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The Safety Dance

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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?



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Dallas Cowboys

Don’t Forget Special Teams Value in Cowboys Roster Decisions

Jess Haynie

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C.J. Goodwin

Building a 53-man roster in the NFL is a complex formula, requiring balance between numerous positions on each side of the ball. But what often gets overlooked in our analysis as outsiders is special teams, and that's a huge factor for many of the Dallas Cowboys players hoping to make it past final cuts.

Some players have survived in the league by being just good enough at their listed positions but excelling in special teams roles. You may think of former Dallas safety Bill Bates, who was personally responsible for a special teams player being made part of the annual Pro Bowl roster. A more recent example would be Keith Davis, who was an adequate safety but a special teams ace for several seasons.

To be sure, someone is going to be on this 2019 Cowboys more for their special teams value than their actual offensive or defensive ability. Who might he, or they, be?

One candidate is veteran Cornerback C.J. Goodwin. He is considered an exceptional talent in coverage on punts, which is probably the only reason he's still in the NFL today. At age 29, Goodwin has never really emerged as a consistent contributor on defense.

Young players like Donovan Olumba or rookie Michael Jackson, if not already superior cornerbacks to Goodwin, have far more upside to keep on the roster. But

considering how little they may get on the field anyway as the fifth or sixth corners, you can see why special teams value becomes so important. It may be the only time you actually see them in the game.

If the Cowboys don't want to lose a young prospect but can't let go of Goodwin's special teams ability, it may prompt them to go long at the CB position. But that means taking a roster spot from some other position, and thus the balancing act continues.


Don't Forget About RB Jordan Chunn in the Cowboys Backfield

Dallas Cowboys RB Jordan Chunn

Another player to watch in this discussion is second-year an Running Back Jordan Chunn. He doesn't have Alfred Morris' experience or maybe Mike Weber or Darius Jackson's rushing talent, but he has been showing up on the special teams units.

Yesterday, Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus called Chunn "a better Rod Smith" in analyzing his chances of making the roster. If you don't recall, Jaylon's older brother was a solid RB but a standout special teams player in his few years with Dallas.

As we just mentioned with the 5th/6th CB slots, the third running back is not a guy you expect to see much on offense. That will be especially true this year as Dallas will be struggling just to give rookie Tony Pollard the touches he deserves as the number-two RB.

Given that, special teams play becomes vital for the value of whoever is behind Zeke and Pollard on the depth chart. If Jordan Chunn is superior to his competition in that regard, it could negate whatever he lacks as an actual running back.

This same conversation can be had throughout the roster. It's why Noah Brown might make the team over more traditionally gifted receivers, or why a certain linebacker or safety might be more valued than others.

We make the common mistake of referring to "both sides of the ball" when we talk about football teams. There are three sides; special teams can't be underestimated. It will certainly play a part in how the Dallas Cowboys finalize their 53-man roster this season and in years to come.


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Cowboys Preseason: Wide Receivers Power Rankings

Mauricio Rodriguez

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#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game 1

When cut-down day arrives for the Dallas Cowboys, the team's decision making ability will really be put to the test once they get to the wide receiver position. The Cowboys have plenty of young talent there and choosing the players that will make the 53-man roster won't be easy. Unfortunately, you can't keep them all.

With the Cowboys offense set to take the next step in 2019 under Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, the team has to get WR right. Since the offseason, we've seen many things from the team's wide receivers that make us wonder who's better than who and who should wear the Star once September comes around.

Today, I share with you my power rankings for the Dallas Cowboys' wide receivers.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

1.-3. The Absolute Locks

It's really not necessary to discuss the Cowboys' top three wide receivers. We know there is absolutely no way they fail to make the roster. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb are expected to be the team's starters. Cooper proved he can be a big-time threat as the Cowboys WR1 after many questioned his future following his struggles as an Oakland Raider.

Gallup has had an impressive offseason and preseason, building on his very solid playoff work from last January. This guy is poised for a breakout season and has even shown flashes of having WR1 talent. For now, though, he should be a great number two for Dak Prescott.

As far as Randall Cobb is concerned, he should be more than a decent slot receiver for Dallas replacing Cole Beasley.

Don't worry about the three starting wide receivers. They should be a very good unit.

4. Cedrick Wilson

I might be high on Cedrick Wilson, but I really believe he can be special for the Cowboys. I put him at number four because I believe he's the most balanced player among the other wide receivers. Before going down injured versus the San Francisco 49ers in preseason, he was having himself quite a performance, shadowing undrafted rookie Jon'Vea Johnson, who was supposed to steal the show at WR.

I liked him as a prospect coming out of Boise State last year and I still do. I believe he'll make the roster. He's also shown he could have a role as a returner on special teams.


Who Will be Cowboys' Main Punt Returner in 2019, Tavon Austin?

5. Tavon Austin

Austin didn't have a chance to prove his worth in 2018 after being out most of the season due to injury. With him returning and being in the thick of the WR battles, he'll likely have a spot on the roster. He has potential to play in the slot and steal a few snaps from Cobb while also being a threat for opposing defenses in the deep game thanks to his speed. Not to mention, he's expected to be a contributor on special teams.

6. Noah Brown

Often, I'm surprised by how many in Cowboys Nation feel about Noah Brown. However you may feel about the team's 23-year old receiver, don't expect him to be cut from the team.

We know the coaching staff values his blocking skills very much. Plus, he has upside as a receiver and could develop into a more serious weapon on offense. With the Cowboys set to carry only three tight ends, Brown is an important player for this football team.

7. Devin Smith

I expect the Cowboys to carry six receivers on their roster, so this would be where I expect the front office to start making cuts. Devin Smith has shined lately, specially against the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday when he hauled in a TD pass from Cooper Rush.

He has a chance to make the roster if he keeps turning heads, but right now, I have him in the outside looking in.

Cowboys WR Jon'Vea Johnson's Stock Drops After Preseason Opener

Dallas Cowboys WR Jon'Vea Johnson (Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News)

8. Jon'Vea Johnson

The undrafted rookie from Toledo was having a very strong offseason but his stock has been falling since preseason began. Unfortunately, Johnson's route running and ability to create separation aren't enough if his drop issues continue.

Hopefully, the Cowboys can keep him for the practice squad and continue to develop him because he really seems to be a special player. Right now, though, there are other guys the team should get on the team.

9. Jalen Guyton

Another undrafted rookie that made plenty of noise in the offseason. Sadly, we didn't see much from Guyton in preseason. This is another guy who could make the practice squad, but his chances of making the 53-man roster seem almost nonexistent right now.

10. Reggie Davis

Davis' chances of making the team took a huge hit when he muffed fumbled a punt versus the Rams last week. When you're fighting for those final spots, you can't make those mistakes on special teams.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Preseason: Wide Receivers Power Rankings" 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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Cowboys S Donovan Wilson’s Stock Continues to Rise

Matthew Lenix

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Cowboys S Donovan Wilson's Stock Continues to Rise

It's been no secret that the safety position for the Dallas Cowboys has been one of frustration in recent years. They've locked down the free safety spot with rising star Xavier Woods, however, the strong safety role hasn't found it's true ruler as of yet. Jeff Heath has started 31 of 32 games the last two seasons at strong safety but continues to be a liability in coverage and making tackles in the open field. Veteran George Iloka was brought in during free agency but still hasn't surpassed Heath as the number one. But the best attempt to shore up this particular position was made when the Cowboys took rookie Donovan Wilson in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

In the Cowboys first preseason game against the 49ers, Wilson got his first interception on the pro level. If you watch the video below, he does a fantastic job of reading the eyes of the quarterback and doesn't allow himself to be fooled when he tries to look him off. He sits on the route perfectly and creates the turnover. This is the kind of discipline you want to see from a rookie defensive back.

Tom Downey on Twitter

Rookie Donovan Wilson with the INT for the #Cowboys! Makes it a lot easier when the QB (C.J. Beathard) throws it right to you https://t.co/EIcACB6TSR

According to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, Heath missed last weeks game against the Rams due to a neck stinger. This made his participation in practice limited for a few days and allowed Wilson to get some work with the first-team defense this week. He also split reps with Xavier Woods as the down safety in the box. A box safety's responsibility is to give support in the run game as well as jamming receivers/tight ends off the line, blitzing the quarterback and providing coverage in the flat.


Another added dimension for Wilson is that he had two years of nickel corner experience at Texas A&M. Anthony Brown is the starter at the position currently but having another guy with this skill set provides the Cowboys with the all-important position flex.

Wilson had 8 interceptions in college so he has some ball skills. His 21.5 tackles for loss at proves how effective he was in run support in the box safety role. With the help of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, who developed top talents like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, Wilson could see himself with a huge role on this defense fairly quickly. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if by seasons end he's the permanent starter at strong safety.


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