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Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search for “Fresh Ideas” Begin?

Sean Martin

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Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search For "Fresh Ideas" Begin? 5

Following a 9-7 season, the effectiveness of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has once again come into question. Changes at head coach, offensive coordinator, or defensive coordinator have felt imminent on the heels of a 13-3 NFC East-winning campaign just a year ago.

Through the highs and lows this coaching staff again endured, and after clearing the air of reports surrounding the likes of WR Coach Derek Dooley's future in Dallas, Jerry Jones has all but reassured Cowboys Nation that Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli will still lead the Cowboys in 2018.

The Cowboys have also made it known that the coaching changes they do make will occur below Garrett and his two play callers, in an overdue admission of stubbornness.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas No Debería Jugar Con Sus Titulares VS Eagles

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett, and OC Scott Linehan

The first of these more minor changes became official yesterday, as Jason Garrett announced in his season-concluding press conference that TE Coach Steve Loney is retiring.

Mike Leslie on Twitter

No #Cowboys coaching decisions have been made by Jason Garrett or the front office, yet. The only change that is known - TE Coach Steve Loney is retiring.

Loney filled the shoes of long-time TE Coach Mike Pope in 2017, his first at this position for the Cowboys. He served as the Assistant OL Coach and as Senior Offensive Assistant in 2016.

There is, of course, a larger theme here.

With the lasting image of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys being a hard-to-justify 6-0 win in Philadelphia, Rod Marinelli's defense has earned rightful praise for their performance this season. The same cannot be said about Scott Linehan's "predictable" offense.

It comes as no surprise that this is where the Cowboys' ongoing search for new perspectives begins.

What we do know so early into this offseason process is that the Cowboys have at least backed Linehan's approach for QB Dak Prescott's third year.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Dak Prescott on Scott Linehan: "I have 120 percent belief in him, 200 percent belief in him. He [deserves] a lot of credit for my success in this league. Everything that I've done, teaching the game, breaking the game down...He means a lot to me.

Retaining Scott Linehan is a move to keep Prescott's successful support system around him.

After so many important voices to their rookie QB departed ahead of his 2017 slump, the Cowboys can justify keeping their play caller. Not only will Linehan remain in place at offensive coordinator, but WR coach Derek Dooley is considering jobs elsewhere in the NFL and NCAA.

This is a pretty strong indication of the confidence this organization has in Scott Linehan.

Where Will Jerry Jones' Promised Changes Come From?

As Linehan continues in the same role, with him again comes QB Kellen Moore -- who may be in consideration to change roles and join the offensive coaching staff. Should this be the most team-efficient way to keep Moore in support of Prescott, it is a smart move by the Cowboys.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

FishTips #Cowboys Coaching Carousel 5) Want evidence of Linehan shifting from hot seat to throne? Sources tell me he's already working to examine ways to fill some of the six spots on staff, and that practice-squad QB Kellen Moore is among the names to watch.

Current Cowboys QB Coach Wade Wilson is one of the Cowboys assistants on an expiring contract. He is reportedly considering his retirement after starting his coaching career with the Cowboys in 2000.

He has served in his second stint as the team's quarterbacks coach since 2007.

Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search For "Fresh Ideas" Begin? 2

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott with QB Coach Wade Wilson

This leaves RB coach Gary Brown as the only other coach on offense with an expiring contract that would entice change. This is not to say that any positions on this Cowboys staff below the "big three" are irreplaceable.

Yes, it was ultimately the constant uncertainty surrounding RB Ezekiel Elliott's status prior to serving his six-game suspension that will define this team's frustrating season. Short of Brown going rogue and calling plays for his RBs himself though, there is little reason to think that he won't return.

Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search For "Fresh Ideas" Begin? 3

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, and S Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Another area where the Cowboys' future looks bright is in their young secondary, where rookies Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie played major roles as starting CBs. This is still a Rod Marinelli defense in need of starting caliber players, but finding cheap talent to shine in his scheme this year was a great start.

The Cowboys will have another great opportunity to further their defensive depth at the NFL Draft.

Joe Baker has coached in this Cowboys' secondary since 2012, switching to safety coach in 2014 before being named the secondary coach in 2016. When Baker was promoted, Michigan secondary coach Greg Jackson was brought in to coach the team's safeties.

The contributions that both Baker and Jackson have made on this defense will be weighed by the Cowboys to decide who will lead this secondary into 2018.

Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search For "Fresh Ideas" Begin? 4

Dallas Cowboys LB Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Matt Eberflus

Also having a say in all of this is the widely respected Matt Eberflus, who has served as the Cowboys' LB Coach since 2011. Developing talent at LB ever since then for the Cowboys, Eberflus also became the team's defensive passing game coordinator in 2016.

