Connect with us

Star Blog

Where Have Cowboys Upgraded the Most This Offseason?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Where Have Cowboys Upgraded the Most This Offseason?

The Dallas Cowboys 2017 season didn't go as they had planned in large part due to unforeseen injuries to key players and unfortunate suspensions to others. These two things alone derailed what was supposed to be a big year for the Cowboys and would have an impact on their approach to the offseason.

Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys depth at several positions, or lack thereof, was exposed due to the two problem areas mentioned above. The organization definitely needed to make some changes if they wanted to become a better ball team in 2018, which is why the moves they made in both free agency and in the draft are so important.

It's a little too early to know exactly how these new faces will fit in, but I think the Dallas Cowboys did an excellent job of addressing some problem areas. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you exactly which positions I believed they upgraded the most this offseason.

Swing Tackle

Cameron Fleming

Dallas Cowboys OT Cameron Fleming

The Dallas Cowboys were dead set on upgrading the swing tackle position heading into the offseason and did just that by signing free agent Cameron Fleming. This could turn out to be the Cowboys most important move this offseason, especially with the concerns with Tyron Smith's ongoing back issues.

Tyron Smith has stated that his back is feeling better now than it has in years past, but the Cowboys now have a better insurance policy in place if worse comes to worse. Fleming can play on both the right or left side, something he did with the New England Patriots, which will please fans because I believe they have seen enough of Chaz Green.

Left Guard

Connor Williams

Dallas Cowboys LG Connor Williams

The left guard position was the weak link on the Cowboys offensive line last season and was in desperate need of upgrading. Dallas brought in free-agent Marcus Martin and re-signed Joe Looney to provide depth, but neither would probably be an upgrade.

Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys ability to remain patient in the 2018 NFL Draft paid off in a big way in the second-round when Connor Williams fell right in the lap. Williams played left tackle at the University of Texas, but will be asked to kick inside to guard in the NFL. He will likely be the Cowboys LG in 2018, but also has the versatility to play LT as well.

Running Back

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

The biggest upgrade to the Dallas Cowboys running back position is the fact Ezekiel Elliott has had an entire offseason without any problems or anything hanging over his head. He will be out to prove something in 2018 and I can't wait to see him run with a renewed energy, something that was lacking last season. Elliott of course will handle the majority of the workload, but the depth behind him looks to be much improved.

No offense to Alfred Morris, but Rod Smith clearly outperformed him last season, which is why he will be the RB2. Then, Bo Scarbrough provides another physical runner to the mix, but will likely earn his living on special teams to begin with. Don't forget about Tavon Austin's addition. He will become the change of pace/receiving RB and could really add some much-needed speed to the offense.

Wide Receiver

Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

The Dallas Cowboys were focused on improving the wide receiver position after they drastically underperformed in 2017. They've certainly done their due diligence in trying to upgrade the position by investing in a couple of free agents and draft picks, but from the outside looking in it doesn't look like enough.

Personally, I believe the passing game will be much better in 2018. I really have high hopes for Michael Gallup, the Cowboys third-round draft pick. I believe Gallup will end up being the best WR on the roster by the end of the season. I also think Allen Hurns can adequately replace Dez Bryant's production. All in all, it may not look like the Cowboys have done enough, but I think they have upgraded the WR position.

Cornerback

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

The Dallas Cowboys didn't add any new cornerbacks through free agency or the draft, but I still believe the position upgraded. Not only will rookies Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie be much more prepared in 2018, but Byron Jones' move to CB strengthens the position in my opinion.

A lot of fans have been down on Byron Jones since he was drafted in the first-round a few seasons ago, but I think he has been missed used during that time. I always thought Jones' best position was CB and I think he will prove that this year. And, when you have Anthony Brown, a former starter, as your fourth CB, your depth is pretty good.

Defensive End

Randy Gregory, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

DeMarcus Lawrence was a one-man wrecking crew in 2017 and I don't see any reason why he can't pick up where he left off in 2018. Fortunately, things could become much more easy for him this season due to the addition of Dorance Armstrong and a few reinforcements coming back from injuries and suspensions.

I really like what I've seen from Armstrong. He will be a good rotational piece as a rookie, but it's the return of Charles Tapper and Randy Gregory that could improve the pass rush the most. Both are talented players that have yet to live up to their abilities. And, that's not even mentioning Taco Charlton, who should be much improved after finishing his rookie season on a high note.

Where do you think the Dallas Cowboys upgraded the most?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

Advertisement
3 Comments
  • Nick Russo

    As usual, I strongly agree with your article. I especially appreciate the comments about rod smith and Charles tapper, as I feel they are much better than they sometimes get credit for. Smith had a chance to prove it last year, and tapper was getting a ton of pressure albeit in the two games he played. I agree with the Byron jones outlook as well and think having a trio of jones and chido outside with Lewis in the slot will be formidable. I really like what the front office has done with the roster. They have been able to re-tool and create a young talented roster without having to fully blow things up I.e Seattle.

