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Tony Romo Down: A Look At Options, Available Veteran Backups

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Cowboys Blog - Romo Down: A Look At Available Veteran Backups

Current Situation

A broken clavicle. The diagnosis of the injury that took Tony Romo out of the lineup on Sunday, his current timetable for return is unknown, the obvious reality being the Dallas Cowboys starting Quarterback will definitely miss several games.

That is actually the optimistic view, without getting into the obnoxious guessing game of rehabilitation times that currently plague the Dez Bryant situation, we could not see Tony again until late November. Which is why the play of Brandon Weeden will be highlighted each and every week until Tony is able to return.

Sunday was a replica of the efficiency Weeden showed last year when he was forced into action against the Washington Redskins. Despite his numerous detractors, he has shown the ability to be effective within the Cowboys offense. He showed his arm talent on several Slants to Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams; he has a strong arm which allows him to make all of the throws needed within the offense.

There is no question he will be the starting Quarterback until Tony returns. He has over a year within this offense, has received valuable reps on Wednesdays, and is familiar with Scott Linehan. Oh right, how could I forget...

The Cardinals game.

Many fans choose to judge Weeden by that game - which was against one of the top defenses in the NFL a season ago - where hardly anyone on the offense performed well.

I assume the vast majority of those reading this article are Dallas Cowboys fans and are quite familiar with the unjust scrutiny Tony receives for every bad performance. Well, allow me to break it to you.

You are treating Brandon Weeden exactly the same way!

He does not have the track record of Tony, nor is he as talented, but to really suggest Tim Tebow is a better Quarterback is beyond ridiculous. He would not come in off of a College Football set and have more success leading an unfamiliar offense than Brandon Weeden.

Be realistic.

Yes, Weedon did have a terrible game against the Cardinals, but I could say the same for DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, and the vaunted Offensive Line. Let's spread the blame and not place it solely on Weeden's shoulders.

Available Veteran Quarterbacks

The Cowboys could decide to promote Kellen Moore to the 53, he is an intelligent Quarterback that makes sound decisions and is comfortable with the Scott Linehan offense. The issue with that is Moore does not have any regular-season playing experience.

If Will McClay and Jason Garrett decide they want a veteran backup for Brandon Weeden that may have a shorter learning curve with Scott Linehan's offense, there are several options out there.

Jason Campbell

Familiar to Cowboys fans from his time spent with the Redskins, Campbell has seen action in 86 NFL Regular Season games. He has been contemplating retirement, having declined several reported offers from teams this past offseason. He would provide a veteran backup that could be another reference point for Weeden.

If he is willing to participate in a workout, I see no reason why he shouldn't get a look. He spent the 2014 Season with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was also a teammate of Brandon Weeden while with the Cleveland Browns.

Matt Flynn

While only having 7 career starts, Flynn is a veteran that spent time with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets during the preseason. He is a veteran that has been extremely sporadic with his play, but in this emergency scenario, he could be an answer.

Josh Freeman

Once was a highly thought of young Quarterback, after being selected in the 1st round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 he never fully lived up to his potential. However, he had very productive 2010 and 2012 campaigns. He spent the Preseason with the Miami Dolphins.

Other names are out there such as T.J. Yates, Joe Webb, and Tavaris Jackson but I do not feel they are as good as the three options highlighted above. I imagine the Cowboys will move quickly to bring someone in if they decided to go that route, as they will need to quickly become familiar with the playbook.



Avid Cowboys fan that will provide analytical analysis to the Draft, Film, and everything related to the team. You can find me @TheRealSmoothG on twitter.

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.



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What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019

John Williams

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Amari Cooper

In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.

Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.

The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?

Let's take a look.

Outside Receivers

As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.

Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.

As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.

Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.

Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.

There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.

Slot Receiver

Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.

While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.

Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.

In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.

Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.

With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka

John Williams

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Why Cowboys Should Acquire Recently Released S George Iloka

As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.

It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.

The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.

Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.

Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.

Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at InsideTheStar.com.



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