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Solid Performance in Win for Taco Charlton, Huge Opportunity Coming

John Williams



Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

The injury to Tyrone Crawford was about as scary and worrisome as you get in sports. It's terrible to see a player go limp after contact and fall straight to the ground and it's scarier still to see them attempting to stabilize the head so that the player doesn't move or further injure themselves. That was what went down on Sunday as Tyrone Crawford went down. And make no mistake, Crawford will be missed. He's a leader on the defense and his ability to play the run and provide pressure from both the defensive end and defensive tackle positions. As sad as it is to write this, the NFL is a next man up league and that next man up is Taco Charlton.

Charlton, who had been inactive since the week 13 win over the New Orleans Saints -- where he saw a season low four snaps -- played the highest percentage of defensive snaps (58%)  since the week six win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And the Cowboys got a good return from Taco Charlton's snap count. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Charlton had five total tackles (1 solo) and a tackle for loss according to Pro Football Reference. Pro Football Focus credited Taco with a pressure and two defensive stops. He led the defensive line in tackles.

With the timetable for Crawford unknown at the moment, it looks like Charlton is going to get an opportunity to see more playing time moving forward and at the most important time of the year.

Taco Charlton is the one draft pick over the last few years that hasn't returned the investment that is expected of a first round draft pick. He'll have a shot to flip the draft bust narrative that some have already placed on him with the snaps that he's about to receive week 17 and in playoffs.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

This is Taco Charlton's best play of the day.

Don't let the lack of production or that he's not starting lead you to believe that he's not a player capable of making a contribution. As you see in the gif provided by Marcus Mosher of The Athletic, he drives up the field hard and then can change directions quickly and stop the runner for a loss. It was an insanely athletic play by Charlton and it should give us an indication of what he's capable of.

Taco's always been an above average run defender for the Dallas Cowboys, but has struggled in his pass rush responsibilities. With DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory bookending the Dallas Cowboys pass rush, Taco's not going to be expected to be a dominant pass rusher at this point.

What he can do is fill the Tyrone Crawford role pretty well. Charlton's excellent at setting the edge in the run game at the defensive end position, but also has the strength and enough quickness to make an impact on the inside at the 3T defensive tackle position.

If the injury to Tyrone Crawford lingers into the playoffs, which we should all expect, and David Irving continues to be a "did not practice," then I'd expect Charlton to continue to see a sizable snap count on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line.

If there was ever a time to reward the Cowboys for making him the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, that time is now. Only Taco Charlton can change the narrative on him and the opportunity is coming for him.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Robhins

    December 28, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    IMO Taco is a good athlete with a nose for the ball I think because he had to learn in the beginning that he had to get much stronger and then 2nd he needed to be calculating in his moves and how to disrupt plays in the run and has gotten better in that area, but in pass rush he needs to use his lateral speed and quickness to be more affective! I believe he will grow to be a solid DT. A poor man’s David Irving if you will. Better ATM since Irving can’t get his crap together!!! If David could come back we would have a dominant Line & LB group

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Player News

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

Jess Haynie



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.

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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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams



Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.

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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady



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. 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.

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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