Before you hit the news, be sure to hit Landon’s latest FanPost and drop in a question for this week’s mailbag for the podcast. Appreciate it!
How have rookie corners looked in OTAs so far? - Brandon George, SportsDay
In a recent chat, George shared his thoughts on which of the rookies have stood out so far.
I think second-round CB Chidobe Awuzie has looked better than any of them. He's been the most consistent. Third-round pick Jourdan Lewis has had his moments as well. His quickness and closing speed are impressive.
BTB's own Tom Ryle takes a look at some of the more interesting developments at Cowboys OTAs. Collins looks to be the right tackle, Damontre Moore could be a big addition, and more:
The RT job seems to be a done deal, with LG completely up for grabs.
Going into OTAs, the general feeling among everyone outside of the Dallas staff was that the team was going to try a variety of options to replace Doug Free, and they really preferred to keep La’el Collins at left guard. After all, that is what Jason Garrett and others said repeatedly.
However, all indications are that Collins is now the preferred solution at right tackle - and is apparently working out very well there. It may well already have become his position to lose. There is still a long way to go, of course, but at the moment, Collins seems to be flourishing at the position he played in college.
Now the Cowboys have to find their new starter at LG. Some injury concerns have created a bit of confusion there, with Chaz Green and Emmett Cleary both getting some work. Meanwhile, Jonathan Cooper, who was thought to be a real challenger, has mostly worked at center when the media was around.
Can Moore finally find a home in Dallas?
Damontre Moore may be a find.
There are two real reclamation projects for the Cowboys this year, Moore and Cooper. While Cooper has been cross-training as a center, Moore has been working hard at what he is expected to do, rushing from the defensive end position. Bryan Broaddus was particularly impressed by his work against Tyron Smith.
With a lot of focus on Taco Charlton, David Irving, Benson Mayowa, and DeMarcus Lawrence, Moore has been somewhat overlooked. But finding a consistent pass rush remains one of the top priorities for Dallas, and they will take it from whoever proves himself. Rod Marinelli needs at least four rotational ends, or more. If Moore becomes part of the solution, he will be a tremendous find for the scouting staff, as well as a real success story for Marinelli and Ben Bloom as coaches.
There is a lot going on in Cowboys OTAs. With the rookies developing, seemingly daily Jaylon Smith news, and more, there is a never a quiet day in the world of Dallas Cowboys football. The staff over at SportsDay lists ten things to know from the latest week of OTAs.
Can Zeke put up even bigger numbers next season?
Feed Zeke even more?
Remember when Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing last year? He thinks he can do better.
Despite winning the rushing title as a rookie, Elliott said he "left a lot of yards on the field" in 2016.
"I think there is big room for improvement," Elliott said. "Just being more comfortable, being able to anticipate more. That's what I'm working on this offseason."
As you probably have heard by now, Dez Bryant may be recruiting Darrelle Revis to the Big D.
Revis Island relocating?
@Revis24 Dallas? ....I promise you are going to love what we got going on around here..your attitude fits our culture...waiting.....— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) June 10, 2017
The staff also provides the latest on Jaylon Smith:
Smith in action
A sight Dallas fans have longed to see, linebacker Jaylon Smith's surgically repaired knee participating in Cowboys workouts.
Smith's participation this week mostly consisted of individual drills and some seven-on-seven work. He said each week his participation has progressed.
The Cowboys’ first-round selection received high reviews from his position coach during his days at the University of Michigan. The staff is certainly hoping they have a Pro-Bowler on their defensive line.
"The sky's the limit and there's a lot of reasons why, but probably one of the biggest reasons is that he's got such great character," Mattison said. "He's such a great person and he comes from a great family. When you have all that, and you have the athleticism and the God-given height and arm length that Taco has, all of those things gives you a great opportunity to be very successful at the next level. I really believe that Taco will be very, very successful."
Mattison also said that Charlton reminds him of another player he once coached in college.
"He reminds me a great deal of Carlos Dunlap, the young man that I had at Florida for two years. They're built alike. When I first had Taco at a young age, he kind of reminded me somewhat of that young man Carlos Dunlap. Now, I didn't have Dunlap at the end like I did with Taco, but build-wise and athleticism-wise, they're kind of the same young man."
Will the development of Taco Charlton, among others along the defensive line, force the Dallas Cowboys to move from DeMarcus Lawrence?
Dallas used their 2017 first-round pick on DE Taco Charlton, who is ideally suited to play the same strong-side end position that Lawrence is also built for. Some have taken this as a sign that the Cowboys have no plans to re-sign DeMarcus after his contract expires this year.
Lawrence also be challenged by the returning Benson Mayowa and David Irving for playing time, plus Charles Tapper after his redshirt season. It also begs the question: how much will the Cowboys want to invest snaps in DeMarcus if he’s not part of their future plans?
As mentioned earlier, Dez seems to be intrigued about the idea of lining up against Darrelle Revis in practice. BTB’s RJ Ochoa gives his thoughts on the potential idea:
While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting that the man in Dallas that wears Revis’ iconic #24 - Nolan Carroll - may miss time in 2017. He was of course arrested on suspicion of a DWI recently, and if he does the Cowboys could be in a bind in the secondary.
