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  Garrett Anticipates Elliott To Camp On Time
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-24-2019, 11:53 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (20)

   


FRISCO, Texas – If Ezekiel Elliott is considering a holdout at the start of training camp, as outside reports have suggested in recent days, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett isn’t aware of it.
Asked if he expected Elliott to travel with the team to Oxnard, California on Thursday, Garrett said, “Yeah, we anticipate that. I’ve heard nothing different on that.”
Elliott, the NFL’s leading rusher two of the last three years, has two years remaining on his rookie contract. The Cowboys have stated their desire to sign Elliott to a long-term extension along with Pro Bowl teammates such as quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, but a timetable for such a deal is uncertain.
Recent national reports have hinted at a possible holdout when camp opens later this week. The Cowboys’ first practice is scheduled for Saturday.
For Garrett, all indications at this point are his All-Pro back will be in camp on time.

“We’re just focused on our team and the guys who are going to be there,” Garrett said at Wednesday’s annual Cowboys Coaches Clinic for youth, middle and high school coaches, presented by Baylor Scott & White. “Zeke’s had a great offseason and certainly excited about what he can do for our football team.”

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  Mick Shots: Hey Oxnard, Here We Come Again.
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-24-2019, 11:46 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (1)

   


[b]FRISCO, Texas[/b] – Well, it’s time, here we go, off to Oxnard, Calif., Thursday afternoon for the start of training camp.
Enough of all the projections. Enough of all those offseason lists, the bests, tops, biggest and mosts. Now we start seeing tangible evidence as these Cowboys begin preparation in earnest for the 2019 season.
The official start to camp at the River Ridge Sports Complex will be noon (PDT), Friday, when Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett holds his first, mandatory team meeting. So be ready, these shots will be coming over the next several weeks fast and furious.

  • OK Zeke: Weird, don’t you think, the only person who has been quoted on this whole Zeke reporting/not reporting on time fiasco has been Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. This whole thing has been sourced to death, and we certainly have nothing on record from the man himself, Zeke, the NFL’s defending rushing champ. So, when posed with the question if he is expecting Ezekiel Elliott to report to training camp on time, Garrett said, “Yeah, we anticipate that. I’ve heard nothing different from that.” Neither have we. Hopefully, though, Zeke doesn’t make a grandstanding entrance as Jalen Ramsey of the same 2016 rookie class did in Jacksonville, arriving in an armored truck and walked out to his own emcee announcing his arrival over a bullhorn. That’s what this world has come to for sure.

  • To PUP Or Not: That is the question the Cowboys will face after all the physicals are taken and conditioning run is finished the first day of camp on Friday. At this point, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones are the most likely candidates to begin camp on active/Physically Unable to Perform. Garrett said he doesn’t expect either player “ready to go at the outset of training camp.” Meaning, to actually practice. Lawrence appears pretty ready, but there is no sense rushing a guy you just signed to a $105 million contract back into practice. Lawrence is ahead of Jones, who had hip surgery, and all along, having him ready for Sept. 8 has been the goal. Physicals and the conditioning tests will determine the status of others coming back from surgeries or offseason injuries. Two of those in that category possibly could be Tyrone Crawford (hip bursitis) and Noah Brown (knee scope in early June). Not a good start for Brown in a crowded receiver field after spending the first nine weeks of last season on injured reserve (hamstring). Players on active/PUP will revert to the active roster once they are cleared on a physical.

  • Long Camp: This will be a long, hard training camp for Cowboys wide receiver coach Sanjay Lal, who recently underwent surgery to repair badly damaged peroneal tendons in his right ankle. He’ll likely spend the entire training camp in a huge walking boots and utilizing one of those kneel-down scooters. Somewhat know the feeling, though far less severe, having started the 2002 training camp in a walking boot and crutches after suffering the fractured fifth metatarsal of my left foot.

  • Business Decision: You know, the Cowboys picking up the option on Allen Hurns’ second year of his two-year contract surprised me since his $4 million base salary and $1 million roster bonus seemed extreme for a guy who likely was going to be no more than the No. 4 receiver trying to return following his gruesome fractured fibula in the playoff win over Seattle. So, while Hurns was seen running really well by the end of the offseason program, really no surprise the Cowboys decided to officially release him on Wednesday after the veteran receiver refused the offer to reduce his base salary. As Garrett said, “The essence of that decision is the business of football.” For sure, while Hurns’ prorated signing bonus will hit the cap for $1.25 million in dead money, the Cowboys will pick up another $5 million on the cap, along with wiping out a potential $1 million per-game game bonus total. They also opened up a roster spot, already filled by signing a fourth quarterback for camp, Taryn Christion, an undrafted free agent last year (South Dakota State) signed by Seattle and released in early May.

