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Sean’s Scout: LB Jayrone Elliott A High-Motor Rusher

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: LB Jayrone Elliott A High-Motor Rusher

When the Cowboys finalized their 53-man roster, many believed that LB Mark Nzeocha was very close to being that "53rd player" - right on the bubble of making the cut while the team potentially explored upgrades at the position. Sure enough, the team quickly released Nzeocha and completed a trade for Green Bay LB/EDGE Jayrone Elliott.

The Cowboys sent over a seventh round pick in the 2018 Draft to the Packers for Elliott. He has been with the team since 2014 as a UDFA, with 38 career appearances and four career sacks.

Elliott appeared in nine games for the Packers in 2016, and did put together a strong preseason with the club this season. My latest edition of Sean's Scout will take a look at what Elliott now brings to the Dallas Cowboys.

LB Jayrone Elliott: Strengths

In Green Bay's 3-4 scheme, Elliott was used as a pass rushing outside linebacker. While this means that he won't be a direct replacement for Nzeocha - who played primarily as a SAM - Elliott's flexibility as a weak and strong side rusher, along with ability to play special teams, makes him a valuable addition to the roster.

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The first thing that jumped off of the tape from Elliott was his strength as a rusher. Elliott is consistently able to generate push against his blocker off either edge, collapsing pockets and holding the line of scrimmage with active hands and feet against the run.

Elliott is at his best when he is attacking the line of scrimmage with his length and drive to capture the corner quickly before consistently flattening back to the point of the quarterback.

Ross Uglem on Twitter

@cheeseheadtv @Jay_Elliott15 @Mike_Daniels76 Oh weird it's @Jay_Elliott15 again. Negated by penalty. https://t.co/pyGzLNJhOs

This is a player that will fit into Rod Marinelli's rotation and prove his worth on special teams thanks to his relentless motor and smooth movement ability for his size.

Jayrone Elliott Cowboys - Streamable

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LB Jayrone Elliott: Weaknesses

Unfortunately, Elliott is extremely limited as a refined rusher off of the edge. There are simply far too many snaps where Jayrone will fail to use his hands at all in his rush, struggling to cleanly disengage from his blocker.

While he did show the willingness to work a counter move into his reps off the edge, Elliott is slow transitioning in and out of any rush moves. Blockers are often able to reset and sit back against the power of Elliott throughout the down, as his get off on the ball is wasted due to his lack of pure bend.

Jayrone Elliott will release up the field with some explosive ability and finish strong around the ball when given the chance, but has his struggles picking through the trash to avoid catching double teams and getting steered out of plays. Elliott's pad level is not a concern, but a lack of dominant upper body strength paired with below average hands play limits him as an EDGE for the Cowboys.

LB Jayrone Elliott: Summary

Jayrone Elliott Cowboys - Streamable

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As you would expect with a down-the-roster player, the Cowboys do not have to rely on Elliott to immediately fill a big role on the defensive side of the ball. While his impact will likely first be felt on special teams, the hope should be that Elliott can further develop as a situational rusher to be used on blitzes on both edges along with on the interior.

If Elliott can take a Taco Charlton or Benson Mayowa off the field on certain downs and charge the pocket to apply pressure, he will be a quality addition to Rod Marinelli's defense with a chance to improve significantly throughout the season thanks to his traits and relentless motor.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: LB Jayrone Elliott A High-Motor Rusher" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Maliek Collins Playing Excellent for Cowboys Defense

John Williams

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Maliek Collins

For the Dallas Cowboys on the interior, a lot of the news consistently surround the availability of Defensive Tackle David Irving, but Maliek Collins is playing excellent right now. While I'm willing to be very patient with Irving because of the elite talent he brings, Maliek Collins should continue to start for the Dallas Cowboys at 3-technique defensive tackle.

Collins has been a player that the Cowboys have bounced between the nose tackle and the 3T position with the hopes of getting their best players on the field, and because of the lack of a consistent presence at the 1-technique or nose tackle position. Well, with Antwaun Woods taking control at the 1T, Collins has been able to play at the position where he's at his best. The 3-tech.

He hasn't put huge numbers in the sack column this season, but that doesn't mean he's been absent from being the disruptive player he's been through his first two and a half seasons.

During the Dallas Cowboys five game winning streak, Maliek Collins has led the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackles in total pressures with 13, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF combines sacks, quarterback hits, and hurries into their "pressures." Collins hasn't recorded a sack during the winning streak, but he has four quarterback hits and nine hurries. He's tied with Tyrone Crawford for third in total pressures behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory over the last five weeks.

Over the last five weeks, Collins leads the defensive tackles in solo tackles with five and is tied with Crawford and Antwaun Woods with three run stops on defense, according to Pro Football Focus. Collins has also has two tackles for loss in the last five games and recovered Tyrone Crawford's force fumble on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Collins had six sacks in his rookie season when he played primarily as the 3T, which allowed him to see more one-on-one blocks against opposing interior offensive linemen. Especially with the way the rest of the defensive line is playing.

With the Cowboys on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts this week, Collins is going to have a tough matchup with a very good Colts offensive line, in particular, rookie Quentin Nelson. Collins ability to get pressure on Andrew Luck on the interior is a huge key for the Dallas Cowboys this week. We know that Gregory and Lawrence will get their pressures, but if Andrew Luck is able to step up into a clean pocket, it will make for a much more challenging game for the Cowboys secondary.

Collins has proved to be up to any task over the last five weeks and if he's able to keep playing at such a high level, he'll make the Cowboys coaching staff, and the rest of Cowboys Nation forget about using other defensive tackles. For the Cowboys to make a deep push in the playoffs, they'll need Collins to be a big time player for them moving forward.



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Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018

Jess Haynie

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Amari Cooper

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.

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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!



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David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?

Sean Martin

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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.

Tell us what you think about "David Irving Out Again for Cowboys, Does Defense Need Him?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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