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Cowboys News: The Offseason Rolls On; Rebuilding The Defense

Every day brings us one day closer to football!

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Phase 2 of Dallas Cowboys' offseason starts this week - Todd Archer, ESPN

Baby steps. Baby steps. But every one brings football just a wee bit closer.

Phase 2 of the offseason conditioning program starts this week with on-field teaching instruction for the next three weeks. Players can receive individual coaching from the staff, and the offensive and defensive units can work together. Rules prevent both sides of the ball from working against each other in one-on-one, seven-on-seven or team drills.

Dallas Cowboys' rookie pool set - Todd Archer, ESPN

The exact figure that Dallas has to pay its eight draft picks is $5,234,891, but of course in the alternate universe that is cap accounting, that is not the number that matters.

From a cap perspective, the Cowboys' draft picks should count about $1.4 million against the salary cap when the top 53 players are counted.

NFL Power Rankings Preseason - ESPN

Like so many things, this is pretty meaningless. And it focuses on the not-drafting-a-running-back thing. But what a change from last year, when everyone just knew that the Cowboys sucked.

6. Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys rushed more than any other team last season, but didn't draft a RB to replace DeMarco Murray. That leaves Darren McFadden, who has one 16-game season in his career, as the lead back.

Dallas Cowboys hoping for another defensive draft transformation - Todd Archer, ESPN

Ten years ago Dallas executed a major rebuilding of their defense in a single offseason, highlighted by the draft that netted them DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Chris Canty, Kevin Burnett, and the player formerly knows as Jay Ratliff. The team is hoping it can achieve similar results this year after another defense-heavy draft.

Perhaps the biggest smile on draft weekend belonged to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

For the first time in franchise history the Cowboys did not select a skill player in the draft -- at least by the traditional definition.

"Even though we set a precedent by not taking an offensive skill player," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said, "we needed defensive skill players more than we needed offensive skill players."

Why Charles Haley Expects Gregory To Play "With A Chip On His Shoulder" | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

Haley was a player with some big personal issues himself. He became a key part of the 90s dynasty in Dallas, and he thinks Randy Gregory is going to have a successful career.

Haley, a fourth-round pick by the 49ers out of James Madison in 1986, expects Gregory to start his journey "with a chip on his shoulder."

"Just like a lot of us that got drafted later, you come in with an attitude ready to work," Haley said. "Most guys who come in as a first-rounder, they think they've already got it. They think they've already achieved something. He's got something to prove.

Eatman: Decision To Let Gregory Wear No. 94 Could Have Dez-Like Results | Dallas Cowboys

Simply put, I LOVE THIS!

Really, it's no different than what they did for Dez Bryant. The standard was set by Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin and then by giving Bryant No. 88. And Dez was like Gregory in that he was a top-10 talent who had off-the-field concerns and ended up falling in the Cowboys' lap. But right away, the team gave Bryant confidence by showing him just how good they thought he would be.

Dez showed he was good enough to live up to the standard. And that's what the Cowboys are trying to do with Gregory.

Before Randy Gregory inks Cowboys deal, he shows Dallas fans the ink on his arm | Dallas Morning News

Emmitt Smith sees a ‘nice one-two punch’ in Cowboys’ backfield already | Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News

The biggest knock against the Cowboys draft is what they didn't do, namely that not-drafting-a-running-back thing mentioned above. But the greatest running back in team history doesn't feel there is a big problem with Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams, and Darren McFadden carrying the ball. He makes clear he does not have the same kinds of doubts about McFadden that a lot of people seem to.

"One thing about McFadden, if he gets some of those running lanes that I saw DeMarco have last year, it's on and popping, because he can take it to the house."

Former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson believes he’d fit well in Dallas; ‘Cowboys, come holler at me’ | Dallas Morning News

If things don't work out with the current group of running backs, it looks like there will be no shortage of volunteers to step in and run behind that offensive line. (Not saying this is a viable option, but I doubt this is the only out-of-work back that would absolutely love to get a chance to jumpstart his career in Dallas.)

Former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson would like the opportunity to play for the Cowboys and run behind one of the NFL's top offensive lines.

Prosecutors dismiss charges against Rolando McClain of Dallas Cowboys - ESPN

On the heels of the authorities deciding to not file any charges against Joseph Randle in the wake of his incident in Wichita, Rolando McClain now no longer has to worry about facing trial over his 2013 arrest.

Alabama prosecutors are dismissing charges against Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain stemming from his arrest in a park in his hometown in 2013.

Bob Sturm’s 2015 Cowboys draft pick breakdown: What hurts Chaz Green in battles with defenders | Dallas Morning News

The second biggest knock on the draft was the selection of Chaz Green in the third round. Sturm took a look at him, and he sees why there are concerns. Not only does he see some flaws in Green's game to go with the injury history, he also sees a poor record for the Cowboys when they have tried to find offensive line talent outside the first round in recent years.

First round offensive linemen have been targeted and drafted quite well, where the degree of difficulty is much lower. But this team has a reputation of coming up empty in the premium 2nd round-4th round spots in the draft when they go for offensive line help. David Arkin was pick #110 in 2011, Robert Brewster #75 in 2009, James Marten was #67 in 2007, Jacob Rogers was pick #52 in 2004 and all of them were unmitigated disasters. Doug Free was a hit at #122 in 2007, but that is a 20% hit rate on OL over a decade.

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