How a 'mature' Dez Bryant is showing the Cowboys he is worth a big payday | David Moore, DMN
Moore offers a lengthy, must-read article that covers Bryant's passion for the game, how Bryant has impressed Scott Linehan, Bryant's upcoming contract extension, and why Garrett compares Dez Bryant (favorably) to Michael Irvin:
An eight-minute period was dropped into the middle of practice to work on special teams. The majority of players not involved were off to the side with their position coaches. Garrett happened to turn his head and noticed that Bryant was walking over to the JUGS machine to have a couple of team managers keep firing balls at him. Garrett made sure the person filming practice got the session. The clip made its way into the team meeting the next day.
"I showed our team that because Dez Bryant arguably has the best hands I’ve ever seen,’’ Garrett said. "Players on our team feel the same way. He’s just such a natural catching the football. I tried to make the point to our team that you’re really not a natural catching the football. Dez just catches more balls than anybody else. He’s worn my arm out, he’s worn the managers’ arms out, the quarterbacks’ arms out."
It reminds Garrett of another Cowboys receiver who wore the No. 88.
"I have a great fondness for Michael Irvin," Garrett said. "I had the good fortune of playing with Michael for eight years. Michael Irvin set the pace and the tempo for our team all throughout the ’90s. He worked harder than anybody else. And Dez Bryant has a lot of those same traits. If you get a chance, watch Dez in one-on-ones, watch him in routes on air, watch him warm up. He just does it the right way. He wants to play the game at a very high level. Any contract concerns don’t show up on the practice field. He’s trying to be the best player he can be."
Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray among 11 unstoppable players - NFL.com
Gil Brandt lists 11 offensive players who are nearly impossible to wrap up, and two Cowboys make the list.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: Murray, whose career got off to an injury-interrupted start, had a breakout 2013 campaign, topping 1,000 yards for the first time and adding 10 total touchdowns. He even slightly edged McCoy in yards per carry (5.2 to 5.1). I like his receiving ability and the fact that he can make people whiff in the open field (28 missed tackles in 2013). His offensive line is much better than it was when he first arrived. If Dallas gives him the ball more in 2014, I think he'll surprise some people.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: Bryant is another very strong-legged guy who does not often go down on first contact. He just pulls away from defenders; if you don't get him solidly as a tackler, say goodbye. Bryant is also a true competitor. Unlike those receivers who are content to slip out of bounds after making the catch, he'll always try to turn upfield and fight for additional yardage.
Cowboys' Twitter mailbag- Tony Romo's future - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Before heading out of town on vacation, Todd Archer pens his final Twitter mailbag in which he writes about Jason Witten, Tyrone Crawford, Morris Claiborne, and Kyle Orton. He also has some thoughts on whether Tony Romo's best years are in front of him or behind him:
Since Romo is such a golf guy, let's use a golf analogy: he's on the back nine. I don't know how anybody could think otherwise. He is 34. He is coming off two back surgeries. He is in his eighth year as a full-time starter. Just because he is on the back nine doesn't mean he can't play at a high level. I know the odds are stacked and thirty-something quarterbacks haven't won a lot of Super Bowls here lately, but I'd take my chances he's on Holes 12 and 13, if you will. He still has football in him, provided he can stay upright. I do think Romo is smart enough to adapt his game as he gets older.
If you allow me to carry on with other sports analogies, here's another one: fastball pitchers can develop into multipitch guys over the years. Romo has done a lot on his own with some improvisation and ability to buy time. I don't think you'll see him run around as much as he did when he was younger. I think you'll see him pick and choose his spots. I believe he did some of that last year, which is one of the reasons his sack total was so high. He was willing to take the sack -- not necessarily the big hit mind you -- and move on to the next play rather than take a risk of a hit or a poor throw.
Scott Linehan takes firm control of the Cowboys’ offense | ProFootballTalk
Michael Smith writes that Scott Linehan led all the offensive meetings throughout the spring, and wonders what a Linehan-run offense in Dallas could look like.
It will probably feature more passing than Cowboys fans are accustomed to seeing. During Linehan’s previous job, as the offensive coordinator in Detroit, the Lions were always among the league leaders in pass attempts. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has averaged more than 42 passes a game the last three seasons, while Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has averaged only 36 passes a game the last three seasons. With Linehan calling the shots, Romo should expect to throw more.
Dallas stars shine at Dirk Nowitzki charity baseball game - Bryan Gutierrez, ESPN Dallas
Gutierrez runs down the highlight plays from Dirk Nowitzki's charity baseball game that featured Cowboys, Mavericks and former Rangers players. The game turned into a 40-hit bonanza and ended 17-16.