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Stephen Jones’ Comments on David Irving Should Raise Eyebrows

Kevin Brady

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David Irving, Redskins

As a whole, no handling of a single position group has faced more scrutiny in Dallas than that of the defensive line. Whether it's their inability to sign a "War Daddy" in free agency through the years, or the selection of Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton in round one last year, Cowboys Nation hasn't agreed with most of the front office's decisions on the defensive line.

And yet, the defensive line was downright dominant through most of the first 10-12 weeks of the 2017 season. DeMarcus Lawrence finished second in the league in sacks with 14.5, Maliek Collins continued to develop on the interior, Charlton showed some signs of improvement throughout the season, and David Irving was nearly unblockable when healthy and available.

When healthy and available.

For the Cowboys, it's that caveat with Irving which seems to be holding them back from a long-term commitment.

David Irving enters the offseason as a restricted free agent, but how the Cowboys' plan to handle his free agency are not clear. This week, Stephen Jones expressed the team's concerns with signing Irving to a lengthy contract.

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on plan to re-sign restricted free agent DL David Irving: "He needs to put together a full season and consistency & all of that. Obviously played outstanding when he was healthy. I think it'd be real difficult to figure out something long-term with David.

Jones is clearly concerned with two things in terms of Irving:

  1. Health
  2. Past suspension

Whether or not these concerns are valid, however, is up for debate.

Much of Cowboys Nation is hoping they place a first-round tender on David Irving, meaning that if a team were to outbid them, the Cowboys would be compensated with that team's first-round pick. Considering the concerns Dallas has for Irving, it'd be hard to imagine a team giving up a first-round pick for him.

Even if they placed a second-round tender, they may be okay. Of course the risk of losing Irving would be greater, but the Cowboys might be comfortable losing out on him with the second-round tender in order to gain an extra early pick.

Should they be comfortable with that? Well, that's a totally different question. The odds of finding a day-one starter who will perform better than Irving did in 2017 (when healthy and available) with a day two pick are not great. They would likely take a step back at the 3-technique position in the now, while hoping the improvement would come over time.

Someone like Michigan 3-technique Maurice Hurst would be a solid replacement for David Irving, but would require a first-round selection. Also, as much as I love Hurst, I don't see him being as good or better than Irving his rookie season. Maybe over time, but probably not immediately.

Things are getting complicated as we near free agency, but it seems pretty clear that the fans feel keeping Irving around is much more important than the organization does.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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3 Comments
  • Kevin Black

    Whoa! What about Maliek Collins? He was going to be our 3-tech until all our 1-techs went away. He slid over due to not having a true 1-tech on this team. Collins is a true 3-tech and handled the position as a rookie with aplomb. Many thought he’d have a breakout year this year, but due to the loses at the 1-tech and him dealing with an injury for the second half of the year kept him from having that breakout.

    Don’t count out Collins. He’s our 3-tech of the future, not Irving.

    • EverybodyTalks

      Agreed. That is why I would be OK with a Vita Vea or a DaRpn Payne with the 19th pick.

  • Hector Espindola

    The truth about a player is between JJ (soft) and SJ (strong) words, that´s how they play it out. Having said so, Irving won’t receive a long term contract, but neither he will be lost in FA, because, for now, he is the best option as you clearly stated Kevin. However, I can understand the more open and direct tone of SJ, recognizing that their DL key players don´t help yet to solve the situation (Irving hast to put a complete season, D Law played lights out on a contract year, Crawford is overrated and overpayed, and the rest are starting to click, like Taco and Collins), so SJ does not see locked players and moreover, Irving and not Crawford results the odd man. Because all of that, FO has another position to address in the first rounds of the draft, along with OT, G, WR or LB, increasing the opportunity cost. So, the DL situation will take another season to be solved (adding preassure to Marinelli) and as insurance policy for the aforementioned players, they need to pursue a DE (which absolutely is an upgrade to Crawford) or grab a DT (and then Irving would be expendable next year). Is that is the case, and being realistic that the likes of Vita Vea, Davenport, Hurst and even Payne will be gone at 19, FO won´t have any insurance at all (besides Taco starting at RDE), which is the why OL and WR will be the targets to plug and play. And talking about plug and play, Isaiah Wynn would be great at 18 of round 2, because he will start at G and, at any moment, he can take the place of Tyron and then Cooper the place of Wynn (round 1 is for Ridley or Washington at round 3). Sorry for my long answer.

