Monday opened with continued takes on Sunday's trade for former TAMU Aggies Christine Michael:
Tiny Jim dispenses some wisdom re: the timetable for the newest member of the Cowboys' backfield:
It’s an easy storyline to latch onto – the last-minute acquisition arriving to take over the starting job. But the fact remains that it’s a tall order to ask a player to arrive on Monday and play on Sunday – especially with an established backfield already in place.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed that Monday afternoon when he called Michael a "long shot" to play against the Giants on Sunday night.
Drawing upon Monday's presser, George cites Garrett's response to whether a change of scenery can help a player who has struggled early in his career with one team, specifically with the ball security issues that occasionally plagued him during his time in Seattle:
"Well again, you just try to coach him every day," Garrett said. "They have great coaches in Seattle, no question about that, so I’m sure they were coaching him hard and well each and every day but hopefully he’ll come in here, we’ll give him a chance to learn our system of football and we’ll try to address some of the things that we think might be issues. He’s a young player and we’re going to get him into the mix and see where he fits in."
The Admirable Waldman (who was, you may recall, one of our very best podcast guests, back in early draft season) offers his assessment of Michael in Dallas and, at the conclusion, employs a culinary metaphor:
Sure, Dallas may have just got a player capable of rushing for 1300 yards and 10 touchdowns–if not more–but they also got a player who hasn’t shown the work ethic to avoid mental errors that cost his team first downs, turnovers, injuries to teammates based on missed assignments, and ultimately games.
Michael is 24-25 years old. He’s a third-year player and young men can mature. Michael could realize that he has to apply himself in ways he didn’t in Seattle. But that’s all up to Michael, especially when the Cowboys have invited him to a big meal at a Michelin rated restaurant with all of finer things.
We all know Michael can eat. If he learns those little details of etiquette, Dallas will never leave him hungry. If he doesn’t work at it, Michael will have some tasty meals and great memories, but he might not earn future reservations to the establishment.
Make sure to hit the link at the bottom of the article to see what Waldman - whose expertise is in offensive skill position players - thought of Michael when he entered the draft.
Eatman compares Michael, a "failed" second rounder, to some of the Cowboys second-round tight ends. It's a fair comparison, as both have played behind entrenched All-Pro caliber starters. To wit:
You’re seeing my point here. Guys nicknamed "Beast Mode" will keep you off the field. So Michael didn’t beat out Marshawn Lynch for playing time. And I understand he wasn’t even the second option.
But a fresh start might be exactly what he [Michael] needs.
The Cowboys' practice squad continued to shape up, although there appears to be work to do yet:
Cowboys practice squad so far: Jameill Showers John Wetzel Dakorey Johnson Tim Scott Kellen Moore Gus Johnson Vince Mayle— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 7, 2015
Many fans assume that teams want players ranked 54-63 on their practice squad, but what they really want is the ten guys who will help them practice most effectively during game weeks. Machota sheds some light on this issue, in his description of Jameil Showers:
The dual-threat quarterback out of UTEP is expected to play multiple positions during the week to help the Cowboys prepare for their upcoming opponents. Garrett said the rookie could see practice time at safety, linebacker, wide receiver, quarterback and running back.
The RHG's endorsement of Kellen Moore isn't exactly ringing, but underneath it may be the suggestion that he'll run the scout team better than Dustin Vaughan did:
"...as we shook everything out, bringing Kellen in, we thought was the best move for our team right now."
Fish makes clear what Garrett merely suggests above re: Moore:
This will be about the professionalism [Moore] will display while running the scout team … and Showers will be invited to do some of the same, though the latter's versatility as a special-teamer will come in handy on the 10-man practice squad in a variety of ways.
The best move for the Cowboys, in other words, was to acquire an accurate QB capable of running the opposing offense efficiently, so as to give the starting defense the best possible preparation for the upcoming opponent.
And, finally, we saw the Cowboys pick up Jordan Mills and release Jasper Brinkley:
The essential poop.
Archer reminds us that neither Weems nor Mills are the long-term goal:
The Cowboys’ initial plan at the swing-tackle spot was to have Weems and third-round pick Chaz Green compete for the spot in training camp, but Green hurt his hip in the offseason, requiring surgery, and missed training camp. He will miss at least the first six regular-season games while on the reserve/physically unable to perform list for rehab.
