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Cowboys News: All Eyes On Jaylon Smith As Cowboys OTAs Begin Today

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The Dallas Cowboys are getting set to host their OTA's this week and they've also extended their stay at one of their favorite Training Camp spots, Oxnard, California.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys' OTAs offer chance for questions and answers - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys will get a good look at the progress of second-year LB Jaylon Smith during OTAs; Dak Prescott is ready for a bigger leadership role.

At the top of the list is Jaylon Smith. His recovery from a major knee injury that included nerve damage has been well chronicled since the Cowboys took him in the second round last year. Through the first two phases of the offseason program, Smith did everything with the team. As the pace picks up Jerry Jones said Smith is expected to go through an every-other-day schedule in OTAs so as to not overdo the work for a player who has not practiced since January 2016.

The nerve is regenerating and Smith has feeling and some function. Will it be a 100-percent recovery? Nobody knows. Will Smith be on the field? The Cowboys and the linebacker fully believe that. Will he be the player many projected him to be? There is no way of knowing, but the OTAs will offer a glimpse.

5 things to watch at Cowboys OTAs: From Jaylon Smith's knee to Rico Gathers' time to shine - Brandon George,  SportsDay
All eyes will be on Jaylon Smith, George writes.

When it comes to offseason intrigue for the Cowboys, nothing trumps the health of second-year linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Smith is expected to practice with the Cowboys for the first time this week (but not on consecutive days) after sitting out his entire rookie season recovering from a major left knee injury he suffered in his final game at Notre Dame.

The nerve in Smith's leg has started to regenerate, according to club officials, but isn't 100 percent. The second-round pick still suffers from drop foot and has to practice with a brace.

The Cowboys expect Smith to start at middle linebacker alongside Sean Lee, but it's still to be determined how closely he'll resemble the dominant linebacker he was in college before his 16-month recovery from surgery.

Joe Baker’s 5 Thoughts on Revamped Cowboys Secondary - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue
For Cowboys’ secondary coach Joe Baker, last month’s NFL Draft was like Christmas morning. Here are 5 questions with him regarding the revamped secondary.

Q: You and the scouts were also very high on rookie 3rd round pick, CB Jourdan Lewis. When you finally got to see him in Rookie Camp, what stood out?

Baker: "He has exceptional quickness, and that’s probably the thing that jumps out more than anything. Quickness and ability to change direction are really what makes exceptional cover guys and that was on display in Rookie Camp."

Jameill Showers Tackling Move To Safety: "I Can’t Eat Like A QB Anymore" - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
There were moments in training camp last summer when the only quarterbacks on the Cowboys’ practice field were Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers.

"That was the talk that me and Coach (Jason) Garrett had in October whenever he first asked me to move was, we want you to focus on safety because you do well there and it’ll give you a chance to move up on special teams," Showers said. "He was like, ‘We don’t want to put you in a position where you’re a jack of all trades, master of none situation.’ I definitely respect it and I’m trying to work hard for it."

Can The Cowboys’ Defense Lower The Opponents’ Passer Rating? - VAfan, Blogging The Boys
Passer rating differential is one of the stats most closely correlated to wins in the NFL.

The New York Giants last year spent tens of millions on free agents for their defensive line and secondary, and with upgraded play from holdovers, they dramatically improved their ranking in this stat. The Cowboys have taken a cheaper route, by attempting to upgrade through the draft. Will it work?

Oxnard approves two-year contract with Dallas Cowboys - Wendy Leung, Ventura County Star
The Cowboys will keep part of their training camp in Oxnard for the next few years.

Four more years of the Dallas Cowboys coming to train in Oxnard is a possibility now that the City Council has approved a two-year contract with an option of a two-year extension.

The contract begins with this summer's four-week camp, which begins July 22. There will be an option for the city manager to extend the agreement through 2020.

Mailbag: Sorting Out The DE Depth Chart? Game Day Inactives? -  Dallas Cowboys Staff
Bryan Broaddus has an interesting answer to a "logjam" at defensive end. He's got an idea of who's inside an outside?

With the "logjam" at defensive end with DeMarcus Lawrence, Charles Tapper and Taco Charlton, and with David Irving and Tyrone Crawford’s versatility, does the addition of Damontre Moore push the up-and-coming Benson Mayowa out the door?

Bryan: I don't think so, because I see Irving and Crawford playing inside. If Moore plays like he did in Seattle he makes the team -- if not, they move on from him. Mayowa was starting to get it in the second half of the season. I can see him being better this year.

Cowboys 2017 Second-Round Draft Pick Chidobe Awuzie Is The Definition Of Versatility - Cole Patterson, Blogging The Boys
The second-round selection out of Colorado is ready to do whatever is necessary to take the Dallas Cowboys’ defense to a different level.

The NFL is a copy-cat league. Therefore, with the success that defensive backs such as Kam Chancellor and Tyrann Mathieu have had for the Seahawks and Cardinals respectively, it is easy to see why the Cowboys are so interested in adding a player with Awuzie’s skill-set to the new-look defense in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys' starting five -- yes, five -- could be fairly imposing - Todd Archer- ESPN
What would a basketball starting five made up of Dallas Cowboys look like? Todd Archer has a little fun and sees a pretty solid start.

Cole Beasley will man the point. Jason Garrett has said Beasley might be one of the most naturally gifted athletes on the Cowboys’ roster. He even made reference to Beasley copying some of Steph Curry’s ballhandling warm-ups. And if you want to sleep on Beasley, he can always throw down one of these dunks.

Jerry Jones censured for $300,000 worth of gifts to Arkansas police - Vince Langford,  Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was warned Friday, May 19, for unintentionally violating Arkansas law. His gift: over $300,000 in tickets, lodging, and travel.

"Clearly, Mr. Jones didn’t expect anything back in return," Racop said, according to ArkansasOnline.com. "But you can’t open the floodgates of gifting to public servants."

Cowboys TE Jason Witten: Rico Gathers has made 'unbelievable strides' - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Rico Gathers said when he's in a film session, he's studying every move Jason Witten makes. That includes when the 10-time Pro Bowler writes down any notes.

"Rico has made some unbelievable strides," Witten said Sunday during his annual youth football camp. "Think about the challenge of coming in last year and not playing football since eighth grade. Physically, he's got all the traits. He's big. He's strong. He's athletic. He's rangy. He can catch. He's really improved with the concepts of our offense and what the responsibilities are. So, I told him and will continue to tell him to dive into that process."

Ezekiel Elliott's NFL Investigation 'Remains Under Review,' Per League Spokesman - Timothy Rapp,  Bleacher Report
The NFL 's investigation into running back Ezekiel Elliott "remains under review," a league spokesperson told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

In March, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed his frustration with the lack of resolution from the NFL.

"Absolutely nothing anywhere that indicates anything other than what they told us when we left training camp and that is that they have no cause," he told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

Speaking of the ongoing, never-ending saga of Ezekiel Elliott's "pending" investigation, we'll just leave you with this: