Cowboys Jaylon Smith – Facts vs Beliefs

Jaylon Smith Rehab

There are “facts” in the world of sports. It’s a fact the Dallas Cowboys nailed it in the 2016 NFL Draft. Taking RB Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick was bold. Maliek Collins in the third was a perfect example of a team doing excellent scouting. Dak Prescott in the fourth round …. are you kidding me? CB Anthony Brown in the sixth round …. pullleeeze! That’s killing it. That’s a fact.

There are also “beliefs” in the world of sports. Jerry Jones believes the team is going to be in the Super Bowl this season … as he does every year. Let’s be frank. Him believing in something and it happening aren’t exactly in the same zip code. When you get right down to it Jerry is big on beliefs, short on facts and HUGE on hype. I offer the latest Jaylon Smith hype moment as exhibit one.

Jerry “believes” TE Rico Gathers could have been activated for the playoff run last season. He wasn’t. Jerry “believes” SS Kavon Frazier could start this season. He has a chance. Jerry “believes” DE Charles Tapper is going to have a year that echos third round team mate Maliek Collins rookie season. He might. Jerry also “believes” former Norte Dame LB Jaylon Smith was THE BEST value pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and could have been activated for the 2016 playoffs. He isn’t and he wasn’t. Jerry and Jaylon also believe the player will recover “100 %!” He hasn’t and most likely at this juncture, will not.

The reality is that injuries, especially catastrophic ones have a recovery timeline and according to Dr. David J. Chao the chances of a 100% recovery are declining with each day the nerve has yet to get there. In other words, if he was going to recover 100% … he “most likely” already would have.

To put it bluntly, the longer the nerve does NOT recover the more likely it is the nerve WON’T recover. Jaylon Smith is a positive individual. It’s in his DNA. He uses this approach to achieve greatness. Jerry Jones does the same thing. There is nothing wrong with the approach or the individuals using it. Just understand that is what they are doing. Taking the absolute best possible outcome and staying focused on it until it is achieved. That is what belief can do for you.

In reality the entire situation was a “feel good” moment for the draft when the writing was on the wall quite early.

The player himself still firmly believes states the injury will recover 100%. Dr. Jerry Jones has vacillated from 100% recovery to him taking the viewpoint it will be great to get Smith “on the field.” In the real world however actual doctors like Chao all pretty much agree …. that was one gruesome injury and whereas it could heal 100% with each day it doesn’t the chances are less and less likely.

Fact #1 – the Dallas Cowboys killed it in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Fact #2 – Jaylon Smith, Rico Gathers, Kavon Frazier and Charles Tapper are talented possibilities you WANT on your team. However in reality they are “maybes” that get a chance in 2017 to live up to the promise of their 2016 draft positions. Nothing more.

Beliefs aren’t facts. However it’s much better to have some than not. Just ask a Brown’s fan.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Cowboys 2017 DL – Depth, Rotations & Snaps

Depth Chart
This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series 2017 Cowboys Depth, Rotations & Snaps

In this series we break down the potential Dallas Cowboys depth chart, rotations and snap counts for the 2017 season.

It’s the modern NFL. Free agency is here to stay and organizations have to deal with moving parts each season. There is more to building a team each year than just finding the best 11 starters for each side of the ball. In this era of specialization and pass-happy offenses a “starter” is a fluid term to say the least. Teams employing three and four receiver sets have to be countered with defenses that echo that alignment. Ultimately it comes down to not only your starters, but your positional depth and/or the snap counts players get. It’s not getting the best 53 players to put a pen on a contract. It’s getting the right 53.

Ed Note: Click here for the latest Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart. It’s interactive and exportable.

As of today rookies are rookies and have yet to earn stars on their helmets. However these players were obtained for a reason and our lineups reflects that. Today we’re going to look at the potential 2017 Cowboys defensive line rotations.

