The bad news: it's the slowest week of the season. The good news: that's because it's the week before training camp. The Cowboys first camp practice will take place one week from today!
In the meantime, here are a few meager tidbits to sustain you...
Stephen Jones: It's all coming together for Dallas Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
In the midst of a piece reviewing Stephen Jones's comments at the opening of the new Cowboys-themed restaurant at DFW Airport, Archer opines on the Cowboys' offseason:
The Cowboys’ biggest loss was DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards in 2014 but signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. They also lost key defensive parts in Justin Durant, Bruce Carter, Henry Melton, George Selvie and Sterling Moore.
But they feel like they added pieces to a strong core.
The Cowboys added the best pass-rusher in free agency in Greg Hardy and received good news when his 10-game suspension was reduced to four games. Hardy is contemplating whether to seek a further reduction through the legal system, but Jones said the Cowboys play no role in that process. In the draft, despite having just one first-round pick, the Cowboys added three first-round-caliber talents in cornerback Byron Jones (first round), defensive end Randy Gregory (second round) and guard La’el Collins (undrafted).
Looking at these additions and subtractions: remind me again why the Cowboys aren't the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC East?
Stephen Jones: Team "Found Something Special" In '14, "We’ve Got To Keep That" - Rob Phillips, The Mothership
More content generated from the Stephen Jones interview. Here, Jones the Younger takes a page from the Gospel According to Jason:
"We sat in that room and (Garrett) said, ‘This team was this team. We’re proud of what you did, but you can’t just pick up where you left off. We’ll have to start from scratch, everybody will have to be accountable, it’ll have a different set of faces out there – there will be new faces. Everybody will have to work harder. Obviously what we did last year was good but it didn’t get the job done.’
Get better each and every day, my young Cowboys, and one day you'll find yourself playing for a Lombardi.
Food and Drink: You'll definitely need your ID to get inside the Dallas Cowboys' new restaurant - Sarah Blaskovich, GuideLive.com
A review of the aforementioned Cowboys-themed restaurant at DFW. It's VERY football inspired (both the bar and the overhead lights are football-shaped), down to the menu:
Executive chef Matthew Corbett used "standard stadium food" as inspiration, he says, but you won't find nachos or hot dogs here. The menu includes a zippy chicken and cheese quesadilla; a pork carnitas torta with lime-cilantro slaw; chicken tenders; "naked" wings; and a brisket sandwich.
In addition, he'll have four different burgers. Elevated stadium food? I have no problem with that...
LaDainian Tomlinson: Emmitt Smith is right; DeMarco Murray’s season could’ve been better - DMN Staff
Count LaDainian Tomlinson among those who feel DeMarco Murray could have gained more yards last season. Here's his rationale:
"As a guy that watches a lot of film, Emmitt is correct," Tomlinson said. "There was a lot of times, and DeMarco is a very physical runner and instead of making that last guy miss and taking it for 50 or 60, he would try and run him over. That’s just his style and he would end up getting tackled for 20 instead of 50. So Emmitt is right in that sense, but at the same time, one thing that I do respect about DeMarco is he knows his strengths. He is not a juke guy, he’s a downhill, physical runner."
For Dallas Cowboys' corners, time to take the ball away - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer's position-by-position review lands at cornerback, where he reminds of of a sobering recent trend that will have to be reversed if the Cowboys are to be successful in 2015:
Of the 18 interceptions recorded by the Cowboys in 2014, only four came from their cornerbacks. Only once since 2010 has a corner held the outright team lead in picks and that came in 2012 when Carr had three.
Later, he makes the point that picks often correlate to defensive line pressure. Hey, look who the D-line was when Everson Walls was collecting double-digit interceptions: a bunch of fellas whose nicknames began with "Too"...
For Cowboys receivers, it all starts with Dez Bryant - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer's wide receiver position review puts the onus on Number 88, but makes a key point about Number 83:
The coaches raved about the work Terrance Williams put in during the offseason with Bryant absent from the on-field work. They saw a committed player, who took on more of a leadership role for the entire group. He also played multiple positions, which should be a bonus as the Cowboys look to move Bryant around the formation more or if Bryant was hurt.
Stephen Jones: Dez Bryant could be limited to start camp; Morris Claiborne has chance at ‘big year’ - Jon Machota, DMN
Among the many topics Stephen Jones discussed in his recent interview, he addressed what having Dez Bryant in camp will do for the team's corners, specifically first-round draftee Byron Jones:
"When you’re playing against the best of the best it can only make you better," Jones said. "I’m sure Byron is looking forward to it. I know he had some spirited compete plays with Jason Witten who is one of the best in the business. Now he’s going to get to see Dez live and up front. I’m sure he looks forward to it and it’ll be good for him."
And it sure will be fun to watch...
Cowboys + Freeney A Good Fit For Each Other? - KD Drummond, Cowboys HQ
The Noble Drummond authors a modest proposal: adding Dwight Freeney as a rotational edge rusher. Before getting to the meat of his argument, KD wisely addresses potential objections:
With only 3.5 sacks in his nine starts, one might think Freeney has little left in his tank. However, he had 40 QB Hurries and 53 total quarterback pressures. Those numbers were better than anything produced by a 2014 Cowboys player. Freeney's Pass Rush Productivity metric of 11.0 ranked 6th of all 3-4 outside linebackers last year, and topped Jeremy Mincey's (who led Dallas) 9.9. Freeney was 12th in the entire league of edge rushers.
And we end with a couple of pieces that look to the future...
I could see McFadden starting, but Randle getting bulk of the carries - Kevin Sherrington, DMN
A collection of the Cowboys-centric questions and answers from Sherrington's chat on Wednesday. Here, he responds to a question about the Cowboys' future:
Fans are impatient by nature, and Garrett didn't do a lot to inspire confidence with some of his work on the field. But he's grown in the job and, as you note, it was good for his development that he's no longer the OC. Seems to pay more attention to all areas. What we've also seen with the Cowboys, I think, is the growth of Stephen Jones' involvement, and a more mature approach with the draft and salary cap. All of these areas contribute to the success of the team in general and bode well for its future.
The Super Bowl clock is ticking for Jerry Jones and Tony Romo - Rick Gosselin, DMN
Gosselin proposes that the Cowboys are on a five-year plan:
If the Cowboys are to win another Super Bowl in the Jerry Jones era, it will come in the next five years. It must come in the next five years. Jones himself is not getting any younger. And neither is Romo. He needs a Super Bowl for his legacy. And Jones needs another one for his.
Romo is 35 this season. He’ll be 39 when his contract expires. The window for the Cowboys will close as the quarterback ages.