Flip-flopping both players throughout each game would be a smart game plan.
The addition of Anthony Barr to the linebacker unit instantly creates a tandem with Micah Parsons that’s reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel, in that the Dallas Cowboys are hoping the two can make beautiful defensive music together that ultimately becomes a bridge over troubled water, i.e., their longstanding Super Bowl drought.
“There’s a possibility,” said Parsons, before dropping a bit of a preview into what their music might sound like. “But don’t forget, Barr told me he likes to rush too, so to have that switch-up - it’ll be nice.”
Parsons obviously isn’t the only one who is imagining such a schematic. Will McClay, the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel who helped engineer the signing, hears the same tune playing in his head.
“He brings another element to the defense where you can move certain guys around,” said McClay. “ ... We’re a young defense, so the more leadership you can bring that can play, I think that helps us. ... His professionalism is No. 1. Then we get on the field, and you can put Micah over here, you can put Leighton in a certain spot, you can bring a safety down - [Barr] gives you so much flexibility, defensive-wise, to do a number of different things.
Ten trucks and over 50 tons of equipment: How the Dallas Cowboys take training camp to California - Todd Archer, ESPN.com
A lot of unsung efforts from folks you probably haven’t heard of make the Cowboys training camp in Oxnard go round.
The midway is buzzing. Dallas Cowboys fans jam the area to buy jerseys, T-shirts, hats and replica helmets. Some are chowing down on food. Others are content to sit and listen to a deejay play music.
It’s become a summer ritual. Just as fans in Green Bay watch the Packers players ride bikes to practice, the Cowboys have Oxnard.
Making it happen is a six-month process, if not longer, as the Cowboys move their operations from The Star — their state-of-the-art home in Frisco, Texas — to Oxnard, which is about 1,500 miles away. One of six NFL teams to hold camp away from the home facility, the Cowboys believe the benefits —which include comfortable 75-degree weather and a chance for players to bond — are many and varied.
This summer, the tower in the middle of the field where Jones, scouts or visiting luminaries watch practice needed to be repositioned before the first practice because it was askew.
Another issue was the state of the fields when they arrived since they do not get used much the other 10-plus months of the year. They were too soft and wet. An expert from Brazil, who has worked with FIFA for World Cups, was flown in to help get them ready. Each day a double-drum roller goes back and forth to compact the ground, but there are a number of bumps and dips that can make footing tricky.
Redoing the fields is a priority for 2023.
If these bold predictions come true, the Cowboys could be in big trouble.
Prediction 1: Dak Prescott will post his worst PFF grade since 2018
PFF grades say little about what was a statistically-successful season for Prescott in 2018. He made his second Pro Bowl behind a 10-6 record, five game-winning drives, 3,885 passing yards, 28 total touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
However, this season’s uncertainty surrounding the receiving corps and an offensive line with some shift in personnel makes this a year that Prescott could see some regression after nearly topping 4,500 passing yards last season.
Prediction 3: Trevon Diggs records fewer than half the interceptions but a better PFF grade than last year.
Diggs, of course, led the league with 11 interceptions last season. He was the first player to reach that mark in a single season since former Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls had 11 of his own in 1981.
Even a five-interception season could still be considered a successful campaign for the All-Pro corner. His reputation as a shut-down corner rather than a ball-hawking one would be reflected in his potentially higher PFF grade and lower interception total.
As time passes, Cowboys contract with Ezekiel Elliott looks even worse - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Zeke was supposed to set the running back market ablaze, until he didn’t.
Elliott came into the league with some maturity issues, but he quickly transitioned into a pro and is among the leaders on the Cowboys roster. There is just a lot to like about Elliott, both professionally and personally. By all accounts he has an engaging personality that endears him to players and coaches alike.
But as we all know, there are some problems associated with Elliott. One is his declining production, the other is his outsized contract. We’ll leave the production issue for another day. The only thing we will say is that he was off to a fast start in 2021 until a knee injury slowed him down. And from what video is showing, and observers are saying, Elliott looks very good in training camp.
There are a few things to take away from this. One is that you probably don’t want your running backs on the highest-paid list in general given how they are utilized in today’s NFL, and how easily they can be replaced by younger, fresher talent. If you got the highest paid quarterback in the league, that’s understandable. It’s the most important position on the team. Similar logic can be used on other positions that are far more valuable than running back like cornerback, edge pass rusher, left tackle, etc. Overpaying there makes sense, it doesn’t with running back. The Cowboys didn’t get that memo.
That means that the Cowboys gave an oversized contract out to Elliott that still hasn’t been eclipsed by other teams for guaranteed money. And it’s not even close as Zeke got $14 million more guaranteed than the next back. In the NFL, generally the last star signed to a contract jumps to the top of the list, or very near. For instance, Dak Prescott was once at the top of quarterback pay, but recent contracts have rendered him a no-show on the quarterbacks list. Elliott’s contract is the oldest on the list of all the positions, and was only just edged out in three-year average by McCaffrey, who adds a lot in the passing game in addition to his rushing ability.
With the early returns from the young receiving group looking promising, is there really a need to acquire another wide out?
1. Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots
Since being taken in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, Agholor has bounced around a bit. He spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, and is currently with the New England Patriots.
2. Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles
If there was ever a receiver that needed a change of scenery, it’s Reagor. He seems to have lost confidence during his time with the Eagles. Just like Agholor, Reagor hasn’t lived up to his first-round selection to the frustration of many Eagle fans.
3. Kelvin Harmon, Washington Commanders
Okay so hear me out. We’ve seen this Cowboys front office throw curveballs our way numerous times — just look at the signing of linebacker Anthony Barr when their real need is at wide receiver.
4. Josh Malone, Tennessee Titans
Just like Harmon, Malone could be another receiver curveball thrown our way by this Dallas front office. He’s another big-bodied receiver at 6’3″ and 205 pounds that, unlike Harmon, has 4.4-second speed but just hasn’t been able to get it going during his time in the NFL.
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