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With DT David Irving Getting “Into Shape,” Do Cowboys Have Better Options?

Sean Martin

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With DT David Irving Getting "Into Shape", Do Cowboys Have Better Options?

Early offseason practices in the NFL are about preparing a 90-man roster for the rigor of padded training camps and a preseason that depletes each roster to just 53 men. Understanding where a team's strengths and weaknesses are with OTAs underway is vital to completing the roster. For the Dallas Cowboys, their defensive line projects to be one of Rod Marinelli's deepest and most talented groups yet, but even the Cowboys defensive coordinator is realizing this without starting DT David Irving right now.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli on David Irving: "Not in shape. ... He's been in and out [of the offseason conditioning program]." Is that disappointing? "No. The guys here I'm excited about.

David Irving's flashes of raw talent with the Cowboys have been more than enough to convince some fans that it's actually the team's fault for seemingly holding Irving back. With this latest development, it appears that the Cowboys have done everything they could to protect Irving - who's rewarded them with 11.5 sacks in 35 games.

Absent from the Cowboys workouts so far, Irving is reportedly out of football shape. According to Head Coach Jason Garrett, Irving is "getting into shape". Whatever that means. Something about accountability goes here.

David Irving

Dallas Cowboys DT David Irving

Making a name for himself in Dallas ever since being picked up by the Cowboys off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad, Irving has been in the news for plenty of wrong reasons before too. Remaining with the Cowboys after signing a second-round tender for 2018, the Cowboys have leverage against a projected starter at DT.

Any other team could have picked up Irving at the price of their second round pick, choosing instead to see this offseason's domestic violence charges and now a lack of practice participation reflect directly back on the Dallas Cowboys.

A Cowboys team that has even more questions to answer on the depth chart at defensive tackle. As it stands now, Maliek Collins will come off of a second broken foot in three seasons to start at one of the two DT spots for Dallas. The talented but perhaps misused interior rusher will be joined by the likes of Brian Price, Lewis Neal (who was preparing to spend the offseason learning the fullback position as of a few weeks ago), and Jihad Ward.

When the Cowboys traded for Ward during the 2018 NFL Draft, it is hard to believe they imagined needing him to step into such a large role right away. To David Irving's defense, the 6'7" nightmare for offensive linemen has a long time to work his way back onto the field and dominate in ways that few at the position can.

Irving should have no problem standing out over the field of DTs the Cowboys are currently fielding, undervaluing the position in recent memory. Rod Marinelli may very well have reason to be excited about the guys he has worked with so far, left with no choice but to apply his hard-and-fast coaching style to any defensive linemen fortunate enough to learn under him.

The alarming amount of players doing so right now that the Cowboys will have to consider for spots on the roster thanks to David Irving's continuous unreliability is concerning to say the least.

Also working through their numbers at linebacker to evaluate how first round pick Leighton Vander Esch will be utilized, the new-look Cowboys defense feels uncertain up the middle. Again, it is the end of May and games are not won and lost because of this just yet.

Insert David Irving at the 3T position and suddenly the entire Dallas defense is elevated because of it. Particularly franchise-tagged Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who makes Irving's current status all the more frustrating - benefiting the most from playing alongside a disruptive DT and entering yet another contract season.

As the summer heat beckons the return of another NFL season, the Cowboys are going to have plenty of difficult roster decisions to make before ever reaching a meaningful game. Falling behind this early in the offseason program after three years with the Cowboys is inexcusable for David Irving.

Tell us what you think about "With DT David Irving Getting “Into Shape,” Do Cowboys Have Better Options?" 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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4 Comments
  • gregoryambus

    David Irving had to go and take the custody of his child away from a crazy mother. He was falsely accused of domestic violence by the mother so she could try to keep the custody of his child. Now he has the child as a single parent and that transition cooudnt not have been easy. He should be cut some slack. He wasn’t out doing anti social, or any-team things, or anything illegal. He needed some time to get his child attended to.

    • kabob

      Facts

  • Pete186

    The answer is SIMPLE !!! Sign a real ONE TECHNIQUE , HANKINS !!! Stop this experiment of have multiple 3’s with no real 1 tech on the defensive line.

