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Cowboys News: Orlando Scandrick to the Redskins

Latest Cowboys news: The future of Jason Witten and a chat with Emmitt Smith

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cowboys DB Orlando Scandrick signs with Redskins - Clarence E. Hill, Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Hill has the details on Orlando Scandrick's move to a division rival.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick didn’t take long in finding a new home after requesting and being granted his release from the Dallas Cowboys.

Scandrick took the familiar route and joined the rival Washington Redskins on a two-year deal worth up to $10 million, according to sources.

Scandrick asked to be released from the Cowboys last week and his request was finally granted on Saturday.

He was in Washington on Sunday and signed Monday.

Scandrick’s Departure Completes Cowboys’ DB Youth Movement For 2018 - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Scandrick's exit from the Cowboys leaves the Cowboys with only a single defensive back (Jeff Heath) not playing on his rookie contract. Helman takes a look at how youth is being served on the Dallas defense.

The Cowboys couldn’t have predicted that the outcome would be Scandrick lining up for a division rival, but this outcome had been foreseen as far back as last spring. After all, you don’t spend three draft picks on cornerbacks with an eye on retaining your veterans.

Not that anyone needs reminding, but that’s exactly how the draft played out last year. The Cowboys drafted Chidobe Awuzie No. 60 overall, then they doubled down by drafting Jourdan Lewis No. 92 overall. The next day, they traded up to draft Xavier Woods in the sixth round, and they finished off the overhaul by drafting Marquez White with the 216th overall pick.

All four youngsters are prepping for their second NFL seasons. Throw in honorary youngster Anthony Brown, who is preparing for his third year at just 24 years of age, and the defensive secondary starts to look awfully crowded.

None of this even includes Byron Jones, who the Cowboys intend to try at cornerback this year, under the tutelage of new secondary coach Kris Richard.

As expected, Twitter has a reaction to Scandrick going to the enemy.

Cowboys could sign two wide receivers before week is done - David Moore, SportsDay
Moore dishes on two low-level free agent invitees scheduled to visit Dallas this week. These are the types of players the Cowboys typically bring in after the first-week feeding frenzy of free agency.

Many have fixated on speed in the Cowboys' quest to make the offense more Dak-friendly. But it can be argued quarterback Dak Prescott would be best served by adding quality route runners.

Inman had his best season in 2016 with 58 receptions for 810 yards and four touchdowns for the San Diego Chargers. Quarterback Philip Rivers had this to say about Inman during that season.

"Dontrelle is a good player," Rivers told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "He makes plays. He runs good routes. His main thing is he is dependable. You can count on him to run the right route, to play any position, to do his job every day."

Pondering The Present And Future Of Jason Witten – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The Sturminator looks at a difficult issue that many of us have pondered: the role of Jason Witten moving forward. As always, Sturm takes a deep dive and makes a compelling case for both keeping Witten and reducing his role.

Now, we know that the Cowboys don't owe any one man for their place in this sporting world. Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, and Roger Staubach are probably the most-identified forefathers, but the 90's Cowboys provided the Triplets and they gathered more trophies themselves than the first group did in three decades. I would safely place Jason Witten amongst the top 10 Cowboys of all-time, but if you make us assemble the top 5, it would be a discussion that would get heated and a final outcome would hardly be unanimous about his place in Cowboys history.

And yet, because he is a clear legend, the front office and the coaching staff don't quite seem to know how to treat Witten any differently than Modano or Nowitzki were handled. In other words, it would seem that the team lacks a real game-plan beyond leaving it completely up to the player to decide what his role will be and when it will end.

And Jason Witten is competitive enough that the moment he admits he is not good enough anymore, you will know it – because he will retire. Until then, he is fighting Father Time every day. That is great, right?

Sure. Except Witten is not willing to concede one single play.

Saints, Bills, Rams among NFL's 10 best offensive line units - Matt Harmon, NFL.com
Matt Harmon has an outstanding offseason series where he looks at and ranks different positional units and combos. His latest covers deep throwing quarterbacks but what I found interesting is his breakdown of offensive line units.

The Dallas Cowboys' offensive line reached fabled levels of greatness during the 2016 season, lifting then-rookie runner Ezekiel Elliott to the NFL's rushing title. Yet, after offseason personnel losses at right tackle and left guard, the 2017 version of the Cowboys' front five came into the season with far more questions than the previous year's dominance would suggest. As the year wore on and the news cycle hammered the storylines of Elliott's suspension and Dak Prescott's sophomore slump, it appears the NFL world at large forgot to notice that the unit that once anchored this team was no longer a true trump card. The Cowboys allowed a pressure on 28.6 percent of Prescott's dropbacks, the 12th-highest rate in the league. They took an even steeper decline as run blockers. Elliott averaged a whopping 0.6 yards before defenders closed within a yard of him in 2016, more than doubling up the league average. However, Cowboys running backs averaged just 0.2 YGBC in 2017, ranking 20th on the year. When you realize that Dallas received high-level play over a full 16 games from just two players (center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin) after a year in which the whole starting five fired on all cylinders, their offensive issues become far less surprising.

Cowboys can't afford free-agent misses as they look for value deals - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys' frugal approach to free agency has not yielded many positives the past few years and Archer has the insights.

Free agency has not been kind to the Cowboys in recent years. Their most productive signing in the past five years might be Jeremy Mincey, who signed a two-year deal in 2014. He led the Cowboys in sacks in his first year but did not have a sack in 2015. The biggest name free agent the Cowboys have signed is defensive end Greg Hardy, who had six sacks in 12 games after missing the first four games that year because of a suspension.

Defensive tackle Cedric Thornton signed a four-year, $17 million deal in 2016 but never started a game and was among the final cuts last season. Cornerback Nolan Carroll signed a four-year, $10 million contract last year but played in only two games before he was released. None of the Cowboys’ free-agent signings a year ago made it to November on the roster.

“Obviously it didn't work out for us, and we missed,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the NFL scouting combine. “You certainly want to be better. That's one thing I admire about Will and our staff, is certainly since it didn't work -- why not? And how are we going to fix it?”

8 Questions with Emmitt Smith - Harrison Barnes, The Players' Tribune
The Dallas Mavericks' forward gets as updated with Emmitt Smith. It's a good read and Smith has professional goals equal to his NFL accomplishments.

To make it in professional sports, you have to be willing to work hard, to prepare yourself mentally and physically every day, have dedication and surround yourself with talented teammates and be a team player. All that is true for business as well. I always knew I needed to prepare myself for life beyond the game, and I’m doing so every day. Learning new things is probably the biggest part: learning the real estate business, learning the development business, understanding the construction business. I’m continuing to push the envelope of knowledge for myself, continuing to feed my brain to learn more. I’m thirsty for more knowledge so that I can become better every day of my life and, most importantly, make a significant impact in society.

Defense and Rest Time - Ben Baldwin, Football Outsiders

Stat nerds like will love this deep dive by guest Ben Baldwin over at FO. Ben goes deep to see how long drives and ball possession affect offensive outcomes. I won’t spoil the ending but here’s a hint of some of his findings:

1. Running a lot of plays on a drive does not make your defense perform better on the subsequent drive (as shown in the upper left).

2. Chewing up a lot of clock on a drive does not make your defense perform better on the subsequent drive (upper right).

3. Running a lot of plays against a defense does not make it easier to score against that defense as the game goes on (lower left).

4. Running up a lot of time of possession against a defense does not make it easier to score against that defense as the game goes on (lower right).

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