APPEALS, DEALS & POTENTIAL STEALS: Kraken Packin–Upcoming Greg Hardy appeal | Dallas Cowboys sign another former first-rounder | Scandrick smiling again | Pro Scouting Report–A. J. Jenkins | Silver and Blue linings
IRVING, Texas – Greg Hardy is on hand for the start of the Dallas Cowboys OTAs, but he’ll be absent Thursday when he heads to Washington D.C. for the appeal of his 10-game suspension.
It’s unclear when a verdict will be reached, but it will at least begin the process of resolving the issue.
The Dallas Cowboys signed the 2013 Pro Bowler in March, and he was suspended for 10 games on April 23.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has given the appeal to Harold Henderson, who upheld the commissioner’s ruling in the Adrian Peterson case last fall.
This looks likely to be the final milestone in determining Hardy’s availability for this season. For the time being, he is eligible to participate in all offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason – but he won’t be available for a game until Thanksgiving, against Carolina.
The Dallas Cowboys have said from the time they signed Hardy that they were prepared for any disciplinary action the league levied.
Despite that, the Cowboys would undoubtedly prefer to see a reduced suspension for their premiere free agency acquisition. Dallas signed Hardy to a one-year, low-risk contract on March 18. The deal comes with no guarantees and pays the six-year veteran just $750,000 in base salaries, but it is loaded with up to $9.2 million in per-game bonuses.
If Hardy does in fact miss 10 games, the Cowboys will save roughly $5.78 million on the contract.
Hardy combined for 27 sacks during the 2012 and 2013 seasons with Carolina. He played in just one game during the 2014 season before he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while his legal issues played out.
Dallas Cowboys sign former first-round WR A.J. Jenkins; Boyd waived
The Dallas Cowboys added to their wide receiver corps this morning by signing free agent A.J. Jenkins – one of nine players who worked out with the team last Thursday.
Jenkins is a former first-round pick, taken No. 30 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. He played one season in San Francisco, appearing in three games without a reception, before he was traded to Kansas City. He played two seasons with the Chiefs, logging 17 catches for 223 yards before he was released this past February.
To make room for Jenkins, the Dallas Cowboys waived/injured Chris Boyd, who was signed as an undrafted free agent last spring and took part in training camp. He was released at the end of the 2014 preseason, but he spent the final month of last season the practice squad.
The move gives the Cowboys another competitor for their fifth receiver spot, which is vacant after Dwayne Harris departed in free agency in March. The Cowboys didn’t address the position in the NFL draft, but they signed five undrafted free agents in addition to Jenkins.
The decision to sign Jenkins also should help offset the absence of Dez Bryant during Organized Team Activities, which begin this morning. Bryant isn’t expected to participate in OTAs, as he has yet to sign his franchise tender. Without Bryant in the fold, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Devin Street are the team’s only returning receivers.
Also, during the preseason, and the first-teamers have played their quota, someone needs to be able to help out Brandon Weeden or Dustin Vaughan.
Jenkins was one of four free agent receivers to work out with the Cowboys last week, along with B.J. Cunningham, Tommy Streeter and Kris Durham. Jenkins was an All-Big Ten receiver at Illinois, as he tallied 146 catches for 2,022 yards and 15 touchdowns in his last two seasons in college.
Dallas Cowboys kicking tires on free agent running backs
Kicking tires, that is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys were doing last week (Thursday) when working out a combination of nine running backs and wide receivers at The Ranch.
Doing their homework in case. Just because the Cowboys worked out running back Ben Tate, that didn’t mean they were giving up on Darren McFadden or Joseph Randle or Lance Dunbar or Ryan Williams.
They were just examining the field in case one of those guys should get hurt between now and the Sept. 13 season opener. Tate’s surgically repaired knee from his 2011 rookie season would not suggest long-term confidence. And it’s not as if the Cowboys are trying to turn back the clock on Felix Jones. It’s a look-see.
Word at The Ranch is a world of confidence in McFadden and Randle. As a reminder, the Cowboys paid Williams a $240,000 signing bonus on his offseason two-year deal. That had to do with teams (near the end of last season) trying to sign him off the practice squad.
