Star Blog Will DT Stephen Paea Becomes This Year’s Cedric Thornton? Published 7 months ago on May 22, 2017 By Sean Martin Share Tweet In early March, the Dallas Cowboys signed veteran defensive tackle Stephen Paea – seemingly replacing the starting 1T DT from 2016 in a finally healthy Terrell McClain. McClain’s 40 tackles and 2.5 sacks with the Cowboys earned him a new contract with the rival Redskins, and also made last year’s free agent signing of the Eagles’ Cedric Thornton seemingly pointless. Thornton had his flashes, but the converted 3-4 defensive lineman that is under contract through 2019 saw just 27.5% of the team’s defensive snaps on the season over 13 games played. The production from the interior of Rod Marinelli’s defensive front still remained a strength for the Cowboys thanks to a rookie 3T in Maliek Collins, McClain, and the freak-of-nature David Irving. Now, the pressure is on this unit to produce with Thornton potentially having to assume a larger and unearned role – or with a 29-year-old Stephen Paea. Stephen Paea Brings Tenacity, Run Defense to the Cowboys [Film Review] As you’ll see in my scouting report on Paea above, there are certainly things for Cowboys Nation to be excited about should he rightfully take Cedric Thornton off the field and play the majority of the snaps for Marinelli as a “space eater” alongside Maliek Collins. This was Stephen’s role back in 2011 under Rod’s Chicago Bears – coming up with a career high six sacks. There are plenty of potential downsides to what Stephen Paea will ultimately become for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017 though, as Cedric Thornton could further his adjustment into this new scheme and essentially mitigate the role of a similar player behind him, exactly as McClain did to Thornton this season. Fellow Staff Writer Kevin Brady looked at the potential for Dallas’ defensive line moving forward should Thornton regain his Philadelphia form right here, and it can be exciting when matching a statement like this to the memorable (albeit rare) plays Thornton made in 2016: If he can re-gain his Philadelphia form, and fellow defensive lineman David Irving can become more consistent in his own play, this defensive line can become a strength on the defense. On paper, it appears that the Cowboys have more questions than answers when it comes to their 2017 starter at the 1T DT position, despite signing a clear replacement to their previous starter here. The intensity of training camp will make the sorting out of the Cowboys’ depth chart a lot more clear – and fun – as Cedric Thornton should be pushed to cut into Stephen Paea’s playing time by all means necessary. If this becomes a good problem for Jason Garrett to deal with, than we’ll surely see a refreshed Paea playing on early running downs and being disruptive. Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Cedric Thornton (92) celebrates in front of Minnesota Vikings center Nick Easton, right, after a sack during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King) If not, I’ll be keeping a very close eye on these two players through the summer. The 1T DT on the Cowboys may not be the piece that puts them over the top for a Super Bowl run this year, but it is a critically important component to a defensive line that needs all of the assured and consistent play making ability it can find. Neither Paea nor Thornton have made enough plays consistent with where the Cowboys defense wants to be in 2017 to confidently project as a starter right now, but finding roles for either both players or just the right one is going to be something to sort out very soon. Tell us what you think about “Will DT Stephen Paea Becomes This Year’s Cedric Thornton?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL! ADVERTISEMENT Related Topics:Cedric ThorntonDefensive TackleStephen Paea Up Next Dallas Cowboys: 3 Potential 1st Time Pro Bowlers In 2017 Don't Miss Monday Moment: Ezekiel Elliott Goes 0-To-60 Sean Martin 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 You may like Cowboys Vs Redskins: Match Ups Dallas Must Win To Save Season Sean’s Scout: New DL Datone Jones Likely Inside Player With Cowboys How Will Lewis Neal Fit Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line? Sean’s Scout: Maliek Collins Making Strides In DT Transition Lewis Neal Signed to Cowboys 53-Man Roster, Brian Price to IR Has Cowboys DT Depth Become A Serious Concern? Click to comment Star Blog Think Jason Garrett is a Robot? FOX Sports Agrees Published 2 days ago on December 15, 2017 By Jess Haynie Cowboys fans have often complained that head coach Jason Garrett is too robotic in his demeanor, media answers, and constant clapping. Yesterday, with most of the country feeling Star Wars fever, FOX Sports tapped into the zeitgeist while also taking a little jab at Garrett’s robot reputation. FOX Sports released photographs of several NFL personalities as Star Wars character. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were Jedis. Bill Belichick, surprise-surprise, was a the evil Emperor. Garrett… well…. FOX Sports: NFL on Twitter @AaronRodgers12 @CameronNewton @Panthers @Patriots Jason Garrett is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication. From 2016 Coach of the Year to punchline, Garrett’s reputation has certainly taken a big swing this season. Things are so bad, they couldn’t give him a C-3PO with matching arms. Oh, the indignity. Of course, this is all in good fun. Garrett has 12 and 13-win seasons in two of the last three years. 