Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Claiborne 'More Physical', Austin Healthier, New Defense Playoff-Bound?

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

In our roundup of the latest news about the Dallas Cowboys, we look at what Morris Claiborne did to become more physical, wonder if Miles Austin's new training regimen will keep his hamstrings healthier and look at reasons why the defense may be the key to the playoffs this year.

Dallas Cowboys OTA Wrapup 05/21/13 - Blogging The Boys
It was all hands on deck - well, all healthy hands, anyway - as the Cowboys kicked off the first day of Organized Team Activity for 2013, and Tom Ryle provides a nice summary of the day, with lots of soundbites from players and coaches.

Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne packs on the pounds so he can get ‘more physical’ - DMN
Secondary Coach Henderson said that there were times last year when Claiborne wasn’t strong enough to execute certain techniques, as his wrist injury had prevented him from fully participating in last year's offseason workout program. So at Henderson's request, Claiborne hit the gym hard and packed on about eight pounds of muscle, which should allow him to be a lot more physical this year.

Miles Austin trying to avoid hamstring issues - ESPN Dallas
Calvin Watkins points out that despite continuous issues with his hamstrings, Austin has recorded 20 TDs over the last three years, two 1,000-yard seasons and came up just 57 yards short of another 1,000-yard season last year. Austin said he's adopted a different training regimen to make his hamstrings won't affect his performance again this year.

"I'm definitely strengthening my hamstrings a lot more than I have been," Austin said. "Just doing a different routine, a couple of extra exercises each day on our leg days. Just running hard and trying to compete at a higher level this time, that way it doesn't shock your muscles when you actually do it for real."

Look for Cowboys to ride the new 4-3 scheme to playoffs - Sporting News
Vinny Iyer points to the Cowboys' edge rushers, the linebacking corps and the "delayed returns they will receive on the cornerbacks they added in '12 - veteran Brandon Carr and first-round pick Morris Claiborne" as key reasons why the Cowboys will ride an improved defensive performance into the playoffs.

With players on the mend, Barry Church says ‘there is no reason why we shouldn’t be the No. 1 defense in the league’ - DMN
It may have cause fewer raised eyebrows if Church had said the Cowboys are aiming to be a top 10 or even top 5 defense, but heck, why not aim for the top?

“If we can remain healthy throughout the whole season, the sky is the limit for us,” Church said. “We have stars at every level. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be the No. 1 defense in the league.”

And Brandon Carr concurs:

“The injury bug hit us hard,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “Some of our key players, our cornerstone players of our defense, went down…Now we have guys with a year under their belt playing together and we kind of have got a feel for how [everyone] plays. And now everybody is pretty much on the same page as far as the new scheme and things like that. This year the sky is the limit.”

Scout’s Notebook: Some Observations From Tuesday’s OTA - DC.com
Bryan Broaddus provides a lengthy summary of yesterday's OTAs and conveniently touches on almost all position groups.

Quick Hits: Garrett Press Conference After First OTA's - DC.com
Get your OTAs fix in this recap of Garrett's post-practice press conference.

Doug Free, Jermey Parnell still splitting time - ESPN Dallas
This will be an interesting battle for the RT starting job to watch in training camp.

Patriots, Cowboys and Rams spent the most guaranteed money on undrafted rookie free agents - Shutdown Corner
The Cowboys rank second only to the Patriots with a total of $104,500 in guaranteed money spent on their undrafted free agents. The Cowboys handed out the largest individual guarantee, signing linebacker Brandon Magee to a contract that includes a total of $70,000 in guarantees, including $65,000 in fully guaranteed base salary. The second-largest guarantee on the Cowboys belongs to safety Jakar Hamilton, who pocketed a $10,000 signing bonus.

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