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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: OTAs Kick Off On Tuesday

Latest Cowboys headlines: Zack Martin comes from a "football-savvy" family; Rihanna rocking a Cowboys jersey; Contract extension for Doug Free?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If you're looking for quality Cowboys coverage on a slow news weekend like this, your best bet remains Blogging The Boys.

Dawn Macelli wrote yesterday about how the young offensive line is ready to dominate up front, arguing that the front office has laid a foundation for rebuilding the Great Wall of Dallas. The article chimes nicely with an earlier article from rabblerousr, who argued convincingly that after chasing offensive guards for three straight drafts, the Cowboys stumbled onto perhaps the best OG prospect of them all, ironically by focusing on defense.

Also yesterday, Tom Ryle looked at offensive personnel groupings, and made the point that while the 12 personnel package (or two tight end set) was the hot topic heading into 2013, the 11 package (three wide receiver set) wound up the most used and most effective for Dallas, and that we're likely to see a continuation of that trend this year.

Because there is not a lot of football activity to write about, the offseason provides the opportunity for us writers to look at topics that we probably wouldn't write about during the season, and Dawn took that opportunity to look a little closer at the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (Bummer about the absence of a 40-picture cheerleader slide show). In a similar vein, we took an unhurried look at how accurate pre-season win projections are and how Garrett is putting in the time to improve his coaching.


The first round of OTAs kicks off on Tuesday, with rookies and veterans on the field for the first time this season. Here's an overview of key Cowboys offseason dates:

OTAs: May 27-29, June 2, 4-5, June 9-12
Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19
Oxnard Training Camp: July 23-Aug 14
Season Opener: Sept 7


In other news of the day, Todd Archer of ESPNDallas answered some Twitter mailbag questions, and in the process of answering a question about whether Zack Martin would remain at guard for the Cowboys, raised the possibility of a contract extension for Doug Free. Archer suggests that where Martin ends up playing will depend on what happens with Doug Free.

I believe Zack Martin will be a guard. I think that’s where they would like to keep him. I think the Cowboys will keep Doug Free on an extension to be their right tackle at a reasonable price.

But let’s say the Cowboys and Free don’t agree on an extension and he leaves via free agency after this season, then I think the Cowboys would move Martin to right tackle provided they weren’t able to find a suitable replacement. Maybe they would draft another lineman. I don’t think Weems is a long-term answer as starter. Maybe he could be the swing tackle once Jermey Parnell is no longer there. Maybe.

Free's contract in Dallas will void after the season, so he'll be a free agent. He'll also be 31 after the season, so while I can see the Cowboys wanting to extend him for a year or two, this will also be Free's final chance at a lucrative free agent contract. A good 2014 season could see Free pulling a Jason Hatcher and signing with another team for a contract with a big guarantee.


Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News offers a very readable background story on Zack Martin, and how the Martin family was a key building block in helping Zack achieve what he has.

Asked to identify the most important ingredient that pushed him along the road from middle school football to the NFL, Zack Martin, sitting in a Valley Ranch meeting room, didn’t hesitate.

"Family," he said. "I don’t have any crazy talents. But I do have people who nurtured me, guided me and advised me what might be best."

The NFL is full of stories about players making the league despite coming from broken homes, living through desperate situations and suffering personal tragedies. And while many of those stories are inspiring all on their own, it's also nice to read a story of a guy who comes from a strong family background.


Chris Wesseling of picks up on the latest reports out of Dallas and writes that Anthony Spencer could open season on PUP, and wonders whether Spencer will be able to contribute at all this season.


Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News seems to still be hung up on the Cowboys not drafting Johnny Manziel, and makes an argument that the old regime in Dallas would have done things differently. If you read 'old regime' and thought of Bill Parcells or perhaps even Jimmy Johnson, you're way off base.

Sherrington goes all the way back to Tex Schramm and Gil Brandt, who last had something to say in Dallas 25 years ago, to show that those guys drafted 24 quarterbacks in 29 years, while the Jerry Jones-owned Cowboys only drafted four QBs in 25 years. Sherrington conveniently neglects to say that 13 of the 24 QBs he's referencing were drafted between rounds eight and 16 of the draft, which would make them UDFAs in this day and age. And the four QBs credited to Jones do not include any UDFAs, of course.

You've got to wonder if there is any industry in the world where you would be taken seriously if you were to suggest to a company that they'd be better served today by doing things the way they were done 25 years ago.

"Hey Bill Gates, I think you should just focus on building the Microsoft Mouse again. That's the future of computing. All that online stuff is just for some nerds playing Dungeons and Dragons in obscure chat rooms."


NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' was most-watched TV program in America last year | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo Sports
Football is still king: "Sunday Night Football" averaged 21.5 million viewers. The runner-up, "Big Bang Theory," averaged 19.9 million viewers. "NCIS," "NCIS: Los Angeles," and "Dancing With The Stars" rounded out the top five. The next-highest sports show on network television was ABC's "Saturday Night Football," with 5.6 million viewers.


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