The suspensions of Rolando McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory are probably the biggest story for the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. Bryan Broaddus offers this explanation of what the likely approach is to replace McClain for as long as is necessary.
The plan will be for them to go into training camp giving Anthony Hitchens, Andrew Gachkar and Mark Nzeocha all the reps in practice and a couple of games. If one of these players steps up and takes the job then you have your starting MIKE. If none of them look like they can carry the job, then the front office will look to make a deal for a player on a team that has a surplus at the position.
In another look at how the Dallas defense may not be as hapless as we worry it may be, there is this interesting note about recent history.
Recall when QB Tony Romo had season ending surgery in 2013, DeMarcus Ware was released and Sean Lee tore his ACL; leaving the compass to the 2014 season pointed due south. The Cowboys went on to deliver a 12-4 record and won their first playoff game since 2009; after being predicted to finish last in the NFC East.
Often injured cornerback Morris Claiborne continues to stay positive about his work this year in an interview with a hometown outlet in Shreveport.
Morris Claiborne said, "Everything went well. I feel like I had a good mini-camp and OTA's and all that went well. So far the offseason has gone really well for me. I'm just trying to build on it every day and go into camp with some good momentum."
Speaking of the options for finding the starting MIKE linebacker, one name that is going to be discussed by fans is Stephen Tulloch, because he is well-known, and all those players get linked to the Cowboys at some point. But at the moment, they will probably focus on finding a three-down player.
Though his coverage skills have taken a dramatic step down, he is certainly still valuable as a run defender. Last season, Tulloch led the Lions with 107 tackles.
There is also this informed opinion.
Knowing what I know his age and movement skills don't make much sense. https://t.co/pQ2Jy0CEx7— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) July 5, 2016
Almost everyone expects Ezekiel Elliott to thrive in Dallas, but it should also be remembered that everyone is going to be watching closely to see if he can live up to the hype.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: Dallas COO Stephen Jones told me he viewed taking Elliott as similar to the team's all-in move to trade for Joey Galloway at the end of Troy Aikman's career. It's about maximizing their window with Tony Romo. Elliott was promising in OTAs. That's good, because the training wheels won't be on long.
In all the excitement over drafting Elliott, Alfred Morris has become something of a forgotten man in Dallas. The rookie will take the role Morris was hoping to compete for as lead back, leaving him having to reshape his game to remain relevant.
The Cowboys no longer have a need for an early-down thumper. Morris will have to revolutionize his game and prove to the Cowboys that he can be more of an asset in the passing game as both a blocker and receiver out of the backfield. This is an area Morris has spent a lot of time working on over the past two seasons, but the Redskins never saw a fit for him in their scheme. If Morris wants to carve out a long-term role in 2016, it may have to come on passing downs and in short-yardage situations.
Tony Romo made the recent USA Today list of the most important people in the NFL, and they cited his ongoing fight with the league over his proposed fantasy football conventions as the reason. But this article may be more correct in citing what is more likely the real reason.
Romo is likely the most divisive player the NFL has seen in decades; not because of action or intent to split the football world in two, but rather because he's the quarterback for the Cowboys who has gained an statistically unearned narrative of choking in clutch situations.
This is just fun. La'el Collins made some splash plays by running over a few defenders last year, and now he has a pair of pre-game cleats that sport a pancake design. Like, a stack of hot, syrupy pancakes.
Four writers from the mothership offer four different candidates for the most intimidating away game on the schedule this year. Rob Phillips has one a lot might agree with.
I imagine Jason Garrett doesn't like to use the word "scary" around here, but anytime you're going up to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers, it's arguably the toughest challenge of your season.
It's not unusual for rivals to be friends off the field, but it does make you wonder about how they got to know one another.
The sleepover held at AT&T Stadium has been mentioned here before, but what might have escaped your notice is what the kids got to keep after it was over.
Also on the field: 100 new beds, each of them bearing the name of one of the kids at the event and each one decked out outfitted with Cowboys sheets and bed spreads and such extras as footballs, Cowboys team photos and teddy bears. The next morning, each child's bed was delivered to their home.
This is connected to the Cowboys because it happened during the Seattle Seahawks game at AT&T stadium, but it is something all fans of the game should read. The players who entertain us are, after all, engaged in a violent sport that can have devastating consequences, such as the hit that led Ricardo Lockette to decide to retire.
I hit the ground, and I heard the sound you never want to hear. When you have a brush with death, people always say you see a light. Well, I didn't see a light. I heard a noise. You know the noise I'm talking about — like when you were a little kid, bored at a family party, and you ran your finger around the top of your auntie's wine glass. It's that weird, far-off ringing sound.
It was terrifying. I couldn't hear the crowd. I couldn't hear my teammates. That's when I knew it was bad.
I was thinking, O.K., get up. Just get up.
But I couldn't get up. My whole body was numb. I couldn't move my arms. I couldn't move my head. I couldn't talk.
All I could do was move my eyes. I was thinking:
Am I deaf?
Am I paralyzed?
What is going on?
Am I about to die?
Just wanted to end on a trivial note. This link may interest some of you. You know who you are.