. The Cowboys offensive line is the biggest strength of the team and is one of the best units in the entire NFL.

With a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, coupled with DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys offense looked great in 2014. This is what they should look for going forward. Rely heavily on the run game. This is a zone blocking offensive line, so find a running back that fits that rather than adjust your offensive line to your running back. Darren McFadden should be a complimentary piece as Dallas gets a running back that an entire game flows through.

Cowboys Blog - What Have These Playoffs Taught Us About the Cowboys? 1

The Cowboys offense should be all about their offensive line. Let them completely control the pace of the game.

Let Tony Romo work off of the running game to use Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and company to hit defenses when they least expect it. This offense could be surgical when employed correctly.

Like Carolina does, find something you're great at, use it and then make everything a result of that strength.

In conclusion, the Cowboys aren't too far away from the football we saw this weekend. But in order to make this happen, they must commit to an offensive identity and that means upgrading at the running back position to a guy that can have an entire offense on his shoulders. Whether that guy is Lamar Miller or someone in the draft, a better fit can be had than Darren McFadden.

Defensively, the Cowboys need to continue the development of their promising young players as well as add to their defensive backfield. Forcing turnovers should be an offseason priority. You can get that through several avenues, like improved pass rush from the young players forcing bad quarterback decisions, new talent in the secondary that can force turnovers or scheme changes to trick quarterbacks into mistakes.

The talent is on the Cowboys roster. If they can remain healthy and plug some holes they could find themselves playing deep into the postseason.



I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

Kevin Brady

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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.

The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.

After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.

So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.

What exactly is that role, though?

I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.

Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.

Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.

If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.

This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.



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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

Kevin Brady

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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.

Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.

Randall Cobb on Twitter

Randall Cobb on Twitter

https://t.co/9H9xfApFqe

In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.

This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

https://twitter.com/tae15adams/status/1108158105957920770

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb

Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.



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Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Malik McDowell, Michigan State

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.

McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.

None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.

2017 NFL Draft: Scouting Michigan State DL Malik McDowell - Slant Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.

Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?

"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.

On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."

nfldraft malik mcdowell 3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.

nfldraft malik mcdowell 4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.

Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.



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