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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Taking Stock After Five Padded Practices

After a day off on Friday, the Cowboys resume practices today. Our motley collection of headlines today looks at the surprises so far in camp, both good and bad.

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Surprises So Far In Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Blogging The Boys
Tom Ryle goes through a list of surprises at Cowboys camp that includes Scott Linehan's impact, Tyron Smith's contract and the bizarre Mike Pope, among other things.

Surprise performers so far include Rolando McClain, Uche Nwaneri and WRs - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer works his way through his Twitter mailbag, and answers a question about who he sees as the surprise performers in camp (others would turn this answer into a two-part series complete with slideshow):

  • On offense, I like what I've seen from receivers Jamar Newsome, Dezmon Briscoe and LaRon Byrd. They all have showed skill that could land them on a 53-man roster, but perhaps not this roster.
  • I think the battle between Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams could be a good one at No. 3 tailback. Both of those guys have had moments.
  • Guard Uche Nwaneri is interesting after not seeing him in the offseason. He is strong.
  • On defense, I'm surprised how Rolando McClain has transitioned in. I'm not sure if he is a complete fit with his speed, but he is on my 53-man roster. He's shown some pretty good instincts.
  • Linebacker Keith Smith seems to be around the ball a lot. Linebacker Joe Windsor has some pass-rush pop.
  • Defensive end Dartwan Bush is showing up.
  • I like what corner Terrance Mitchell has done, but I think he grabs too much.

Davon Coleman Could Be The Cowboys Latest UDFA Steal - Blogging The Boys
The Dallas Cowboys have had tremendous success hitting on UDFAs over the years, they may have found another one in Davon Coleman, Dave Halprin writes.

Dallas Cowboys training camp stock report: 3 players on rise, 3 players sinking | Brandn George, DMN
Geroge also has a report on the surprises of camp. Three on the rise are Davon Coleman, LaRon Byrd and Terrance Mitchell, the three players sinking are B.W. Webb, Tyler Patmon, and Caleb Hanie.

Cowboys wake-up call: Day 9 - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer offers up a few quck thoughts after five padded practices, one of which is about a UDFA who's turning heads:

I'm not sure if Dartwan Bush can make it on the 53-man roster but he is making the most of his opportunity. He was at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and went unsigned until early June. He has been active (two sacks on Wednesday and Thursday) and is getting more work with DeMarcus Lawrence out with a broken foot. The Cowboys are short on pure right defensive ends and he is getting in the mix the way Ben Bass did a few years ago. Bass used an invite to a rookie camp and earned a spot on the practice squad before a brief promotion to the active roster.

Romo Reached Out to Aikman to Discuss Back Issues | Scott Crisp, NBC DFW
Tony Romo says he reached out to Troy Aikman for advice about coming back from back surgery this offseason.

"Yeah, I talked to him," Romo said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "You talk to a lot of people. Troy is one of them. He went through it. Like I said, you have to change your routine. Instead of just going in and bench pressing and doing these other things that you do to get yourself ready, you need to incorporate this routine as part of it. You strengthen all of those areas around it."

2011 NFL Draft do-over: Recasting the first 20 picks -'s Gil Brandt did a 2011 NFL draft do-over of the first 20 picks of the first round. In this do-over, Tyron Smith goes fourth overall to the Bengals, while the Cowboys get A.J. Green at No. 9. Also making the top 20 is DeMarco Murray, who goes to the Buccaneers at No. 20. Here's what Brandt writes about Smith and Murray:

Tyron Smith: I think Smith is the best left tackle in football, and he won't be 24 until December. A Pro Bowl tackle is harder to find than almost every position other than QB or pass rusher.

DeMarco Murray: Murray has exceeded expectations as both runner and receiver. He just can't stay healthy. There were injury concerns when he came out, but he's still a good player.

Cowboys Add Two Defensive Ends From Friday Workouts - David Helman,
The Cowboys signed two defensive ends yesterday, Adewale Ojomo and Kenneth Boatwright, and will release OT Darius Morris and WR L’Damian Washington to make room on the roster. The BTB Interactive Roster Builder has incorporated those roster moves.

With Sean Lee out; here's look at four Cowboys vying for critical middle linebacker job | Brandon George, Dallas Morning News
Justin Durant, Anthony Hitchens, DeVonte Holloman, and Rolando McClain (though not necessarily in that order) are the four players in play for the MLB job, according to Brandon George.

"You let things play out in camp," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "We have some real good competition in there. It’s going to heat up."


It May Not Matter How Much Young Talent NFL Teams Have | FiveThirtyEight
On July 24, Neil Paine offered compelling evidence that there's no relationship in the NFL between having a lot of young talent and winning.

The Seattle Seahawks’ Youth Could Portend a Dynasty (Yes, Really) | FiveThirtyEight
Six days later, Neil Paine argues that the relative youth of the Seahawks roster (Weighted by the Approximate Value produced by each player on the roster, the Seahawks’ average age was the second-youngest in the league a season ago) puts them in a situation where their "odds of winning another championship are particularly heightened."

LeSean McCoy: 'I own Dallas' - Tim McMahon, ESPN Dallas
Pure gold from MacMahon:

But is it accurate? The Eagles are 4-4 in regular-season games in which McCoy played against the Cowboys. By that standard, the Cowboys own the NFL.


The Official Cowboys Camp Playlist has arrived
Jon Machota of the DMN offers this public service announcement: Motley Crue, Van Halen, AC/DC and a bunch of much less cool stuff is all part of the Cowboys’ training camp play list.

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