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Understanding Cowboys Formations on Offense from Week 1 of Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Understanding Cowboys Formations on Offense from Week 1 of Training Camp
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys are back on the practice fields this weekend, after a day off on Friday. Over a week into training camp, we've seen the Cowboys new assistant coaches have a big impact on the way this team is preparing for 2018. Be it Kris Richard rallying his troops in the secondary or Sanjay Lal making his wide receivers end practice by carrying bricks across the field, it's refreshing to see new ideas all throughout this young team.

Just how much these ideas are infiltrating an offense still coordinated by Scott Linehan will truly be determined in the preseason. However, our friends over at the Best Coast Boys Podcast as well as Blogging The Boys did a great job sharing some insight on Dallas' formations in Oxnard.

One Cool Customer on Twitter

@BestCoastBoyz I deciphered all the hieroglyphs!

Interpreting these personnel groupings starts with the numbers in the far left column. Eleven (11) personnel refers to the amount of running backs and tight ends on the field. In this case, that would be one of each, where 22 personnel includes two backs and two tight ends. The first number is always the number of RBs, and the second is always TEs.

From this, the Cowboys reliance on eleven personnel is nothing new or surprising. Their focal point on offense, Running Back Ezekiel Elliott, has always ran better without a fullback in front of him.

Still figuring out what they truly have at wide receiver, the Cowboys primarily using Geoff Swaim exclusively at TE gives them at least four different groupings (seen above) out wide.

Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson have been impressive early, and it's clear the Cowboys are rewarding their FA acquisition in Thompson by giving him multiple chances in 11 personnel. A formation the Cowboys will likely roll out heavily all through the season, it will be important to see just how well Thompson gets through the rest of training camp as a target for Dak Prescott.

Thompson has also not seen the field without Tavon Austin lined up with him. Yet to be worked as a RB, Austin and Thompson give the Cowboys ideal speed to pair with Elliott in the backfield and projected X-WR Allen Hurns.

Blake Jarwin being the Cowboys second tight end in 12 and 22 personnel is a great sign for the second-year TE, and not so much so for Rico Gathers. Where Swaim is the better all around player, Jarwin's best chance to make an impact is as a run blocker. This is an area the Cowboys have been looking for progress in from Gathers, but his inconsistencies could have the converted basketball player's days in Dallas numbered.

While having Thompson as the only receiver on the field in a heavy 22 practice is a move the Cowboys have made before with similar receivers, keeping Austin on the field with Beasley in 12 is certainly a look to keep an eye out for against live competition.

Lastly, the Cowboys would happily admit that rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup has outplayed his apparent position on the depth chart based on the snaps above. The other shoe is yet to fall when it comes to Gallup hitting an inevitable rookie wall, but expect him to be worked into more full team drills as soon as this week.

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The Cowboys begin their preseason in San Francisco this Thursday. Still installing the latest nuances to their offense and defense, this first game of four won't be a decisive look at all things new with Dallas. Instead, look for these lineups and formations to measure the Cowboys progress against another team and not themselves.

Tell us what you think about "Understanding Cowboys Formations on Offense from Week 1 of Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Dallas Cowboys

Maliek Collins Activated From PUP, Cowboys’ Front 7 Looking Great

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Cowboys Defense Have Young Foundation Players To Build Around
Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports

There are tons of reasons to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys' defense with the regular season less than a month away. The most recent one is Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is coming off the PUP list after passing his physical and is now activated and practicing.

After suffering another foot injury in May, Collins had to undergo surgery and his return to the roster before the season began was questionable. But things are looking good now as the Cowboys expect him to be ready for week 1 versus the Carolina Panthers.

David Helman on Twitter

On the same day he was taken off PUP, Maliek Collins is participating in pre-practice walkthrough. Not sure what that means for his practice regimen, but that's a positive sign #cowboyswire

Collins missed quite some time, so one has to wonder how fast he will be reincorporated to the defense and whether or not he'll get back his starting role or not. The defensive tackle room seems to be loaded with various talent that should be capable of at least giving #96 a tough competition before he can reclaim his spot as if he hadn't been missing any practices.

David Irving may not be a factor on the roster until he comes back from suspension prior to week 5's match-up against the Houston Texans, but there are other young players Collins should be expecting to fight for the starting role.

