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Cowboys news: The plan at wide receiver; Randy Gregory reinstatement coming?

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Plus lots of plans on how to use (and acquire) some new talent.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
Still waiting to see if this guy comes back.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys hope WR group fills void created by Dez Bryant's release - Todd Archer, ESPN
It's pretty much official that the Dallas Cowboys are going to use a "wide receiver by committee" approach this year (unless someone breaks out during the season, anyway).

As the Cowboys moved toward their decision to walk away from Bryant, they added pieces in free agency to a group that included Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. First, they signed Deonte Thompson. Then they added Allen Hurns.

In the draft, they did not see any of the top receivers as sure-fire No. 1 types, especially as rookies. They liked the potential of Courtland Sutton, but he was gone before they could pick in the second round. Ultimately they added Michael Gallup in the third round and Cedrick Wilson in the sixth.

“We really had a big grouping of receivers that were a lot of varying opinions in terms of our debate in our room with scouts and coaches as to where guys should fit in this draft,” Stephen Jones said. “It was a debate, a lot of looking at film. Everybody had them sorted different ways, and it was a challenge, but the good news is that we came up with one of them that we really think can make a difference for us. One of the ones that is from here locally [Sutton] is a big guy who has a chance to do something like that. I don’t think it's going to happen overnight, but I may be wrong.

“I don’t think that we’re going to live in a world right now that we used to live in with Dez, a true No. 1 guy.”

What many analysts are getting wrong about the Cowboys new wide receiver group - Michae Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys depth chart at receiver may not impress people but it just might open up their offense.

“Surface analysts” may not see enough “name value” on the roster at receiver, which will play into their arguments. The Cowboys will argue that what they’ve done at receiver is actually going to make their passing offense much more efficient than we saw in 2017. If you dig just a little deeper to find out exactly what the Cowboys are looking for, you see that this team has an array of talent. They are just prioritizing a different kind of receiver.

The complete Cowboys blueprint for newly-acquired Tavon Austin - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Great take on how Tavon Austin can be used by Dallas.

His track speed and ability to morph from RB to WR at a moment's notice makes him an excellent flex player and his ability to hit the proverbial home run at a moment's notice is one reason he was converted (from his high school position of halfback to wide receiver) once he landed at West Virginia, a role he's mostly played ever since. That'll all change with the Cowboys, who'll task him with coming out of the backfield while taking on the role of starting returner, but don't negate any potential snaps at wideout. At the NFL level, he's run for 1,238 yards on 184 carries with nine touchdowns, nearly matching his totals as a receiver of 1,689 yards and on 194 grabs with 12 trips to the end zone.


Cowboys Still Waiting For Word On Randy Gregory's Possible Reinstatement - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
The latest word on Randy Gregory is that there still is no word.

If there is an update to be had on the status of Randy Gregory, Cowboys officials are waiting to hear it, just like everyone else.

But then there’s this.

(Here’s the original tweet that Epstein was quoting.)

These are the requirements DE Randy Gregory must meet to be reinstated into NFL - Kate Hairopoulos and Jori Epstein, SportsDay
Randy Gregory will apply for reinstatement to the NFL by next week, in the hope that his suspension could be lifted in time for training camp end July.

His application should include all pertinent information about his treatment, abstinence from substance abuse during his banishment period, incidents resulting from substance abuse and arrests/convictions for any criminal activity.

Once the application has been received by Commissioner Roger Goodell, Gregory will be interviewed by the established medical director and medical advisor within 45 days. Then a recommendation will be made to Goodell.

The policy is set up for Goodell to render a decision within 60 days of receiving an application, but that is based on all the required information being available in that time frame.

"First and foremost, we're more concerned with Randy fixing himself off the field," executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday. "I applaud him. I think he's worked hard to get to this point that he can apply for reinstatement.

"...By no stretch are we just saying, 'Hey, we're going to bank on that.' We're still thinking about him and hoping he gets everything done the right way off the field. And then good things will happen for him."


Developing a Blueprint For How The Cowboys Will Build Their Roster - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
This is actually from Tuesday, but it was so interesting I brought it forward. No spoilers here so you have to read his conclusions. (OK, one spoiler: I may offer my own take on this soon.)

I’m intrigued by the roster the Cowboys are working with, and I want to try to project what it’s going to look like. Instead of trying to nail down 53 names, though, I’m just going to look at the positions on the roster and try to outline the thought process that might go into each one – with a guess at how this team might construct its roster.

