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Ravens vs Cowboys The Texas Stadium Finale

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Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens

The end of an era is upon us. Yes this Saturday night will be the final Cowboy game to ever be played at Texas Stadium. I can think of no better way to end this stadiums term as home of the Dallas Cowboys than for the playoff lives of the Cowboys on the line.

What is your favorite memory of Texas Stadium? I have been lucky enough to have seen many games here, from Texas High School football playoffs, to watching Walter Payton run Randy White and Ed "too tall" Jones ragged. Over 100 hundred former Dallas Cowboys players and coaches will be in attendance on Saturday night, it should be an electric atmosphere! I know the Dallas crowd will be loud and the team will be in kill mode for sure.

All the drama of last week seems to be fading away now. Now that all the "anonymous sources" have faded, and Ed Werder is looking for a new place to perform his piss poor journalism. So we can all focus our attention back to what really matters, football!

The Cowboys have got some things working for them now and appear to be gaining momentum. One thing they are not gaining though is health, this team has had its worst year in a long time as far as health goes. It seems every week they pile up some more injuries, last week was no different as Tony Romo was beaten to pulp last week, so much so that he could not walk on Monday. This is a huge concern for the Cowboys, although he did practice limited yesterday he is listed as probable, and at this point he would play if he was in a wheel chair. So I am not concerned about his availability, I am however highly concerned about the level at which he will be able to play!

At this point from what I am hearing one good hit from Baltimore on Saturday night could force us to turn to Brooks or even Brad! This is not good! So the priority of the game should be in protecting Romo, we still have health problems here though with Kosier being on IR, and "The Big Fella" Holland has not practiced and Wade Phillips has ruled him out for Saturday night. So that leaves us with Cory "I can't block my mother" Proctor as the starting left guard and the middle protector for Romo. I am sure in the Ravens locker room there is a picture of Romo on their "Bounty" list, with a picture of Proctor in the "How To" column. It will be imperative for the boys to get the ball out of Romo's hands quickly.

The Ravens have an excellent defense as everyone knows, but they have been known to give up some big plays. The Ravens do an unbelievable job of disguising their coverages, this worries me some after watching how discombobulated Romo and the receivers were in Pittsburgh. They have to be on the same page for them to have any chance at scoring points! The other key to this game is going to be, can the Cowboys establish some kind of a running game against arguably the leagues best rush defense? This is where the new "King of Dallas" Tashard Choice comes into play. The Cowboys may or may not have the services of Marion Barber as evidently he had some sort of re-aggravation of the toe injury yesterday and his status is unknown. So we will be depending on the 4th round rookie draft choice Tashard Choice to carry the load. Two weeks in a row now he has stepped up and taken on that challenge and performed admirably! Those other two games no longer mean anything, can he step up a third straight time?

The final key to this game is, Can the defense keep applying pressure and create some turnovers against a less than stellar offense? The defense should be able to load up the line of scrimmage to stop the Ravens running attack, much the same way they did last week against the Giants. If they can accomplish this without giving up the "Big Play" then the boys will be able to dictate the game to the Ravens and force Joe Flacco into poor decisions. To aid in this last key Wade Phillips announced yesterday that Pac-Man Jones is back from his "career threatening injury" and will play this Saturday! This was great news for the defense as now they are almost back to full strength and can now do more things with Henry in the safety position. Look for a very similar game-plan from last week for the defense.

This should be a good one! Enjoy the final game at Texas Stadium!

 



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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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