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Pro Football Focus Ranks Cowboys Running Back Unit Surprisingly Low

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Headlines - Running Back Unit Rankings Have Dallas Cowboys Shockingly Low

It's been a weirdly awesome week here at Inside The Star. I mean, for crying out loud, I wrote about pants yesterday.

Weird seems to be the deal these days. Kids are running around playing Pokemon Go, and running back unit rankings are considering the Cowboys 10th in the NFL.

My fellow Staff Writer Sean Martin wrote a little diddy up discussing how FOX's Cameron DaSilva ranked the NFL's Rushing Attacks entering 2016. This was an evaluation of just that, the "rushing attacks" which considered the overall talent of the offense and mobility of the quarterback.

//insidethestar.com/cowboys-headlines/fox-ranks-nfl-rushing-attacks-places-dallas-out-of-top-5/

On Tuesday, Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus dropped a similar set of rankings. This is an evaluation of "Running Back Units (RBU)" so it's only ballcarriers. The Cowboys were ranked not 1st, not 2nd, not 3rd, not 4th, hey LeBron, not 5th, but 10th! TENTH!

PFF RBU Rankings Team
1 Pittsburgh Steelers
2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3 Kansas City Chiefs
4 Carolina Panthers
5 Minnesota Vikings
6 Los Angeles Rams
7 Jacksonville Jaguars
8 Buffalo Bills
9 Houston Texans
10 Dallas Cowboys

This is real. I'm not making it up.

I've done my fair share of studying when it comes to running backs in the NFL. My Price Per Yard Series is pretty indicative of that.

Let's say I hadn't, though. Let's say that I was a baby duckling just learning about this great game of football. EVEN THEN I WOULD KNOW THAT THE COWBOYS RUNNING BACK UNIT IS BETTER THAN THE BUCCANEERS, PANTHERS, RAMS, JAGUARS, AND TEXANS!

We are talking about "Running Back Units" here so I'm willing to concede that Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Minnesota probably have us beat. They're all deep in a special way, although I would argue Pittsburgh isn't at times, after all DeAngelo Williams and I are pals, today just isn't that day.

It is absurd to suggest that those five RBUs are better than the Cowboys.

Let's define the Cowboys RBU for a second. You've got Zeke, Alfred Morris, and Lance Dunbar/Darius Jackson. Fair? Fair!

Four months ago I proved how Alfred Morris alone is better than Doug Martin, the Panthers have a shaky Jonathan Stewart starting and nothing else that impresses, Los Angeles is thin past Gurley, the Jaguars have who... TJ Yeldon? And Chris Ivory? The person who had less yards than Darren McFadden - who I'm not counting as part of the Cowboys RBU EVEN THOUGH HE WAS THE 4TH LEADING RUSHER IN THE NFL LAST SEASON - in 2015? That's better? Seriously?

The Houston Texans have Lamar Miller, cool. Then they have Alfred Blue, who is a significantly lower-level Alfred than the other one in the state of Texas. Oh and they have Tyler Ervin who is an unproven Lance Dunbar.

The Dallas Cowboys are, at the very worst, the fifth best Running Back Unit in the NFL.

Let's prove it in 2016. Hurry up, football.

Where do you think the Dallas Cowboys Running Back Unit ranks across the NFL? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ@RJOchoashow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Pro Football Focus Ranks Cowboys Running Back Unit Surprisingly Low" 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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1 Comment
  • Cameron Davis

    I haven't heard anyone who would vehemently disagree with the Cowboys Offensive line being #1 though. Carolina is the only one in the same ballpark for both units, coming in at 6 for OL and 4 for RB (and the only positive comment was based on RB pass blocking?) . With all the investment and expectation put into the running game, the Cowboys will be a disappointment to be anything less than the 2nd best rushing attack, which I think unreasonable to choose a rookie to put in a place with such expectations. Should we really depend on a rookie to have 1500 yards and be so responsible for the QB's health? Because anything less than that (which would basically be a top 5 rookie RB season ever) would be a let down for the position he has been placed.

Dallas Cowboys

Which Cowboys Benefit From David Irving’s Suspension?

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

While losing David Irving for the first four weeks of 2018 is a bad thing for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line, it does create opportunities for some of the other defensive tackles. Who has the most to gain from Irving's suspension?

Because he was mostly going to be used inside as the 3-technique DT, David's absence will naturally benefit the guys who are best suited to play that role. Thankfully, Dallas isn't lacking for those types of players.

Veteran Tyrone Crawford can use all the playing time he can get. As a likely salary cap casualty next year, Crawford doesn't want to get buried on the depth chart as Dallas focuses on their younger players who project to stick around beyond 2018.

With Irving out, Dallas will likely lean on Tyrone as they often do when someone is missing on the defensive line. With more talent now at defensive end, Crawford was going to be competing with Irving, Maliek Collins, Jihad Ward, and other younger guys for work at tackle.

But now there's a problem, and it's easy to slide Crawford into the 3-tech role that Dallas once envisioned him being a star at. Remember, it was their projection of Tyrone as a breakout DT that got him his big contract to begin with.

Yes, Irving's only gone for four weeks. Dallas will still be giving him work in camp based on the role he should fill for the majority of the season. But that's why a veteran like Tyrone Crawford is a great temporary plug-in, because he doesn't need all of the practice reps to step in and perform.

Maliek Collins

Dallas Cowboys DT Maliek Collins

Another key beneficiary could be third-year DT Maliek Collins. Last season, Collins got stuck playing 1-technique and not getting the same opportunities to make plays and get noticed that he had his rookie year.

