4 Cowboys who need strong training camps to make the roster, including a former top pick - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
Former second-round pick Trysten Hill finds himself on the roster bubble in just his third NFL season.
Noah Brown has carved himself out quite the niche on the Cowboys roster since making the team as an undrafted rookie in 2020. While he’s become notorious for his blocking and special teams ability, Brown has actually developed into a promising possession receiver as well, showing great ball skills to go with improved route-running.
Nonetheless, the Cowboys are so dense with receiver talent that he’s going to need a strong camp to maintain his spot on the receiver depth chart and the team’s 53-man roster. By drafting Simi Fehoko in the fifth-round and signing Brennan Eagles, TJ Vasher, Osirus Mitchell and Brandon Smith in undrafted free agency, the Cowboys have brought in a lot of competition for Brown’s spot — and as someone who made the roster as an undrafted rookie, Brown knows all too well how one can come in and steal a veteran’s gig if the veteran isn’t performing up to par. And that’s not even taking into account roster holdovers such as Aaron Parker and Malik Turner, who have turned heads at times this offseason.
While it’s true that Brown has been progressing as a wideout year over year, his biggest advantage over the other receivers is his special teams ability, as Brown has proven to be one of the Cowboys’ most reliable special teamers each season. Still, a problem will arise if Brown doesn’t prove to be meaningfully better than the receivers currently behind him on the roster. The Cowboys are up against the cap, so if they can save a few dollars by cutting Brown, who counts just under $1 million against the cap, and keeping Fehoko or one of the other cheaper receivers (if the team keeps six receivers).
The Cowboys need a big year from the duo of Prescott and Elliott to return to the postseason.
McCarthy went on to praise Dak for his consistency to work out every day since the injury. But also said his new contract should warrant an even higher level of leadership. "When a player receives a big contract, it's my opinion the responsibility they have Monday to Saturday greatly increases. Nobody exemplifies that more than Dak."
Stephen Jones added that Dak is the type of leader, similar to a Michael Irvin, who has the ability to lead the team both emotionally and on the field. Jerry Jones also said Dak's return is the main reason he believes "the arrow is pointing up" for the Cowboys this year.
As for Zeke, who has stayed rather quiet this offseason, just his appearance alone is different. He looks much leaner and even stronger and is clearly motivated to have a better season in 2021. Last year, Elliott saw career-low numbers in rushing yards (979), rushing touchdowns (six) and his average yards per game (65.3) was by far the lowest of his career. But McCarthy seems to think things will be different for Zeke this year. If anything, the approach has been much better.
The Cowboys would have some tough decisions to make if the NFL had an expansion draft.
DALLAS COWBOYS. ILB Jaylon Smith, QB Ben DiNucci, WR Cedrick Wilson, OLB Francis Bernard, S Steven Parker Frankly, it is sorely tempting to include Ezekiel Elliott here. The running back's play has declined over the past couple of years—an alarming trend given his position and career workload. The Cowboys have a capable replacement in Tony Pollard. And Elliott's six-year, $90 million contract is the ugliest on the roster.
However, the Cowboys enter every season with Super Bowl aspirations (or delusions, depending on how you look at it). And it's doubtful team owner Jerry Jones would risk watching Elliott get snatched up, even if the argument can be made that would be a bad move for a new squad.
On the other hand, linebacker Jaylon Smith (who is also coming off a down season, especially in coverage) is another story. With Leighton Vander Esch, Micah Parsons, Jabril Cox and Keanu Neal at off-ball linebacker, the Cowboys have the depth at the position to absorb the loss of Smith and would clear nearly $10 million off the books. Given the Cowboys' annual dance with the salary cap, the extra wiggle room would come in handy.
Cowboys training camp kickoff press conference: Dak Prescott expected to be full participant, including team drills - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Getting you caught up on all the news from the training camp kickoff press conference.
It has finally arrived. Training camp is set to begin in Oxnard, CA for the Dallas Cowboys. As such, today they held their annual press conference to get a sense of what the Cowboys brain-trust is thinking heading into this all-important part of the offseason. Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Mike McCarthy took some questions and gave some answers. Here is what they had to say. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
The secondary looks like one of the more intriguing position groups entering camp.
Rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright are locks for the roster but playing time will depend on how they compete with Lewis and Brown. We also have second-year prospect Reggie Robinson returning to his college position of CB after an arguably wasted rookie season at safety.
That top six may be hard to crack, but veterans Maurice Canady and Deante Burton are going to give it their all. Canady has the best shot; a free agent from 2020 who was expected to push for a big role but opted-out under the COVID-19 policy. If anyone’s going to make Brown expendable or push Robinson to the practice squad, it’s him.
As for the safeties, Damontae Kazee and Donovan Wilson are safe bets as your 2021 starters. Their playing styles compliment each other well in the more tradition free and strong safety roles, plus Kazee’s history with Dan Quinn works in his favor.
Dallas Cowboys must make playoffs or MIke McCarthy must go - Jarrett Prendergast, FanSided's The Landry Hat
If the Cowboys miss the playoffs again, the second-year head coach could be on the hot seat.
Playing in the poor NFC East, on paper Dallas has an immediate roster advantage over the rest of the division. The offense should be one of the best units in the NFL but the challenge will be getting the young defense to play at an average to an above-average level.
Adding new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to the coaching staff should help solve some of the defensive woes from last season. Quinn is an experienced defensive coordinator and has shown the ability in the past to get the best out of his players. (Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner)
Back in 2007 in McCarthy’s second year with the Packers, they went 13-3 and made the NFC Championship game where they lost to the New York Giants. If McCarthy is able to replicate that success in his second season in Dallas he would establish himself as the Cowboys coach for the foreseeable future. McCarthy agreed to a five-year deal before last season but if he does not have the success Jerry Jones was hoping for when he hired him I do not think Jones would hesitate to make a move.
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