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Cowboys news: The Deuce Vaughn hype train keeps on rolling

The latest on the Dallas Cowboys.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Deuce has juice: Cowboys’ undersized running back Deuce Vaughn is proving he isn’t in over his head - Yahoo Sports, Brian Paget

Expect many more deserved Deuce Vaughn profiles once the season gets rolling.

Vaughn, who is listed at 5-foot-5, 179 pounds, is no stranger to quickly turning heads. That’s exactly what he did when he arrived at Kansas State in 2020 as a three-star recruit. For those who observed the Arkansas native’s development through college, his immediate impact in Dallas was to be expected.

“It’s not a surprise to me at all because I know when he came [to Kansas State] as a freshman, he was ready to go,” Brian Anderson, Vaughn’s running backs coach at Kansas State, told Yahoo Sports. “His football knowledge, his football maturity, his preparation, it’s off the charts. He understands that a guy of his size has to do things the right way.”

With his suboptimal size, Vaughn is forced to lean on other areas of his game to compensate. While Anderson noted that Vaughn has become known for “doing things the right way” in every facet of football, the mental side is where he shines brightest.

Zack Martin’s return to Cowboys led to jubilation, ‘lots of high-fives, hugs, smiling and laughing’ - CBS Sports, Garrett Podell

Family may be a strong word but a lot of love in that building.

Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin is a generational talent. The eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro, hadn’t participated in Cowboys training camp because of a contract dispute around his value in relation to his position’s around the NFL.

Now, his holdout is over, thanks to a deal that will compensate Martin $18 million in each of the next two seasons, all of which is fully guaranteed. He will take home an extra $8.5 million over the next two seasons, according to ESPN.

Once the news broke of Martin’s return to training camp after his renegotiated deal was complete, his offensive coaches celebrated like they won the lottery.

“It was great to get him back,” Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. “When we got the news in the offensive staff meeting yesterday, the room erupted. There were a lot of high fives and hugs all day and night yesterday once he got in. I think that shows you what he means to us and our football team, especially the offense. It is a business, part of our industry, but we’re about connecting and doing what we need to do to win, and he’s a big part of that.”

Dak Prescott: Cowboys camp scuffles prove team is ‘nobody’s little brother’ in 2023 - DallasCowboys.com, Patrik Walker

The aggression is boiling over and the players couldn’t love it more.

It felt inevitable and, as it turned out, it was. After two weeks of smashing into each other in padded practices, a boiling point was reached in the final practice in Oxnard; and the Dallas Cowboys found themselves in not one, but two separate scuffles that, punches notwithstanding, was seen as a huge positive by leaders like quarterback Dak Prescott.

The two-time quarterback made it clear he never wants to see punches thrown in practice — the same line that’s been drawn by head coach Mike McCarthy — but when it comes to the intensity that fueled the emotional spill during individual and team reps?

“For me, to see the passion,” Prescott said on Thursday. “It’s a testament to what we’ve all put into this thing — what the offense has put in and the confidence that has grown, and the defense and who they believe that they are. It’s been 10 padded practices and a lot of time going against one other is what that is. It means you’re ready to play somebody else.

How Malik Hooker Explains the Cowboys’ Defensive Evolution - Jake Kemp, DMagazine

Kemp provides an insightful look at how the Cowboys defense has changed over time, and how important safeties have become in Dan Quinn’s system.

Last season, 30 of 32 NFL teams played nickel on more than 50 percent of their snaps. The Cowboys were at the forefront, ranking fourth in the league, at 76.8 percent. It just makes sense in a world where offenses now use three-receiver sets as their base offense.

Right now, though, on the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys under Dan Quinn have about the most modern approach to personnel and scheme in the league. [...] Last season, the Cowboys played out of dime (six defensive backs) on nearly 20 percent of their snaps, fourth-most in the league.

The Cowboys defense ranked second in the NFL last season in EPA/play, and the usage and performances of the safeties are just a part of that. Parsons is the most significant component; he disrupts the passing attack more than any defensive back ever could. Trading for cornerback Stephon Gilmore to pair with Trevon Diggs is another indication the coaching staff and front office understand the importance of shutting down the aerial game above all else. (Dallas did draft defensive tackle Mazi Smith in the first round this year, but that was at such a dire position of need that it was defensible.)

But the safeties and their multidimensionality are what unlock so many possibilities. The coaching staff doesn’t have to pick between the guy big enough to simulate a linebacker in run support (Kearse) or the traditional center fielder (Hooker) or the wild card who makes big plays (Wilson). They have all three, and the defense enjoys all the perks of using them together.

The Cowboys are playing their safeties, and now they are paying them, too. It’s a big reason why one of the NFL’s modern, elite defenses should stay that way.

Ties that bind: How Mike McCarthy, Brian Schottenheimer are transforming Cowboys offense - David Moore, DMN

Moore pens a very readable, behind-the-scenes look at how McCarthy and Schottenheimer built the new Cowboys offense.

There are two fundamental starting points on protection. You either belong to the pocket family or the slide family. The Cowboys scheme had been something of a bastardized version of the two but more closely aligned with pocket protection.

McCarthy believes in slide protection. Part of him wanted to make a clean, philosophical break and throw out the pocket concepts the linemen had been working under.

It was a question of volume control. The two agreed to change the Cowboys’ protection scheme, but how much? McCarthy knows you can still outwork other staffs in the NFL, but he’s convinced the real money is in the application and efficiency of getting players trained because you have less practice time with them than you did before.

That’s why Mike Solari was hired to coach the offensive line. He had worked with McCarthy and Schottenheimer in previous stops and would be integral in teaching the new techniques.

There was some initial hesitation on McCarthy’s part that he and Schottenheimer had changed too much. Those concerns subsided when he saw how fast and clean this group practiced from the start.

One player after another in this camp have talked about the simplicity of the system. McCarthy and Schottenheimer exchange a look of satisfaction before McCarthy states that in terms of volume of offensive scheme around the league, the Cowboys are still at the upper end of the scale.

3 Cowboys who are desperate to perform in Week 2 of preseason - The Landry Hat, Jerry Trotta

Not a lot of time before decisions are made, and a few players need to turn some heads to leap ahead in the pecking order.

The Dallas Cowboys lost their first preseason game, but nobody cares about the result. All that matters is that the team’s young talent got extensive reps in a game-setting after a strenuous offseason program and training camp.

For some players, though, Saturday’s tilt against the Seahawks is their last best chance to prove they’re deserving of a roster spot.

1. Peyton Hendershot

Unlike Scott Jr., Hendershot’s inclusion isn’t due to poor performance. It really boils down to undrafted free agent John Stephens Jr. and his continued growth.

Hendershot’s had a strong camp, but he didn’t log a single target against the Jaguars despite playing the second-most snaps of Dallas’ tight ends. Projected starter Jake Ferguson played 10 snaps while blocking specialist and special teamer Sean McKeon got nine snaps on offense.

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