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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott returns to the field and participates in first OTA session

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Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott practices after suffering devastating ankle injury - Vincent Frank, Sportsnaut

It’s been a long wait, but Dak Prescott is returning to football activities.

It was back on October 11 of last year that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered an absolutely horrific season-ending ankle injury in a game against the New York Giants.

At that point, there was absolutely no telling when Prescott would return or whether he’d ever be 100% again. Now, 225 days later, Prescott is back on the practice field throwing passes to wide receivers during the opening of the Cowboys’ organized team activities.

That has to be an absolutely beautiful sight for the Cowboys’ brass and their fans.

The injury Dak Prescott suffered was classified as a compound fracture and dislocation to his right ankle. It was one of the most-brutal injuries we’ve seen a quarterback suffer on an NFL field in some time.

What Osa Odighizuwa, Quinton Bohanna Bring to the Cowboys Defensive Line - Matthew Lenix, Inside The Star

The Cowboys are in the midst of remaking their interior defensive line.

Odighizuwa may be slightly undersized at 6’2 and 280 pounds but he doesn’t let that hinder him. During his days at UCLA, Odighizuwa used great leverage and power to be an effective run stopper as evidence by his 27.5 tackles for loss. With an explosive first step, good hands, and an excellent punch, Odighizuwa was able to absorb double teams, which keeps linebackers free to make plays while he penetrates through gaps.

The former Bruin showed some versatility to his game as well. He made plays at the 1-tech and 3-tech. Also, he can slide to the 5-tech in a 3-4 front, which the Cowboys will use under Dan Quinn. With the Cowboys ranking 31st against the run last season, having a player like Odighizuwa who can play several spots on the defensive line, and do so effectively, will keep other players fresh for late-game situations.

Bohanna is a mountain of a man. The 6’4 and 330-pound behemoth out of Kentucky isn’t going to rack up big sack or tackle numbers, but he doesn’t have to. Bohanna is a true nose tackle and can do so in a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive. Although he’s massive, he explodes off the ball and is a space-eater which will force double teams and allow not only linebackers to roam and make plays (much like Odighizuwa) but give defensive ends more one-on-one opportunities.

His ability to penetrate as a two-gap disrupter can force quarterbacks to move outside the pocket and give edge rushers like DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory chances to make plays. Also, he moves well down the line of scrimmage and brings down ball carriers from the backside.

Cowboys sign Johnnie Dixon - Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk

Another receiver for training camp.

A recent tryout in Dallas went well for wide receiver Johnnie Dixon.

Dixon’s agent Jason Bernstein announced that his client has signed with the Cowboys. He worked out for the team along with quarterback Brett Huntley last week.

Dixon also tried out for the Browns this offseason. He went undrafted out of Ohio State in 2019 and has spent time with the Texans and Cardinals without appearing in any regular season games.

He had 60 catches for 1,091 yards and 16 touchdowns during his final two college seasons.

Dixon joins Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, Malik Turner, and fifth-round pick Simi Fehoko at receiver in Dallas.

Mailbag: Bradlee Anae’s Role? Rookie FA To Watch? - Rob Phillips & David Helman,

Can Bradlee Anae carve out some kind of role in 2021?

Is there a chance we may see Bradlee Anae anywhere but the bench this year? Seems he was in high regard when he was drafted, but never got any playing time. — LARRY SHUMAKER / WICHITA FALLS, TX

Rob: He did not, and although Aldon Smith wasn’t re-signed, now there’s more competition from Tarell Basham and Chauncey Golston. Dan Quinn has talked a lot about arm length for defensive linemen, and that’s not a strong suit for Anae. But his effort and technique are strengths, so we’ll see what happens.

David: It’s an interesting storyline, and it’s a textbook example of the reality of the NFL. Anae was one of the most popular draft picks of last year, but the reality of the situation is that he’s got some steep competition to even make the roster. We’ll have to see how training camp plays out, but it’s a timely reminder that it’s hard to make the roster as a Day 3 draft pick.

Position groups on the Dallas Cowboys roster that are the most concerning - RJ Ochoa, BloggingTheBoys

Every roster has holes, check out some of the Cowboys’.

Backup quarterback

This is a place where there is concern as the Cowboys wound up depending heavily on their backup quarterback(s) in 2020. If you are having to rely on anyone other than Dak Prescott the odds are not exactly in your favor, but if the Cowboys need someone to carry them for a game or two, that can be a difference when it comes down to playoffs.

As of now the Cowboys have Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci as options behind Prescott at quarterback. Both Gilbert and DiNucci started games for them last season in Dak’s absence and the former looked rather functional (not as much can be said for the latter).

Dallas was connected to Jeff Driskel this offseason, but he wound up signing with the Houston Texans. They had veteran Brett Hundley in for a visit last week although it doesn’t seem like anything is going to materialize there in the short-term either. Perhaps the Cowboys are just dotting i’s and crossing t’s, but right now it is fair to be concerned here.

Film room: 3 Cowboys who should thrive under Dan Quinn, including Trevon Diggs’ expedited development - John Owning, DMN

Trevon Diggs will need to take his game to the next level for the Cowboys defense to really work.

Last year, Trevon Diggs went through a lot of growing pains getting acclimated to the NFL game (allowed the 21st most receiving yards and fifth-most touchdowns among CBs), but he intertwined enough flashes of brilliance (finished 10th among CBs in forced incompletion rate, per PFF) that fans should be excited about his potential development heading into Year 2.

Replacing Mike Nolan with Dan Quinn should only expedite that development, as Diggs should fit Quinn’s defensive like a glove.

At 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds with 32 3/4-inch arms, Diggs has the size and skill set Quinn covets in his outside cornerbacks. And Diggs’ size doesn’t go to waste, as he displayed an ability to bully receivers at the line of scrimmage during his rookie season. It got to the point where the threat of Diggs’ jam was enough to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage at times.

In addition, that size and length enable Diggs to be competitive at the catch point regardless of the receiver’s size.

Diggs did have some issues getting beat vertically at times as a rookie, but Quinn’s reliance on Cover 3 and bail techniques should allow Diggs to stay on top of vertical routes more consistently, making it more difficult for teams to beat him deep. In addition, playing more Cover 3 could mean more opportunities for Diggs to make plays on the ball, as one of the benefits of zone coverage is the ability to vision the ball out of the QB’s eyes whereas he’d be visioning the “man” in man coverage.

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