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The latest Cowboys news and notes.
Is making the playoffs good enough for the Cowboys?
Simple — get to the playoffs. There have been previous Cowboys’ seasons that have had “Super Bowl or bust” feelings to them, but considering coach Mike McCarthy did not have a traditional offseason to fully implement his program, the expectations should be dialed back. McCarthy’s résumé is better than any new NFL head coach this season. He went to the playoffs nine times with the Green Bay Packers, a conference title four times and won a Super Bowl. The Cowboys have not made it to an NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl since 1995.
There is talent, especially on offense with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb, and offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Zack Martin. There are questions on defense — pass rush and the ability to take the ball away — but the Cowboys might be able to mask some of those issues with a prolific offense.
The Cowboys had similar talent on offense and questions on defense a year ago and missed the playoffs, leading to the hiring of McCarthy. While some might have Super Bowl thoughts, just getting to the tournament is a more proper expectation. — Archer
On Sunday, the Cowboys removed a pair of players from the COVID list while also waiving a receiver that some thought had an outside chance at making the roster.
Both wide receiver Jon’vea Johnson and cornerback Saivion Smith were activated to the active roster on Sunday.
To make room, the Cowboys had to waive wide receiver Kendrick Rogers, an undrafted rookie from Texas A&M.
Since the Cowboys players returned to the facility late last month, Johnson and Smith are the only two players to be on the COVID-19 list.
Johnson, who had a good offseason and training camp last year as a rookie, spent the entire season on injured reserve with an arm injury.
In other wide receiver-related news, Coop is ready to ball out this fall.
There’s been a lot made about the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver corps this offseason. After drafting Oklahoma wide out CeeDee Lamb in the first round of this year’s draft, Dallas made a clear commitment to their passing game in a way we worried they never would.
The eldest of this group, number one receiver Amari Cooper, spoke to the media this week about this hype and the weird offseason the league is facing as they prepare during a pandemic. Cooper made sure to mention that regardless the situation outside of football, he will be ready.
“Whatever the situation is and whatever the circumstance is I feel like we’re going to be ready. I know I’m going to be ready” – Amari Cooper.
What does Dak need to improve on, or something that he needs to adjust to? McCarthy points out an area.
First-year Dallas coach Mike McCarthy has seen franchise quarterback Dak Prescott up close this month and early returns are positive. The offensive guru tasked with getting the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl said this week that it’s been an adjustment period for all on offense ahead of the 2020 season following an unprecedented offseason and no real interaction with his players.
Retaining Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator eased in the adjustment period, but McCarthy says there remains a learning curve happening before games are played.
“I think Dak has done a great job with the time away, really the whole group, with the addition of Andy Dalton,” McCarthy said during this week’s Cowboys media video conference. “I really like the quarterback room and diversity we’ve got there with Dak, Andy and the two young guys. Most importantly, we’ve got three former quarterbacks coaching that group. I think the biggest adjustment for Dak has been the language, which has been an adjustment for all of us.
It’s never too early to look at predictions for the upcoming season.
Dallas is, of course, predicted to be led by their offense. The Cowboys are listed as the third-best offense in the NFL only behind New Orleans and Kansas City. This is largely due to Dallas possessing top-five ranked groups at running back, receiver, and offensive line.
Truly great teams need balance to succeed and Clay believes that the Dallas Cowboys have that. After trotting out a high-powered offense, he thinks their defense can hold their own too.
According to Clay, Dallas has the 11th best defense in the NFL. This is almost entirely because he ranks the Cowboys linebacker group as second only to Seattle. Like most people, his biggest concern for Dallas is how the cornerback group shows up.
Speaking of predictions, who will make the final roster for Dallas?
Dallas will probably go five-deep at receiver and it’s a toss-up following the big three. Here, Cedrick Wilson is predicted to finish fourth on the team and his ability to help on special teams helps him tremendously.
A feel-good story one season ago, Devin Smith shook off a litany of knee injuries to come back and make a splash early in the season for Dallas. Unfortunately, his fast start ended up leading to very little the rest of the season. Still, he should be the fifth wideout barring an undrafted rookie surprising the Cowboys in camp.
What can we expect from rookie Bradlee Anae in 2020?
One big reason that could be attributed to his draft weekend fall was his Scouting Combine workout. After measuring in at 6-foot-3.5 and 257 pounds, not much else was in his favor.
Anae’s arms measured in at 32.5 inches, which is shorter than the minimum of 33 inches for most teams. He ran a 4.93-second 40-yard dash, ran a 7.44-second 3-cone drill, ran a 4.43-second short shuttle, vertical jumped 31 inches, and broad jumped 115 inches. With the exception of his broad jump, every other measurement or time put him near the 50th percentile of all EDGE rushers at the Scouting Combine.
However, considering this was a relatively weak EDGE class and a year where a pandemic shut just about everything heading into the draft, teams not prioritizing a 2019 team captain’s leadership, experience, production, and good health is certainly puzzling even with his poor combine.
There are rumors swirling about this year’s college football season. What impact could they have on the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys? We discuss on Monday’s episode of The Ocho.
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