Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Wrap Up OTAs With Final Practice

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Latest Cowboys headlines: Jason Garrett pleased with offseason work; Several rookies stand out on Wednesday; Cowboys show key to efficient offense is not tempo.

Jason Garrett pleased with offseason work - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN
With OTAs in the books, Garrett is pleased with the work the team has put in so far.

"We had a really good practice to finish a really good minicamp to finish a really good offseason program," coach Jason Garrett said. "We have the right kind of guys on our football team. They work the right way. They’re coming together. We have a long, long way to go and we all know that. We’ve made great strides here over the course of the offseason. I like how our team works and now it’s time for them to get away from it and come back recharged, ready to go, and get ready for training camp."

Cowboys Wrap Minicamp With Practice At Stadium - Rowan Kavner, DC.com
Garrett said that all the rookies have mode progress this during the recent OTAs and minicamps.

"Our coaches coach our players hard, and they coach them well, and when you have the right kind of guys who have some ability, they’re going to get better," Garrett said. "We threw a lot of guys in there, we threw a lot of stuff at them, and I think they responded well to it. They’re far from being where they need to be, we all understand that. But I always tell our players, let’s go back and watch that tape of OTA 1, we’ll kind of laugh at that, we’ll chuckle at that, because we’re different."

Minicamp observations: Jakar Hamilton shines - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer runs down some highlights of yesterday's 90-minute practice at AT&T Stadium, starting with Jakar Hamilton, who had a standout offseason so far.

Safety Jakar Hamilton came up with a nice interception after linebacker Anthony Hitchens deflected a Dustin Vaughan throw down the seam to wide receiver Devin Street. Hamilton instinctively stuck one hand in the air and then corralled the ball as he turned up field. Hamilton later did a nice job being in position to force an off-target throw to Dez Bryant in the slot.

Lawrence: Daily Battles With Smith Will Eventually Pay Off - Nick Eatman, DC.com
Eatman writes that the Cowboys appear to be pleased with DeMarcus Lawrence's progress, thanks in part to Tyron Smith, who is forcing Lawrence to "work harder to be better." Even Rod Marinelli is impressed, which is no easy feat.

"This kid has some strength to him," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He’s a lot stronger than I thought he was. He’s got some power moves that he uses to his advantage. You don’t always see that from young guys. They have to get in (the weight room) and eventually it’s something they can add to their game. But he’s got that power right now. I think that’s going to help him this year."

Dallas Cowboys tight ends coach Mike Pope has group wearing swim goggles during drills | Jon Machota, DMN
Okay, that's an odd headline. Here's what's up with that:

"You kind of can’t see out of the corner of your eyes, so it keeps you focused on [having your head] take you to the ball," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. "Today was our first day of doing it, so we’ll see how it goes. I did pretty good today, but it’s a work in progress."

Cole Beasley says he can play on the outside -- just give him a chance (which Cowboys are) - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Garrett explains in great detail the challenges Beasley faces as a 5-foot-8 outside receiver, and also explains why Beasley may be able to overcome those challanges.

"Typically when you’re a smaller receiver, you have to win by more," Garrett said. "And so how do you do that as an outside receiver? You outrun guys -- I’m thinking about a deep ball down the field. You can beat a guy by a yard or two when you’re a smaller guy and he still kind of has you covered because he’s a bigger guy and as the ball is coming in, he has an equal chance to make a play on that ball. Bigger guys outside don’t have to win by as much because they can fight for that ball when it’s up in the air. That’s how his size hurts him."

"What helps him out there is his quickness, his change of direction. He’s a very good route runner, and he’s able to kind of create the space that he needs as an outside receiver a lot like he’s able to do inside. His change of direction is really pretty unique, and he has a real good feel. He’s very quarterback-friendly when he runs his routes. We’re trying to give him opportunities in a lot of different spots. He’s most natural playing inside, but he’s certainly not a non-factor as an outside receiver."

Dez Bryant returns punts at minicamp; Jason Garrett: He’ll be in the bullpen if we need him | John Machota, DMN
Bryant didn't field any punts in 2013, but he did in 2012, and returned punts again at minicamp.

"Dez is always somebody we’ve had back there as a punt returner," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after Thursday’s session at AT&T Stadium. "He’ll continue to work at that. He’s very good at it. He’s also very valuable to our offense, so when you make those decisions you try to weigh all of those things, ‘Who are the other alternatives?’ "He’ll always be in the bullpen for us if we need him. He has that kind of ability. He’s done a really good job of that, but we have some other guys who we like doing it as well."

Several Rookies Stand Out On Wednesday - Bryan Broaddus, DC.com
Sure, this is from Wednesday's practice, but it makes today's new roundup anyway. Among the rookies Broaddus singles out for praise are CB Terrance Mitchell, S Ahmad Dixon and DT Davon Coleman.

Cowboys HQ Construction NOT Starting " CBS DFW
Despite reports earlier this week that construction for the new headquarters in Frisco were to begin on Thursday, that is not actually the case.

However, before you get too disappointed, there is still good news to report. Frisco officials have given the construction plans the green light, so work on the team’s new headquarters can begin on schedule — as originally planned — in a few weeks. The facility is expected to be open in time for the 2016 season.

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Dallas Cowboys show key to efficient offense is not tempo | Audibles - SI.com
When everybody and their uncle are talking about up-tempo and no huddle offenses, Chris Burke takes a step back and comes up with a concept that we've been pushing here on BTB for years: offensive efficiency.

It was a team’s ability to score at a consistent clip, not necessarily how rapid its possessions progressed, that stood as a harbinger of success last season. Of the teams that ranked in the top 15 in points per play last season, 12 made the playoffs.

Guess which team comes in No. 2 on Burke's list of the most efficient offenses? Your Dallas Cowboys, that's who. But the Cowboys come with two caveats:

Dallas [came in] second overall with a .415 points-per-play average. The Cowboys’ landing spot highlights two truths: 1. Generating more snaps may not be necessary to produce points — they ran just 957 offensive plays last season, least of any team in the league; 2. That scoring at an efficient rate matters little if a team’s defense cannot keep up.

Panthers, Eagles, Seahawks among teams set to take a step back - NFL.com
We asked you on Wednesday which teams you thought were in for a rude awakening in 2014. Gil Brandt asked himself a similar question, and concludes that the Panthers, Eagles and Seahawks "will take a step back in 2014."

The Linc - Time to Worry about Matt Barkley? - Bleeding Green Nation
Now they're worried? How long will it take for them to figure out what they got in Sanchez?

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