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Cowboys news: Byron Jones talks about his plans and his new coach

Plus more of the news you can use about America’s Team.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys CB Byron Jones explains trick to Kris Richard's coaching - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Byron Jones did a round of interviews, and Walker got this comment from him. You have to like the fire there.

PW: Do you feel like [the Cowboys] exercising your [contract] option will give you time to hit the next level and become a corner comparable to what Richard Sherman was for Kris Richard?

Jones: "No doubt, and I want to be full time this year. I'm not looking at a two-year time frame. I'm looking at this year, this training camp and this season. So, for me, it's just going out there and being the best that I can and starting now. It's not starting the first day of camp. For me, I'm training with different trainers, working on different footwork, technique patterns and stuff like that. For me, it's getting as much knowledge as I can."

Cowboys Byron Jones talks his position switch, Kris Richard, Randy Gregory, and more - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Hey, look, our own RJ Ochoa also caught up with Byron Jones. Here is one of the responses he got.

BTB: You’ve had a really interesting offseason with Kris Richard coming in and the position switch to cornerback, what’s all that been like for you, just all of it kind of happening at once?

Jones: It’s fun, it’s fun. For me just to switch positions, it’s a new challenge, learning a new position. I’ve played it before, but it’s been a while, so I’m kind of like knocking the rust off a little bit. There’s a long way for me to go, but I think Kris Richard is going to be the guy that’s going to get me right. To get my footwork right, get my eyes in the right place, and make me a better football player. Just having his energy in the locker room and having him out there, the guy even laces up cleats with us, he’s out there with OTAs running around with us, sometimes he’s doing drills with us. Just his energy has been great, and his teaching points have been on point for guys like me with long arms and long legs. I’m just using all of my assets and my advantages at the line of scrimmage against the receivers that we’re going to face this year.

SportsDay writers give their latest predictions for the Cowboys in 2018 - SportsDay Staff
In this installment of the Cowboys roundtable, the Sportday panelists make their predictions for 2018. Leading off is David Moore, who likes the Cowboys for double-digit wins.

David Moore: My current prediction isn't the same prediction I'll have once training camp ends. But since training camp hasn't started yet, you don't care about that. Let's put the Cowboys down for an 11-5 record. Personally, it's my belief 12 wins is in reach. This is an outstanding young team with something to prove after a disappointing season. The motivation and talent is there. Jason Garrett has gotten the most out of this team every other season since 2013. This is the "other season.'' And keep this in mind: the NFC East has gone 13 years without a repeat champion. Will Philadelphia break that trend? No. Even if the Cowboys don't win the division, they should win enough games to return to the playoffs. If they don't, there will be consequences.

The others:

  • Matt Mosley: 10-6
  • Kate Hairopoulos: 9-7
  • Kristi Scales: 9-7
  • Jon Machota: 9-7
  • Brandon George: 9-7
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor: 8-8
  • Newy Scruggs: 8-8

Expectations For Gregory & Irving? - Staff
In a new series dealing with the biggest questions facing the Cowboys as training camp nears, the mothership staff wonder what exactly the Cowboys can expect from Randy Gregory and David Irving this year. Here's Helman's take.

David Helman: My expectations for Irving are just a bit higher than Gregory. Irving was suspended for the first month of 2017 and still rebounded to post seven sacks in eight games. On the flip side, we don’t even know if Gregory is going to be reinstated by the league. I expect Irving to buckle down and once again be productive for this pass rush – once he can get himself onto the field. I have no expectations for Gregory, but it certainly would be a great story if he can get himself to training camp and earn his way onto the team. Anything after that would simply be a bonus.

Why La’el Collins is the Cowboys right tackle now, and for the future - Connor Livesay, Blogging The Boys
After a full year as the team’s starting right tackle, many fans had mixed feelings regarding La’el Collins’ play. Don’t worry, he is going to be a very good right tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, Livesay explains, after walking us through Collins' performance in all 16 games.

For his first year at right tackle coming off an injury, La’el Collins did more than enough to stick as the team’s starting right tackle. At the start of the offseason there were rumors that Collins was being considered for a move back to left guard after the signing of Cameron Fleming, and no real candidates at left guard on the roster. Thankfully, Connor Williams fell to the Cowboys in the second round and they landed their starting left guard, which will allow Collins to stay at right tackle.

Which is exactly where he should be after a very positive showing in his first year playing the position. Expect him to be even better in 2018 after having a year to learn, develop, and adjust to the position he hadn’t played since his last year at LSU.

MMQB mailbag: Oulook for Dallas - Albert Breer,
A reader wonders whether there will be any more offseason roster moves in Dallas.

I’ll let Stephen Jones answer this: “There are some things we’re excited about that we think could surprise this year, we feel good about our team. Player acquisition is 365 days a year, so if we see something that’s appealing out there, we could jump on it. But I will say this: We feel really good about our football team as we head into training camp.”

I did ask if he was referencing, potentially, a receiver or tight end. Jones said, “Not necessarily, and I’m not picking out those spots. I’d just say if we see a great player in general or someone that really improves our football team, then we’re not afraid to do that. We’ve cleared quite a bit of cap space, but we also know we’ve gotta pay Dak [Prescott], we gotta pay Zeke [Elliott], and we have Lawrence that we’re trying to negotiate with.”

So that’s where I think the Cowboys are. Ears open, but fine with where they’re at.

Mick Shots: Going Here, There And Everywhere - Mickey Spagnola,
A few random things during this down time includes this.

Busman’s Holiday: You’ve heard the term right, getting away from work but still sort of working. Well, Dak says plans are being made for him and a group of the Cowboys receivers to get together during this down time to work on refining routes and timing. He said Zeke, too. Reminds me of those ’90s glory days, when Michael Irvin would always say, “If 8’s throwing,” in reference to quarterback Troy Aikman, “then I’m going.” Meaning, he’s going to be there. Young receivers should heed those words if Dak is willing to go the extra mile.

Cameron Fleming to stabilize Cowboys’ Achilles’ heel | Kevin Modisette, Cowboys Wire
We hope he never sees the field except in mopup situations, but that doesn't lessen the importance of having Cameron Fleming on the team.

For many teams that wouldn’t seem like an important free-agent signing but for Dallas, it was arguably the most important weakness to fix from 2017.

The offense rolled for Dallas when the offensive line was healthy, but once Tyron Smith went down with nagging injuries to his back, knee and groin, the offense fell apart due to the poor play from Chaz Green and Byron Bell. The hope is Smith can get past the injuries that have plagued him in recent years, but the Cowboys had to upgrade the backup tackle position and Fleming is one of the best swing tackles in the NFL.

Kony Ealy’s low-profile addition could have huge impact on Cowboys’ roster | K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Kony Ealy has been somewhat overlooked with all the other things going on in Dallas, but he could be a key part of the defense.

Ealy will join the Cowboys’ defensive end rotation, along with a cast of other similarly-sculpted athletes.

2017 first-round pick Taco Charlton is 6-foot-6 and weighs 277 pounds. Six-year veteran Tyrone Crawford stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 275 pounds. Third-year pro Charles Tapper, who’s barely played because of injuries, also stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 275 pounds.

Ealy gives Dallas four players at various stages of their careers who all have the same physical stature and none who have really established themselves as powerhouses in the league.

Tyron Smith: Do Cowboys have "Worst Case" Outs for His Contract? - John Williams, Inside the Star
It is not something we want to think about, but this article looks at what the costs are if Tyron Smith should have significant future health issues.

We can't overstate how good Tyron Smith is. He is worth his contract.

Both of those two things that I just wrote are true statements, and yet a question lingers in the back of our minds. Is Tyron Smith's injury troubles, in particular his back, something to be concerned about for the future?

Make no mistake, I believe that you'd rather have Tyron Smith at 13 games a season vs zero games a season, but if the health struggles become more than that, tough questions will have to be asked.

But maybe those questions won't ever have to be asked. Hopefully Tyron returns to his 16 game a season form as he leads the Dallas Cowboys' dominant rushing attack into eternity, but over the last two seasons he missed two games and three games to injury, respectfully, and in 2017 never seemed quite right.

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