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Will Brice Butler’s Inconsistency Create More Opportunity For Young WRs?

Brian Martin

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Many of us have been anxiously awaiting to see the offensive debut of a few of the Dallas Cowboys young wide receivers. That hasn't happened as of yet, but with the inconsistency Brice Butler has been showing catching the ball, it could happen sooner rather than later.

The one term tossed around the most when discussing Brice Butler is inconsistency. It was the way he was described during his time with the Oakland Raiders and probably one of the contributing factors why they were willing to trade him to the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. And now, Cowboys Nation fully understands the frustration Raiders fans felt about Butler.

Since joining the Dallas Cowboys, a lot of us have wanted Brice Butler to overtake Terrance Williams on the depth chart. Butler possesses all of the talent he will ever need to become a starting WR in the NFL, but the only thing still holding him back is his inconsistency catching the ball.

It's absolutely infuriating at times because in one instance Brice Butler will make an outstanding acrobatic catch, and in the next he drops an easy completion that hits him right in the hands. There is nothing more frustrating for coaches and especially quarterbacks then to have a WR who they can't truly depend upon to come through when it matters.

Brice Butler's inconsistency could unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your point of view) create more opportunities for a couple of the Dallas Cowboys young wide receivers.

WR Noah Brown

WR Noah Brown

Both Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown could start seeing more playing time if Brice Butler doesn't start becoming a more consistent WR. Of course, it may already be too late for Butler, but only time will tell.

Switzer and Brown were both active in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos and could start seeing their playing time increase as the season progresses. They both have an advantage of over Butler because they play special teams and #19 doesn't. But, at this point in their careers they aren't quite as polished in the receiving game as Butler.

A lot of Cowboys fans have already been chomping at the bit to see Ryan Switzer utilized more on offense. The idea of using Switzer and Cole Beasley on the field at the same time is really intriguing and could put opposing defenses at a disadvantage. But, so far we have only seen Switzer in on a couple of offensive plays, being utilized in the return game mostly instead.

WRs Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley, and Dez Bryant

WRs Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley, and Dez Bryant

Switzer doesn't the size or speed like Bryce Butler, but the Cowboys other rookie WR, Noah Brown, is pretty similar. Brown is 6'2", 225 pounds, about an inch shorter and 5-10 pounds heavier than Butler. But, he doesn't have the deep speed like Butler does either. Brown does however have an intriguing skill set that could be utilized in several different areas.

Even as a rookie, Noah Brown is already arguably the best blocking WR the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster. He would be a tremendous asset in the running game, while also providing a receiving threat in the passing game. Plus, let's not forget he plays special teams as well.

I would honestly love to see Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown see more playing time on offense, but I'm not sure if the Cowboys coaching staff is ready to move on from Brice Butler just yet. But, if Butler's inconsistency catching the ball continues, we could see the rookies earn more playing time sooner rather than later.

Do you think Brice Butler's time is running out?



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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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Tony Farthing

    September 20, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Silly notion! The whole offense is inconsistent right now. Beasley gave zero effort to catch a very “catchable” pass on 3rd and long… there’s plenty blame to go around. From what Butler showed in pre-season and last year… He’s a keeper! We should be patient with him. He stretches the field vertically and horizontally… something the “little guys” can’t do.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      The Cowboys coaching staff have remained patient with Butler for nearly 3 years now. His inconsistency catching ball is apparent, which is why I think we could start seeing some of the young WRs receive more playing time.

      • Assassin

        September 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm

        I would add that Beazley and Switzer compliment Dak’s style perfectly, short to mid-range passes. He can dink you to death and keep the change moving. I would love to see both of them in the game at the same time on a regular basis.

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          September 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

          Exactly! It’s not that Bryant has lost a step, it’s more that Prescott prefers to throw the underneath routes. Those are higher percentage completions.

