Despite the title, Rob Phillips actually has six things he brings up from the last day of media availability at the Dallas Cowboys OTAs. The bonus includes a tidbit on why we may have a chance to see a lot more from Brice Butler this season.
Know how many snaps receiver Brice Butler got with Romo and Dez Bryant on the field simultaneously last season? Zero.
Speaking of Tony Romo, his health is the great hope for Dallas this season, but he is also constantly working on improving his technique, something that may be a bit unusual for a 36 year old veteran.
"Some of the things I've been working on have taken a couple of years," Romo said. "I'm pretty excited about seeing them come to fruition. I've got a long way to go, but it's a good start. That's all it is right now: A good start. If I can continue to build off that and certain techniques that I won't bore you with, I think they're going to be able to hold up."
Jason La Canfora has ranked all the starters in the league and broken the ranking up into tiers. He has Romo ranked seventh overall, in the second tier he terms "Top Pros, Proven Winners".
I had him in the top tier for a week or so, but he ends up here because of his age -- he's now 36 -- and the lack of postgame heroics and recent injuries. Despite those other factors, I still came damn close to having him crack the top tier. If he stays healthy this season I expect big things from the Cowboys.
We have all been gushing over Ezekiel Elliott, but we also are not always exactly objective about the Cowboys. So it was refreshing to see the take of someone from outside the fan base in this look at all the running backs taken in the 2016 draft.
Prediction: Starter, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate
There has been a lot of talk about the Cowboys returning to the formula that they won with in 2014. Mike Fisher thought it was a bit trite - until he started listening to the players on the team.
But then we hear from a trio of offensive linemen, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, and to a man they talk openly about how the presence of rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott can help them forge a return to 2014. And then most of all we talk to tight end Jason Witten, who puts the cherry on top by comparing Zeke favorably to DeMarco Murray, who once upon a time burrowed himself under Witten's wing, learned to be a professional, and for that 2014 season stayed healthy enough to post a campaign for the ages
Although most of the talk from OTAs is about positives, there are still two holdouts from all the voluntary practices. Ron Leary is hoping to get traded to a team where he can be a starter, and Rolando McClain is, well, being Rolando McClain.
McClain has been fighting to overcome his checkered NFL past wherein his commitment to the game has often come into question; and although his family issues are undisclosed, this hiatus isn't helping his case for a return to Dallas after this year.
Or any NFL team, for that matter.
Bryan Broaddus has reported that the coaches are not pleased with McClain.
They would like him here practicing with the rest of the team but more importantly working in weight room. https://t.co/qdANz39fhT— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) June 8, 2016
David Helman has a bit of news about a possible move the Cowboys may be making with cornerback Terrance Mitchell to address depth issues elsewhere in the secondary.
But though he might currently classified as a cornerback, the Cowboys are experimenting by moving Mitchell to a variety of spots this spring - most notably, nickel back and safety.
"He has a lot of physical traits that would make you think he could play safety," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett last spring. "You saw some of that when he was playing nickel last year at the end of the year."
In his regular "five wonders" post, Todd Archer notes that Romo has noticeably been making a lot of deep throws during the OTAs, which may tip something about the offensive plans this season.
For all of the talk about the Cowboys' commitment to the run, points come out of the passing game. Big plays lead to points. The Cowboys had 40 pass plays of 20 yards or more last season and eight came in the season finale. In 2014, they had 53 pass plays of 20 yards or more in the regular season.
This is an interesting piece that looks at how different the game is for a team that is behind versus being tied or leading. The numbers from the past two seasons for the Cowboys show a dramatic difference.
|Year||% Snaps Behind||NFL Rank||% Behind 2nd Half||NFL Rank||% Behind 4Q||NFL Rank|
There was more weird NFL news today. As OCC mentioned yesterday, the NFL Twitter account got hacked and there was a false report of Roger Goodell's death. Given the lack of sensitivity and the abundance of cruel humor in social media, that is not all that surprising. But what is amazing is that it actually appears that Goodell may have a sense of humor.