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Is Will McClay’s Time With the Dallas Cowboys Running Out?

Sean Martin

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Is Will McClay's Time With the Dallas Cowboys Running Out?

Recently, as we rapidly approach the end to another NFL regular season, this time of the year has routinely marked speculation about the Senior Director of Player Personnel for the Dallas Cowboys – Will McClay – and his future status with the team regardless of their record.

McClay has long said that his focus is on helping win the Jones family another Super Bowl with the Cowboys, but at 6-6 this sixth Lombardi trophy for America’s Team seems distant enough to allow Will to wander elsewhere in the offseason for a General Manager position.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The Fritz Pollard Alliance met with @NFL this week & submitted their names of suggested GM candidates. Per @TomPelissero and me, the list: Joey Clinkscales (#Raiders), Alonzo Highsmith (#Packers). Ray Farmer (#Rams consultant), Will McClay (#Cowboys), Doug Williams (#Redskins)

According to their website, the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s mission is as follows:

“We promote diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of National Football League (“NFL”) teams.”

Last February, McClay won the Minority Business Award from the Dallas Business Journal. Since his start with the Dallas Cowboys, McClay has been given increasing control over personnel decisions as his title (and responsibilities) have constantly adapted.

McClay’s position in the Cowboys’ brass is truly unique. As recently as two weeks ago, criticism was as abundant as ever for the likes of Stephen Jones, Jerry Jones, and Jason Garrett while the Cowboys lost three straight games in embarrassing fashion.

Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Jones is still firmly atop the Dallas Cowboys organization, but the team’s fan base is well aware of the power that Stephen has on the roster. Stephen Jones, Will McClay, and the Cowboys’ coaching staff have been able to coexist with varying results when it comes to acquiring talent through the NFL Draft and free agency.

This past draft may have been an eye-opener for Will McClay though. Typically content to use his back seat position to focus on finding football players for Dallas, McClay was uncharacteristically available to the media throughout the week after the team controversially selected Michigan DE Taco Charlton in the first round.

Taco Charlton, Jason Garrett

All reports out of the Cowboys’ war room were that Charlton was effectively a “Jason Garrett pick”. Will McClay may very well feel that there are too many voices to entertain with the Cowboys currently, as he’s looked to merge the scouting connection between personnel staff, coaches, and scouts.

McClay has also been nearly universally loved by fans in Cowboys Nation that understand the eye for talent he’s brought to a Cowboys team that still takes plenty of risks in their roster build – doing so with increased odds at hitting on any given signing or draft pick thanks to this Senior Player Personnel Director.

An opportunity to step away from a power struggle and run his own team as their GM could always entice Will McClay though, who will only become an increasingly popular candidate should the Cowboys continue to play well through December and make a push towards the playoffs.

The Cowboys’ roster remains in somewhat of a transitional state as they patiently develop and add young talent. The man mostly responsible for seeing the Cowboys reach this stability point may be pulled away from Dallas very soon.

Tell us what you think about “Is Will McClay’s Time With the Dallas Cowboys Running Out?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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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.

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12 Comments
  • SAMMIE

    Lol is this a joke he’s not the problem everyone sees that,its our coaches we need plays so that the other teams don’t know every game we play and Jason needs to make adjustment when we’re in a bone or gets some real coaches JERRY AND LEAVE THE TEAM TO HIM .

    • Travis Diggs

      I almost went off on this article till i seen your post. Sean should be ashamed of his self for this article. Sean’s inexperience and youth as a fan/writer shows in a lot of his articles. When has Will Mcclay sign checks, called plays, or made in game adjustments??? Insidethestar needs to start thinking about removing sean from this website he’s terrible, Im sorry

      • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

        Hello, Travis. Thank you for expressing your concerns. I would like to clarify that at no point have I ever falsely said that Will McClay does any of the things you suggest here. Not in this article, any previous article, or social media platform. For those reasons I don’t believe that posting relevant news reported by one of the most credible in the business (Rap) is grounds for me to stop writing here. I am sorry you feel that way.

