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Cowboys News: Dallas signs a WR; defense to get better and deeper; more

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Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brice Butler returns as Cowboys add seventh wide receiver - Todd Archer, ESPN
After some speculation, Brice Butler has returned to the Dallas Cowboys. The receiver made it official on Tuesday, and in order to clear a roster spot for him, the Cowboys did not cut another receiver. This means the team is going with seven wide receivers, an unusually high amount.

When asked why the Cowboys potentially needed a seventh receiver, coach Jason Garrett said Monday: “Just to be deeper there. If he’s available, he’s someone we like. He’s done some good things for us.”

In 2015, the Cowboys acquired Butler in a trade from the Oakland Raiders. In 36 games with the Cowboys, he caught 43 passes for 794 yards and 6 touchdowns. He joined the Cardinals on a two-year deal but was among their final cuts.

Why WR Brice Butler is back with the Cowboys, and why there are no hard feelings - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
In an interview on Fox Sports 1 back in January, Butler complained about a lack of opportunities in Dallas and said he would have had more production than Dez Bryant if given more chances, and eventually left for Arizona in the hopes of getting starting job, but he was cut in training camp by the Cardinals.

The Cowboys wanted Butler to return but moved on after he got a better contract offer with the Cardinals.

For the record, Butler said he did reach out to executive vice president Stephen Jones, scouting director Will McClay and coach Jason Garrett after the television interview to clarify the statements that he says were taken out of context.

He said Bryant who told him to he should re-sign with the Cowboys. So the idea that there was bad blood between him and Cowboys or him and the Bryant was wrong.

“So all that stuff that I read from disgruntled Cowboys fans and how they felt I went out, all that wasn’t true,” Butler said. “They don’t know everything that went on. I spent a lot of time with Dez. And I keep in touch with him. Dez was the one who called me last week and told me I should come back here. I said ‘I would go back if they reach out’. A lot of people misinterpreted what was said. Obviously, I am here. And there wasn’t no ‘no much love lost.’”

“Will McClay called and asked if I would be interested in coming back,” Butler said. “I said I am street. If you want me I will be back in a heartbeat. He called Tuesday and said it would be this week if I was still available. I had two team teams that scheduled me on visits [Redskins and Jaguars]. I called the Cowboys back told them I would rather come here than go to those teams.”

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Cowboys’ defense is about to get deeper and better - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys’ defense has been stellar the first two weeks. The return of defensive end Randy Gregory and safety Xavier Woods will only make it better and deeper.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Gregory seemed ready and good to go but the team’s medical staff advised against him playing. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on KRLD/105.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning that both players are likely to play against the Seahawks.

“Randy appears that he’s going to be available to us. Xavier was a setback to us because he had as good a camp as anybody on the team,” Jones said. “Both of those players, with their unique skills really add to, which if you really start thinking about this defense, if you can add [something] to this defense right now then you must have some things to bring to the table. And they do. So, I’m glad we’re going to have them.”

Jerry Jones: Randy Gregory, Xavier Woods could return Sunday in Seattle - Jon Machota, Sports Day Dallas
The Cowboys defense has been the team’s strongest component so far, and ranks near the top of the league in most categories. Add Gregory and Woods and things can only get better.

“As they practice this week we’ll determine it,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan’s Shan and RJ show [KRLD-FM]. “They’re going to have some limitation early as far as getting ready, practicing, but there is an eye on them being available for the game this weekend in Seattle.”

Gregory played 15 snaps in the season opener. Woods, who played in all 16 games last year as a rookie, was projected to be the Cowboys’ starting free safety this season.

The Cowboys defense has come a long way. Here’s what’s keeping it just short of elite - Jon Machota, Sports Day Dallas
Not to sound like a broken record, but this Cowboys defense is looking brilliant so far. But it isn’t all the way there yet. What needs to happen for the unit to take that next step?

Turnover differential is the most important statistic in the NFL relative to winning and losing.

