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The Cowboys Biggest Surprise Isn’t Who You Think It Is

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Could Moving To Linebacker Save JJ Wilcox's Job With The Cowboys?

Ten weeks and nine games into the 2016 regular season, the Dallas Cowboys sit at 8-1. Raise your hand if you thought that would be the case as Cliff Avril dragged Tony Romo down from behind in August...

Now put your hand down, liar.

Anyway, the Cowboys success has brought out a lot of argument over who deserves the credit. Is it the offensive line which is clearly, far and away the best unit in the entire NFL and continues to dominate the opponent's front seven each week? Or is it the 4th overall pick in the NFL Draft, Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the league in rushing and will break the Cowboys rookie rushing record sooner than later?

Sure, it could be one of those two options, but of course they have been great. Regardless of whether Romo and Dez were healthy or not, we knew that the O-line and Zeke would be on the top of their games.

This is why the title of both biggest surprise, and team MVP, have been given to quarterback Dak Prescott by many fans and media members alike. And while it is hard to argue that his performance has been surprising, I actually think one veteran's play has been downright shocking.

That player is safety JJ Wilcox.


The same JJ Wilcox who many speculated wouldn't even have a spot on this roster after the Cowboys drafted Kavon Frazier and moved Byron Jones to safety full time. The same JJ Wilcox who has been burned, embarrassed, and ran-by countless times during his time in Dallas. The same JJ Wilcox who took notoriously awful angles at times.

Forget about all of that. JJ Wilcox is ballingCowboys Headlines - A Long Road Ahead For JJ Wilcox

After making the final roster, Wilcox was still only expected to play in certain defensive packages, and would serve as a backup to Barry Church and Byron Jones. But, as injuries to Church, Morris Claiborne, and Orlando Scandrick have continued to decimate the Cowboys secondary, Wilcox's snap count has continued to increase.

Last Sunday, Wilcox played his best professional game yet. Finishing with 12 tackles and 1 pass defensed, Wilcox delivered huge hits all over the field which made it impossible to not notice him. Surprisingly, Wilcox even earned the highest grade of any Cowboys defensive player during the game, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Both Wilcox and normal starter Barry Church are in contract years. Going into the season, it seemed like a no-brainer that this would be the end of Wilcox's road in Dallas, even if he is the younger option. Now, I am not so sure.Cowboys Headlines - Surgery Is A Go, Won't Affect Barry Church's Timetable For Return

Sure there are still questions about Wilcox's coverage skills, but if he continues to play downhill and make sure tackles the way he did on Sunday, he is going to make it really hard for the Cowboys to potentially let him walk away.

Moving forward, I still believe Church is the better option, especially during this season. But all of a sudden the Cowboys have an embarrassment of riches in their secondary (when healthy). Morris Claiborne has been the best cornerback on the entire roster, Byron Jones continues to impress each week, Barry Church is the leader of the back-end, Brandon Carr is playing some of his best football, and rookie corner Anthony Brown has been even better than advertised as just a 6th round pick.

Oh, and I didn't even mention Orlando Scandrick.

Hopefully, JJ Wilcox can continue his improved play this season, as he is much needed at safety until Barry Church can return.

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.

  • http://www.facebook/DallasCowboyBooksBlog Fred Goodwin

    Was it Wilcox who delivered the hit that forced a fumble in the first half?

  • John Williams

    Have to agree with you here. His play has shown up on defense and special teams. I think he and the rest of the secondary has been playing with confidence and aggressiveness. One reason I think that is because of the play of Byron Jones in the back end. The corners and the other safety, whether Wilcox or Church, have been able to play more aggressive knowing that Jones was back there and able to bail them out if they messed up. It’s been a great team effort all year on defense, and I expect it to continue this week against Baltimore.

    • Kevin Brady

      Absolutely, John. The whole back-end of the defense has played great as a unit, and you can tell that they really feed off of one another.

  • chrisp tovar

    way to go JJ.keep it up. The reward at the end is great.

    • Kevin Brady

      Hopefully he can keep it going. Thanks for reading!

  • beirutwedding

    AGREED! Been noticing him all year. Remember when he covered that dude coming out of the slot against San Fran? Get it, JJ!

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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