While it was the performances of Terrell McClain last season and Stephen Paea through this preseason that allowed the Cowboys to move on from DT Cedric Thornton yesterday - who still had three years remaining under contract with the Cowboys - the team was able to replace Thornton with cheaper and younger depth on the waiver wire by claiming Brian Price.
Out of local UTSA, Price spent his first season in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers in 2016. Appearing in just one regular season game, Price joins the Cowboys with limited experience but plenty of traits to match his ready-to-play size and make an impact for Rod Marinelli as a true 1T tackle.
After gathering as much film as I could on Price, here is his full scouting report in another edition of Sean's Scout:
DT Brian Price: Strengths
At 6'3" and 322 pounds, Price is understandably limited as a true pass rusher - making up for any technical flaws in his game with a fantastic first step, above average power, and consistently good pad level.
Price will not only hold the line of scrimmage with a strong base, but showed the ability against the Lions to be a down the line player with adequate hand play to disengage blockers and finish at the football.
Price is a wound-up/stout 1T... Run plugger with a good get off. Hugeeee lower half/strong base. I liked him at UTSA... https://t.co/jC07Q0RSIy
Versatility will be key for Price with the Cowboys, as the subtle differences between lining up as a true nose tackle, a one technique, or shade nose did little to affect his ability to free up defenders around him to make plays.
With Maliek Collins being the key player on the Cowboys' defensive interior, playing the most important spot in Marinelli's scheme as a 3T DT, the role of these 1Ts is never going to be a flashy one. Brian Price is far from a flashy defensive tackle, but he consistently fulfills his assignment with a high motor and improving technique.
New #Cowboys DT Brian Price is pretty explosive. Destroys the zone run. Strong hands and great eye discipline. https://t.co/wCyxOou6uq
DT Brian Price: Weaknesses
One area I would like to see Price improve in as a rusher is with his hands and counter moves. Price would have more opportunities to finish plays at the line of scrimmage if he was better at discarding his blockers after consistently knocking them off balanced with his power.
On snaps where Price's hand placement and play is poor he will occasionally get steered out of plays by a blocker working inside of his massive frame.
DT Brian Price: Summary
On paper, the Cowboys may not have overwhelmingly upgraded their pass rusher heading into the 2017 season, but I do believe they took significant steps in assuring their rushing defense will again be stout.
Stephen Paea has performed better than anyone could have expected at the 1T position, and the 23-year-old Brian Price projects as a similar player that will factor into the rotation inside.
Packers really wanted him to clear. Extremely powerful at the point of attack but still raw. Good hustle player. https://t.co/WRaeUCQK05
It may take a few weeks into the season for Cowboys Nation to notice Price, but his impact is sure to be felt along the line of scrimmage with his anchoring ability and burst - along with anytime Collins, David Irving, or Taco Charlton run free to make a play from the inside.
Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018
For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.
After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote
As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.
Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.
Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.
His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!
David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle David Irving, once a key member of the team's defense, will not make his return after all against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. For the second straight week, Irving was reportedly trending towards suiting up before being ruled out. The Cowboys haven't missed his unique presence for 13 weeks (playing against the Jaguars and Redskins), including through an ongoing four game win streak that began with a win against these Eagles on the road.
In that road win, veteran Tyrone Crawford recorded a sack and three tackles, while Antwaun Woods added two for a Dallas defense that held Philadelphia to 23 first downs and 71 rushing yards. The Eagles managed to cross the Cowboys' 30-yard line just four times.
There are many scenarios in which the Cowboys could have cut ties with Irving for not being worth the off-field trouble he's caused - beginning the season with a four game suspension. The absolute best case scenario is what they've realized amidst this turnaround, with other defensive linemen taking advantage of the opportunity left behind by Irving.
While it can still be true that Irving would make more splash plays than the likes of Crawford, Woods, Maliek Collins, and Caraun Reid, this defensive tackle group deserves praise for their ability to step in. Pass rush ability is one thing teams can't have enough of, and the Cowboys are missing some with Irving, finding ways to win thanks to the other traits these defenders bring to the table.
Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard may effectively be the team's defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the back seven, but DC Rod Marinelli's impact is still felt - particularly up front. Regardless of where they're lined up and deployed, the Cowboys front four is expected to be disruptive on every snap, something this scrappy unit excels at.
Prepared once again to play on the edge this season, Crawford is thriving at his original position of 3T-DT. Crawford has two sacks, nine total tackles, and three other hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. Leading by example with a relentless spirit on every play, Crawford has meant just as much to the Cowboys defensive ends as Irving could.
In a short period of time, the Cowboys have gone from building up Irving thanks to his transcendent ability to make those around him better to simply -- and importantly -- being better across the defense.
Led by DeMarcus Lawrence as their premier rusher, the Cowboys defensive line is a lot for opposing offenses to contain. The "Hot Boyz" work up front has allowed Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to play fast and make plays all over the field.
Maliek Collins, battling back from his second broken foot in three years, is proving again he's a patented Marinelli guy. Collins' play speaks for itself when considering if the Nebraska product is best as a 3T or 1T tackle. Wherever he's asked to play, Collins creates penetration with an explosive first step and can finish at the quarterback with an array of power rush moves.
At 7-5 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are done making excuses on the 2018 season. Their strides on defense speak for themselves, and with a group that keeps Dallas in every game they'll play, the door remains open for David Irving to earn snaps again when ready.
The Cowboys don't know any better than their play without Irving right now, and as winners of four straight, it's worth questioning if we'll see Irving over the last three weeks of the regular season.
QB Dak Prescott Named Cowboys’ Nominee For Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award
As the quarterback of America's Team, Dak Prescott is faced with a level of criticism each week that few athletes have to deal with. He is constantly questioned for his play, and even when things are going well, Prescott must answer his critics. But one area absolutely no one can question Prescott is his leadership, both on and off the field.
Dak Prescott is the perfect role model for children and adults alike. He is constantly doing fantastic work in his communities and making sure he uses his platform for good to his best ability.
This week it was announced Dak Prescott was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and will be the Cowboys' candidate in the race.
@Dak Prescott has been announced as the #Cowboys nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year - for 'commitment to philanthropy and community impact.' DAL past winners of the NFL-wide honor: Staubach, Aikman, Witten. @1053thefan
Of course, Prescott is well-worthy of the honor, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being both a finalist and the recipient of the award this year. As mentioned by Mike Fisher in the above tweet, three Cowboys have won the award previously; Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Jason Witten. Each of which is deserving, as is Prescott.
Considering the award is given out for "commitment to philanthropy and community impact," I can't think of many more worthy players around the league than quarterback Dak Prescott. We can see this impact in the locker room and on the field as well, as Prescott was voted a captain in just his sophomore season. The Cowboys clearly respect Prescott, despite some of the flaws in his game, and seem to play hard beside him every week.
Congratulations to Dak Prescott on this nomination.
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