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How Will Lewis Neal Fit Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line?

Sean Martin

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#DALvsIND: 5 Cowboys Storylines To Watch In Preseason Week 2

The Dallas Cowboys added depth to the strong interior of their defense this week, calling up preseason standout Lewis Neal and signing Joe Vellano to the practice squad. These moves were made to replace 1T DT Brian Price, who's season came to an end with his knee injury suffered against the Chiefs.

Maliek Collins and David Irving have stood out as starters at DT for the Cowboys thus far, and I profiled Collins' ability to transition to the 1T position vacated by Price in this Sean's Scout. When studying Dallas' win over Kansas City, the drop off in ability on Rod Marinelli's defensive line when Irving or Collins were spelled by Richard Ash was very visible.

This is likely just part of the reason why the Cowboys, who rank 12th in rushing yards allowed per game, added Lewis Neal as a unique athletic player that can translate his talents to both the 3T and 1T positions with equal impact.

Lewis Neal Vs Raiders - Streamable

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Neal's ability to explode into his blockers with controlled power and balance stood out all preseason, as he sacks Connor Cook by overpowering the right guard to eventually disengage and finish the play.

Across the board, the Cowboys have capable run defenders starting up front, with Tyrone Crawford excelling in this role as a right defensive end. Neal has a real chance to fit this rotation as early as this week against the Falcons.

Lewis Neal Vs Rams - Streamable

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Stuffing a run against the Rams in the preseason here, Neal again shows off his rare combination of power and speed to win inside against the guard and make the play.

Lewis Neal had a case to make the Cowboys roster out of training camp, turning heads as an undrafted rookie out of LSU. Neal was able to outperform two draft picks at his position, as the Cowboys moved on from seventh round selections Joey Ivie and Jordan Carrell.

Jori Epstein on Twitter

Cowboys activated rookie DT Lewis Neal from practice squad this week. NeaI's proof he's strong: He broke @LSUfootball's school record power-cleaning 391 pounds in July 2016 (Video via @ImBallinNeal18) https://t.co/t5KTyh3fN7

Now, injury has created opportunity for Lewis Neal, who will be a factor whenever given the chance to line up in Rod Marinelli's front.

Maliek Collins and David Irving will rarely come off the field at both positions that Neal has previously played, but when they do the rookie can instantly be a high-motor upgrade over Richard Ash - primarily on passing downs.

Preparing to play their next six games without Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys know that their defense will have to be at full strength to continue winning games and contending for the NFC East. A suddenly productive defensive line that is helping the Cowboys win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball will help, and Lewis Neal expects to be part of this unit now.

Tyrone Crawford Vs Redskins - Streamable

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Getting combination plays like the one above from Collins and Crawford via the depth on their defensive line down to Taco Charlton, Benson Mayowa, and Lewis Neal will go a long way these coming weeks.

Tell us what you think about "How Will Lewis Neal Fit Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line?" 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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. georgemachock

    November 10, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Did the NFL fine the KC lineman that took out Prices knee? The lineman came all the way over from the end area to leg whip Prices knee while Price was engaged up top be another KC lineman. Total penalty and obvious purposeful move to damage another’s knee.

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Cowboys Offseason: Landon Collins Cleaned Out Locker, Set to be FA

John Williams

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Cowboys Headlines - #DALvsNYG: Dealing With Giants Safety Landon Collins

It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2019 offseason looking to upgrade at the safety position on a defense that finished inside the top 10 in 2018. With much of the focus on Earl Thomas, New York Giants Safety Landon Collins has become the center of attention in the last couple of days.

Per a report by Josina Anderson, Collins cleaned out his locker on Wednesday as he gets ready to go into free agency for the first time.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

I'm told that Giants S Landon Collins cleaned out his locker today at the team facility and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches and trainers. It doesn't seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer, per sources.

After Paul Schwartz attempted to assert that there was no claim to the report...

Paul Schwartz on Twitter

Attention those who care about the New York Giants: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Repeat: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Go about your business and have a nice day.

And Landon Collins had this to say...

https://twitter.com/TheHumble_21/status/1098315997839265792

If cleaning out a locker is any kind of evidence, then Collins is prepared to hit the market when free agency opens on March 13th. He joins a loaded safety group that includes Thomas, Houston Texans Safety Tyrann Mathieu, Los Angeles Rams Safety LaMarcus Joyner, Glover Quin of the Detroit Lions, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix formerly of the Green Bay Packers, but most recently of the Washington Redskins, and several others who could find new homes this offseason.

The Cowboys are very familiar with Landon Collins, as they've seen him nearly twice a year over the last four years. The three time Pro Bowler was one of the best players on the Giants defense. They would line him up in the box and at time use him to cover Cole Beasley.

Collins ranked first in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus in run stop percentage at 7.2%. Meaning on running snaps, he made a tackle that rendered the running play ineffective 7.2% of the time.For further reference, Jeff Heath made a run stop on 4.2% of his run plays, which was 15th in the NFL among safeties.

The only positions to have more of an impact on the running game were linebackers and the defensive line. Even if you include linebackers, his run stop percentage was 31st in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch led the Dallas Cowboys with a run stop percentage of 11.3%, which was third among linebackers. Collins number nearly matched the run stop percentage of Jaylon Smith at 7.6%.

Add Collins to a defense that stops the run as well as the Dallas Cowboys did last season and you take your team to another level against the run.

Landon Collins will probably get the most money this offseason. He's only 25 and has had success in the NFL. Many teams will be reaching out to Collins when free agency opens and the Dallas Cowboys should certainly be one of those teams. Collins would be an excellent addition to the Dallas Cowboys defense and would allow Xavier Woods to stay in his role as the free safety.

We're just under three weeks away from the start of NFL free agency and the drama will only get bigger as the Cowboys look to add to their team.



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Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time https://t.co/vqMNZty6Aq via @sportsdaydfw

Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.

The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.

The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.

But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.

Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.

It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.

Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.



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BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.

Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.

David Moore on Twitter

Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.

After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.

The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.

While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.

While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.

The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.



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