Dallas Cowboys turn CB Orlando Scandrick’s frown upside down
The Dallas Cowboys helped put a smile back on disgruntled CB Orlando Scandrick’s face without putting a huge burden on their salary cap over the next five seasons.
The Cowboys added one year to his contract and a total of $9.5 million. Nearly half that total is a non-guaranteed $4 million base salary in the now final year of 2019 when he will be 32 years old.
They also gave him a $3 million signing bonus, which means prorated over the next five years only adds $600,000 to the cap each year.
The average of his next five base salaries total $3.3 million . . . not bad for a starting corner.
Consider those numbers when reading some of the bloated ones being tossed around. Also, remember the previously poor $1.5 million base salary for 2015 would have been $5 million if the Cowboys had not advanced him the difference in signing bonus during the 2013 restructure … at his request.
PRO SCOUTING REPORT: New Dallas Cowboys WR A. J. Jenkins
A.J. Jenkins | Wide Receiver | 6-0 192 | College: Illinois
Games Studied: Kansas City 2014 vs. Denver, New England, San Francisco, San Diego, New York Jets, Buffalo
Nice quickness off the line when he had the opportunity to run those types of routes. Was mainly used as a screen and slant route runner. Coaches did their best to try and get the ball into his hands quickly and let him create on his own.
Jenkins did an outstanding job shaking loose of tacklers in the Chargers game and nearly taking a screen to the house – but he stepped out of bounds. He shows some initial quickness with the burst. From what I observed, he only had one opportunity where he went on a vertical route where he had a chance to separate but he didn’t.
It was amazing how many poor passes that he had to adjust to from Alex Smith. Even with the screens, he had to adjust back with his body to make catches. Worked hard to make the catch. Has no issues trying to catch the ball in a crowd. Limited run after catch with the exception of the Chargers game. Didn’t appear to fight the ball when it came in his direction – made some soccer goalie type of plays. Will extend to catch the ball away from his body.
His catching radius is wide. Did not see many snaps where he was used as a blocker. Would line up tight to the formation or in a bunch formation – was even used out of the backfield on some running plays to the corner.
I’m not quite sure why he has had the issues catching on with the 49ers or Chiefs. I have seen receivers on the street that have far worse talent than him. Appears to be a flyer that is worth taking a chance on just from the snaps that I was able to see in these games. Surprises you with the plays that he makes due to the numbers of passes he sees.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | NFL Analyst/Former NFL Scout
SILVER AND BLUE LINING: While Dez is away, the others will play
As long as Dez Bryant continues to miss the Dallas Cowboys voluntary offseason workouts without a signed franchise tag tender or a new long-term contract, there’s a silver lining offered by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan …
Additional reps are available for third-year receiver Terrance Williams and Devin Street, the team’s fifth-round pick last year who worked with the first-team offense during today’s first organized team activities (OTAs) session.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for Terrance and Street for these guys to up their reps, especially with the first group,” Linehan said three weeks ago during the team’s rookie minicamp. “You’re kind of practicing on your depth and giving guys an opportunity to work with that first group. Normally that’s not going to happen – you’re kind of isolating that first group, Dez and (Jason) Witten, Terrance only at the Z (position) and all that. Now it really gives us a chance to develop guys that normally would be working with the second or third group, with our first group.
“You’ve got to look at it as a great opportunity, and I think it is.”
Ideally, of course, the Cowboys would like their star receiver on the field for every workout. Bryant wasn’t expected to participate in OTAs today because he’s technically not under contract yet, and for that reason, he has mostly worked out away from Valley Ranch since the voluntary strength and conditioning program began in late April.
That could change at some point, but given Bryant’s experience and his diligent approach to preparation, his absence from voluntary workouts hasn’t been a sizable concern. The club did sign former 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins for depth during OTAs. Without Bryant available, Williams, Street and Cole Beasley are the only receivers from last year’s roster.
And those first-team reps with quarterback Tony Romo are invaluable for Street, who has drawn praise from the coaching staff but couldn’t find a consistent role as a rookie. He also got additional work with Romo during the Phase Two offseason teaching sessions.
