NFL 2020: Here’s what each NFC team must do to dethrone the 49ers as conference champions - Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports
What can the Cowboys do to come out on top of the NFC?
Be aggressive (be, be aggressive)
Now that Jason Garrett is out as Dallas’ head coach, we can stop assuming the annual Cowboys hype train has to come screeching to a halt because the guy in the headset would rather flip the field with a punt than use his high-priced weapons on fourth-and-short. Is Mike McCarthy a safe bet to be bold in his oversight? Not necessarily. But he and Kellen Moore need to be moving forward.
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The teams that are left:
Baltimore Ravens: Picks 28 & 57
Chicago Bears: Picks 43 & 50
Green Bay Packers: Picks 30 & 62
Kansas City Chiefs: Picks 32 & 64
Las Vegas Raiders: Picks 12 & 19
Los Angeles Rams: Pick 52
New Orleans Saints: Pick 24
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pick 49
Tennessee Titans: Picks 29 & 61
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on using the franchise tag on QB Dak Prescott: ‘Our goal is to avoid it’ - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News
With negotiations rumored to speed up, will the franchise tag still be in the Jones’ back pocket?
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told The Dallas Morning News Friday morning the organization’s goal is to avoid placing a franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys held talks with Prescott’s agents last summer and Jones previously said he thought a deal was close prior to the 2019 season. But both sides went through the season without getting anything done.
And now Prescott is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. The Cowboys can place a franchise tag on Prescott starting on Feb. 25. NFL teams have until March 10 to designate which players will be franchised. Free agency begins March 18.
“Our goal is to avoid it,” Jones said of the tag. “We want to get a deal done. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and when these things get momentum, they get done, but both sides got to be in a place where we think we’re within shouting distance of getting something done.”
Prescott, the Cowboys’ 2016 fourth-round pick, was one of the lowest paid starting quarterbacks in the NFL. He made $2.025 million in base salary last season.
Dez Bryant Texted Cowboys’ Stephen Jones About Returning to Team for 2020 Season - Tim Daniels, Bleacher Report
Will #88 be back wearing the star in 2020?
Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted Jones didn’t rule out the Cowboys signing Bryant in comments Thursday.
”He has texted me that he would like to come back,” Jones said. “We have nothing but great respect for Dez and what he accomplished here. Certainly, as we look forward into the future, we look at all opportunities and all potential players that could maybe help us out.”
What kind of style will the Cowboys play on defense in 2020 under new coordinator Mike Nolan?
Nolan, 60, spent the past three years as the linebackers coach of the New Orleans Saints but has 32 years experience as an NFL coach. He was the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach from 2005 through 2008, following in his father’s footsteps (49ers coach, 1968-75). Mike has been a defensive coordinator for seven NFL teams. He has been involved in both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes, but with the Cowboys will continue with the four-man front the team has employed since 2013.
Even that doesn’t mean much these days to Nolan.
”It is really just a personnel decision to get your best 11 on the field,” Nolan said. “Outside of that, it’s just spacing between the 11 players you have.”
Regardless of system, he wants his defense to be relentless.
“You want it to look like a swarming type of mentality,” Nolan said. “I believe there’s parts of coaching that goes into that. The things you do with players, the way you teach your players, everything from the language to the scheme, I think, are all critical factors in making it looking just like that.”
Here’s how each top safety in the 2020 draft class fits the Cowboys defense.
Antoine Winfield Jr. SAF1, 7.9 (High Round 2)
Man Coverage – His father’s influence is evident in his play. He does an excellent job crowding receivers within the contact window of five yards. He’s hyper physical and possesses the athletic ability to crowd the hell out of TEs along the route stem. Against one of the best (and biggest) tight ends in the country in Pat Freiermuth he bullied him when asked to man up on him. He’s less comfortable playing off man and more cerebral route runners can take advantage of leverage to create separation.
Zone Coverage – Does a good job reading #2 or #3 in quarters. Has the range to make it to the sideline on 9 routes along the sideline. Issues occur when zone read/RPO looks. He can get caught at the mesh point for a long time and react late to coverage. He still can keep good vertical depth to cap even when eyes remain at mesh too long and will drive hard forward on underneath routes. Should be a nasty robber with his physicality.
Processing/Route Recognition – Keeps good vertical responsibility until last vertical receiver pushes back to QB on curls looks. Has a good feel for different route concepts depending on receiver alignment and depth throughout route. Can jump routes.