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Sean’s Scout: New DL Datone Jones Likely Inside Player With Cowboys

Sean Martin

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The Dallas Cowboys added depth to their defensive line yesterday, moving on from RB Darren McFadden and replacing him with veteran DL Datone Jones. The Cowboys will be Jones' fourth team of this 2017 season, ending up in San Francisco most recently to appear in three games for the 49ers.

Out of UCLA, Jones was a first round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2013. In 67 career games, Datone Jones has recorded 9.5 sacks.

I fired up the tape from Jones' limited work with the 49ers this season to study what the 27-year-old lineman can bring to Dallas.

Here is his Sean's Scout report.

Datone Jones Vs Cardinals - Streamable

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One area the Cowboys have been trying to address is their depth at defensive tackle, where Stephen Paea's unexpected retirement earlier in the season forced them to align Maliek Collins at the 1T and work David Irving almost exclusively at the 3T.

Preseason standout Lewis Neal has flashed a bit at the 1T position too, but I believe this is where Datone Jones can make the biggest impact on Rod Marinelli's defensive front.

Datone Jones is a powerful player that plays with solid pad level and surprising quickness. Jones excels at working his hands inside of a blocker to drive them, although he does lack the true strength in his hands to disengage as often as you would like.

When playing as a defensive end, Jones does well to capture the edge with some initial burst as he often looks to overpower his man back into the quarterback. Datone's true pass rush moves are extremely limited.

Datone Jones Vs Cardinals - Streamable

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In run defense, Jones plays with an incredibly high motor and will always flow to the football - even when being forced to rush up the field off the snap. The LDE on the play above, Jones is able to catch his blocker off-balanced late in the down with a powerful rip move and fight back inside to help stop the run.

This spider graph shows how Jones measures physically and athletically as solely a defensive tackle. The Cowboys have already seen what David Irving is able to do with his length against guards on the inside, and while Jones won't be the same disruptive force he could very well anchor the point of attack as a large one technique.

Jones' ability to work his lower body with light footwork and control stood out on tape as a bigger player with a long frame, another positive trait that will help him playing inside with the Cowboys.

Datone Jones Sack Vs Seahawks - Streamable

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This last clip comes from the 2016 season, when Jones (#95) was with the Packers. Seen here sacking Russell Wilson - his last regular season sack - Jones works under his man with his pad level and tight hands to disengage at the perfect time and finish at the quarterback.

The consistent ability to shed blocks is simply not part of Jones' game anymore, which is why his opportunities to play DE with the Cowboys may be limited.

If it comes down to Datone Jones or rookie Taco Charlton taking DeMarcus Lawrence off the field in a rotation at LDE, both players may offer similar support against the run while Charlton can do better to win up field and be a pass rushing threat.

Jones' pad level allows him to be a down-the-line player from multiple positions across the defensive line though, giving the Cowboys options as to how they would like to utilize their latest addition to a front that has not recorded a sack since the first half of their week ten loss in Atlanta.

Look for Datone Jones to slowly but surely work his way into the Cowboys' rotation at defensive tackle and stiffen their defense against the run with his range and athleticism.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: New DL Datone Jones Likely Inside Player With Cowboys" 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 Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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3 Comments
  • Andre Hickman

    Let me lay it out the issue Dallas is having a very simple is Scott Linehan a run-of-the-mill average playing offense of coordinator yes is that problematic only when your team doesn’t have physicality at the point of attack that physicality now plays for the Denver Broncos the defense the problem with the defense or the success of the defense in any Rob Marinelli scheme will always depend on who is your nose tackle whoever lines up over the top of that Center has to be able to collapse the pocket that way you funnel everything out to your defensive ends giving them an opportunity to set the edge and make a play. The secondary is Young and needs the front end to help them out it’s going to have to be a lot of front end taking a load so that the quarterbacks were forced in the position to make bathrooms given those young Db and opportunity to make a play on the ball. On to Jason Garrett is he a great coach nope he is not an X’s and O’s kind of coach he is a coach em up kind of coach. He is coached to a degree the loss of physicality that the Cowboys have played with.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Andre, thank you for reading. I agree with you on the defensive issues, although I have a hard time saying Garrett is a “great” coach, even as a supporter of his. My question for you is this though – did you think Linehan’s offense was “run-of-the-mill” a season ago or in 2014? More importantly, did the teams trying to stop it each week think so? Appreciate you taking the time to comment!

      • Andre Hickman

        Of course I thought Scott lenihan’s offense was run-of-the-mill he’s very plain undynamic play-caller and it works if you have physicality at the point of attack in 2014 we had physicality the Cowboys don’t have physicality without Ron Leary and Ezekiel Elliott being suspended. The same can be said about last year Ron Leary being physical Zeke running the football equals successful Scott Linehan offense

Star Blog

Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Fortune favors the bold. It's a rough translation of an old Latin proverb and the mantra I believe the Dallas Cowboys should indoctrinate this offseason.

I think it's time the Dallas Cowboys start to make a few bold moves. I truly believe they are close to competing for a championship title and one or two offseason moves could increase those odds. One such move would be to sign restricted free agent (RFA) Shaquil Barrett to an offer sheet.

It's expected that the Denver Broncos will place a second-round tender on Barrett and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to explore the possibility of signing him to a contract sheet. If Denver declines to match the offer, the Cowboys would then send them their second round draft pick as compensation.

You on board?

Probably not at this point, but let me try to explain why I believe this is a good move on the Cowboys part, even if it is an uncharacteristic one.

You see, the Cowboys could definitely use someone to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence and I think Shaquil Barrett could be the solution.

I know it sounds like a lot to give up a second round draft pick, but the Cowboys have been deplorable at drafting players in the second round the past decade. Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, and possibly Jaylon Smith have really been the only "hits" the Cowboys have found in the second round. That's simply unacceptable!

So, why not use that second rounder to acquire a player who is already a proven commodity in the NFL?

Shaquil Barrett

Denver Broncos OLB Shaq Barrett (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

I know the first thing a lot of you are going to do is to look up Shaquil Barrett's stats to see what he has accomplished in the NFL. But, stats don't always show the big picture.

You see, Barrett has been stuck behind some pretty talented pass rushers in Denver, so his statistics aren't going to jump off the paper. But, when given the opportunity he has proven he deserves a larger role. That's where the Dallas Cowboys come in.

The Broncos probably don't have the money to keep Shaquil Barrett if the Cowboys sign him to a contract sheet. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a big money contract offer. The Broncos simply don't have the salary cap to do much, especially considering they are still looking for a starting quarterback.

I honestly like the idea of the Cowboys going after Barrett. You may have forgotten, but he gave a healthy Tyron Smith fits last season.

With an injured Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett got the start against the Cowboys in 2017 and finished the game with two quarterback hits, six QB pressures, and five stops. No other player found that kind of success against Tyron Smith all season, even when he was banged up.

Unfortunately, when Shane Ray returned, Barrett's usage on defense declined. That's why you can't always judge a players productivity by statistics. You have to judge him more on a per-snap basis, and if you do that you will discover he was very effective as both a pass rusher and run stopper.

I believe Barrett is ready for a full-time role. Yes, he has been used as a standup 3-4 OLB with the Broncos, but he has the required traits to put his hand on the ground and maintain his effectiveness.

The downside to all of this is the Dallas Cowboys would have to give up their second-round draft pick, but draft picks are sometimes overvalued anyways. Shaquil Barrett is probably better than anybody the Cowboys could draft in the second round, so I say pull the trigger.

Should the Cowboys sign Shaquil Barrett to a contract sheet?


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Star Blog

Could a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin

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Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?


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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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