    • kabob

      Marinelli doesn’t want a giant line plugger with limited mobility. He values position flex and the ability to run sideline to sideline if need be. Hankins just doesn’t fit.

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Michael Gallup Showing Signs of a Breakout

John Williams

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Cowboys Roster: Dallas Made Right Decisions on Unproven Skill Players

We're only six games into the career of Rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup who was selected 81st overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. It's been a slow start to his career, mostly because of usage. On Sunday, he took a step toward what many thought he could be for the Cowboys when he was drafted; Wide receiver one.

The numbers, one reception on two targets for 27 yards, may not indicate a breakout is coming, but if you look at the two targets he saw and the quality of the corner he faced, they're more impressive.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Look at this catch by #Cowboys rookie WR Michael Gallup https://t.co/lD1xJ2WemD

On the Dallas Cowboys first drive of the day, Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott looked Michael Gallup's way down the left sideline and hit him on a nice back shoulder fade that looked an awful lot like a Dez Bryant-like contested catch. It was a key play on 3rd-and-9 to get the Dallas Cowboys into Jacksonville territory on a drive that led to a Brett Maher field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Later in the game with the Cowboys driving to score a touchdown, Gallup made a tremendous catch when he got perfect depth behind All-Pro Corner Back A.J. Bouye and in front of the safety help. It looked to be an impressive touchdown catch just inside the end zone, but was overturned on replay. On review, Gallup wasn't able to get his second foot down after he made contact with the defender. Though the touchdown didn't stand, it was an impressive effort for Michael Gallup.

Jordan Schultz on Twitter

Michael Gallup with a near circus catch to ALMOST haul in his first NFL TD. Ruled incomplete. #cowboys #jags @CSUFootball https://t.co/SePSc3n1Yp

Michael Gallup led the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver group in snaps (81% of the offensive snaps) on Sunday, and according to Mike Clay from ESPN, he led the Dallas Cowboys in routes run as well. Both of Gallup's targets came against Bouye, showing an ability to beat one of the best corners in the NFL.

Mike Clay on Twitter

Michael Gallup paced the Cowboys in pass routes (25) for the first time in his career on Sunday.

As Michael Gallup sees more opportunities to play, his opportunities to make plays are going to continue to grow. With news coming down that Tavon Austin is unlikely to play for several weeks because of a groin injury, more snaps are opening up at the wide receiver position. Tavon played 18 snaps before getting injured on Sunday, so there will be increased opportunities for Gallup moving forward.

Gallup's only seen about 3 targets a game, but with the increased snaps he saw in week six and the potential for even more with Austin coming, the opportunities should grow. As he continues to come down with impressive catches like he did on Sunday (even if only one of them counted), it's going to increase Dak Prescott's and the coaching staff's level of trust in the rookie.

It's safe to say that more big time catches are coming for Michael Gallup and a breakout is coming sooner than later.



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Oakland Raiders’ Wide Receiver Amari Cooper On the Trade Block

John Williams

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Oakland Raiders' Wide Receiver Amari Cooper On the Trade Block

Aside from Wide Receiver Cole Beasley, the Dallas Cowboys haven't received much production from their wide receiver group outside of the occasional big play from fellow wide outs Michael Gallup or Tavon Austin. Well, the Oakland Raiders apparently are willing to listen to offers for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and, according to Michael Rapaport, are asking for a first round draft pick in return.

Allan Bell on Twitter

Raiders want a first round pick for Amari Cooper, per @RapSheet.

 

The Dallas Cowboys could use someone with Cooper's ability, even if he has been a drop machine through his first four seasons. In his first two seasons in the NFL, 2015 and 2016, Cooper averaged 77 receptions on 131 targets, for 1,111.5 yards, and 5.5 touchdowns. Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Cooper averaged 11 drops a season, including 18 in his rookie season.

Any time you start a discussion about whether you should trade for someone, the question always begins with "what are you paying?" What would you be willing to pay for Amari Cooper? After back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to start his career, he only went for 680 yards in 14 games (48.6 yards per game). Though the yardage wasn't great last year, he did catch seven touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders.

