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Cowboys news: Amari Cooper’s ankle an underreported storyline as camp draws closer

The news you may have missed from Tuesday.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Report: Mike McCarthy ‘optimistic’ about Amari Cooper’s injury - Riley Gates, 247 Sports

Amari Cooper had ankle surgery over the offseason and missed all of the team’s minicamp and OTA’s so far, as he’s still recovering from it. But Mike McCarthy is feeling optimistic that the star receiver will be ready to go by the time training camp comes around.

Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Amari Cooper has had a tough offseason, suffering an ankle injury that has held him out of action. Cooper is working on returning to full health and getting back to work with his team, but it appears he isn’t quite healthy enough to play at full speed just yet. DallasCowboys.com Senior Writer Rob Phillips delivered the latest update on Cooper’s status on Monday.

“Amari had a scope on his ankle back at the end of the season, and my guess is that his current rehab is still working his way back from that,” Phillips said, according to the team’s website. “Unfortunately, COVID has still limited our access to the point that I don’t know a ton more than that. But on the bright side, (head coach) Mike McCarthy did seem optimistic during minicamp that Cooper will be ready when training camp gets underway.”

The Cowboys will likely be as cautious as they can with Cooper’s ankle injury, considering what he means to their production on offense. Dallas traded a first-round pick to the Raiders in October 2018 in order to acquire Cooper. He had 725 yards and six scores in the nine games he played with the Cowboys that year and Cooper has now posted back-to-back seasons of over 1,100 yards for Dallas.

Cowboys Best Rookie: Micah, Kelvin Joseph or Nahshon? - Tim Hamm, Cowboy Maven

Nahshon Wright may be the rookie that’s generated the most buzz thus far, but Micah Parsons and Kelvin Joseph are carrying much bigger expectations as higher draft picks. So which one will be the Cowboys’ best rookie?

The Dallas Cowboys ‘powers that be’ were charged with “reaching” when they selected Nahshon Wright in the third round. He’s doing his best to prove his new bosses right.

Many Dallas Cowboys eyes appeared to be on the linebackers coming out of the NFL Draft. But the cornerback position might actually be a bigger need for the team regarding position improvement for 2021. ... and there may be a surprising solution.

Who will be the Cowboys’ most impactful rookie? Micah Parsons? Kelvin Joseph? What about the fast-starting third-round corner?

Film room: Why Dallas Cowboys LB Jabril Cox will become a starter by 2023 - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Perhaps the Cowboys’ most universally praised draft pick this year was LSU linebacker Jabril Cox, whose value as a fourth-round pick was hailed by almost everyone. But in a crowded linebacker room, Cox may be waiting a few years to become a starter.

Look around the NFL and you will see that the prevailing body type for linebackers has changed. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound downhill thumpers have given way to the 6-foot-2, 230-pound athletes who can make plays sideline-to-sideline and, most importantly, thrive in coverage.

That last point is why Cox will become a starter in the future, as the 6-foot-3 and 232-pound linebacker excels in coverage. As offenses have zeroed in on creating mismatches and taking advantage of the defense’s second-level defenders, players like Cox have become extremely valuable on Sundays in an effort to defend opposing offense’s aerial attacks.

In college, Cox’s film in pass coverage is some of the best I’ve seen at the linebacker in recent memory, as he even outperformed most safeties in the class against the pass. Cox is excellent in zone coverage, as he does well relating to receivers entering his area while maintaining the proper spacing and reading the quarterback’s intentions.

Dak Prescott eventually may get a signature shoe with Jordan Brand - Mike Florio, NBC Sports

Dak Prescott may have been re-signed by the Cowboys, but he wasn’t re-signed by Adidas. The franchise quarterback joined the Jordan Brand team this summer, and details have revealed that he could be getting his own signature shoe down the line.

According to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News (via Sports Business Journal), Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott won’t get a signature shoe in the first year of his contract with the Jordan Brand. However, a clause in the contract allows Nike to eventually produce a Dallas Cowboys/Jordan Brand product line.

Nike received permission from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who undoubtedly will receive a revenue steam if the team names and/or logo is incorporated into any Prescott-branded product.

Prescott moved to Nike after five years with adidas, which “attempted to re-sign” Prescott, per Watkins. Prescott and Michael Jordan wanted to form a partnership, however, and that fueled the effort.

Role Call: Can Sprinkle Capitalize On Experience? - Kyle Youmans, DallasCowboys.com

The Cowboys free agent tight end will try to carve a role out for himself behind Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz.

How He Got Here: A former fifth-round selection out of Arkansas, Sprinkle joined the Cowboys after four seasons as a primary blocking tight end for divisional foe Washington. It was no surprise Dallas was in the market for a player like Sprinkle after the departure of Blake Bell this offseason. Outside of a 2019 season where he posted 26 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown, Sprinkle has been an afterthought in the passing game. Instead, his value to the Cowboys comes in pass blocking situations where he has steadily improved his grades since entering the league.

In 2020, he tallied just one grab on three targets over a full 16 game slate, six of which he started. Interestingly enough, according to Pro Football Focus, Sprinkle’s two highest single-game pass blocking grades each came against the Cowboys. He scored a 77.8 in Week 7 (his highest grade), and a 76.1 on Thanksgiving.

What’s Next: Sprinkle now falls directly in line for competition in a crowded tight end room with returner Sean McKeon and fellow newcomers Nick Eubanks and Artayvious Lynn – all looking to fill a majority blocking role while making a minor impact in the passing game behind Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. In the same role last season, Bell reeled in 11 catches for 110 yards while spending the majority of his time in the trenches, rather than running routes. An advantage that Sprinkle has over his competition, is that he’s put together a season with significant production as a receiver as well as the experience of starting 33 of 59 career games in Washington.

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