The Cowboys, Archer notes, worked out a few recent first- and second-round picks on Thursday. The roster of tryout players included Felix Jones; wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2012; Ben Tate, the Texans' second-round pick in 2010; and Daniel Thomas, the Dolphins' second-round pick in 2011 (nine spots before the Cowboys took DeMarco Murray). They also worked out wide receivers Kris Durham, Tommy Streeter and B.J. Cunningham, as well as former Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo Jr.
The NFL site reports that the Cowboys are working out veteran running backs Ben Tate and Felix Jones. My favorite quote form the piece:
Felix Jones might be more of a longshot.
In the wake of Thursday's tryouts for running back retreads Felix Jones and Ben Tate, Machota wonders whether the Cowboys would consider the former Raven. He develops a list of pros and cons; here's one of each:
Pro: Nobody in the NFL gives second chances like Jerry Jones. A couple of his most notable moves included bringing back Josh Brent and signing Greg Hardy. If Rice can make a significant impact, Jones has demonstrated that he can deal with the public scrutiny.
Con: During the 2013 season, his numbers dipped considerably. Rice averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry and totaled just 660 yards and four touchdowns.
Phillips makes the case that the Cowboys improved all aspects of the running game other than running back, including parts of the defense:
Pass Rush: Besides removing weight off Romo’s plate, the brilliance of last year’s run game was it served as a de facto second defense. The Cowboys won time of possession in 13 of 18 games, counting playoffs, and held the ball longer at least 10 minutes longer than four opponents. It was the perfect safeguard for Rod Marinelli’s hard-playing, injury-plagued defense. This year, help is on the way. Sean Lee is back to help the middle of the defense, and the reinforcements up front – rookie defensive ends Randy Gregory and Ryan Russell, a developing DeMarcus Lawrence, and Pro Bowl-caliber rusher Greg Hardy when he returns from suspension – figure to help the defensive backs in coverage. The more the defense gets off the field, the less burden falls to the run game for controlling the clock – and the more possessions go to last year’s fifth-ranked scoring offense (29.2 points per game).
Staying on the topic of the pass rush...
The Broad One's look at the down-the-depth-chart DT rotation continues with a piece on Davon Coleman, who remains a bit of a puzzle. To wit:
There is a real mystery to this player in every sense of the word. Came out of training camp as part of the 53 man roster – then was off it just as quickly. Was as talented as any defensive linemen that I studied for the 2014 NFL Draft but there is something I am missing here? When I have had interaction with him it has been fun loving and joking which might be his biggest issue. Not sure how dependable and mature he is as a player. Maybe the fact that he made the opening day roster affected him as a player?
Cowboys linebacker coach Matt Eberfluss doesn't see any problem moving Sean Lee from middle to to weakside linebacker next season. In fact, Lee has already played there some:
"A few years back before we went to this defense he played Will linebacker," Eberflus said of the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme under Rob Ryan. "We were in a lot of under fronts and he was playing behind the three technique (defensive tackle) and you kind of saw what his capabilities were there. If you marry him to the three technique, he’s going to be more of a run and hit guy, and that’s where his instincts and natural abilities sort of lean that way. So he’ll be really successful at that position."
T-Will has the chance to catch offseason passes from Tony Romo for the first time in his career. And he wants to catch his way into Number Nine's best graces:
"I'm still trying to find ways to come out there and have him look my way the same way he looks at Dez (Bryant) and (Jason) Witten," Williams said. "Now, this spring, I'm just basically with Tony doing whatever he's telling me to do, because I want him, every time he breaks the huddle, to have somebody else he can count on."
The first installment of Machota's roster rankings is hot off the presses, so to speak. The bottom of the roster features some interesting choices, including this one:
51.) George Farmer, WR. The undrafted rookie free agent has a good chance of making the team. The Cowboys need a wide receiver to fill Dwayne Harris’ spot and Farmer is the early favorite. Other possibilities for this position: Chris Boyd, Reggie Dunn, Lucky Whitehead, Deontay Greenberry and Antwan Goodley.
I guess we know who Machota thinks will win the final receiver spot...
Nick Saban shared some thoughts on Garrett during a recent appearance. He recounts the process wherein he interviewed Garrett for a QB coach position in 2005, when Saban was the Dolphins' coach:
"Scott Linehan and all the other offensive coaches who had coached in the league … they all knew Jason, and they said, ‘You’ve got to interview Jason Garrett,’" Saban said, according to AL.com. "I said, ‘The guy’s never even coached. How can you recommend him for a coaching job?’
"And I interviewed him, and he was by far the best candidate. And I said that even after a year — after his first year of being a coach — I really considered him to promote him to [offensive] coordinator and call the plays because he was that good a coach that quickly because he’s a very bright guy and really could relate well with the players."