        • Michael Barthel

          Sean don’t worry about that man. If the dude doesn’t like what you put up or write then he doesn’t need to read or make a comment. Just being a dick making a comment that he really didn’t need to even make. I think your article was just fine

          • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

            Thank you Michael

  • http://www.dallascowboyschat.com Cowboysdude

    When is ANYONE who writes articles about the Cowboys going to just say it out loud. They need a REAL HC. Not a guy who pretends to be one…. The numbers don’t lie…..the man is clueless. He cannot develop players…..he’s just wasting a talented team. He wasted the 1st one he got……this is the second one and it will be all for nothing until the owner you know the guy pretending to be a GM hires a real coach, lets him hire his own staff and stays OUT OF THE WAY. It literally blows my mind that ANYONE other then the ones that are responsible continue to get blamed …. So if McClay leaves? As long as nothing changes they find another excuse and get rid of yet another person that has really no say…… then the homers get all excited and shout out “OH NOW we’re going to the SB”……but alas it’s not to be. Not with this coaching staff.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Wouldn’t insufficient coaching be all the more reason to worry about losing a top personnel guy in McClay – giving these “clueless” coaches even less talent to coach?

  • Sam Clark

    Jerry Jones had success (i.e. superbowl wins) being the GM many, many years ago. However that, as we are all painfully aware, was with a strong HC in Jimmy Johnson. Let’s face it, Dallas’ last superbowl was won with the team Jimmy helped build. JJ hasn’t had a strong HC since Jimmy and he’ll never hire one because Jerry won’t give up enough control of the team to inspire a strong & talented HC to come in and take charge. I consider that to be the issue with what’s wrong with this team. JJ is a smart business man. But as, far as I’m concerned, he was better at digging oil wells than he is at managing a football team. When JJ brought Wade in, he already had Garrett situated as the assistant HC and he even paid Garrett more than he did Wade. In fact, Garrett was the highest paid assistant HC in the league. What other teams have done this and how many other coaches in the NFL would even tolerate this? This is just a glimpse of the type of character any prospective HC would have to have just to coexist with JJ. As for Will McClay, I think it is just a short matter of time before another team comes along and offers him a tempting enough deal that he just couldn’t refuse it. I think a large part of the reason as to why he decided to stay in Dallas just this past year is because he has a young child and he didn’t want to uproot her from everyone she knows. However, it’s been 22 years now since Dallas has last appeared in a superbowl and the clock is ticking. There’s no doubt that Will is hungry to put together a superbowl winning team. I don’t see any reason as to why he should limit himself to just trying to do it in Dallas. Another superbowl appearance may not happen again in Dallas under JJ’s regime.

  • EverybodyTalks

    If I was JJ I’d pay Will what a GM gets paid. These last 2 drafts are a direct result of his hard work and insight. The 2016 draft was exceptional, but I think Will made his bones last season with the 2017 draft. We started at #28 instead of #4. I hope we hold onto him by making it impossible for him to want to go anywhere else.

    • Kevin Black

      From what I’m hearing, McClay is being paid almost as much as a GM now. It’s just not widely known in the public and Will doesn’t volunteer that information, but J.J. will be happy to keep spending $$$ on McClay to try and keep him here.

      The question is how much control does McClay want versus responsibility in other areas that he might not want to deal with. Stephen Jones handles all the contracts and the cap management. Will might not want to have to deal with that. In addition, J.J. is the face and allows McClay to keep doing what he enjoys without the glare of the public spotlight.

      • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

        Spot on, Kevin. Well said. This is all correct

  • Bilbo Baggin

    Yep give that guy the war room him, Stephen and the scouts the rest clear out make the title official GM. Stay out of the room Garrett and Jerry!

Player News

La’el Collins’ Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise

Brian Martin

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La'el Collins' Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise 1

The decision by the Dallas Cowboys to move La’el Collins from left guard to right tackle was met by some skepticism by quite a few members of Cowboys Nation during the off-season. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of those skeptical of the move, but I’m not afraid to admit he has exceeded my expectations.

In all honesty, I always believed that La’el Collins’ best position in the NFL is on the interior of the offense of line as a guard. I thought he could use his strength and athleticism to his advantage when working in a phone booth against slower and less athletic defensive tackles. That’s not to say I didn’t think he would make a good right tackle, I just thought he had Pro Bowl potential as a guard.

Strangely enough, Collins has probably put together a Pro Bowl caliber season in his first season starting at the right tackle position for the Cowboys. He has become an upgrade over the previous starter Doug Free, and is really starting to earn high praise from the brass. Stephen Jones in particular has been impressed with Collins, especially considering how he has played after missing two full weeks of practice.

Mark Lane on Twitter

DallasCowboys COO Stephen Jones told @1053thefan La’el Collins has answered the bell after his contract extension.

