Film room: Why Andy Dalton will be a great backup QB for the Dallas Cowboys - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
The former Bengals signal-caller will fit in perfectly in Dallas.
But Dalton in 2019 also posted the best accuracy percentage among quarterbacks when a defender was a step away from the receiver and finished third when the receiver was deemed open, according to PFF. Unfortunately for Dalton, he had to make a larger percentage of throws into tight coverage than the average passer because his receivers failed to create separation. Last year, 25% of Dalton’s pass attempts were into tight windows while the league average was just 19%, according to PFF.
Luckily for Dalton, the Cowboys will provide him with the talent he needs to be successful if he’s thrust into action, as they possess an exciting young trio of receivers (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb), an ascending tight end (Blake Jarwin), a top-three running back (Ezekiel Elliott), an intriguing No. 2 running back (Tony Pollard) and a top-five offensive line with three linemen who are among the very best at their position (Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and La’el Collins).
While Elliott and the offensive line will make Dalton’s life easier by making defenses respect the threat of the run, Cooper, Gallup, Lamb and Jarwin are good enough athletes and route runners to create the separation necessary to limit Dalton’s exposure to tight-window throws.
Is there anything other than Dalton being a backup? Dalton sets the record straight.
The Cowboys see Dalton as their Nick Foles, a veteran insurance policy.
It’s not a role Dalton has played much, starting 133 of a possible 144 games after the Bengals drafted him out of TCU, but one he’s ready for in Dallas.
“My mindset is, I’m going try to be the biggest asset to this team, try to help out this offense, help out Dak, help out everybody as much as I can,” Dalton said on a conference call with beat reporters, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “It’s a different perspective for me since I’ve been a starter the last nine years, but I understand the position I’m coming into and the role I’m going to play.”
He will see the field only if Prescott is injured.
“Dak has played really well,” Dalton said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “I knew the situation I was coming into. . . . Dak is the starter on this team. If for some reason he was to go down, I will be able to step in and help this team.”
Cowboys: 5 players to keep an eye on leading up to the 2020 NFL season - Evan Massey, NFL Analysis Network
Five Cowboys to look out for as we approach the end of the offseason.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety -Coming into the NFL offseason, the Cowboys knew they needed to make a move at the safety position. Over the past couple of years, Dallas has taken a long look at a couple star safeties. Those two safeties are Earl Thomas and Jamal Adams.
Many though the Cowboys could turn back around to the Adams trade idea. However, the New York Jets don’t seem too interested in trading him. Instead, the Cowboys went out and signed former Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, and Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Last season with the Bears, Clinton-Dix racked up 78 total tackles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, one defensive touchdown, and five defended passes. He put up good numbers, but consistency and getting burned has always been trouble for him. Dallas needs Clinton-Dix to become a real cornerstone for the secondary. If he can do that, they will take a huge step forward.
If there is one thing the Cowboys have done right this offseason, it’s cover themselves well.
The significance for Dallas is simple. The Cowboys are now good where in recent years they have been very bad, and it made a difference. The Dalton signing for $3 million over the weekend isn’t so much the dawn of a new day but the continuation of a plan to build better depth all over the roster, not just along the defensive line, where it gets so much attention. Here’s what has happened and why the Cowboys are working diligently to not repeat past mistakes.
In 2015, they failed miserably in the backup quarterback department, even while aware of Tony Romo’s failing health. And when he disappeared, a series of Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore starts could not save the Cowboys from their worst record since 1989.
In 2017, Elliott’s six-game suspension resulted in a late-season collapse that included three straight losses by scores of 27-7, 37-9 and 28-6. And in 2018, after the release of Dez Bryant and an attempt to “do it by committee,” the Cowboys were forced to trade their first-round pick for Amari Cooper due to a 3-4 start in which wide receivers could not make the big plays. Or even some of the smaller ones.
Is edge rusher still seen as a big need for the Cowboys?
Aside from DeMarcus Lawrence, there isn’t an edge rusher to feel great about on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line. There are guys we hope will work out and guys with promise. But, as the saying goes, “hope isn’t a plan.” As they’ve shown all offseason, they’ll be aggressive in patching a hole. There are still some very intriguing names available in free agency for them to pursue.
Jadeveon Clowney, Everson Griffen, and Markus Golden are still available. And now that signed free agents won’t count against next year’s compensatory pick formula, nothing is holding the Dallas Cowboys back from making a move to address edge rusher.
They want to be an aggressive team this year on both sides of the ball. On defense, that means they’ll blitz more. Even though they’ll send an extra rusher more frequently, it’s still not the best plan to go into a season with Dorance Armstrong, Tyrone Crawford, or Bradlee Anae as your other defensive end.
It’s rare, but could all seven draft picks make the team in 2020?
I Think… there's a distinct possibility all seven draft picks make the active roster – and that would be somewhat rare.
The rookies have to earn it, of course. There's a long way to go before the season opener. But it's not hard to envision a role for all seven guys.
The first four picks – wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, cornerback Trevon Diggs, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and cornerback Reggie Robinson II – all figure to play early. The Cowboys traded back into the fourth round to draft Tyler Biadasz because they think he can develop into a starting center at some point. Fifth-rounder Bradlee Anae is talented enough to be in the rotation at defensive end right away.
The biggest question is probably seventh-rounder Ben DiNucci. The Cowboys just signed Dalton to back up Prescott, and they haven't kept three quarterbacks on the active roster the last two seasons. But Cooper Rush is now a Giant, and DiNucci has a chance if he shows out. Plus, the new collective bargaining agreement allows for 55 active-roster players, up from 53, which means two practice squad players are eligible to be called up each week.
More offensive line depth for the Cowboys.
Who exactly are the Cowboys getting in Cam Erving? We sat down with Arrowhead Pride to discuss.
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