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Cowboys News: Players Looking To Come Back And Make An Impact As Third Week Of OTAs Arrive

Sean Lee is back. Darren McFadden hopes to recover his mojo. And Ben Gardner is coming.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Gardner excited about Cowboys defense that has ‘bright future’ and potential to be great | Dallas Morning News

Ben Gardner has become a fan favorite around these parts. He is healthy this offseason, and is more than ready to get his chance to become a part of this team.

"I think there's just a lot of competition across the board, there's 10-12 guys that can really play," Gardner said. "It's going to make for one heck of a training camp and hopefully a heck of a season where we can put up some better sack numbers.

"I'm excited to be a part of this group because I think we've added some talent and we really have a bright future. I think we can be a great defense."

Sean Lee knows he has to earn Dallas Cowboys' leadership role again - ESPN

Allow me to offer a slight dissension here. Some players are leaders no matter what the situation. Sean Lee is one of those players. But he is also clearly a Jason Garrett kind of guy.

Does Lee automatically return as the defensive leader this year?

"Obviously I have to go out there and play at a high level," Lee said. "Obviously I have to go out there and stay healthy. There's definitely things that I have to come back and show. I think physically I'll be able to come out and play and be able to make plays. But that's one of those things obviously you have go out and show that. You have to show it every day and that's something I'll be ready for."

Sabin: Can Darren McFadden experience rebirth with Cowboys, who were always intrigued with him? | Dallas Morning News

Most are familiar with the story of Darren McFadden, who the Cowboys would have liked to have gotten in the draft instead of Felix Jones. It does lead one to wonder what might have been.

A slew of injuries, a suspect offensive line and a carousel of lousy quarterbacks conspired to tarnish McFadden's once-sterling reputation with an organization that became a punchline around the league. In Dallas, McFadden hopes to reboot his career that crashed in Oakland after posting a per-carry rushing average of less than 3.5 yards each of his last three seasons there.

Dallas Cowboys maintain defensive end Greg Hardy can be a team leader

Anything positive about Greg Hardy is almost by definition controversial, but since he came to the Cowboys, the team has had nothing but good things to say about him. It does seem at odds with his issues off the field and the still under appeal suspension.

If we're honest, there are some guys in the locker room who respect the way Hardy practices but hardly endorse his lifestyle based on what they've read.

He's with the Cowboys, and as long as he can help them win games and realize their goals, they're down with him. And it doesn't mean they agree with what he has alleged to have done.

"I don't think he has to prove anything. He just needs to be a good teammate, show up and work hard. And I think he's done that," said Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who grew up with domestic violence in his family home.

Cowboys Staubach, Hardy, And Dallas Morality -

Roger Staubach is a verified Cowboys and NFL legend. He expressed some dismay about the team signing Hardy. But there were several players who were with Dallas while he was that had their own issues, including this, perhaps most famous one.

In 1970, (Lance)  Rentzel was leading the Cowboys in receiving yards again on the fate (sic) when he exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl who was playing in her front yard in University Park. This wasn't the Cowboys "fault,'' exactly, except that it was known around the NFL that he'd done the same thing four years earlier while with the Vikings -- and Dallas traded for him anyway. And did the Cowboys have him locked away with the key thrown away? No. They traded him to the Rams.

Should Cowboys lock up Tyrone Crawford now or later? - ESPN

Todd Archer takes a look at a possible move the Cowboys might make by extending Tyrone Crawford while everyone is focused on the still-stalled contract situation with Dez Bryant.

Crawford is set to make $675,000 in the final year of his rookie contract and will be a free agent after this season. The Cowboys have a long history of doing long-term deals with players they believe to be cornerstone parts of their team with Sean Lee and Tyron Smith the most-recent examples. They want to add Bryant to that list as well, but appear patient at the moment.

Crawford is not necessarily a projection, but he has played only two seasons. He missed 2013 with a torn Achilles. In order to get him to sign an extension and take himself off what will be his best chance of hitting the open market next winter, the Cowboys will have to offer big money but not so big that it swells the curve for future deals.

This led to an interesting exchange on Twitter . . .

Cowboys sign RB Seastrunk, LB Jackson : Fantasy News

Everyone noticed that the Cowboys had acquired Lache Seastrunk and cut Synjyn Days, but linebacker Justin Jackson also got hired by the team.

Scout’s Eye: CB Rotation, DeMarcus Lawrence’s Development, More | Dallas Cowboys

Bryan Broaddus covers some items to watch the third week of OTAs, including that guy we mentioned earlier. Try to control your excitement.

The last couple of opportunities that we in the media have had to observe practice, DeMarcus Lawrence has been on and off the field. That might be a concern, but I was told that on the days that we have not been watching (Tuesday and Thursday), he has been working well. The competition on that left side to backup Lawrence should be good with Ben Gardner and Jack Crawford. If you asked me which player has the upper hand here early - Gardner would be my guy. He looks more natural for the position, while Crawford is playing like a guy that might be better inside at one of the tackle spots.

Scout’s Eye: Possible Position Switches To Keep In Mind During Week 3 Of OTAs | Dallas Cowboys

It's a double dose from Broaddus.

In my previous article Monday morning for, I wrote about the various combinations we are seeing in the secondary. I made a mention of where they have been playing Byron Jones on both sides and in the slot. I believe there is going to be a time where we see Jones playing as a free safety in this scheme. I thought it would have been during training camp, but after last week's action covering Jason Witten out of the middle field and the fact that these defensive coaches have thrown a great deal on his plate and he has responded well, we could see him get some snaps there more likely sooner than later. I thought that these coaches would just ease Jones in and let him learn as he goes but that's not going to be the case at all.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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