The Cowboys drafted two linebackers this year to team up with their two established starters at the position, and they signed safety contest Keanu Neal in free agency. There are only so many snaps to go around, so who gets them?
Rob Phillips: We’ve talked about logjams at certain positions over the years, and the truth is that injuries usually dictate start and snap count over the course of a season, at least at some level. Hopefully that is not the case here. In full force, not everyone will play as much as they probably want. I would guess Leighton Vander Esch is a starter, possibly on the weak side where Keanu Neal rotates in. I guess Jaylon Smith is a starter too, but is it with the middle linebacker or maybe the strong side? The way offenses are spreading things now, often you only see two linebackers on the field. Micah Parsons is the X factor here. He’s not a full-time edge rusher, but the Cowboys think he’s versatile enough to help them with pass-rush, and maybe that’s a way to get snaps for everyone to move him around.
Nick Eatman: Let’s hope this is a good problem to have. People like to say that when you talk about depth, and in this case, if there is a surplus of linebackers who need to play, then it will be a good problem for Dan Quinn and his new defense. But I’m a little hesitant to say that all that will just work out. Just like LVE is suddenly healthy-free and he is back to his All-Pro self. And Jaylon Smith is back too Pro Bowl form again. And Micah Parsons is everything the Cowboys hope he will be and will be a star from day 1. Keanu Neal makes the linebacker transition with ease and is playmaker again, and even Jabril Cox, proves all his doubters wrong and is a fourth round stealer . All this could happen. It’s unlikely that it all will. So therefore I doubt it will be a problem at all. I see Vander Esch play in the middle and the Cowboys come up with external linebacker roles for Parsons and Smith who will rush passersby more than we are used to seeing. But they have to find out about Cox this year if they are to make tough decisions about Smith and LVE next year.
NFL coach: DAL must give Zeke Elliott ‘some of Dak’s money’; ‘He scares you the most’ – Mike Chiari, Bleacher Report
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are often the first two names that come to mind when talking cowboys, and of course, they are also two of the highest paid cowboys. But an anonymous NFL coach believes one is clearly better than the other.
In a survey of more than 50 league leaders, coaches, scouts and players conducted by ESPNs Jeremy FowlerElliott was ranked No. 7 running back in the NFL. An AFC defensive coach said of Elliott: “They need to give Zeke some of Dak’s money. He scares you the most about this offense. ”
Last season, however, was largely a battle for Elliott and the Cowboys offense as a whole. In 15 games, he rushed to a career-low 979 yards and six touchdowns. He also averaged just 4.0 yards per game. Carry and 65.3 rushing yards per. Game.
Elliott’s receiving number was also down with 52 catches for 338 yards and two touchdowns after 77 grabs for 567 yards and three scores in 2018 and 54 receptions for 420 yards and two touchdowns in 2019.
Ezekiel Elliott had easily had the worst year of his career in 2020, both a testament to how bad his season was and how great he has been for the rest of his career. Even with that dip in production, Elliott is heavily thought out throughout the league.
Just a year ago, Elliott was considered one top five players in his position. But his performance in 2020 changed that as he had the first down-season in his career. While some view his performance as the beginning of the end, Elliott is still respected at a high level by managers, coaches and players throughout the league as he entered Nr. 7 on ESPN’s top 10 list for relegation.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Elliott’s ranking:
“Why Elliott fell on this year’s ranking is easy to answer: lack of juice. He has seven rushes at 20-meter yards since 2019 and zero runs at more than 40. It is the worst explosive production on this list. Some employees believe Elliott appears to be less explosive on film since signing his $ 75 million extension before the 2019 season.
Execs, coaches and players rank NFL QBs: Where did Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray land? – Dallas Morning News staff
Quarterback placements are furious for this reason for this reason, and the conversation around Dak Prescott and where he ranks – and why – is likely to always be a point of contention.
