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Cowboys News: Dak Prescott & WR’s starting to click; Randy Gregory looks great; Tavon Austin to break out?

The Cowboys have finished their training camp trip to Oxnard and the QB-WR connection was a main focus.

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott and Dallas Cowboys work on giving defenses deep thoughts - Todd Archer- ESPN
Even though the Cowboys are a powerhouse on the ground, Dak Prescott knows he has to take deeps shots to keep the defense honest.

“We’ve got some guys that can really stretch the field,” Prescott said. “We knew that coming into the offseason and then going into training camp that was part of our game we needed to strengthen and we needed to get better. And with having some guys that can stretch the field, it’s important that we all get on the same key there.”

WATCH: Signing off from the final practice in Oxnard with a deep ball from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
We’ve made it to the final practice in Oxnard and it ended on a beautifully-thrown deep ball by Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup!

How Dak Prescott, Cowboys WRs are progressing in one particular area of importance - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Dak Prescott’s deep passes were just not there at the beginning of training camp. But that was then, this is now.

“We’re starting to click,” Prescott said Wednesday, the team’s second-to-last day of work in Southern California before it heads home Friday. “Starting to hit the deep ball a lot more in some of these last practices than we did early on. But we knew that would be a part of it, working out the kinks. And we’re all getting comfortable with each other. It’s fun to do it.”

Cowboys don't confirm they'll play Randy Gregory vs. Bengals, but he's looked so good they may be tempted to - David Moore, SportsDay
Will he or won't he play on Saturday?

A huge smile breaks across Randy Gregory's face when asked if he'll play this weekend against Cincinnati. The defensive end doesn't confirm he'll play in his first game in more than 20 months. Neither does head coach Jason Garrett.

But Gregory has looked so good in his four practices the Cowboys may be tempted to put him in for a series or two. If not, he'll certainly see action that next week against Arizona.

"There's no question he's done a really nice job, done a really good job with his rehab, done a really good job when he's had full practices," Garrett said. "He's gone against our No. 1 offense line and he's really held up well, both in the run and rushing the passer. A lot of good things. He's going about it the right way. We're excited about his progress."

Randy Gregory has his best practice so far – Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
Wouldn’t you want to see some snaps from this guy on Saturday?

Gregory emerged with his best effort in practice this summer with a pair of sacks and a crushing move against an offensive lineman in a pass rush/compete drill. From the moment Gregory was reinstated by the NFL after violating the substance abuse policy, the Cowboys have brought him along slowly. He got limited reps with the third team and he did individual drills with defensive line coach Leon Lett.

Gregory got work with the first team, lining up at right defensive end, recording a blindside sack on Dak Prescott by beating La’el Collins, in at left tackle for Tyron Smith. One play later, Gregory had another sack, forcing Prescott to scoot out of the pocket. After the play was over, Gregory ran toward the sideline and raised two fingers in the air.

Before his two sacks, in an extensive pass rush/compete drill, Gregory faced third-team tackle Jacob Campos. No contest. None. Gregory charged him with a bull rush, knocking Campos onto his back for the sack. Gregory also beat tackle Cameron Fleming in the drill.

This is the Gregory the Cowboys will be looking for once the regular season starts Sept. 9 at Carolina.

The Film Room Ep 07: Randy Gregory Scouting Report vs Miami, Michigan State & Rutgers - Brett Kollman
In case you’re really late to the Randy Gregory hype train, or if you just want to re-ignite that excitement, the Film Room video breakdown below by Brett Kollman of SB Nation’s Battle Red Blog will take care of that in 15 minutes. We strongly suggest you invest those 15 minutes to find out just what kind of player the Cowboys could have in Gregory. It’ll be well worth your time.

“When he came off the edge, he came hard. And more often than not, teams were so frickin’ terrified of him that they double- or triple-teamed him so that he didn’t wreck the game.”

“When he’s in the league with a defensive coordinator that will use him more aggressively, there is no telling what kind of havoc he can create. He’s that good. “

”This is a franchise-changing defensive player. He can win you games. He can Win. You. Games. He’s got the physical attributes, the technical development, and the motor to be an All Pro every single season.”

Could a smiling Randy Gregory mean that he’s going Bengal hunting for the Cowboys? - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
If you’re excited now, think about how excited Gregory must be about his comeback.

After four days of practices, including a session on Wednesday with four sacks (“I had two in team and two or three in one-on-one but I’m not counting”), Gregory couldn’t stop smiling about what he’s accomplished so far and his expectations of playing in a game for real on Saturday when the Cowboys face the Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason home opener at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys have made no formal announcement and won’t until game time. But Gregory believes he will play in a game for the first time since the 2016 season finale as the Cowboys continue to ramp up his return from an indefinite suspension for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

“If you guessed that you wouldn’t be wrong,” a coy Gregory said.

“It would be big for me,” he later added. “I am treating the game like any other game, preseason or not. I don’t consider myself safe on this team, by any means. I feel like I have a lot to prove. Going out there performing and performing well is my main goal. I will be ready to go, either way.”

Cowboys hoping this is the year Tavon Austin becomes a complete receiver – Michael Smith, ProFootballTalk
Everything thrown at him in camp Austin has handled well.

