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Cowboys News: Why rookie WR Michael Gallup could make Cowboys fans forget about Dez Bryant by midseason

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones: Cowboys starting Michael Gallup part of plan - Jeff Smith,
The Dallas Cowboys owner didn't hold back his praise and expectations for rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup.

The expectations were high early on for the team’s third-round pick in former Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup. Since that point, they’ve only continued to grow at a rapid rate. So much so, that on Friday, the Cowboys owner told 105.3 The Fan that he’s expecting Gallup to start in Week 1.

3 Key Matchups in Cowboys’ Preaseason Week 3 tilt vs Cardinals - Marcus Johnson, Cowboys Wire
Rookie WR Michael Gallup has been winning battles against the Cowboys cornerbacks, but can he show out against one of the league's best defenders?

Gallup is having an excellent camp and preseason, and is making himself a household name among Cowboys fans.

This week he will face a big test in perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson. Peterson is one of the last true lock down corners who follow the best receiver every snap.

While there’s no guarantee Peterson will follow Gallup throughout the game, it would be ideal for Gallup’s development. Gallup had some collegiate struggles against press coverage in college, and Peterson in one of the best press corners in football. Fans will see what the third-round pick is made of.

I love Dez, but I’m taking the over.

Scout’s Notebook: End Of Week Standouts - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
You just can't say enough about how well the Cowboys new rookie wide receiver is playing. Broaddus mentions him in his weekly standouts piece over at the Mothership.

Michael Gallup continues to find ways to make big catches down the field. It is impressive how slow he starts off the line, but by the time he’s halfway through the route, he has already begun to separate from the defender. This was the case when Gallup was running stride-for-stride with Chidobe Awuzie, then as he was tracking the ball from Prescott he was three yards behind Awuzie before he had a chance to react. Even Tyree Robinson had an angle on the play but Gallup ran right through it.

Gallup has done an amazing job going up and getting the ball and that could come in handy when the Cowboys get inside the red-zone as his hands become magnets when the offense gets deep.

Speaking of red-zone...

Red-Zone Efficiency: Highest red-zone grades among NFL teams, Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus
Between Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, the Cowboys grade out the highest of any team in the league when it comes to red-zone rushing.

Leading the charge for the Dallas Cowboys’ top-ranked rushing offense in the red zone, third-year running back Ezekiel Elliott was one of the most efficient runners inside the 20-yard line this past season. He rushed for six touchdowns and seven first downs across 40 red-zone attempts en route to a 79.3 rushing grade. He also forced five missed tackles and averaged 1.9 yards after contact per attempt on said carries.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott also contributed on the ground inside the red zone in 2017, as he earned the top-ranked rushing grade (81.3) among quarterbacks with at least five attempts inside the red zone. He turned six red-zone carries into three touchdowns and two first downs.

Jerry Jones said team will adjust to injuries - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to health on the offensive line as all four of the team returning starters along the offensive line are dealing with injuries.

Left tackle Tyron Smith missed the last two days of practice while nursing a sore hamstring and right tackle La’el Collins was out Friday with a calf contusion and an illness.

Right guard Zack Martin is out until the start of the regular season with a hyper-extended knee and center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

That leaves the rookie Connor Williams as the only healthy body. If a rookie who is still learning the position is the only starter on the line, that could affect whether Dak Prescott gets any reps in the game.

The Cowboys don’t believe there is any need to use the game to get extra reps with Prescott and center Joe Looney, who is filling in for Frederick. Garrett said the team will get enough in practice and Prescott said the two have good chemistry from his rookie season when he played behind Tony Romo in OTAs and minicamp before being named the starter.

These are the questions the Cowboys must ask themselves when deciding if starters should play against Cardinals - David Moore, SportsDay
There is no default answer about whether or not a player should be on the field in a preseason game. It’s a balancing act between preparation and protection that the Cowboys head coach understands as he explains his approach.

We turn to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, a graduate of some Ivy League school named Princeton, for his macro assessment.

”We believe it’s important to play guys at some point in the preseason to get them ready for regular-season action. We feel like they’re more compromised in the regular season if they don’t play at all in the preseason.

”Now, you take each of the cases independently and certain positions need to play more in the preseason ... certain positions probably need to play less,” he continued. “It changes from year to year, it changes from guy to guy and position to position.”

