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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Third Round Of OTAs Kicks Off Today

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Latest Cowboys headlines: OTAs are scheduled for Monday -Wednesday at Valley Ranch; Cowboys expect second-year safety J.J. Wilcox to start; Nickel Defense is now ‘the norm.’

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The third round of OTAs kicks off today. The players will practice at Valley Ranch from Monday through Wednesday this week. Here's an overview of other key Cowboys offseason dates:

OTAs: June 9-12
Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19
Oxnard Training Camp: July 23-Aug 14
Season Opener: Sept 7

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Cowboys expect second-year safety J.J. Wilcox to start – for now | Brandon George, DMN
Brandon George writes that the Cowboys feel comfortable about penciling him in as the starter alongside safety Barry Church, but that the pressure is on Wilcox to live up to expectations: If Wilcox struggles in training camp, the Cowboys could demote him and promote either Jeff Heath or Matt Johnson.

Top 10: DC.com Staff Ranks QBs On Cowboys’ 2014 Schedule - DallasCowboys.com
The mothership runs down what they consider the top ten QBs the Cowboys wil face in 2014. As BTB member The Real Dirk Gently notes, it is a "Comforting List," because "Blake Bortles makes the list. That's a good sign." Inexplicably, the list also contains Eli Manning.

Nickel D Now ‘the Norm’ - DenverBroncos.com
With NFL passing attacks becoming increasingly dangerous, Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio says sub-package defenses are more important than ever.

"I think last year, 66 percent of our snaps were in the sub package. You’re playing more and more 3-wide receiver sets, or even 2-tight end sets where the second tight end is really almost like a wide receiver. So you’re playing a lot of sub downs, so we’ve adjusted accordingly."

"I’d say the fourth corner becomes a little more important because you can never have enough," Del Rio said. "And the reason people say that is because if somebody gets nicked, is tired, whatever, or something happens with the helmet, you have another guy that can go in. That’s a good position to be in."

"So three is a necessity, I think, nowadays. I think having a fourth guy that is very capable is also very important."

Developmental league has support, no launch plan - Yahoo Sports
Not since NFL Europe disappeared in 2007 has there been an NFL-affiliated place where players could go to prove themselves worthy of a look by one of the league's 32 teams. Same thing for officials and coaches.

''That's what NFL Europe was intended to be, a developmental league,'' said Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, a former head coach in the NFL. ''I thought it was great for coaches, I thought it was great for players, I thought it was great for officials. It wasn't my money they were spending on it, but I always thought the time was worth it. ''

As of today though, the NFL has no timetable for establishing a developmental league.

'Sports science' - and plain luck - works wonders for Philadelphia Eagles - ESPN
During the season, the Eagles had 14 players who started every regular-season game. That was more than any other NFL team. Center Jason Kelce explains how the Eagles' emphasis on proper rest and recovery helped the team stay helathy. That, and luck, of course.

"We put a huge emphasis with the Eagles on recovery," center Jason Kelce told the Daily News. "I think that's one of the things that helped us stay injury-free last year, for the most part. A lot of that came down to luck, too -- it's just kind of the way it goes. But the organization and the strength and conditioning department puts a huge emphasis on rest. A lot of the things that bigger guys have problems with is sleeping right … They're big on making sure you're getting the right amount of sleep, eating right, hydration, all that stuff."

NFL players have gotten taller and heavier over time - Noah Veltman
Using NFL player profiles, Noah Veltman of the WNYC data news team has made a simple but beautiful interactive graphic showing how the weight and height of players has changed over the past 84 years.

Photo Gallery of Cowboys Rookie Devin Street - Cardiac Hill
The website of the Pittsburgh Panthers has thrown together all the pictures of Devin Street (all three of them) available in our SB Nation picture library into a super-short photo gallery.