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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: "Dez Bryant Is Getting Better And Better."

Latest Cowboys headlines: Michael Irvin believes Bryant will have a great year in 2014; Cowboys taking more chances on players; First equipment trucks leaving for Oxnard 13 days ahead of training camp start.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Irvin expecting ‘explosive’ season from Dez Bryant | Jon Machota, DMN
Rumor has it that Michael Irvin knows a thing or two about wide receivers, and he believes Bryant will have a great year in 2014.

"Just a physically-gifted beast of a football player," Irvin said of Bryant on the NFL Network. "He’s learning more and more about the game each year. He’s getting better and better each year. I’m expecting that explosive year out of him this season."

Cowboys Casting Net Wider For Talent, Potential - Rowan Kavner,
Kavner writes that it's doubtful the Cowboys of two or three years ago would have taken a chance on players like Rolando McClain, Jeremy Mincey, and even DeMarcus Lawrence, all of whom have been suspended from their previous teams at one point or another.

The pro personnel department’s stacking up talent it may not have in the past, and that’s a credit to the current locker room presence that allows the head coach to feel comfortable stepping out on a limb.

Because of the personalities and attitudes of the players already in Cowboys’ jerseys, the coaches and talent evaluators feel comfortable enough to give players with past issues a chance they wouldn’t have in past seasons.

Casting that net wider in search of talent is a necessary step that could pay off in the form of wins.

Put heat on coaches - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
I wrote a while back that "one of the things that has bothered me about the Cowboys over the last few years, is that they don’t seem to be able to - or don’t want to - adapt their scheme to specific players. It always seems like it's the players who have to fit the scheme."

Todd Archer comes to a similar conclusion, though he focuses only on the offense, and writes that the Cowboys offensive coaches have been too reactive to the defense, despite Jason Garrett saying they want to dictate the action.

I think the coaches got bogged down into things guys couldn’t do as opposed to what they could do. Escobar is a good example of that. They knew he wasn’t much of a blocker when he was picked but they really didn't do anything to put his skills to work as a rookie. If he couldn’t block, he couldn’t be counted on. Despite their professed love for "12 personnel," they ran the same stuff they did when Anthony Fasano, Martellus Bennett or John Phillips was the backup tight end. They didn’t invent ways to use Escobar differently. So what is the natural reaction? Well, Escobar is a bust. That’s not exactly fair to the kid. The coaches bear some responsibility for not utilizing his talents.

To a smaller degree, they have done the same with Dez Bryant. They haven’t moved him around because they were unsure he could play different spots or get in the slot. This offseason Bryant has moved around more. We saw Cole Beasley line up some outside. We’ve seen running backs line up in the slot.

Cowboys equipment trucks leave for Oxnard training camp | David Moore, DMN
First practices in Oxnard are scheduled on July 24, and the first wave of trucks with equipment left Dallas yesterday for Oxnard. 13 more days.

Cowboys' biggest key to success - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer writes that while the Cowboys success still rests largely on Tony Romo's effectiveness, the Cowboys are transitioning from an older team to a younger team, will be in much better salary-cap shape starting next year, and have drafted better and smarter.

For the Cowboys to make the jump from 8-8 to a consistent playoff team, they honestly need to continue down the same path. Patience has never been one of owner Jerry Jones’ strong suits, but the team has shown a willingness to change its ways.

If they continue to build smartly and avoid the costly mistakes that come about in free agency, the Cowboys could find themselves beginning to open up another window of opportunity as Romo and Witten wind down their careers.

Rookie Punter Cody Mandell Pushing for a Job | Scott Crisp, NBC DFW
Rookie punter Cody Mandell has his work cut out for him if he's going to make the Cowboys, but he has impressed coaches this offseason.

Jones was the only Cowboys punter to hit the center-hanging JerryTron at AT&T Stadium until Mandell did it on the last day of minicamp--he did it three times, but head coach Jason Garrett said afterward that it was hanging lower than its normal 90 feet, moved to accommodate George Strait’s farewell concert.


2014 NFL Future Power Rankings - Projecting success for every team over next three seasons - ESPN
We have received complaints that there isn't enough doom and gloom in our BTB articles. We can fix that.

Mel Kiper, John Clayton, Louis Riddick and Mike Sando team up to rank every NFL team based on which are best-positioned to be successful over the next three years, and we are happy to report that the Cowboys are going to suck big time. The ESPN think tank, such as it is, believes the Cowboys will be the fifth-worst team over the coming three years. But wait, it gets better: The Cowboys are going to be the worst team in the NFC East!

Dallas and Oakland are the only teams ranking among the NFL's five worst in four of the five categories. The Cowboys were 13th at QB. Tony Romo ranked tied for eighth in our recent "QB Tiers" project, but that was for the present. The future rankings project forward through 2016, when Romo will be 37 years old. How will his surgically repaired back hold up? Subtracting DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee from an already shaky defense appears devastating. That helps explain why the Dallas roster (beyond QB) ranked 29th. There aren't enough front-line players on defense. Salary-cap challenges persist. Only the Raiders and Dolphins ranked lower than the Cowboys in the front-office category, which is a strong statement of disapproval for how Jerry Jones runs the franchise.

How bad might it get for the Dallas Cowboys? | Shutdown Corner
More good news for unicorn hunters and rainbow haters: Things can get a lot worse for the Cowboys.

And here’s the nightmare scenario: If the offense slips a little, it'll be bad. Remember, Dallas scored 439 points last year and that was only good enough for 8-8. And the defense appears to be worse this year. The last time the Cowboys lost more than 11 games was Jimmy Johnson's first year as coach, in 1989. If the defense is as bad as it looks, and the offense slips a little, losing more than 11 games isn't out of the question.

Donovan McNabb: I can't figure out why Jason Garrett still has a job -
Still in the mood for some reverse positivity? Intellectual giant, analyst extraordinaire, and president of the one-man McNabb-for-Hall-of-Fame campaign Donovan McNabb is "still figuring out how [Garrett] still has a job." Let us know when you've got it figured out, Mr. McNabb.

Even if healthy, a good shot to Tony Romo's back could wreck everything again | Kevin Sherrington, DMN
Down with all this positivity! Tony Romo's body, unlike other every other human body, could get hurt if it is hit hard enough. I know, that's like ... shocking!

By all accounts, Romo is healthy. But with a bad back, you never know when one good hit will wreck everything again.

Don't expect Rolando McClain to be the answer for Cowboys | Matt Mosley, FOX Sports
Mosley, who has the ability to turn even the smallest ray of sunshine into a deadly gamma ray, knows with absolute certainty that Rolando McClain is a "ticking time bomb," "not a player you can count on," and "a mistake." Mosely also writes that "if McClain makes it through the first week of training camp, I'll be shocked". You tell ' em, Matt!

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