  • Nicholas J Burrow

    If cowboys can sign McClain and get Gregory back, look out! With a rotation of Lawrence,Gregory, Taco, Armstrong, and Tapper; and Irving, Collions, McClain, Crawford, and Ward/Ealy/Jones….. Cowboys pressure issues will be their new strength.
    I would like to see the McClain signing, as well as signing Navarro Bowman, and a trade for Earl Thomas for a 2nd round.

  • EverybodyTalks

    The Offensive line is solid and has a good 2nd string.It’s almost like triple redundancy.
    RB looks scary with Olawale and the Austin additions. I didn’t even mention Rod, Bo and Zeke.
    WRs is a candy store. Gallup, Hurns, Wilson with Twill, Bease, Noah, Deonte – 1 to many and I feels like I forgot one.
    CB – all you have to know is they didn’t draft one.
    DE – so many my head hurts from the potential.
    In the movie JAWS, the sheriff said, “We’re gonna need a BIGGER boat!!”
    In Dallas, we are going to need a BIGGER roster!

    Brian, a great article that makes you stop and think….Keep ’em coming. Thanks!

Star Blog

Cowboys Bow to Seahawks – Hoping to Tame Lions in Week 4

Published

on

Cowboys Bow to Seahawks – Hoping to Tame Lions in Week 4

The Cowboys are now sharing space in the NFC East cellar with the Giants but are hoping to move out next week with a win against the Detroit Lions. Before they can do that, there is quite a bit that needs to be fixed and most of it comes on the offensive side of the ball.

Dak Prescott was 19-of-34 for 168 yards and it was the ninth time over the past 11 games, dating back to last season, that Dallas failed to pass for 200 yards. In a league where 300-yard passing games are not uncommon, and young guns like Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes are tossing four touchdowns a game, it's quite concerning that Dallas’s aerial attack is more like a mild affront.

Ezekiel Elliott has done his fair share of the heavy lifting for the offense this season and chewed up 127 yards of real estate in Sunday’s game with an almost eight yards per carry average. But even Elliott is experiencing his share of brain cramps in this offense after he was flagged for stepping out-of-bounds before making what would have been a touchdown reception, and then coughing up the ball in the fourth quarter causing a momentum-killing shift that sealed the deal for the Seahawks.

After three weeks of play, Dak Prescott has just two touchdown passes and both were to Tavon Austin. The offensive line, once regarded as the league’s gold standard, has struggled with rookie Guard Connor Williams, a second-round pick out of Texas, getting schooled more than a few times thus far after making the shift from college tackle to NFL guard.

Center Travis Frederick’s absence is being felt as well but the glimmer of hope is that once he gets back to feeding the ball to Prescott, the offensive line will more closely resemble the impenetrable unit to which we’ve become accustomed.

Dwelling on a bad loss and wringing our hands about a lack of offensive production will only get us so far, therefore, whenever we look ahead to what awaits we check over a review of Bovada one of the most trusted and reliable online sportsbook in the industry. The oddsmakers are already dealing lines on next week’s game with the Lions and despite Detroit’s impressive win over New England and Dallas’s disappointing defeat to the Seahawks, we see that the Boys are 3 ½ point home favorites in the early betting.

That’s an odd number considering the Week 3 results but the Dallas passing attack has to get better because it can’t get much worse.

As long as Zeke can move the chains the Cowboys have a chance, but their offense has become too predictable, as has their play calling. Head Coach Jason Garrett has to get more creative and make his players accountable for bone-head penalties of the variety that Defensive End Randy Gregory took when he shoved Seahawks’ Center Joey Hunt’s head directly in front of the referee’s line of vision. It was a 15-yard flag shortly before the first-half and allowed the Seahawks to tack on another three points instead of punting the ball away.

Garrett had this to say after the game regarding Gregory’s penalty:

"You have to keep your poise regardless of what anybody did to you, said to you. You cannot respond like that. Typically what the officials see is the second thing and obviously that drew the flag. That was a poor play for us prior to the half."

Hopefully the line next week at Bovada is a good omen for the Cowboys. Dallas is back at home and the last time they met the Lions, December of 2016, the Cowboys won in a romp by the score of 42-21. In addition, let’s not forget that Detroit may get caught in a letdown situation after a huge win over the Patriots and a game looming with divisional foe Green Bay after their Week 4 showdown in Dallas.