  • Too Funny: Cowboys former defensive lineman Marcus Spears, now on ESPN, cracked me up the other day when he joined First Take, and told Stephen A. Smith, he was “the human embodiment of the Dallas Cowboys – love me or hate me, you got to watch me.” Right, and left Stephen A. mumbling something, almost – almost – speechless.

  • On The Corner: Unsigned former Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne might have a chance to land in Minnesota, where Vikings corner Holton Hill had another four-game suspension added to his previous four-game suspension, totaling the first eight of the season. The 29-year-old former Cowboys first-round draft choice has spent the past two seasons with the Jets, totaling three interceptions, 22 passes broken up and 100 tackles. Mo started 15 of the 15 games he played last year for the Jets and is listed by Gil Brandt as the top remaining unsigned free agent.

  • Slim Pickin’s: Keep hearing how the Cowboys might have to dip into the group of unsigned free-agent quarterbacks if Cooper Rush or Mike White don’t step up in training camp. Well, this is sobering. Of the available free-agent quarterbacks for 2019, the highest remaining QB still available, at No. 9 is Colin Kaepernick, who hasn’t played for the past two years and is already 31. Others still available are Josh Johnson (11th), Brock Osweiler (14th) and David Fales (21st). The 23rd-ranked Mark Sanchez just retired. Yuck.

  • Parting Shots: Still No. 1, and for the second straight year, on the Forbes’ annual list of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, the Cowboys value going up from $4.6 billion last year to a cool $5 billion this year. The Yankees were second at $4.6 billion and the Patriots ($3.8 billion) were the next NFL team at seventh . . . The Cowboys had nine games ranked among the top 50 highest rated television sports broadcasts for 2018. The Patriots were the only other team with more than four . . . Former Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox already has been placed on injured reserve by Atlanta after suffering a torn ACL in Monday’s practice. Wilcox signed with the Falcons after spending the past two years with Pittsburgh in 2017 and with the Colts and Jets in 2018 . . . Two players flying way under the radar heading into training camp but have caught the attention of the coaches are fifth-round draft choice CB Mike Jackson and last year’s practice squad running back Jordan Chunn.
And away we go, me for my 34th Cowboys training camp. Though reminded that three years ago today four of us heading to Oxnard for training camp on the Cowboys tour bus survived a horrific highway crash south of Las Vegas, all thanks to Emory Tyler, to me forever more known as the best darn bus driver in the world, expertly bringing the bus careening into a culvert with flying glass in his face safely to a halt upright after broadsiding a car failing to yield the right of way. My camp MVP that year for sure. Shout out, Emory, from all of us.

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  Is This A Super Bowl Or Bust Roster?
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-24-2019, 11:40 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (56)

   


(Football season is finally approaching. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 25. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com has previewed the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2019. This is the final entry.)
FRISCO, Texas – The offseason is history. It’s time for training camp and the Cowboys’ pursuit of a special season.
Will this wind up being a “Super” season? Time will tell. But the goal for all 32 teams is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year. The Cowboys are no different.
So, based on their success last year and their work in the offseason, is this a “Super Bowl or bust” roster? That’s the final installment in our 20 Questions series.
David Helman: Even when you’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender, getting there is so much easier said than done. Ask the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs if they were “Super Bowl or bust” last year. It’s hard to place those expectations on a team when so much has to go right. But I’ll do my best not to cop out of this question. The Dallas Cowboys are absolutely one of the three or four most talented teams in the NFC. There’s no reason why they can’t be playing in the final game of the season. And with the amount of hefty contracts they’re about to pay out, they’d be smart to make that push sooner rather than later. I don’t know if that means they’ll make the Super Bowl, but I will say this: If this season doesn’t result in the Cowboys winning multiple playoff games for the first time since the 1995 season, it will be a complete disappointment.