Prescott said all of his receivers are starting to get it, but when asked which of the Cowboys’ new receivers has done the best job of getting involved in the offense, Prescott said it was Austin.

“I’d say Tavon for the simple fact, in the other place he was, I didn’t know he was as good of a receiver as he was and could run routes as well as he does, and catch the ball every single time,” Prescott said, via the Star-Telegram. “For me, from that standpoint, he’s not just a gadget guy. You don’t have to run him on speed sweeps and all that opens up the offense and you can use him there as well. He’s a guy you can put out there, inside, outside and trust he’s going to get open.”

Tavon Austin Looks Primed to Break Out as Dallas Cowboys' Playmaker - Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report
The Cowboys are pleased with their offseason acquisition.

He's been everything the team wanted upon agreeing to the deal.

"He's a steal," Dak Prescott said during minicamp, per's Todd Archer.

The quarterback could already see what Austin brought to the offense as a hybrid runner/receiver. However, Austin's turnaround in the blue and silver occurred long before he ever put on the team's uniform.

His misusage within the Rams offense under previous head coach Jeff Fisher from 2013 to 2016 is not a secret. Fisher's staffs lacked creativity and didn't continually place Austin in a position to create, which is amazing after they paid a stiff price to draft him. It's not like his skill set changed from West Virginia to the professional ranks.

A new approach and better attitude should spur more production. Austin appears mentally ready to take on a bigger role after years of not showing those capabilities. Machota reported Austin has been one of Dallas' most consistent performers during camp.

Surprise! These five Dallas Cowboys have exceeded training camp expectations - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Five players that have stood out in training camp. One of them is Lance Lenoir.

Lenoir has taken all his inconsistencies of last season and committed himself to becoming a valued technician in Sanjay Lal’s vision. The rapport between Lenoir and Prescott is undeniable but he also has been a consistent target for the backups. Lance Lenoir realizes that the opportunity in front of him is huge. There may be a few veterans to contend with but there are no established stars in that receiver’s room.

With a developing quarterback, the best trait for a receiver is simply being reliable. With every day that passed in training camp, Lance Lenoir has made it harder for the Cowboys to cut him.

Ex-NFL scout: Fourth-rounder Dorance Armstrong has been impressive - Staff, SportsDay
Bryan Broaddus echoed his comments about the pass rush by giving an endorsement for what he’s seen in Dorance Armstrong.

“They threw him out there [Wednesday] against Tyron Smith and that’s not an easy deal. That’s not easy at all. He beat Smith right off the bat, it was a good rush for him. ... But then the next one came and it’s like, ‘OK, well, Tyron Smith’s not gonna let you win again. OK?’ So he gets hit with a left hand, it slows him up, and then Tyron Smith just punishes him with his right, and so now that’s a wake-up call, like, ‘OK, I had one good one. Now I’d better figure out other ways.’ That’s a way of saying, ‘I shouldn’t just go with the same pass-rush move. I need to develop other moves,’ and I think that was a good thing for him.

Scout’s Notebook: Pass rush takes center stage in final padded practice - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Bryan Broaddus was really impressed with the pass rushers in the Cowboys final padded practice this week.

Big-time rush by DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, forcing Dak Prescott to flush out of the pocket to avoid the pressure. Gregory was able to work a twist stunt with Daniel Ross that put Cameron Fleming and Connor Williams in a bind. Ross was able to get deep on the penetration, which allowed Gregory to work inside. Williams was aware of what was happening, but he just had problems working his body into position to make the block.

The 'human speed bump' on Cowboys' D-line who has surprised at training camp - Kristi Scales, SportsDay
Kristi Scales also named Dorance Armstrong as an impressive standout but she was even more surprised at the performance of Antwaun Woods,

DT ANTWAUN WOODS: This guy is a perfect example of taking advantage of opportunities. With starting nose tackle Maliek Collins on the PUP list for the first three weeks of camp, Woods worked his way up to the first team and started the preseason opener. Talking to defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Rod Marinelli about Woods, Marinelli said Woods had already been around the block thanks to a couple of camps with the Titans. Woods also impressed Marinelli and the staff by showing up at training camp in good shape. Woods was over 330 pounds and was asked to show up at 315. He showed up at 313. He’s shaped like a fire hydrant (he’s only 6-foot-1) but has been a human speed bump on the D-line.

Dez Bryant signs Browns helmet in Cleveland, could contract be next? - Peter Dawson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dez Bryant must feel good about his chances of becoming a Cleveland Brown seeing as he signed a fans helmet in the airport.

Dez Bryant is signing in Cleveland.

On Thursday, photos surfaced on TMZ of the former Cowboys’ wide receiver autographing a Browns’ helmet at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

'Deadlines make deals': Why the Earl Thomas, Cowboys talk won't stop any time soon - Newy Scuggs, SportsDay
The main reason the Earl Thomas talk won't stop is because it makes good headlines, though that's not what Scruggs is talking about.

Scruggs: Deadlines make deals. I think the Seahawks may be ready to move on from Thomas when the regular season comes around.

I just don't see him playing another down for Seattle.

I expect him to be traded. Maybe the Cowboys make the deal or another team gives Seattle a draft pick they want.

Stay tuned.

RJ covers some fun topics for the Cowboys in his latest video. Give it a look as you pass the morning time.

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