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Cowboys News & Notes: What Should Expectations Be For Ezekiel Elliott?

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Lots of people have lots of expectations for Zeke; people are far too critical of Terrance Williams; Cowboys making big move to shake up their secondary.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott better have 'breakout' season - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
In a recent chat, Mosley shared his thoughts on which player might have a breakout season in 2016.

I think Ezekiel Elliott better have a "breakout" season in 2016. There's certainly a lot of pressure on him to do that. I think Dez will get his conditioning in place and have a monster season. In fact, I'm anticipating this will be the best season of his career. Zeke will help keep defenses honest. And I think Romo is dying to have a monster season to shut up the critics on age/injuries. He'd like to make sure that no one's calling for Prescott before about 2019. On defense, I'd look for Scandrick to put up some impressive numbers. I think he'll come back extremely hungry. And grateful the Cowboys didn't go for Ramsey. Smith and Scandrick will be players to watch.

Zeke and Ye Shall Find (A Star Rookie Running Back)? – Marcus Mosher, Footbology
Mosher wonders what expectations should be for Elliott.

A top five rookie running back hasn’t run for 1,000 yards since 2005 [Cadillac Williams] and hasn’t recorded 1,000 rushing yards and double-digit rushing touchdowns since 2001 [LaDanian Tomlinson].

Cowboy fans should moderate their expectations for Elliott’s rookie season. The Cowboys’ depth at running back which includes Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris should allow Elliott to transition to the professional game without being unnecessarily burdened. Fans eager for the Cowboys to return to the playoffs cannot reasonably expect Elliott to perform at the highest level of his top five selected rookie running back peers.

Ezekiel Elliott thought Buckeyes were crazy until he met Cowboys fans - Jeff Caplan, The Star-Telegram
Zeke is already feeling the love from Cowboys Nation.

"I thought Ohio State fans were crazy," Elliott said Thursday during a live question-and-answer session with Fanatics on Facebook, "but Dallas Cowboys fans are even more crazy. Passionate fans, man. Very passionate."

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Cowboys Plane Spotted In Denver - Reddit
A reddit user spotted the Cowboys private airplane in Denver, prompting immediate speculation about the Cowboys bringing DeMarcus Ware back. Also resulted in comment gold:

Then we can have signs 4 games into the season saying Beware of D.Ware or face D.Law

Cowboys will offer crop-top Ezekiel Elliott merchandise for sale - Jared Dubin. CBSSports.com
The half-shirts will presumably not be half price.

Cowboys hire Brian Adams as scout - Jeffrey Kahn, 247Sports
Kevin Simon, the Cowboys Midwest scout since 2012, left for the Falcons earlier this month to be their assistant pro scouting director. The Cowboys hired Brian Adams to replace him. Adams had been with the Saints, Panthers, Browns. Cue endless lame Bryan Adams jokes.

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Brice Butler would be on my list of Cowboys who could have a breakout season - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Asked about Brice Butler's chances of having a breakout season, Machota offered this assessment in a recent chat.

He'd be on my list of potential breakout candidates. He's shown flashes but has yet to put it all together. He had a really nice 67-yard play early in the season against the Saints but got hurt and we didn't really hear from him again until the last three games. The way he played in the last two makes you think that his best ball might be in the future. At 26, he should be in the prime of his career.

Twitter mailbag: People are far too critical of Terrance Williams - Todd Archer, ESPN
Asked about Brice Butler's chances of being the #2 wide receiver, Archer offered this take in his most recent Twitter mailbag:

I believe Brice Butler is one of the more intriguing offseason stories, but I don't know if he becomes the No. 2 receiver this year. He has a chance to contribute, provided he finds a way to be consistent. He has what you want in a receiver but he hasn't put it all together yet.

And I think people are far too critical of Terrance Williams. I get that people always want more and more, but Williams has been productive behind Dez Bryant and when he was asked to step into Bryant's role last year, the quarterback play - or the coaching of the quarterbacks - was not up to snuff. I think Butler is a guy with a wide catch radius and has good enough speed to stretch defenses. I just want to see him be the same guy every day this summer in camp, not great one day and invisible the next.

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Jaylon Smith signs rookie deal with Dallas Cowboys; Will he play in 2016? - Conor Orr, NFL.com
The Cowboys announced that second-round pick Jaylon Smith signed his rookie deal. The news signifies a key moment in the first chapter of Smith's NFL career, and while the prospects of a healthy Smith are enticing, that is still a long way off.

With Smith in the fold alongside Sean Lee and Rolando McClain, Dallas could have one of the most dynamic linebacking corps in the league. That, however, is a long way from happening and would involve a serendipitous streak for Jones, who has yet to see the full potential of that unit thanks to injury and suspension.

Smith, like Myles Jack in Jacksonville, will be closely watched. The draft could have been one of the strongest in years at the linebacker position. We just have to wait a little longer to find out how good.

The Cowboys are making a big move to shake up their secondary this season - Jared Dubin, CBSSports.com
Byron Jones is the key to revamping the team's maligned defensive backfield, Dubin explains.

The Cowboys have been using the tandem of Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox at safety (with Jeff Heath backing them up) for a couple years now, and it has left much to be desired. They've ranked 20th and 29th in Football Outsiders' DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which adjusts performance for down, distance, and opponent) against deep passes (15-plus yards) the last two seasons. Jones' range and ball skills should hopefully give Dallas the upgrade it's been looking for on the back end of the defense.

Jones is moving to safety full time. "His range is really good," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's got good vision back there. I'm real excited to get him in a spot. We moved him around so much last year, so hopefully we get him in a position to use his talent and his vision. He is really smart."

Cowboys coaches say they haven't tackled project like Rico Gathers - SportsDay
In a recent chat, Jon Machota talked about the challenge facing the coaches with Rico Gathers.

The guys that'll be in charge of trying to get this project complete are gonna be Steve Loney and Mike Pope. Mike Pope is the tight ends coach; Steve Loney is one of their offensive assistants. Both of these guys are quick to tell you that this isn't something that isn't gonna happen overnight. This is a project. Pope even joked. He was asked if he's ever taken on a project like this and joked that he's been married twice so 'I've taken on some projects.' I think it's gonna be interesting to see how these two are able to work with him. They're guys that have been in the league for a long time. They both have a lot of experience, but both will say they've never seen anything like this.

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Cowboys making play to host 2018 NFL draft - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
The Cowboys are discussing the possibility of hosting the 2018 NFL Draft with the league. AT&T Stadium, along with the new facility in Frisco, could also be used if the Cowboys earn hosting rights.

The Cowboys could show off their new world headquarters if they successfully bid to host the 2018 NFL draft, one of the biggest events on the league's calendar. The franchise is in discussions with the NFL to host the draft at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, AT&T Stadium in Arlington or both facilities, a source confirmed Thursday.