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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott is ready to “surprise a lot of people”

Your Monday morning Dallas Cowboys news.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Minicamp Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott: Cowboys will be an exciting team and surprise a lot of people – Michael Smith, ProFootballTalk
Prescott may not have a WR1, but he's excited about the prospects for the offense in Dallas this season.

Prescott said on Saturday that despite the departures of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, who were first and second in catches on the Cowboys last year, he expects to put on a show in 2018.

“We’re going to be an exciting team this year,” Prescott said on Showtime. “A lot of new faces. I think you’re going to find we have a lot of new guys on this team, within this organization, that can make plays. We plan on surprising a lot of people.”

Cowboys insiders name three early favorite receiving targets for QB Dak Prescott - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Bryan Broaddus and David Helman of were asked who Prescott’s early favorites were in OTAs and minicamp. The answer: WRs Michael Gallup and Lance Lenoir, along with TE Blake Jarwin.

The beauty in having such a young and unheralded stable of pass catchers is that you just never know who’s going to be the guy that seizes the moment on any given day. It can quite literally be any one at any time. Which seems to be the whole point of this new “spread the ball” campaign the Cowboys are implementing. There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment but it’s not always a negative thing. Sometimes the unknown breeds incredible opportunities, just ask former Cowboy Miles Austin. If it’s worked before, it most definitely can work in their favor again.

PFW roundtable: 5 key offseason questions, NFC East edition - Pro Football Weekly Staff
The PFW staff says the Eagles and Cowboys will be fighting for the division title this year. Oh, and that Kris Richard is the best under-the-radar addition.

Eric Edholm: It says here that the Eagles and Cowboys will be fighting for the division title and that the two other teams won’t be that far behind. In fact, this division race could look like the NFC East battles in the mid-2000s when it was top to bottom the league’s toughest competition most seasons. The Eagles stay on top thanks to a terrific offseason where the bloodletting was shockingly small and with Carson Wentz returning to try to pick up where he left off before he got hurt last year.

Arthur Arkush: With all due respect to Rod Marinelli, their excellent defensive coordinator who squeezed every drop of production from a so-so unit over the past several seasons, Richard's arrival should be met by Marinelli's open arms. Dallas has three second-year players starting in its secondary, and former first-round S Byron Jones is converting to corner. Richard was an integral part in the Legion of Boom's evolution, beginning in 2011, the same year Richard Sherman arrived, as cornerbacks coach, before overseeing the entire secondary one year later and taking over the defense's reins two seasons after that. His fresh voice and increasingly aggressive mentality should resonate with Jones, Chidobie Awuzie, Xavier Woods and Jourdan Lewis in a young and talented secondary.

Move over Larry Allen? Zack Martin deserves to be in the same conversation as Cowboys legend - SportsDay Staff

Larry Allen is one of the greatest to ever wear The Star, and in a recent interview on 105.3 The Fan, Bryan Broaddus had some high praise for the All-Pro lineman.

Can Zack Martin push Larry Allen as the most accomplished guard in Cowboys history?

BB: “Sure, absolutely. Larry Allen was one of the best players that I’ve ever seen. When Larry Allen came in the league, I was starting with the Green Bay Packers and I remember us scouting him. Our medical staff failed him on a physical -- they said he had a rotator cuff problem and that it would factor into how he plays and all that. And I always remember Ron Wolf -- every time we played the Cowboys in a playoff game, he’d walk over to the doctor and say, ‘Hey, that’s the guy over there that you failed that’s going to kick our a** today. That big guy right there, No. 73. That’s the guy you failed.’

“I think that if you look at Zack Martin -- this organization has a really long history and I can go back because my family had season tickets for 20 years since 1972 -- so I’ve seen most of the great guards play here. But they have a great history of offensive line play, of guard play. Zach [sic] Martin is one of the guys in that long line. Larry Allen was incredible for two reasons -- the power and strength he played with and his flexibility positionally. All-Pro at tackle and guard. If you’re talking Larry Allen and Zach [sic] Martin, that’s lofty company.”

Three Dallas Cowboys affected by Zack Martin’s deal - Terence Watson, The Landry Hat

Which three Cowboys players will be affected the most by Zack Martin’s big deal? The Tank might be one of them.

Defensive End – DeMarcus Lawrence

Lawrence is coming off of a monster 2017 season after a few years of back injuries. He is currently scheduled to play under the franchise tag which will cost the Dallas Cowboys $17 million this season. Now that Zack Martin’s deal is done the Cowboys can focus their attention on trying to sign Lawrence before the July 16th deadline.

Lawrence has stated that he is content with playing under the tag but would like to get a deal done if they can. His team is looking at the Olivier Vernon contract as a starting point which was an $85 million dollar deal with $40 million guaranteed. The Cowboys don’t have a lot of time to get a deal done with Lawrence but with Martin’s money done they know what they have left to work with.

Tradition of suspensions seem to counter Jason Garrett’s “right kind of guy” mantra - RJ Ochoa, BTB

RJ writes on how the trend of suspensions is not a good look for Jason Garrett’s mantra.

Just because the Cowboys have a high rate of suspensions doesn’t mean that they’re a bad football team or that they’re the worst franchise to ever exists. Those are overreactions.

This latest infraction does continue an unfortunate streak, though. To deny what data overwhelmingly proves would not only be irresponsible, but incorrect in general. The Cowboys have a large issue when it comes to players getting suspended.

It’s a great thing that Jason Garrett wants to find the “right kind of guys.” He should want that. He should strive for it.

He’s achieved it, to a great degree. There are a lot of “right kind of guys” in Dallas. Saying it over and over, preaching it as your mantra, just doesn’t necessarily hold up that strongly when you have such a glaring problem in the world of suspensions. That’s all.

Dallas Cowboys: Three internal replacements for David Irving at the 3-tech - Reid Hanson, SportDFW

What about the newly acquired Jihad Ward? Could the 2016 second-rounder make an impact in his new home?

The first man who stands to gain from David Irving’s suspension is Jihad Ward. In case you don’t remember, Ward was acquired from the Oakland Raiders over draft weekend. The former second round pick never lived up to expectations and was in danger of not making the roster in 2018.

The Dallas Cowboys, convinced they could find success where Oakland could not, have a positive track record with Ward. Three years ago, Rod Marinelli worked 1-on1 with Ward at the Senior Bowl. The impact he made with the young man was significant and the results on the field were clear.

Reuniting Marinelli and Ward in Dallas should benefit Ward immensely. In mini-camps Ward was said to be a “player who flashed” and someone who could carve out a first-team role in training camp. His size, speed, and quickness make him an ideal candidate to man the temporarily vacant under tackle spot, and if things work out, he may be the long-term solution the Dallas Cowboys need in the middle.

Amazon’s “All or Nothing” with the Cowboys provides hope for the Bengals - Scott Schulze, Cincy Jungle
Interesting take on the Cowboys' 2017 season from a writer with no obvious rooting interest for or against Dallas.

About midway through the series, All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith got injured in a Week 9 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that game, the Cowboys held the Chiefs to one total sack, and held their top pass rusher Justin Houston to zero sacks. Up to that point, the Cowboys were averaging almost 30 points a game, and in contention for the playoffs, sitting at 5-3.

In the following two games, with Smith out due to injury, the Cowboys gave up 12 total sacks. They gave up eight sacks to the Falcons in Week 10 and followed that up with 4 more sacks surrendered to the Eagles in Week 11. “All or Nothing” highlighted six of those sacks in the game against the Falcons, which were all recorded by Adrian Clayborn, abusing Smith’s backup, Chaz Green.

The loss of a great left tackle, and subsequent replacement by an inferior substitute totally wrecked the Cowboys’ offense. (If that reminds you of what happened with the Bengals losing Andrew Whitworth and replacing him with Ogbuehi, it should). In that first game without Smith, the Cowboys only generated 233 total yards of offense and a measly seven points. In their second game without Smith they had an equally inept week offensively with 9 points and only 225 total yards. Those games were a huge drop for a team who was averaging over 28 points and 370 yards before losing their left tackle. (The loss of Elliott also played a part, but the Cowboys did return to form averaging 330 yards per game for the remainder of Elliott’s suspension, once Smith returned to the lineup.)

When Smith returned in Week 12, the Cowboys only allowed two sacks to the Chargers, including zero to Joey Bosa. And the Cowboys followed that up by allowing just one sack to the Redskins, and zero to their top pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan. After losing both games without Smith at left tackle, his return helped the Cowboys make a late season push for the playoffs.

The Cowboys showed viewers during a two-game span what the Bengals learned during an entire season: the difference between a great left tackle and an awful one is the difference between a good offense and a bad offense, or on-the-field success and on-the-field failure.

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