2017 could’ve been very different if not for Ezekiel Elliott‘s legal issues and Sean Lee’s injury. And even now, there’s still a chance the Cowboys can sneak back into the playoffs. Yes, Jason is repetitive. And yes, he’s no Bill Parcells behind a microphone. But could they at least have made him R2-D2? At least FOX Sports didn’t make him Jar Jar Binks. That should go to Roger Goodell. Just for fun, what other Star Wars characters would you compare Cowboys players and other staff members to? Maybe Sean Lee as Boba Fett, hunting down targets in the open field? Or maybe Cole Beasley as Luke, since they’re both a little short to be Stormtroopers. Have any other good Cowboys/Star Wars comparisons? Share them in the comments! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Star Blog Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders? Published 3 days ago on December 15, 2017 By Mauricio Rodriguez Es increíble pensar que ya estamos en la semana 15 de la NFL. Más increíble aún, los Dallas Cowboys que se fueron 13-3 con el sembrado #1 de la NFC hace un año, ahorita cuentan con un récord de 7-6 y unas esperanzas de pasar a playoffs muy, muy pequeñas. El domingo pasado, a pesar de llevarse la victoria en el campo contra los New York Giants, los Cowboys no recibieron la ayuda que necesitaban alrededor de la liga. Pero a pesar de ser pequeñas, las esperanzas siguen vivas. Y este domingo, los aficionados a Dallas no sólo apoyaremos a los Cowboys en el Sunday Night Football, sino también a otros cuantos equipos. Para los Cowboys, ¿cuáles son las combinaciones necesarias? Dallas Cowboys termina la temporada 10-6, ganando los últimos tres partidos. Que los Green Bay Packers pierdan un partido. Que los Detroit Lions pierdan un partido. Que los Atlanta Falcons o los Carolina Panthers pierdan dos partidos. En mi opinión, incluso con Aaron Rodgers volviendo al campo, los Panthers y los Falcons presentan el mayor reto. Y creo, que lo que deberíamos estar apoyando en este momento, es que sean los Falcons los que pierdan dos partidos. ¿Por qué? Porque este domingo, Carolina se enfrentará a Green Bay. Francamente, Panthers es el equipo que más probabilidades tiene de echar a perder el regreso heroico de Rodgers. Panthers también puede vencer a los Falcons en la semana 17. Así que, mientras los Panthers no podrían ayudar perdiendo, creo que más bien nos podrán apoyar ganando. Sin embargo, los resultados de la semana 15 influenciarán mucho a quien apoyaremos como fans de los Cowboys. Por ahora, estos serían los resultados ideales de la semana 15: CHI Bears vencen a DET Lions. CAR Panthers vencen a GB Packers. TB Buccaneers sorprenden a ATL Falcons. Claro, dos de estos resultados parecen muy optimistas, pero todo puede pasar en la NFL y sobre todo con equipos tan inconsistentes como los Lions. Por supuesto que, todo esto no tiene ni sentido si los Cowboys no se van 3-0 en las siguientes tres semanas. El rival más fuerte que le queda a Dallas son los Seattle Seahawks. Con Ezekiel Elliott volviendo esa misma semana, será un duelo increíble en el AT&T Stadium. En mi opinión, será el partido que definirá de que son capaces los Dallas Cowboys del 2017. Pero primero que nada, los Cowboys se tienen que preocupar por un partido que puede resultar siendo un juego “trampa.” Un juego trampa, es cuando un equipo tiene una semana muy importante por venir (Seahawks) y subestima al rival (Raiders) que tiene enfrente dentro de los próximos días. Sobre todo cuando es de visita, estos partidos pueden resultar siendo peligrosos en la NFL y realmente, en todos los niveles de football americano. Oakland Raiders Derek Carr (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) Y sí, los Raiders han tenido una temporada muy decepcionante en la que ni Derek Carr ni Amari Cooper han sido lo que se esperaba, pero Derek Carr es un QB que puede echarse al equipo a los hombros en cualquier momento. Todos pueden tener una mala temporada, y ese ha sido el caso para el #4 de Oakland. Sin embargo, si los Cowboys mantienen el partido cerrado en el cuarto cuarto, Derek Carr puede demostrar que tan peligroso es. Con jugadores clave como Khalil Mack, que por cierto tendrá una batalla épica con La’el Collins, es un juego que no es tan fácil como parece. Sí, los Raiders tienen un récord de 6-7. ¿Y? Los Cowboys tienen un récord de 7-6. Es mejor, claro. ¿Pero realmente es tan bueno como para pensar que será una victoria fácil? Podemos criticar a Jason Garrett por muchas cosas, pero una de las cosas que no podemos criticarlo, es la motivación que le da a los jugadores. A pesar de muchos reportes acerca de que los jugadores “estaban molestos” con los coaches, definitivamente no han jugado como si se hubieran rendido en su entrenador. No creo que los Cowboys pierdan el domingo. Pero esperemos que no sólo ganen en la noche, sino que obtengan victorias indirectas alrededor de la NFC. Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Star Blog Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas? Published 4 days ago on December 14, 2017 By Kevin Brady Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL. A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above. Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses. Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension. And is that really all that bad? Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team. Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well. So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion. They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott. I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference. But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome. So maybe success is a bit of a strong word. This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like. ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Sportsbook odds for all Dallas Cowboys games 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.). 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