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With Smith Questionable, Chaz Green Should Do Fine For Cowboys

Mauricio Rodriguez

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A lot of things were wrong with this Dallas Cowboys football team before the bye week. A 2-3 start left that clear. The defense suffered a couple of injuries and it wasn't even decent. But even the offense struggled. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest problems was the offensive line.

After losing Doug Free and Ronald Leary during the offseason, new faces were fighting for the two starting vacancies left by the veterans.

To open the season, Chaz Green was named the starting left guard only to eventually lose the job to Jonathan Cooper. Cooper, a former first-round pick, has been one of the biggest difference makers in the Cowboys' last three wins.

The running game has improved, and he's made a few key blocks for Ezekiel Elliott. Overall, the offensive line looks entirely different. After Cooper became LG1, this offensive line is looking more like it did in 2016.

Sean's Scout: Cooper's Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game

I'm convinced that Cooper's promotion has been one of the best decisions this coaching staff has made in the season. And now, there's yet another reason why this will prove fortunate for the Cowboys.

Tyron Smith has been dealing with back and groin injuries for a while now and was taking a lot of practices off. This time, the left tackle didn't practice all week. With lingering injuries all season, sitting 77 out this Sunday might be the best decision by the Cowboys.

Luckily for Dallas, Chaz Green made more than a decent job covering for Smith in 2016, and he should do just fine in Atlanta.

Now, don't get me wrong. Obviously, going from arguably the best left tackle in football to Green is obviously a downgrade. But with 79 on the field, the offensive line will not become big concern as some would think.

Green will do just enough to keep this offense working.

Last year, he started in two games covering for Tyron Smith. One versus the Bears and the other at San Francisco. His performance impressed Cowboys Nation, and there's no reason to think it won't this time around.

Green1 - Streamable

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In the above play, the run by Elliott isn't an enormous gain, but look at Chaz Green. That's a solid block right there. That's what Green will get you. Maybe he won't dominate all game, but he won't be a liability.

In the run game, his blocking is pretty consistent. Surely, the running back corp will need help from the offensive line as the Cowboys get ready to play their first game without Ezekiel Elliott since 2015.

Green2 - Streamable

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Chaz Green also did a good job in pass protection. He's not the most flashy LT ever, obviously, but he gets the job done. While I didn't like him as a LG1, it's fair to say he's a solid backup tackle.

He rarely struggles, and the Falcons don't have a premium pass rusher to take advantage of Green. This would've been chaos for the Cowboys if Green was still starting at left guard. However, there's enough reason to be confident on this offense without Smith.

It'd be wise in my opinion to let Smith sit this one out. The Cowboys have tougher games ahead. They face the Philadelphia Eagles in week 11 and having Tyron healthy for that game will be more important than having him this weekend.

The Dallas Cowboys are facing a lot of adversity as they get ready to possibly play without three of their biggest stars. Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith.

Will they get through it?

Tell me what you think about "With Smith Questionable, Chaz Green Should Do Fine For Cowboys" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Russ Kennedy

    November 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Mairicio, it’s the 4th quarter. He couldn’t have been much if any worse.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      November 12, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Yeah, I truly was proven wrong. Had hope on the guy, he did a decent job last year covering for Smith. I was blatantly wrong, and I apologize.

      • Russ Kennedy

        November 12, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        No problem I was hoping too. you were right to hope if he filled in that well last year. I just can’t remember! Looks like he just gets off balance a little too easy . Maybe a little more playing time few more repetitions may help. Sometimes I do think Dak needs to step up into the pocket like a Brady does.

        With Tyron it probably hasn’t needed to be an issue but with these guys playing left tackle it may need to be looked at

        • Mauricio Rodriguez

          Mauricio Rodriguez

          November 12, 2017 at 8:22 pm

          Yeah, it’s one of those things that you hope come with experience. Dak is good at pocket awareness, and has been getting better over his career. I think he’ll do nothing but improve. The kid is special.

  2. Tyler Ayers

    November 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Yah…this is not so “fine”

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      November 12, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      I was proven wrong, I apologize. I truly believed he’d do a decent job.

      • Tyler Ayers

        November 12, 2017 at 9:05 pm

        no apologies! Just busting your chops.

        • Mauricio Rodriguez

          Mauricio Rodriguez

          November 12, 2017 at 9:06 pm

          Haha, it was a tough performance to watch.

  3. Chris Webster

    November 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Tough game for Green.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      November 12, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      It really was. I was so wrong. I looked at his 2016 tape and he wasn’t bad. Thought that’d be the case today… clearly, it wasn’t. I apologize.

      • Chris Webster

        November 12, 2017 at 8:30 pm

        I agree…..he would not have been on the team if this bad. 2 or 3 sacks today I would put on Green, but after that, it was a coaching failure for not getting him help. Appreciate your Cowboys analysis.

        • Mauricio Rodriguez

          Mauricio Rodriguez

          November 12, 2017 at 8:39 pm

          As always, thank you for reading. I love my job so much. Sometimes, wrong takes happen. Appreciate the comments, Chris.

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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