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Is Taco Charlton Improving With More Playing Time?

Brian Martin

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Back in April, the Dallas Cowboys used their 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to select former Michigan Wolverine defensive end Taco Charlton. It wasn't a surprise they drafted a defensive end in the first round, but it was shocking to some who they decided to go with. The bashing of Charlton has been relentless ever since, especially since he has failed to register a single quarterback sack this season.

The only time Taco Charlton's name comes up in a conversation is when someone says the Dallas Cowboys would've been a better off drafting T.J. Watt or anyone else for that matter. Watt is the name that comes up the most, especially since he has already registered four sacks this season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It just seems like nearly all of Cowboys Nation is ready to write off Taco Charlton, even though he's only played six total games in the NFL. Yes, we would all like to see him make an immediate impact, but that is extremely rare for rookie pass rushers. I would say to remain patient, but unfortunately we live in a society that wants to be instantly gratified.

The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff haven't really done the young pass rusher any favors either. The entire Cowboys organization knew Taco was a work in progress when they drafted him and that it would take time for him to develop. But, we all know the best way to do that is to get him on the field to get him up to speed as quickly as possible and build his confidence.

DE Taco Charlton

DE Taco Charlton

Well, with both Benson Mayowa and Damontre Moore inactive against the San Francisco 49ers, Taco Charlton played the most snaps of his entire NFL career to date. Whether it was by design or not, Charlton played 37 snaps against the 49ers and had arguably the best game of his professional career so far.

Now, Charlton unfortunately is still looking for his first career QB sack in the NFL, but according to the coaches' breakdown, he did register two quarterback pressures and a pass breakup. It may seem like a small thing, but it would indicate he's taking a step in the right direction. More playing time might just be the key to tapping into his potential.

"He needs to play more," coach Jason Garrett said. "But he fought well, he competed well, he was around the ball. Made his presence known a little bit at the line of scrimmage knocking the ball down. So he's getting there. He's going about it the right way in practice. It's a good opportunity for him to play a lot of snaps in that game. He'll grow from that experience."

We are definitely hoping Charlton grows from the experience and continues to progress. Unfortunately, it's never going to be fast enough for most Cowboys fans. I however believe in remaining patient and would suggest everyone else do so as well.

Taco Charlton is fully aware of what's being said about him and the perception that the Dallas Cowboys made a mistake drafting him with the 28th overall pick. The only thing he can do is continue to keep his head down and do what's asked of him.

Personally, I think Taco Charlton is going to be just fine in time. He seems to be getting better and was just a step away from earning his first QB sack in the NFL against the 49ers. Once he learns how to finish, I think the sacks will start piling up.

Is more playing time benefiting Taco Charlton?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Hobbes49

    October 25, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Good to see some positive stats for Taco this past game. You wrote before the bye that the kid needed more playing time to improve and it looks like the front office and coaches definitely agree. It is time to let Taco play a lot, build his confidence and his skill level, and hopefully turn his talent loose. I think the kid will be fine, and prove to be a positive force for our line in the years to come. Has to benefit from playing on the line with Tank, Irving, and Collins. Lot’s of one on one chances to make plays. I say he gets his first sack this weekend!! Let the good times roll with Taco

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      October 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      This game against the Redskins could definitely be his best chance to get his first QB sack. The Redskins offensive line will be banged up. Just about every player on their OL was injured at some point in the game against the Eagles. Hopefully Taco can take advantage of that.

      • Hobbes49

        October 25, 2017 at 8:38 pm

        Agreed. A sack would really help him develop some positive momentum moving forward, and we will need all the pass rush we can get in ththeoming weeks

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          October 25, 2017 at 8:44 pm

          Check out my article tomorrow. It’s about five players the Cowboys should try trading for before the trade deadline. Two of them are pass rushers.

  2. Albert Smith

    October 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I have been by his side from day because there is something called a learning curve, and in comparison to most DEs especially one’s we would’ve liked no one’s dominating. Keep in mind also TJ Watt got his mainly off of the Cleveland Browns so we’ll see going forward.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      October 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      Very well stated. I think it has a lot to do with the expectations for Dallas Cowboys rookies, especially after last season. Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and the rest of the 2016 draft class have really raised the bar, so anything less than that type of performance for rookies is kind of disappointing now. I think Taco will be fine in time, but he may never be a dominating player. It’s a rarity many pass rushers are unless they are a top 10-15 draft pick.

      • Albert Smith

        October 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm

        That’s traditionally where you find the blue chip pass rusher’s but I also believe that there’s evidence to support the contrary. Really what it’s going to come down to is Jerry and the front office sacrificing assets to go get that caliber of player, I’m still stung that we didn’t go Fletcher Cox years ago.

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          October 25, 2017 at 8:31 pm

          I think the expectations were that the Cowboys were going to find a blue-chip pass rusher in the 28th slot. I think that’s why everybody is disappointed with Taco. I’m right there with you about Fletcher Cox. Marinelli seems to have a specific type of DT in mind and unfortunately the Cowboys have missed out on some good ones because of it.

          • Albert Smith

            October 25, 2017 at 8:39 pm

            I know that was just before we went back to the 4-3, and maybe because we had Rob Ryan at DC he may have felt better about Mo. Especially considering they were trying to rebuild the secondary on the fly at that point too, I just wish really we had coach Zim here tbh.

          • Brian Martin

            Brian Martin

            October 25, 2017 at 8:47 pm

            You’re right, it was before the went to the 4-3. I can’t fault them for choosing who they did at the time, but it is a terrible decision in hindsight. Fortunately, the Cowboys have been much better drafting players since then.

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" 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!



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Star Blog

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.



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