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Cowboys news: Randy Gregory speaks; praise for Dorance Armstrong; DeMarcus Lawrence with double-digit sacks?

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Can Demarcus Lawrence repeat his 2017 breakout season?

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Randy Gregory’s Long Journey Back To The Roster - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Randy Gregory spoke to the media for the first time in almost two years, addressing questions about his return as well as his mental health.

To be fair, the situation is vague – and understandably so. Gregory was asked Monday morning if he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as has been speculated before. He declined to get into specifics, given the personal nature of the question.

That said, he added that he’s not blind to the stigma surrounding mental health issues, not to mention the perception that he’s simply a football player who can’t stop himself from smoking weed.

“I think the stigma obviously, what I’ve been known to get in trouble for is the marijuana issues, substance abuse, so that’s what is going to stick to the media and the fans and things like that, and that’s fine,” he said. “But I just would like everyone to realize that there is more to it and there is a stigma behind it and it’s not just somebody walking around carelessly doing what they want.”

Once far-fetched, Randy Gregory is with the Cowboys again. Now comes the most important game plan of his life - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Hairopolous uses Gregory’s media comments to ponder the young defensive end’s future.

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory spoke Monday of the fun of rejoining his teammates after spending nearly all of the past two seasons suspended for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

He’s back, in his No. 94 jersey, feigning a move outside before cutting inside and getting to the quarterback, as he did in his first 11-on-11 practice of training camp Sunday. He spent Monday morning getting bendy during a yoga session with his fellow players. The heavy pull of his illness made this all far-fetched not so long ago.

Now he just has to stick to the most important game plan of his life to stay here.


Mailbag: Dorance Armstrong’s Camp - Bryan Broadus & Rob Philllips, DallasCowboys.com
High praise for the rookie pass rusher.

Question: How does Dorance Armstrong look in camp compared to how Taco Charlton looked at this point last year in camp?

Bryan: Armstrong is a more accomplished pass rusher. He understands what it takes to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. More to work with in the tool belt than what Charlton had. I will say that Charlton is getting better at developing some moves.

Rob: Armstrong has had a better camp than Charlton did last year. In fact, Armstrong has been one of the most consistent players on defense, period. Last year Taco seemed to be finding his way in terms of adding pass rush moves to his arsenal and maintaining balance to finish rushes. He has definitely improved.

Encouraging stat predicts DeMarcus Lawrence will have another great season - Dave Halprin, BTB
Can Demarcus Lawrence repeat his breakout 2017 season? We looked at a stat Bill Barnwell presented at ESPN.

The good news for Lawrence is that his sack total is in line with his hits, given that the Cowboys star racked up 26 hits last season. Using the 45 percent measure, we would estimate that Lawrence should have racked up about 11.7 sacks last season. It’s not quite 14.5 sacks, but it’s close enough that Lawrence’s double-digit sack production seems legitimate. It would not be a surprise to see him top 10 sacks again in 2018.

Zeke is ready, but Cowboys still seek answers, including at WR - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys- ESPN
With the Cowboys’ set to depart their Oxnard, California digs later this week Archer takes time to list what has been learned during the team’s training camp.

Kris Richard’s impact – Richard has brought a different attitude and technique to the Cowboys’ corners. No longer are they playing off and soft. They are challenging receivers at the line of scrimmage. They want to use the length of Byron Jones and the physicality of Chidobe Awuzie at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the offense’s timing. The defense has also been more aggressive in its pass rushing, sending one linebacker more than Rod Marinelli has done in previous camps, and that’s another sign of Richard’s tone-setting.


Cowboys Sign 2, Take Maliek Collins Off PUP - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Getting up to speed on a number of roster moves made by the team Monday.

Most notable is the news that Maliek Collins passed a physical and has been removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list. That means Collins is technically cleared to practice – although it’s doubtful he will do so for the time being. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Sunday that Collins is making good progress in his return from a foot injury, but he is still not quite ready for practice.

Dallas signs former Ducks WR Darren Carrington Jr. - Aaron Frentes, NBC Sports Northwest
The former Oregon and Utah WR will get a chance to play in the NFL after all.

Carrington, who played at Oregon from 2013 through 2016, played last season at Utah after former UO coach Willie Taggart dismissed him from the team for violating team rules.

Carrington, who was suspended for six games in 2014 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the national championship game played at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, is a talented receiver who has the skills to play in the NFL but has hobbled his career by repeatedly making poor decisions away from the field.

Former Arizona Wildcats lineman Jacob Alsadek signs with Dallas Cowboys - Sean Frye, Arizona Desert Swarm
Dallas gets some depth on the offensive line.

Alsadek went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft and was then signed by the Green Bay Packers, who released him less than a month after signing him in May.

He was committed to competing in the Alliance of American Football League before the Cowboys rang him up with a need for depth along the offensive line.

Alsadek was a four-year starter at Arizona.


Reviewing the Cowboys’ defense against San Francisco – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Sturm continued his film breakdown of the Cowboys' first exhibition game.

