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Cowboys News: Randy Gregory ready to go; Dallas makes a trade; more roster moves coming.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jason La Canfora started it, but longtime Cowboys beat writer Jean-Jacques Taylor perpetuated it and then some with this tweet regarding Randy Gregory:

Randy Gregory’s visit with NFL reps is “Part of the Process”- Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Gregory had a long road back to the NFL but it’s not over, he still has obligations to fulfill with the league office.

“We understood all along that Randy was going to have to go through these kinds of interviews,” Garrett said. “He went up last night to Chicago and had an interview today. He’s not going to be here tonight. We’ll see him in Dallas here tomorrow.

“But this is part of the process with him. The NFL is going to be thorough in handling his situation like they are with everybody’s situation.

“Randy’s done a great job for us. He’s done everything he can to get himself back. But this is part of the process. I do anticipate there being more of these kinds of things as we go forward.”

Randy Gregory met with league to discuss substance-abuse program - Todd Archer, ESPN
Gregory is in the third phase of the NFL's substance abuse program which requires him to meet with league officials on treatment plans.

Sources said Gregory asked for the meeting to discuss his place in the NFL’s substance-abuse program and his treatment plan, but there has been no notification of a change in Gregory’s status on the Cowboys’ roster.

Because Gregory is in stage three of the substance-abuse program, he is subject to testing up to 10 times a month, as well as regular re-evaluations of his clinical resources. Upon reinstatement, Gregory was rooming with a sober partner who was to be with him when the team returned from Oxnard, California, to Texas.

Source: No formal disciplinary complaint prompted Randy Gregory’s meeting with NFL - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Could be good news for the Cowboys and Randy Gregory after Thursday morning's speculation turned out to be only that: speculation.

The speculation and rumors continue to swirl around Randy Gregory and his status with the Cowboys. Ever since Jason La Canfora tweeted out on Sunday night that further trouble could be on the way for Gregory, Cowboys fans, and apparently the team, were waiting for answers. Earlier today, the news came out that Gregory had to meet with a league doctor with the words suspension also mentioned in the report. Dark clouds started to form, but it may not be anything that serious.

5 takeaways from the Cowboys' 14-6 loss at Houston: Cooper Rush doesn't ease concerns at backup QB - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
The Cowboys may need to look at backup quarterback among other position at roster cuts.

Cooper Rush didn’t do anything Thursday night to lock up his second season as the backup. After throwing two picks in preseason game No. 3 against Arizona, Rush threw another interception on the second offensive series for Dallas. He would’ve lost a fumble later when the pocket collapsed and he was sacked, but a holding call saved him. To be fair, he played with a makeshift offensive line and an assorted cast of teammates. Yet, he was able to thrive in those preseason situations a year ago.

He finished the night 14 of 25 for 83 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He had a passer rating of 29.3. The final pick came on a Hail Mary on the last play of the first half, which ended his night. He finishes the preseason 46 of 74 for 358 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

Backup QB's sloppy as Texans beat Cowboys 14-6 - ESPN
Cooper Rush followed last year's great preseason with a complete preseason meltdown that leaves questions about his ability to back up Dak Prescott.

Houston took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter after third-round pick safety Justin Reid intercepted Cooper Rush’s pass to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Alfred Blue. Blue, competing for the backup job behind Lamar Miller, rushed for 18 yards on four carries, while Troymaine Pope rushed for 21 yards on five carries.

Rush played the entire first half and some of the third quarter, finishing 14 of 25 for 83 yards and two interceptions. Behind Rush, Mike White went 13 for 21 for 118 yards.

Report: OL Parker Ehinger is the player the Cowboys are acquiring in the Charvarius Ward trade - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
It looks like a new offensive lineman could be on the way.

Ehinger is only 25 years old and was a fourth-round draft pick out of Cincinnati back in 2016. Our friends at Arrowhead Pride have a great study on him if you’d like to learn more right here. Ehinger won the starting left guard spot in KC as a rookie but unfortunately tore his ACL that October. He only started one game last season, the regular-season finale against Denver.

It was expected that the Cowboys would go out and acquire offensive line depth considering what happened to Travis Frederick with the diagnosis of his Guillain Barre Syndrome, but Ehinger likely isn’t the answer there. Parker played left tackle, right guard, and right tackle in college and has played left guard with the Chiefs. He has no center experience since his collegiate days.

Cowboys trading for OL Parker Ehinger - Nick Shook,
Ehinger is expected to add some depth at guard.

Ehinger was a fourth-round pick of the Chiefs out of Cincinnati in the 2016 draft and won a starting guard job as a rookie, but saw that campaign cut short by a torn ACL. The knee injury has kept him from regaining his job since -- save for his lone start in Week 17 of 2017

Dallas welcomes him in a move that appears to be for interior depth.

It doesn't appear as though Ehinger will play center, though crazier things have happened. The loss of backup Marcus Martin to a torn ligament in his toe during this preseason likely is a more logical explanation for this trade. Dallas doesn't want to enter the season without reliable depth behind the rookie guard, and acquiring Ehinger for a bubble player addresses that concern.

Chiefs’ Parker Ehinger review: Is he a starter or not? - MNChiefsfan, Arrowhead Pride
The fine folks at AP liked what they saw from Ehinger.

Ehinger, against Denver, repeatedly demonstrated that he is a very smart player who “gets” how to play on the line. This is true in pass protection as well as run blocking.

Not one of Ehinger’s losses in my charting was due to him missing a blitz or a stunt. He consistently keeps his head up and his hands alert, sensing when it’s time to pass off pass rushers and head off a player screaming towards the quarterback.

This is a very, very valuable skill, and it’s part of why Ehinger’s losses aren’t generally of the instant variety. Missing on blitzes and stunts is usually the quickest way to get a quarterback killed, and Ehinger avoids that the vast majority of the time.

Overall, if I were to pick either Witzmann or Ehinger to start tomorrow for a game, I’d choose Ehinger. I think he’s the better player at this point due to his awareness in pass protection (blitzes, stunts, etc.) and superior power in the run game (note: it’s not that he has good power, it’s that he has at least some power, which is more than Witzmann can boast). They both have a similar weakness in that they lack strength, but Ehinger’s pad level and feet are generally superior and it allows him to get by more often.

This is part one of Vela’s five tweets on Ehinger. Here’s the rest, in which Vela explains why he likes the trade.

... for the Bearcats before kicking inside.

As I’ve pointed out many times in recent years, the Cowboys have had great success drafting LTs and moving them around their OL. Since 2011 they have four starters who started at LT or played some LT in college in Smith, Williams, Martin and Collins. Does this mean Ehinger will be a hit? No, but he’s exactly the type of OL Dallas has targeted this decade. He started as the Chiefs LG as a rookie but tore an ACL mid-way through 2016 and did not regain his starting job last year.

Second, Ehinger fits the size profile at 6’6”, 315. That’s a bit tall for a guard but Kevin Gogan and Leonard Davis excelled as stretch OGs. The key as I see it is Ehinger only needs to be a solid backup. He’s the right type of OL clay, and that gives him a fighting chance.

Add that he didn’t cost the team a future draft pick to acquire and this move has solid upside and very low risk.

Welcome to Dallas, Parker Ehinger.

Stephen Jones: ‘Boys looking at options for safety, OL - Herbie Teope,
With the OL addressed (for now), the Cowboys will continue to look for safety help.

”We’re certainly looking for interior offensive linemen as well as the safety position,” Stephen Jones said. “It’s no secret. If we can find something that makes sense, we want to improve our football team.”

Scout’s Notebook: Final Thoughts For The 53 - Bryan Broaddus,
Broaddus offers his take on many of the bubble players at the bottom of the roster. Here are his thoughts about defensive tackle and safety.

There have been snaps where Jihad Ward has been close to making plays in practices and games. Tonight, things came together for him and he did a nice job of attacking the pocket with his rush. He was disruptive and disciplined in his approach. I am afraid that it might have come too late, but he has given these coaches and scouts something to think about.

Really impressive game from Caraun Reid at defensive tackle. This is back-to-back games where he’s been explosive off the ball and strong at the point of attack. I didn’t remember him being this disruptive at his other stops, but he sure showed up the short time he was here. It would have been nice if Reid had been in camp the entire time because I believe he would have had a shot at a roster spot with the way he performed.

I need to study the film but just from my first impression, they will keep Jeron Johnson over Tyree Robinson and Marqueston Huff. Johnson is a veteran that knows how to play the game from a mental and physical aspect. Robinson just doesn’t have that yet, but in time could develop as a player. With the situation at safety, though, this club needs a veteran player that has been through the battles at that’s exactly what Johnson has done. Getting him in football shape will be important but he can do it.

Key 53-man roster predictions for all 32 NFL teams - Pro Football Focus
PFF had Charvarius Ward making the roster, but he was traded away. Could the same thing happen to the two other guys on PFF's list?

Potential surprise cut: DI Jihad Ward

Brought in via trade this offseason, former second-round defensive interior Ward hasn’t taken to the change of scenery in Dallas. After earning sub 54.0 overall grades in each of his first two seasons with Oakland, Ward has earned just a 59.0 overall grade in 50 preseason snaps with the Cowboys. Dallas will save roughly $950K if Ward is kept off the 53-man roster.

Just making the cut: Edge Charles Tapper

Tapper, who has earned an 82.2 overall grade this preseason, may be the man that takes Ward’s place on the roster.

Former Super Bowl star Ealy among hopefuls fighting for Cowboys roster - Todd Archer, ESPN
Is there still room for Kony Ealy on the 53-man roster?

Given his background as a former second-round pick and how well he played in Super Bowl 50 for the Panthers, it is strange seeing him on the bubble. But the Cowboys have found a lot of depth in their defensive line, which has Ealy fighting for a spot. He can play either end spot and move inside as a pass-rusher in third-down situations. Economics could play a part in the Cowboys’ decision on Ealy, who is due a $100,000 bonus if he makes the 53-man roster for the first game and an $800,000 base salary. Rookie Dorance Armstrong has outplayed Ealy and deserves a spot. Plus Armstrong is cheaper.

Cowboys still on hunt for safety help but nothing new on Earl Thomas – ProFootballTalk
The headline says all there is to say.

The Cowboys thus far have found the Seahawks’ asking price too high.

So, for now at least, the Cowboys are seeking other means at improving the position.

“We’re always looking to improve our team, and we’ll certainly continue to see what’s out there — monitor what we can get our hands on,” Jones said. “I give [vice president of player personnel] Will [McClay] and his staff a lot of credit. They’ve done a good job of being out there scouting the other teams, and we’re having a lot of communication with them and feel real confident that we’ve done a good job and will do good in finding some nuggets out there who can help us win football games.”

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