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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Keep On Winning The Offseason?

Latest Cowboys headlines: The six-game reduction in Hardy's suspension gives entire defense a boost; Defense can be special, but it will take time; Dallas with 12-win potential?

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Machota: Why 6-game reduction in Hardy's suspension is so meaningful for Cowboys' defense | Dallas Morning News
Having Hardy available for at least 12 games gives the entire Cowboys defense a significant boost, Machota writes.

So Hardy’s impact won’t only affect the team’s sack total. His presence should also make things easier on defensive backs, reducing the time they need to stay with wide receivers and tight ends. Put enough pressure on the quarterback and poor decisions find a way of becoming interceptions.

When Hardy was able to participate in organized team activities and minicamp, the Cowboys worked him out all across the defensive line. Having that flexibility means he can play right defensive end — the premium pass-rushing position — on first and second downs and then move inside to tackle on third down.

That adjustment allows another pass-rushing specialist onto the field in a likely passing situation. For example, during offseason workouts, Hardy replaced Nick Hayden at tackle on third downs and second-round draft pick Randy Gregory played right defensive end. A combination of Hardy, Gregory, Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence should be a handful for opposing offensive lines.

Bob Sturm: Seattle, Green Bay, Dallas only teams with 12-win potential in NFC | Dallas Morning News
In response to a reader question, Sturm argues that there's still a gap between the big three and the rest of the NFC.

Question: Do you see the disrespect the Cowboys are getting in preseason rankings and such this offseason as a result of Murray leaving or just the general feeling around the Cowboys that whatever bad can happen will happen to them?

Bob Sturm: I tend to avoid preseason rankings from writers. It always seems like throwing things against the wall to get clicks. But, I have seen a few that have the Eagles above the Cowboys and would take issue with that. I think the NFC has given me no reason to think that the final 3 teams in the NFC last January won’t be the 3 heavyweights in 2015, too. Seattle, Green Bay, and Dallas. And all 3 have a great case for feeling that they can emerge. Beyond that, in this conference, I just don’t see anyone else with 12 win potential.

NFL OP-ED: 5 Reasons The Dallas Cowboys Will Win the NFC East This Season - The Latin Times
Those five reasons include talent, the offensive line, an improving defense, decision making, and playing against the NFC East:

This is pretty much a two team race. The Washington Redskins still have big defensive issues, and Robert Griffin III hasn't shown that he can stay healthy or get along with management. The Giants no longer have an elite defense, and Jason Pierre-Paul just couldn't stay away from fireworks this offseason. So, what about the Philadelphia Eagles? The Eagles did get Murray, but they got rid of Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. Sam Bradford has torn his ACL the last two seasons, and Mark Sanchez is . . . Mark Sanchez. Tim Tebow time? Last season the Cowboys were 4-2 in the division against their opponents.

Dez Bryant's agent buying up Demaryius Thomas' agent - SportsBusiness Journal
CAA Sports, led by Tom Condon and Jimmy Sexton, is finalizing a deal to acquire Todd France’s Five Star Athletes Management. France represents nearly 50 NFL players, including Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas. Tom Condon of course is Dez Bryant's agent.

Bob Sturm: Defense can be special, but it will take time | Dallas Morning News
Sturm answers a reader question about the talent upgrade on defense.

Question: How much do you think the Cowboys have improved their defense especially with Hardy being out a while and McClain 4 games? Are the additions of Lee, Jones, Gregory and a full year of Lawrence enough to allow them to make a real jump?

Bob Sturm: I think the infusion of talent is substantial and I think they will be much better. But, they better be. They had a really limp pass rush and now that we don’t expect them to be as good at running the game to death on offense and dominating the clock, they will need the defense to pull some weight. I think they can be pretty special with all of the additions, but we need to remember that rookies are rookies and it is a massive step to the NFL. It will take time.

Predicting the Dallas Cowboys’ 2015 starting lineup | Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News
There really isn't much intrigue for the top 22 spots in 2015, though it's always interesting to see who's penned in at running back and left guard.

RB: Joseph Randle. He has the ability and experience in the offensive scheme to win the starting job.

LG: La’el Collins. It’ll be a close battle with Ronald Leary for this starting spot. Leary has the experience, but Collins has the first-round talent.

Video: Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Lawrence Has QB Tony Romo’s Back - Dallas Entertainment Journal
Matt Thornton sat down for an interview with DeMarcus Lawrence. And apart from Thornton continuously interrupting Lawrence with "Love it! Love it!" and "That's great!" and generally talking too much and too loud, it's an enjoyable interview in which Lawrence talks about a wide range of topics including Tony Romo's Super Bowl statement, the 2015 defensive line, Rod Marinelli, and Dez Bryant.

NFL suspends free agent Jakar Hamilton for 10 games -
Hamilton ran afoul of the NFL's subtance abuse policy once again.

Safety Jakar Hamilton was suspended by the league for the first 10 weeks of the 2015 season, most likely for violating the substance abuse policy. While with the Cowboys, Hamilton was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating that policy.

Hamilton was reinstated on Sept. 29 and played one game during the 2014 season. He was inactive for nine games and active for one other game in which he didn't play. Hamilton was waived by the Cowboys on Jan. 10.

Losing Millions Of Subscribers, ESPN Now Facing Tough Decisions - Forbes
After suffering a staggering drop in recent subscriptions, the sports leader will have to review its options.

With Fox Sports 1 debuting and a trend towards fans getting their news from the Internet, this isn’t a huge surprise. Long considered divisive in the minds of many within the general public, ESPN’s reputation has also taken a hit during this span. From enigmatic personalities such as Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to other enigmatic personalities clashing on our airwaves, it seems that the network has gone away from simply providing viewers the news—a philosophy that made it the sports leader in the first place.

Just over the past two months, it’s been announced that Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons will soon be departing the ESPN airwaves. Clearly divorces based on creative differences rather than tightening its financial belt, ESPN made the decision to part ways with these two big-time players while still airing what some would call the hogwash that Bayless, Smith and company convey on a near-daily basis.

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