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douhua2233 Oct 12
— Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata is no longer an intriguing international prospect with unknown potential.

The native Nigerian http://www.titansauthorizedshops.com/authentic-harold-landry-jersey , who learned American-style football as a college student in Canada, is entering his third NFL season as an established starter upon whom the Saints are increasingly comfortable relying to plug up rushing lanes or make quarterbacks uncomfortable when they drop back to pass.

“We certainly look at him that way,” Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said after practice on Monday evening. “He’s established himself as a starting caliber defensive lineman in our league and he’s certainly going to be a big part of what we’re trying to get accomplished this year.”

Onyemata, 25, always looked the part at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds. That’s a big reason the Saints decided it would be worthwhile to use a fourth-round draft choice on him in 2016.

But Onyemata never envisioned an NFL playing career when he went to college in western Canada. He was there to study, and took up football because he was looking for an interesting way to diversify his college experience outside the classroom. He’d played soccer growing up, and was ready to try something new that perhaps suited his body type.

Ultimately, his academics-first approach to college — he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science — might have aided his adjustment to the NFL.

“For a guy that had played as little football as he had, there was some terminology things that he had to learn … but I wouldn’t say that was any slower than it was for maybe any other rookie that we’ve had,” Allen recalled. “So I think that’s one of the things that’s allowed him to be maybe as productive for us as he has, is that he is smart and learns really well. He’s not a repeat-mistake offender.”

Onyemata played in all 16 regular season games in 2017, starting the last six. He had 40 tackles, two sacks and one batted pass.

This past offseason, Onyemata took some time to return home in March to see family and friends in Africa, but also spent a lot of time in Baton Rouge, working with long-time defensive line coach Pete Jenkins on more nuanced aspect of his position, such as his initial movements at the snap and how to use his hands to improve leverage.

“Just having the mindset to get better and work on things you’re not good at — that has been the goal,” Onyemata said, adding that he now has a strong command of New Orleans’ defensive scheme and the terminology used to call it. “You know what they’re asking you to do and you know what they’re expecting you to do, so you just go out there and do your job.”

Saints center Max Unger was in his second season in New Orleans in 2016 and has witnessed Onyemata’s evolution as a football player up close.

“The accent’s still there,” Unger said, but quickly added http://www.officialhurricanes.com/authentic-adidas-andrei-svechnikov-jersey , “He’s becoming, I think, the player that a lot of people thought that he was going to be and it’s impressive to see his development, especially coming down from Canada and not having a lot of football under his belt.

“It’s tough to go against, honestly,” Unger continued. “I mean, look at him. He’s a big, fast, physical guy that just needs to play as much football as he can. Again, it’s a big jump to come into this league and I think that he has progressed pretty rapidly.”

Unger said Onyemata’s growth is evident in his awareness of what offenses are trying to do and how to defend it.

“You can be fast, you can be physical, but not knowing where the ball is, as a D-lineman, I guess is half the battle,” Unger said, adding the Onyemata is also better at disguising his own intentions before the snap. “All of those things, he’s showing pretty rapid improvement in.”

Dak Prescott's difficulties in the passing game go back further than a loss in the opener at Carolina for the Dallas Cowboys.

Now that the slump has extended into a new season, coach Jason Garrett and his staff must weigh the factors and when or whether to make changes to try to fix them.

Six sacks of Prescott and little running room early for star back Ezekiel Elliott magnified two significant questions on the offensive line.

Most of the focus, though, will remain on a revamped and largely unproven group of receivers trying to replace tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant.

Then there's the play-calling, with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan under siege from the unemployed Bryant on Twitter, along with the fans.

"I have a tremendous amount of faith in Scott," Garrett said Monday Authentic Will Dissly Jersey , a day after a 16-8 loss to the Panthers. "We just have to do a better job collectively as a staff and as an offensive unit. That starts with basic execution, play after play not beating ourselves and then finding ways to generate some big plays."

Going into a suddenly important home opener against the New York Giants on Sunday night, Garrett also sounds as if the Cowboys will stick with the same five on the offensive line.

Joe Looney is replacing four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick, out indefinitely with a condition that affects his nerves. Rookie left guard Connor Williams was beaten twice for sacks by Kawann Short.

"Joe Looney ... looked like he did a pretty good job in the game," Garrett said. "Connor Williams, obviously it's a challenging task for him Week 1 to go against that defensive front. There were some good things for him. There's some areas in pass protection that wasn't good enough."

Prescott had fewer than 200 yards passing for the seventh time in nine games. That stretch started when he was sacked a career-high eight times in a loss at Atlanta that triggered the Cowboys' slide out of playoff contention last year. It was also the beginning of Elliott's six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

Elliott's presence didn't help much against the Panthers, and the question going forward is how the Cowboys can hope to live off the running game when they haven't shown they can be a threat throwing the ball.

Focused on stopping Elliott first, the Panthers held the 2016 NFL rushing leader to 18 yards before halftime. Nearly half of Elliott's 69 yards, and his touchdown, came in the fourth quarter after the Cowboys had fallen behind 16-0.

If the Cowboys want something resembling the remarkable rookie seasons of Prescott and Elliott two years ago, when they had an NFC-best 13 wins, they will need bigger numbers from the focal point of their offense earlier in the game.

"We've got to start faster," Elliott said after the game. "That's not Dallas Cowboys football. That's not how we've ever played. If we want to succeed, if we want to go out there and win ballgames, we can't come out there and lay an egg in the first half."

Filling the void left by Witten and Bryant will probably look a lot as it did in the opener, except for draft-day trade acquisition Tavon Austin getting shut out. The speedy receiver and returner figures to have more of a role.

Holdover Cole Beasley had the most targets (eight), catches (seven) and yards receiving (73). The rest were split among newcomers Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson and rookie Michael Gallup.

No. 1 tight end Geoff Swaim had three catches, and backup Blake Jarwin was open for what would have been the biggest play of the game for Dallas if Prescott hadn't underthrown him.

"We think each of those guys has some strengths and they have some different things that they can bring to our offense," Garrett said. "We do think as we go forward that mixing those guys in and giving them all an opportunity to contribute will be a good thing for our team."

The Cowboys have a long way to go to prove it.