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Cowboys news: Jerry Jones’ offensive line concerns turning into optimism

Your Wednesday edition of news on America’s Team.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jones’ O-Line Concerns Now Turning Into Optimism - Layten Praytor, DallasCowboys.com

The Cowboys need their offensive line to be better in 2022.

After losing Connor Williams (Miami) and La’el Collins (Cincinnati) in free agency, the Cowboys put a focus on the O-line entering the draft. Perhaps no player on the offensive line has the potential to have the biggest impact than Tyler Smith, who the Cowboys selected at No. 24 overall during the draft in April. Jones says that Smith has impressed in a variety of ways, which was evident during his introductory press conference.

“His strength and his intellect,” Jones said. “He enjoys hitting. He actually enjoys it. He looks like he’s hunting something up out there. That was the book on him, and so all of those things are true. I must say that his press conference that may be the most impressed I’ve ever been at a press conference, just his ability to communicate.”

Smith’s maturity and communications skills that Jones alluded to have rung true since he entered the building two months ago. And while the football abilities have been impressive, the opportunity to be in Dallas has not been lost on Smith. “It’s been crazy,” Smith said. “It has definitely been a blessing to be brought home. When it happened to me, it was just the wildest thing ever. It’s changed my life and changed my family’s life. I can definitely say I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

5 things we learned from Cowboys minicamp: Dalton Schultz reports, McCarthy fined and more - Staff, Dallas Morning News

Looking at some takeaways from minicamp.

2. Schultz returns. Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) catches a pass from quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during a minicamp practice at The Star in Frisco, Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (Brandon Wade / Special Contributor) The Cowboys starting tight end skipped last week’s voluntary Organized Team Activities. It was Schultz’s way of informing the club he wants a new contract.

Schultz was franchised for $10.9 million in the spring and the club has until July 15 to give him a new contract. If that doesn’t occur, Schultz will play for the $10.9 million and could hit the open market next spring.

Well, Schultz’s goal of opening contract talks with the club worked and he reported to the mandatory camp. It doesn’t mean the Cowboys are close to a deal with Schultz, contract talks are getting better, which is the point of skipping the OTAs. If Schultz missed Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp session he would have been fined $15,980. It was interesting that Schultz had a light practice on Tuesday. He didn’t participate during the team sessions.

“Really Dalton’s been here pretty much the whole offseason, really going all the way back to February,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s great to have him back and he’ll get some work today.”

1 Player on Every NFL Team Who Could Disappoint in 2022 - Maurice Moton, BleacherReport.com

Which Cowboys player do you think will disappoint this season?

Dallas Cowboys: OL Tyler Smith. In a mailbag question, a reader asked about Tyler Smith's progress through OTAs. Rob Phillips and David Helman of the Dallas Cowboys' official website both gave glowing assessments of the rookie first-rounder, but Helman cautioned not to get too excited about non-padded spring practices:

"He looks like he belongs, there's no doubt. But as Rob also mentioned, let's not lose our minds about two OTAs. Things are going to change severely when the pads go on — and then again when he starts going against guys like Vita Vea, Javon Hargrave and Aaron Donald. But yes, so far, I'm very impressed with Tyler Smith." Cowboys fans should be particularly careful with early evaluations of Smith because he's going to transition from being a collegiate tackle at Tulsa to a guard in his first year at the pro level.

Smith may become the eventual replacement for left tackle Tyron Smith, but the Cowboys inserted him in a competition with Connor McGovern at left guard following the departure of Connor Williams. For the rookie, a shift from the perimeter to the interior could come with growing pains in regular-season action.

Backup tackle is a Dallas Cowboys training camp battle to watch - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys

The Cowboys do not have a clear swing tackle on their roster right now.

In any case, it is could be a heated competition this year. Here are the current contenders. Josh Ball The second-year player probably is the current leader. He has had a year to work with the coaches, which can strongly influence eventual decisions. More importantly the team invested a fourth-round pick to get him, and Dallas hates to give up on picks that high. He wound up sitting out last season on IR. Expect Ball to be afforded every opportunity to claim a spot. The question is whether there are any who can unseat him.

Matt Waletzko. Every year we get too excited about later-round draft picks that the Cowboys make. Waletzko is generating a lot of buzz in social media. That is not very meaningful with nothing but very limited data from OTAs and minicamp as a basis. However, if the team once again carries two backup tackles, Waletzko may have a real shot at making the roster. That is not because he has shown a lot. It is because there may not be much competition.

Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb Says He Models Game After Davante Adams, Reggie Wayne, More - Joseph Zucker, BleacherReport.com

Dallas’ wideout will step into a new role this season.

The 2021 Pro Bowler recounted a conversation he had with Odell Beckham Jr. that helped him develop in the NFL and said he was eager to build a rapport with Beckham. He also cited Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon as wideouts from whom he tried to model his game.

Through two seasons, Lamb has caught 153 passes for 2,037 yards and 11 touchdowns. During that time, he had to share the spotlight a bit with Amari Cooper. With Cooper now a member of the Cleveland Browns, the 23-year-old is the clear No. 1 option in Dallas' passing game.

There's little reason to think Lamb won't rise to the occasion, and in due time, he's likely to be an exemplar for the next generation of pass-catchers coming into the league.

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