          • Cris de Campos

            September 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm

            That’s the sort of play that will end up giving you what you got this week. You simply can’t combine a run dominant scheme with a dink and dunk passing offense and expect it to work out well. This is because the defense only has to worry about covering short and intermediate zones. Which also makes it a lot easier for the defense to tee off and be extremely aggressive at the line of scrimmage. I fear that the coaching staff in Dallas is not aware of this phenomenon. There shouldn’t even be a question… Butler should be lined up opposite Dez for the simple fact that he is 6’3, runs a sub-4.4, and wins 50-50 balls. They should be taking 3-4 deep shots to Butler per game to make safeties and the defense have to respect the deep zone of the field and account for a guy that can take a WR screen or a short crossing route all the way to the house. That would open up the field for Dez and Zeke and allow a Beasley or a Switzer to contribute important chain moving conversions when necessary. Until Dak can dissect and read a defense somewhere near the level of a really good QB, 10 passes to a Beasley per game is going to typically yield you about 7 receptions for 50-70 yards. Great, but it doesn’t make the defense worry, they still just play the short and intermediate part of the field. In a system where you probably want to throw the ball around 30 times… You’re just not going to get enough production out of that kind of game plan.

          • Assassin

            September 21, 2017 at 9:51 am

            Butler is a proven non-entity. Not sure why you feel he is more than that. I gave you all his numbers. The defenses simply pay him little mind. Remember Dallas went 13-3 without a speed demon stretching the D last year.

          • Assassin

            September 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm

            This is the way a lot of the better teams win these days. Tom Brady has been dinking folks to death for years. We’re set up pretty well for doing this right now with Dez, Beaz and Switzer. I would expect that we set our sites on a speed receiver in the 2018 draft unless they think Terrance can handle it to stretch the field as we dont have a viable option there now. I would prefer a “hands receiver” over Terrance right now though. (and I’m a Baylor guy).

      • Tony Farthing

        September 20, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Last point- Butler is a “young guy”… isn’t he? Either way, I’m sure we’ll be in position to grab a stud during draft… time to consider drafting Dez’ replacement. (Hate to say).

        But, don’t see Bease being resigned or extended unless he’s a deep discount
        Was overpaid on last contract… and SwissBeats might be a little more tougher than Cole… will snag those slants crossing the field with “max effort” at a fraction of cost. 🙂

        Use some of that $$ to upgrade Butler’s spot as well.

    • Assassin

      September 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Wow. Of all the guys on the team, Beazley is about the last one to accuse of giving zero effort.

      Butler is exactly what we thought when we got him, a deeply flawed, deeply talented WR. He has hands of stone on some easy catches and then turns around and lays out catching the ball inches off the ground. There’s only so long you can keep a mercurial receiver on the field.

  2. Assassin

    September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Q – did you ever play football? There are about a million different variances that come into play rather than if he can dunk a basketball – or jump whatever you feel he should jump. This guy is one of last guys on the team to accuse of giving zero effort. Let me add – not a single one of them would be in the NFL if they werent giving every bit of effort they could.

    • Tony Farthing

      September 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Yeah… I played high school and walked-on at collegiate level… I know a little something-something… and I’ve been coaching the position (along w/DBs) for quite a few years now at the 12U-14U level.

      And every athlete experience games like DALvDEN at some point.

      I invite you to look at play… Not exaggerating to belittle Bease… Just an observation that allowed me (as a diehard fan) to accept the defeat heading into 3rd quarter… LOL!

      Bease is asked to use his quickness, not range or toughness to contribute… Butler is required to do everything we expect from a possession WR… which is extremely hard to do consistently in NFL (see Julio Jones, Green, Dez, etc.).

      On the flip-side… I have seen Butler make extremely difficult catches under/into coverage… not even 2 weeks ago. No way that ability have diminished to deem him useless.

      And last note on effort… although I’m rooting for him… He may be only player on this roster who’ve quit football (recall? DannyAmedolla outworked him and he quit.).

      Fact of the matter, he won’t be resigned… we over-paid… drafted his replacement already. Hard to find value (skill vs cost) like Butler.

