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By Jonathan Bales

Cowboys News and Notes: Tyron Smith to LT, Ratliff at DE?

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Jonathan Bales

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had some interesting things to say yesterday at the NFL Combine.  I’m going to address my take on a few of these notes and rumors. . .

  • Tyron Smith will be moving to left tackle.

I’ve discussed my thoughts on moving Doug Free to guard, but either way Smith should certainly be at left tackle next season.  Some might argue that Smith should stay put since he played so well on the right side in 2011 and played there at USC as well, but this kid is athletic enough to thrive on either side.  I already have him rated as a top 10 tackle in the NFL.

This is really more about Free, who lost confidence and struggled badly at left tackle this year.  Let’s hope he feels more at home at a position which probably fits him better.

  • Jay Ratliff will play all along the defensive line.

This is welcome news.  Although Ratliff will stay primarily at nose tackle, I really think it will benefit the Cowboys to use him at end in certain situations.  Could this mean we’ll see the Cowboys draft a space-eating nose tackle to fill in for Ratliff when he’s at end?  I don’t necessarily think that will be the case.  More likely, you’ll see Josh Brent and/or Sean Lissemore get some snaps inside.

 

You can see above that Ratliff’s best season, statistically speaking, was in 2008.  He’s seen a decline in sacks each year since then.

 

Ratliff’s overall rate of production has decreased as well.

  • Bradie James and Keith Brooking will likely be released.

This is my final nugget of the day, and another piece of great news for Dallas.  The release of James and Brooking is probably a year late, and understandably so as the Cowboys wanted to hang on to two of the only vocal leaders they have.  All of the leadership in the world can’t make up for poor play, though.

Rookie Bruce Carter will be the probable starter next to Sean Lee next year.  Although it is anyone’s guess as to how Carter will perform in 2012, I’d be willing to bet he will be an upgrade over James and Brooking.

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4 Responses to Cowboys News and Notes: Tyron Smith to LT, Ratliff at DE?

  1. valmont says:

    “Although Ratliff will stay primarily at nose tackle, I really think it will benefit the Cowboys to use him at end in certain situations”

    moving Ratliff position won’t matter. What Dallas needs is a flux capacitor so they can get the 27 year old version of Ratliff instead of the 31 year old version.

  2. Rick says:

    ^^^^^^

    Amazing how people underrated Ratliff, he’s one of the best all around defensive tackles in the game. Few play both the run and the pass as effectively as him.

  3. john coleman says:

    Val you are on to someting. Rick you are on someting. What was in the koolaid they gave you. Man look at the chart above and it’s obvious that you have a personal view of Ratliff. Just because he is a Cowboy, does not make him one of the best in the league. Please save the ProBowl crap too. If he made the ProBowl with those numbers it is obvious that it is a popularity contest. Gurode made it too and was released!

    The above chart and the lack of production is not just exclusive to Ratliff. There is actually talk that Newman could be back, if he restructures his contract. I’m saying unless he was injured, that is ridiculous. He is junk at the veteran minimum. Seriously he made business decisions and flat whimped oout on tackles against the Giants. Still further, we went a year too far with both James and Brooking. Overpaying for the guy from 2 or 3 years ago is bad business and just shows the real state of the organization.

    On the whole team only Romo, Smith, Lee, and Ware are must keeps. Several more like Dez, Miles, DeMarco, and Laurent Robinson are should keeps. We also have a few young oline guys, Scandrick,and jenkins who should either break out or return to form. The dline has no player who would devestate the team if gone. We have decent talent that is servicable, but certainly not what we have been sold. I said it at the beginning of last year and now I will again. If we have any injuries to our starters, we are in trouble.

  4. valmont says:

    its totally normal for NFL players to peak at 27. That Ratliff would is no surprise.

    when you see a clear downward trend for Ratliff that fits perfectly with what you expect in general, its pretty strong evidence.

    I love Ratliff as much as anyone else but players get old, get less effective.

    I would expect Ratliff’s production to take another step backwards this year. Not necessarily a terrible decline, but don’t expect the 27 year old monster who was getting 6 sacks/ season.

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