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Cowboys G Marcus Martin Needs Surgery; Impact on 53-Man Roster

Jess Haynie

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Marcus Martin
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Martin, the veteran guard Dallas signed as a free agent last March, suffered a potential season-ending injury in the team's preseason opener last Thursday night. Just how long he'll be out is still be determined, but it still should impact the Cowboys' final 53-man roster this season.

Martin tore ligaments in his right big toe against the 49ers. However, as of yesterday, it was not decided if he would pursue surgery.

Brandon George on Twitter

The Cowboys don't expect backup OG Marcus Martin to play this season after he tore ligaments in his big toe in the preseason opener, but he's seeking a 2nd opinion before deciding whether to have surgery. Martin signed a 1-year deal with Dallas as a free agent this offseason.

A former third-round pick in 2014, the 24-year-old was brought in as a potential reserve at both guard at center. He was still in competition with Joe Looney and others for a roster spot, though, and his minimal one-year contract suggested nothing was guaranteed.

Even if Martin doesn't have surgery, he is almost sure to miss the start of the season. Dallas would likely place him on injured reserve, but still have the option to recall him after Week 8.

Marcus' absence all but guarantees that Looney will return in 2018. This will be his third year in the system and his ability to play center is critical.

In my 53-man roster projection last week, I had both Looney and Martin making the team. So if I had that right, that means a spot has opened up for probably fifth-year veteran Kadeem Edwards, who was playing with the second unit in the preseason opener.

The notorious Chaz Green, who has played guard at times, could also be the beneficiary of the open roster spot.

Damien Mama, an undrafted free agent in 2017 who Dallas added this offseason, is the only other guard currently on the roster. We should get to see more of him as the preseason continues.

Marcus Martin's availability, or lack thereof, and how it ultimately impacts the roster will be determined in the coming weeks.



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LB Jaylon Smith 100% Healthy Entering 2018 Season

Brian Martin

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#DALvsIND: 5 Cowboys Storylines To Watch In Preseason Week 2 1

If you need any more reason to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys upcoming 2018 season, then look no further than their 2016 second-round draft pick, Jaylon Smith. His comeback story from the devastating knee injury he sustained in his last collegiate game at Notre Dame has been well-documented, but recent news suggests his journey has finally come full circle.

Once considered a top-five pick, Smith saw his draft stock plummet due to concerns he may never be able to step foot on the field ever again. Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were willing to gamble he would be able to make a full recovery and once again become the player he was with the Fighting Irish.

The long and grueling rehab process couldn't have been easy to endure. Jaylon Smith was forced to pretty much redshirt his rookie season and played on a pitch count Year 2 while he continued to rehab, waiting for nerve regeneration that may never fully heal.

Luckily for him, he joined a team with a really good support system both on and off the field. A support system that just so happened to include his brother, Running Back Rod Smith. It's that support system that could have made a huge difference in his approach to rehab. An approach that may have finally paid off.

Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LBs Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith

All reports indicate Jaylon Smith is 100% healthy once again, or as close to it as possible. Rod Smith, his brother, said Jaylon is back to being as good as he was at Notre Dame. Jaylon however said he is even better than he was. But, they are not the only ones weighing in on Smith's health.

Scouting Director Will McClay went on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio Monday morning and declared LB Jaylon 100 percent healthy from the injury he suffered in college that kept him out his rookie season in 2016 and had him on a pitch count in 2017.