He is another coach that denied an extension with the team last season, as his stock continues to rise around teams that may consider him for a Defensive Coordinator position.

Again, the Cowboys appear to be locked into Rod Marinelli in this position, something that hasn't stopped them from retaining Eberflus thus far -- a task that will remain a priority in Dallas.

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To summarize, the Cowboys' "fresh ideas" will come from a new TE coach along with potential replacements at WR, QB, RB, LB, CB, and S coaching positions. Whether or not this is enough to justify the level of consequence expected on a team that missed the playoffs following a season they reached it in for the second time in three years is entirely subjective.

There is plenty of time upcoming for every team in the NFL to evaluate their rosters and coaching staffs, as the Cowboys are already doing. Assessing the coaching talent that may be available is the most immediate way for the Cowboys to improve their outlook for 2018.

That is, if you're ready to buy into the Dallas Cowboys truly returning to where they want to go -- lacking an NFC Championship Game appearance since 1996 -- in year number nine of HC Jason Garrett.

Such is another offseason with America's Team -- so far.

Tell us what you think about "Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search for “Fresh Ideas” Begin?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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5 Comments
  • Guadalupe Chavarria Jr.

    2018 Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Updated 01/03/2018
    Final Mock!

    1)DT – Da’Ron Payne 6-2 320 Alabama

    2)LB – Jerome Baker 6-1 232 Ohio State

    3)OG – Isaiah Wynn 6-2 310 Georgia

    3)WR- Tre’Quan Smith 6-1 210 UCF 4.45

    4)CB – Adonis Alexander 6-3 196 Virginia Tech

    5)SS – Damon Webb 5-11 195 Ohio State

    6)DE – Cavon Walker 6-2 285 Maryland 4.78

    7)LB – Joel Lanning 6-2 235 Iowa State

    ** CFA – TE Jordan Thomas 6-5 280 Mississippi State
    *Sign Free Agent OT – Joe Staley 6-5 315 San Francisco 34 years

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      I haven’t studied all of these guys yet, nor do I see this team breaking their mold to draft a DT at 19, but Payne would be a great pick. I personally wouldn’t wait until the third round to draft a WR either.

      Thank you for your response though, I will sure have my own mock drafts in the coming weeks!

  • Carlos

    Fire all coaches

  • boyscout

    If you do not recognize the real problems than all you are doing is moving the cups around in hopes of finding the coin in one of them. At the base of the breakdown on offense is you need at least one stud tackle on the right side and someone studly to back up tyrone when he is hurting. A stud guard where cooper is might help as well. You lost two on your “best” offensive line and did not fully address that. Fix that first. Then find more lee type player linebackers. You also need a home run receiver with speed size and hands for deep balls to open the field back up. But dak has to be able to throw those balls too. There are some ideas that will make a not great but pretty good coaching staff look like mvp and geniuses again……….well maybe mvp anyway. Oh also jason garrett and marinelli and linehan need to learn to make on field adjustments during games on the fly not just at halftime or after the game

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Thank you for reading. You are correct about a lot of things here. Seeing the offensive line get back on track as they prepare to play a full season with Ezekiel Elliott in 2018 would be the most foolproof way to improve this team. Finding another Sean Lee is a big ask, he’s a special player, but Jaylon Smith can be just as good when fully healthy – something he is close to. As of right now, my top need on this team is WR. Specifically, the kind you mentioned – a route runner that fits Dak’s strengths.

Dallas Cowboys

REPORT: Cowboys DL David Irving’s Accuser Retracts Claims Of Domestic Violence

Kevin Brady

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David Irving

After what was a rather crazy day which resulted in reports the Frisco Police Department were investigating Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving for domestic violence, the accuser has now retracted her claims.

https://twitter.com/DCBlueStar/status/988527577915674624

This retraction comes after the mentioned reports of domestic violence claims against David Irving earlier in the day. Irving was neither arrested nor charged for the incidents, though two separate allegations were made.

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

Irving has claimed through his own social media account that his accuser is an ex-girlfriend looking for retaliation over a breakup. Irving has already said he has changed the locks on his house in attempt to change behavior moving forward.

Whether or not Irving abused his reported ex-girlfriend is not for me to say, but it will be interesting to see how Roger Goodell handles the matter after she retracted her claims later in the day. As we know very well, the NFL can claim violation of the personal conduct policy even if the justice system pursues no charges.

And the results of both the Frisco PD's investigation and that of the league office will be intriguing over the coming weeks and months.