Cowboys still interested in adding a veteran safety this offseason (Earl Thomas?), but not a TE at this time - Brandon George, SportsDay
More indications of the plans between now and training camp.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday from the club's annual sponsors' golf tournament that Dallas could still add a veteran safety. However, owner Jerry Jones said the club isn't looking to add a veteran tight end at this time.

The Cowboys have a hole at starting safety with the move of Byron Jones back to cornerback. Several free agent safeties remain on the market, but none that seemingly interest the Cowboys. But Dallas remains interested in Seattle safety Earl Thomas, although the Seahawks haven't been willing to trade him yet at the right price for the Cowboys.

All Sorts Of Shots Flying Around Prior To Rookie Minicamp - Mickey Spagnola, Dallas Cowboys
Among the Mickster's short notes is this one about the possible reunion the team is working on.

So a downside to free agency just might become an upside for the Cowboys, who are bringing in their former starting defensive tackle Terrell McClain for dinner Wednesday night and a visit. Remember, after a strong 2016 season for the Cowboys, McClain was signed by Washington to a four-year, $21 million free-agent contract that included a $5 million signing bonus and $10.5 million guaranteed. Well, just one year later, the Redskins thought it better to take a $3.75 million dead-money cap hit than to pay McClain his $3.25 million base salary, releasing him. The Cowboys think McClain fits better in their defensive scheme than what the Redskins were asking him to do, but as Garrett points out on matters like this, there’s always this little thing about money that comes into play, saying, “There’s a business side to all these decisions, for us and for him.” As it stands right now, the lack of experienced depth at defensive tackle still is somewhat of an issue, and why the Cowboys thought it wise to trade away Ryan Switzer for Oakland’s Jihad Ward. Think about it, when it comes to defensive tackles who actually played a reasonable amount last year, it’s David Irving, Maliek Collins and Ward, with no one else on the roster actually playing more than 13 percent of the snaps.

TE Dalton Schultz Fits Cowboys Need as Willing Blocker - Sean Martin, Inside the Star
Another site's scouting report on new rookie TE Dalton Schultz and how he fits in to the current TE group (notice who is not mentioned here, which is probably a very realistic take).

As mentioned, the Cowboys like what they have in Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin as athletic options to develop at TE. My expectations for both players is that they'll make the most of their opportunity to shine, tempering initial expectations for Dalton Schultz in Dallas.

Schultz can certainly help the Cowboys in multiple tight end packages, and is worth the long-term project as a player ahead of the curve with pro-style experience.

Whether it be Ezekiel Elliott, Tavon Austin, or Bo Scarbrough escaping around the corner this preseason, look for Dalton Schultz to be landing the sealing block.

Where Will The Cowboys Play New D-Lineman Jihad Ward? - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
The mothership's resident scout takes a look at Jihad Ward - someone he remembers from a couple of years ago.

For those that follow the draft cycle, Ward’s name should sound familiar. He played in the Senior Bowl the same year as Dak Prescott, and he was coached by Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys’ coaching staff during that year’s game. Clearly, the Cowboys liked what they saw of him in the leadup to that draft, and they decided to use their surplus at receiver to address their defensive line depth.

PFF says Cowboys drafted “a team of superstars”, may have had “the best draft any team had” - Youtube.com
PFF analysts Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo break down the Dallas Cowboys 2018 draft picks.


Jerry Jones still believes in Bryant: 'Dez has excellent opportunity to make significant contribution to a team' - Brandon George, SportsDay
Last week, Will McClay discussed some of the performance issues that he felt made releasing Dez Bryant the right move. Jerry Jones offered a differing opinion.

"I don't feel that way. That's not to disagree at all with Will, but I wish and want Dez to have the opportunity to compete in the NFL," Jones said from the Cowboys' annual sponsors' golf tournament. "I think he can, and I think he will. He's certainly got the right stuff and the real question is: As every player in his career deals with injury or deals with the length of his career, I think he's very capable mentally as well as physically to do the kinds of things that you have to, to adjust as you move on through your career. We just lost one of the greatest role models that may have ever played this game in Jason Witten. But certainly I think he can take some of the things he's seen Jason do and incorporate that type of attitude and work ethic in what he's doing and get a chance to be back out there.

"I think that every evaluation that I've seen, Dez has an excellent opportunity to make a contribution and a significant contribution to a team. Our time was the time and the right time [to release him] as far as our relationship, but that doesn't preclude him from being productive for another team."