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Cowboys News: New depth chart released; why trading for Earl Thomas “would be stupid”; Randy Gregory to play tonight?

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

2018 Cowboys unofficial depth chart 2.0: Dorance Armstrong still third-string, Randy Gregory listed - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys release their second depth chart of the preseason.

One week later not much has changed for the Cowboys. It’s definitely worth noting that Randy Gregory is listed on it, but as this is “unofficial” it isn’t cause for a parade quite yet.

The Cowboys continue to have Antwaun Woods listed as third string despite how many snaps he’s gotten with starters out in Oxnard. Also of note is that Dorance Armstrong is listed behind Kony Ealy for the second straight week, but that’s likely a case of “earn your stripes, rookie” more than anything.

Here’s what the full depth chart currently looks like, with returning players marked in green, rookies marked in yellow, and trade/free agent additions marked in orange:

OFFENSE
POS First Second Third Fourth
WR1 Allen Hurns Michael Gallup Noah Brown Ricky Jeune
LT Tyron Smith Cameron Fleming Jake Campos
LG Connor Williams Kadeem Edwards Dustin Stanton
C Travis Frederick Joe Looney
RG Zack Martin Damien Mama Jacob Alsadek
RT La’el Collins Chaz Green Korren Kirven
TE Geoff Swaim Blake Jarwin Rico Gathers Dalton Schultz, David Wells
SR Cole Beasley Tavon Austin Deonte Thompson Darren Carrington
WR2 Terrance Williams Lance Lenoir K.D. Cannon Mekale McKay
QB Dak Prescott Cooper Rush Mike White Dalton Sturm
RB Ezekiel Elliott Rod Smith Darius Jackson, Trey Williams Bo Scarbrough, Jordan Chunn
FB Jamize Olawale
DEFENSE
POS First Second Third Fourth
DE Tyrone Crawford Taco Charlton Charles Tapper Austin Larkin
DT Datone Jones Brian Price Richard Ash
DT Jihad Ward Daniel Ross Antwaun Woods Lewis Neal
DE DeMarcus Lawrence Kony Ealy Dorance Armstrong Randy Gregory, Joby Saint Fleur
SLB Damien Wilson Justin March-Lillard Chris Covington Eric Pinkins
MLB Jaylon Smith Leighton Vander Esch Tre’von Johnson Joel Lanning
WLB Sean Lee Joe Thomas Kyle Queiro
CB1 Byron Jones Jourdan Lewis Marquez White Donovan Olumba
SCB Anthony Brown Jourdan Lewis Duke Thomas
CB2 Chidobe Awuzie Duke Thomas Charvarius Ward
SS Jeff Heath Kavon Frazier Jameill Showers
FS Xavier Woods Marqueston Huff Tyree Robinson Kam Kelly
SPECIAL TEAMS
POS First Second Third Fourth
P Chris Jones Brett Maher
K Dan Bailey Brett Maher
LS L. P. Ladouceur Scott Daly
H Chris Jones
KOR Jourdan Lewis Duke Thomas Darius Jackson
PR Duke Thomas Lance Lenoir Jourdan Lewis

What the Cowboys’ nondescript group of WRs and TEs means for OC Scott Linehan - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
Mosley sheds some light on what Scott Linehan has been up to this offseason.

This past offseason, Linehan took the opportunity to visit with some of the top college coaches in the country to swap ideas. He wouldn’t reveal any of his destinations, but he admitted to admiring what Lincoln Riley is doing in Norman, Okla. He knows his offense will have to be more creative now that Witten and Bryant are gone, and he seems up to the challenge.

The absence of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant gives this team a completely different feeling, but the coaches seem to relish the opportunity to try a different approach.

”I just think the profiles of the players, they have this position flex,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told The Doomsday Podcast on Sunday. “The old school where you have this X receiver or this Y tight end, I think that’s been very effective, even before I was here. When you now don’t have those mainstays in your offense, you definitely have to have more multiplicity to your approach, especially as far as the location of players. Guys got to be smart enough to move around and do this stuff. We moved guys around more than people think we did in the past. But we have some veterans who have some experience in being in different positions.”


Maybe The Biggest Camp Surprise Ever - Mickey Spagnola, DallasCowboys.com
Spagnola covers familiar territory by designating Randy Gregory as the biggest camp surprise, but his runner-ups are nothing to sneeze at either:

Tavon Austin: Who knew the five-year veteran Tavon Austin, primarily known as a gadget player – receiver/running back with speed to burn – could function as a receiver on the edge? Who knew the former first-round pick the Rams basically gave away to the Cowboys for a mere sixth-round pick would become such a team leader for a young receiver corps?

“This is my No. 1 camp,” Austin says. “The receivers coach (Sanjay Lal) made me better.”

Antwaun Woods: Then there is Antwaun Woods, the first-year defensive tackle. Barely knew the guy was on the 90-man roster. Now, 3½ weeks later, the guy is running first team at the 1-technique tackle position.

Dorance Armstrong: As for fourth-round draft choice Dorance Armstrong, there were flattering assessments of this guy’s talents after the draft. Who knew he would prove during camp to be one of the team’s more effective pass rushers.

After “Best Camp Ever,” Austin Ready For More - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
The mothership breaks down just how good Tavon Austin could be for the Cowboys in 2018.

All Tavon Austin knows is that 2018 already looks and feels better than any other year he can remember.