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REPORT: Cowboys DE/DT David Irving Suspected of Domestic Violence

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

[4/24/18 UPDATE: Irving's accuser has since recanted with police. However, the NFL could still investigate under their domestic violence policy.]

ORIGINAL STORY

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving is under investigation by Frisco, TX police for charges of domestic violence, according to a report by Jobin Panicker of WFAA-ABC in Dallas.

The following was tweeted from Panicker's account not long ago:

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms it is investigating serious allegations against Cowboys player David Irving. No arrests. Assault-Bodily Injury, Unlawful Restraint, & Assault-Impeding Breath and Circulation @wfaa

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

The veracity of the accusations are certainly not ours to judge, but other recent events on Irving's social suggest he is in the middle of a breakup with his girlfriend. Posts early this morning on his Twitter account appeared to be from an unauthorized user, and David later posted on both Twitter and Instagram that someone had hacked him.

Furthermore, Irving shared that he was already taking steps due to the volatile situation.

David Ja Rodd Irving on Twitter

@DCBlueStar Changed the locks yesterday

While personal lives should stay that way, Cowboys fans are understandably concerned after what happened last year with Ezekiel Elliott. As we saw then, Roger Goodell's "justice" system allows for just an accusation to lead to a suspension. There is no burden of proof on the accuser.

And as in that case, even if the police dismiss the allegation, the NFL can still pursue the matter under the personal conduct and domestic violence policies.

It would be nice to just say "let the process play out," but the NFL commissioner doesn't hold himself to that standard. Therefore, we have to report this as it could mean consequences for David Irving and the Dallas Cowboys no matter how legitimate the claims are.


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Jaylon Smith Practicing Without AFO Brace

John Williams

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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

A lot of the talk circling the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL Draft is the need for the Cowboys to draft a linebacker as insurance to Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith's injury issues.

One of the questions, Sean Lee, will always be a question. When he's on the field, he's as good a linebacker as there is in the NFL. In 2016, he finally got in a near full season and rewarded the Dallas Cowboys with an All-Pro season that led the team to the playoffs. Talent has never been the issue with Lee. Keeping him on the field has been.

Jaylon Smith's question isn't his health as much as it is his recovery. The surgery to repair his ACL and MCL that he suffered at the end of his final season at Notre Dame was considered a success. There was a caveat, however, that there was no telling how much functionality would return because of the massive nerve injury that occurred.

Last year, Jaylon Smith actually played football games. No small step. In some games he made some plays and in other games, it was clear that he was still struggling with changing directions and running with receivers and running backs in coverage.

Time is Jaylon's biggest ally and another offseason removed from his injury should only help him get stronger and more confident in his recovering knee.

Lost in all of the Dez Bryant hoopla was a beautiful little nugget that Jaylon Smith teased Cowboys Nation with last week.

Jaylon provided a great look at his training regimen on the first day of team workouts and if you look closely, you'll see with a Clear Eye View that Jaylon Smith isn't wearing a brace, tape, or any other kind of support. On his knee or foot.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

Focused vision, Determined belief, Earned dreams. #ClearEyeView

Remember that even after Jaylon was playing and practicing without a knee brace, he was still requiring an AFO brace to help with his foot drop.

Oh, how much one offseason can change things.

Mike Fisher, now of 247Sports.com, quoted Smith as saying, "I have more power and more flexibility now. And the dropfoot (issue) is fading. Absolutely!'' over on Scout.com, and there was this:

"As our colleague Bryan Broaddus has previously noted, it does seem that some of the testing is behind him, that the nerve is regenerating, that the repaired knee is stronger than ever and that more improvement is ahead of him. Smith's 6-2, 245-pound body is about as sculpted as is imaginable. His mind is sculpted, too, the result of his faith and his intellect and his personality and more. He suggests now that more improvement is inevitable, and that includes the medical improvement that is now, to him, simply "a matter of timing.'''

Mike Fisher - 105.3 The Fan and 247Sports.com

There is still a lot of hope around The Star and Cowboys Nation that Jaylon Smith can return to the All-American form that was projecting him as a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft. If he's healthy and moving with better lateral movement and agility than he was in 2017, that's a huge step forward for Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys.

The progression of his knee and his confidence in said knee is going to be a huge determining factor in Dallas' plans to draft a linebacker. If they feel confident that he will be a more functional linebacker in 2018 than he was in 2017, then perhaps they could wait until day two or three to address the linebacker position.

We can't fully know their intentions as we get closer to draft day. How they address the linebacker position in the 2018 NFL Draft could give us an excellent indication of how they feel about Jaylon Smith's progression.

What we do know is that Jaylon Smith will never give up working toward being an elite middle linebacker. Let's hope he can realize his dreams. Everyone will be better for it.


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