But now Dallas has several guys in Jihad Ward, Richard Ash, and Brian Price who can play the 1-tech role, which will hopefully get Collins back where he belongs. Maliek's athleticism belongs a little further away from center, letting him try to take on guards in single coverage.

Collins is dealing with a foot issue now but should be back for the preseason. That's enough time for him to be where he needs to be Week One, provided he's healthy.

How Dallas would balance playing time between Collins and Tyrone Crawford could be a matter of how much they play certain schemes. One could see Collins, the bigger guy, playing more in the base defense and then Crawford being used in passing situations.

There is always a lot of rotation in a Rod Marinelli line, so discussions about playing time can get a little silly. Unless you're a true stud like DeMarcus Lawrence who you don't want to take off the field, the Cowboys like to keep guys fresh.

But that's why this is a big opportunity; David Irving has that stud potential. He's the kind of talent who could keep solid players like Crawford and Collins out of view if he hits his stride.

For the first four weeks, though, Irving will be in the NFL doghouse and Dallas will likely lean on its two most experienced defensive tackles to fill the void. There will be more reps for guys like Datone Jones and Jihad Ward too, but Crawford and Collins have way more skins on the wall

That trust should keep them on the field more while David Irving's suspended, and perhaps beyond.



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Player News

BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year

Mauricio Rodriguez

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David Irving

For the second consecutive year, Defensive Lineman David Irving is being suspended for four games by the NFL. This time, the suspension comes after Irving violated the NFL's policy on substance of abuses, as Ian Rapoport reported.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DL David Irving is being suspended 4 games for violating @NFL policy on substance of abuses, sources say. Another big-time D-linemen hit with a suspension for Dallas.

Irving will play for the Dallas Cowboys after the team placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the year. Why no team was interested in picking such a talented defensive tackle for a second round pick is becoming clearer and clearer as the time goes on.

In April, when David Irving got hacked by his former girlfriend one of the tweets that stood out the most was one which said "Wait until you all find about his failed drug tests." Now, we're seeing what the tweet was about.

Irving is a very talented player that could have a great career ahead of him. Of course, with this being the second consecutive year in which he receives a suspension to start the season, one could question how much he wants it.

The Cowboys will play the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks and Lions to start the season. They'll have to do it with one of their most promising defensive players in David Irving.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with this story and every Dallas Cowboys news.

Tell me what you think about "BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out 1

The Dallas Cowboys are back in offseason mode, concluding their OTAs and minicamp from The Star. With a hiatus until training camp, it was important for several high-profile players to make a strong first impression on the 2018 season. From the start of mini camp, these impressions were left mostly by Rod Marinelli's defense and -- more specifically -- Kris Richard's young group of cornerbacks.

Still working through significant change on the offensive side of the ball, the Cowboys did rally on day three under Quarterback Dak Prescott to put out a better performance. The Cowboys coaching staff should love their lasting memories of both FA acquisition Wide Receiver Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup.

There is a strong chance that these two receivers will be the Cowboys starters in Oxnard for training camp. We have heard a lot about the impact new WR Coach Sanjay Lal has had on his group, slowing the game down to focus on route running. This will give the team's rotation of unproven receivers a chance with Prescott, as he can focus on throwing to a 'spot' more often.

One spot that Prescott has struggled to hit in two seasons as the starter in Dallas is the back of the end zone for fade routes. A red zone go-to under Scott Linehan, free agent WR Dez Bryant was often the intended target on these missed passes.

Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns

Less of a route running technician and closer to the mold of a physical player like Bryant, Allen Hurns emerging as the Cowboys #1 option would solve a lot of uncertainty at the WR position. In yesterday's practice, Hurns was able to haul in a perfect ball from Prescott on the fade as he beat Byron Jones.

It's going to take some time for Jones to readjust to playing cornerback, but the vision for Kris Richard of him and Chidobe Awuzie starting on the outside is a great one. In a battle of proven players, Hurns got the best of Jones to spark the Cowboys offense at the right time.

Overall, there should be no reason to panic about (well, really anything from mini camp) the Cowboys offense right now, and plenty of reasons to be excited about what this defense will develop into.

Once the pads come on at training camp, the players the Cowboys are paying to play at an elite level will start to shine, including their newly re-signed Guard Zack Martin -- the highest paid guard in the league now. There are no doubts that the bread and butter for this offense will be handing the ball to Ezekiel Elliott behind this wall of an offensive line.

From this increase in competition in the trenches, we'll also get more meaningful battles along the defensive line. In shorts and helmets for now, the Cowboys secondary was given their chance at mini camp, and came out solid early.

Another player they've struggled to truly corral though is Michael Gallup. Perhaps pressing a bit thanks to his limited opportunities thus far, Jourdan Lewis was taken across the field by Gallup on a misfire from Cooper Rush.

This is nothing new for Gallup however, who's been ahead of the curve on creating the desired separation as a "violent" receiver on the outside.

A steal with the 81st overall pick in this year's draft, Gallup has a long way to go in beating out the likes of Terrance Williams, Cedrick Wilson (limited through this portion of the offseason with injuries), and even Cole Beasley, who's received some reps on the outside.

With both Hurns and Gallup making plays on the Cowboys final practice until late July, it's easy to let the mind wander with possibilities of the Cowboys offense playing at full strength against a defense that might be up for the challenge better than ever compared to year's past.

As always, the practice fields of Oxnard will serve as a battle ground for a young but deep Cowboys team to earn their spots on the 53-man roster, one that surely won't have room for all of the wide receiver hopefuls seen this week in mini camp.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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