Antwaun Woods, Jihad Ward, Brian Price and Datone Jones will provide this team with an interesting debate going forward. But even if not one DT emerges as a clear-cut starter above the rest, the Cowboys have serious depth at the position.

To be honest, the entire front seven is very exciting. Not only do the Cowboys count with good DTs, but just take a look at the defensive end room. Led by 2017 second-team All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence, there is also a deep group of DEs.

Randy Gregory is coming back after a long comeback journey and should earn a lot more snaps as the season progressing. Taco Charlton has made a ton of progress and fourth-round rookie Dorance Armstrong isn't far behind. Not to mention captain Tyrone Crawford, who despite being criticized by many due to his huge contract, is a more than decent DE.

Now, let's talk about the linebackers for a moment here. Before the 2018 NFL Draft, this was seen as one of the weakest units on the team. Fast forward to mid-August and this should be one of the most exciting groups on the team.

Sean Lee will be playing alongside a Jaylon Smith that we've never seen before. Smith is doing things that he wouldn't been able to do a season ago. What he's shown in training camp and through one preseason game should have any Cowboys' fan eager to watch him play in a regular season game. The Jaylon Smith the front office envisioned when taking a risk on him in the 2016 NFL Draft has arrived.

Also in the mix is first round pick Leighton Vander Esch. We haven't been able to watch a lot of playing time from him but we'll sure do pretty soon. He's a week 1 contributor who will play behind what could be one of the best LB duos in the entire NFL.

And just like in the defensive line, the depth seems to be great. Joe Thomas and Damien Wilson have shown what they're capable of and they could be more than special team bodies when needed.

The Dallas Cowboys shouldn't be very concerned about their front seven going forward. It's loaded with talent and even if they rotate their players a lot, this seems like a group that will give any offense a big headache.

Tell me what you think about "Maliek Collins Activated From PUP, Cowboys’ Front 7 Looking Great" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Dallas Cowboys Sign WR Darren Carrington Following Workout in Oxnard

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Sign WR Darren Carrington Following Workout in Oxnard

The Dallas Cowboys have signed another one of the six players worked out on Monday in Oxnard, adding to their already deep group of wide receivers. Most recently with Utah, Pac-12 Wide Receiver Darren Carrington has signed with the team.

Carrington began his college career at Oregon, where he was on track to make it to the NFL before being dismissed from the Ducks for a DUI. This led Carrington to Utah, where he played as a graduate transfer and put up a team high 908 yards and six touchdowns on 70 receptions last season.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys signing former Utah WR Darren Carrington, per source.

At 6021 (6' 2 1/8") and 199 pounds, Carrington is yet another athletic target with long speed for the Cowboys to work into their new-look offense. He joins Ricky Jeune as the second receiver added to the team in training camp, bringing the number of WRs on the roster to 11.

Marchie Murdock, who had two catches for the Cowboys in their preseason opener, was waived (with an injury designation) prior to these roster moves.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign WR Darren Carrington Following Workout in Oxnard" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys Workout 6 Players, Sign OL Jacob Alsadek

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Workout 6 Players, Sign OL Jacob Alsadek
(Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys did not receive good news on first-year offensive lineman Marcus Martin, as his injury suffered in San Francisco will likely require season-ending surgery. Martin was signed this offseason as a backup guard/center, and without him the Cowboys have a need for further depth up front. Working out six players at positions of need today, the team has signed former Arizona lineman Jacob Alsadek.

DEC Management on Twitter

Congratulations to #TeamDEC client @jacobalsadek on signing with @dallascowboys

This is Alsadek's second stop in the NFL, as he spent most of May with the Green Bay Packers before being released. Alsadek was the cut when the Packers signed former Cowboys Tackle Byron Bell.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Players Cowboys worked out today: Darren Carrington, WR Jacob Alsadek, OL Daronte Bouldin, OL Dominick Sanders, S Ryan Murphy, S Deron Washington, S

The 6'7", 312 pound guard went undrafted in this year's AT&T Stadium hosted draft. He was set to play in the Alliance of American Football League, with an inaugural season scheduled for February.

Now, he's a member of America's Team with a real chance to compete for a backup spot on the best offensive line in the league.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Workout 6 Players, Sign OL Jacob Alsadek" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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