Mike McCarthy: Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott to be full go for NFL training camp next month - Todd Archer, ESPN
So far, so good for Dak Prescott, who has been able to participate in OTA’s thus far after coming back from a gruesome ankle injury. The franchise quarterback is doing so well that Mike McCarthy expects him to be a full-go by the time training camp starts.
“He hasn’t missed anything that’s been slated. He’s doing a lot of extra, frankly, so the anticipation would be for him to go every day is the outlook,” McCarthy said. “We’re not naive. It’s just like any player that comes back from injury, especially a major joint injury. The first year back, there’s going to be some things you have to work through, but I would anticipate we’d start with him in full mode, get him into the team periods and get back to playing football.”
Prescott is coming back from a dislocated and compound fracture of his right ankle suffered in a game in October against the New York Giants. So confident were the Cowboys in his return that they signed him to a four-year, $160 million contract that included a record $66 million signing bonus.
During the organized team activities and minicamp practices that had been open to the media, Prescott has been kept out of only 11-on-11 work. During the early portion of practice, he goes through a longer warming-up period to get loose and said that was something he was likely to continue into the regular season.
Cowboys experiment with first-round pick Micah Parsons at defensive end during first day of minicamp - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News
Micah Parsons appears to be primed for a multi-faceted role in Dan Quinn’s defense here in Dallas. The rookie has already stated that he’s learning all three linebacker roles, and on Tuesday the team tried him out as a designated pass rusher as well.
It’s early in the process, experimentation really, but the Cowboys are lining up first-round pick, linebacker Micah Parsons as a defensive end. During the organized team activities and on the first day of the mandatory minicamp which occurred Tuesday, there was Parsons flying off the edge in the official DPR spot. DPR is Designated Pass Rusher, a position defensive coordinator Dan Quinn wants Parsons to play and has used him at for most of the offseason in addition to playing middle linebacker.
“Just creating havoc, creating disruption,” Parsons said on playing DPR. “Being able to create that excitement, momentum change, a chance to get the ball out and get it back to our explosive offense. That’s kind of what I like about pass rushing.”
On one play, Parsons flew off the edge against backup tackle Ty Nsekhe causing the eight-year veteran from Texas State to lose his balance and head to the sidelines to get checked by the medical staff. Nsekhe returned yet it’s Parsons’ speed that gives the Cowboys more defensive players to utilize.
Updates: Fixing Tyron Smith’s Stinger Issues - Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips, & David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
One of the Cowboys’ injuries last year that didn’t get talked about as much as Dak Prescott was Tyron Smith, who has consistently struggled with neck and back issues the last few years. But it turns out that these issues had been going on for quite a while, and were not just a new occurrence.
It has long been known that Tyron Smith dealt with stingers. But until Tuesday, most people might not have realized just how long. Smith had season-ending surgery on his neck last season as a result of those stinger issues, which have bothered him for multiple seasons. Asked about it Tuesday afternoon, he acknowledged it’s been an issue for much of his football career.
“It’s been an issue pretty much ever since I’ve been playing ball, since I got that first stinger way back when I first started,” he said. “Ever since I’ve been there, it just started getting worse and worse as I got older.”
The issue caused Smith to lose strength in his left arm – strength he has since started to recover. The hope is that finally having surgery will alleviate some of those issues. From the sounds of it, Smith is getting exactly the relief he needed. “I started to feel a huge relief because I could move my neck around a lot more than I usually can,” he said. “It was like right away it started feeling like a huge relief.”
Is Cowboys Rookie CB Kelvin Joseph Facing Uphill Battle for Playing Time? - Sean Martin, Inside the Star
The Cowboys may not have landed a cornerback in the first round of the draft, but when they selected Kelvin Joseph in the second round he was widely expected to become a starter opposite Trevon Diggs. But after missing some time with an illness, Joseph has some catching up to do.
Coming away from the 2021 NFL Draft with new talent in the secondary was the biggest priority for the Cowboys. Unable to do so in the first round, Kentucky CB Kelvin Joseph was the pick at 44th overall. Playing in just 15 collegiate games, the Cowboys went with inexperience but high upside in looking to replace a combined 74% of snaps lost at cornerback from 2020.
Joseph was absent from the Cowboys last week of OTA practices with a reported illness, though DC Dan Quinn said the rookie is “off to a good start”. In a draft where the Cowboys brought in eight new defenders – heavily influenced by Quinn’s vision to rebuild this defense – there remains a clear path for Joseph to play opposite Trevon Diggs.
However, 99th overall pick Nashon Wright out of Oregon State has taken full advantage of his practice time. Looking to outplay his third round draft status, Wright has made a strong first impression.
While Kelvin Joseph gets up to speed, fellow rookie cornerback Nahshon Wright, whose selection prompted plenty of mocking from fans and draft experts alike, has been the one turning heads.
With NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein projecting Wright as a seventh-round selection or possibly even an undrafted free agent candidate, many felt like the Cowboys massively overreached for the selection. Yet, the team is confident they made the right choice and so is Wright, who boldly bragged he was a more athletic and agile Richard Sherman.
And it seems that Wright has been living up to his draft status early. We noted back during Cowboys rookie minicamp that the third-rounder made a great initial impression. And that positive play appears to have continued into OTAs according to 105.3 The Fan’s Bryan Broaddus.
Obviously, this is very early into the offseason training program. And things could look very different once the players are actually in pads. But the early reviews about Wright are positive and full of potential. Especially from a developing prospect, whom the Cowboys will likely not have to rely on to play right away.
Randy Gregory has been in the NFL for a while now, but he’s only just now getting to experience his second full offseason program. Largely expected to step into a more prominent role this year, Gregory is excited for the next step.
But Gregory was reinstated in the middle of last season. His last mini-camp experience was his rookie season. Now, he’s on the field and says it’s “refreshing” to have the opportunity to be a player who a team can rely upon.
“In my past, I had a lot of time to myself not being with the team,” Gregory said of the time that he was serving suspensions or when his status was in limbo. “That was a tough time. Being around the guys in the locker room, day to day, week to week, being around the coaches, it kind of just gives me a purpose.”
At 28-years-old, there is limited wear and tear on Gregory’s body which has a naturally lean and athletic build. It’s been the mental aspect that’s been crucial for him to master through a journey of setbacks that were partly self-inflicted, but also created a narrative about him that he doesn’t believe reflects his commitment.
“It takes time to build trust,” Gregory admitted. “Hopefully there’s a time when we can sit here for 10-15 minutes and you won’t even ask about my past.”
Amari Cooper has long been known as a chess aficionado. Micah Parsons revealed last week that he’s been beating some fellow teammates at the game, but had yet to challenge the master. Until Tuesday, that is. And the result is what you’d expect.