      • Assassin

        September 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm

        The reason I ask is understanding the value of players to specific teams. Butler can certainly made plays, but he’s also cost us plays, last year percentage wise, he was at the bottom of Cowboy WRs at less than 50%. Meanwhile Beaz caught more than 3 out of every 4 that came his way.

        Beazley led the NFC’s best team last season in catches. Meanwhile Butler was 7th on the team, behind TEs and RBs. Add in the fact that nobody signed Butler when he was on the free market this offseason.

        For Butler’s career, he’s right at a 50% WR. Thats near the bottom of WRs on 53 man rosters in the NFL. Beaz is about 72%. Terrance, who has an extremely small catch radius as a body catcher, is still substansially better than Butler at about 62%. Dez gets doubleteamed nearly every play over his career and he’s still about 60%.

        Butlers value to the Cowboys is marginal at best. He’s just too undependable. And throwing long is not Dak’s regular forte. Brice was signed on a one year deal and if any of the young turks had came through, he’d probably be sitting on the curb.

        And btw – Butler is anything but a “possession receiver”. A possession receiver is one that doesnt drop balls and moves the chains, especially on third. Somebody like Cole Beazley who led the Cowboy WRs last year in first downs gained…

        • Tony Farthing

          September 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm

          You nailed it! Same position, different role.

          If you’re evaluating how well Butler/Bease is executing their respective roles within offense… I agree Bease is definitely most productive.

          However, I’ll argue… relatively speaking… Bease have a niche role and won’t fit onto traditional NFL roster. Same as Wes Welker… he capitalize off of any defense unwilling to take a LB out of the box and go nickle/dime with the extra DBs.

          He’s not an every down WR… and won’t have any of the success he’s enjoyed as a wideout… if he’s asked to be matched up against another fast-twitch athlete like DBs.

          He’s the latest “dink & dunk” WR.

          Despite leading team in receptions… he’s not asked to run into or manipulate coverage (pushing DBs) like Butler. He’s not a primary WR beating double teams or opponents best DBs.

          For perspective, he’s no where close to being a Wayne Chrebet, Steve Smith Sr or Terry Glenn.

          He will easily be replaced… perhaps this year by a rookie. Mainly, because playing slot in this offense is “low hanging fruit”.

          Butler have a much tougher task… He actually have to “beat” the defense.

          • Tony Farthing

            September 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm

            “easily replaced” is subjective…

        • Tony Farthing

          September 25, 2017 at 10:22 pm

          Butler showing up tonight! Happy for the kid! Hope he continues!

          Zeke too! 🙂

          • Brian Martin

            Brian Martin

            September 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm

            Hopefully his inconsistency is a thing of the past. The Cowboys offense could definitely use his deep speed.

  3. Cris de Campos

    September 20, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    These arguments are such nonsense. Every… WR… Has…These…Drops. What drives me nuts is that players who have been cloaked in entitlement never hear such knocks, even if they have a long list of horrible drops. The difference is that guys like Butler have a net positive effect on the offense. Even if he had one bad drop per game, even 2, if he had 8 targets opposite Dez he’d probably fall in the neighborhood of 4-7 receptions. Those receptions would be impactful though. They’ll be big plays. He can take the top off… but he can also take a short screen to the house. That makes a defense have to worry (this is what KC does that makes them so dangerous… any of the guys they keep getting the ball in the hands of can take it to the house if one defender is out of place). Nobody on the Dallas squad has the combine numbers of Butler, and he’s simply not so bad that he shouldn’t be out there opposite of Dez. It’s nuts.

  4. Tony Farthing

    September 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Can’t be afraid to take a hit! Especially, when team need a spark. #PutSomeSauceOnIt

  5. Assassin

    September 21, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I’m gonna leave this conversation with an analogy. Depending on Brice Butler to become a dependable deep threat is like depending on winning Texas Lotto. Yes, there’s a chance… but infinitesimal. Butler was signed in case they couldnt get Terrance Williams signed (which if they had waited a couple of days, Butler probably wouldnt have happened). A one year band aid. Butler will make a spectacular catch or two before the year is over. He will also drop several passes which will ultimately cost us game(s).