This Cowboys’ offense is built for time-consuming drives and not to light up the scoreboard. With no established tight end and no clear No. 1 receiver, the Cowboys will struggle to score points.

That’s why it’s imperative the defense gives the offense short fields. You saw that early in the third quarter Sunday, when linebacker Damien Wilson’s sack of Manning forced a fumble that was recovered by end Taco Charlton at the Giants’ 27-yard line. That led to a field goal and a 13-0 lead.

Grading all 32 first rounders after Week 2 - Mark Chichester, Pro Football Focus
For what it's worth, only four first-round rookies have a better grade after two weeks than Leighton Vander Esch's 76.5.

The rookie linebacker played just 16 snaps during his team’ s regular season opener, but in Week 2 against the Giants, Vander Esch saw much more playing time. Through two weeks, the former Boise State star has racked up two tackles and a defensive stop on just 14 run defense snaps and yielded just 3.0 yards after the catch per reception allowed in coverage.

Roster update: Cowboys sign Adolphus Washington to practice squad, release Aziz Shittu - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys
Tuesday seemed to be the day of roster churn for the Cowboys. Defensive tackle Aziz Shittu was released from the practice squad and Adolphus Washington took his place.

Washington was drafted by the Bills in the third round of the 2016 draft and failed to latch on with new coach Sean McDermott. He’s someone who the Cowboys also had a third-round grade on, although they did have Maliek Collins graded higher. Additionally the Cowboys coaching staff coached Adolphus Washington at the 2016 Senior Bowl. SB Nation did a write-up on him recently:

Even though he isn’t one of those humongous defensive tackles that just eats up space, Washington is still strong at the point of attack and hard to move. In new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s 4-3 scheme, the nose tackle lines up in the A gap with no tilt, and they play the run with more of a read and react style rather than trying to penetrate and get upfield. Washington did a good job of fighting to stay in his gap against the run, and he improved as a pass rusher from the A gap as the year went on. By the end of the season he’d racked up 33 tackles, a sack and two passes defensed.

A good Sunday night for Byron Jones - @Marcus_Mosher
One of the talking points about the Dallas defense this offseason was Byron Jones’ transition from safety to cornerback, and many people, including Kris Richard, felt it would yield great production. On Sunday night, that was exactly the case.

Seahawks injury news: Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright could return vs Cowboys - Kenneth Arthur, Field Gulls
Peter Carroll said linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are "hopeful” but not certain for the game against Dallas. WR Doug Baldwin a little “further away” than those guys.

“Hopeful” is not nearly as good as “Probable” but it is better than OUT, which is what Baldwin appears to be. Wagner is hurting from a groin injury, Wright had his knee scoped, and Baldwin is recovering from a partially torn MCL. RT DJ Fluker and CB Tre Flowers seemed to be gametime(ish) decisions this week, so there’s likely hope they could return as well.

Not good is the new injury to center Justin Britt. Backup Joey Hunt played 11 snaps this week in his place.

More than anything, sacks are sinking the 0-2 Seahawks - John Fraley, Field Gulls
Two weeks into the 2018 season, the Seahawks have allowed 12 sacks. And guess who's coming to town next?

The Seahawks have allowed a sack 14.8 percent of the time on offense.

You can assign blame to all the actors: the quarterback, the coordinator, the line, the opposition. Assign it in the proportions you prefer. They’re all guilty to some extent.

In addition to the sack numbers, the Seahawks’ offensive ineptitude can be partly explained by them having played both games on the road, a fact you knew already. It’s still important to recognize that the Seattle offense, and its offensive line (there’s that word again!) haven’t operated in a friendly environment together. That’ll help. However, if they continue to hemorrhage sacks while failing to compensate on the defensive end, it’ll be a long season.

Sean Lee is the newest member of the Hot Boyz - @JonMachota
The Hot Boyz is the name of the Cowboys’ defensive line and, more broadly, their pass rushing unit. Linebackers and safeties can get in on the fun by sacking the quarterback, so Sean Lee made sure to get in on it.

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