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  Mailbag: Agree with Romo's Assessment?
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-18-2019, 09:57 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (23)


Wanted your thoughts on a couple things Tony Romo said as a guest on 105.3 The Fan yesterday. One, he thinks the move to Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator is significant because, at least early in the season, teams don’t know Moore’s tendencies as a play-caller. Two, he expects Jason Witten to pick up where he left off because the tight end position isn’t all about pure athleticism. Do you agree? Thanks. - MATTHEW K / PLANO, TX
Bryan: I agree on the unknown of Kellen Moore. I think that will help. As far as Witten, where he’s going to help is his ability to use his knowledge and body to take advantage of defenders. Witten doesn’t have to be a downfield player or great athlete but just a reliable one. This is why Romo said what he did.
Rob: I agree with both statements. Romo pointed out that teams will begin to get a read on Moore as time goes on, and that’ll be the test for the first-year play-caller. But for now there’s definitely an unknown factor, and that can be an advantage for this offense. Regarding Witten, I thought he moved well when we got to see him in offseason workouts. Maybe the time off helped his body. Romo’s point emphasized that leverage is just as important as speed or quickness for tight ends, and Witten knows subtle ways to win on a route.

There has been an ongoing debate about what is more important in this league. The Cowboys seemed to be focusing on a pass rush instead of a pass defense. Some has said that not stacking the secondary with true quality players will hurt us in a pass-heavy league. What are your thoughts? - BARRY SILVERMAN / BROOKLYN, NY
Bryan: It’s the chicken or the egg. DBs coach Kris Richard told you what he thinks is more important by drafting Trysten Hill, especially with all those safeties on the board when it was time for them to pick. Pass rush in his opinion clearly helps his secondary and I don’t disagree with that view. Affect the quarterback with pressure and you can control everything else.
Rob: If you can’t get pressure on great quarterbacks – several are on this year’s list of opponents – you won’t win. Period. No, the Cowboys did not make a free-agent splash or high draft pick in the secondary, but they do have quality players back there – young players whom they believe have their best football ahead. They didn’t draft safety in the second round in part because they love Xavier Woods. Byron Jones made the Pro Bowl a year ago. Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis are really talented. None are over the age of 26.

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  7 Position Battles To Watch At Camp
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-18-2019, 01:09 AM - Forum: Articles - Replies (1)


(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 – In late April, as Stephen Jones walked the hallway to the press conference room following the team’s final pick of draft weekend, the Cowboys’ chief operating officer reflected on the state of the current roster.
“We were just talking about how this could really be one of our better, if not the best, competitive camps that we’ve had in a long time,” Jones said.
With eight draft picks and several undrafted signings who had draftable grades, the Cowboys indeed have added more competition to several positions on the roster.
Which is the most intriguing camp battle we’ll see when the Cowboys get to Oxnard, California? That’s the next installment in our 20 Questions series.
Nick Eatman: I don’t know if it’s a battle yet, but I can promise you we’ll be watching the kickers much as more than we did last year. And by that, I mean plural – kickers. We were all surprised that Brett Maher was even competing with Dan Bailey until the veteran was shockingly cut at the end of camp in favor of Maher. Now, even though his on-the-roster backup – Kasey Redfern – is more of a punter, we will definitely be tracking all kicks by both of them. Especially keeping an eye on Maher, knowing that if he has the Cowboys even somewhat concerned, that there could be some other veterans on the street that could be coming in for a workout.
Lindsay Draper: Not only are they a good change of pace during the monotony of camp practices, it’ll be a necessity to watch the wide receiver group to know how this team will take shape. Beyond Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, and possibly Allen Hurns – who’s next? Noah Brown and Lance Lenoir have spent some decent time competing, and shown flashes, but there needs to be a big one at training camp. And what does Cobb’s signing mean for Tavon Austin? How many receivers will the Cowboys end up carrying this year? I’m both excited and hopeful to see Michael Gallup’s progress this training camp. It seemed like every game last year, he made some sort of improvement to his game. Not to mention, I chose Dak Prescott as my training camp MVP, so let’s see how all this summer chemistry building translates in August.

Mickey Spagnola: Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but not many, if any, battles for starting positions should be going on during training camp, healthprovided. One spot, maybe, would be the three-technique DT spot. Returning starter Maliek Collins should be the front-runner, but assuming Robert Quinn becomes the three-down right defensive end, that would spare Tyrone Crawford to compete for snaps at defensive tackle. And then there is second-round draft choice Trysten Hill, a guy the Cowboys are expecting big things from immediately. That would be the makings of a battle. At nose tackle, the Cowboys really like Antwaun Woods, but keep an eye out for Christian Covington and whoever is not in the top two at the three-technique DT to provide a challenge. The other true position battle will center on wide receiver, not for the top three spots (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb), but which two or three receivers after that make the 53-man roster, and there is a slew of candidates – nine to be exact. The truest head-to-head position battle should be for the backup quarterback responsibilities between Cooper Rush and Mike White. The winner obviously makes the 53-man roster, the loser just might not if the Cowboys decide they just can’t keep three QBs on the roster again.
Rob Phillips: My colleagues really covered all the bases well. Mickey’s right – there aren’t a lot of starting jobs open, which speaks more to the team’s overall talent level. My favorite part of camp practice might be watching defensive backs coach Kris Richard work with the young players, so I’m also curious [b]how the rest of the secondary shakes out[/b]. With Pro Bowler Byron Jones rehabbing from offseason hip surgery, there likely will continue to be extra camp and preseason snaps at cornerback. The Cowboys have brought in a lot of intriguing DBs with unique height and range for the position, just as Richard prefers. Donovan Olumba, who spent last year on the practice squad, stood out in those final OTAs and minicamp. Can he take another step? Rookies Mike Jackson Sr., Donovan Wilson and Chris Westry will have opportunities to impress.

