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Reel Talk: How Cowboys Finally Reached Run Game Potential

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Reel Talk: How Cowboys Finally Reached Run Game Potential 1

With the selection of running back Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys running game was expected to reach heights they had only previously dreamed of.

Through two weeks, however, that next level had not been reached. Sure, the run game had been relatively effective, especially against the Washington Redskins, but the addition of Elliott did not seem warranted to many fans and football pundits.

Last Sunday against the Chicago Bears, all of those critics were forced to keep quiet. Elliott ran for 140 yards, and the Cowboys offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage for four quarters for the first time this year.

The improvement in a ton of areas was clear, but it was especially so with their execution of inside zone.


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Time and time again the Cowboys burst out for big runs off of Elliott's backside cut on inside zone. Here you see the offensive line control each down linemen, allowing Travis Frederick to get to the second level and deliver the key block to spring Elliott.

Zeke does a fantastic job of reading Frederick's block and making his cut off of it, remaining patient and then accelerating through the hole for a big gain.


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Through the first two games, La'el Collins had struggled mightily, arguably playing like the Cowboys' worst offensive linemen. Week three saw an improvement in his play, especially with this backside combo block on zone running plays.

Here we see Collins and first time starter Chaz Green execute a "combo" of sorts really nicely, as Green is able to cut the down lineman as Collins gets up to the next level.

Once again, Elliott remains calm and makes an excellent read to cut backside and get a nice gain.

Unfortunately, Collins later was injured and will miss significant time. His replacement, Ronald Leary, did a really nice job run blocking later in the game however, and I don't expect the Cowboys run game to lose a step with Leary playing.


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Similar to Collins, Doug Free has been the recipient of slack from Cowboys fans this season due to some poor blocking. On this play, however, Free answers all of his critics. He takes control of the defender, and washes him down the line of scrimmage when he tries to swim away.

This wash down gives Elliott has a two-way go, and once again he is able to make the correct read and cut backside. Then comes the "Zeke Leap," and the rest is history.

The Dallas Cowboys running game took a giant step forward last Sunday. Of course, some of that has to do with the quality of opponent they were facing. But I believe much of the success can be attributed to the Cowboys offensive line playing up to their ability, and Ezekiel Elliott displaying the patience and conditioning he was lacking during the first two games.

I expect another big game on the ground this Sunday, when the Cowboys travel to San Francisco.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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