The offseason program officially began on Monday for the Dallas Cowboys, and it is not surprising that head coach Jason Garrett set the tone for things right off the bat. There was no report on what he said, but Orlando Scandrick gave his take.
"Garrett's a straight shooter, man," Scandrick said. "He's a good coach. He's a really good coach. The type of coach he is has not been reflective in the record we have. But he's a phenomenal coach. He gives us perspective and he instills confidence in your team."
This phase of the offseason is voluntary, but it sounds like most of the team is ready to go. This is the first time coaches are able to be involved in the workouts. Prior to this, many of them were working on their own, including quarterback Tony Romo.
"We've had a great turnout," Romo said on Saturday. "A lot of guys are wanting to get in and get after it, and I think that's a great sign. I'm all for seeing all the guys in there every day. You're always getting better."
Both Scandrick and Romo are returning from injury. Scandrick of course missed the entire season, and it looks like he is more than ready to take the field. That's a good thing. His absence was almost as important to Dallas as Romo's.
"I'm doing great, phenomenal," Scandrick said in a conference call with the local media. "We have a great plan in place and I expect to be ready for training camp.
"I'm excited. I'm more excited about this season probably than I've been any season at any stage of my career playing any organized sport. I'm eager to get back out there and prove to every one of my teammates, the organization, the fans, the media, that I'm going to be the same player, if not better."
Wisdom can come from some unexpected places, but it is hard to argue with this.
Scandrick is gonna come back on point, if I were him I'd purposely take every rep against Dez to get back to his full potential b4 week 1.— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) April 18, 2016
Details on the new deal for backup safety, special teams ace, and legend in his own time Jeff Heath:
Heath was set to count $1.671 million against the cap as a restricted free agent. With the new deal, he will count $1.35 million.
Heath received a $1.8 million signing bonus as part of the deal and will make $900,000 in base salary. The base value of the deal is $7.671 million, and he can earn an extra $500,000 in 2018 and '19 through play-time incentives.
There was some speculation that the Cowboys would be interested in Brian Hoyer as a backup QB (including here at BTB) after he was released by the Houston Texans, but there seems to be none actually happening. Mike Fisher outlines four reasons why, with one perhaps the main reason.
Reason 2: The Cowboys don't want to overspend for mediocrity at the spot.
Of course, the draft is just nine days away, and there are plenty of items about the Cowboys, and affecting their decisions.
The Sturminator continues his series on position groups in the draft with the one that has the most talent to offer this year. It looks like defensive tackle could be a target for Dallas in every round after the first.
The supply line does not come through every year at every position. But if you need a big, athletic defensive tackle to cause problems in the middle of the line, this is a great year for you. It would not be a surprise if 10 defensive tackles were taken in the first 50-60 picks. And there would still be strong talent on the board. This seems to be the deepest position by quite a bit. The only thing missing is a top-of-the-draft candidate.
Todd Archer remains skeptical about the idea of the Cowboys taking a quarterback at four, and seems to think the visits and workouts with the top three names, at least, are just a case of misdirection. He is usually pretty reliable, but in this case, his opinion runs counter to the way Dallas has handled those things in recent years.
But the talk of a quarterback at No. 4 seems forced. That Jones and Garrett were forthcoming with private workouts makes it seem even more forced.
The rule of thumb is to believe nothing at draft time. Nobody tells the truth. If you hear a team doesn't like a player, just wait a week and you will hear they love the guy.
The folks at Cowboys Wire are running a series of scouting reports on all the visitors Dallas had in this year. Our old friend rabblerousr offers up his take on running back prospect Paul Perkins.
In free agent acquisition Alfred Morris, the Cowboys added a tough finisher with a history of success in short-yardage and end-of-game situations. What they don't have is his complement, the proverbial lightning to his thunder. The jitterbuggy Perkins would provide just that, and would serve as an excellent change of pace to Morris' game. As we see above, Lance Zierlein compares Perkins to the Browns' 2015 third-rounder Duke Johnson, and he's not the only pundit to offer such a comp.
It looks like Myles Jack is not part of Dallas' draft plans due to his knee issue. While that is terrible for him (although some other team will probably still take him fairly early), it is not a big concern for the team.
They re-signed McClain and Wilber. They have Lee and Hitchens. They also committed mid-round resources on the spot the last few years. Generally the Cowboys keep seven linebackers on the 53-man roster. There is a need, but not a big one compared to other spots.
Robert Nkemdiche is a very talented football player at a position that the Cowboys really could use. But he also is something of a free spirit who marches to the beat of an entirely different rhythm section, and plans to use some of his signing money to buy a pet panther. Given Dallas' history with players like Martellus Bennett, Greg Hardy, and Randy Gregory, that may be a bit much for them to handle.
It's not that Nkemdiche would be a pioneer in housing a panther. It's that the panther is yet another thing. Robert Nkemdiche is 21 years old, jacked, polite and hardworking. But he's a creative spirit entering a world where creative spirits are looked upon with suspicion and disdain. He was once considered a top-five pick. Now nobody knows. For his part, Nkemdiche can't fathom how a panther might be an issue, just as he can't understand why falling out of a hotel room -- "one mistake" -- coupled with concern over the influence of his older brother Denzel might end up costing him millions. Nkemdiche is more than an immensely talented guy with a mild self-destructive streak. He's a test case of what happens when a weird guy meets a weird process.
It's hard to say what the plans may be in San Francisco concerning drafting a quarterback. But if they are indeed interested in Jared Goff, the 49ers may be looking for a trade partner to go get him for the renowned football genius Chip Kelly to work with.
Another team that is a candidate to trade up. Might be worth keeping an eye on.