Alright! So it looks like Alan Ball has proven himself to all those non-believers out there. Everybody who thought that the Safety position was going to be our weak point on our top ranked defense. Which is something that I didn't understand to begin with. When Ken Hamlin was out for 6 games in 2009, Alan Ball came in and the defense never skipped a beat. The thing is about Ball is that he's not outstanding, but he's not horrible. He does exactly what is needed of him to make our defense very effective. The man even put on 20 more pounds so he would be able to better fit his role as a starting Free Safety. His only weakness coming in was his ability to tackle, and he proved people wrong again with an open field tackle on Darren Sproles during last weeks game in San Diego. Ball is a speedy secondary player who is getting smarter, at his position, as the years go by. Not to mention, that he could take over as a 4th or 5th cornerback if things get really hectic.
Now! Let's change the subject to the other side of the field...the Strong Safety position. This position is looking very profitable for the Cowboys as two of their undrafted rookies are stepping up at the position and on special teams. It seems that wherever the ball is you are sure to find Danny McCray or Barry Church.
Danny McCray proved himself noticable during the Hall of Fame game where he seemed very aware of all that was thrown his way. He even managed to get a interception.
Barry Church, as we all know, stepped in for injured Gerald Sensabaugh who hurt his shoulder early in the game and will be out 2-4 weeks. Church claims to have been nervous whenever his name was called to go out unto the field. First play for the rookie that day was him matching up again Antonio Gates. Which by any means would be an intimidating situation for any football player to be in. As the game went on he was practically involved in every play. Church's most notable play was his 80-yard fumble return that was unfortunately stopped by a desperate Phillip Rivers weaving around Anthony Spencer's tackle.
It's very evident that these two undrafted rookies are a big to talk about during the preseason. I am forgetting one very important rookie that also has been working hard to live up to his hype. There's another rookie that is bringing a lot of excitement to Cowboy fans other than Dez. His name is hard to remember (...or forget...) Akwasi Owusu-Ansah(say that 10 times fast)...or just AOA. He's not an undrafted rookie but a 4th round pick, that not too many saw coming at that time. I know that Akwasi (I just go by his first name...it's easiest for me to remember and pronounce) showed that he was a viable asset to special teams. So far he has shown that he can tackle and run back punt and kick returns. Akwasi has excellent vision to go along with his elusive speed. Forget anything about him coming from a small school in Pennsylvania (Indiana)...but so did Romo and Austin, looked what happened to them. AOA showed tha the was able to be what all they scouted him for, and this was just his first preseason game. All of his run backs looked very smooth and professional, except for the one fumble that he had on kick return, that was luckily covered up by the other rookie Safety Danny McCray (I guess they watch each others back). I guess, you're come with a few sharp edges that need to be smoothed and filed if you are a rookie, so the fumble can be over looked. Especially, since he came back late in the game with a 45-yard punt return that was called back cause of a illegal blocking call(B.S. as Cowboy fans would call it).
These guys know how to play and they are more than willing to put in all the work that is needed to make this team and to contribute in whatever way possible.
I know that Mike Hamlin will be filling in for Gerald Sensabaugh against Houston this coming Saturday. A lot of Cowboys fans want to see more of either one of those rookies, but Mike Hamlin is still above them on the roster.
The down-side about all of this is Patrick Watkins chances of continuing to keep his roster position. Watkins is still fighting a sore knee that will not make his opportunity to stay on the team any better. Number 25 has experience of 10-games from his 4 year career, but his contract is too big. Why spend money on a veteran who has had his chance to really be a starter and not let one of these younger guys, play for less money, and have just as good ability as the veteran(right now) with potential for a brighter future? I know that Watkins has shown himself to very valuable on special teams...but so have these rookies.
Ball! you made the team. Sensabaugh! you too..but you need to watch yourself. These guys are looking hungery and wanting to prove a point. They are wanting to work hard and get this Dallas Cowboys team back to the glory they are use to having.
I personally think that Watkins has seen his days as a Dallas Cowboy and need to find work on another organization.
I would also like to mention that if things get bad with injuries that Ball could step into the 4th or 5th cornerback position...Oh! I already did mention that. Well...so can Akwasi Owusu-Ansuh. I say we keep 5 Safetys for this season. I say we keep this, position that all these football "expert" "analyst" want to say will be our weakest point on defense, to be one of our strong points. My personal picks would be Ball, Sensabaugh, AOA, Church, and McCray. Each contributing in their own special way to make the Safety position a thing for ESPN and NFL Network "expert" and "analyst" to praise.
We got the talent! Just execute!...and Stay focused!
This team can go far!...or not far at all..when it comes to traveling, that is.... in February. I think we got it...how about you Dallas Cowboys Nation?
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class
Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.
By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.
While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.
The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.
Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.
Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.
Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.
Okay, hear me out.
The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.
Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.
Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.
Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.
It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.
Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.
Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.
Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.
If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog1 day ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog2 days ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?
NFL Draft1 week ago
Final Cowboys Mock Drafts Before Free Agency Address Defensive Interior, Receiver