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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Offseason Program Kicks Off Today

Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys offseason conditioning program officially begins today; Schedule to be released this week; Philly is now officially a circus.

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The Cowboys offseason conditioning program officially begins today. The players, most of whom have already been working out at Valley Ranch, start in the team’s offseason program. No coaching is allowed, and no football activity on the field for the next two weeks is allowed either. Here's a reminder of what the next few weeks will look like:

Phase One: For the first two weeks, starting on April 20, only strength and conditioning coaches are allowed to work with players on the field, and the activities are limited to "strength and conditioning" and "physical rehabilitation." All other coaches may not attend or observe in any way.

Phase Two: This is three weeks, starting on May 4, of individual and "perfect play" drills (no offense vs. defense), and all coaches are permitted on the field. The workouts may include individual player instructions and drills.All of these drills are conducted without helmets. Contact work (e.g., "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run), is expressly prohibited.

Phase Three: Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of "Organized Team Activities" over a period of four weeks. The fourth week is usually reserved for a three-day mandatory mini-camp. The OTAs are scheduled for May 26-28, June 2-4, and June 8-10, with the mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 16-18. Rookie minicamp will take place on the weekend after the draft.

All coaches are allowed on the field, but no live contact is permitted in phase three. Helmets may be worn, but no other pads. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs.


NFL schedule to be released this week -
The NFL announced that the 2015 NFL schedule will be released this week, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. As a reminder, the Cowboys 2015 opponents and home/away games shake out like this:

Home Opponents Away Opponents
NFC East Eagles Eagles
Giants Giants
Redskins Redskins
NFC South Falcons Saints
Panthers Buccaneers
AFC East Patriots Dolphins
Jets Bills
NFC Seahawks Packers


2015 NFL mock draft: Grady Jarrett to Dallas Cowboys at No. 60 -
Might the Cowboys wait until (at least) the third round of the draft to replace DeMarco Murray at running back? BTB's Dave Halprin seems to think so, and after picking CB Kevin Johnson in the first round, he picks DT Grady Jarrett in the SB Nation mock draft. Here's why:

The Cowboys have some solid pieces now for the defensive line in 2015 with Greg Hardy, Jeremy Mincey and DeMarcus Lawrence on the outside and Tyrone Crawford at the three-tech, but they were lacking a penetrating one-tech who could cause havoc in the backfield. We believe Jarrett is that guy. Praised for his quick get-off on the snap, his ability to penetrate, good feet and durability, he should fit right in with a Rod Marinelli defense. His biggest knock is his size, but Marinelli values under-sized but quick defensive tackles who can shoot gaps. Jarrett should be prefect for that.

Was DeMarco Murray signing right idea for Philadelphia Eagles? - Phil Sheridan, ESPN Philadelphia
Buyer's remorse already? Sheridan wonders if Chip Kelly would have been better off waiting for the draft instead of signing DeMarco Murray.

"I'm not a big fan of spending early picks on running backs," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. "I certainly wouldn't re-sign [Gurley] and dump a boatload of money into him on the second contract. You look over recent history in the league and with the salary-cap restrictions, you just can't afford to pay too much at the running back position. You've got to free up money for quarterbacks, offensive tackles, pass-rushers and cover guys."

Kelly now has three running backs -- Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles -- all making fairly large salaries. That is reassuring for fans who were stunned by the McCoy deal. But it may be that Kelly would have been better off saving the money he spent on Murray and Mathews and scooping up a young back at relatively low pay in the draft.

Would you rather draft Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon? -
The 2015 NFL Draft features two very good running backs, probable first-round picks. But which one has the edge? Dan Kadar runs through each player's key attributes and votes for Gurley, but with a caveat.

For my money, Gurley is the clearly superior back, but the injury questions related to the recovery of his knee make that judgement a little more complicated. You now have to project Gurley's potential loss of speed and explosiveness when comparing him to a guy like Gordon, who checks a lot of boxes as well.

Overall, I see Gurley has the top running back in the class. Assuming his knee heals normally, he has the potential to become a superstar in this league.

Source: Former Missouri WR Green-Beckham denies visit with Cowboys | FOX Sports
The 6-foot-5, 237-pound wide receiver opted to not attend a visit with the Dallas Cowboys. Why Green-Beckham declined to visit remains unlear.

Gosselin: The most challenging hole for Cowboys to fill isn't DeMarco Murray | Dallas Morning News
Gosselin, always prone to hyperbole when it comes to negative news about the Cowboys, argues that letting Dwayne Harris leave may have created a bigger hole than many realize.

The Giants stole one of the NFL’s best special-teams players away from the Cowboys. If you honestly believe special teams constitute a third of the game, this was a titanic hit to the Cowboys. Not of the magnitude of Murray’s departure to Philadelphia - but not far behind.

In luring Harris out of Dallas, the Giants signed the best kick returner, the best punt returner, the best kickoff coverage ace and the best gunner on the punt team away from the Cowboys.

1 in 6 retired NFL players goes bankrupt |
Roughly one in every six NFL players take one of their hardest hits after leaving the field. A new study found that nearly 16 percent of former players end up filing for bankruptcy within a dozen years of retiring - much less than a previous study by had claimed.

The study does knock down a widely repeated claim by Sports Illustrated that "by the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce."

Instead, the study found about 2 percent file for bankruptcy within two years of their career ending, and that rate climbs steadily to nearly 16 percent within 12 years before leveling off. The study's authors tracked players drafted by NFL teams from 1996 to 2003.


2015 Draft Day Parties in Dallas |
There will be three official parties organized by the Cowboys over the three days of the draft. The first will be held at held at AT&T Stadium for the first round on April 30. The second party will be at the The Rustic in Dallas, and will cover rounds two and three on May 1. The party for the final day of the draft will be back at AT&T Stadium on May 2.

All three events feature free entry, free parking, a chance to meet Cowboys players, and photo ops with the lovely Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Reports: Tim Tebow to sign with Eagles | Dallas Morning News
Jay Glazer broke the news, Adam Shefter expanded on it: Tebowmania is headed to Philly.

Before signing Tebow, the Eagles first wanted to try to trade backup quarterback Matt Barkley. But when the team could not get enough in return, it decided to bring in Tebow anyway so that he could be present for the team’s entire off-season program.

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