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Who Will Start Opposite DeMarcus Lawrence at DE in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Who Will Start Opposite DeMarcus Lawrence at DE in 2018? 1

The Dallas Cowboys have more depth at the defensive end position than any time in recent memory. That's a good thing by the way. The only thing we really know about the Cowboys DEs right now is that DeMarcus Lawrence will start on the left side, but who starts opposite him in 2018 is completely up in the air.

The Dallas Cowboys have no shortage of candidates this season to start opposite Lawrence on the right side. It's a good problem to have, but someone's going to have to separate themselves from the pack if they want to earn that honor.

This of course will be an important position battle to watch once training camp gets underway. D-Law will without a doubt receive a lot of extra attention this season and for good reason. Someone needs to be able to take advantage of that on the opposite side, but who will it be?

I've decided to list the candidates in descending order to share with you who I would choose to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence this season. Please for free to use the comment section at the end of the article to share any thoughts and opinions you may have on this topic.

Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Dallas Cowboys DE Dorance Lawrence Jr.

Out of all of the Dallas Cowboys defensive ends, Dorance Armstrong Jr. is the most similar to DeMarcus Lawrence when it comes to size and athletic ability. If you were to look up their measurable's and combine results, you would find out that they are nearly identical.

Now, Armstrong may look the part and have the same kind of athletic ability as Lawrence, but I think we can all agree it would be a huge leap for him to start as a rookie. I think the best we can hope from him his first year in the NFL is to become a good rotational DE and a top special-teams performer.

Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory might be the most physically gifted defensive end on the entire Dallas Cowboys roster. If not for his off the field problems, he probably would've been drafted in the top 10 and already established himself as one of the best pure pass rushers in the NFL. But, we all know that's not the case.

If/when Gregory gets reinstated to the league, he could play a big role for the Cowboys defense. I don't personally think he will be ready to start since he's been away from the game so long, but he could be a really good pass rush specialist. I think it would be too much to expect for him to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence this season.

Charles Tapper

Charles Tapper

Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Tapper

I don't know about you, but I really want to see what Charles Tapper can do when given an opportunity. He has the skill set to become a starting defensive end in the NFL, but just can't stay healthy enough to prove it.

Tapper unfortunately is fighting an uphill battle to make the final 53-man roster. The Cowboys depth at the DE position could make him the odd man out when all is said and done. But, if he can stay healthy throughout training camp and preseason, he has a chance to create a role for himself, although probably not as a starter.

Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

I think we can all agree that Taco Charlton didn't really live up to his first-round draft status last year, but he did continue to progress as a player as the season went on. He has all of the physical tools you look for in a starting defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, but physical gifts will only get you so far.

If Charlton can pick up where he left off last year, he could be in the running to compete for the starting gig opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. It's not completely unthinkable that such a thing can happen, but he's really going to have to set himself apart from the other DEs. I think that might just be a little too much to ask of him right now, but at least he's continuing to show that he's developing.

Tyrone Crawford

Tyrone Crawford

Dallas Cowboys DE/DT Tyrone Crawford

Despite a lot of fans dislike for Tyrone Crawford, he has been one of the better defensive end/tackles the Dallas Cowboys have had these past several seasons. His ability to play all along the defensive line has been pretty valuable, even though he hasn't really lived up to his contract.

If I were to guess right now, I would pencil in Tyrone Crawford as the starter playing opposite DeMarcus Lawrence when the 2018 season gets underway. He has the coaching staffs trust and that can't be overlooked. He is better playing against the run then he has as a pass rusher, but he's no slouch either.

Kony Ealy

Kony Ealy

Dallas Cowboys DE Kony Ealy (AP Photo/Michael Noble Jr, File.)

Although there hasn't been a lot of talk about Kony Ealy so far since he's joined the Cowboys, he could be the defensive end to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. The Dallas Cowboys have tried to acquire him more than once, so you know there is an interest/infatuation with the player.

Ealy has bounced around a few teams in his young career, but all it takes is finding the right fit to finally live up to your potential and flourish. I think he could be the perfect fit in Rod Marinelli's 4-3 defensive scheme. I believe he might be the only player who could steal the starting gig away from Tyrone Crawford right now.

Who do you think starts opposite DeMarcus Lawrence in 2018?



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.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sexcdex Xfact

    June 22, 2018 at 12:57 am

    SIMPLY PUT
    Tyrone Crawford is valuable all across the D line as well noted
    However his value all across the D line came not to his being moved around due to any if his own injury/poor play/suspenions, etc,, ,,, but of his teammates

    So how can he live up to his contract at his natural position when he simply does EVERYTHING asked of him, & EVERYTIME

    Dallas voided his contract by default (sort of speak) in constantly moving him at will
    THUS he actually honored his contract by performing several task well when only hired to perform only one

    Heck, he’s been disadvantaged by NOTT being allowed to perfect one craft
    Crawford should start opposite D Law unless it’s evident theres a much better option by end of Training Camp

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Smiley N. Pool / The Dallas Morning News

Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?

Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.

Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli Should Be On The Hot Seat

Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli

El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.

Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.

Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.

Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.

En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.

Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Dallas Cowboys OC Scott Linehan (Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports)

Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan

Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.

Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.

A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.

Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.

Jerry Jones Delivers Vote of Confidence in "Real Deal" Jason Garrett

Head Coach Jason Garrett

El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.

Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.

Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.

Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.

Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches" 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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Star Blog

2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch Lands on List of NFL's Top 10 Rookies

As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.

It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.

Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.

No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.

Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.

There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.

Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.

Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.



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Star Blog

What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?

Kevin Brady

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.

Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.

They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?

Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.

Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.

Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.

Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.

Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.

This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.

The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.



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