Bryan Broaddus: From top to bottom this roster is one of the best in the league on paper, but what you do on paper and how you play are two different things. The front office/coaches have to feel as if they have put together one that could compete for one of the top two spots in the conference. The schedule does them no favors, but I thought they played a tougher one in 2016 and managed to win 13 games with a rookie quarterback/running back. So in my opinion this current roster is just as talented and more experienced. With those lofty expectations comes the pressure on everyone involved to deliver. Not only is there pressure on Jason Garrett but this roster as well. Garrett’s job will likely not depend on him winning a Super Bowl, but let’s not forget what happened two seasons ago in Philadelphia with their talented roster. If things fall right, this squad could have a run similar to what we saw with the Eagles that season, which would take a great deal of pressure off the entire operation.
Rob Phillips: I have no doubt this team, to a man, will be disappointed if they don’t get there. That tells you a lot. Now, as I said in our previous entry, you need a lot of luck – particularly in the injury department – to get that far. But the 2019 Cowboys return 20 of 22 starters from a team that reached the NFC divisional round in 2018. Travis Frederick and Jason Witten are back. They added Robert Quinn to the pass rush. And, that 3-5 start last season might have been the best thing that happened to the young guys. The experience they got battling back from that midseason hole was invaluable. The schedule on paper is much tougher this year. But they expect to be better than last season. I agree.
Lindsay Draper: It seems utterly ridiculous to say, “Well, they lost the divisional round last year, so obviously, an NFC Championship would do it.” But it’s pretty clear that this team – not far off from last year – is stacked with talent. Super Bowl or bust seems a bit unrealistic, since every season brings about unforeseen challenges. But I’d absolutely say that this team is definitely in the midst of a championship ‘window’ right now.
Mickey Spagnola: This is a pretty darn good roster, and probably a lot better than most people outside these walls think. The Cowboys’ offense was pretty strong the second half of last season, scoring at least 27 points in five of the final eight games, and winning two of the three they didn’t. And the offense basically returns intact, likely four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick and 11-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten the only potential new starters, along with the addition of highly-regarded veteran receiver Randall Cobb as the third receiver. The defense last season finished seventh in the NFL, highest finish since No. 1 in 2003. And to think, Leighton Vander Esch now has a year of experience. Linebacker Sean Lee begins the season healthy, figuring to start on the strong side. Byron Jones will have a full season at corner under his belt. Same with Xavier Woods as a starting free safety. And depth on the D-Line should be much improved with the addition of Robert Quinn, Trysten Hill, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington and a full year of starting experience for Antwaun Woods. And though the Cowboys did get beat in the second round of the playoffs, the loss was to the NFC champion Rams. So absolutely, this is a roster capable of advancing to the Super Bowl. But saying the season is a “bust” if they don’t ultimately get there is a tad harsh. That would mean in the end, 30 teams will have busted by Feb. 2, 2020. Still, don’t be afraid to expect much more from this team than last year.


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  Can Kellen Moore Fix The Offense?
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-22-2019, 10:19 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (22)

   


(Football season is finally approaching. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 25. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com is going to preview the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2019.)
FRISCO, Texas – A quick rundown of Kellen Moore’s evolution in the Cowboys organization:
2015-17: Backup quarterback (and sounding board for starter Dak Prescott from 2016-17).
2018: Prescott’s position coach.
Now, the 30-year-old Moore is in charge of the Cowboys’ offense.
The son of a coach, and widely regarded as a bright offensive mind, Moore is replacing his mentor, Scott Linehan, who ran the offense the past five years. Will Moore take the offense to new heights in his first season as offensive coordinator? That’s the next installment in our 20 Questions series.
Rob Phillips: We don’t know exactly what a Kellen Moore offense will look like, and as CBS Sports’ Tony Romo said this week, that should be an early-season advantage for the offense. One thing Moore has mentioned is the importance of versatility – having a lot of talented guys who can line up in multiple spots and keep defenses guessing. More big plays are critical to improving their scoring average from last year’s 21.2 (ranked 22nd). Of their 39 explosive pass plays (20 yards or more) last season, 23 were in the final nine games after Amari Cooper’s arrival. Quarterback Dak Prescott had an outstanding offseason, and his development is as important to the offense’s growth as anything differently they might do scheme wise. Moore’s job is to put Prescott and the group in the best position to succeed. The Cowboys believe he can.
Mickey Spagnola: The acquisition of Amari Cooper went a long way toward fixing the offense last year, if you figure the Cowboys scored at least 27 points in five of the final eight games after scoring no more than 20 points six of the first eight games. And two of the three they didn’t score more than 27 those final eight, the Cowboys scored 22 to beat Atlanta on the road and 13 to beat the Saints. So, fix to me means how do they accentuate what they already have. First of all, the Cowboys have to do a better job of scoring touchdowns in goal-to-go situations. Last year the Cowboys only converted 13 of their 25 possessions in goal-to-go situations into touchdowns (52 percent). Gosh, with their talent that needs to be about 80 percent. Improve that and they will significantly improve their production inside the 20 where they finished 29th scoring touchdowns, 24 of 50, just 48 percent. Only the Jets, Jacksonville and San Francisco were worse, and their 40 total scores (16 field goals) ranked tied for 29th. When posed with that question, Moore, and maybe he was being coy, said, “We have to run the ball better.” That would be a start, and also better production from now a more experienced tight end position. The other fix for the offense needs to be improved protection for Dak Prescott, who was sacked 56 times last year, 17 more times than the Cowboys’ defense sacked opposing quarterbacks. Better protection for Dak and his much-improved familiarity with his receivers will aid the fixing.

