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Cowboys News: Six matchups to look forward to on the 2020 schedule

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: 6 matchups to look forward to in 2020 - Lucas Mascherin, FanSided’s The Landry Hat

What better way to get excited for the season then by looking at these top matchups.

Who better to test Awuzie than one of the most dominant wide receivers of the 2010s in Julio Jones. To back up my claim, he made the 2010s All-Decade team. Awuzie has shown he is more than capable of covering number two wideouts. Taking the spot of Byron Jones ensures he will get the credit he deserves as an overall player.

In 2018 and 2019, Awuzie held opposing quarterbacks to under a 60 percent completion percentage. It will be interesting to see how he fares against one of the best passing attacks in the league. While the Atlanta Falcons as a team have had their issues, the passing attack has been great. The chemistry between Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan has been great.

Jones hasn’t had fewer than 1,300 receiving yards since the 2013 season where he had 543 yards in five games. It’s safe to say he won’t be missing a beat for a while. Awuzie finished the 2019 season playing at his best. He had a career-high for tackles (79) and passes defended (14).

The two players faced off in Week 11 of the 2018 season. In this game, Jones caught six passes for 118 yards and one touchdown. Awuzie had seven tackles but allowed up an 83.3 percent completion percentage, a 158.3 passer rating, and one touchdown.

Has giving out so many second chances been worth it for the Dallas Cowboys? – Jon Machota, The Athletic

The Cowboys, and Jerry Jones, sure do believe in second chances.

Many would say Jones takes too much risk, particularly with some of the players he has given second (and sometimes more) chances. He has traded for players with character concerns like Charles Haley and Adam “Pacman” Jones. He drafted others like Dez Bryant and Randy Gregory. Some — Haley and Bryant — worked out. Others — Jones and Gregory — did not. Then there are the players he has drafted in the second round with injury concerns, like linebackers Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.

Finally, there are the ones we will be breaking down right here. These are the risky free-agent signings that Jones has made, specifically over the previous two decades, and as recently as two months ago when adding defensive end Aldon Smith.

Smith has not played in an NFL game since 2015. He has been suspended multiple times for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. The seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys after meeting with head coach Mike McCarthy back in January. Smith also has a good relationship with Dallas defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. The two worked together while Smith was playing for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014.

Film room: Exploring 3 ‘fantasy’ player-for-player trades for the Cowboys, including a deal involving Jamal Adams - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Would you be in favor of any of these proposed deals?

Moreau is a bit hit-or-miss as a blocker, but when he hits, it’s something to behold — and he should only get better with more experience. Unfortunately, Moreau’s intriguing rookie year ended abruptly after he suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans. Recovery does appear to be going well for Moreau, who is already back to running.

That torn ACL must’ve really spooked the Raiders, but it made little sense to sign Witten when the team already has Darren Waller, one of the NFL’s top five tight ends last year, Moreau and Derek Carrier, an effective blocking specialist. Witten’s presence pushes Moreau down to No. 3 on the depth chart, making the LSU product dispensable.

While the Cowboys signed Blake Bell this offseason, that shouldn’t dissuade them from trading for Moreau in this scenario. Moreau is younger, cheaper and has much more upside. Additionally, Moreau’s well-rounded skill set would be the perfect complement to Blake Jarwin’s receiving-heavy skill set. Moreau can be the team’s in-line tight end when it uses two tight ends, freeing up Jarwin to be moved around the formation to create favorable matchups for the offense.

How Amari Cooper convinced Cowboys’ staff to implement the route that led to his first Dallas TD - Joey Hayden, Dallas Morning News

Cowboys’ wide receiver Amari Cooper was responsible for the route that lead to his first Cowboys touchdown.

“It was really like a slant-out,” Cooper said. “So, I’m trying to make it look like a slant as much as possible. And [Howard] played it phenomenally. That’s the best you could play it.

“I just tried to kind of jab him outside a little bit to kind of make it seem like one of those quick slants, went inside of him for a couple steps. He kind of grabbed me a little bit, played with his hands, like a good corner would do. I just fought through it.”

As it turns out, this is a route that came with Cooper when he was traded to Dallas from the Raiders. Cooper explained how this route was not in the Cowboys’ playbook before his arrival. “When I first got to Dallas last year, we didn’t have that route in,” Cooper said. “My first week there, we always do red zone one-on-ones [in practice], and I ran it and I killed the guy.

Getting to Know Cowboys WR Prospect Tevin Jones - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Does wideout Tevin Jones have an outside shot to make the roster?

Jones got called up to the 53-man roster in November of last season and appeared in five games. He got his first real NFL stats with four catches for 61 yards. But the Steelers released him in mid December to make room for Amara Darboh, a former 3rd-Round pick.

Tevin didn’t have to wait long for a new home, joining the Cowboys’ practice squad two days after being cut by Pittsburgh. He signed a reserve/future contract with Dallas following the 2019 season and remains part of their roster today, awaiting the start of training camp.

There’s a reason that Tevin Jones has attracted interest from four different NFL teams. On top of good size at 6’2″ and around 220 lbs, he also ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard-dash at the 2016 combine. Jones enters the 2020 WR battle for the Cowboys with size, speed, and some real NFL experience. Despite the numbers, could he be a contender for a roster spot?

DE: Don’t Forget About These Defensive Ends - Jonny Auping, The Mothership

The Cowboys defensive end position is one that is in flux.

Another name to keep in mind is Dorance Armstrong. If Gregory, Aldon Smith, and Bradlee Anae will all have to prove themselves in their own respective ways, it’s worth noting that, while he certainly hasn’t been a game-changer, Armstrong has been a rotational player for Dallas the past two years. The former fourth-round pick has played about 25 percent of defensive snaps since he was drafted in 2018. Perhaps that’s not a sexy stat, but it’s certainly not crazy to think that a 23-year-old with two years of legitimate NFL experience might make a run at a starting defensive end spot that’s currently up for grabs.

Let’s not forget about a couple of rookies from last year in Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks. Jackson played sparingly throughout the year while Jelks was on IR. Both of them were late-round draft picks that have upside.

Finally, keep an eye on undrafted free agent Ron’Dell Carter out of James Madison. Head Coach Mike McCarthy is from Pittsburgh and has connections with James Madison (the Cowboys also signed quarterback Ben DiNucci out of JMU). Carter reportedly turned down 24 other NFL teams that were interested in signing him after the draft to come to Dallas. The Cowboys gave him a larger signing bonus than any other of their undrafted free agents. Carter recorded 12 sacks last season. He’ll have a good shot at making the final roster, and what he can do from there is anyone’s guess.

BTB Podcast

What do you make of the Cowboys secondary entering this season? We discuss on the latest episode of Talkin’ The Star.

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