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Posted by: Newsguy - 07-17-2019, 11:06 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (338)


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  Walker’s Non-Stop Motor Needs to Stay Running -Nick Eatman
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-17-2019, 10:55 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (5)


(Editor’s Note: With training camp just around the corner, let’s continue to meet the new faces on the Cowboys roster. Today we continue the series with defensive tackle Ricky Walker.)
How He Got Here: A two-time All-ACC performer at Virginia Tech, Walker was one of the top pass-rushers for the Hokies during his four seasons. An undrafted rookie, Walker had a draftable grade by the Cowboys, but was a priority free agent when the seventh round was complete. While they drafted Trysten Hill in the second round and grabbed Kansas DT Daniel Wise, Walker did enough on tape to get their attention.
Bet You Didn’t Know: After his senior season, Walker was a finalist for the Dudley Award, given to the top collegiate player in the entire state of Virginia.
Quotable: “If you have any questions, just turn on the game film.” – Ricky Walker has used that mantra coming out of college at VT, knowing there would be question marks concerning his ability to get drafted.
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: I really liked his college tape at Virginia Tech. What’s interesting is his body type in person is better than it was on those views. He flashed during the OTAs/minicamps. There is some quickness to his game in the way that he attacks gaps. He plays like he’s a small man and I mean that as a compliment. I didn’t always see this in those games. Much better effort chasing the ball in those camps. Plays with awareness. Doesn’t lose the ball. Had trouble in college get off blocks, so when they get into pads we need to keep an eye on that. Hopefully he’s improved his strength/power since then. His best plays are made when he plays on the move. That’s his strength. Long shot to make the squad but plays a position where they’re looking for bodies for a rotation.  

Role/Roster Chances: Walker has the kind of motor that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli always admires. He’ll have to keep it running from the start of camp until the end, with standout plays in the preseason games as well. It won’t be easy to make the team or even the practice squad, but if he can find a way to be in the offensive backfield enough, he’ll have a shot.

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  When Will D-Law and Byron Be Ready
Posted by: Newsguy - 07-17-2019, 10:48 PM - Forum: Articles - Replies (13)


[b]FRISCO, Texas –[/b] The waiting game is almost over – for the most part, at least.
The majority of the Cowboys’ roster will hit the field for practice starting next week, as 2019 training camp gets into full swing. But no two players are the same, and not everyone is on the same schedule. As always, there will be a handful of names worth watching as they work their way back from various injuries.
This year, two of those names happen to be two of the Cowboys’ best. It’s been an offseason of recovery for both DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones, as the two All-Pros both underwent surgery to fix nagging injuries.
The expectation is that both veterans will ease their way back to action, which will likely limit their participation in both training camp and the preseason.
That’s a good thing. Health is important. But it does raise the question, with the regular season kicking off in just 50 days, at what point will D-Law and Byron be ready to go?
[b]Mickey Spagnola:[/b] For what? Training camp? Preseason? The opener? My initial thoughts are, while DeMarcus Lawrence physically will be ready to practice at the start of camp following his shoulder surgery, the Cowboys will slow-play his return and that of Byron Jones. Their response will be those two just need to be ready for Sept. 8. Lawrence’s recovery from shoulder surgery and readiness will be ahead of Jones (hip surgery), and my guess is the Cowboys will see no reason for either to participate in a preseason game or early contact in training camp. The training staff has a pretty good feel for Lawrence being ready for the season, and frankly, if he were to play in a preseason game, it would be the third one, and even at that, how much would like 15 snaps help him? He’s too valuable to take any chances. And as for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills. Lawrence maybe moves into some team drills after a week or two.
[b]David Helman:[/b] I’m not sure this gets enough credit for being a huge storyline. All indications are that DeMarcus and Byron are making great progress in their rehabs. But you’re still dealing with the possibilities that two of your All-Pros on defense won’t be available for training camp or possibly part of the regular season. We’re privileged enough to work at The Star, so we’ve seen both guys doing work – and they look good to this point. I tend to believe they’ll be physically ready for Week 1. But if they don’t get much work during training camp, how rusty will they be? That could be a huge factor in the first two or three weeks of the season.

[b]Rob Phillips:[/b] Throughout this offseason, the Cowboys have been hopeful both Pro Bowlers will be ready for Week 1 against the Giants. Both progressed in their surgery rehab during offseason workouts, so that’s encouraging. Regardless, Monday’s deadline for franchise tag negotiations underscored how important it was for the Cowboys and DeMarcus Lawrence to get a long-term deal done back in April. With that out of the way, Lawrence got his surgery and looks on track for regular-season action. Any delay in getting his shoulder fixed would have jeopardized his early-season availability. Robert Quinn was a solid pickup for the pass rush, but Lawrence is the heart of the defensive line.
[b]Lindsay Draper:[/b] You’re not going to get any surefire answers here from me, but I don’t expect either of these guys to do anything in the preseason. From what I’ve heard, DeMarcus Lawrence is farther along than Byron Jones. Jones has never gone into a season of football in his life without being able to prepare the whole season before, so this ‘waiting until training camp’ to start is different for him. Coming off a Pro Bowl year, I’m hopeful that Jones will be able to pick back up where he left off when he is indeed healthy and ready, but I’m not expecting to see anything until ‘real’ football starts. Both are targeting Week 1, but I think Lawrence is definitely ahead.

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