Here’s a look at ESPN’s revaluation of Prescott (highest rank: 7; lowest rank: 14):
“Prescott overtook Lamar Jackson in a close race that got an isolated match with new voters for good measure. For some, the rationale was simple. ‘Lamar is a better all-around footballer, Dak is the better QB,’ said an AFC director. Prescott’s ankle injury did not hurt his position. In fact, it could have helped, focusing on his star production in the five games before the injury. Prescott threw for 1,856 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions before falling to the lawn in Week 5. The Cowboys were first in passing yards per game. Fight with Prescott (381.4) and 28. without him (204.9).
‘He was quite impressive individually,’ said a veteran NFL quarterback. ‘Could not do better. It was high-level play. ‘Prescott, however, has not always been great against high-level teams. In 2019, Dallas was 1-6 against opponents who came to the playoffs, with Prescott throwing to eight touchdowns for eight interceptions in those matchups. Against non-playoff teams, Prescott cleared up with 22 touchdowns for three interceptions and a 7-2 record. For his career, Prescott is 9-17 against any playoff teams. Of course, cowboys defense has been a big issue the last few seasons. That record will change with better Dallas defense around him, some voters say. ‘He can throw it deep into the playoffs because of his ability to be accurate from the pocket at all levels and also expand play with his legs,’ said a veteran NFL quarterback. ”
What can be expected from the Cowboys’ free agency class 2021? The story says ‘not much’ – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The Cowboys once again went on the bargain hunt in free agency this year and got away with only a handful of players likely to get to the final list. But can these signatures have an actual impact when the season starts?
I suppose most Cowboys fans intuitively know this, but the team’s shift in how it does business has largely affected the types of signings it’s willing to make each year when free agency opens. The Cowboys are definitely considered a team that wants to be that New York Yankees or Real Madrid and money whip to the top, but that’s not how the NFL works. They simply can not sign the homemade players for their big offer and then turn around and get into a bidding war in March with teams having the entire cap room because their list is naked. You can not compete with Jacksonville’s roster sheets a few months ago, because Jaguars hardly had a list at all. New England also moved its entire core to accommodate its surprisingly free agency in 2021. Dallas had to move things just to stay compatible.
This means that the Cowboys’ entire free agent philosophy – especially in March, when prices are competitively high – has shifted since Carr’s signing nine years ago to two simple rules:
The cost of free agency must be very low – close to the league’s minimum in money for a minimum number of years.
2. The goal is to take players who want to ease the desperation on the wooden shaft to fill gaps that require attention.
At his peak, Dez Bryant enjoyed a thoroughly dominant career in the NFL. Still, he is probably best known now for the catch that was not, but actually was. While coming up against the current head coach of the Cowboys, Bryant reminded everyone on Tuesday that he absolutely caught the ball.
I stumbled upon these lumps and got a little emotional because these are the lumps I had on Green Bay … it was a catch and will forever be a catch !!!
– Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) July 11, 2021
AJ Green to the Cardinals? Matt Ryan’s changed Falcons deal? The worst offseason move for all 32 NFL teams – The Athletic NFL Staff
The Cowboys have so far generally received positive reviews for their offseason, mainly because their injured stars are getting healthy, and they invested heavily in a defense that desperately needed it. But what was their worst move?
The team has done quite a bit under radar moves this offseason, which will be largely complemented by the simple return of so many valuable players who lost injury last year. QB, LT, RT, RG and TE are probably the top five positions to be filled internally.
But right now, the biggest offseason mistake is a race between not really doing much of anything when backing up QB behind Dak Prescott – if serious ankle injury last season should at least take a break for anyone who depends on him – and the somewhat semi-targeted solution of the security position – mix a year’s offer for veterans with letting the kids continue to work out internally. They had options to have any security in the pull they wanted, with a little aggression on the pull shaft (and the excess of picks) and instead remained put. Security was not really addressed properly again. – Bob Sturm
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