The Cowboys OTAs are the first practice-like atmosphere (helmets and shorts, no live contact) for new defensive end Greg Hardy, as well as the first look at a revamped running back rotation with Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden likely to share first-team reps.
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is also back after receiving his extension. One player who could not practice Tuesday was seventh-round offensive tackle Laurence Gibson due to a finger injury.
“Once we started the off-season program, attendance was great and the work ethic was great,” head coach Jason Garrett said last week. “We try to focus on each day and try to be great in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s a meeting, a walkthrough, (or) we’re out on the practice field we have a lot of guys who love to play the game and want to make it as great as it can be.”
THE BOYS ARE BACK: America’s Team kicks off OTAs | OTA Preview Dallas Cowboys offense & defense | 2015 Dallas Cowboys spring roster
IRVING, Texas – The pads won’t come on until training camp in a little over two months, but the Dallas Cowboys veterans and rookies inched closer with voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) getting underway today (Tuesday).
The OTAs will take place three days a week for the next three weeks, followed by the mandatory June 16-18 minicamp. Live action isn’t permitted under the NFL collective bargaining agreement, as the players are only in helmets and shorts, but the offense and defense can work together for the first time.
It’s a bit of a balancing act for head coach Jason Garrett. The sessions are an early opportunity to evaluate players and get in solid work (without contact) as a precursor to training camp.
“Everyone’s excited to get started and do football, but you have to practice smart,” Garrett said. “One of the things we talk to our players about is, given the new collective bargaining agreement, you don’t have that many full-padded practices. So, the teams that learn how to practice in helmets and jerseys really are the teams that are the best teams in this league. Because this is how we practice many more times than not.
“So, we have to do a great job teaching tempo and convincing our players about the type of tempo we want to practice with. There’s a sense of urgency. There’s a pace for these types of events.”
Among veteran players to watch this offseason is defensive end Greg Hardy, who is a natural right end who can play multiple spots along the defensive line.
The Cowboys will welcome back starting linebacker and team leader Sean Lee, who tore his ACL the first week of OTAs last year and missed the entire 2014 season. Lee is moving to weak side linebacker with Rolando McClain, acquired by trade last July, remaining at middle linebacker where we was highly productive in Lee’s place.
The OTAs also mark the first glimpse of newly-signed Darren McFadden and the Dallas Cowboys early running back rotation featuring Ryan Williams, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar.
And for the rookies, OTAs are their next acclimation to the NFL against the veterans. So far they’ve been limited to the teaching sessions of the offseason program.
“For all rookies, I think going into OTA’s Coach Garrett does a great job of telling them, ‘Create competition,’” tight end Jason Witten said. “A lot of them we’re counting on to play and play significant roles, and others are going to be contributors.
“This is the start of it. We’ve had good offseason workouts so far, but nothing like going to the field and taking those practice reps and getting better.”
2015 OTA PREVIEW: Breaking down the Dallas Cowboys offense
IRVING, Texas – Today marks the beginning of 12 days of voluntary spring practices – nine total days of OTAs, followed by the mandatory three-day minicamp.
Here’s a preview of things to watch for from the 2015 Dallas Cowboys offense:
QB: What do they have in Dustin Vaughan? The expectation is that this front office and coaching staff are going to work to find out. The only other quarterback that was added to the roster was undrafted free agent Jameill Showers – so it will be up to Vaughan to see if he is once again backing up Tony Romo and Brandon Weeden, or if he can find a role behind just Romo. Look for Vaughan to get plenty of opportunities not only in these OTA practices but in training camp. The goal is to work on cleaning up his mechanics and becoming more confident as a leader.
WR: Devin Street is going into his second season and the coaching staff hopes that there will be a significant jump that would allow him to compete for more of a role in the offense. He could push Terrance Williams to the point where Williams is no longer the guy looked as the opposite of Dez Bryant. Hopefully for Street, he can use these practices to set himself up in Oxnard to really give Williams a battle. Depending on whom you talk to in the organization, there is a thought that Street is talented enough to take that job.
