Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

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

Sean Martin

Published

on

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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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!

ADVERTISEMENT

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

Advertisement
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

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement
Advertisement
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