Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Why This Offensive Lineman Is The Cowboys’ Best Player

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League's Best

The 6-1 Dallas Cowboys are loaded with talent.

Defensively, Byron Jones is becoming one of the better safeties in all of football, Morris Claiborne has become one of the top corners in the NFL, and we all know how great Sean Lee is.

On offense, Ezekiel Elliott is the best young back in all of football, Dez Bryant is a certified beast, and they have by far the best offensive line in the league.

One offensive lineman in particular, however, has separated himself as clearly the best player on the Cowboys entire roster. That player is offensive tackle Tyron Smith. After spending much of the early part of the 2016 season handicapped by some injuries, Smith finally looked fully healthy in his dominant performance against the Eagles last week.

The film from week 8 clearly supports my claim that Tyron Smith is the Cowboys best player.

Pass Blocking

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

One of the areas Tyron Smith excelled in all day was with swiping off the defenders' hands and using their momentum against them.

When a defensive end starts leaning on the offensive tackle, trying to use his power and bull rush to win, the best thing for the tackle to do is to set his feet, keep kicking back, and then throw the end onto his face.

Here, Smith uses the defensive end's momentum against him and drives him into the ground.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

Once again we see Tyron execute his counter to the bull rush perfectly. The pass rusher actually gets Tyron Smith off balance a bit, getting hands on and delivering a blow. Tyron absorbs this blow, delivers his own solid punch, hops back, and swipes the rusher to the ground.

The rusher actually tries to long-arm Smith here, and Smith makes him pay for it. This is a beautiful recovery by Smith, and a textbook way to deal with the long-arm and bull rush.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

Bull rush isn't working against Tyron Smith? Why not try a spin move?

It might make sense on paper, but in practice, we see Tyron absolutely man-handle Connor Barwin when he tries to spin. Tyron stops Barwin midway through his spin while his back was still turned, and then simply tosses him into the turf.

It isn't often you see a grown man handle another grown man like this, even in the NFL. Tyron Smith is special, and his excellence continued later in the game.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

When you continually stop a defenders primary and secondary rushes throughout the entire game, he ends up looking lost and defeated like Connor Barwin does here.

Tyron Smith kicks out quickly and athletically to the wide-9 technique, then stones him with a great punch. Once he has Barwin under control, he handles him down the line of scrimmage and finishes the pass block.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

As technically sound and powerful as Tyron was all game, this might have been my favorite play he made. Instead of simply saying "I completed my assignment, my play is over," he has the awareness and the athleticism to get back to the blitzer and save Dak Prescott from a sack.

Run Blocking

As great as Tyron Smith is in pass protection, his prowess in run blocking is second to none as well.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

This is how you get to the second level and block a linebacker. This is the type of play they should show at offensive line clinics and camps, because Tyron Smith does a perfect job on this play.

Tyron slow-plays up to the second level, keeping the end man on the line of scrimmage honest while still working his way up to his assignment. Once he meets the backer, he uses his excellent hand placement and pure strength to seal him off.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

For my money, the hardest block in football is the reach block when the defensive lineman is lined up a full technique over from you. As an offensive tackle, this entails scooping the 3-technique with a backside reach on outside zone.

Tyron Smith makes this look too easy.

He displays great footwork here, taking a bucket step while keeping his shoulders as square as possible to allow himself to get to the defensive tackle. Then, he takes control of the tackle and creates a nice lane for Ezekiel Elliott.

Gyazo

The easy way to save screenshots, GIFs, and websites. Make everyone happy by sharing smarter, faster, and with your point crystal clear.

This playside double between Smith and Ronald Leary is everything. I mean, I can't emphasize enough how good this looks.

Leary doesn't do a great job at the snap of the ball, but he gets just enough of the 3-technique to allow Tyron Smith to blow him back into oblivion with his down block. Then, Leary gets up to the second level and seals the linebacker.

Do you agree that the Cowboys' best player is Tyron Smith, or do you believe another player is the top dog? Let me know in the comment section how you feel!



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Advertisement
2 Comments
  • cowboy ernie

    Ty Dog! Is the man!! He will bite you if you get in his way!

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      We are lucky to have him in Dallas for sure. Thanks for reading, Ernie!

Dallas Cowboys

Earl Thomas: Age is Just a Number Part II

John Williams

Published

on

Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de Earl Thomas, la NFL Sigue Equivocándose
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Yesterday, I wrote a piece attempting to assuage the fears that many in Cowboys Nation have about handing a contract extension out to Earl Thomas, who is 29 years old as we enter the 2018 NFL season.

In the comment section, a reader posed a very good question that is the basis for the rest of this article:

Earl Thomas Comparisons at age 29 and Beyond

It's a great question that certainly required some research, but Cowboys fans all across the world should be encouraged by my findings.

Just to refresh, here are the players we looked at as favorable comparisons to Earl Thomas at this point in his career. I searched Pro Football Reference for safeties who had at least three All-Pro First Team selections and at least six Pro Bowl appearances.

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

The average age of the players listed at the time when they reached their third All-Pro was 31 years old. I'm removing Deion Sanders and Roger Wehrli from the equation as most of their work was done at cornerback.

Let's look at a chart that outlines what these guys careers looked like at age 29 and beyond to get a better picture. Remember, Earl Thomas already has three All-Pro selections and six Pro Bowls. Many of these guys didn't reach those kind of accolades until their 30s.

