Greatness has often eluded the Cowboys’ defense. Will a new approach by DC Mike Nolan take it to the next level? - David Moore, DMN
The stagnant Cowboys defense of yesteryear is out the window. There’s a new approach in Big D that has everybody excited.
One of the Cowboys quarterbacks went up to Chidobe Awuzie after a recent practice to ask what the defense was doing to disguise a look that confused him.
A short time later, another quarterback asked the corner the same question about another scheme.
Those are inquiries Awuzie didn’t field in his first three seasons with the club.
“Last year, everybody knew what we were running,’’ Awuzie said. “I’m not saying it was bad. We had great players. We wanted to execute.
“Now, we’re starting to be a little bit more multiple. Predisguised looks. It’s like a game. They’re trying to figure it out.
“I think it’s going to be great.‘’
The 4-3 defense remains. But this group won’t hesitate to throw a 3-4 wrench into the offensive works and ask DeMarcus Lawrence and other ends to stand up when they rush.
Who knows? Opponents may encounter a 5-2 defensive front from time to time.
“The things they did last year I thought were very helpful to the things we’re doing,’’ Nolan said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. “We’re adding a few things here and there. Nonetheless, the experience of those [previous schemes] are things a lot of teams will play and we’ll use them as well. There is a lot of carryover in that regard.
“Outside of that there are some new things we’re doing, but I think that’s the case anytime you bring in a new staff. Everything from language to the way we align, things like that.”
The Cowboys new addition along the defensive line talks about why he chose Dallas.
Maybe Everson Griffen was meant to be a Dallas Cowboy, right down to his first name.
“For one, it was my favorite football team growing up,” he said. “People actually don’t know I’m named after Everson Walls.”
Griffen has a great relationship with Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards, the Vikings’ defensive coordinator from 2014-19. But the biggest factor might have been the Cowboys’ new head coach.
Griffen has never played for Mike McCarthy, but he faced McCarthy’s Packers in the NFC North division for a full decade.
“His philosophy is work hard during the week and he’s going to take care of you,” Griffen said. “With this schedule and what we’ve got going here, if players really hone in on going out there and giving it all you got, because he’s going to take care of you, I think we’re going to make some big hay this year.”
Dak details some of his offseason activities, and gives some love to his new weapon on offense.
Talking about his latest offensive weapon, Dak said he is so impressed by CeeDee Lamb, and not just for his athletic ability. “He’s a smart kid, a smart individual. He’s been picking it all up, whether it’s adjustments from the formations and plays, that hasn’t slowed him down or slowed his game down any bit at all. I mean, he’s just an athletic player. Very, very gifted. Good hands. Has a great feel for the game. I think that’s probably the most impressive thing, to be a young rookie playing in the slot and just have a feel for the game and know where to be. I think that’s going to go a long way and serve him really well in this league.”
So much has been made on Dak creating a football field in his backyard this offseason to have some of his teammates come over to run routes during the pandemic. While Prescott didn’t seem eager to speak on it, he did share some of the details and the reasoning behind the decision. “Obviously, just to be ready for training camp. Not having to go somewhere else and trying to find a field and knowing people could be there filming and watching. I’m a guy that kinda likes to work in the dark, I guess you could say. Just come out and show what I’ve been doing. Just give me a sense of privacy, a sense of peace I can have the guys over there and get a lot of work in, still doing what I need to do.
Dak added about the field that it was sparked because of the quarantine. “I started working on it during quarantine, but obviously it’s not a thing that just happens fast. It was probably late June that we started going, we were able to get in there 2-3 times a week for the most part. So I’d say a month, a good solid month we were at my house for the most part. We were kind of finding a place here and there, being very discreet about working, obviously saying safe with the whole COVID.
The Cowboys offensive tackles can’t stay healthy. It’s not too long before the games will start, Dallas needs some players to return to the line.
It’s not clear yet if the accident will impact [La’el] Collins’ ability to return to the field sooner rather than later.
The Cowboys were without their top three tackles in practice Thursday with Tyron Smith sitting out after his hamstring tightened up. He went through some individual drills before walking off before the team moved the session into Ford Center.
Cameron Erving, who was signed as a free agent to be the backup at both tackle spots, has yet to practice because of an ailment but the expectation is he will be able to get some work in soon.
Without the three tackles, Wyatt Miller and Terence Steele worked at left tackle in place of Smith, and Brandon Knight took work at right tackle for Collins. The Cowboys added Pace Murphy to the roster on Tuesday and this was his first practice.
Ex-Cowboy Dez Bryant is still trying to work his back into the league, but didn’t get a contract after a workout.
Dez Bryant is getting a workout in Baltimore, but not a job offer.
Bryant worked out for the Ravens today but is expected to leave without a contract, according to NFL Network.
It’s no surprise that the Ravens aren’t exactly eager to sign Bryant, as he hasn’t played in an NFL game since the end of the 2017 season. But by working out, he at least gets the opportunity to show the Ravens what he can do, and hope they’ll give him a call if they find themselves needing a receiver down the road.
Once among the NFL’s best receivers during his time with the Cowboys, Bryant’s production had started to tail off by the time they cut him after the 2017 season. He signed with the Saints during the 2018 season but tore his Achilles tendon during his first practice. He was out of the NFL in 2019.
What is training camp like at The Star? Broadcasting The ‘Boys caught up with the mothership’s Dave Helman to find out.
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