Lindsay Draper: If by ‘fix’ we mean ‘tweak,’ I’m on board with this statement. My colleagues have already told you about the numbers this offense puts up, and they’re not to be overlooked. This group simply needs to – dare I say it – execute. Moore will do his portion of putting them in the right place to succeed; I have faith that he will avoid overthinking and outsmarting himself, even in his first year. But if the Cowboys sneak into the shadows of a championship this season, it won’t be "because the OC fixed the offense." It’ll be a product of executing when he puts them in more favorable situations. 
Nick Eatman: I don’t know if I want to call an offense that has five Pro Bowlers last year completely broken, but obviously there was a reason the team parted ways with the offensive coordinator. To me, all Kellen Moore needs to do is take the offense to another level. Just be a little better than it was last year. Don’t get shut out in Indy. Don’t put up 50 yards rushing in the playoff game. Figure out a way to use your offensive weapons and speed. All we’ve heard this offseason from the players is how the plays are pretty much the same, just have a different disguise in the pre-snap. If that works, then I’m sure it’ll be an easy transition for everyone. I do think Kellen Moore will provide a fresh approach without being too predictable. Again, they don’t have to be way better than last year, just figure out a way to score more TDs in the red zone, connect on a couple of more big plays down the field and that should be enough to see a noticeable difference. 
David Helman: This is the most important question facing this team, as far as I’m concerned. We know the defense is good, and there’s no reason not to believe in the guys coaching them. This offense features eight Pro Bowlers. Eight! Out of 11 positions! The talent is clearly there to be among the best in the league. You can’t blame every, single problem on Scott Linehan, but it’s pretty obvious that scheme was holding these guys back. Kellen Moore doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, but it shouldn’t be asking too much of a group this talented to be among the top 10 or 12 in the league. I’m not convinced Moore is going to light the league on fire, a la Sean McVay, but I honestly think it’ll only take a few tweaks to get this thing humming. At the bare minimum, I think they’ll be in the top half of the league, if not top 10.
Bryan Broaddus: Jason Garrett is betting his job that Kellen Moore can fix this offense. There are those that believe that Moore might not be the answer and when push comes to shove Moore will just revert back to what we’ve seen previously with Scott Linehan. I am going to take the approach that Moore will take this collection of talent on offense and in fact make things work. While in Green Bay, I was with two future head coaches that were sharp offensive minds: Jon Gruden and Andy Reid. Both Gruden and Reid were young coaches at the time and were looking to make a mark in the game, so each day they were studying opponent’s scheme around the league. Both Gruden and Reid were stealing ideas from those schemes and bringing them forward for Mike Holmgren to consider. I see Moore in a similar light. He’s too young to have all the answers but smart enough to know that he needs to develop his own identity. This offense will have some similar base concepts we’ve seen in the past, but the majority be Moore’s ideas, and that will lead to an overall improvement.

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  Can Dak Raise His Game To Another Level?
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-22-2019, 10:11 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (51)

   


(Football season is finally approaching. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 25. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com is going to preview the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2019.)
FRISCO, Texas – Following the final minicamp practice of the offseason, Dak Prescott wore a Stetson hat at his locker as he brushed off questions about long-term contract discussions.
“It happens when it happens,” he said. “I’ve got a cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy. Let’s say that.”
Indeed, it’s really just a matter of ‘when’ Prescott and the Cowboys reach an agreement on a lucrative extension. The front office has made clear he’s the franchise quarterback now and in the future. Only one NFL starter (Tom Brady) has won more games than Prescott since he joined the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick in 2016.
That said, the Cowboys need the best version of Prescott to defend their NFC East title and move further in the postseason. How much can he raise his level of play? That’s the next installment in our 20 Questions series.

