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Division Links: BtB says the Cowboys “whiffed badly” in 2017 draft and that Mike McCarthy faces “uphill battle” in 2020

14 June 2020

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Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Blogging the Boys

2017 NFL Draft rankings confirm that the Dallas Cowboys whiffed badly

Expectations were that the Cowboys would build on their ridiculously good draft class from the year before and continue to add talent around their new face of the franchise on an inexpensive rookie deal. Instead, Dallas prioritized need and scheme over raw talent, ending up hurting the roster’s talent level.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler went back to the 2017 NFL Draft and ranked each class from one to 32. To not much of a surprise, the Cowboys were closer to 32 than they were to the top. Brugler ranked the Cowboys’ 2017 class at number 20.

[T]he Cowboys drafted Michigan’s Taco Charlton over Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt in round one, the overwhelming story of how this draft class went for America’s Team. Dallas doubled-up at corner on day two in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. While both have flashed the talent that the Cowboys liked, neither one has been able to show that they are a long-term answer in the secondary.

The Cowboys have hit on a ton of picks and have largely drafted well, but the 2017 haul has to sting.

Big Blue View

Summer School 2020: Cover 2 defense — what it is, and how to beat it

The Cover 2 defense is a basic zone coverage that features two deep safeties with half field responsibilities. This defense is a middle of the field open (MOFO) type of defense; this is important because NFL teams look at defenses as MOFO, like Cover 2 or MOFC (Middle of the Field Closed), like Cover 3/Cover 1, even though the former is a zone defense and the latter is man-to-man. Pre-snap, the safeties play at a depth of around 14 yards, albeit that does vary, and the outside cornerbacks squat underneath to eliminate flat throws, while three other defenders sit in mid-hook zones. The defense is two-high, five underneath....

The Steelers defense of the 1970s, the Steel Curtain, won four Super-Bowls using a Cover 2 defense that was very innovative at the time.

In Cover 2, defensive lines have to be able to win with four pass rushers because blitzing can be a bit tricky and will mess up the continuity of the defense. The Steelers had a defensive line that consisted of Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes, and Dwight White, so four-man pressure packages were enough. Offenses have become much better over the last several decades and have been able to exploit the Cover 2 defense.

Bleeding Green Nation

NFC East Outlook: The top player at every offensive position in 2020

Crowning the kings of their position and diving recklessly into a massive, never ending debate...

WIDE RECEIVER #1 - Amari Cooper (Cowboys)*

In the past I’ve tried distinguishing between X/Z receivers, but those designations matter less when you have a player like Cooper that you can move all around.

The Cowboys made Cooper a $100M man in the off-season when they extended him for 5 years, and with good reason. Cooper’s a silky smooth technician with a dirty release game and is coming off his third 1,000+ yard season in four years. The Cowboys know what life is like without him, and that skill and importance makes him the top receiver in the East.

WIDE RECEIVER #2 - Terry McLaurin (Washington)

I considered DeSean Jackson here, but the 33-year old only played 65 snaps last year. Instead, I’ll go with the young buck McLaurin. 58-919-7 is an impressive stat line for any rookie, let alone one that suffered from erratic quarterback play.

McLaurin’s 4.35 40-yard dash showed to be an immediate difference maker from the first game of his career, as Eagles fans know well. His 366 deep receiving yards and 4 deep touchdowns both ranked 2nd in the East, only behind the aforementioned Cooper.

Blogging the Boys

History shows Mike McCarthy faces an uphill battle in year one in Dallas

In the history of the National Football League, only seven coaches, Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil, Mike Holmgren, John Fox, and Andy Reid, have taken two teams to the Super Bowl. This season, in his first year as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy hopes to be the eighth addition to the list.

McCarthy appeared in, and won, his Super Bowl back in 2011 with the Green Bay Packers. During his thirteen-year tenure in Green Bay, McCarthy posted an extremely impressive 125-77-2 record. He totaled just three losing seasons, and qualified for the playoffs nine times.

Out of the 12 coaches that have won a Super Bowl and went on to become a head coach elsewhere, only one reached the playoffs in their first season with the new team.

To make matters worse, of the 68 new head coaches in the past 10 years, only 17 have coached their team to a playoff berth in their first season. That comes out to 25%, not a promising number.

Big Blue View

Shaun O’Hara “loved” New York Giants’ selection of Andrew Thomas

In exclusive interview, ex-Giants hits wide range of topics

The New York Giants knew entering the 2020 NFL Draft that bolstering their offensive line was a must. Former Giant Shaun O’Hara believes the selection of Andrew Thomas No. 4 overall was the best move they could have made to strengthen that position group.

“I didn’t like it. I loved it,” O’Hara said of the move Tuesday in an exclusive phone interview with Big Blue View. “Andrew Thomas was No. 1 on my list of left tackles.”

O’Hara said Thomas was “arguably the best left tackle in college football the last two years.”

“I had zero question marks about Andrew Thomas, really. The more I learned about him the more I appreciated how good he was,” O’Hara said. “Two things that jumped out at me on film. I thought he had a really good anchor. You did not see him get pushed back into the pocket when he got a bullrush he could sit it down. … I thought his run-blocking was phenomenal.”

“I literally had no question marks about him.”