‘Kitna has an amazing way with people.’ Cowboys’ new QB coach making an impression – Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
Jon Kitna has never coached in the NFL but everyone seems certain he’ll succeed.
Jon Kitna has always brought people together.
Kitna first endeared himself to Dak Prescott just after Prescott arrived in the NFL in 2016. Kitna was asked to speak to the team’s rookies. He told them about told his faith in God, playing 14 years in the NFL and treating people with respect and kindness.
Roy Williams met Kitna a decade earlier in 2006 as a Detroit Lions wide receiver. Kitna, according to Williams, talked to everyone. Regardless of your religion, the color of your skin, rich, poor, middle class; he connected.
“He’s a likable guy,” Williams said. “He’s got a little Hershey syrup in him, little chocolate flavor in him a little bit. He can relate to the brothers. Kitna is the only guy that relates to everyone in the locker room, and everybody likes him. When I was in Detroit, Kitna was playing spades, we had spades partners, he was always talking to everybody.”
Jason Garrett knew of Kitna from his own time as a backup quarterback in the NFL. He got to know Kitna better in 2010, when Garrett was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator. He was impressed by Kitna’s attention to detail and how Kitna understood the intricacies of every position on the field. When Kitna took over for an injured Tony Romo in the 2010 season, the locker room wasn’t concerned. There was a feeling that Kitna could help the Cowboys survive without their starting quarterback. It proved to be correct: Kitna went 4-5 during Romo’s absence. He didn’t just do it with his mind, though, but through how he held the locker room together.
“Kitna has an amazing way with people,” Garrett said. “He’s able to connect with lots of different kind of people, young and old, offense (and) defense. He just had that way about him when he was playing. And I think that really served him well throughout his playing career.”
Outlining The Cowboys’ Grand Plans For Cobb - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
It’s the offseason which means fans around the league get to fantasize about how their favorite team is going to utilize shiny new weapons in the upcoming NFL season. Here at the Cowboys’ front one such weapon is Randall Cobb.
It’s easy to plug Cobb right into the Cowboys’ lineup as the obvious replacement at slot receiver. That’s where he caught the vast majority of his 470 receptions and 41 touchdowns during an exemplary eight-year career in Green Bay.
For a guy with Cobb’s smarts and skillset, though, don’t be surprised if his role is much larger in the long run.
“He’s smart enough to play every position, so we’ll keep him at one position but use multiple formations – put him outside, inside, in the backfield,” said receivers coach Sanjay Lal. “We can put him anywhere, because he is that guy – he is that smart.”
Cobb comes to the Cowboys, like most decorated veterans on a new team, wanting to prove himself. He was one of the most electric playmakers in the NFL for years, but a hamstring injury limited him to just nine games, 38 catches and 383 yards last year – his worst season since his rookie years in 2011.
Connor Williams’ Offseason Is Worth The Weight - Staff, DallasCowboys.com
The Mothership checks in with second-year guard Connor Williams.
Williams, the Cowboys’ 2018 second-round draft pick, knew last season he needed to add weight and bulk. An immediate starter at left guard, he had difficulty sustaining a consistent base against veteran pass rushers such as Carolina’s Kawann Short and Washington’s Jonathan Allen.
Williams underwent a knee scope last November and split time at guard with veteran Xavier Su’a-Filo down the stretch, including two starts in playoff games against the Seahawks and Rams.
Now, four months into the offseason, Williams’ hard work in the weight room is apparent. He’s up to a rugged 315 pounds after playing at a “light 300” last year, he said.
Adam Gase talks GM search, C.J. Mosley, Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell - Albert Breer, SI.com
The Monday Morning Quarterback looks at the challenges facing Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ brass regarding the plethora of big name players needing contract extensions. As usual, Jerry Jones seems non-plussed.
I asked Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as he was leaving the spring meeting last week about how he planned to get all these loose ends tied about. And he hardly seemed panicked.