Lindsay Draper: Prescott has a long list of accomplishments in his three short years in the league, but I think he’d be the first one to tell you he can, and should, raise his play to another level. New quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna told us he couldn’t believe how competitive Prescott is with himself, with the way he asks questions and challenges every detail. But if you want specifics, a notable step for him would be in ball protection and decision-making in the pocket. There were numerous occasions last season where he’d say in his post-game interview, “I should have made a better decision there.” Ball protection and decision-making improvements, especially in tight situations, would help this offense take big strides in the right direction.
Bryan Broaddus: I heard David Helman say the other day that in these situations, “You have to show me.” I totally understand where Helman is coming from here. There have been plenty of times where I’ve projected a player to perform a certain way only to see them fail miserably, but there is something different with Prescott. I am encouraged by the way he physically looks. He still is impressive but he doesn’t appear to be as heavy/bulky as he has been his previous three seasons. At a lighter weight his mobility should improve even more than it already is. I am encouraged by the way he was delivering the ball during the OTAs/minicamps. His accuracy I felt was better than at any time in his career. Instead of missing by yards, he was missing only by inches. Improved accuracy will lead to more big plays, especially with the receivers on this squad. But the area I am most encouraged by is how well he’s taken to coaching from Kitna. Prescott has always tried to do things the right way, but I am not sure he’s had a coach that’s worked with him as hard as Kitna has on his mechanics. A more fundamentally sound Dak Prescott absolutely has a chance to raise his level of play.
David Helman: I’m as big of a Dak supporter as there is, but the answer is obvious: He had better raise his play if his salary is about to cross the $30 million mark. Prescott has been fantastic far more often than not during his first three years in the league, but his consistency and is ability to diagnose a defense are things that will need to improve as he transitions into this point of his career. Fortunately, two things that can’t be doubted about Dak are his confidence and his drive. He looked fantastic during OTAs, and I expect that to carry over. I really do think this will be the best season of his career.
Mickey Spagnola: Sure, Dak can. But if you look back to last year, Prescott raised his level of play significantly the second half of the season when he completed 71.6 percent of his passes those final eight games, had a 12-3 touchdown-to-interception differential and put up a 103.4 QB rating. Look, this is just his fourth season, and quarterbacks have a tendency to continue improving every year. As for a history lesson, let’s look back at the first three seasons of Hall of Famer Troy Aikman’s career. In 38 of a possible 48 games in his first three seasons, Aikman put up a 14-24 record with the Cowboys. He completed 618 of 1,055 passes (59 percent) for 7,082 yards, 31 touchdowns and 46 interceptions while being sacked 90 times. His career quarterback rating over those three seasons was 70.5, with one winning season, one Pro Bowl selection and no playoff wins. And we know where Troy went from there. As for Dak, his three-year totals over 48 games read 975 of 1,475 attempts (66.1 percent), 10,876 yards, 67 touchdowns and 25 interceptions while being sacked 113 times. His three-year QB rating stands at 96.9, a 32-16 starting record, with all three winning seasons, two Pro Bowl selections and one playoff victory. That’s pretty high already level to begin with, wouldn’t you say.
Rob Phillips: Prescott just needs more time in the pilot’s seat, in my opinion. That must be the way the Cowboys feel too, because eventually they’re going to pay him a ton of money. I think people forget it took his predecessor, Tony Romo, several years to find full comfort in the scheme and handle everything a defense throws at a quarterback. A new contract will rightfully produce higher expectations, but Prescott has been among the lowest-paid quarterbacks in the league the last three years, and the scrutiny he’s faced outside this building the last two years astounds me. Romo couldn’t do anything right in some people’s eyes, and now it’s like he never threw an incompletion. What Prescott has done as a walk-in starter from age 23-25 is outstanding. Off the field, he accepts and understands the spotlight. Maybe that’s because he grew up a fan and knows the standard is essentially Hall of Fame play, authored first by Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. The more Prescott sees, the better he’ll be. We already saw glimpses of that in the offseason workouts.

Nick Eatman: That’s a tough question to answer because there are plenty of factors involved. But the only way the Cowboys raise their play to another level is if the answer to this question is a “Yes.” Dak has to get better if the Cowboys want to get better. In no way is that a shot at him, it’s just a simple fact. This team was a Top 8 team last year, losing in the divisional round. He needs to be better so the Cowboys can be better as a team. Here are three ways to help him. If Jason Witten is better than what they had at tight end last year, if Travis Frederick is better than what they had at center and if Randall Cobb is better than Cole Beasley – that should be just enough to get a few more points in the red zone and maybe a few more wins. Those things, along with play-calling that should fit to his strengths, will definitely help Dak be better.

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  Could This Safety Push For Snaps - Rob Philips
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-22-2019, 10:06 PM - Forum: Articles - No Replies

   


(Editor’s Note: With training camp just around the corner, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players – from rookies to established veterans – who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we continue the series with safety Donovan Wilson.)
How He Got Here: Wilson, the Cowboys’ sixth-round pick, was a defensive captainand three-year starter at Texas A&M. He posted eight interceptions in four healthy seasons for the Aggies. After receiving a medical redshirt due to an ankle injury in 2017, Wilson ranked second on A&M's defense with 66 tackles last season and added a team-best two interceptions. The Cowboys have had recent luck with sixth-round safeties: Xavier Woods (2017) had a solid first year as a starter last year.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Wilson is now teammates with the guy he tried to stop in college and high school: quarterback Dak Prescott. In 2015, Wilson posted six tackles in an A&M victory over Prescott and Mississippi State. But as a high school freshman, Wilson’s team (Woodlawn High in Shreveport, Louisiana) got dominated by Prescott’s crosstown powerhouse, Haughton High, his freshman year. “He gave us problems,” Wilson said. “He was just so much bigger and faster than everybody. It was a challenge.”
Quotable: “He’s a really physical guy – that’s what leaps off the tape at you. We see him as a strong safety – a guy down around the line of scrimmage for us. He has the physical traits. He’s big. He’s fast. That physicalness was the trait that really jumped out to us, and he has a really good understanding of the game. His football intelligence is excellent; his aptitude to play is all really good. He has a good feel for playing. We think he can pick things up quickly and get in here and compete and make the safety position that much better.”- Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: Wilson will have his hands full in order to make the squad. The one advantage that he does have is that front offices will try and protect their drafts and keep a player on the roster that might not be ready but they just don’t want to lose him to another team on the final cut down. The example of this is how they kept Rico Gathers even though he wasn’t ready to play. That’s a suitable decision only if your roster isn’t very deep and that’s not the case at all here. Wilson is in a battle with several veteran players including Kavon Frazier, George Iloka and Darian Thompson. Frazier is a big-time special teamer, while Iloka and Thompson have made starts in the league and have that experience. From my experience, rookies can have a bad day or two, but a week’s worth and a bad preseason game or two could land them off the roster. Wilson is super talented, so consistency will be the key for him.

