The NFL Draft is over, and now we have a few more months before our Dallas Cowboys all come together and unite for yet another training camp. This downtime can be a buzzkill and draining, but there is some news out there for us to cover and some of the players have been speaking to the media.
Let's take a trip around the net and see what some of the Cowboys are up to.
Joseph Randle had a productive career at Oklahoma State and entered the draft as one of the featured running backs available, but for some reason he fell to the fifth round. The Cowboys were looking for another runner to pair with DeMarco Murray and they were very happy to pick one up that late in the draft who has similar qualities.
Murray recently welcomed his newest running mate with open arms.
"He’s definitely a quality running back, coming from Oklahoma State, they’ve always been known for great running backs," Murray said Wednesday before participating in a home run derby at Rangers Ballpark with eight of his teammates and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "I’m excited to bring him in the family and get after it a little bit and help him out as much as we can."
The combination of Murray and Randle is enticing and exciting because they are very similar. Even though DeMarco clearly has better speed, both running backs do look alike on tape.
Last year was the breakout season that we've all been waiting for from Dez Bryant. The talented young man started off with some trouble off-the-field, then struggled with actual football on-the-field and finally put it all together and became the superstar player that dominated games. Along the way Bryant broke his left index finger, but instead of shutting it down for the season, he fought through it because his team needed him and they had a chance to make the playoffs.
So how is Dez doing? He recently talked about the finger during a recent charity event held in Arlington.
"It’s never going to be normal, but I promise you, it’s never going to be an issue," the Cowboys receiver said Wednesday at a charity event in Arlington. "I’m ready to go and catch some footballs. I actually feel like I’ve been catching better with the finger problem.
"Hey, I’m ready to go."
I had suggested that Bryant go on injured reserve and end his season early because it wasn't worth the possible long-term damage to his finger, which so far is evident by his claim above that it will never be normal again. He's an extremely tough kid who leaves everything he has out there on the field, but his passion could shorten his career. Hopefully Dez finds a happy medium where he can harness his energy and play the game aggressively.
Moving away from the offense, some of our defensive players were in the news. There has been a lot of hoopla made about whether our cornerbacks will be able to thrive in a scheme that won't truly feature and utilize their coverage capabilities.
Brandon Carr believes the new 4-3 system that Monte Kiffin is bringing to Dallas will allow him to be the type of cornerback he wants to be.
"It allows me to be the corner that I want to be," he said. "Go up there each play and challenge the receiver. That’s what I came into this league doing and that’s what I’ve been doing for some time in this league, and that’s how I made my name.
"It allows me to go back up to the line of scrimmage and it allows Claiborne to do the same thing."
Carr and Claiborne are going to be effective players no matter what system they are in, these are talented guys that are passionate, athletic and dedicated to improving their craft.
If the Cowboys had to go back in time, they would make the Carr signing over and over again. He's a good player that may not have had the instant impact most of us were expecting, but he began to come on strong late in the season and was playing his best football when it mattered. He's going to be just fine in this system, trust me.
Perhaps the best player on the defense last year was linebacker extraordinaire Bruce Carter. After basically spending a redshirt season during his rookie campaign, Carter came out of the gates smoking and looked like the player the war room envisioned he would be when they took a gamble in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Carter is another player who is going to thrive in this system, especially considering it will allow him to play to his strengths and take on less blockers than he saw in the 3-4. Bruce believes playing in the 4-3 will be a very comfortable transition.
"It just puts us in position, guys like me, Sean, the rest of the linebackers, just to go out there and make plays, just fly around," he said Wednesday at a charity event in Arlington. "That’s what I did in college. That’s what got me to this point. I feel natural there. I feel comfortable. I’m just going to go out and play ball."
If there is anything our scouting department can do well it's evaluating linebacker talent. We all know what the "Bruce Lee" tandem can do, but there will actually be depth behind them and another talented guy next to them this year in the new defensive alignment. It may be time to invest in that new Nike #54 jersey, just saying....
The other member of the most interesting linebacker duo in the world also had some kind words. Sean Lee is slated to start at middle linebacker, but believes every job is open to competition and he may be playing one of the outside spots.
"Right now, I’m in the middle, but you never know," he said Wednesday at a charity event in Arlington. "You always have to come in there and win a spot, and that’s what I plan to do."
Hey, you have to love that Lee kid, but you can basically marker him in at the Mike. The only thing that can hold back Carter and Lee are the injuries. If our guys have some good juju this season, then we will see some amazing football out of that deadly combination.