  6. Spoonydawg

    September 23, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Bring on the young guns while its still early.. come play off time.. they will be ready to go…

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 23, 2017 at 10:00 am

      I think you may get your wish this week. At least, that’s what I’m hoping anyway.

      • Spoonydawg

        September 23, 2017 at 10:48 am

        We will see… Lets see if Scott is worth the money…

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Dallas Cowboys

Top 5 Offseason Priorities for the Dallas Cowboys

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

The 2018 NFL Season has come to an end for the Dallas Cowboys and now the team looks to the offseason to gear up for what should be another run toward the playoffs in 2019. As with every team heading into every offseason, they'll have some difficult decisions to make with some of their own players as well as deciding how they want to attack free agency and the draft.

The Cowboys have drafted really well over the last three seasons in particular, but have had a long track record of success in the Jason Garrett era. How we judge the draft this season should take into account what Amari Cooper has been to this team. He's been everything the Dallas Cowboys hoped for when they sent their 2019 first round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders for Cooper. The Cowboys, without a first round pick, will have less room for maneuvering around the draft, but as we've seen in the past, they are just as effective in the second round and beyond as they are in the first round.

As we get going in the offseason, let's look at the Dallas Cowboys 5 Most Pressing Priorities.

1. Dealing with DeMarcus Lawrence

The NFL is a passing league. You need players who can throw the ball and catch the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, you must have guys that can get after the passer and cover the receiver.

After moving to the 4-3 defense and the departure of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys struggled to find any pass rushing consistency at the defensive end position. They were led at the position by players like Jeremy Mincey, George Selvie, and Benson Mayowa. Finally, the Cowboys selection of DeMarcus Lawrence is paying off has he's had double-digit sacks each of the last two seasons and has been equally effective against the run.

The Cowboys have the option of using the franchise tag on Lawrence again this offseason, which is a possibility as it would prevent other teams from negotiating with the Cowboys best defensive player. While the Cowboys need to continue to build the team through the draft and extend a few players, there isn't a bigger offseason priority than getting DeMarcus Lawrence's deal done.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Jason Garrett on soon-to-be free agent DeMarcus Lawrence: He's certainly as big a priority as there is

 

2. Making Big Adjustments to the Offense

There was a lot of consternation yesterday at the comments Jason Garrett made to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth about Scott Linehan's future with the team. It's obviously a possibility that he returns in 2019, but as Stephen Jones mentioned later in the day, it's too early to begin discussing those things as they haven't really began to review the season.

Scott Linehan has been good as an offensive coordinator and he's been a part of Dak Prescott's progression, but there are certain areas of this offense that need to be reworked or shaken up. Whether the Cowboys decide to move on from Linehan or they decide to make adjustments to the scheme, something needs to change. In particular, the team's insistence on using jumbo packages on every short yardage situation has made them predictable.

On 4th and 1 on Saturday, the team went to the Ezekiel Elliott in jumbo formations one too many times. In an era when most of the NFL is attempting to spread things out with 11 and 10 personnel, the Cowboys continue to force two and three tight end formations.

This offseason is just getting started and the Cowboys have a lot of decisions to make about their offense, but none is bigger than figuring out who the play caller is going to be. While the team may be publicly supporting Scott Linehan at the moment, it would be highly unlikely for the team to bring him back for another year.

#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

3. Continue Building the Wide Receiver Corp

The Dallas Cowboys began the process of overhauling the wide receiver corp last offseason when they released Dez Bryant, signed Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, drafted Michael Gallup and Cedric Wilson, and traded for Tavon Austin and most importantly Amari Cooper.