Role/Roster Chances: Like Bryan said, there’s so much experience at safety and/or special teams ahead of Wilson at the moment. He’ll have to show enough potential at safety and the ability to step in right away and help this team on the coverage units. It’s clear why the Cowboys drafted him, though: For a strong safety prospect who tackled well in college, he also showed excellent speed and quickness in the offseason workouts.

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  Randall Cobb Produces Powerful Potential - Lindsey Cash Draper
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-20-2019, 05:28 AM - Forum: Articles - No Replies

   

Editor’s Note: Now that offseason practices are in full swing, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we continue the series with wide receiver Randall Cobb.)
How He Got Here:Randall Cobb spent eight seasons in Green Bay, and was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Kentucky. Cobb left Green Bay with a tremendous amount of respect not only from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fan base, but league-wide. He suffered a hamstring injury in the 2018 season but says he didn’t have any problems throughout offseason workouts.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Cobb holds the second longest kick return in NFL history. He returned a kick for 108 yards his rookie year. He held the record for two years until Cordarelle Patterson broke it in 2013 with a 109-yard return.
Quotable: “Randall’s come here and done a great job. He’s such an example of what a pro is, but he’s also a really good pro. A lot of guys can be pro’s, but when you’re really good on top of it, it just lifts everybody up. That group is really good, and really explosive.” – Quarterback coach, Jon Kitna
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: There are two off season additions that I have really like from the Cowboys Pro Scouting Department. Trading for Robert Quinn I feel is going to be a really nice rotational piece for the defensive line. Tape shows me that there’s still something left in the tank for him. I feel the exact same way about Randall Cobb and what he can do for this club. My feeling is that folks might have questions about due to Cobb’s recent injury history but this is one of those sneaky that when we look back it had a direct result on the final record in a positive way. What has been impressive about Cobb since his arrival is how quickly he and Dak Prescott have adapted to each other. In those practices we in the media had the opportunity to view, the ball to Cobb even playing out of the slot is further down the field. We hadn’t seen that from Cole Beasley and visually it looks different. Where I also appreciate the addition of Cobb is as a bad ball catcher. Passes in his direction don’t have to be perfect and we all know with Prescott that’s not always the case.

Role/Roster Chances: No secret on the roster chances, he’s a lock for this season. But the role…that’s to be determined. The leadership qualities Cobb carries go beyond the field, and I see him slipping into a leadership role for this group, whether he’s trying to or not. Cobb possesses an incredible presence and aura about him and it carries onto the way he practices. Replacing Cole Beasley, he seems to be more of an up-field threat in his game than Beasley, and he and Dak Prescott have been working tirelessly to nail their chemistry before the start of this season.

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  Spagnola: Unquestionable Difference This Year
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-20-2019, 05:01 AM - Forum: Articles - No Replies

   


FRISCO, Texas – My, oh, my, what a difference a year makes.
This time last year with the Cowboys heading into training camp, there were so, so many questions swirling around a team that had gone 9-7 the previous season and actually had put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2008-09.
Think about it.
Was Jihad Ward for real as the three-technique defensive tackle? He wasn’t.
How much could the just-reinstated Randy Gregory help the defense in 2018 after not playing at all for the previous season, with a continued suspension during the entire offseason? Tons, while just playing just 44 percent of the snaps.

Would this idea of “receiver-by-committee” actually work after releasing Dez Bryant in the off-season and really not having a clear-cut No. 1 guy? Absolutely not, the Cowboys wisely compensating for the miscalculation by trading for Amari Cooper after seven games, now the unquestioned No. 1 guy this year, his presence the final nine games in 2018 bolstering a struggling offense.
Who would replace Jason Witten? Nobody, but tight end by committee worked well enough with Geoff Swaim and the second-half development of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz.
Could raw rookie Connor Williams, in need of strength, handle the left guard spot? He struggled early, then had his knee scoped and came back a much better player toward the end of the season, and now is projected the starting left guard.
Was Xavier Woods ready to become a fulltime starting free safety in just his second season? He was, and played well enough to convince the Cowboys signing a high-priced free-agent safety or drafting one high this year was totally unnecessary.
Could Byron Jones successfully make the transition from playing safety to starting right cornerback, a position he hadn’t played since his 2015 rookie season? Oh, how silly, he earned Pro Bowl honors.

