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Cowboys news: Dallas finally takes wraps off Tavon Austin in OTAs.

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The minicamp is next (and mandatory), so let’s take a look at the last media session of the voluntary stuff.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA
At last, a look at Tavon in action.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys finally increase OTA workload of web back Tavon Austin - KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The Wednesday OTA finally saw a heavy dose of the new "web back".

Word has been scarce through the first two weeks of OTAs exactly what Dallas had planned for Tavon Austin. The speedster with fumbling problems was acquired via a draft-day trade and is expected to bring an exciting element to the Cowboys’ offense in 2018. It’s been kept under wraps though, as he’s been sparingly used during the sessions open to the media the first two weeks.

That all changed on Wednesday in OTA session No. 9.

Scout’s Eye: Tavon Austin In The Red Zone; More - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
On the final day of OTAs, Broaddus liked what he saw from Tavon Austin.

I would never think of Tavon Austin as a red zone threat due to his size, but this coaching staff is sure trying. They’re moving Austin around in order to create some 1-on-1 matchups to take advantage of his quickness. Despite working in a small area with bodies around him, Austin was able to make a nice hands catch from Prescott and split two defenders to get into the end zone.


DeMarcus Ware shares knowledge; mentors Cowboys' pass-rushers - Todd Archer, ESPN
You may have seen that Cowboys great DeMarcus Ware was in Denver last week, passing on some knowledge to the Broncos. Well, he showed up at The Star to do the same thing for Dallas.

Ware spent nine seasons with the Cowboys, becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks with 117. He spent three seasons with the Broncos, picking up 21.5 more sacks and a Super Bowl ring.

“The teaching aspect I really enjoy,” Ware said. “Teaching the guys the technique work but then seeing it out on the field, how they progress from learning it from me and then how they apply it to their own bodies.”

During Wednesday’s organized team activity, Ware took an active role in the pass-rushing drills with the entire group. He demonstrated moves off the edge with speed and also with power. After the practice, he spent about 25 minutes with the young pass-rushers. At the end of the sessions, Ware’s shirt was sweat-soaked.

Notes: D-Ware Teaching; LT Depth; Jarwin’s Potential; Injuries; More | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Blake Jarwin has been one player who has gotten some notice during the OTAs.

In the last two OTA workouts open to the media, Blake Jarwin has caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Cooper Rush at the end of practice.

The first-year tight end has shown an ability to get downfield and separate from defenders during these voluntary workouts, and he has an opportunity for snaps in a competition with Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers and rookie Dalton Schultz.

The Cowboys clearly like Jarwin’s potential. They signed him to the 53-man roster last October after other teams reportedly had interest in signing the undrafted rookie off their practice squad.

Battling Physical & Emotional Issues, David Irving Still Not At Cowboys OTAs | Mike Fisher, 105.3 The Fan
David Irving working on getting in shape during OTAs is causing a lot of concern. But the situation is a bit complicated, and the team seems to be working with him.

Irving, a potential break-out player launching into a contract year (starting with his having signed the second-round tender that will pay him $2.91 million) is, in short, not in shape physically, emotionally or mentally.

Irving is trying to escape a turbulent offseason that's included a false accusation of domestic violence from his girlfriend, the breakup of that relationship and what amounts to a custody battle involving his 5-year-old daughter Zoe - needs both.

“I just want peace,” Irving recently told me. “Peace for me to be able to do my job and get on with my life. And mostly, peace for Zoe.”

He also needs to get himself in physical shape. The 6' 7" Irving wants to play at around 295 pounds. Not long ago he admitted to me he was 12 to 15 pounds heavier than that, and he may be worse off now.

The Cowboys have a concern that participating in the demands of OTAs might represent an injury risk for someone not in the right condition. Meanwhile, my sense is that Irving himself might not want to be on the field while performing far below optimal level.


Mike White vs. Cooper Rush: Who backs up Dak Prescott for Cowboys in 2018? - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Dak Prescott is the starter, but the battle for the backup job between Cooper Rush and Mike White should be a lot of fun in preseason.

The Cowboys wanted a developmental QB and they found one in White, whom they loved heading into the draft. Look for him to make the 53-man roster this year as they work to polish the diamond, plus he's in good position to shed the "developmental" tag altogether in 2018. As it stands, the Cowboys now have two quite capable young signal-callers sitting behind Prescott, should he ever go down with injury or -- for whatever reason -- no longer be seen as the franchise QB they believe him to be. If neither of those things happen, the team will carry on with impressive insurance while building value to land assets for either Rush or White in the future.

Cowboys’ 1st-round pick Vander Esch misses OTA with sprained ankle | KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
A nick in OTAs for the first rounder.

The Cowboys’ first round pick hasn’t been receiving many headlines during the first few sessions of organized team activities the last three weeks. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has been in on the starting nickel defense each of the previous two weeks when the media was allowed in to The Star in Frisco to observe practice.

On Wednesday, however, he was replaced in the lineup by Justin March-Lillard, however. The reason? According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, a sprained ankle that the team does not consider to be too serious.

Notes: D-Ware Teaching; LT Depth; Jarwin’s Potential; Injuries; More | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

Blake Jarwin has been one player who has gotten some notice during the OTAs.

