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Cowboys News: Can rookie Michael Gallup fill void left by Dez Bryant?

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

VIDEO: Can Michael Gallup fill void left by Dez Bryant? -
CBS draft analyst Chris Trapasso joins Casey Keirnan to break down why he believes Gallup is capable of filling the void left by Bryant's release.

NFL Training Camp Battles with the Biggest Fantasy Implications - Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report
It's a mathematical certainty: Somebody will eventually emerge as the leading wide receiver in Dallas.

Allen Hurns vs. Terrance Williams vs. Michael Gallup vs. Cole Beasley

What will the passing game look like without wideout Dez Bryant? The Dallas Cowboys signed Allen Hurns to a two-year contract and selected Michael Gallup in the third round of April's draft to help fill the void. Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams remain as prominent holdovers. Don't forget Deonte Thompson, who inked a one-year deal in March. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's assessment of the position left the door wide-open for an emerging playmaker.

"It's a pretty unique competition because there's really nobody established," he said last month, per Rob Phillips of the Cowboys' official website. "[Beasley] is pretty much the established guy because of playing that slot position—we all know that. But we're moving him around more."

According to Phillips, seven receivers took first-team reps through minicamp—a number that doesn't include Williams, who's recovering from a broken right foot. We know the top four names at the position, but training camp and the preseason will determine the pecking order. The pass-catcher with the strongest rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott becomes a solid fantasy asset.

Randy White: Cowboys will be better 'as a team' without Dez Bryant - Staff, SportsDay
Speaking on 103.3 FM, the Manster spoke favorably of Bryant, but also said releasing Bryant was a "good move."

Q: No Dez Bryant, how much do you think that will help the Cowboys?

White: "We'll have to see. I think Dez was a big part of that football team. Now, I think he was, to a certain extent, became a distraction. You know, I met Dez, and I had a preconceived opinion of what Dez was going to be like, and he was one of the nicest, most polite people that I have ever met in my life. He said, 'Mr. White, it's a pleasure to meet you. It's good to see you. I've always heard about you.'

"So, I'll never be a Dez 'not-liker' but I think the team, as a team, will be better. I think that was a good move for the Cowboys to make. And somebody is going to have to pick up the slack. They need a deep threat that can get separation down there. They got to make some big plays. You can't always run the football. You got to have somebody out there that's a threat, and I don't think they had that with Dez there at the end."

Cowboys, NFL have plenty to gain from a Randy Gregory success story – Saad Yousuf, The Athletic
If Gregory lives up to his talent expectations, he can easily be the face of the Cowboys’ 2015 draft class.

Aside from becoming a second-round success story, Gregory’s revival would also help salvage the 2015 draft for the Cowboys. Currently, it doesn’t look great – especially compared to what the team did in 2016, headlined by Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.

First-round selection Byron Jones hasn’t been a bust, evident by the team picking up the fifth-year option on his contract earlier this offseason. He has provided solid play from various positions in the secondary in his first three seasons. But with only two career interceptions and a couple of forced fumbles, he has not truly stood out. After adding him in the first round and Gregory in the second, it hasn’t been pretty.

Chaz Green is probably best-known for helping Adrian Clayborn earn a bigger contract this offseason after Green allowed five sacks to Clayborn and never played another snap the rest of the season. Damien Wilson has been a decent special teams player but aside from allowing a game-winning touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in his rookie year, he hasn’t contributed very much. Ryan Russell, Mark Nzeocha, and Laurence Gibson are all some combination of out of the league or on other teams’ bench. The final selection, tight end Geoff Swaim, has less than 100 receiving yards in his NFL career, though is expected to see an increased role with the Cowboys this season following Jason Witten’s retirement.

VIDEO: What to Expect From Randy Gregory This Season -
NBC 5’s Paul Jones and Jean-Jacques Taylor try to temper expectations on Gregory.

BTB Mailbag: Are we sure Randy Gregory is a lock for a Cowboys roster spot? - Danny Phantom, Blogging The Boys
Short answer: "Of course."