Would David Irving, who missed the entire offseason dealing with personal problems, his absence then spilling into training camp, along with serving a four-game suspension to start the season, ever again help the Cowboys? Negative, Irving playing just two games after returning from suspension and then suffering a high ankle sprain he failed to rehab diligently enough to be in shape for the playoffs.
How much would first-round draft choice Leighton Vander Esch contribute his rookie season and what might his impact be? Huge, in both cases, LVE eventually starting 11 of 16 games at weakside linebacker and two in the playoffs while earning Pro Bowl honors and allowing the Cowboys to move veteran Sean Lee this year to the strong side.
Would Cooper Rush hold off fifth-round draft choice Mike White for backup quarterback duty? He did, but never had to take a single snap all season long.
Would the Cowboys need Tyrone Crawford to play defensive tackle or defensive end? Well, both, seven starts at DT and eight at DE.
Worn out yet?

And with all those questions swirling around, somehow a very young team grew up the second half of the season to turn a 3-5 start into a 10-6 record, wining the NFC East and one playoff game.
Comparatively, this year heading to Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday, pffft, this must feel like a piece of cake, health willing.
The questions are minimal, and most not as critical to furthering the success of last season.
Let’s see, as the answering will start unfolding once the pads come on that last week of July. So . . . .
Will Robert Quinn become the three-down starting right defensive end, a guy who has collected 15 sacks over the past two seasons for the Rams and Dolphins, along with 18 tackles for losses and 27 QB hits?

Is Travis Frederick ready to perform at least at 80 percent of his previous four-time Pro Bowl level after missing all last season with Guillain-Barre Syndrome that he appears to have recovered from – but as he says, we won’t know until the pads come on?
While DeMarcus Lawrence seems certain to be ready for the start of the season following offseason shoulder surgery, the lingering question hovers over Pro Bowl corner Byron Jones, if he’ll be ready following offseason hip surgery?
Once again, who is the backup quarterback, Cooper Rush or Mike White, and the competition might become a little tighter this year than was last year, and might the Cowboys need a Plan B if neither step up?
How big an impact is Witten capable of making upon his return from premature retirement last year, and will Jarwin and Schultz play well enough to limit his snaps?
Now, of course, there will be other issues, smaller ones such as how many round out the wide receiver position; same with the backups on the defensive line; can safety George Iloka carve out a role for himself; same for the Cowboys’ top three draft choices, DT Trysten Hill, Connor McGovern and Tony Pollard; can Taco Charlton make an impact in his third season; and we’ll probably be keeping an eye on kicker Brett Maher, too.

But that’s really it, since I refuse to believe Ezekiel Elliott’s willingness to report to training camp over a contract extension will be an issue.
And really, as for the perfunctory question about position battles, there really doesn’t seem to be many mounting for starting positions, if any, since there are so many returning starters. The competition will center on backups and who makes a significant enough impression to land on the 53-man roster.
A good thing?
Well, you watch, this coaching staff will manufacture some competition for sure.
But another difference from last year? While this team still will be considered a young team, it’s certainly a more experienced one after going through some growing pains with first-time starters/significant contributors last year or first-time at a certain position, guys such as Michael Gallup, Antwaun Woods, Joe Looney, Dorance Armstrong, Vander Esch, Williams, Jones, Schultz, Jarwin and Maher.

Yep, unquestionably a much better situation heading down the Ventura Highway.

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  Can Travis Frederick Return To Form?
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-18-2019, 10:15 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (14)

   


