Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Impressions From First Day Of Rookie Minicamp

Ben Gardner #71 after a rookie minicamp practice session at Valley Ranch. - Rick Yeatts

Football is back!

You understand that when you come into this locker room, you've got to earn it. The Star is a little bit different. It's one of those things that almost gives you chills at first. Happy to work for it, excited to earn it and one day put it on our helmets. -DE Ben Gardner

Cowboys Rookie Mini-Camp Report: Zack Martin Lines Up At Right Guard - David Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Zack Martin lined up at right guard in his first Cowboys practice. Based on that, it looks like the Cowboys want Mackenzy Bernadeau to become their backup guard and possibly the backup center. They might switch it up later and have Martin play some of the left guard in Ron Leary's spot, but Jason Garrett said Martin looks like a natural fit at right guard.

Cowboys Free Agent Signing: Defensive Tackle Amobi Okoye - Rabblerour, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys likely have a clear idea what they are getting in Okoye: he played for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli in Chicago alongside Dallas' recent free agent signing, DT Henry Melton. As has been oft documented, the plan on the defensive line is to attack in waves of fresh bodies, with the idea that they will wear down opposing offensive lines. Okoye gives the team yet another option in this regard, as a veteran defensive tackle capable of coming in and playing 25 snaps with his hair on fire.

Two Cowboys Assistants, Two Different Attitudes - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Both the offensive and defensive coordinators on the Dallas Cowboys' staff were demoted this offseason. The first day of the Cowboys' rookie minicamp was also the first chance for the media to ask them how they felt about it.

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Dallas Cowboys OL Zack Martin makes strong first impression at guard | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said it has been a pleasure tutoring Martin in the short period they’ve been together.

"He just learning," offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. "He’s just acclimating. He’s just a great person, a great guy who wants to learn, wants to work hard, wants to absorb as much information as he can. These guys that are drafted in the first round, they’re unique. They’re rare birds."

Good Start For Street; A&M RB Has Quickness - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus shares his first impressions from rookie minicamp, and comes away positively impressed by WR Devin Street, RB Ben Malena, CB Terrance Mitchell, DE Ben Garner, and DT Davon Coleman, who was playing the three technique.

Tryout Guys Make Some Noise In Second Practice - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys.com
Broaddus turns his eye to the second-tier guys at practice, and likes what he saw from CB Tyler Patmon (#20), S Ryan Smith, WR L'Damian Washington, and DE Dartwan Bush.

Martin can't help but notice offensive line vets watching him in first rookie minicamp practice - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Doug Free, Tyron Smith and Mackenzy Bernadeau were all on hand to watch the rookies work out on the first day of rookie minicamp.

"They’re a great group of guys," Martin said of his fellow O-linemen. "They’re willing to help you whenever you need it. Travis and Doug and Tyron and all those guys have been great. Doug’s like another coach on the field. Doug’s been through it for a bunch of years now. So maybe if he sees something that Coach doesn’t see, he’ll come over and correct me."

Quick Hits From Garrett’s Rookie Camp Presser - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
If you don't want to watch the full press conference, Helman has a quick summary for you.

Dallas Cowboys' picks have captain backgrounds - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
We've come to expect nothing less from Cowboys draft classes: Of the Cowboys’ nine draft picks, five were captains on their college teams. Zack Martin (twice), Anthony Hitchens, Devin Street, Ben Gardner, and Ahmad Dixon were all captains for their teams.

"You want guys who are good people, certainly, but you want guys with great football character; guys who love to play, who have a passion for playing," Garrett said after the draft. "When you think about describing a lot of these defensive guys: they’re all physical players, they all love contact, they love to play the game, they’re well respected by their teammates and their opponents, you hear great things about them from their coaches. So those are kind of guys we want on our team."

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New tight ends coach says Giants viewed Gavin Escobar a lot like Cowboys did - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
New Cowboys tight end coach Mike Pope said his former team, the Giants, rated Gavin Escobar about where the Cowboys did.

