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Cowboys News: Why Dak Prescott has tons of potential; more coaching candidates.

Latest Cowboys headlines: How Prescott can regain his Pro Bowl form; Marielli compares DeMarcus Lawrence to Sean Lee; more.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott has tons of potential - Bucky Brooks,
Brooks offers a detailed looks at why Prescott is still a franchise quarterback despite Year 2 struggles, an opinion that may not sit well with some frustrated Cowboys fans, and has an NFC personnel man explain why the Cowboys seem to have rebuilt their 1990s team.

Is Dak Prescott really a franchise quarterback?

That’s the question that was running rampant in Dallas after his second pro season. But I don’t understand why it’s been debated on the airwaves and in barbershops around the country. Sure, he took a step back without his RB1 and franchise tackle on the field for an extended period, but I don’t know if his struggles were enough to dismiss his chances of becoming an elite quarterback.


Now, I'm not ready to anoint Prescott a future Hall of Famer, but I do believe he could regain his Pro Bowl form in an offense that should be better when the team adds a true No. 1 receiver and another playmaker in the passing game. While he must continue to make strides as a passer, as evidenced by his nine interceptions over his past seven games (it's not a coincidence that Elliott missed five of those games), he is still a promising quarterback with the potential to help the Cowboys make a run at the title.

Thus, it is sensible for the Cowboys to explore building an offense that better suits Prescott's skills. During his first two seasons, he has been at his best when executing play-action passes with Ezekiel Elliott as a decoy or operating from spread formations (empty or one-back), with No. 4 in the shotgun. These are concepts that are comfortable for Prescott and some of the other Cowboys' stars (Elliott). Most importantly, they have the pieces in place to open up the offense while retaining a ball-control premise that allowed the team to win with a strong running game and a solid defense.

"I feel like they've rebuilt the team like the 1990s teams with the dominant offensive line and an efficient quarterback," said an NFC pro personnel director. "I'm not saying he is Troy Aikman, but if you check their numbers and look at their games, they play the same way. They take care of the football over everything else, and when the team is built the right way, they'll win."

Rod Marinelli Salutes Pro Bowl Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence - Krisit Scales, 5 Points Blue
DeMarcus Lawrence was rewarded at the end of his 2017 breakout season with his first Pro Bowl selection. His stellar campaign was no surprise to his position coach though.

Marinelli was effusive in his praise for Lawrence’s production this season which went well beyond a team-leading 14 ½ sacks.

“The numbers are great, but it’s all the other stuff,” notes Marinelli. “He plays the run really well. He’s been a dominant player this season and I’m glad to see other people notice that. You guys have watched him relentlessly going sideline-to-sideline.

“You watch other players in the league, and they don’t play like that. His effort energizes the rest of the guys. They don’t want to look bad getting passed-up by him. He embodies the standard of what we want by the physical way that he plays his position.”

“It’s been a buildup through his career, and that’s what you love to see with a young player that you draft,” Marinelli says proudly. “He kind of capped it off this year. It’s been a process and he’s built every year. Man, it’s exciting. And, like I said, look beyond the statistics and the numbers. It’s all about how hard he plays and the passion he plays with. He’s relentless. He reflects our system, like Sean Lee, they reflect our system with how hard they play.”

Dallas Cowboys expected to keep running backs coach Gary Brown - Todd Archer, ESPN
Gary Brown had interest from the Raiders and Texans but it looks like he's staying in Dallas.

Gary Brown is expected to return as Dallas Cowboys running backs coach, according to sources.

Brown is the first coach with an expiring contract to remain with the Cowboys. The Cowboys would also like passing game coordinator and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus and safeties coach Greg Jackson to return. Eberflus could be a defensive coordinator depending on how some head coaching vacancies are filled, but it is also possible he could return to the Cowboys with an expanded role.

WR Coach Sansay Lal interviewing with Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer is on top of the latest developments, as usual.