“This is my No. 1 camp I’ve ever had … hands down,” Austin said after the final practice in Oxnard. “Just because the plays I’ve been making. I’ve heard a lot (of criticism) over the years and for me to come out here with this team and play like this, it feels good. I’m excited about what we’re doing.”

In most interviews Austin has done this camp, and even in the offseason after he signed, he couldn’t help but bring up negative comments he’s heard, especially last year when he struggled to overcome injuries with the Rams.

That’s why he seems so at ease here with the Cowboys. Austin said this situation has never felt so right.

“Right now, I’m back happy again,” Austin said. “And that’s all that matters.”

Stock up, stock down for Cowboys players in last week of practice in Oxnard - Danny Phantom, Blogging the Boys
Phantom shines a light on some of the biggest risers through three weeks of training camp.

Cameron Fleming: There was a huge sigh of relief when the Cowboys signed Fleming in free agency this offseason, but it’s hard to get too worked up about him until we saw him in action. Now, with a solid performance in the first preseason game against the 49ers and a good week of practice, it’s starting to set in that the team has a quality swing tackle. Fleming is in close battle each rep, but he’s a fighter and is making it hard for edge rushers to move through him. He stepped in with the first team while Tyron Smith was sitting out and held his own very well.


Scout’s Eye: Roster Battles To Watch vs. Bengals - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus walks us through eight roster battles worth keeping an eye on against the Bengals, and likes what the Cowboys have in their front seven.

You have to be impressed from what we’ve seen from the defensive line here in Oxnard. There have been more answers than questions, which is always a situation the staff welcomes. It appears that things are settling in for the ends, but Kony Ealy and Charles Tapper could be wildcards with those plans. Ealy has been moving around throughout these practices, playing at both tackle and end. I personally think he has been better playing at tackle, and with need for a bridge player there, that very well could be his spot. The battles are likely going to come down to Daniel Ross, Datone Jones, Jihad Ward and Richard Ash for those tackle spots. Jones and Ward were the starters when we arrived at camp, but now we’re seeing more of a rotation where Ross and Antwaun Woods have played a larger role. These battles are likely to come down to the final game in Houston for those final spots.

The staff has received some outstanding work from this linebacker crew. I feel that they will only keep six, so there are not many opportunities to crack this group. Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson are your likely Day 1 starters in Carolina, with Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas and Chris Covington as the primary backups. The wildcard here is Justin March-Lillard, who would be the guy if they carried seven for the spot. I need to keep an eye on the Covington and March-Lillard battle to see if that flips the other way for that sixth spot. Covington has just returned to practice and has appeared extremely active in doing so.

5 things to watch in Cowboys' preseason game vs. Cincinnati: Will DE Randy Gregory see action? - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Gregory headlines the five things to watch for tonight.

Maybe it's fresh legs, maybe it's motivation -- probably a little of both -- but Gregory has impressed since he began taking part in the team portion of practices Sunday after the Cowboys deliberately eased him back into action.

The defensive end had multiple pressures that would've been sacks during Wednesday's practice if defenders were allowed to touch the quarterback. He's looked effective perhaps faster than expected after missing 30 of 32 games the last two seasons to suspension.

Having last played on New Year's Day in 2017, Gregory said he's "curious" to test game action. He's hardly the only one.

It could be deemed too soon, but whether he takes the field Saturday or in the "dress rehearsal" preseason game Aug. 26, it marks a major step forward.



How did Jason Witten's first game in the booth go? It was quiet - Frank Schwab, Yahoo Sports
Former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten made his "Monday Night Football" debut, and it wasn't splashy, Schwab writes.

Witten’s debut was mostly met with negativity on social media, but what in 2018 isn’t ripped to shreds on Twitter? Witten deserves to be graded on a curve, considering this was his first time calling a game. If he was nervous, that’s understandable. Witten is entering a very difficult spot. The color analyst on “Monday Night Football” is probably one of the top 10 most visible announcer roles in American sports.

The biggest positive about Witten’s first game is not a small thing: His analysis was smart, educational and on point.

Report: DeMarco Murray will join Fox as college football analyst this season - Ryan Young, Yahoo Sports
DeMarco Murray has also joined the broadcasting booth!

Just one month after his retirement from the NFL, DeMarco Murray is headed to the broadcast booth.

The former Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys running back will join Fox as a college football analyst this fall, according to Barry Horn.

Murray played in the NFL for seven seasons before retiring in July. He ran for 659 yards and six touchdowns on 184 carries last season with the Titans.

The three-time Pro-Bowler is perhaps best known for his success in the 2014 season, when he was named the Associated Press’ Offensive Player of the Year. Murray ran for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns on 392 carries that season with the Dallas Cowboys, where he helped lead them to the second round of the playoffs.


The Cowboys trading for Earl Thomas would be stupid - Mac Engel, Star-Telegram
Here’s an interesting take regarding Earl Thomas and the Cowboys. What you say Cowboys Nation?

Seattle is not giving Thomas away for anything other than a high pick.

The former Longhorn is 29 with eight NFL seasons and 121 regulars-season games on his resume; once a Cal Ripken-like figure of consistency at his position, he has missed seven games combined over the last two years.

The Seahawks enjoyed Thomas’ prime years, and the Cowboys would be acquiring an older player who will continue to get old, and continue to get hurt.

Older players get older. Younger players get better.