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Cowboys news: Jalen Tolbert looks much improved this offseason, becoming a more versatile WR

Notable headlines surrounding America’s team.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

‘Flush it’: How Jalen Tolbert became the Cowboys’ most improved WR this offseason- Michael Gehlken, DMN

A year-two breakout could be in the cards for the South Alabama WR.

“We get in the huddle, and I go from one spot to another spot, and maybe I’m not as comfortable at that one spot or not confident in what’s going to be called in the headset,” Tolbert said. “So, I hear it, and now I’m thinking about split. I’m thinking about coverage. I’m thinking about what to run and the depth of the route.

“When you’re doing all that and you’re supposed to be [snaps hand three times] playing second nature — obviously, if you’re thinking, you’re not going to play as fast as you want to play. Now, when I hear something, I’m just able to line up, know what’s going on, look at the coverage, jump out of my shoes and make a play.”

Cowboys wide receivers coach Robert Prince can attest.

He sees the difference.

Tolbert can seamlessly switch between the F, X, Z and Y positions. His route running has improved, allowing him to gain more separation and do more of what he does best when targeted: Attack and high-point the football in the air.

“He’s playing with more speed and more physicality,” Prince said. “Yeah, he’s done a tremendous job learning all the spots. ‘Hey JT, go play X.’ He’s totally fine with it. Last year, he wasn’t playing fast and just running the lines on the paper. This year, he is making those lines come to life.”

Cowboys’ Dez Bryant Jokes Patriots Coach ‘Bill Belichick Robbed Me of Super Bowls!’- Johnathan Alfano, Sports Illustrated

A butterfly flaps its wings and Dez might have never worn the star.

A fan tweeted at Bryant calling him “one of his favorite college receivers ever.” However, this fan also claims to be a “die-hard” supporter of the Philadelphia Eagles, and wished Bryant would’ve gone somewhere other than Dallas. Bryant then responded to this tweet in a curious way, saying “Bill Belichick robbed me from some Super Bowls” with a laughing emoji.

This may seem confusing at first, so what exactly does Bryant mean by this? Well, it seems like he is referring back to the 2010 NFL Draft, when he first entered the league.

The Cowboys selected Bryant with the No. 24 overall pick in the draft, but that pick didn’t always belong to them. The pick originally belonged to Philadelphia, which traded it to the Denver Broncos, who then traded it to New England. Dallas then traded up with New England on draft night to nab the pick and select Bryant, preventing him from becoming a Patriot. Although not completely certain, it’s likely that this is what Bryant is referring to in his tweet.

This top Cowboys’ offseason objective was achieved - Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire

Fans should cross their fingers that this objective remains achieved.

Offseason OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps are important to every team in the NFL. It’s a time when teams can start installing their playbooks, test players in different roles and rotations, and lay the groundwork for training camp.

For the Cowboys this offseason, it’s especially important since the offense is undergoing a renovation of sorts with Mike McCarthy taking over play-calling and Brian Schottenheimer replacing Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator.

For as important as installs and rotations are, they pale in comparison to health and safety. Getting out of minicamps without suffering any major injuries is always the top objective and it’s an objective the Cowboys thankfully avoided.

“I have no major injury concerns,” McCarthy said following the final practice. “The state of our practice structure is part of that. There’s nobody we’re worried about right now.”

After being fined in each of the previous two seasons for violating NFL offseason practice rules, McCarthy had no choice but to dial things down. A third violation could have resulted in the loss of a draft pick and given the rules themselves are in place to protect the health of players, lighter offseason work is intuitively safer.

2 reasons Cowboys fans shouldn’t expect big production from Luke Schoonmaker in year one- Joey Pollizze, The Landry Hat

Are the expectations for Dallas’ second-round pick a tad too lofty?

1. Rookie tight ends don’t tend to be superstars.

There’s a major development curve for tight ends when they enter the league. It takes them longer than a running back or a wide receiver to get comfortable. Usually, tight ends need at least two or three seasons or even longer to finally show results.

See for yourself.

There were 10 tight ends taken in the first two rounds between 2018 and 2021: Hayden Hurst, Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, Hockenson, Noah Fant, Irv Smith, Drew Sample, Cole Kmet, Pitts, and Pat Freiermuth.

Here’s how each of them did in their rookie season.

1. Hayden Hurst

13 catches for 163 yards and one touchdown

2. Mike Gesicki

22 catches for 202 yards

3. Dallas Goedert

33 catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns

4. T.J. Hockenson

32 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns

5. Noah Fant

40 catches for 562 yards and three touchdowns


Losing players via injury or in free agency is inevitable in the NFL. In preparing for the worst, here is what the 2023 roster might look like if three key, yet undervalued, players are taken out of the starting rotation.


Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys have some history of dealing with reshuffling their offensive line.

In 2018, the team lost Travis Frederick to a Guillain-Barre syndrome diagnosis.

Joe Looney was ready and willing to provide the position flexibility Dallas raves about.

Last season, the offensive line played a version of musical chairs when Tyler Biadasz suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 18 matchup versus the Washington Commanders.

Connor McGovern slid from the left guard to center.

Tyler Smith kicked to the interior position, and Jason Peters held down the left tackle spot in that game.

The movement could have been better, but Dallas made it work.

McGovern cashed in on free agency and is no longer available should the need arise.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari are already piecing together the puzzle.

The OTA and mandatory minicamp reports suggest they are tinkering with different offensive line combinations.

If the fourth-year center from Wisconsin suffered any injury, players like Matt Farniok, Chuma Edoga, or Asim Richards might get their world turned upside down.

Hiking the ball when a 300lb man is barreling down on you makes for an uncomfortable signal caller.

The added pressure of appropriately identifying pre-snap blocking assignments makes the man in the middle of that chaos appear irreplaceable.

Tyler may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is what the doctor ordered in Dallas.

2023 Cowboys roster breakdown: Running backs - David Howman, Blogging The Boys

Deep diving into a position group that now has a Zeke-sized hole in the roster.

Is Tony Pollard ready to be the top dog?

Many fans have been clamoring for Tony Pollard to be the top running back in Dallas for several years now. They’re finally going to get their wish, but it might be the worst possible time for it to happen. Pollard is coming off the best year of his career, but he suffered a high ankle sprain and fractured fibula in the Cowboys’ final playoff game last year.

Now, he’s going to be ascending to the top of the depth chart right on top of his rehab from the injury. Add to it all that the offense is changing, at least somewhat, with Mike McCarthy calling plays and Brian Schottenheimer coordinating the offense. Pollard has done nothing but deliver since entering the NFL, but this is quite a lot of pressure for a player who’s never even topped 200 carries in a season, something that 22 different running backs did just last year.

Another factor comes down to the locker room as it relates to stepping into the shoes of Ezekiel Elliott. Almost everyone could see that Elliott’s performance had slipped in recent years, but his leadership in the locker room was noteworthy. He was not only a leader in his position group, but throughout the whole team. Now, Pollard is the longest-tenured running back on the team, and it’ll be a new role he has to step into, especially if he wants to prove he deserves more than just the franchise tag after this season.

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