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So rookie mincamp has come and gone, the question is did we learn anything? Usually not much, it’s really about getting the rooks acquainted with the NFL and the organization. Still, Bryan Broaddus had some observations, including this one on WR Ryan Switzer.
Though most of these drills are against air, it is clear that Ryan Switzer has a feel for how to execute a route. His quickness off the snap once he gets moving is impressive. His burst is noticeable. I also came away impressed with how easily he catches the ball. For a guy that doesn’t have much length, his ability to adjust back for the ball made me think of a much taller player. For him to be at full speed and reach back is a rare trait. It was interesting to see him being not only used on the inside but outside as well.
Switzer is building some buzz as a player that might just help the Cowboys, and not just returning punts. Broaddus also weighed-in on the defensive backs.
Watching Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis go through drills, it was surprising to see that Awuzie looked a little quicker and more confident initially. I would have thought that it might have been the other way around, but that wasn’t the case. Awuzie has some noticeable pop in his hands as well when working on the blocking sled. He also did a nice job of jamming then turning to get into his drop when he was working in zone coverage. Where Lewis is better now is with his lateral movement, getting himself in position to play the route. Keep an eye on Texas cornerback Duke Thomas, as well. Thomas was signed by the Texans last season but couldn’t stick. He has the flexibility to play a couple of different spots outside and in the slot.
There are more nuggets, so you might want to check out the whole thing.
Even though Dak Prescott is here, and should be starting for years to come, the Cowboys won’t shy away from trying to develop another QB behind him. The name people are looking at is Cooper Rush; they are wondering if he can pull a Tony Romo.
Quarterbacks who started four years in college and threw at least 1,300 career passes are worthy of long looks because they already have been exposed to everything the college game has to offer. It's a much smaller step from NCAA Saturdays to NFL Sundays for them.
Cooper Rush fits that profile. The Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, where he was a four-year starter who threw 1,648 passes. He started 50 games and passed for 12,891 yards and 90 touchdowns. He sits ahead of NFLers Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich on the all-time Mid-American Conference passing list.
Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton were four-year starters in college who threw more than 1,300 career passes. All five have been to the Pro Bowl, and Manning and Wilson have won Super Bowls. Manning, Wilson and Rivers have won NFL passing titles.
Sounds pretty crazy to suggest an UDFA QB will someday be on the level of those QBs, but then again, there was a time when we were all saying Tony who?
Now is the time of year when any mention of the Cowboys is a good thing for publications because it insures eyeballs. So the trend this offseason has been “the Cowboys will regress” theme. Here they are ranked as the second most-likely division winner from 2016 to relinquish their crown.
2) Dallas Cowboys
Dallas could finish anywhere from first to fourth in the NFC East, but I ultimately think the Cowboys will take step back. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will need to duplicate their amazing performances as rookies last year -- that's a tall order. The schedule will be tougher, with seven games against playoff teams on the slate. Crucially, the juggernaut of an offensive line lost Doug Free and Ronald Leary, meaning some shuffling of pieces will be necessary. An eight-game stretch in which Dallas faces the Chiefs, Falcons, Raiders and Seahawks will determine whether the Cowboys can repeat.
Biggest threat in the NFC East: All three teams pose a challenge, but I think Washington will knock off the Cowboys in 2017. The Redskins really helped themselves on defense, both in free agency and the draft.
Okay, if you want to say the Giants might knock the Cowboys off their perch, maybe that’s legit. But Washington? Just not buying it.
Following that trend are the betting lines in Vegas. Dallas might have won 13 games last year, but the betting lines don’t think so in 2017.
Las Vegas believes regression looms for the Dallas Cowboys.
One year after winning 13 games, the Cowboys' win total for this season was set at 9.5 at the Westgate SuperBook, which on Sunday opened an array of betting options on the NFL season.
"[The Cowboys] went from playing a last-place schedule to this year playing the first-place schedule," Ed Salmons, the Westgate's head football oddsmaker, said. "They're due for regression. It's just the natural ebbs and flows of the NFL."
So it sounds like doom and gloom from Vegas, right? Hardly. Even though they think Dallas will win fewer games, they still believe in the team.
Still, the Cowboys are the No. 2 favorite to win the Super Bowl at 8-1 at the SuperBook, behind only the Patriots at 3-1.
The Cowboys are trying to lure the 2018 draft to Texas. They certainly have the facilities, and the Cowboys name has a buzz, and they also have a not-so-secret-weapon.
We all know Jerry Jones has no issues opening his wallet, evidenced by the Cowboys' two facilities which combined to cost nearly $3 billion.
Jones is one of the league's most powerful owners, and it likely wouldn't be enough for Dallas to just host a good draft - the eccentric billionaire would want to blow away the competition.
You may not like Jones, but there few owners in all of sports who know how to keep the spotlight on their franchise better. He would be in his element hosting the draft, and would no doubt make it a memorable three days.
Okay, it’s something we never talk about - long snappers. When you got L.P. Ladouceur handling the job, nothing ever goes wrong. He’s a machine year after year. Still, long snapper and part-time defensive lineman Zach Woods is making his push to take L.P.’s job.
So what are his odds of making the 53-man roster or the practice squad?
“I think they’re pretty good,” [Woods] said. “I’m much better snapping the ball this year than last, that’s for sure.
“But I played some interior defense in preseason last year and at 6-3, 255 and playing nose guard, I was getting pushed around a bit. They’re going to work me on the kickoff team as well and we’ll see what happens.”
Wood has added almost 30 pounds to his frame and clocked in this weekend at 6-foot-3, 282 pounds.
Good luck buddy, but don’t hold your breath.
So did they mean anything by giving Joey Ivie Bob Lilly’s jersey number?
“You know that’s Bob Lilly’s number, don’t you?” his dad asked.
The Cowboys’ press corps also reminded Ivie of Lilly’s stature during his first media availability Friday in the locker room at The Star.
“That’s Mr. Cowboy. On the Mount Rushmore of the team, that’s the first name,” went the lecture at the lockers.
“It’s an honor to even wear this number,” Ivie said. “He was such a great player, and definitely a guy I’d say that I look up to. It’s just cool to be able to wear this number.”
We won’t put that kind of pressure on the rookie. Just making the team will be an accomplishment for the seventh-rounder.