Will McClay isn't the only one that has noticed a difference in Jaylon Smith. Head Coach Jason Garrett has said Smith has grown leaps and bounds from last year and are treating him like a player with no limitations.

"Again, he worked hard in his rehab. Coming into this off-season he was able to take that brace off. I think that's freed him up a little bit," Garrett said.

"And he just looks much more natural. So again, you'll have to ask him that very question, but from our point of view, he looks like he's moving around really well, changing direction really well, making a lot of plays. I think he's gaining more confidence with each day. We really don't have a plan for him right now. He's full-go and ready to practice every day with no limitation."

All of these accounts certainly make it sound like Jaylon Smith's arrow is trending upwards and that he is as healthy as he has been since joining the Dallas Cowboys.

Luckily, we don't have long to see him in action. I don't know about you, but Thursday night when the Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Week 1 of the NFL Preseason can't get here soon enough.

Are you excited to see a 100% healthy Jaylon Smith this season?



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Anthony Brown’s Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense

Sean Martin

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
(Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys currently have two players competing for one spot on their defense. They are third-year Cornerback Anthony Brown and second-year Cornerback Jourdan Lewis, both looking to earn the starting position in the slot.

What makes this a tough, looming decision for the Cowboys is the development of both players. Brown and Lewis have both appeared to play well beyond their years at times. For Lewis, this was last year's rookie campaign, and for Brown you have to go back to his first season in 2016.

The progression of Brown and Lewis is a reflection of why the Cowboys should be so excited about the addition of Kris Richard. Great coaches need equally talented players to truly be successful, as the Cowboys building a top secondary has been in the works for years.

To discredit Brown's role in this turnover because of Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones' presence on the outside would be unfair to not only him, but a Cowboys coaching staff criticized for not knowing how to utlize their players best. Once Brown was moved to the slot last year, he was able to regain the form that made him a sixth round steal back in 2016.

David Helman on Twitter

Two-straight days with a pick for Anthony Brown. Just cut in front of a comeback route to intercept Cooper Rush #cowboyswire

Brown is coming into his own out in Oxnard. From "the player keeping Jourdan Lewis off the field" to the cornerback Richard and the Cowboys want out there, both young players are hungry to prove themselves further.

It may very well be Lewis' physical limitations that are keeping him from getting the same opportunity that Brown has earned. The ball skills and awareness that Brown displayed in his first year were rare to Dallas at the time, but not anymore thanks in large part to Lewis.

Even with a culture built on competition firmly in place before adding Richard, the Cowboys new passing game coordinator has found a way to bring his trademark passion and intensity to coaching this defense. A player that's always needed confidence instilled in him, Brown is thriving under Richard while Lewis should be expected to not trail too far behind.

Wearing his third-round draft status as a chip on his shoulder (I'm choosing to forget that Brown has a literal tattoo of a chip on his shoulder), Lewis was an exuberantly confident player a year ago. As far as anyone can tell, this hasn't changed at training camp.

Having too much depth at cornerback is rare in today's NFL. Only when considering long shots like Donovan Olumba, Kam Kelly, and Charvarius Ward does this become the case for the Cowboys. I expect both Brown and Lewis to make this team's roster and contribute in 2018.

In their short time with the team, both defenders have dealt with injuries that make depth in the slot more important. It's also possible that Brown and Lewis will be on the field at the same time together in Dime packages.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Animated Kris Richard coaching up Anthony Brown. https://t.co/B8mRhDahB8

Still pretty early into training camp, Brown's resurgence is a great problem for the Cowboys to have. It could be the key to getting the absolute most out of this secondary, given Brown's experience paired with the young talent around him.

Such talent was absent during Brown's best season yet, meaning the best may be still to come for the Purdue product that's been tough to beat all summer on the practice fields. If this holds up in game action, like the Cowboys will see Thursday at the 49ers, the Cowboys defense is going to live up to their hype and then some.

Tell us what you think about "Anthony Brown’s Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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