Generally, when the Dallas Cowboys have attempted to rebuild a position, they've done it over a few seasons, like they did with the offensive line, the defensive line, and the linebackers.

This offseason, the Cowboys will have a few decisions to make at the wide receiver position. Do they bring back Cole Beasley? What about Tavon Austin? Allen Hurns would have likely been a player the Cowboys could have used in the slot to replace Cole Beasley, but he's hurt and possibly won't be ready for training camp.

On offense, the passing game began to take shape in the second half of the season as Dak Prescott began to get more comfortable with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. They'll make a nice 1-2 punch heading into 2019, but there is still room for adding a player or two. Depending on the type of contract he'd want, it would be great to bring back Cole Beasley. It's become clear that he's not as big of a focal point in the offense since Amari Cooper has emerged, but he's still a good player that can make some big catches for you.

If the team looked to the draft, one player that is high on my list is Oklahoma Wide Receiver Marquise Brown. He's a home run hitter in every stretch of the imagination. With speed for days, he could be the field stretcher that the team has struggled to find. Not only does he have speed, he's an excellent route runner and has excellent hands and spends the offseason training with Steelers Wide Receiver and cousin Antonio Brown.

If the Cowboys wanted to go the free agency route to add a wide receiver, they should look at Jamison Crowder of the Washington Redskins or Adam Humphries of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to fill their slot wide receiver role. If you remember back to the Bucs game, Humphries was giving the Cowboys fits totaling 10 catches on 12 targets for 79 yards. Crowder struggled with injuries this season and had a down year, but that could mean he'd be cheap to sign, which is the way the Dallas Cowboys do free agency.

There are some nice players in the draft and free agency that the Cowboys could look to add to their wide receiver group, but they'll also be getting back Cedric Wilson, their sixth round pick from last season. The team really liked the production that Wilson had at Boise St. and Wilson was playing well in training camp and was pushing for a roster spot before his season ending injury.

Noah Brown is also a player in line to see more snaps moving forward. He's played well when called upon, using his superior blocking to make an impact in the running game while displaying nice route running and hands in the passing game. If Cole Beasley didn't return to the Cowboys this offseason, I could see the Cowboys giving Brown an expanded role on the outside or using him as a big slot receiver, similar to how the Arizona Cardinals use Larry Fitzgerald or how the New Orleans Saints use Michael Thomas. He has the size to be a mismatch for slot corners and the route running to be a mismatch for linebackers. They could also use Brown on the outside, put Cooper in the slot and then when they want to use Brown as a blocker, could motion him in-line.

Wide receiver will be a big question this offseason as teams must have three or four solid receivers to run their offense. The Cowboys have some players that could be given expanded roles, but should continue to add to the position through the draft.

4. Safety

Most of 2018 was spent discussing the possibility of trading for Seattle Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas, and I imagine that much of this offseason will be spent discussing him again. If you got tired of Earl Thomas talk last year, get ready, it's about to pick up.

Earl Thomas will be a free agent this offseason, so he'll be free to sign with any team he chooses and he's made it known that he'd like to play for the Dallas Cowboys. There are several question marks when it comes to Earl Thomas that the Cowboys will have to consider.

When will he be ready to go? What kind of money will he demand? Has health become a concern?

All legitimate questions for a player that will be coming off a broken leg suffered this season. He should be ready for offseason training as there have been videos posted to his Instagram showing him running stadiums. If he's ready to roll by free agency and is able to pass his physical, I bet they take another long look at adding him to the roster.

They have another free agent option that they can look into though in New York Giants Safety Landon Collins. He's a different type of safety than Earl Thomas, but Collins is a player. He's more of a "box" or strong safety that you could use to play the Jeff Heath role, which would leave Xavier Woods playing the free safety spot.

5. Defensive Tackle

Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Tyrone Crawford, Caraun Reid, and Daniel Ross played well for the Dallas Cowboys defense, but as we saw on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams, they were lacking as a group. In Woods, Collins, and Crawford, you feel good with what you have as you approach free agency and the draft, but they need to add a player that can help them with their interior pass rush.

Much of the pass rush that the Cowboys received this season came from their defensive ends and linebackers. The tackles were good, but inconsistent in their ability to collapse the pocket and not allow any room for opposing quarterbacks to step into.

This is a draft that is deep on defense and the Cowboys will have a chance to add to their defensive tackle spot with their second round pick. With Rod Marinelli likely returning to the Dallas Cowboys next offseason, we know his ability to find diamonds in the rough. I wouldn't be surprised if they go practice squad diving again this offseason and find a player that can have a significant impact like David Irving did in 2017 and Antwaun Woods did in 2018.

It's unlikely that David Irving will be back and Tyrone Crawford could be a cap casualty if the Cowboys no longer want to carry his $10 million cap number.

The Cowboys are likely to bring back DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory is still under contract, as well as Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong. They are pretty solid at defensive end, but could still add a player to compete with Taco and Armstrong. Defensive tackle though, is a place where they need to make a move to upgrade the position. The defense was really good last season, but needs to look for ways to improve heading into 2019.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys will do as they always do this offseason as they approach the roster; sign inexpensive veterans with the hope that they outperform their contracts and attempt to draft well yet again. It's a formula that has worked for them and there's no reason to think it won't continue moving forward.



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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign OL Coach Marc Colombo Through 2019

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign OL Coach Marc Colombo Through 2019

Hiring six new positional coaches and a special teams coordinator prior to the 2018-19 season, the Dallas Cowboys saw plenty of success with this turnover - rebounding from a 3-5 start to reach the Divisional Round before having their season end at the LA Rams. At arguably their most important position, the Cowboys admitted to hiring the wrong fit when Paul Alexander was fired mid-season. Very fortunately, Alexander's assistant was ready to step up and become one of the most respected coaches on the staff, with former Cowboys Tackle Marc Colombo receiving a new contract as OL Coach through next season.

The team announced that Colombo would return on Tuesday. The day prior, Head Coach Jason Garrett said he expects Center Travis Frederick to be ready for the entirety of the offseason program. The two-time 1st Team All-Pro missed the entire season dealing with Gillian-Barre Syndrome.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have signed offensive line coach Marc Colombo to a new contract

There's still work to be done this offseason for the Cowboys to maintain their usual standard on the offensive line. Just days removed from the end of the season, in which the Cowboys became the first playoff squad since 1988 to start all players under the age of 30, the Dallas OL is in great position and should remain an overwhelming strength under Colombo.

With Joe Looney set to return to a backup role and Xavier Su'a-Filo under contract, even the Cowboys depth up front is built up nicely well before free agency or the Draft. Cam Fleming and Marcus Martin are the Cowboys offensive linemen with expiring contracts.

The Cowboys averaged 136.9 rush yards per game under Alexander, who introduced an unfamiliar scheme to established veterans like Tyron Smith and Zack Martin. Alexander's time as the Cowboys OL Coach also stunted the growth of rookie Left Guard Connor Williams, who finished the season strong once returning to the starting lineup.

The Cowboys allowed 56 sacks this season, 23 of which (41%) came in the six games under Alexander. Colombo had served as Alexander's assistant, believed to be a candidate to run his own OL room at some point.

When that opportunity came sooner than expected, the Cowboys brought back former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to assist Colombo.

A projected starting lineup of Smith, Williams, Frederick, Martin, and La'el Collins is what Colombo and Houck will have to look forward to when the Cowboys offense takes the field in 2019 - along with rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott and fourth-year Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Colombo described himself as the "luckiest guy on the planet," when asked about his opportunity to continue coaching with his former team.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign OL Coach Marc Colombo Through 2019" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

DallasCowboys linebacker @VanderEsch38 has been added to the 2019 Pro Bowl Roster. 🐺 Congratulations, rookie! → https://t.co/AYqEUy2tZx

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" 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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