Darrelle Revis is at a point in his NFL career where he might not necessarily be playing cornerback, but could make the switch that many older players do to safety. What do the Cowboys absolutely love? Position flex. This would give them three players in Revis, Byron Jones, and Chidobe Awuzie that are all capable of doing more than just one thing... which can be of serious use in a sport where many are often injured.
Perhaps Dez Bryant is thinking along these lines and is therefore recruiting Revis based on this logic. Two things that are particularly interesting about his tweet:
- It was unprompted. For those not on Twitter, this wasn’t a situation where Revis tweeted something, Dez saw it, thought “hey Revis is cool!”, and responded. It was completely organic.
- Dez said that Revis’ attitude fits the Cowboys culture. Call it whatever you want. Right kind of guy, Fight, Re-commit, etc. - Dez believes that Revis has that in him
Could this Revis to Dallas thing actually happen?
They are now a very young group on the back end, with only Carroll and Orlando Scandrick having more than a few years of experience. Adding Revis would give the team another elder statesman, as well as a player with higher upside than most of the rest of the DBs on the roster. He's talked in the recent past about knowing he may eventually have to move to safety, and with the Cowboys valuing positional flexibility more and more in recent years, that could make him an interesting fit.
Any move the Cowboys made for Revis would likely have to come at a relatively low cost. They cleared a bunch of cap space on June 2 after Tony Romo's contract officially came off the books, but they are going to want to extend Zack Martin's deal soon. They also only have a few more seasons to take advantage of the fact that Dak Prescott is earning south of a million dollars a year, and they're better off giving any long-term, big-money deals to players that will actually be around for Prescott's prime, rather than aging veterans.
What’s Cowboys news without a little Tony Romo? Jay Cutler says he thinks a Romo reunion in Dallas is more likely than him filling in elsewhere:
It’s hard to believe that anybody would turn down the opportunity to lead the Oakland Raiders into the Playoffs, especially just to spare us all another Connor Cook fiasco, but I digress. Jay Cutler actually said something mildly interesting!
It does of course make sense that of all the potential quarterback and team permutations that can be concocted... Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are the most likely to have success. Kudos to Jay for not only being interesting, but for being accurate!
This potential Romo-Cowboys part deux is so obvious not just to fans and spectators, but to Romo’s peer in Jay Cutler. Smokin’ Jay has never been one to appear as if he really cared (I personally don’t mind Cutler as much as most, after all he was on an episode of The League!), but even he can tell how much Tony’s heart bleeds blue and silver.
Cutler did note prior to this part of the conversation that part of the reason he took the job at FOX was because those types of positions don’t come around very often. The same is very likely true for Tony Romo, who took a gig of higher prestige than even Jay did. While Romo and CBS reportedly have it worked out if he did return to the field, it’s hard to imagine Romo giving up something so lucrative.
DeMarcus Ware had an illustrious career in Dallas. From striking fear into opposing quarterbacks and being a fan favorite, number 94 made his mark in the Big D. Sturm says more of the fan base needs to respect Ware’s greatness.
In these parts, it has been over two decades of barren land since the dynasty. It has been a rough go of things and therefore, the Cowboys fan can act out in anger. They can play the blame game. That is actually a reasonable position if you want to direct it at the top. Incompetence has hurt this thing from the decision makers for far too long. Maybe they are figuring it out, but that doesn't erase 20-some seasons of poor work.
But, this goes out to all of you with tepid reviews of the work of DeMarcus Ware. I expect Cowboys fans to minimize the accomplishments of Eli Manning or Brian Dawkins or Aaron Rodgers or whatever rival you wish to argue about. But, Ware? How did Ware get on your bad side? He left? The Cowboys cut him, you might recall, after the 2013 season. He was owed a ton of money, the Cowboys low-balled him after another 8-8 season, and off he went to play for Denver. It worked out for him, but around here, there was a group of Cowboys fans who were pretty loudly chipping away at his legacy.
Actually, if memory serves, he was being minimized long before that. When he was still a Cowboy, I would hear from you who wondered what he had ever done. You know, besides being the best at his position in the entire league from 2005 until his career ended.
Our friends over at Bleeding Green Nation (BGN) has decided to name the best players on both offense and defense in the NFC East. Too no surprise, many Cowboys made the offensive team; however, BGN isn’t too high on the Cowboys’ defense — as Sean Lee was the lone member on first-team defense. OCC gives his thoughts:
The Cowboys are ranked 17th overall in DVOA, and the Redskins are at No. 25, and Natan gives both teams three players from the 22 NFC East defensive all-stars. For the Cowboys, those three players are Sean Lee, Byron Jones, and Maliek Collins.
And those three names highlight an interesting dynamic in this 22-man NFC roster: The Cowboys are the only team whose selections are all home-grown. Of the Giants players on this list, only three are original Giants draft picks. The Eagles have four of their draft picks on this list, the Redskins just one.
The other interesting point about this list is the inclusion of Maliek Collins. His inclusion shows that a) Ben Natan has been paying close attention to what's going on with the other NFC East teams, and b) Collins is not being ignored/underrated quite as much as many Cowboys fans like to believe.
The 2017 Cowboys defense will look markedly different from last year's version. The team has big hopes for 2016 redshirts Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper, a reasonable expectation that Anthony Brown will improve even further in his sophomore season, and has got to be excited about the seven defensive draft picks from this year. So the Cowboys might have more players on the 2018 All-NFC East Defensive Team.