In the last two OTA workouts open to the media, Blake Jarwin has caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Cooper Rush at the end of practice.

The first-year tight end has shown an ability to get downfield and separate from defenders during these voluntary workouts, and he has an opportunity for snaps in a competition with Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers and rookie Dalton Schultz.

The Cowboys clearly like Jarwin’s potential. They signed him to the 53-man roster last October after other teams reportedly had interest in signing the undrafted rookie off their practice squad.

Brian Urlacher opens up about Leighton Vander Esch comparisons - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Cowboys first round pick Leighton Vander Esch has been compared to Brian Urlacher. So it is interesting to see what Urlacher himself has to say.

"With middle linebacker, the thing he's going to have to learn is the terminology first of all," said the four-time All Pro to NBC DFW. "It's a big change [going] from college to the NFL, and there's so many things that happen pre-snap. Lucky for him, that defense is simple. I played that defense for five years, [or rather] my last nine years but under coach Marinelli for five years.

"[It's a] simple defense and that's not going to be hard for him to learn. It's just getting the terminology down and getting the communication part right because there's a lot of communication that takes place in that defense. So if he learns that, once you get out there, play fast. And he's athletic or they wouldn't have drafted him where they did, so I think he'll do well. Just gotta learn the simple things early.

"...In college he was pretty good. He played in the Mountain West. I played in the Mountain West as well. He played at Boise State and he's similar to my [college] size, and he runs well so I think all the measurables are there for him."

While waiting on new contract, Zack Martin is still sitting - but Dallas Cowboys have a minicamp plan - Mike Fisher, 247 Sports
One concern for the Cowboys as they wrap up OTAs is the unsettled contract situation with star RG Zack Martin. But as this article details, the two sides have no acrimony, and plenty of reasons to work things out.

1) Martin's goal here, along with seeking a contract that would make him the NFL's highest-paid guard (think in excess of five years and $67 million) is to avoid a needless injury that would sidetrack his big-money deservedness.

2) The Cowboys know that when the bell rings, Martin -- a Pro Bowler in each of his four NFL seasons -- will be ready. And even though he's staying off the field at The Star, he's in the weight room and the meeting room.

3) There would be substantial fines for missing mandatory work. Under the CBA, the 2018 fine numbers are $14,070 for missing one day, $28,150 for missing a second day, and $42,215 for missing a third day. That's $84,435. The Cowboys do not intend to create $84,435 worth of animosity here.

Paul Alexander says coaching Cowboys offensive line is like heaven | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Most of the pieces have been brought up before, but this is a nice way of tying the Paul Alexander-to-Dallas story all together.

There is no question that coming to the Dallas Cowboys was a dream come true for offensive line coach Paul Alexander.

After coaching the previous 23 seasons in relative obscurity with the Cincinnati Bengals, he was looking for a change.

And to join a team like the Cowboys, with three first-round picks among four first-round talents on a line that has already been considered the best in the league, Alexander has seeming died and gone to line coach heaven.

"In my lifetime, I'm 58, this is the best opportunity for a line coach that has ever opened in the National Football League," Alexander said. "When it opened, Coach Garrett called me. I was at home. I answered the phone. I knew his number. And I said, 'Coach Garrett, I was hoping you'd call me!'

"It worked out great. I came down and the next day I had a job. It was wonderful."

Cowboys' Passing Game Could Take Off In 2018 - Ben Grimaldi, Pro Football Talk Line
There have been critics of both the overall wide receiver group in Dallas and the quarterback unit. But this points out some other factors that could give the aerial game a real boost.

Not everything that helps has to do with the quarterback or the receivers. A full 16 games with Ezekiel Elliott to keep the defense honest will be a key to having a better passing game. As will being protected by a better offensive line. Prescott was sacked 25 times as a rookie with a veteran offensive line that featured Doug Free and a stud guard in Ronald Leary. Without them in 2017, the unit suffered and Dak went down 32 times last year. Expect a much better performance from a group that added Connor Williams in the draft, will keep La’el Collins at right tackle and brought in a quality swing tackle. Keeping Prescott upright and not taking hits will do wonders.

Dallas Cowboys benefit from young roster that still has experience - Todd Archer, ESPN
According to what we are hearing, there are going to be some significant changes on the field for the Cowboys this season. When you are doing something new, it doesn't hurt to have some young, impressionable players.

The Cowboys are a young team. They have only one every-down player in his 30s (Lee, who is 31). Ladouceur (37) and Bailey (30) are the only other players in their 30s.

“That means we have 87 guys who are in their 20s and a lot of those guys in the 20s are 22, 23, 24,” coach Jason Garrett said. “That’s the nature of rosters in the NFL. There is turnover every year. You really have to do a great job this time of year of laying the foundation for your football team.

“What I mean by that is laying out the expectations for how you want to do things, introducing your schemes and really holding them accountable to learning each and every day because it goes quickly.”

Cowboys OTA: Full recap of the Cowboys last practice before minicamp next week - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Check out Michael's recap for the social media buzz from Wednesday's OTA session. And here are some notable tweets.