I personally agree with everything Stephen Jones said about La’el Collins. I’ve really enjoyed watching his progression this season, but I have been really impressed how he played the last two weeks after missing so much practice.

You might not of known, but Collins has missed two full weeks of practice due to a herniated disc in his back. This is put his availability to play against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants in jeopardy, but somehow he has toughened up and played considerably well.

This unfortunately will be something he has to continue to battle through the rest of the season, but I’m not going to bet against him playing. He absolutely makes this offensive line better and I would hate to see Chaz Green or Byron Bell back on the field after the way they played as feel-ins.

La’el Collins has without a doubt earned my respect and I think it’s about time we all recognize the player he is turning into. I know the Dallas Cowboys appreciate all that he does and believe that his recent contract extension is money well spent.

What do you think about La’el Collins?

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

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Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

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Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

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It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” 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!

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Dallas Cowboys

Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future

Sean Martin

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Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future 1

The New York Giants are not a good football team, but the Dallas Cowboys 30-10 win over the Giants in Eli Manning’s return to action left Cowboys Nation with plenty to be excited about as the team improved to 7-6.

In a stacked NFC, the Cowboys unfortunately did not get much help from scores elsewhere around the league Sunday, and the momentum they’ve built with two straight wins ahead of Ezekiel Elliott‘s return in week 16 has done little to improve their chances of reaching the playoffs.

The entire NFC East in 2017 has truly epitomized how quickly things can improve or fall apart in this league, as the Eagles clinching the title came at the cost of their franchise QB Carson Wentz – tearing his ACL to end his season.

Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys Defense?

Dallas Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis (27), Chidobe Awuzie (33) and Xavier Woods (25) warm ups before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Through all of this, including my own criticism of Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli, I can’t help but get excited about the potential this young Dallas defense is showing. The Cowboys got back in the win column two weeks ago against the Redskins, shuffling their secondary with great results.

Adding Sean Lee back to this winning formula against the Giants brought things even further into focus for the Cowboys defense though. Schematically, they were cohesive through all three levels. The longest play the Giants hit on was a 35-yard completion (against the blitz) to Evan Engram – one of their lone remaining offensive threats.

When the Cowboys dropped three straight games in weeks 10-12, the defense was desperate for Dak Prescott and the offense to play up to their potential. Prescott’s career day at MetLife Stadium was perhaps the most unsurprising development from this week, as the Cowboys found out early in this season that Prescott is in fact their franchise QB, and soon the complimentary performance turned in by this scrappy defense will be just as regularly expected.

Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys' Defense?

Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis continue to live up to their draft status, two lengthy defenders with ball skills that have not been seen in the Cowboys secondary for some time. Sixth round pick Xavier Woods has proved valuable at every spot these coaches play him at, contributing at Nickel CB against the Giants’ Sterling Shepard and looking comfortable.

Jeff Heath came up with an interception on what may have been Eli Manning’s last pass as a Giant against the Cowboys, and played well throughout the afternoon in his rotational role alongside Byron Jones.

At linebacker, Sean Lee’s 18 tackles with an interception only further highlighted how well Anthony Hitchens has played at the other primary LB spot. I wrote in my immediate post game Sean’s Scout that I also thought Jaylon Smith could have been utilized more in this game, but the fact that he’s played in 13 straight games for the Cowboys without additional injuries is incredible enough.

Simply put, the biggest reason the Cowboys have salvaged a shot at contending for the playoffs this season is because they’ve found a way to get back to playing complimentary football on offense and defense – even with some key absences on both sides of the ball.

The game plan is a proven one. When the Cowboys run the ball, control the clock, and allow their defense to play from ahead against hurried, one-dimensional offenses they can beat anyone.

Whether or not that means 10 wins to close this roller coaster of a season – good enough for the playoffs or not – the Cowboys are doing well to prove they’ll have staying power in the NFC for years to come.

This fate was very debatable a few weeks ago, and any team that commits to turning over their defense as much as the Cowboys did in one offseason should expect something of a regression, but the Cowboys’ future is now being written in front of us by young stars on offense and defense.

Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future

Getting more than three remaining kickoffs for guys like Awuzie, Lewis, Woods, Jaylon Smith, and Lewis Neal would certainly be ideal for the end of this season. Should the Cowboys miss out on the playoffs due to circumstances past their control though, we can all spend a few months getting very excited about what these defenders will have to say about taking matters into their own hands at the very next possible opportunity.

Tell us what you think about “Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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