Earl Thomas Comparisons at age 29 and Beyond 1

Click image to view at full size.

The first thing I noticed as I looked into this question is that only two players had three or more All-Pro First Team selections prior to age 29, like Earl Thomas has. Those players were Rod Woodson and Ronnie Lott. Every other player on this list didn't hit their third All-Pro selection until age 29 or later.

Only one player reached his sixth Pro Bowl prior to his age 29 season, that player is Ronnie Lott, who many NFL Analysts consider to be the greatest safety of all-time. Most of the players didn't achieve their third All-Pro selection until their age 29 season or later. Earl Thomas reached his third All-Pro selection at age 25.

Here's a hot take for you: Earl Thomas, when it's all said and done could be considered the greatest safety of all-time.  I'll just leave that there to marinate and if a trade does happen, we'll come back to that.

Back to the chart.

Another thing I want to point out is that none of these players were 100% healthy. Such is the life in the NFL, especially as you get older, but they were available for at least 14 games a majority of their seasons aged 29 or later. Health is an unpredictable animal in the NFL, but the safety position allows for much more longevity than many other positions. And as the chart depicts, it's a position that ages well.

So, as you can see in the chart, players who were highly productive prior to their age 29 season were also highly productive for several seasons after. These players went onto average almost seven more years in the league from their age 29 seasons.

Most players continued to average a healthy amount of interceptions. The player that saw the biggest decline from the early part of his career to the post-29 part of his career was Brian Dawkins. The former Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos safety went from three interceptions per season prior to 29 to 1.9 interceptions per season 29 and after.

When it comes to the safety position, the elite seem to be able to get the most of their bodies and their abilities and can prolong their prime. The position relies as much on intelligence and awareness as it does quickness and athleticism. Earl Thomas has the mental capacity to play the game for many more years and there's been zero evidence to suggest that he is experiencing any physical decline.

At the rate of his career that he's on, Earl Thomas is destined for the Hall of Fame. He's one of the faces of the Legion of Boom defense that propelled the Seattle Seahawks into the elite category of teams in the early part of this decade.

If and when an Earl Thomas trade does occur, don't sweat an extension for Thomas.

Thomas' credentials put him in an elite group of players who played the game for a very long time and there's no reason to believe he won't continue to do so.

The Dallas Cowboys aren't that far off from having a Super Bowl contending defense built in the image of the Seattle Seahawks. Going to get the All-Pro, future Hall of Fame safety is the final piece to the to the Dallas Cowboys completing construction on "Doomsday III." 

Everything else is there for the Dallas Cowboys, now all they have to do is: Go. Get. Earl!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN

John Williams

Published

on

A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 Playoffs 2
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has long been considered "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," and for a long time that title was justified. If you wanted your national sports news, where did you turn to but the cable sports channel to watch that day's episode of SportsCenter. But over the last few years, it's become more and more clear that it's "The Worldwide Leader" in name only.

The ratings are dropping and the network has had to make a lot of business decisions as it relates to much of their on-air talent over the last several years. With their latest under 25 starting 22 -- ahem, troll job -- they seem to have finally come to terms that they are basically First Take.

Noah Brown put it best in his reaction to the ESPN "Insider" voting that led to Saquon Barkley being named to the starting 22 ahead of Ezekiel Elliott. Brown, Elliott's teammate when both were at Ohio State University, came to his defense upon seeing the list.

Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPNAnd here is the ESPN list:

SportsCenter on Twitter

43 of our NFL Insiders voted. Here's their best starting roster under the age of 25.

I'm sure there could be debates about different positions on the squad. Personally, quarterback is one where an argument could be made for Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott over DeShaun Watson, but that's for another time.

But to have a rookie, who has never played a down in the NFL ahead of the NFL's league leader in rushing for 2016, Ezekiel Elliott, is laughable.

Ridiculous.

Shameful even.

The fact that they had 43, again I use the quotations, "Insiders" vote on this and Ezekiel Elliott wasn't listed as one of the two running backs just shows you how far they've come as a network.

Let's remember that Ezekiel Elliott has averaged a touchdown a game -- receiving and rushing -- in his 25-game career. No running back has more rushing yards than Elliott does over the last two years, including 2017 league rushing leader, Kareem Hunt. No running back has more rushing touchdowns than Elliott's 22 rushing TDs.

Ezekiel Elliott's yards per carry is a healthy 4.63. Todd Gurley sits at 3.93. No player with more than 1,800 rushing yards over the last two years has a better yards per attempt than Ezekiel Elliott.

I get that you'd vote Todd Gurley in there, but to not have Ezekiel Elliott, arguably the game's best running back on your Under 25 starting 22 just makes you look like Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. Not a sports journalism entity worthy of people throwing money at for "Insider" access.

I won't say that I never or will never watch ESPN, because where else am I gonna go for Monday Night Football, Todd Archer, or the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships? When I'm at my father-in-law's, I'll watch SportsCenter first thing in the morning, because it will be on and you don't change another man's television.

"The Worldwide Leader," however, loses credibility when they promote a list like this that has such a glaring omission.

Perhaps, maybe the goal wasn't to put out an accurate list. Maybe the goal was to get us talking about their list, just like when NFL Network releases their Top 100 players list. Like they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

This troll job from ESPN has certainly gotten them some publicity, or should I say, notoriety.



Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

Published

on

Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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