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Cowboys news: DL coach Jim Tomsula not interested in DL rotation if drop off is significant

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The new defensive line coach wants the best players to play and to heck with a rotation.

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Tomsula isn't interested in DL rotation if other guys aren't producing - David Helman - DallasCowboys.com
The Cowboys new DL coach is not as big on having a rotation if the drop off is a steep one.

The Cowboys will undoubtedly add talent in free agency and the draft, but it’s fair to wonder whether Tomsula will be able to deploy it the way he wants to.

”If everybody can play, everybody will play,” he said. “But when you look out there and it looks different … That crew in San Francisco, the first couple years there was no rotation. I told them ‘If you tap your helmet, I’m turning my head.’”

That’s a far cry from what became customary in Dallas under Rod Marinelli. Lawrence and Quinn played 65% and 68% of the defensive snaps, respectively, ceding the field to backups in key situations.

Mike Nolan to employ more complex defense in Dallas - Kevin Patra- NFL.com
Cowboys new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan plans to make some changes in 2020. He wants to be more diverse and give offenses a lot more to think about this season.

Once he knows his personnel, it will be on Nolan to concoct a scheme to best fit. One thing he knows already is Dallas must be more complex than in the past.

”If you give yourself too much of doing one thing, that’s easy for the best quarterbacks to dissect and take advantage of,” he said. “You have to have a good mix between man and zone. ... You don’t want to create so much volume that you really don’t have an identity, but you have to have some kind of variety in order to be successful.”

The Cowboys D wasn’t very successful last season. The change to Nolan could prove just as big as the moves on offense, even if they’ve flown mostly under the radar.

Hall of Famer Charles Haley was ‘very disappointed’ in Cowboys’ defense this past season - SportsdayDFW
The former Cowboy and Hall of Famer, Charles Haley, talks about his disappointment in the Cowboys' defense of 2019.

“The whole thing was upsetting. They could never — it seemed like it was a bunch of individuals. And for me I think I got to understand that the game has changed. Where guys — all that celebration crap. It takes you away from... I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I think you have to hold each other accountable. They refused to hold the guy next to them accountable. As long as they do that, they’re going to have problems.

“A lot of guys don’t like me. And I told them I’m good with that. Because I’m into that win crap, not that friend crap. Because you know what, if we do that win crap then we can be friends. They understand where I’m coming from philosophy-wise because, hey, if you don’t bring it, then I have no need for you because the love of the game is not in your body.”

2020 NFL Draft Digest No. 2: Defensive tackle emerges as significant area of need for Cowboys – Bob Sturm- The Athletic
The Cowboys are light on returning defensive tackles and even lighter on ones who can get to the quarterback. What's available in the draft?

In fact, as far as I can tell, of the normal 2,000 snaps you must account for from the DT spot, the Cowboys will return roughly 400. That is an absurd amount to attempt to replace.

Now, let’s reset a discussion that I think is certainly important to revisit each year. There are many types of defensive tackles, but almost without exception, the real value is in one who can present some level of pass rush. Interior pass rushers are extremely rare, and if you can find one, you should be willing to pay premium prices. If not, you should understand that there seems to be an endless supply of ordinary DTs further down the draft, on the waiver wire or available for minimal contracts. The only time you should be paying big money for DTs are for those who completely shut down a running game or those who can get to the passer… or both.

Is WR a quiet need for the Dallas Cowboys? - Kevin Brady - Inside The Star
Behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, everything else is a question mark, should we be talking receivers?

Dallas does have a ton of a wide receivers under contract, most of which garnered attention during training camp last season. How could you really trust these guys to be the WR3 on what you’re hoping is a Super Bowl offense, though? It would be a tough sell.

This is where the Cowboys’ need for another dynamic pass catcher comes into play. This draft class is an exceptional one at receiver, and the Cowboys may need to get in on the action in the first round.

My guy? Alabama wide out Henry Ruggs. Take him 17, re-sign Amari Cooper, and prosper offensively for the foreseeable future.

NFL Draft 2020: Wide receiver class offers Cowboys dynamic options for passing arsenal - Michael Sisemore- Blogging The Boys
Taking a peek at this year’s receivers class which is stocked with depth.

TYLER JOHNSON, MINNESOTA

13 GP, 86 REC, 1318 YDS, 15.3 Y/REC, 13 TD (2019)

Tyler Johnson is another highly-productive receiver that is balanced all around. He has an excellent ability to contort his body to make the occasional circus catch. Johnson trusts his hands to make every catch and he’s not afraid to get physical at the catch point. Johnson is much more successful finding space in zone defenses and he’ll need to improve his footwork and route salesmanship at the pro level.

Compensating Amari Cooper will be Cowboys conundrum because he is part elite, part enigma- Michael Gehlken- SportsdayDFW
Amari Cooper makes the Cowboys a better football team but he also can have stretches of games where he's not making an impact, does that get considered in extension talks?

Why Cooper is likely to return: There is a sunk cost element to this conversation. That is, Dallas didn’t invest a first-round pick on a player it’d carry for only a season and a half. Second, there is no doubting what Cooper provides when he’s on, an explosive route-runner whose double moves and cool-headed sideline grabs offer Dak Prescott a dynamic target. Cooper can wreck games, and he turns only 26 in June.

Last month, vice president Stephen Jones described retaining Cooper as the Cowboys’ No. 2 offseason priority. But if a long-term contract involves paying Cooper for the player he was the first nine games and ignoring the other seven, maybe it’s preferable to use the franchise or transition tag until a more informed evaluation can be made. Otherwise, team-friendly protections must exist within the structure of any long-term deal to ensure Cooper’s enigmatic profile to date is taken into account.

Cowboys to revamp special teams in 2020, a mandatory goal under Mike McCarthy and John Fassel - Patrik Walker -CBSSports.com
Cowboys must get better on special teams and they hope that coach John Fassel will fix the issue.

So, for Fassel, it’s about the totality of it all and not simply one or two items of concern. And, more than anything, it’s about players on special teams feeling like they’re more than just crash test dummies.

”A lot of the successes that come with special teams have to do with intangibles,” Fassel said. “The personnel is a huge part of it, and the player development is a huge part of it. But when you can get a group of running backs, linebackers, tight ends, receivers and defensive backs to become cohesive and make it seem like those guys are valuable to a team — that’s probably the biggest component to being successful on special teams. Building chemistry and building pride and getting them to feel like they’re important when a lot of times they’re backups on offense or defense, but they’re a starter on special teams.

”That’s kind of my message to them: ‘You’re important to this football team.”

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