Over​ the weekend,​ I​ spent​ a fair amount​ of​ time​ looking at​ the​ Cowboys​ defense.​ I assessed what​ I​ have​​ seen both in training camp and in the first preseason game against San Francisco. The Cowboys defense is going to control much of the team’s fate this season, despite many wanting to go into an all-Dak/Zeke-all-the-time conversation that sells more jerseys and inspires more fantasy football thoughts.

In the real football world, the ability to slow down the enemy on Sunday is everything. Take just one look at the Cowboys’ schedule and you’ll quickly see the “Murderer’s Row” of opposing QBs for nearly all 16 weeks. September alone offers Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, and Matthew Stafford. I don’t see a single CJ Beathard on the entire 16-game run, so the defense had better fully pull its own weight. We anticipate the offense taking a bit to move on from its icons – Romo, Witten, and Dez – who have exited stage left in the last 18 months from The Star.

Like most of us, Sturm came away impressed, especially with the performance of the young players.

Regardless, there are plenty of young players on this defense who are not getting much buzz around the league. Many have not made a name for themselves yet, but when you see them on the field, you can start to see the plan. I really enjoyed studying that first game from this perspective and hopefully, now you can see some clarity in how it is coming together. I would imagine adding Lee, Collins, and Gregory soon will only make it better.

Overreacting to Preseason Week 1 - Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report
Tanier has never been a fan of the Cowboys, and his take on the 49ers is as close to a Cowboys compliment as he'll likely get.

The 49ers appeared to treat the first preseason game like they were a 12-4 team with a five-time Pro Bowler at quarterback, not the rebuilding team that's still in need of step-up players that they really are. The Cowboys offense marched through the 49ers defense on the opening drive, and in his one series, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn't look much like the MVP candidate we keep hearing he is.

The 49ers need to display a better pass rush, greater skill-position depth and quality, and more of a spark over the next few weeks.

49ers news: Team to sign RB Alfred Morris for additional depth - David Fucillo, Niners Nation
Former Cowboys' running back Alfred Morris is now a San Francisco 49er. Sister site Niners Nation fills in the details.

There are few running backs who know Kyle Shanahan’s system quite like Morris. Washington spent a sixth round pick on Morris in 2012, and he had a monster rookie season with Shanahan as his OC. Morris finished the season with 1,613 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He had 1,275 yards in 2013 with Shanahan, and then 1,074 the year after Shanahan left.

Morris is an easy plug-and-play for the remainder of the preseason, but it will be interesting to see how the depth chart shakes out. Raheem Mostert and Joe Williams were competing for the third running back role, with Jeremy McNichols and Jeff Wilson behind them. Morris turns 30 in December, but he very well could jump in and make a quick impact.


Why are there no lefty quarterbacks in the NFL? - Nick Toney, NFL.com
Did you know there’s not a single left-handed quarterback on an NFL roster?

There’s a word for all the left-handed quarterbacks in today’s NFL.

That word is extinct.

Exactly zero professional passers are left-handed, according to NFL Stats and Research. Kellen Moore was the NFL’s lone lefty two seasons ago; he now coaches quarterbacks in Dallas.

”I think all the smart lefties went and played baseball,” Moore told Eric Edholm of FiveThirtyEight.com. “The sport is kind of designed for them. There’s a little more lefty influence in that sport.”

Bonus points to those who can name the last lefty to throw a touchdown pass in the NFL:

QB Dak Prescott’s father arrested for marijuana - Clarence E. Hill, Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
From the unnecessary distractions department comes this report that Dak Prescott’s father was arrested over the weekend.

To his credit, Prescott has remained singularly focused on getting ready for the upcoming season and has not let any distractions impact his play in practice and games, including the reported arrest of his father.

Owner Jerry Jones acknowledged as much on Sunday.

Pro Football Hall of Fame shouldn't be voted on by writers - Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
Wetzel makes some intriguing points about the HoF voting process.

Sportswriters and broadcasters shouldn’t be involved in the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement voting process. Journalists cover the news or offer commentary on the news. They don’t make the news. It’s a simple concept. Trying to justify anything else is an exercise in mental gymnastics and situational ethics.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a business. It enjoys non-profit status with the IRS, but the bottom line is fed by selling tickets, merchandise and television rights. Nothing wrong with that, but it, in turn, should be able to run its own voting process via a panel of former players, coaches, executives or maybe a fan vote or a blind draw or whatever else it dreams up.

Why are sportswriters or sports broadcasters even considered qualified to handle this task? Only in rare occasions did they play pro football or coach pro football or have anything to do with pro football other than report on pro football.

It’s not the media’s sport. It’s not the media’s business. It’s the media’s job to cover the sport and the business. Big difference.

Creating a good enshrinement process is extremely challenging. So what? That’s the Hall of Fame’s problem. Let them figure it out. Then cover the process and offer commentary as needed.

You want to write columns or produce pieces that offer your opinion on who should be an MVP or whether T.O. deserves to be in the Hall? Absolutely produce that content. Anything beyond that has never made sense


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