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Cowboys News: Mike McCarthy confirms defensive scheme, won’t confirm Dak Prescott attendance

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Plus, Dak Prescott’s franchise tag compensation changed.

NFL Combine - Day 2 Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Cowboys News: Mike McCarthy Won’t Say If Dak Prescott Attended Offseason Program - Joseph Zucker, Bleacher Report

It was earlier reported that Dak Prescott wouldn’t show up for voluntary workouts without a long-term contract, but with the offseason program being conducted virtually it’s harder to tell if he has or hasn’t shown up. Mike McCarthy wasn’t interested in answering that question on Tuesday.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy provided little clarity as to Dak Prescott’s attendance—or lack thereof—for the team’s virtual offseason program.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported April 14 that Prescott planned to steer clear of the workouts unless he received a new long-term contract. The Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on him in March.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, McCarthy declined to provide specifics about Prescott’s status:

Dallas Cowboys COVID-19 pre-draft process with Mike McCarthy more thorough than before - Clarence Hill, The Star Telegram

The effects of the coronavirus has drastically changed the way the 2020 draft will be conducted, which has created concerns among many teams. Jerry Jones credited Mike McCarthy and his new coaching staff with having the team prepared despite the changes.

McCarthy credits the Cowboys IT department for getting them new updated instruments. He says the process has been very productive.

“We’re all in our homes, we spend a lot of times going through each and every prospect, so it’s given us a chance to take a couple of laps through the draft board, especially for the first time going through it with Jerry and (Vice president) Stephen (Jones) and the personnel staff. It’s been very organized. I’ve been very impressed.”

Per Jerry Jones, the lead up to the draft has only reinforced his thoughts about the decision to fire Jason Garrett following the 2019 season and hire McCarthy in hopes of finally getting the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995. It’s not just McCarthy but also the staff he assembled, which includes five former head coaches.

“We’ve got us some great coaches in here and I was very impressed over the last several weeks with their involvement, not involvement, just their approach,” Jones said. “They’re on the incentive plan. It’s called wanting to have players they can coach who can win ballgames. Mike has done an unbelievable job of leading the charge with those coaches and just basically, for me, such a fresh look at how to approach not only the draft but how to approach the perspective of the team. All of that has taken place and I’m really proud we’re getting the work done. So, I’ve been very impressed.

Jerry Jones throws cold water on Jamal Adams rumors, says Cowboys unlikely to trade 17th pick for a veteran - Jared Dubin, CBS Sports

Much like Earl Thomas, the Jamal Adams rumors seem to never end. The Jets safety has been repeatedly connected to the Cowboys over the last few months, but Jerry Jones seemingly dismissed the possibility of a trade on Tuesday.

In recent days, that speculation even included the possibility of trading the pick for disgruntled New York Jets safety Jamal Adams. The Cowboys and Jets had talks about Adams at last year’s trade deadline, but ultimately, a deal did not come to fruition. Adams has been frustrated about his lack of a contract extension and reportedly wants out of New York, but according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, it’s unlikely that the team will use the No. 17 pick to acquire his services.

We obviously do not yet know who will be on the board when the Cowboys come on the clock this Thursday, but the draft sets up fairly well for them if they’re looking to nab a player at cornerback (any or all of C.J. Henderson, Kristian Fulton, Trevon Diggs, A.J. Terrell, Jeff Gladney, or Noah Igbinoghene could be available), safety (Xavier McKinney, Grant Delpit, or Antoine Winfield Jr.), or even on the edge (K’Lavon Chaisson, A.J. Epenesa, Yetur Gross-Matos, or Zack Baun) at that spot.

Mike McCarthy building a “different offense” - @JoriEpstein

Mike McCarthy’s decision to retain offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was predicated on keeping a lot of things the same for an offense that exceeded expectations in 2019. But on Tuesday, McCarthy admitted that they are evolving the offense.

