‘I threw that pick’: Cowboys QB coach Jon Kitna draws from wealth of playing experience in new role - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Jon Kitna is gearing up for his season as the QBs coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He is using his playing experience as a coach.
Kitna said his dream had been to coach at the high school level for 40 years. But there are certain opportunities he always told his family he wouldn’t be able to pass up if they came. Garrett’s call fit that category.
”I feel like I belong at this level, I believe I have a lot to offer,” Kitna said. “But if it happened it was going to happen for the right people, the right place.”
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has said that the team appreciated Kitna’s experience at the high school level, with the idea there has been some trickle-up of ideas from the lower levels. Jones has pointed out Bears coach Matt Nagy and Eagles coach Doug Pederson were high school coaches.
”At the younger levels, the greatest thing is you have to learn how to teach and communicate really well,” Kitna said. “There’s really no new plays, it’s how you call them, how you dress them up and when you call them that’s important.”
Kitna will be working with fellow former Cowboys backup signal caller Kellen Moore to take the offense to the next level.
Earlier this offseason, the Cowboys cut ties with former offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan. Rumors fluttered for days on who Dallas would replace the vacancy with only to be surprised when it was announced that Kellen Moore (former quarterback’s coach) would be the new offensive coordinator.
Having a spread offense forces the defense to show more of their hand pre-snap. Instead of having a condensed box where things get muddled together, the roles of the defenders will be more clear for Prescott.
Also, Prescott will probably run the ball more from these spread out formations. Then after one drive where it is very pass-heavy, the Cowboys can come out and run the ball.
Having versatility will greatly help out the offense. The most important change will have to come in the red zone. Dallas was awful in the red zone last season– they finished 26th in red zone touchdown percentage (51.79 percent), per TeamRankings.com.
There has been positive feedback on Moore from those around the team, which is definitely a plus.
We’ve heard nothing but praise about Kellen Moore and his creativity. Not from the usual suspects. It’s been players and staff internal and external, rookie and veteran.— Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration (@NickCochNY) May 11, 2019
Maybe I’ll eat these words, but I really think Kellen Moore is a modern offensive mind and it’s gonna be fun https://t.co/TDDkjy6Dho
The Star-Telegram takes you through the second day of rookie minicamp with all of the pictures and shots from the day.
Cowboys RB Mike Weber leaves practice with knee injury, expected to get an MRI - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Many believed that the Cowboys found a late-round gem in Mike Weber, but the former Ohio State Buckeyes running back left practice with an apparent knee injury. Here’s hoping for a full recovery.
Cowboys rookie running back Mike Weber left Saturday’s morning rookie minicamp practice with a knee injury. The seventh-round pick out of Ohio State attended the afternoon practice but did not participate.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Weber is expected to have an MRI.
The two days of rookie minicamp are considered to be more of an orientation. Players do not wear helmets or pads and the work on the field is non-contact.
With Weber hurt, it is a good time to look at potential running backs on the free agent market.
Jay Ajayi, RB
Only 25-years old, Ajayi has a 1,000-yard season under his belt, rushing for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns as a 12-game starter for the Miami Dolphins back in 2016. He earned a Pro Bowl nod that same year. Ajayi also has a Super Bowl ring, earning it as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2017.
But there is a reason why the Boise State star fell to the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Medical concerns surrounding his knee, which was described as bone on bone at the time, forced Ajayi off many draft boards. But going into his fifth season in the NFL, the veteran back has performed well enough to deserve consideration as a primary backup. Although Ajayi is coming off an ACL tear.
Playing for the Cowboys would be a return home for Ajayi, who was a star at Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas. In Dallas, he’d be a perfect limited snaps complement to Elliott as a powerful rusher who has an impressive career average of 4.5 yards per carry.
Pro Football Focus lists Cowboys as a good landing spot for free-agent safety Eric Berry - SportsDay
Speaking of the free agent market, there are still some out there that believe Eric Berry would be a fit in Dallas.
Pro Football Focus listed the Cowboys as an ideal fit for the free-agent safety. Berry took a free agent visit to The Star this offseason, but walked away without a deal. The Cowboys ended up signing free-agent George Iloka to a one-year contract and selected Donovan Wilson in this year’s draft to compete at strong safety.
Are we undervaluing Byron Jones?
Dallas Cowboys fans seem to be less enthusiastic about investing in cornerback than they did in a pass-rusher so we ask if we’re mistakenly undervaluing Byron Jones and the CB position
Whether you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan or a fan of some other NFL team, we collectively seem to value great pass-rushers more than great coverage guys. It’s been ingrained in our minds for years: the pass rush makes the coverage look good. Not the other way around.
Pro Football Focus recently broached this subject in their deep dive into the coverage vs pass-rush debate this past week. Like most of us they came into the study with some preconceived notions about the unparalleled importance of pass-rush.
Would A Byron Jones Extension Eclipse Xavien Howard’s 76.5M Deal? - Mauricio Rodriguez, Inside The Star
Dolphins corner Xavien Howard recently cashed in big. What does that mean for Byron Jones?
Recently, the cornerback market took an interesting turn after Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard became the highest paid CB in NFL history. The 2016 second round draft pick signed a five-year $76.5M extension, averaging $15.05M per year.
While these numbers sound like big time money, the truth is once you get to the contract details, things start to make more sense. It’s a big deal, but not one that will reset the market for cornerbacks in the NFL. After all, he did pass Josh Norman for the highest paid CB and will earn $50,000 more on average per year, but his deal arrived three years later than Norman’s.
Plus, Howard’s deal doesn’t include guaranteed money after the 2021 season, which will let the Dolphins assess his future on the team on a yearly basis.
With an average of $15.05M per year, this is a very smart deal for the Dolphins. If the Cowboys were to sign Byron Jones to a similar contract, I’d consider that a win. Despite only having one great season in his career, Jones has flashed his talent and potential since his rookie year in 2015. Getting a deal done with Jones that is as manageable as Howard’s seems to be would give the Cowboys freedom to move on if things don’t pan out the way they want to.
Wharton went through each team’s starting lineup for the upcoming season. Agree or disagree with anything?
Offense: QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Amari Cooper, WR Michael Gallup, WR Randall Cobb, TE Jason Witten, LT Tyron Smith, LG Connor Williams, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, RT La’el Collins
Defense: DL Maliek Collins, DL Antwaun Woods, ED Demarcus Lawrence, ED Robert Quinn, LB Leighton Vander Esch, LB Jaylon Smith, CB Byron Jones, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Anthony Brown, S Xavier Woods, S Jeff Heath