“We’ve always had 60 of these things that have had to be executed,” Jones said. “It’s just a part of it. … It’s not any challenge at all. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably got a better reference point to look at where you are. But at any one time, we’ve always got these contracts we’re negotiating. That’s not to diminish each individual’s situation, the player, the position. It’s not to diminish anything.
“The point is, you could say, ‘well, it’s going great’, and then you get a call and it isn’t. But in my mind, we don’t have in any way inordinate or concerning issues with our whole contract position.”
I’d actually agree with him there. But if they get out of training camp and are still in this spot, we’re talking about something different that could wind up being a factor in how the 2019 team plays.
Top 8 Cowboys offseason duels for 2019 playing time - K.D.Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Our friend K.D. Drummond looks at upcoming camp battles and weighs in. Needless to say, there will be some fierce contests and probably a few surprises (remember Dan Bailey last year?).
As word continues to leak the Cowboys are truly committed to spicing up the offense a bit with Kellen Moore calling the plays, an interesting competition should arise as promised. While the talk is that the plays will remain the same, just packaged in multiple ways (similar to how Sean McVay has found success with the Los Angeles Rams), there’s still the edict that players win games.
Two gadget players, Pollard and Austin, will likely be in line for a handful of touches per game on offense, and each has a defined special teams role. With Pollard on kicks and Austin on punts, there should be a few big returns for Dallas this fall. On offense though, they may be competing for snaps.
Six+ Compelling Questions About Kellen Moore’s Offense - SeekingNumberSix, Blogging The Boys
From the FanPost section we have SeekingNumberSix providing an in-depth and informative look at what Kellen Moore might introduce to the Cowboys’ offense. A very good read.
I don’t know how effective the multiple formations and motions and misdirections are going to be if Moore isn’t allowed to put this offense into up-tempo mode far more than we’ve seen in recent years. It’s part of Petersen scheme. You want to overload the defense with tons to process in a limited amount of time. I think it would be great to see Dak running up-tempo far more, because he’s proven to be highly effective at it and I think it brings out the best of him. And frankly, I think it's time to concede that worrying about time of possession to the point of limiting this teams scoring potential hasn't gotten this club to an NFC Championship and probably never will. Dallas needed a better game plan than they brought to LA in January and a more creative passing attack with some up-tempo probably would have helped a good deal.
Five Ways the 2010 Draft Affected—and Is Still Affecting—the NFL - Robert Mays, The Ringer
A really interesting look at the 2010 draft and how it’s still influencing the NFL. Among the many observations is this reminder that finding a quarterback in the draft is hard - even if you’re willing to invest significant draft capital.
The 2010 class is a reminder that QB purgatory plagued plenty of the teams in the not-so-distant past—and fear of it still affects how organizations think today. As teams around the NFL are deciding whether to pay their QB upwards of $30 million per season, some have questioned why certain organizations—like the Cowboys—wouldn’t take their chances in the draft to find their next cheap passer. In a vacuum, that approach has its merits. There’s a reasonable chance that the gap between Dak Prescott and a highly drafted QB would be small enough to justify the extra $25 million or so in cap flexibility the Cowboys would gain. But we’re talking about an NFL team here. Risk-taking and trailblazing typically aren’t top priorities. Most of the teams around the league may be set at QB right now, either with an established veteran or a starter in the early, inexpensive years of his rookie deal, but it wasn’t long ago that a significant portion of the league was desperately looking for an answer at the sport’s most important position.
After Bradford was taken no. 1 overall in 2010, two other QBs were taken within the first 50 picks: Florida’s Tim Tebow (no. 25 overall) and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen (no. 48 overall). That pair started a combined 30 games in their careers. Clausen threw twice as many interceptions (14) as touchdowns (seven). Tebow completed 47.9 percent of his passes. Clausen was bad enough as a rookie that when the Panthers earned the no. 1 pick in 2011, they didn’t hesitate to take Newton. That year, three quarterbacks were drafted after Newton in the first round: Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder. There’s no doubt that quarterback play is more efficient than ever and young passers are coming into the league ready to step in immediately, but the NFL’s decision-makers aren’t that far removed from a time when finding a rookie QB wasn’t easy.