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Q: Are the Cowboys working on any extensions for certain players? - Todd Ruedel

A: At this point it is really difficult with the cap situation for 2014. However, Dan Bailey's deal is up at the end of the season so he is top priority. The Cowboys need to do some maneuvering since both Pro Bowlers Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant's contract expire following next season. The other interesting one will be what to do with Bruce Carter.

Q: Who is your favorite first round draft pick for this team in May? - Xavier Gonzales

A: Right now it is a two way tie between DT Ra'Shede Hageman and DE Kony Ealy. Both could be huge for this team. Hageman has freakish athletic ability and Ealy is a matchup problem on the outside. Either would be asked to replace either Jason Hatcher or Demarcus Ware. Big shoes to fill for either one.

Q: Why are we not even trying to get a rookie Qb that’s good to prepare behind tony romo in the meantime? - Frankie H

A: Solid point with this question. It is my belief that the Cowboys should be looking for a QB behind Romo to learn. Even though Jerry says that they won't spend a premium pick on one is a smoke screen to me. Tony will be 34 and coming off of his second back surgery in nine months. Look for them to take one in this draft.

Q: Do you think DeMarcus Ware is gone after this year? - John Krall

A: I really do think this is the final season for Ware. He has had a great run for the Cowboys but it seems with his injury history that father time has caught up with him. By releasing him they would save roughly $7.5 million and could get a suitable replacement that could provide more production. He has had two sacks and a handful of quarterback pressures in the last six games and that is not the way to help a struggling secondary.

Q: Do you think Marinelli will be the defensive coordinator next year? - Richard Noyes

A: If they bring Kiffin back the answer is no. If Lovie Smith gets a head coaching job somewhere in 2014 then no. Other than those two scenarios he is the front runner for the job. He has done a miraculous job with the players he was provided.

Q: What do you think of Tahj Boyd in the third round after the Cowboys take defensive linemen in the first two rounds? - Ramin Assar

A: If they take two defensive linemen then have a third pick Boyd should be gone. If he is there I would gladly take him. Although I think Boyd goes in the second.

Q: Got any names for us to watch this bowl weekend that may be on Cowboys radar come draft time? - Jason Tyson

A: Plenty. On Saturday in Rutgers vs Notre Dame keep your eye on Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt. I am not a fan of either but I bet they draw some interests from Jerry and company. Cincy vs UNC watch for Tar Heels Kareem Martin the defensive end. He is a mid round prospect that I would give some looks to. Miami vs Louisville has Brandon Linder OG, Seantrel Henderson OT for Miami and for Louisville I like DeVante Parker WR, Marcus Smith DE and Hakeem Smith SS. The last game on Saturday I will by watching Ty Zimmerman of Kansas State.

Q: Who do you want as head coach next season? - Ben Natan

A: Jason Garrett. I don't think he should get fired since he has yet to have a losing season. Also Jerry Jones really likes Garrett and because Jones doesn't to regret firing him like he did Chan Gailey. Like Garrett, Gailey never had a losing season. They would both be coaches fired by Jones without a losing season if Garrett doesn't return.

Patrick Conn is the founder and creator of Valley Ranch Outsiders. His work has been seen on, FanSided, Yahoo and Blue Star Times. He is an avid Cowboys fan and NFL Draft analyst. He currently hosts a podcast about the Dallas Cowboys.


Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady



Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.

After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.

But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."

The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.

Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).

The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.

This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.

These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.

Why The Numbers Expect Regression, But Success For Cowboys In 2017

Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.

Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.

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Star Blog

Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady



Robert Quinn
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.

The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.

And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.

“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.

Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.

"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told 

Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.

Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.

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Star Blog

Can Rookie OL Connor McGovern Compete For A Starting Spot?

Kevin Brady



Connor McGovern

Raising eyebrows in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cowboys added Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern to their already deep OL depth chart.

McGovern, who played guard for the Nittany Lions, was reportedly by-far the best player remaining on the Cowboys draft board when they came on the clock in round three. Still, with seemingly more pressing needs yet to be addressed, Dallas' selection of McGovern was certainly a surprise.

When you watch the tape, though, you immediately see what the Cowboys loved about Connor McGovern.

A "plug-and-play" type guard, Connor McGovern is the type of rookie you'd expect to contribute in year one. On many teams he may be a candidate to start at guard or center from the beginning of his rookie season, but here in Dallas, his role for the 2019 season is somewhat in question.

Clearly, being a day two pick, there's no doubt that McGovern will make the Cowboys roster. But can he compete for a starting job?

During OTA's McGovern took reps at both guard and center, pointing towards the possibility of him being the first interior offensive lineman off the bench if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Fellow interior linemen Joe Looney and Xavier Su'a-Filo each contributed in big ways during the 2018 season, however, and will be tough to beat out during camp.

Obviously McGovern won't be starting over All-Pros Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, but could he dethrone Connor Williams from his left guard position?

While possible, I would still say it's unlikely. The Cowboys selection of McGovern seems to be more about 2020 and beyond than it is about the 2019 season. With right tackle La'el Collins coming up on a contract year, Dallas might elect to let him walk in free agency, move Williams back to his college position of tackle, and slide McGovern into the left guard slot.

This seems fool-proof in theory, but this many moving parts across the offensive line could spell trouble early on in 2020. Regardless, Connor McGovern's arrival gives Dallas the flexibility to consider all options on their offensive line.

In reality, McGovern strengthened a strength for Dallas, and may be needed to prove himself as early as this Fall if injury issues arise.

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