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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: "No Doubt New Defense Will Work", Sean Lee Superstar?

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: Monte Kiffin and Co. are sure they can turn the Cowboys’ defense around, Sean Lee could become a star this season, and the Cowboys have arguably the best line coaches in the entire NFL.


Healthy and with a defense designed around him, Sean Lee could become a star this season -
If you check out only one of the links in this today's news roundup, make it this one. Austin Murphy delivers a very readable piece on Sean Lee (complete with the obligatory misspelling of Keith Brooking's name) in which he provides a lot of background on Sean Lee and ends with the following quote from future All Pro Sean Lee:

"I feel like I have a ton to improve in all areas. When I watch the film, I see more of the negative than the positive. Seriously, when I look back at some of my old film, it makes me cringe, because there's so much I can improve. In the run game I can cover more ground. I can blitz a ton better. I'm just going to keep studying, keep grinding. That's what's great about this game, you always have something to work on."

Monte Kiffin and Co. are sure they can turn Cowboys’ defense around - C. Hill, Star-Telegram
Here's Rod Marinellis' reply when asked if he had any doubts about the defense working in Dallas.

"None. Zero. None. Zero. None. Done it too long," Marinelli said. "I believe in it. I guess, there are two things: One, when you believe in the system, and [I] believe in myself as a teacher. We’ve had great success with it; we know it works."

"It really fits really talented players, too. It’s all those things. It’s having the talent, but this system forces that talent level to rise with effort, getting to the ball. I have great confidence in it. I always have."

Callahan, Marinelli could be the keys - Rich Gosselin, DMN
Gosselin argues that the Cowboys may have an edge in the NFC East along both the offensive and defensive lines, not because they added talent in the trenches, but because they have arguably the best line coaches in the entire NFL:

The Cowboys hired Bill Callahan as their offensive line coach a year ago and Rod Marinelli as their defensive line coach this last off-season. Callahan may not be the best offensive line coach in the NFL. But he’s in the top five. Marinelli may not be the best defensive line coach in the league. But he too is in the top five.

That gives the Cowboys the best combination of offensive and defensive line coaches in the NFC East — and arguably the entire NFL. And that gives them a chance in a division where so much of an emphasis is placed on the line of scrimmage.

Cowboys QB Tony Romo using wristband to ‘streamline’ play-calling process - R. Sabin, DMN
NFL rules don't allow OC Bill Callahan to call plays directly to the quarterback from the booth. Instead, Callahan will have to call plays to QB coach Wade Wilson, who will then relay those calls to Tony Romo. To get plays in and faster and to streamline communication, the Cowboys will use a wristband which should help to considerably shorten the playcalling process.

Monte Kiffin will call defense from booth - T. Archer, ESPN Dallas
This is an interesting development: Archer writes that Monte Kiffin will also be sitting in the booth on gameday, from where he'll call plays to linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who'll relay them to Sean Lee.

This means that both the offensive and defensive coordinators will be up in the booth, with Garrett free to roam the sidelines as a walk-around head coach. And just as Garrett had indicated all along, the decision on how the Cowboys will call plays is much more complex than simply handing over the playcalling chart.

Nate Newton's take on the interior O-line - ESPN Dallas
Six-time Pro Bowl guard and three-time Super Bowl champion Nate Newton weighs in on the interior offensive line. He didn't like what he saw from Travis Frederick in terms of hand placement, thought that Nate Livings looked "very, very rusty", but liked what he saw from Arkin:

"David Arkin looked great today. Good hand placement. Him and Doug Free worked well, very well today, especially against the pass-rush situations. He looked good today. He looked solid."

Garrett: Preseason opener "is going to be a Nick Stephens game and an Alex Tanney game." - Mike Fisher, FSSouthwest
Fisher writes that Tony Romo and Kyle Orton may not play at all or only very little in the Hall of Fame game.

"It's one of those deals where I suppose [Tony Romo] could play five plays or whatever, but we might lean to no plays," Garrett said. "But the clock starts on our '1's' (first-teamers) in Week 2 of the preseason. So that's not going to be Tony's game."