It’s a good spot for the Cowboys in what is shaping up as a trap game for the Lions. Expect a big bounce back performance from Dallas as they roll over their Motown rivals this Sunday afternoon.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Next Day Rant: NFL is Killing Football to Protect Quarterbacks

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Next Day Rant: NFL is Killing Football to Protect Quarterbacks
Shaban Athuman/The Dallas Morning News

Over just three weeks of the 2018 season, the NFL's new rule about hitting quarterbacks has stirred up as much controversy and angst as any amount of anthem kneeling ever did. Tyrone Crawford and the Dallas Cowboys can now add themselves to the list of perplexed victims of the league's misguided legislation.

On the Seattle Seahawks' first offensive series yesterday, Crawford made what in past years would have been a clean, textbook hit on Russell Wilson just as the ball was released. But out came the flag, claiming that Tyrone didn't make enough effort to avoid putting all his weight into the quarterback as he brought him down.

This flag came on a 3rd-down play with Seattle backed up on their own 12. Instead of punting, and likely giving Dallas excellent field position for their next series, the Seahawks got to continue the drive and eventually punt it from midfield.

That consequence may not sound like a big deal, but it robbed the Cowboys of their earned opportunity to get points on the board early. It changed the tone of the game early, and who knows what ripple effect that had the rest of the way.

The real issue here, though, is that that call can even be made. The NFL has finally taken QB protection too far, to the point that defensive players are left with no logical or physically possible way to do their jobs.

Next Day Rant: NFL is Killing Football to Protect Quarterbacks 1

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews has become the poster boy for the NFL's new hit rule.

Before the Dallas game came on, I watched as the Packers' Clay Matthews got flagged yet again for the same type of call. It was the second time in as many games that Matthews has been given a foul for a clean hit.

Matthews' frustration after he saw that flag was clear. He looked disheartened, and part of me wondered if he might just walk right out of the stadium. In fact, I almost wanted him to pull a Vontae Davis just to help make the point to the league.

The NFL wants the best of both worlds. They want these players to go max effort when the rules allow and then pull it back in very specific, split-second situations. It's more than the human mind and body can do.

You can't ask these defenders to use everything they've got to get through a blocker, and then immediately rein it in once they get their hands on the quarterback.

You can't ask them to avoid going high on the QB, and then always know when the ball has been released. They don't have eyes in the top of their heads.

You can't ask them to come full force on a blitz or rush and then cool their jets within a second or less. Forget mind and body, even the basic laws of inertia don't work that way.

The NFL is asking for the impossible; a safe form of violence. That's like asking for non-toxic poison.

5 NFL Rule Changes That Need to Happen

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

I understand the league's current global dilemma. They are looking down the barrel of rising CTE awareness, lawsuits from former players, and the diminishing participation in youth football. They're trying to save the game from extinction, or at least from falling off the throne as America's modern pastime.

But this rule isn't about that. This is about trying to keep star quarterbacks healthy so that fan engagement and TV ratings don't go down when an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady gets injured.

The NFL is in the entertainment business, so I get their concern. Quarterbacks are the lead actors of the sport. You'd be disappointed if the next Mission Impossible movie was mostly Ving Rhames.

Protecting quarterbacks, given their vulnerability at times on the field, has its place. Some of the rules make sense, even if at times they lead to frustrating penalties.

But now they're messing with the core formula of football. If the Colonel got rid of one of his eleven herbs and spices, KFC chicken might not taste the same anymore. Coca-Cola might suddenly be worse than Pepsi (hard to imagine, I know) if they started changing the syrup.

The NFL isn't tweaking here. They're changing games and putting the burden on defensive players, in the heat of battle, to try to have machine-like precision.

Again, they're asking for the impossible.

Tyrone Crawford

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford

Tyrone Crawford is no Vontaze Burfict. He's not a loose cannon. He's one of the genuine good guys in the NFL, who does everything the right way on and off the field.

You can only imagine his frustration right now, or that of Clay Matthews and anyone else hit with one of these penalties. Imagine what some of these guys, who aren't a Crawford or Matthews, might do if that frustration boils over.

You could hear it even in the commentary yesterday. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were clearly disgusted by the calls, both in the Cowboys-Seahawks game and what's been happening so far this year. This was FOX's premier broadcast team openly bashing the NFL in a nationally televised game.

And if you think the players and commentators are frustrated, imagine how that translates to fan response.

The league is trying to avoid losing viewers from quarterback injuries. In the process, they may lose a lot more by damaging the game we love.

Playing football is an accepted risk. Players get it. Fans get it.

The NFL has to get it, and soon, before this conversation takes over in a way that past controversies haven't. The anthem kneeling was an overblown, media-driven story that never hit the bottom line they way they wanted you to believe. None of it mattered once the ball was kicked off.

But now the game is being damaged. Football is becoming less fun; a game of rules and penalties rather than action and intensity.