Defensive Line Starters

  • WDE – Taco Charlton
  • 1-Tech – Maliek Collins
  • 3-Tech – Tyrone Crawford/David Irving
  • SDE – DeMarcus Lawrence/David Irving

A versatile front that can play the run and the pass the team was showing variations of this alignment from Rookie through Involuntary OTA’s. Rod Marinelli want’s to put his best players on the field. Can Taco stop the run AND get to the QB? We will find out soon. Three factors will determine the strong side/3-tech shakeout. Tyrone Crawford’s ability to turn it up a notch fully healthy. DeMarcus Lawrence’s ability to get healthy and David Irving’s progress as a player which may eclipse anything the other two can counter with. With Crawford, Lawrence and Collins the team gets veterans who can diagnose early down plays and have the talent to get to the ball.

Breaking News: Looming 4 game PED suspension being reported for David Irving …. 

Defensive Line Run Alignment

  • WDE – Taco Charlton
  • 1-Tech – Cedric Thornton/Stephen Paea
  • 3-Tech – Maliek Collins
  • SDE – DeMarcus Lawrence/David Irving

Crawford sits this one out. He needs to stay healthy and limiting his snaps on the inside will be key. His versatility to play run/pass is his best asset and he should get the majority of his snaps in versatile alignments. Thornton has the strength/size to be a force on the inside and is ably backed up by Stephen Paea who could push for Thornton’s snaps. Lawrence may very well get the same treatment as Crawford here and sit this alignment out. Charlton and Collins are uniquely suited for their roles and along with Irving bring the ability to disrupt the running game from all three positions.

Defensive Line Pass Alignment

  • WDE – Benson Mayowa/Damontre Moore/Charles Tapper
  • 1-Tech – Maliek Collins
  • 3-Tech – David Irving
  • SDE – DeMarcus Lawrence/David Irving/Charles Tapper

Mayowa was bringing the heat towards the end of last season and there is no reason he shouldn’t continue his growth. The Cowboys really like his skill set and the light seems to have come on. Moore is the risk/reward offseason acquisition who if he plays like he did in Seattle could be a starter. Tapper is a total wild card. Much like Collins was miscast in college as a two gapper. Tapper is seen as a guy that can excel in Rod Marinelli’s defense. Collins and Irving from the inside on passing downs is a nightmare for opposing lines.

  • WDE – Benson Mayowa/Damontre Moore/Charles Tapper
  • DT – Maliek Collins
  • SDE – David Irving

On third and long the Cowboys occasionally go to a three man line. These guys all have motors that won’t quit and have the wheels to chase down screens and trick plays.

Defensive Line Rotation

  1. Taco Charlton
  2. Maliek Collins
  3. Tyrone Crawford
  4. DeMarcus Lawrence
  5. Benson Mayowa
  6. Cedric Thornton
  7. David Irving
  8. Charles Tapper
  9. Stephen Paea
  10. Joey Ivie

Tapper will be the last man on game day with Paea and Ivie looking for the occasional injury or matchup fill in. The starters will get theirs but look for the next four guys in the rotation to receive very heavy snap counts. As part of the team game plan they follow the 90’s scheme of lower counts for the starters and a solid rotation.

Defensive Line On The Bubble

  1. Tyrone Crawford
  2. Cedric Thornton
  3. Stephen Paea
  4. Charles Tapper
  5. Joey Ivie

In order. Crawford can’t afford to step back and needs to stay healthy. His contract is larger than his production. Thornton and Paea could very well be looking at the same roster spot. Tapper got his redshirt season. Now he needs to step up and be productive. Ivie is on the outside looking in but has that special thing that’s hard to describe. He’s a Marinelli player. Motor and talent. Still, he’s on the outside looking in and has a long road in front of him.

Defensive Line Dark Horses

  • DE Darnell Leslie
  • DE Zach Wood

Wood is an effort guy who is also direct competition for the long snapper position which has been ably maned for many years by L.P. Ladouceur. Wood has the ability to contribute on every special teams unit at a high level. As a member of a defensive line rotation, he would be an emergency guy.

Darnell Leslie is listed everywhere as a defensive end. He played more snaps in college in a two point stance and the Cowboys were using him a lot at LB at OTA’s. At 235 lbs his skill set screams special teams however he does have a knack for rushing the QB and that has to be looked at. To wit from his bio:

“Finished career tied for 7th all-time in sacks despite only playing three seasons” – MU Bio

If you can get to the QB who needs an official position anyhow?

We will move to the offensive side of the ball next. Til then.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over