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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Do Cowboys Have Key Components to "Get It Done" On Defense?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys have the ‘key components to really get it done’ on defense; Cowboys feel they got "the right value" for Anthony Hitchens; Is DeVonte Holloman the best option at MLB?

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
It’s going to be a shock to the nation when they see this D-line and this defense go. - Tyrone Crawford

Henry Melton: Dallas Cowboys have the ‘key components to really get it done’ on defense | Jon Machota, DMN
Melton is being held out of OTAs to make sure he is fully recovered and ready to go for training camp. But in the two months he's now been with the Cowboys, he's already feeling good about the players he'll be playing alongside on the defensive line.

"There’s a lot of athletic guys, we got," Melton said. "There aren’t a lot of big names on it, but it’s like I told them before, it’s about making a name for yourself. No one knew who I was when I first started, so it’s all about making a name for yourself. Looking around this room, there’s a lot of guys that are going to."

"We got a lot of talent on the defense, a lot of names that people don’t know that are going to make names, so I’m excited to play with them," Melton added. "I think we got a lot of key components to really get it done."

Marinelli’s Focus On Potential, Not Past, Of D-Line Unit - Rowan Kavner,
Kavner writes that Marinelli doesn’t seem to care about lack of consistency in the D-line, focusing instead on maximizing the contribution of each individual player to the group. And whether that means one or two guys emerging with 10 sacks or for a bunch of players getting five or six sacks doesn't matter much. As long as he teaches the linemen the fundamentals of his system and the pace and tempo he wants to play at, the unit as a whole should reach its potential.

"Right now, hopefully the strength is the unit," Marinelli said. "A bunch of guys, Mincey’s come in, I know what George is about, Henry, Crawford coming in, and we’ve got some young guys coming in. So the strength has got to be the unit. Hopefully, we’ll have eight guys we feel good about and each guy, nobody’s selfish, and you play the game as hard as you can play it and play it as well as you can play it."

"I like them," Marinelli said. "Mince has had a couple real good years in his belt, George had a good year, Henry’s done it. Now we’ve just got to get guys to have career years."

Tyrone Crawford talks defensive line on Cowboys Break -
Crawford was a special guest on the latest Cowboys Break, and was pumped about this year's defensive line.

"We’ve got a great D-line," Crawford said. "It’s funny to see some of the Tweets that we get about our defense, but it’s going to be a shock to the nation when they see this D-line and this defense go."

"I just really love this D-line right now. I love the way we get together on the field and off the field. I’m just excited for it."


McClay: Cowboys feel they got "the right value" for Anthony Hitchens - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Will McClay points out that the draft grades passed out by draft experts don't always match the team grades, because the draft expert grades do not reflect scheme fit and other factors that play a role in the team grades.

"When everybody grades him on our staff and we go through the things that are important to play the position, and the guys hits all the checkmarks we have in the fourth round as far as our grades, we feel comfortable where we are getting him," said Will McClay, the Cowboys’ assistant director of player personnel. "Out [of] the [Mel] Kipers and those people outside our organization don’t know what we are putting him into and what we are doing. The value is in-house and we feel like we got the right value."

Which is a sentiment echoed by 49ers GM Trent Baalke:

The 49ers, though, don't care what the general manager or the other front-office men think. They care about what their scouts and coaches think. It's one of the traits that define their roster-building. "When we're evaluating players, we are evaluating their fit for us, period," general manager Trent Baalke explained. "We're not evaluating their fit for any other organization. We are evaluating how we perceive them to fit for us, schematically, within the locker room, within their individual position room, and in our community."

Broaddus: Holloman Is The Best Bet Of Options At MLB -
Broaddus likes Holloman as the No. 1 option at MLB, with Hitchens as the backup. Broaddus does not like the idea of adding a veteran MLB, instead suggesting the Cowboys trade for a player that may not be an immediate starter, but could develop into one down the road.