Football season is finally approaching. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 25. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com is going to preview the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2019.)
FRISCO, Texas – As the Cowboys battled back from 3-5 start to win the NFC East title last season, Travis Frederick was there every step of the way while battling a much more serious matter.
The four-time Pro Bowl center did not play last season due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare but treatable auto-immune disease that affects the nervous system. Yet he attended every meeting, every walkthrough and every practice as a sounding board for his teammates.
Now he’s healthy again, having regained his strength and taken part in the Cowboys’ offseason workout program. For nearly a year, he’s been preparing to return to practice at training camp.
It’s almost here. Will Frederick return to form on the offensive line? That’s the next installment in our 20 Questions series.
Rob Phillips: I believe Frederick will be back as an impactful starter in 2019. As optimistic as he and the Cowboys are about a full-fledged return to football, the veteran center has been very candid in explaining his recovery and the challenges ahead. All along he’s emphasized that the true test will come in training camp when the pads come on. He was on a modified workout plan during the offseason, due in part to an offseason shoulder repair that was unrelated to his GBS recovery. So, while his progress has been steady and very encouraging, he has yet to take part in a true padded practice against powerful defensive linemen. It’s something he’s really looking forward to after everything he’s been through. No question he and the Cowboys’ medical/athletic training staff have done everything to prepare.
Nick Eatman: I honestly can’t say I have the answer to that. But I don’t feel bad about it because I don’t really know if Travis Frederick does either. Everything he’s told us in this process is that he’ll have to wait until the pads come on and how his strength holds up when he’s in the middle of practices every day. But what I do know, is the Cowboys will be prepared for whatever happens. And that’s a good thing. If Frederick comes back to form, then that’s a huge upgrade to what they had last year. If not, they know Joe Looney will step in and give them a very solid starterin the middle. Plus, with Connor McGovern now in the mix, the Cowboys would have even more center depth than before. My gut says that Frederick will be back, maybe a bit rusty at first but will eventually find his groove. That might be a little tricky if the Cowboys have to make tough roster decisions with that depth.

David Helman: There’s a small group of players on this team that I have mentally resolved to never bet against. Travis Frederick is one of those guys. Being around him for the last six years, it’s just hard to doubt his work ethic, his toughness or his intelligence. Obviously, my opinion doesn’t affect his ability to put on pads and play like the All-Pro he was before he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. That’s a serious illness to overcome. But if anyone can do it, it’s Frederick. It’s going to take some hard work, but I think he’ll be back like he never missed a beat.
Bryan Broaddus: In all of my years covering the NFL, I have never experienced dealing with a player that has been more open about his ailment than Travis Frederick. I knew nothing about Guillain-Barre syndrome when Frederick first came forward with the information. What I did know that Frederick was a tough guy and if there was one person that could battle this head on, it was him. I’ve had the opportunity to interview him several times since and each time I’ve come away more positive about a full recovery. Frederick says he’s not only regained his strength but his motor skills as well that the syndrome robbed him of at this time last season. Frederick has taken this recovery day by day but by all indications he’s ready to see what lies ahead. I bet against Frederick one time before when he was drafted. My plan this time around is not to make that same mistake. I believe that Travis Frederick will once again regain that form that made him one of the best centers in the NFL.

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  A Word To The Wise For This Cowboys Rookie -Rob Phillips
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-18-2019, 10:07 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (1)

   


(Editor’s Note: With training camp just around the corner, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players – from rookies to established veterans – who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we continue the series with defensive lineman Daniel Wise.)
How He Got Here: The Cowboys were ecstatic to sign Wise as a rookie free agent in May because they had a draftable grade on the Dallas-area native and former Kansas standout. Daniel was a first-team All-Big 12 selection each of the last two years. In four seasons with the Jayhawks, he posted 17 sacks and a whopping 43 tackles for loss.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Wise played high school football in Carrollton, Texas, just up the road from The Star. He’s now the third member of his family to reach the NFL. His brother, Deatrich Jr., won a Super Bowl with the Patriots last season. His father, Deatrich – also a defensive lineman – got drafted by the Seahawks in 1988 and has been in coaching for over 25 years, including as an assistant with the AFL’s Dallas Desperados in the 2000s. Daniel calls his dad “my coach throughout life. I have so many memories growing up with him. He’s always in coach mode, always teaching.”
Quotable “We liked his movement, his toughness, his competitiveness (at Kansas), and he’s showing it. He’s been showing up pretty good. Can’t wait to get him into pads and get going.” - Cowboys defensive tackles coach Leon Lett during minicamp in June
[size=largeBryan Broaddus’ Take:[/b] The first thing you notice about his game is his initial quickness. Can get off the ball in a hurry. Plays with some pop in his hands. Will shock/jolt the blocker. There is some violence to his game which I respect. Can winhis share of one-on-one battles. Powerful player. Was one of those guys that showed up in OTAs/minicamp – when battling with guys at his level, was consistently making things happen. Plays with brute strength. Uses it both as a pass rusher and run defender. Needs to develop more pass rush moves. Some late bend. Moves and runs well. Will run down plays. Chases plays all over the field. Might be one of those guys that when he steps up in weight class battling Zack Martin/Travis Frederick, he shows up like Antwaun Woods did last year.


Role/Roster Chances: Wise is listed as a defensive end on the 90-man roster but likely fits best as an under tackle in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme. He worked with the backups in OTAs and minicamp. Although the defensive line depth chart looks stacked – second-round pick Trysten Hill and free agent signing Christian Covington also add to a bolstered interior defensive line – Wise will have a chance to show what he can do in Oxnard and the preseason games.
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