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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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Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury

Sean Martin

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Should Cowboys Start Negotiating a Contract Extension With Rod Smith?

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.

https://twitter.com/thejaylonsmith/status/964606764619624453

This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.

It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.

The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.

He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.

Tell us what you think about "Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott

2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.

But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?

Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.

A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.

According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.

Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.

Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.

Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.

It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.

Tell me what you think about "Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats" 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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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys “Dak Friendly” Offense

Sean Martin

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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense Approach

Welcome to the 2018 NFL offseason. Assuming you're a Cowboys fan, get used to hearing the following phrases at a tireless rate:

  • "The Cowboys need to be more like the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles!"
  • "The Cowboys need to make their offense more Dak friendly."

These two takes on the Dallas Cowboys can coexist, as the biggest key to the Eagles' turnaround from 7-9 to Super Bowl champions was their ability to surround second-year Quarterback Carson Wentz with the necessary talent to succeed.

Acquisitions like Alshon Jeffery and Jay Ajayi proved enough for backup QB Nick Foles to ultimately carry this team to their first Lombardi trophy.

Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense 1

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles @ Super Bowl LII

Hoping to make a similar turnaround from 9-7, the Cowboys' task at hand this offseason is to similarly infuse fresh talent into an offense that went stale with Dak Prescott at the helm in year two. Returning Left Tackle Tyron Smith and Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to the lineup on a regular basis is certainly a great starting point.

Entering a pivotal third year as the Cowboys' starter, Prescott himself has weighed in on what this notion of a "Dak friendly" offense may look like on the field in 2018.

"...if you watch a little bit of maybe what the Panthers are doing or what the Chiefs did, just the RPOs, the run-pass options, just allowing me to use my feet if necessary more" - Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Dak later added that feeling "more comfortable" would be an overall improvement to strive for next season, which is spot on.

Surviving the Cowboys' horrific lack of continuity -- and often-times talent -- on offense in 2017, Prescott was visibly uncomfortable as a passer far more times than he was in 2016 as just a rookie. Hearing Prescott specifically mention the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers as offenses to emulate is certainly noteworthy too.

In total offense per game, the Cowboys ranked 14th this season at 331.9 yards -- five spots ahead of the Panthers (323.7). The Chiefs reached the top five in this category before trading Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins this offseason, averaging 375.4 yards a game.

The common theme throughout these teams is the simplicity they allow their quarterbacks to play with, scheming receivers open, utilizing backs to create mismatches both on the ground and through the air, and running their mobile QBs when needed.

Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett, OC Scott Linehan, QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Beginning this 2018 Cowboys offseason by claiming the Cowboys offense needs to actually be more simplistic is sure to send Cowboys Nation into a frenzy. Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, who will work alongside plenty of new position coaches in 2018, has been heavily criticized for the predictable nature of his offense. Predictable and simplistic are two drastically different terms when considering the nuances of the fast-paced, spread offenses that have taken over the NFL.

It's QB friendly systems like these that produced Cam Newton, Alex Smith, and Dak Prescott.

A simple RPO design that Prescott has run since his days at Mississippi State may be predictable for opposing defenses to an extent, but stopping Prescott from either handing the ball to Zeke Elliott or carrying it himself behind this dominant offensive line in Dallas is much harder.

The Dallas Cowboys' Dak friendly offense may not feature many new starters in 2018. Instead, it will be up to this coaching staff to better identify the strengths of this unit and play to them -- something the Panthers and Chiefs did exceptionally well all season long.

When Dak Prescott himself speaks to his strengths as a fourth-round draft pick turned franchise quarterback, facing the pressure of putting his team back in the playoffs as a third-year starter, you can only hope that the Dallas Cowboys take notice.

Tell us what you think about "Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys “Dak Friendly” Offense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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