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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Dez Bryant Won't Play vs. Vikings Tonight

All the news that's fit to link: Dez Bryant won't play for rest of preseason; Cowboys looking to get back their swag; DeMarcus Lawrence draws comparison to "the Secretary of the Defense".

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones: Dez Bryant won’t play vs. Vikings and likely rest of the preseason | Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
Dez Bryant has been sidelined with a strained hamstring since Aug. 6 and now won’t play until the season opener on Sept. 13, according to Jerry Jones. That's pretty straightforward, though Jones found a way to obfuscate even that.

"I’m not so sure we’re satisfied that it’s necessary for him to extend that [hamstring] that he’s got, since he did extend it with probably a suddenness that had he probably been out there for longer periods of time, he might not have had that happen," Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan Friday morning. "Let’s give him the rest. We don’t have to have him [Saturday] night. That’s the way I would look at it, and do look at it."

A Cowboys offense without Dez Bryant? It’s among five things to watch in Cowboys’ third preseason game vs. Vikings | Rainer Sabin, Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys without Bryant? That could get interesting, according to Sabin.

The last time Bryant was inactive for a regular-season game was September 2011. At that point of his career, Bryant had yet to establish himself as a top receiver and become the essential cog in the Cowboys’ offensive machinery that he is now. So it will be interesting to see how Tony Romo and Co. fare without Bryant alongside them.


Who's the featured red zone target for each team? ESPN
NFL Nation reporters identify the players likely to get the most opportunities inside the 20-yard line for each team, and Todd Archer explains the Cowboys red zone strategy.

The easy answer is Dez Bryant. He led the NFL in touchdown catches last year with 16 and he is a nightmare for defensive backs near the goal line. He and Tony Romo have a great feel for the fades as well as the bullet back-shoulder throws. And Bryant has learned the subtle push off that won't get called very often to create even more space. If teams want to double cover Bryant, then tight ends Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar will be able to chew up defenses, too.

Who are the RBs to watch near the goal line? - ESPN
Answering this question proves to be a little harder for Archer.

This is still difficult to answer because the running back competition has not truly taken off in training camp. None of their runners has a goal-line build. Joseph Randle's game is built more on quickness. Darren McFadden's is built on speed. Lance Dunbar is a combination of the two. Randle will be the lead back, so he will get the first crack at goal-line carries but he will have to prove he can pick up the dirty yards that made DeMarco Murray so successful last year.


Lots on line against Minnesota Vikings - Todd Archer, ESPN
In his Twitter mailbag, Archer argues that the game against the Vikings will be important for a lot of players individually, even if the result of the game may not matter.

Let's be honest: The result doesn't matter one bit. The Cowboys were 0-4 last year in the preseason and finished 12-4. There is no correlation to regular-season success. But that doesn't mean the game isn't important. It's important for a lot of players individually -- Darren McFadden, Morris Claiborne, Joseph Randle, Sean Lee, Dez Bryant -- who will play major roles.

Personally, I think the Cowboys need to see all of them (maybe not Bryant) do something in the preseason considering what they haven't done lately either because of injury or previous role.

Moore: Win not needed, but here's what Cowboys hope to accomplish vs. Vikings | Dallas Morning News
It's all about the swag, writes Moore.

This team wants to regain the swagger that injuries and two preseason losses have tempered. It wants to validate a solid foundation for the upcoming season was laid during training camp in Oxnard.

A win over the Vikings isn’t required to achieve those objectives. The Cowboys failed to pick up a preseason victory in 2014 and their season turned out just fine. But this will be the only extended action the Cowboys' starters receive before the regular season gets underway Sept. 13. A sharp performance builds confidence and lets everyone know that preparation for the New York Giants is on track.

"Our starters will play the most in this game that they will in any of the preseason games, so it’ll be a good opportunity for them to get their feet underneath them a little bit and just to play some football," head coach Jason Garrett said.


Camp Reflections: Staff Writers Pick Training Camp’s Top-10 Standouts | Dallas Cowboys
David Helman, Rob Phillips, Nick Eatman, and Bryan Broaddus voted on their top ten players for the Cowboys’ 2015 training camp, and the resulting ranking is led by Cole Beasley, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory.

Cowboys Try Different Linebacker Combinations To Gauge Versatility | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Phillips writes that the more you can do in Rod Marinelli’s defense, the better chance you have of earning a roster spot and playing time.

Multiple players – rookie Damien Wilson, Kyle Wilber, Andrew Gachkar, Jasper Brinkley and Keith Smith, to name a few – all have gotten looks at multiple linebacker positions.

"Well, I think that’s the nature of linebacker positions," head coach Jason Garrett said. "Particularly in this scheme, because guys play different spots and if somebody gets hurt over the course of the year, you have to be able to plug guys in and you’re trying to find your best three. And then if something happens to one of them, who’s the best guy and what’s the best combination for us. You’re always making that assessment in base (defense) with three linebackers, then you’re making it in nickel with two linebackers, so you’re always kind of working them at different spots.

Lawrence gets Deacon Jones inspired nickname -
Dallas Cowboys second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence has been coming on strong in camp lately. So strong, in fact, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has given him one heck of a nickname.

"He calls me Deac," Lawrence said Thursday on KRLD-FM. "I think after Deacon Jones. That was my favorite pass rusher ... Deacon Jones."

From the Deacon Jones Wikipedia page:

Jones specialized in quarterback "sacks", a term which he coined. Nicknamed "the Secretary of Defense", Jones is considered one of the greatest defensive players ever. The Los Angeles Times called Jones "Most Valuable Ram of All Time," and former Redskins head coach George Allen called him the "Greatest Defensive End of Modern Football".

A.J. Jenkins Making the Most of Opportunities - The Sports Journal
Devin Street sprained his ankle early in camp and aggravated the injury during Tuesday’s practice, which provided former first-round pick A.J. Jenkins an opportunity to step up. Whether it'll be enough to make the team remains to be seen.

The story of Jenkins’s preseason can be told in two halves. In the early part of training camp, he didn’t look special and looked out of place while running drills. But seemingly out of nowhere, something clicked for Jenkins and he started performing more like what is expected of an NFL wide receiver. It started with him making eye-popping catches in drills and earning the most receiving yards against the 49ers in the Cowboys’ second preseason game.

DraftKings partners with Cowboys, Patriots and Chiefs - SportsPro Media
DraftKings, a US-based daily fantasy sports website, is partnering with the Cowboys, Patriots, and Chiefs, and will open branded fantasy sports lounges at AT&T Stadium, Gillette Stadium, and Arrowhead Stadium this season.


R.J. Dill addresses suspension in an NFLPA statement -
In this press release, Dill addresses the circumstances that led to his suspension, a suspension the player and the team have known about since May, and I suggest you read the statement before trying to come up with another lame 'Dill' joke.

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