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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Tony Romo's Offseason "Couldn't Have Gone Better."

Latest Cowboys headlines: Tony Romo did not miss a day of practice in the offseason; ESPN says Cowboys offensive line is league's best, so it must be true; Cowboys announce tentative practice schedule for training camp.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo's offseason isn't over yet, but it couldn't have gone better - Todd Archer, ESPN
He broke his collarbone twice in 2015 and had surgery in March, but Tony Romo did not miss a day of practice in the offseason.

The time off last year allowed Romo to focus more on his conditioning as the Cowboys struggled to a 4-12 finish and early into the offseason. His back is as strong as it has felt in years. He viewed the collarbone breaks as an aberration, and there were no ill effects during the offseason.

On Tuesday, Romo was sharp with a touchdown pass to Cole Beasley on a double move down the sideline. He hit Terrance Williams in the corner of the end zone with Brandon Carr in tight coverage. On Thursday, he was surgical with a back-line throw to Beasley for a score. He hit Williams for another score after a defensive breakdown. He allowed Ezekiel Elliott to use his speed to break free for a score.

He even scrambled free for a short touchdown run, spiking the ball for emphasis.

"Just in his movement, he looks more athletic than he has in the last couple of years," quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said. "I think that part of that is his back issues and the rehab from that. He’s bringing a lot of energy as well. Those are all good, positive things for our team."

Tony Romo says there's more work ahead before Cowboys training camp begins - Charean Williams, Miami Herald
Tony Romo insists he has accomplished a lot this offseason, but the Dallas Cowboys quarterback won't rest on his success. He and Dez Bryant begin working together next weekend.

"There’s a schedule in place," Romo said. "We’re going to be out there. He needs to just run routes and simulate two-minute [offense]. You’ve got to do these little things that emulate practice and games, and the only way to do that is to get out on the football field and go do it.

"Now, the hard part is having the defensive back right in front of your face and dealing some of those other little things. But you can do just about everything from your own physical standpoint when it comes to your lungs, your technique, the stuff that you do as if it were off coverage.

"Once you get to camp, it will take just a little bit of time to get the other stuff back. But he’s played the game long enough that it won’t take him much time. We just need him healthy. And when he’s healthy, that stuff comes very fast."

The Dallas Cowboys should be excited about what Tony Romo said - John Zawiski,
Zawiski takes a look at the recent news about Romo's progress and comes away excited.

The line that should extremely pump up Cowboys fans is, ‘I’m throwing the ball as well as I ever have.’ That has to be music to Cowboys fans ears after how great Romo played in the 2014 season when he was an MVP candidate leading the NFL in quarterback rating, total QBR and completion percentage.

When he is healthy he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If OTA’s and mandatory minicamp are any indication of what’s to come for the Cowboys in 2016, it should be a great year for Romo and the Cowboys.


Who'll be the starting defensive ends in Week 1? - Todd Archer, ESPN
In his regular Twitter mailbag, Archer explains who he thinks will start the season at the DE positions.

Let’s go on the assumption DeMarcus Lawrence's suspension will be four games. I’m not so sure I know who will start Day 1 at either defensive-end spot right now. I’d go with David Irving at left end and Benson Mayowa at right end. Mayowa had surgery this week on his knee and the hope is he is ready at the start of camp or at least early in camp. Maybe Ryan Russsell sneaks into this mix. Maybe the Cowboys make a deal for a free agent or find a trade partner but teams generally don’t give up on pass rushers because they are so hard to find. To me the answer is Mayowa.

Lawrence led the Cowboys in sacks last year with eight. He is a much more established player than Gregory, who did not have a sack as a rookie. The coaches liked what they saw from Gregory in the offseason but how will that month off affect him? He will be allowed at the facility to continue to work out but he can’t take part in meetings or get on the field. Mayowa has some ability. He has strong hands. He can bend around the corner. I think he has the best chance.

Ranking top NFL offensive position groups - Dallas Cowboys offensive line is league's best - Field Yates, ESPN
Yates breaks down the 10 best offensive position groups headed into the 2016, and beacuse the Cowboys' star-studded, dominant offensive line is so good it comes in at No. 1, we are not at all concerned that the rest of the article is behind the ESPN paywall.

1. Dallas Cowboys offensive line

It's important to note that a critical element to strong offensive line play is cohesion among the five parts. Dallas enters the 2016 season with a left-to-right lineup of Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Doug Free, the same players who ended last season as starters. Smith, Frederick and Martin are already in the conversation for the best in the NFL at their respective positions, while Collins has limitless athleticism paired with power. Free isn't merely the spare part in this group; he can be a tone-setter, and his toughness can't be overlooked.

Most Impressive UDFAs From Minicamp? - Dallas Cowboys Mailbag reader Eric Bilon wonders how Chris Brown, Andy Jones, Rodney Coe, and Mike McAdoo did at OTAs and minicamp. Bryan Broaddus has the lowdown.