But gone are the days that this defense’s success desperately needs his help. Gregory has the raw talent to make this improving defense even better and the Cowboys organization are well aware of that. While nothing is certain, Gregory’s chances to make this team are very, very good.

Cowboys camp preview: Who steps up to fill the void left behind by Jason Witten? - Brandon George, SportsDay
George reflects on the youth movement at tight end.

Blake Jarwin, who went undrafted last year out of Oklahoma State, could be considered the front-runner for the starting job. He's already a favorite of Cowboys executives.

And don't count out rookie Dalton Schultz. The fourth-round pick out of Stanford could emerge among the group of five. He's expected to make a smooth transition after playing in a pro-style offense at Stanford.

In a NFC East with many new faces, Cowboys' Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott don't feel so young at all - Tim Cowlishaw, SportsDay
The Cowboys are heading into the third season with the same QB/RB, unlike the other NFC East teams.

In so many ways, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are just getting started on their professional careers. That's why, as they prepare for the start of their third Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif., this week, it's so odd to find them as the only sign of backfield stability in the powerful NFC East.

Whatever importance you attach to Prescott building relationships with Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson and rookie Michael Gallup -- not to mention the entire collection of tight ends -- there's little doubt that Elliott doing what he needs to do to prepare for his heaviest workload yet is also what the next six weeks are all about.

Even in a lost season, when Elliott carried the ball 20 times, the Cowboys were 6-3. When he didn't, they were 3-4. That's not a staggering difference, but it's more than enough to prove meaningful in a tight, competitive division where every other team is either fitting a rookie back (Barkley, Guice) or veteran acquired last season (Ajayi) into their plans of attack.

Ezekiel Elliott is one of the NFL’s most violent runners. Will the new helmet rule strike him at the wrong time? - Terez Paylor, Yahoo
A lot of the discussion about the new helmet rule has been about the defense. But what about the offense?

Every player — even quarterbacks, running backs and offensive linemen — is subject to the rule, which allows for ejections if an official decides a player lowered his head upon contact when he didn’t have to.

Well, what about fourth-and-1, when every running back in NFL history has lowered his head and attempted to power through the line? And what about every running play, where offensive linemen have been taught for years to “fire out low”?

It’s going to take a miracle for this rule, which is the NFL’s version of college football’s targeting penalty, to not be an abject disaster. Many NFL writers, myself included, watched with surprise and concern as Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, gamely did his best to explain these new rules at May’s owners meetings in Atlanta.

To his credit, Riveron patiently fielded my questions afterward as he did his best to convey that it won’t become a nightmare. But it was hard to see how this new rule won’t cause some serious problems.


BBV Mailbag: The offseason is almost over edition - Ed Valentine, Big Blue View
Götterdämmerung for Eli Manning in New York?

Dennis Karakos asks: Do you think that the Giants will keep Manning as the starter for this season even if he clearly is not getting it done, but they are having some offensive success because of Saquon Barkley run play? If not, who will be the likely quarterback to replace him and will he have more success with receivers?

Ed says: Dennis, I’m not sure what you are getting at with “more success with receivers.” But, I will say this about the quarterback situation in 2018. I believe that as long as Manning is healthy and the Giants are in contention, he will be playing. If they are out of the playoff race Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta have to get opportunities to play, and I believe they will.

Eagles have 11 players who will be at least 30 years old by the end of the season - BLG, Bleeding Green Nation
Most other teams might be concerned about fielding such an old team. Not a reason for concern in Philly, obviously, where the merest hint of criticism of the team is met with a worn-out "The SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS are being disrespected!!!!" tirade.

The Eagles’ roster does not lack veteran experience. 11 players currently on their roster will be 30 or older by the end of the 2018 season.

Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR? - JP Finlay, NBC Sports Washington
They don't, but the soothsayers in Washington are employing the same spin we're seeing in Dallas.

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl.