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Will Cowboys Regret Losing CB Brandon Carr?

Jess Haynie

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Brandon Carr

The Cowboys lost one of their most dependable defensive players last March when cornerback Brandon Carr signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Many fans were happy to see him go, never forgiving him for not living up to the massive free agent deal he got in the 2012 offseason. However, circumstances could quickly have fans wishing Carr was still around.

Carr not only never missed a game in five seasons with Dallas, but he hasn't missed one in his entire nine-year career. He has started in every game he's ever played since being a fifth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. He's also been one of the NFL's model citizens and philanthropists.

 

Brandon Carr

CB Brandon Carr

The Cowboys go into 2017 with a lot of risk at the cornerback position. Veteran Orlando Scandrick has had two years of health issues. Newly-acquired veteran Nolan Carroll was arrested in May for a DWI and will likely be suspended for a few games. The other key players are Anthony Brown, only a second-year player, and two rookies in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.

I'm not saying Brandon Carr would never drive drunk or couldn't finally get an injury that costs him playing time, but his history says otherwise. While never spectacular, Carr is always a solid and available player. As Jerry Jones reminded us last year in an interview, availability is one the most important abilities any NFL player can have.

It's no surprise that fans turned on Carr. With only one interception from 2014-2016 and the highest salary cap hit on defense, plus the Cowboys general defensive woes, he was both an easy scapegoat and a legitimate cause for complaint. It didn't help when he was on the wrong end of Odell Beckham Jr's infamous one-handed catch in 2014, the closest a NFL player can get to being "posterized."

Brandon Carr

CB Brandon Carr

Carr was never as good as his salary but also never as bad as fans made him out to be, and the 2017 season could easily have you wishing he was still a Cowboy. One injury, another conduct issue for Carroll, a sophomore slump for Brown, or a slow start for the rookies, and your Dallas defensive backfield may be in worse shape than last year.

Of course, Brandon turned 31 in May and that may have been reason enough to let him walk. However, another former Cowboys is still one of the league's best corners and he's about to turn 39-years-old. I've often looked at Terence Newman the last few years and wished he was still wearing the blue and white.

I just hope that circumstances in 2017 don't have me looking at Brandon Carr the same way.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Franklin Jones

    July 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Too often, when in a position to make a play on the ball, it seemed that Carr was just escorting the WR down the field and at the crucial moment took the wrong angle and gave the target room enough to make the catch. He usually made the tackle afterwards but had he followed the ball better he could have stepped in front and at least broken up the pass, maybe even secured the INT. I don’t know if it was flawed technique or simply a fear of getting beaten for the score, but he didn’t seem to take full advantage of the opportunities when the QB threw his way. I’m okay with his departure. We need better production from the position, especially in the NFC East.

    • Jess Haynie

      Jess Haynie

      July 10, 2017 at 8:23 am

      I agree that Carr had weaknesses. However, I also thought he actually played better the last two years than in the initial adjustment to the 4-3 scheme. There were a few games last year where he was really locking up his man.

      This isn’t really about Carr’s ability but more his reliability. I outlined all of the risk factors in the article, and having a guy like Carr in the stable would just make me feel a little more secure going into the season.

  2. tom

    July 10, 2017 at 9:51 am

    totally agree that we should have resigned this VERY DURABLE, NOT FLASHY but stand up citizen. I think the issue with management regretting the huge contract we gave him was part of the reason. but if you consider he played EVERY SINGLE defensive down, he was a much better financial return than Claiborne

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      July 11, 2017 at 2:08 am

      Yeah, I’m with you there. Carroll was a dependable player in Philly though. Basically their Brandon Carr.

      • Colston Ballew

        July 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm

        Where he was constantly toast and led the league in pass interference penalties….now he’s a cowboy!! Thank god Jerry didn’t trade Scandrick!!

  3. John Williams

    John Williams

    July 11, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Carr was the definition of “Solid, yet unspectacular.”

    I was surprised they didn’t try to bring him back on a Nolan Carrol type contract, but it was obvious they were ready to move on.

    The only thing that made me okay with it was Anthony Brown. Had he not played the way he played, then I would have been more concerned.

    While you don’t want to rely on rookies on the outside, these seem to be some pretty good rookies.

    Best bet will be Carroll and Brown on the outside and Scan in the middle. Lewis and Awuzie will work their way in gradually taking snaps from Carroll and Scan and in 2018 you’ll see a nickel lineup of Awuzie, Lewis and Brown.

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams

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

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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