Still 4-3 Scheme & Drafting QBs Among Hot Topics - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

Rumors have swirled for a while now about the scheme of new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, but on Tuesday Mike McCarthy confirmed that Dallas will run a 4-3 defense with room for some variation.

Asked specifically on what type of defense he will play, McCarthy finally said “we’re a 4-3 defense.” But he added the Cowboys “may have the ability to have some variation there.” All along, McCarthy has put the focus on acquiring good players over the specific scheme. Depending on what happens in the draft, the Cowboys could use more of a 3-man front, but for now, it appears the Cowboys are sticking with the four-man base defense.

Neither Jerry or Stephen Jones commented much about Dak Prescott’s contract or the negotiations. When asked if the contract situation affects the draft, Stephen said the team’s strategy at the position is unchanged.

“The philosophy we have, as to Dak’s contract, is to what it’s always been. We like to develop a young quarterback. It’s always great. We would like to have one to the develop to the level you could trade and build assets that way. Mike can speak to it; he wants a certain number of quarterbacks in the building ideally to be working with. Mike brings a really good background in developing quarterbacks.”

In his 13 years with the Packers, McCarthy’s two starting quarterbacks were both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Yet, that didn’t stop Green Bay from drafting five quarterbacks in that span, including one in the second round. So with Prescott not having a contract, and Cooper Rush still rather unproven as the backup, it’s likely the Cowboys could address the position in the draft.

Dak Prescott gets good franchise tag news from NFL, potentially gains more contract leverage over Cowboys - John Breech, CBS Sports

There had been some uncertainty on just how much the franchise tag for Dak Prescott would be, with some estimating it would be above $30 million and others guessing it would be below that figure. But the number became official on Tuesday, and it helped Prescott out.

Although Dak Prescott hasn’t been able to hammer out a long-term deal with the Cowboys this offseason, he did get some good news on the contract front this week when the NFL ruled that his franchise tag for 2020 will be worth more than $30 million.

If Prescott ends up signing his franchise tag, the one-year deal will pay him $31.409 million for the upcoming season. The reason that’s notable is because there had been some question about how much Prescott would actually be paid under the franchise tag, which pays a player the average of the top five salaries at his position.

As CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry noted on March 25, it was all going to come down to timing. If the Cowboys filed the paperwork for Prescott’s franchise tag BEFORE the paperwork was filed on the restructured contracts for Cousins and Big Ben, then Prescott would be entitled to the higher amount.

Cowboys cut Lance Lenoir - Josh Alper, Yahoo Sports

Lance Lenoir was a long-time pet cat for many Cowboys fans, largely because of the impressive performances he put together in the 2017 preseason, but it was never enough to get him on the 53-man roster for a significant period of time. And on Tuesday, it seems his time in Dallas has firmly ended.

Lenoir signed with the Cowboys after going undrafted in 2017 and played five special teams snaps in his only game of the year. He played seven regular season games and one playoff game the next year, but only played eight snaps on offense.

Lenoir was placed on injured reserve last August after hurting his knee in training camp.

32 for 32: NFL Draft Predicitons for the Cowboys - Brandon Murchison, Roto Baller

Are you looking for more mock draft predictions? Are you also a fantasy football enthusiast? Brandon Murchison of Roto Baller combines the two to break down how a potential Cowboys draft would impact their 2020 fantasy value.

Davidson was a four-year starter in college who showed solid production against both the run and pass in his final season. Although Derrick Brown gets all the headlines as a teammate, Davidson is quite the player himself. He can be a diverse player and switch inside if need be, but his nimble feet can become a problem for outside blockers. He sets strong edges and can dominate tight ends on the outside.

Quickness is the name of his game as he can become overpowered by stronger offensive lineman. His stutter can create confusion as he ramps up his rush speed to get to the QB. He played limited snaps against the run, which may make him a primarily passing down defender. But being drafted to a Cowboys defense that just lost it’s leading sack artist in free agency (Robert Quinn), Davidson could find a spot as a starter early on.

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