You are right about those players. The one thing that Chris Hall has done over the years in the college scouting department is have a quality list of Undrafted College Free Agents to work off of. Brown, Jones and Coe are off that list with McAdoo having a year in the league. Jones continues to get plenty of work with the first offense and Brown is showing up more as well. I thought that Coe might be a little better and with the pads on that might be the case. McAdoo has turned some heads with his ability to capture the edge and I would not be one bit surprised to see him land on the 53.

Jaylon Smith Acclimating Into Cowboys' Roster, Rehab Routine - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
No word yet on the progress of his nerve, but Smith said he’s happy with the overall progress he’s made since coming to Dallas.

"Great improvements. I think strength – a lot of those things. We have a great training staff here," he said. "For me it’s just putting all my trust into our team physicians, and everything is going to be alright."

Smith also has the advantage of working alongside one of the game’s top linebackers in Sean Lee, who’s renowned for his football IQ and passion for the game. The rookie said he’s trying to soak up as much information as he can from his veteran teammate – though Lee was quite complimentary when asked about that.

"He’s extremely bright – he doesn’t need to soak much up. He already knows a ton," Lee said. "You watch the way he played in college – the type of passion he played with, the type of intelligence, the type of athleticism. As soon as he gets healthy, he’s going to be an unbelievable player. Being able to work with him is going to be a lot of fun."

Cowboys Announce Tentative Practice Schedule For 2016 Training Camp - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
If you're planning on going to Oxnard this summer, you may want to bookmark this. Otherwise you might show up at training camp on a day the Cowboys are not conducting one of their 14 practices.

Or you could just copy/paste the table below.

Cowboys Training Camp Schedule, Oxnard 2016
July August
29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th
NP 1 2 3 4 NP 5 6 7 8 NP 9 10 11 NP @ LA NP 12 13 14 NP

Days with no practices are marked in red, practice days are numbered from 1-14 and are marked in green. Two days are marked in blue: the eighth practice day on Sunday, August 8, will feature the blue/white scrimmage, and Saturday, August 13, will see the Cowboys playing the Rams in Los Angeles.


Garrett Returns to Princeton For Annual Youth Football Camp, Leadership Forum - Staff, Dallas Cowboys
Jason Garrett is headed back to Princeton University for his annual youth camp and the ensuing Leadership Forum.

As part of the experience, the historic Nassau Inn will host volunteer coaches and staff to a Leadership Forum on Friday evening, June 17. Guest speakers, coaches, former campers and staff will discuss all aspects of leadership, its importance and how to inspire it in all walks of life.

All of which reminded me of Coach Garrett's acceptance speech at Princeton from last year when he received the Citizen-Athlete Award from the school’s Varsity Club.

If you haven't seen the video yet, allow yourself some time to watch the 23-minute speech this Saturday morning, you won't regret it. If you've seen it before, watch it again, you won't regret that either (to avoid the nuisance of having an autoplay video in this post, click on the image below to open the full speech in a separate window).


Eagles draw inspiration from the Patriots when building their roster - Rich Hill, Pats Pulpit
The Eagles apparently decided they wanted to emulate the Patriots. Except they got it completely wrong, explains this highly readable post from SB Nation's Patriots site. An excerpt:

When Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman sat down with new head coach Doug Pederson, the duo noted two key factors when building their roster, MMQB’s Albert Breer shares in his latest article. First, Roseman and Pederson saw how many players were up for new contracts after the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Second, Roseman looked to the annual contenders for some insight.

"Green Bay, Seattle, the Patriots, the Steelers, the Giants," he said. "They all had a core together for a long time."

So the Eagles responded by handing out millions and millions of dollars to retain their key core of players that they hope will stick around and bring Philadelphia a Lombardi trophy.

That’s not how it works, Philadelphia. That’s not how any of this works.

See, the Patriots have a core group of players that they’ve groomed in house and those are the only players that receive serious contracts. I understand that the Eagles are going through a post-Chip Kelly phase, but handing out all of the guaranteed money is a quick way to get yourself into trouble.


NFL VP: League could have two teams outside the U.S. by 2026 - John Breech,
The NFL is warming up to several countries, including Mexico, Brazil, and Japan.

According to the league's executive vice president of international, Mark Waller, a second foreign city could potentially land a team sometime in the next 10 years. Although Waller didn't name any specific foreign cities, the NFL's international vice president did mention several possibilities.

"I think we'll be incredibly strong in Mexico, possibly even more popular than soccer by then," Waller said. "I think we'll be very strong in the U.K. and Germany."

"I don't think we'll be big in 150 countries around the world," Waller said. "I think we'll have a really powerful presence in six to 10 countries that are really critical globally. If we're big in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, U.K., Germany, China, Japan and Australia, we'd be in a great place."

In case you missed it, the 10-man practice squads are back for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

And in our final thought for the day, Tony Casillas predicts the 2016 Cowboys will be NFC champions.

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