"We had him pretty close to where Dallas had him. Absolutely," he said.

"He’s got a flytrap for hands. He’s got tremendous catching ability," he said. "He’s got those basketball-type skills. He can contort his body and make the acrobatic catches. He’s a very, very, very high-percentage catcher. When he’s the target, if the ball gets close to him, he can adjust to it. And he’s very brave running around on the field, because he’s a big target. They can hit any part of the three feet on him. He’s a big target. But he’s courageous."

Cowboys seventh-round draft pick Ahmad Dixon: Some teams told me I'd be drafted in the third round | DMN
Dixon talked to KZDC-AM 1250 earlier this week. The DMN has some highlights from the interview. Here's an excerpt:

"I had been told I was going to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round. Some teams had even talked about the third round. I was sitting there the whole day. I sat with my family the whole day. They were with me. Just sitting there, watching safety after safety after safety get drafted and then after watching the first round seeing how many safeties got drafted and seeing those guys go, I just knew my name was going to be called at any minute. But things didn’t happen that way. I ended up having to sit it out, being the last safety called. It was kind of frustrating."

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Linehan: Would Be Disservice To Shake Up This Offense
Scott Linehan has no plans to make many changes to the Cowboys’ offense, but instead plans to build on "a lot of the great things" Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan have implemented in Dallas.

"We’re really meshing some of the great things they’ve done here," said Linehan, who has 20 years of NFL coaching experience, including the last five as Detroit’s offensive coordinator. "It would be a disservice to not continue a lot of the great things Jason and Bill (Callahan) and these guys have implemented in the last few years. As timing fits for us, as we get through our OTAs, we’ll try to mesh some things that make sense. That’ll happen as we go through the OTAs, but this is pretty much like the first day of school."

Scott Linehan impressed by Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas
Even new offensive playcaller Scott Linehan wasn't immune from the "Romo sucks in the 4th quarter" myth espoused by people who like their opinions to be unencumbered by facts.

"My son texted me the other day, he said, ‘Do you know how many fourth-quarter comebacks that guy’s had in his career?’ And he sent me the number, and I was like, ‘Man,’" Linehan said. "Just keep learning things about him that really are impressive."

Romo has 20 come-from-behind victories in his career with seven in the past two seasons.

"What he is is obviously a guy that really understands the game, got a great feel for the game," Linehan said. "He’s about as accurate a passer as you can find. He’s been a little bit slow as far as out here physically doing things, haven’t been able to see that other than on film with him getting himself back to 100 percent. But he’s done enough for me to see that this guy’s really got some special qualities."

Spencer To PUP Still Possible; Cowboys Hope For Better - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Spencer spoke to reporters after practice in a very candid interview ("Far from being where I was") in which he expressed some optimism about his recovery. Later in the day, Stephen Jones weighed in on Spencer's status:

"We’re eyes wide open on this - not going to be totally surprised if he starts the season on PUP," Jones said, referring to the Physically Unable to Perform list that keeps players out at least for the first six weeks of the regular season. "Anthony thinks he might beat that, and I hope he does. We came into this knowing that he could be a PUP guy, so it’s not going to be an, ‘Oh my God, he didn’t make the first game.’ We knew that that was a very real possibility."

Cowboys working out former Cardinals RB Ryan Williams - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
The Cowboys will work out former Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams today. Williams was a second-round pick for the Cardinals in 2011, but played in only five games for Arizona in three years. Williams' first season ended in the preseason with a torn patella tendon. His second year ended five games into the season with a shoulder injury. His third season just never got off the ground.

Ryan Williams opens up about release he 'didn't see coming at all' - Revenge of the Birds
More background on Williams, who was released by the Cardinals on Monday.

The good thing is, if he is healthy, he will get a shot. If he stays healthy, then he can be what so many believe he can be. There are flashes of "special."

Updated Primer on the Finer Points of the NFL Rookie Contract Negotiation - Over the Cap
If you want the hardcore details of the ins and outs of the rookie contracts, this is for you.

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