Sisemore cautions us not to focus on Mills's -15.7 2015 PFF grade, as there's more to the story:
Mills actually improved towards the end of last season with really outstanding outings against the Saints, Lions and our Cowboys. Dallas' pass rush had a very hard time with Mills, who only allowed one quarterback hurry and had a +4.8 PFF grade for the game. It was more impressive that he was able to fend off the ferocious Detroit Lions pass rush the week before though, only giving up one sack on a failed blitz pickup by Matt Forte.
Noble, one of our SBNation bretheren over at their Bears site, writes about Mills being cut from the Chi-town perspective:
Mills was an experimental Guard/ Tackle hybrid, and with his size and athleticism, he was a player that two different coaching regimes tried to find a place for. Unfortunately, Mills never seemed to bounce back from a broken foot that was sustained in the final regular season game of his rookie season, and the Bears have finally decided it was time to part ways.
If you want more about how Mills was seen by Bears fans (it's a fairly wide swath of opinions), hit the comments section...
George shares some important info re: Brinkley's contract:
The Cowboys guaranteed Brinkley $2 million in his two-year, $6.5 million deal he signed as a free agent in the offseason...Brinkley’s contract, however, did include offset language, a source said, which reduces the Cowboys’ financial hit if he signs with another team.
Fingers crossed that a team out there wants to pay him at least a solid veteran salary to help out against the run...
And now we can turn our attention to the New York Football Giants:
As we begin week one of the 2015 season, all seems well on the injury front, as per Phillips:
Overall the Cowboys appear to be in good shape health-wise. Garrett said wide receiver Devin Street (ankle) expects to practice Wednesday, and the team is "optimistic" linebacker Anthony Hitchens (foot) will, too. Executive vice president Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Monday that right guard Zack Martin appears fully recovered from the stinger he sustained in practice Aug. 18.
The players are off today, will have a walk-through Tuesday, and will be in full pads Wednesday, Archer writes. When they get padded up, Dez Bryant will be a full participant. Yippee!
On the cusp of the first regular season week in many months, Toddzilla recaps Number 50's long, grueling time away in preparation for this moment:
Months and months of slow-building rehab led to one appearance in a preseason game and now has him ready for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the New York Giants.
Twenty-one months is a long time to wait. Go get 'em, Cowboy!
It's week one of the football season, y'all! That means the roll-out of season prediction posts:
A fairly standard Cowboys season preview finishes with several items to consider. Here's one:
WITTEN MILESTONE: Jason Witten, the franchise leader in receptions, needs 57 catches to join Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends in NFL history with 1,000 career grabs. But he was less of a focal point last season, a trend likely to continue with the number of receiving threats available to Romo.
Benoit's season assessment returns to an article he penned this offseason that backed up the "meat on the bone" comments made by Joseph Randle:
I’m even firmer in my belief that he had a very good season, but not a great one. Since that article came out, several coaches have privately told me that the Cowboys felt Murray left a lot of yards on the field. Some have even said there were 2,500 yards to be had behind that offensive line. All-time great running backs Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson have since intimated similar thoughts. Too many times last season, the Cowboys got 20 yards on runs when the blocking was good enough to gain 50.
Garrett sums up the offseason work - a season prediction of sorts - and Machota has all the relevant quotes:
"I think we’ve laid a great foundation for our team," Garrett said. "It started well before the preseason. It started way back in our offseason program and really for the majority of our team, well before that.
"They came in ready to go once we got together in April. The strength and conditioning part was outstanding. The OTAs, the minicamps, same thing. We laid a really good foundation going in to training camp. Guys were ready for training camp, practiced hard every day.
"Over the course of the preseason, we tried to give as many guys as we could opportunities as we were trying to build our team. I feel really good about the work that we’ve done and I’m excited about this football team."
In an excerpt from a season preview coming out later in the week, Laufenberg offers an encomium to Romo, from one quarterback to another. Here's a taste:
Here is what I like. He will end his career owning virtually every passing record in the Cowboys’ record book, and a few in the NFL record book as well. He will finish as one of the NFL’s top all-time statistical quarterbacks. And he just may be the most under-appreciated player in NFL history. That’s right, history.