So far in 2018, Cooper is averaging 46.7 yards per game on 3.67 receptions per game and has only scored one touchdown.

I wouldn't send a top 60 pick for Amari Cooper. He's a good player, but is he better than what Michael Gallup could be? Because if you trade for Cooper he's going to likely eat into Gallup's snap count and we need to find out if Michal Gallup is a player that the Dallas Cowboys could rely on in the future. But, if the Cowboys coaching staff brought Cooper in to replace Allen Hurns, then I'd be very happy to talk about acquiring the former first round draft choice.

A starting wide receiver group of Cole Beasley, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup would be a very difficult group to cover and Quarterback Dak Prescott showed on Sunday that he has what it takes to get the ball down field to his receivers.

The Cowboys probably wouldn't make this trade, unless Jerry Jones got involved, because they value their draft picks too much, but if the Dallas Cowboys could get him for a third round pick I'd do it in a heart beat. For a second round pick, I'd have to get a fifth or sixth back from Oakland in that deal. Cooper's a good player, but hasn't shown to be one of the best at his position.

There are a couple other players from Oakland that I'm more interested in trading for.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

What do you think? Would you trade for Amari Cooper, and if so, what would you be willing to give?

 



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David Irving Ready to “Be Put Through Ringer” in First Action with Cowboys

Sean Martin

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David Irving Ready to "Be Put Through Ringer" in First Action with Cowboys
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

The Dallas Cowboys patience in Defensive Tackle David Irving is set to pay off on Sunday, as Irving will play in his first game of 2018 after being suspended for the first four weeks. Irving was eligible to play last week in the Cowboys overtime loss at the Texans, but did not make the trip to Houston as he dealt with off-field concerns.

The Cowboys defense has performed admirably without Irving, but in a needed game against the Jaguars, it could be up to this defense to win the game for Dallas - something a disruptive player like Irving has the ability to do on any given snap.

While the plan is for the Cowboys to ease Irving into this game, his impact from the DT position might be enough to leave him on the field as much as needed in a tight game.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Irving said the coaches want to play him 10-15 snaps Sunday. "That's what they say now but if it's a close game, I know good and well Marinelli is going to be sending me out there & putting me through the ringer. I'm ready for it.

Like a good left-handed pitcher in baseball or three-point specialist in basketball, the Cowboys have afforded Irving a long leash despite his unreliability thanks to a 6'7" and 290 pound frame that makes him a menace for opposing guards.

The 3T-DT position is a pivotal one in Marinelli's scheme, and one the Cowboys have afforded Irving every opportunity to fill, yielding results whenever the former Chiefs practice squad steal suits up.

Filling in for Irving through the Cowboys first five games of the season has been reliable veteran Tyrone Crawford. Expected to play at defensive end this season, Crawford has recorded 14 tackles and one sack from the 3T position.

With Irving back in the "Hot Boyz" rotation, it will be interesting to see if Crawford once again goes out to right defensive end, where Randy Gregory has struggled to make the most out of his own return from suspension.

Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli is not expecting similar struggles from Irving, prepared to put him "through the ringer".

Where Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard calls the Cowboys defense, Marinelli is still one of the most respected coaches at The Star, demanding a lot of his defensive line in particular. It's the pairing of Marinelli's motivation and Irving's intangibles that have the Cowboys defense on the brink of taking another step toward's one of the league's best.

With their own offense set to line up against perhaps the best overall defense in Jacksonville on Sunday, Irving's return is just in time. The NFC East is far from out of reach for the Cowboys, who will be at full strength on defense once Sean Lee returns as early as next week.

The Cowboys have never lost a game in which Lee, Irving, and Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence play at least 20% of the team's snaps on defense. Perhaps this stat will have to be adjusted to include rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in short time, but for now the Cowboys are hours away from fighting for a 3-3 start to 2018, doing so with one of their most important defenders back in the lineup.

Tell us what you think about "David Irving Ready to “Be Put Through Ringer” in First Action with Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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