Sanjay Lal, who was the wide receivers coach with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, is interviewing with the Cowboys, according to multiple sources. The Cowboys have also met with Miles Austin about the opening. Lal has also worked with Oakland, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

Cowboys interview Colts receivers coach Sanjay Lal, Miles Austin - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Hill with a little more detail on Lal.

Lal was the receivers coach with the Indianapolis Colts last season. Lal has 11 years of NFL experience, including stints with the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders before the Colts.

Sources: Tom Cable, Paul Alexander, Pete Metzelaars Among Cowboys Coaching Staff Interviewees - Mike Fisher,
Even more names:

Deposed Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable is scheduled for an interview at The Star for the same position with the Dallas Cowboys, sources tell us, adding him to a short list of desired candidates that also includes former Bengals O-line coach Paul Alexander. Sources also tell that Dallas is interviewing Pete Metzelaars for the open tight ends coach position.

All three men have more experience than some of the in-house candidates that have been discussed for offensive vacancies.

A big question that could shape the Cowboys' strategy in Round 1 of the NFL draft - SportsDay
Dane Brugler answered questions in a recent chat, what's a bigger need for the Cowboys: linebacker or defensive tackle?

Brugler: This is a question I hope those in the Cowboys front office ask among themselves. It has been the draft philosophy of this current regime that the 1-tech DT/NT isn't worth a first-round pick. However, adding a wide-bodied block-eater could drastically help the rest of the front seven, opening pursuit lanes for linebackers and creating opportunity for the edge rushers. With Anthony Hitchens likely moving on, linebacker remains a need, but I would lean toward defensive tackle. If they plan to keep Maliek Collins at the 1-tech, then Michigan's Maurice Hurst would be worthy of the 19th pick. If Collins moves back to the 3-tech, then Washington's Vita Vea or Alabama's Da'Ron Payne should be in the mix.

Cowboys can't afford to ignore this grain of truth hidden in Brice Butler's comments - Staff SportsDay
The DMN Staff respond to Brice Butler's recent comments. Here's David Moore's take.

Alarmed? No. When a player declares he won't be back unless he starts -- and he's never started in his career -- you don't panic. You don't wonder how you will replace his 317 receiving yards. You simply say goodbye.

But that doesn't mean Butler's comments about the predictability of the Cowboys offense, about how players become pigeonholed, should be dismissed. You don't have to be a starter to have a valid opinion or observation. There's a fine line between emphasizing what a player does best then repeating it to the point where you minimize his effectiveness because he does it too often. This is the key philosophical issue the Cowboys organization must address this offseason. There will be adjustments. One of them will likely be the absence of Butler.

Jonathan Cooper undergoes knee surgery for sprained MCL - Todd Archer, ESPN
How this impacts the Cowboys' chances of re-signing him is anyone's guess.

Jonathan Cooper, who started 13 games at left guard for the Cowboys in 2017, had knee surgery last week. He sprained the medial collateral ligament in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cooper is set to be an unrestricted free agent but he should be ready for a part of an offseason program wherever he signs.

How Did The Cowboys’ Own ‘True Freshmen’ Fare? Jason Garrett Evaluates - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Xavier Woods probably had the best rookie season on the team, Taco Charlton the toughest - both relative to their draft position. Here's Garrett's take on the two (the article also has him talking about Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie).

“Then Xavier Woods, the same way, we asked him to do a lot of different things, play a couple different spots, play as a nickel, play as a deep safety, and he seemed to handle it well. I thought those were all positives, those guys clearly got better as the season went on, individually but also collectively communicating with each other.

“Taco did some good things. I thought he got better as the year went on, started to make some impact plays, sacking the quarterback, making some plays sideline to sideline. He’ll continue to grow. He’s in a good environment with the veteran players at that position and the coaching that he gets there. So he has to reflect back on this year and build on some of the good stuff and certainly continue to grow in a lot of different ways.”

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