If something doesn't change, the NFL's self-preservation efforts just might lead to its demise.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Seahawks’ Tight End Will Dissly Flying Under the Radar

John Williams

Published

on

Seahawks' Tight End Will Dissly Flying Under the Radar

The Seattle Seahawks are in need of a big win this weekend to stay a game or two back of the NFC West leading Los Angeles Rams. The Dallas Cowboys hope to extend their one game winning streak to two, but to do that, they'll have to win certain matchups on both sides of the football. One player that the Dallas Cowboys will have to be aware of and contain is rookie Tight End Will Dissly.

With Doug Baldwin injured in week one and out week two, other players have had to step up in their lead wide receiver's absence.

Brandon Marshall and Tyler Lockett are the names that most everyone will recognize, but Dissly, is the name that Cowboys Nation should keep an eye on come Sunday.

Dissly, drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Washington, came into the season with a reputation as a blocking back. Dane Brugler, of The Athletic, had Dissly ranked 98th overall and as the ninth ranked tight end in the draft. Just one spot behind Dallas Cowboys rookie Tight End Dalton Schultz.

Here is what Brugler had to say in his 2018 NFL Draft Guide.

"A one-year starter at Washington, Dissly spent his first two years at Washington on defense and his final two years on offense, lining up inline and wing in the Huskies’ offense. He was a blocker-first and receiver-second in college, which was a role he embraced with his hard-nosed toughness and competitive edge. Dissly uses his upper body power and base strength in unison to control the point of attack, displaying the core flexibility and length to keep defenders busy. While he flashed reliable hand/eye coordination and run power after the catch, he lacks the route-running experience or athletic deception to consistently uncover. Overall, Dissly is a project as a pass-catcher, but he will contribute early in his NFL career as an inline blocker and sixth offensive lineman."

Dane Brugler - Dane Brugler's 2018 NFL Draft Guide

To say that it comes as a surprise at Dissly's start to his rookie campaign would be a huge understatement. A Brugler notes, there was a chance he'd contribute early as a blocking specialist, but was thought to be a project in the passing game. He's been a big play threat in the first two games of the season, already taking the lead in Seattle Seahawks TE snap distribution at 65%.

Among tight ends, Dissly's is tied for 12th in the NFL in targets with 10, tied for 17th in receptions with six, fourth in the NFL in receiving yards, tied for first with 2 touchdown receptions, third in yards per reception at 24.5, third in yards after the catch with 90, is tied for fifth with five receptions for first downs, sixth in yards per route run, and hasn't dropped a pass this season. He's averaging five targets, three receptions, 73.5 yards, and a touchdown per game. He's been targeted twice out of the slot and has two receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown while playing 46% of his snaps from the slot.

When Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson has targeted his rookie tight end, he has a passer rating of 143.8.

He's been way more than they could have hoped.

Here's what SB Nation' Seattle Seahawks blog Field Gulls had to say about Will Dissly after the Seattle Seahawks week one loss to the Denver Broncos.

"Hot damn! Who saw that coming? Was that Will Dissly or a prime Jeremy Shockey? 3 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown for someone drafted primarily for his blocking abilities. Seattle has a new weapon on offense, and I doubt anyone saw that coming."

Mookie Alexander - Field Gulls, SB Nation 

It's likely that nobody, including the Denver Broncos or the Chicago Bears, saw Dissly's breakout coming this soon. Now with it on tape, the Dallas Cowboys will have their eye on Will Dissly.

Russell Wilson doesn't have a ton of established -- or still good -- wide receivers at his disposal, but Will Dissly looks like a fourth round steal for the Seahawks.

The Dallas Cowboys' linebackers will be tested on Sunday.

Four of Dissly's six receptions have come against linebackers, including a 34 yard reception (19 yards after the catch) against Chicago Bears' Linebacker Danny Trevathan and a 66 yard reception (52 YAC) against Denver Broncos Outside Linebacker Bradley Chubb.

The Dallas Cowboys seem fully capable of matching up with good receiving tight ends as Jaylon Smith showed on Sunday. Smith showed an ability to run with Odell Beckham Jr. in coverage on Sunday. No small task. We know that Sean Lee is good in coverage. Leighton Vander Esch's best trait coming out of Boise State is his coverage ability. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Dallas Cowboys matchup Xavier Woods and Anthony Brown with the athletic tight end when he's lined up in the slot.

How the Dallas Cowboys defense does in coverage against the rookie tight end could be a major key to the game. With names like Brandon Marshall, Tyler Lockett, and Rashad Penny to keep an eye on, someone like Will Dissly could be easily forgotten.

You're going to hear his name called on Sunday. Let's just hope it's more for what he did weeks one and two.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending