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The Most Important Man To The Cowboys Success

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - Seven Personnel Adjustments That The Cowboys Should Make

The 2016 Dallas Cowboys season has been epic.

Seven straight victories, one of the top offenses in the NFL, two unprecedentedly great rookies, the best offensive line in football, and the top record in the NFC.

Nobody saw this coming. Not a single person. Sure, I thought the Cowboys could win the NFC East if Tony Romo played in at least 13 of the team's 16 games. I thought they could eke out 10 wins this year, maybe 11 if they stole one against the Packers.

Boy, was I wrong. And I am so happy that I was so wrong.

As great as the offense has been, and as impressive as both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have been, the most important man to the Cowboys success has nothing to do with the offense. In fact, he is not even a player on the Cowboys roster.

The most important man to the Cowboys success is defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

And if you don't believe me let's revisit the Cowboys off-season. Cowboys Blog - Cowboys 14-4 When Marinelli's Defense Forces A Turnover

Three, I repeat three of the Cowboys projected defensive starters began the season suspended. Of the three, only one of them has returned. The other two, Rolando McClain and Randy Gregory, aren't even expected to return at all this year by many around the organization. At best, they'll get Gregory back in late December, but they have somehow been successful without him.

Arguably the three most talented players on this defense, aren't even on the defense this season. Linebacker Jaylon Smith has been out since day one in Dallas, and there is no anticipation of his return any time soon. Plus, as mentioned earlier, McClain and Gregory have been out as well.

And yet, the Cowboys are 7-1.

16. The number of career sacks Cowboys defensive ends had before week one.

18. The number of sacks the Cowboys have accumulated as a team in 2016.

Yeah, this is a big deal.

We all knew creating a pass rush with just four down linemen was going to be difficult for the Cowboys to do this year, but Rod Marinelli has found ways to draw up pressures for his defense to put on opposing quarterbacks.

The sacks have been timely, such as Orlando Scandrick's huge third down sack against the Eagles. This defense makes plays when it matters most, and that is a reflection of their defensive coordinator.

Young guys have emerged as good players, such as Maliek Collins and Davis Irving, but Marinelli's ability to develop their talent and the talent of everyone on this defense has to be credited.

Somehow, this under-talented and much maligned Cowboys defense is in the top 15 against the pass, has allowed just 17.5 points per game, and has forced 10 turnovers through 8 games. No, the numbers aren't great, but they are much better than anyone expected. And they have been good enough to win 7 straight games.

The most impressive stat from this defense, is that which was tweeted out by Cowboys Nation yesterday.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

The Cowboys are the only team in the NFL that still has not allowed an opposing 100 yard rusher or receiver.

That's right, the only team which is yet to allow a 100 yard rusher or receiver. The season is halfway over and this is a real stat! This is incredible.

For perspective, the Cowboys allowed both their first 100 yard rusher and receiver week 3 of last year against Atlanta, when Julio Jones went for 164 yards and Devonta Freeman ran for 141. Through 8 games this year, performances like these have been completely stopped.

Of course, arguments can be made that others are more important to the Cowboys success. Dak Prescott, the rookie 4th round quarterback who has been damn near perfect, comes to mind, as well as head coach Jason Garrett.

Regardless, the impact and importance of what Marinelli is doing with this defense should be no discounted. The man has been an absolute wizard so far, and is a huge reason for the Cowboys 7-1 record.



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 have been with ITS since 2016.

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

Brian Martin

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...

Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.

Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.

This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.

Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.

This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.

Kerry Hyder Jr. on Twitter

Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation

Kerry Hyder provides more depth at the defensive end position and as a chance to become the starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence while Randy Gregory is out serving his suspension.

Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.

He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Jess Haynie

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Tavon Austin

It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.

As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.

It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.

New Arrivals

  • TE Jason Witten (unretired)
  • TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
  • DT Christian Covington (Texans)

The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.

Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.

Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Departures

  • WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
  • DL David Irving (shenanigans)
  • LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.

Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.

Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.

Keepers

  • FB Jamize Olawale
  • WR Tavon Austin
  • WR Allen Hurns (team option)
  • OT Cam Fleming
  • G/C Joe Looney (team option)
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
  • DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
  • LB Justin March-Lillard
  • S Darian Thompson

While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?

The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.

Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.

Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.

On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.

~ ~ ~

Today we're already seeing a flourish of free agent activity in Dallas. Reports this morning have them meeting with WR Randall Cobb and S Clayton Geathers, and we haven't even had lunch yet.

If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.



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