Who Treats The Third Preseason Game Like It’s … Important? - Kyle Odegard,
Teams are increasingly prioritizing health of stars over playing time.

There was a time when NFL teams would regularly play their starters into the third quarter of the third preseason game. Now, some believe this contest is nearly as meaningless as its effect on the standings.

The A-list actors are ceding more and more time to their understudies. Additionally, many teams have shown a propensity to use a quicker hook on their big names than in the past.

[Cardinals head coach] Steve Wilks is not holding out his stars, but he is also in a different situation. As a first-year coach, Wilks needs preseason action to build chemistry. While Johnson, Bradford and Fitzgerald will likely be pulled earlier than the other starters, they are all expected to play.

The Cardinals will be inexperienced at defensive tackle, as Robert Nkemdiche (foot), Corey Peters (knee) and Olsen Pierre will all sit out. Cornerback Jonathan Moxey (hamstring) also will not play.

The Cowboys will be without star linemen Zack Martin (knee) and Travis Frederick (Guillain-Barré syndrome) along with Prescott and Elliott.

53-man roster projection: Injury concerns have turned Cowboys normal dress rehearsal into roster battle palooza - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
What was supposed to be a dress rehearsal has turned into roster battle palooza, which ell eyes focused on roster battles. Here’s what Hill sees happening on the defensive line.

Defensive end (5)

Locks: DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton, Dorance Armstrong, Randy Gregory

Still to be decided: Charles Tapper, Kony Ealy

Add in Tyrone Crawford who is playing end and tackle and the Cowboys set on the edge. They will like to be able to slip Tapper to the practice squad. Ealy has shown little since he arrived and will hope to show he can make impact at tackle.

Defensive tackle (5)

Locks: Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins Antwaun Woods, Brian Price, David Irving (suspended)

Still to be decided: Daniel Ross, Datone Jones, Jihad Ward

Crawford has kicked inside from end and will likely open the season as the starting under tackle. Collins, Woods and Price are also picks to stick. Jones is out with a sprained knee. Ward is the wild card. He needs to have a strong finish to make the final roster.

The latest update makes it feel like an Earl Thomas trade isn’t happening - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Jerry Jones said on Friday that he hasn’t had any more talks with the Seattle Seahawks than he’s had with any other team.

There are many hopeful Earl Thomas truthers that will likely read into Jerry’s comments on Friday as posturing and not being totally forthcoming in an effort to downplay Earl’s inevitable arrival in Dallas, but that possibility seems slimmer than ever. If the Cowboys and Seahawks were truly going to strike a deal on the still-holding-out Thomas then logic says it would have happened already.

None of this is meant to say that Earl Thomas can’t end up with the Cowboys at some point this season, but every day that goes by the possibility shrinks just a little (many would still persist that it grows considering Thomas is still holding out). Jerry Jones dodging the topic like the legendary Patches O’Houlihan only seems to corroborate this idea.

Did Cowboys VP just hint at last-minute trades prior to roster-cut deadline? - OCC, Blogging The Boys
Stephen Jones said the Cowboys will look to improve the team before and after the roster cut deadline. OCC looks at the 10 trades the Cowboys made over the last five years around roster cuts and comes away with a sobering conclusion.

None of these trades delivered world-beaters to Dallas. In fact, outside of Brice Butler, none of the players acquired in the last five years lasted more than a season in Dallas, and the acquired picks haven’t paid off either.

But expecting world-beaters from these types of trades is not realistic anyway. These trades are about churning the bottom of the roster.

Cowboys vs. Cardinals: 3 players who could be used as trade bait - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Roster cuts are going to be tough and that could mean some roster-worthy players won’t be playing football in big D. The front office could try to take advantage of some of their position surplus and strike a deal.

Tapper has been a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma ever since joining the Cowboys in 2016. The former fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma wowed everyone when he ran quick as lighting at the scouting combine, proving he was miscast as a 3-4 defensive end (hello, Dorance Armstrong). However two years worth of injuries have limited him to just one regular season appearance, in which he promptly got a sack.

He already has a QB hit, forced fumble and fumble recovery in the two preseason games.

