Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Reasons To Be Optimistic About 2014?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: Three reasons to be optimistic about 2014, D-line is top offseason priority for the Cowboys, and Barry Church was a "bright spot" for the Cowboys last year.

Cowlishaw: Attention Cowboys fans - here are three reasons to be optimistic about 2014 - DMN
The offensive line, DeMarco Murray, and special teams, according to Cowlishaw. Do you think there are more?

A look at Cowboys' last two coach searches - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer digs up an interesting stat. Not sure that this number would necessarily be different for other teams, but it's noteworthy regardless:

Including Wade Phillips, who was Jones’ pick, and Garrett, who took over for Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season, eight of the 10 [Cowboys] interviewees became head coaches: Sparano with the Miami Dolphins, Haley with the Kansas City Chiefs, Norv Turner with the San Diego Chargers, Ron Rivera with the Carolina Panthers, Jim Caldwell with the Indianapolis Colts and Mike Singletary with the San Francisco 49ers.

Cowboys Hidden Gems: Nick Hayden - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Nick Hayden may not have impressed too many observers with his play, but one thing made him invaluable for the Cowboys: He stayed healthy for all 16 games.

Final Exam: Cowboys must rebuild D-line - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys have already gone on record saying that the defensive line is their top offseason priority, and MacMahon agrees.

The Carolina Panthers reaped the benefits of drafting defensive linemen in the first two rounds last year. It’s not sexy, but that wouldn’t be a bad strategy at all for the Cowboys, depending on the value of the players available.

Young Safety Group Struggled To Cover - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus calls Barry Church "a bright spot" for the safety group, especially when Church was playing close to the line. But just like the other safeties, Church had issues in coverage "especially when the ball was thrown between the linebackers and where he was in his drops." Broaddus then argues that the Cowboys would do well to draft their third safety in three years.

As Bill Parcells use to tell us, safeties miss playing the ball costs you hundreds of yards during the season and that was very evident this season with what we saw too much this season. [sic for everything]

Teams predicted to be more aggressive in 2014 free agency - National Football Post
Jack Bechta, player agent for 27 years, predicts a more robust free agency market, driven in part by the new head coaches and GMs teams have hired for the 2014 season.

Last year, I accurately predicted a soft free agency period. This year I believe teams will be more aggressive in the free agent market. Here’s why: With 8 teams changing head coaches and/or GMs, that means, "house cleaning time" for the roster. It takes about two or three years to build a team through the draft but coaches know owners won’t always have the patience for that. New coaches will want to sign players they know and trust from their previous teams or players they are familiar with from their own divisions. And for coaches who have some control over personnel they will want to make a quick impact with veteran players.

Breaking Madden: Never count out 'Touchdown' Tom Brady - SBNation.com
In his popular Breaking Madden series, Jon Bois once again fired up Madden, made 21 copies of Tom Brady and put them all on the New England offense.

Jury Selection Underway in Josh Brent Intoxication Manslaughter Trial - NBC DFW
Over 100 jurors were interviewed by attorneys during the first day of jury selection on Thursday. Brent's trial is scheduled to start on Monday and is expected to last at least two weeks. If convicted, Brent faces up to 20 years in jail.

Potential juror with Cowboys jacket excused from Josh Brent trial for admitting his bias - DMN
In total, 23 potential jurors were excused yesterday after saying they’d followed the case and were concerned about their ability to be fair and impartial. One such potential juror showed up in a Cowboys jacket, ensuring that there would be no jury duty in his immediate future.

Cowboys assitant coach Mikal Smith joins his father on Buccaneers coaching staff - Buccaneers.com
Mikal Smith, Lovie Smith's son, joined the Cowboys last season as the nickelback coach. He now joins his father in Tampa as the safety coach.

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