Cowboys: With Biased coaches gone, Anae, Robinson, Gregory can shine

: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Last season was dysfunctional in more ways than one for the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously the global pandemic wreaked havoc on offseason work, preseason, practice, and overall preparedness. But a coaching change, scheme change, and new personnel also sent shockwaves through the locker room.

Some of those coaches weren’t all that well received by players. And similarly some of those player additions weren’t well received by coaches.

Favoritism rang from the rooftops in 2020 and coaches favorites seemed to get opportunities other players did not. The defensive coaching staff particularly was called out for leaning on “their guys” and almost seemed vindictive when the Cowboys scouting department selected players the coaching staff didn’t endorse.

Randy Gregory, Reggie Robinson, and Bradlee Anae have a new lease on life with the Cowboys

Players like Bradlee Anae and Reggie Robinson were considered high value draft picks that earned the scouting department praise. But the coaching staff seemingly buried them on the depth chart – even moving one of them to a completely different position never to be seen from again (slight exaggeration).

Not even veteran players could avoid the reach of favoritism. Randy Gregory found himself stuck behind coach-favorite Aldon Smith last year. Despite being a far more efficient and impactful player, Gregory was held back and it didn’t go unnoticed.

"“I felt there was a little bit of favoritism going on… refusing to let me outshine their favorite, “ Gregory told The Athletic. “They knew I could do it, so they did what they could to keep me at bay. I had my times when I was angry. I truly felt I got robbed of a year last year”"

With many of those biased coaches now gone, players like Randy Gregory, Bradlee Anae, and Reggie Robinson are being given a chance on the Dallas Cowboys.

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Gregory has already seized the starting DE role on the defense. And Reggie Robinson has been moved back to his natural position of CB. Even Anae is being given multiple avenues to carve out a role in 2021. This doesn’t guarantee they will earn roles (or even roster spots) in 2021, but it does give them a chance – something they desperately wanted in 2020.

Dan Quinn, Dallas’ new defensive coordinator, is a player’s coach who has been very well received this year. He has some ties to players already on the staff but doesn’t seem to be drawing the same indictments Mike Nolan did last year.

The level playing field has allowed some players to shine in training camp. Players we didn’t expect to challenge for roster spots. This goes a long way in the hearts and minds of the players, who are battling for their careers here in the preseason.

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Anae and Robinson both face tough odds at their respective positions. They are on the bubble and will have to earn roster spots here in 2021. Their draft status can’t save them this year. But they are finally being given a fair shake and that’s exciting to the players, the scouts, and the fans. Just another reason to be excited about this season .

  • Published on 08/11/2021 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 08/11/2021 at 13:43 PM