If you believe in Will McClay and this pro personnel department, an option in my eyes is allow these scouts to find you a linebacker that might not be a starter but can develop into one down the road. The way you get these types of players is usually worked through a trade. As all these teams going through minicamps and OTAs, they are looking at their players thinking that they might be short at one or two positions.

This is where McClay has to try and convince Jerry and Stephen Jones that moving a player from a position of strength, say running back or offensive line, could land them quality linebacker in return. This scouting staff has a great understanding of these rosters around the league and without any problem can identify a player or two that might be a fit.

5 Reasons Not To Panic After Sean Lee’s Injury " Roy White, CBS DFW
Sean Lee's injury was devastating, but believe it or not, there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Cowboys defense could be better in 2014, writes Roy White.

Barry Church: Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox will make a ‘big leap’ in his second season | Jon Machota, DMN
In OTAs this week, Barry Church was lined up at strong safety on the first team, with Wilcox manning the free safety spot, and Church liked what he saw from the second-year player.

"He’s making leaps and bounds," Church said. "I feel like he’ll make a big leap in his second year. He’s moving to free safety this year and I feel like he’s going to do a great job at it."

Ryan Williams Eager To Shed "Injury Prone" Label - David Helman,
The Cowboys like what they've seen from Williams so far, but he's still got a way to go as he adapts to the pass protection assignments in a zone-blocking scheme - and proves that he can stay healthy.

"It’s just one of those things where sometimes you’ve got to dig down, get healthy, come back out and shut everybody up – prove everybody wrong," Williams said.

"Right now, it’s kind of like the baby step phase," he said. "I’ve got to learn a whole new system, and I’ve got to get comfortable in the system – I’ve got to learn pass protections, I’ve got to be a great student of this offense before I can go out there and show what I’m capable of doing."

Second year spotlight: NFC East | National Football Post
Greg Gabriel lists five NFC East players on the verge of breaking out in 2014, and two of them are Cowboys: Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams.

Four Downs: NFC East - Football Outsiders
Scott Kacsmar takes a topline view of the biggest post-draft hole and notable undrafted free agent additions for each NFC East team.

Notable Undrafted Free Agent Additions: Even though Dallas had an eventful seventh round, the Cowboys still added 23 undrafted rookie free agents. Quarterback Dustin Vaughan (West Texas A&M) may not have the pedigree of Johnny Manziel, but he destroyed Division II competition with 10,113 yards and 98 touchdowns in the last two seasons alone. If Kyle Orton does decide to retire, Vaughan could ride this shot well into August or beyond. Safety Jeff Heath has had playing time with Dallas as an undrafted free agent, so don't overlook Auburn safety Ryan Smith.

Breaking down Dallas Cowboys rookie deals so far - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer details the signing bonuses and base salaries of the six draft picks signed so far.


Searching for silver linings when NFL offseason turns ugly - Dan Graziano, ESPN
As always, good stuff from Dan Graziano on things he liked during what could be viewed as a tumultuous offseason for the NFL, including this take on the Manziel-to-Dallas storyline.

I liked that the Cowboys didn't draft Johnny Manziel, which I think would have been terrible for the Cowboys, terrible for Manziel and terrible for all of us who cringe at the proliferation of offseason non-news. We're already wringing our hands over whether a wealthy 21-year-old with free time on his hands should have spent the weekend in Vegas. Can you imagine how much more intense the coverage would be if Manziel were on the Cowboys?

Does Rookie Performance Help Explain the Traditional Draft Value Chart? —
Most analysts agree that the Jimmy Johnson chart overvalues the top picks, and undervalues all other picks. Chase Stuart tries to match the steep curve of the Johnson chart, and comes surprisingly close by looking only at the rookie year performance of draft pricks.

The June 1 Date and What It Means in the NFL - Over the Cap
June 1 is an important day in the calendar year for the NFL. It is a day when various rules and tenders change.

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