"That's going to be a Nick Stephens game and an Alex Tanney game," Garrett said, suggesting it's likely that veteran backup Kyle Orton will join Romo in wearing a ball cap all night.

Blue and White scrimmage on Sunday will be a big day for backup QBs - B. Broaddus,
On Friday, for the first time in training camp, quarterback Alex Tanney took third team reps ahead of Nick Stephens during full-team drills. Whether this means anything remains to be seen, but Broaddus likes what he's seen from Tanney so far:

"Quarterback Alex Tanney is not a stiff. He plays with pocket awareness and he is a good ball handler. His passes have touch but he can throw them with some pace. I like how he is able to get rid of the ball quickly under pressure. The Blue and White scrimmage on Sunday will be a big day for both he and Nick Stephens who are trying to separate themselves from each other. My live look and film observations has [sic] Tanney ahead in this battle now through the first week."

Eight in the Box: NFC East camp battles - Dan Graziano, ESPN NFC East Blog
Graziano looks at the key positional battle for each NFC East team as training camps get underway, and makes a very odd choice for the Cowboys, listing the No. 2 tight end spot as the key battle. Sure, the two-tight end set is a big piece of the 2013 offense, but if the No. 2 tight end is the biggest concern the Cowboys have, I am a happy man.

NFC training camp position battles to watch -
Our own mothership runs down a collection of the "biggest position battles to keep an eye on over the next few weeks" in the NFC. According to the article, the "biggest position battle" for the Cowboys is between Justin Durant, Alex Albright and Brandon Magee for the SAM spot. If this is indeed the biggest position battle, then I need to book a trip to the Super Bowl right now.

Cowboys to play out of pistol formation? - R. Sabin, DMN
The Cowboys have been experimenting with the pistol formation in camp but it doesn't appear that it will be a staple of the offense, writes Rainer Sabin. Or at least that's what the coaches are saying, which means we won't really know anything until we see it deployed in real games - or not.

J.J. Wilcox diagnosed with "Bill Bates Syndrome" - Tulsa World
Jason Garrett has diagnosed J.J. Wilcox with "Bill Bates syndrome," remembering how his former teammate would apologize for putting players on the ground in non-tackling situations and then "pick them up and do it the next play."

Stephen Jones said Wilcox is the young player who has stood out the most to him, as Wilcox "brings a thump and has only just started to tap into his potential".

“We felt like he was a hell of a third round player and that’s where we got him, and we’re certainly pleased we did. Everyone asks the question, ‘Why didn’t you pick Leon Lett earlier?’ I said, ‘If we would have known he was Leon Lett, we would have picked him earlier.’”

Fri. Practice Report: Livings Returns; DE Takes Another Hit -
The staff provide a quick rundown of the day's highlights.

Injury Report: Ben Bass hurts ankle and Matt Johnson hurts knee - C. Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Watkins with a rundown of the injury situation. Austin and Hatcher both got a "veterans day off" yesterday, Ben Bass and Matt Johnson were both nicked up a little. Apart from that, here's the injury rundown:

Ronald Leary (calf), Mackenzy Bernadeau (hamstring), Demetress Bell (conditioning), Jermey Parnell (hamstring), Danny Coale (knee), James Hanna (hamstring), LP Ladouceur (calf), Ike Ikponmwosa (lower leg), Jay Ratliff (hamstring) and Anthony Spencer (knee).

Cowboys could host at least a part of future training camps in North Texas once they get a new training facility - C. Williams, Star-Telegram
The Cowboys' contract with Oxnard ends after next year, and there are multiple options on the table for where they could conduct their training camp after that. One option could be to hold at least a part of future training camps in wherever the team's new training facility will end up being. Oddly, the Cowboys have never held training camp in DFW, according to Charean Williams, but that could change if the Cowboys had an indoor practice facility, possibly in Frisco, with seating for 10,000 to 12,000 fans.


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