Let's start here, shall we?
The folks at ESPN Insiders gave the Cowboys a B-plus for their offseason work, Archer writes, adding that only three teams - the New York Jets (A), Green Bay Packers (A-minus) and Washington Redskins (A-minus) - had better grades than the Cowboys. Here's a perception shift:
One of the factors in the grade was the retention of Jason Garrett. He was the first move of the offseason, signing a five-year, $30 million deal. The Cowboys have allowed Garrett to grow since making him the interim coach in 2010. He made mistakes along the way, but the conviction and the path has remained the same for the Cowboys under Garrett’s stewardship.
Last week's addition of ex-Cowboy Danny McCray, JJT writes, is "the type of transactions good teams make." Apparently, the man who derided the Cowboys "rooty-poot" front office for years has finally caught up to what folks around here have been aware of for some time now. To wit:
It's way too soon to say the Cowboys have a great organization, but owner/general manager Jerry Jones, executive vice president Stephen Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and scouting director Will McClay give the Cowboys an opportunity to have long-term success. All of their moves won't work out, but the moves they've made the past couple of years make sense -- and that's all you can really ask of a franchise.
Tiny Jim reports that the Cowboys signed second rounder Randy Gregory on Wednesday, making him the fifth of their eight 2015 draft picks to sign on. Here's the contract poop:
The terms of Gregory’s deal haven’t been disclosed, but the rookie wage scale implemented in the latest NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement essentially slots a player’s salary based on their draft standing. The No. 60 pick in 2014, Carolina’s Kony Ealy, received a four-year deal worth $3.5 million along with a $1.25 million guarantee. The No. 60 pick in 2013, Atlanta’s Robert Alford, received a four-year deal worth $3.4 million and a $1.10 million guarantee.
To extrapolate, then, Gregory would receive in the neighborhood of $3.62 million, with a little over 1.4 million guaranteed.
Sticking with the defensive line...
The Broad One begins a series on the Cowboys' DT depth by looking at one of last year's seventh-rounders, Ken Bishop. Here's a taste:
Good strength at the point of attack one-on-one because of his upper body strength. Doesn’t have the length to really separate. Needs to be careful with his pad level because when he plays tall it tends to get him in the most trouble. Would like to see him use his strength better when trying to collapse the pocket. Plays with good toughness and motor which gives him a chance. Will need to overcome his limitations as a pass rusher to have a chance to really make it.
Now that he knows during the offseason what position he'll play for the first time in his career, Williams writes, Crawford has been able to focus on becoming a better 3-tech instead of wondering where he’s going to play next season.
"I’ve worked out to the position," Crawford said. "So I’ve worked out working quicker rushes, inside rushes. I know what I do now. So, that’s just how I worked out in the off-season, just the things that I do for tackle, working on them a lot more. Repping them out...Pass rush is definitely going to be an improvement from last year," Crawford said. "…It’s going to be a great year."
And on to the back seven:
School is open, and Professor Sturm's lecture today is on the different linebacker spots in the 4-3. Among other tidbits, he offers descriptions of each of the three linebackers' responsibilities. Here's what he has to say about the SAM:
A SAM LB is going to lineup on the strong side and he will be the LB who is likely capable of standing up against blocks the best. Run defense is very important for him, but he might also need to run with a TE in man-coverage or to handle himself in zones underneath. He needs to be athletic, for sure, but of the 3 he is valued 3rd overall in the personnel department. Jerry Jones even recently said that the Cowboys consider the SAM as the place LBs end up if they cannot cut it at Will or Mike. On a normal play, he is attempting to funnel plays back inside and not let runs turn the corner on him. He gets his keys from the QB and RB – but generally, he needs to be sitting on the RB. The SAM is generally the guy who comes off the field when a team goes to nickel. Therefore he plays the least of the 3 and that explains his reduced value.
After missing the first four weeks of the Dallas Cowboys' offseason conditioning program, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has returned to work this week. But it's not like he hasn't been working while he was away:
Garrett said Scandrick looks good and "you can tell he's been working out," the coach said. "We're going to take care of the football part. The business side will take care of itself."
The Big Uglies are tapping the brakes on any "best offensive line ever" talk:
"A lot can be said about the guys that are there, but there's also a lot of times where talent goes wasted if it's not put to good use," [Travis] Frederick said. "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. We have a long way to go, and we're going to continue to work and continue to try to get better."
Sabin recounts the day in 2007 that Garrett interviewed for the offensive coordinator position. While the fact that he shared his flight with a bunch of WWE personnel is interesting, this is the part that struck me:
Perhaps punchy from the early-morning wakeup call, Garrett seemed enthralled by the surreal experience. And soon thereafter, Garrett arrived at the Cowboys’ headquarters to begin an exhaustive interview. All the while, former coach Bill Parcells was in the building. "He’s cleaning up his office, he’s packing boxes and he’s sitting down and we’re talking about the roster," Garrett recalled.
Talk about surreal...
As are we all, Dan. As are we all.