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Dallas Cowboys

Replacing Owens Not Impossible

T.O. is now a Buffalo Bill, but Roy Williams is the guy in the Dallas, and for good reason.

Bryson Treece

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With everything that has been going on the past week, since free agency started, the picture in Dallas not only has changed, but has a whole new color scheme. The releases of Terrell Owens and SS Roy Williams drastically change both the offense and defense, and while one of those positions has been taken care of, for the most part, the safety position still needs help.

Since we last saw Darren Woodson and Roy Williams both back at safety, this team has struggled for consistency at the position, one that requires a fair bit of solid play, great athleticism, and quick thinking.

The release of Owens, merely a year after paying him almost a $13 million signing bonus on a new four year deal, without having seen any solid production from his replacement is a gamble. Albeit one that has been taken already, many fans are concerned about WR Roy Williams and the fact that despite joining the team in week 6 of the 2008 season, he failed to live up to even the number 2 position on the team after Dallas traded multiple picks for him, one of which being a first rounder, and resigned him to a lucrative deal.

But many people seem to forget one thing … you can find transactions in the NFL where a player warrants a first round pick in a trade without deserving a value that high, but it’s hard to say that when a first, third, and seventh round pick were all traded for one guy. Some may point to the near-infamous trade for Joey Galloway a while back, but that situation was different from the one Dallas and Williams are in.

Williams is younger, been stuck on a team that has now posted the worst season record ever, and he still managed to have 1,000+ yard seasons there. To make that deal even sweeter, we now have the quarterback on staff that helped Williams to stand out from the pack a couple of years ago. Sure, Kitna won’t play a down, unless Romo is either injured or plays so badly that he’s benched, but there’s a lot that goes into the relationship on the field for a quarterback and his receiver.

Take it from Kurt Warner who said that he had to re-learn what open meant when he arrived in Arizona and saw Fitzgerald play. Imagine that, a veteran quarterback that led the Greatest Show on Turf to a Super Bowl not so long ago saying that he had to learn what it meant for his number 1 receiver to be open. It comes down to trust, also to experience and to practice, but most of all it means trusting your receiver to take care of business if you get it to him.

Last year, Williams and Romo didn’t get a chance to build that trust. Either Romo was hurt and out or playing with that split on his hand, or Owens was making a stink about getting the ball more and his perceived notion that Romo and Witten were hooking up intentionally whenever possible. Whether that was true or not, the distraction it caused leaked onto the field during games, and it hampered the progress of Williams.

Now you might say that with Owens gone you won’t have those problems anymore and that that should help, but it goes much deeper than that. You lose some major distractions with Owens gone, but you also make Williams the top guy, a guy who ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds at the 2004 combine. A big, physical receiver that knows how to win the jump ball and has always been a smart route runner. Any of this sound familiar?

He had the number 2 spot in Detroit, but not because he wasn’t good enough to be number 1, but because that spot was already filled. He came to Dallas and found the same situation, until now. Now he’s the guy that will be on the field every single offensive down, he’ll get the practice reps, he’ll be the guy Garrett designs the passing game around; he’ll be the guy Romo will throw to aside from Witten, he’s the new deep guy.

He won’t draw double coverage, not at first, but if he can prove that he deserves it just for a couple of games, then he’ll get it and free up everything else like Owens did. Then it’ll be Jason Garrett’s job to make the most of that situation, the defense sacrificing balance to put an extra guy on him. But they’ll be doing that anyway because Witten still deserves the double-cover now. If Felix Jones is on the field, linebackers will be keeping a close eye on him just for being there.

It’s just going to take time for Williams and Romo to get in sync with each other, and time is what we have right now with the off-season conditioning program scheduled to start in about three weeks.

Things have changed in Dallas; Marion Barber giving two interviews in one day should show that much. On paper it may look like we’ve taken away talent, but really we’ve just allowed the talent that’s there to step up. We’ve taken away that constant nagging of the media, the constant speculation that the Dallas locker room is in shambles. That’s a remarkable feat in itself, but we do have the talent, and barring any further injuries we’ve got a roster full of it and with a year of experience for most of these guys.

Things have changed in Dallas, and it’s going to be some time for the direction of that change to be fully realized. It’s a process that I can’t wait to see.

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Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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