There’s so much depth now for Dallas at defensive end that there may not be room for Tapper on the 53-man roster. He’s behind DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Tyrone Crawford, Taco Charlton and likely Armstrong, as well. Tapper and Kony Ealy will try to convince Dallas to carry six defensive ends, but that seems like a long shot.

With the dearth of pass rushers around the league, it’s hard to imagine giving up on one the team thinks has a future, but if a draft pick – or better yet a player at a position Dallas is light on – can be recouped, then by all means it should be considered.

And it appears that Ealy is out of the mix on the edge, but can he find a home inside? Even that could be a little bleak with the eventual return of a key starter.

Dress rehearsal turned into battle for roster - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
It seems like only yesterday that people were talking about how absurd it would be to keep six receivers. Now, after the performance of Lance Lenoir, some are pondering if they could justify keeping seven. Clarence Hill gives a run down of the team's roster battles, including the crowded receiving group.

Receiver (6-7)

Locks: Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Tavon Austin, Michael Gallup and Allen Hurns

Still to be decided: Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson

Do the Cowboys keep six receivers or seven? The latter will be hard to justify. And while Lenoir has had a great camp and preseason, Thompson has a proven track record with coach Sanjay Lal. His speed is also a difference-making skill set. He has been injured all training camp so he will play against the Cardinals looking to show everyone what he brings to the table.

He doesn’t even give Noah Brown a shout out.

What to watch for in Cowboys-Cardinals preseason game? - Brandon George, SportsDay
What will you be looking for tonight against the Cardinals? Brandon George identifies three things he will be watching, including an ample sample of Mr. Gregory.

DE Randy Gregory should receive his most playing time yet

After having missed most of the last two years because of suspension, defensive end Randy Gregory needs to play even when the games don't count.

The Cowboys continue to use Gregory with the first-team defense during practices. He even took some snaps on first downs this week.

Gregory played 10 snaps last week in his preseason debut against Cincinnati. He should play even more Sunday against Arizona.

The Cowboys could use Gregory as more of a situational pass-rusher on second and/or third downs during the season or maybe they start him at right defensive end. Either way, when he's in the game expect Tyrone Crawford to move inside to defensive tackle to maximize the Cowboys' pass-rush.

The return of Gregory to the Cowboys defense had thrown a dark cloud over the chances of other defensive ends to make the team.

Stephen Jones: Cowboys ‘feel really good’ about DT Maliek Collins being ready for season opener vs. Carolina - Staff, SportsDay
If you have any doubts about the Cowboys getting Maliek Collins back before the season opener, this news should help you feel better.

On the health of Maliek Collins, and the depth of the interior defensive line...

Jones: “At the end of the day, we do feel really good about Maliek being ready to play in that first game. We’ve still got a couple weeks here. And he’s really doing well. Might be on a pitch count, but short of a set back here, we think we’re going to have him available for Carolina.

Ex-NFL scout: Why Cowboys’ season isn’t a ‘total loss’ following Travis Frederick’s diagnosis - Staff, SportsDay
Bryan Broaddus joined the Shan & RJ show on 105.3 The Fan and talked about how he feels if Travis Frederick is not available.

How much does the Frederick illness change the way you feel about the season?

Broaddus: ”I’m not putting my head in the sand. I’m really not. You lose a quarterback, you lose a running back - this offense has moved the football without really two of their better offensive players. They haven’t used Zeke at all, and they haven’t really gotten Cole Beasley going. I mean, Cole Beasley is just now starting to practice.

Joe Looney is not just some bum off the street. I mean, Joe Looney - from what we’ve seen in 20 practices in Oxnard, some preseason games - heck, they guy played 55 snaps the other day in a game. That just shows you about Joe Looney and the conditioning he now has. He’s not this sloppy guy just flopping around.

”They’ve got enough weapons with the guys they have. They’re going to figure out a way to use Tavon Austin. They’re going to figure out this tight end situation. You’ve always got the running game, and you’ve got the quarterback that has done some really, really good things. Defense looks pretty good as far as some of the areas we thought might be concerns.

”So, yeah, it was not going to be easy even with Travis Frederick being there. It’s difficult to play - the AFC South, the NFC South are two difficult divisions, plus your own division. So, does it hurt a little bit? Yeah, but again, you can’t put your head in the sand and say oh well the season’s a total loss because we lost one player.”

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