RB: When practices are open to the media tomorrow (on Wednesday), you will see Joseph Randle running with the first offense while Darren McFadden, Ryan Williams and Lance Dunbar will serve as the main backups. Randle will likely get the nod over McFadden for the simple reason that he was the backup to DeMarco Murray last season. McFadden appears to be motivated to take this job, and with the target on Randle’s back, can he hold off McFadden for the job? The most complete back for the job is veteran McFadden. Randle is talented for the scheme but the question will always be is if he mature enough to not let the pressure of trying to win the job affect how he performs.
TE: Will be interested to see, when it comes to Geoff Swaim and Ray Hamilton, who is the better player. Swaim appears to be the better up-the-field player that flashes the hands. Hamilton can get up the field as well, but he is not as athletic as Swaim. Hamilton has the advantage as a better point of attack blocker.
OT: With Doug Free still rehabbing his injured foot, look for Darrion Weems to get those snaps with the first unit. Weems has been with the Dallas Cowboys since 2012, and there was a point early in his career where he had a real shot to be a nice piece along this offensive line — but he really hasn’t lived up to those expectations. There always seems to be something that holds him back and that is disappointing. He has the size and athletic ability, but he has average strength in his overall game. He hasn’t shown the nastiness for the position that you see in guys like Tyron Smith and Doug Free. How he starts out in these OTA practices will tell what the future could hold.
OG/C: Ronald Leary is not going to give up his job to La’el Collins without a fight — if that is the case. We may see coaches try Collins out at right tackle to start, until Free comes back from injury. Look for Collins to battle Weems early and then when Free returns, he could move back inside. When the rookies have worked with the veterans in these teaching sessions, Collins has been taking snaps at both spots. This time last season, Mackenzy Bernadeau was working extensively at guard, but he will see all of his snaps this summer at center.
2015 OTA PREVIEW: Breaking down the Dallas Cowboys defense
Here’s a preview of things to watch for from the 2015 Dallas Cowboys defense:
DE: Newcomer Kenneth Boatright might fit into the mix at defensive end, but watch Ben Gardner as well. Gardner was never able to get his rookie season started due to a number of injuries, but there might not be a player that has physically changed his body more in offseason weight room. He has added weight and strength to his frame, which should translate into his ability to help as a left defensive end, but also line up and take some snaps inside as a tackle as well.
DT: The plan in the offseason was to find a more athletic player to pair inside with Tyrone Crawford — not only in those base situations, but the nickel as well. A player that could fit that role is Terrell McClain. There were games last season where McClain flashed the ability to be that up-the-field player from both the under and nose tackle. The coaches have no problem with what Nick Hayden can provide on first and second down, but there were too many snaps where he was part of the package on third down as well. Early in these practices keep a close eye on what the rotation is at that nose, where Jack Crawford and Jeremy Mincey could also see some action as well.
OLB: No matter who you talk to in the front office and coaching staff about Anthony Hitchens, it’s all the same – he needs to be on the field. As much nickel as this defense plays, making that happen might be easier said than done. There is a good chance you will see Sean Lee and Rolando McClain handling those responsibilities, which means Hitchens is on the sidelines. Hitchens may initially be worked as a Sam linebacker, but in these practices he could be used as a Will while the coaches and trainers slowly work Sean Lee back into the mix. It’ll be interesting to see where Damien Wilson fits in these plans as well. While at Minnesota he played more as a Mike, but he could be better suited in the pros to play as a Will, where he can run and hit from the position. During the rookie mini-camp he lined up at Sam.
ILB: Jasper Brinkley is a veteran linebacker that has made plenty of starts as a Mike in this league. Hitchens might be better suited to play the position, but with him working as the Sam, that puts Brinkley in position to help out. It appears that the coaches are set to play Sean Lee at the Will, so the depth behind Rolando McClain will be important. With the Vikings, Brinkley was a two-down player, coming off the field in the nickel situations. In the rookie minicamp Mark Nzeocha took the majority of his snaps as the Mike, as well. Brinkley gives the team protection at the spot while rookie draft pick Nzeocha learns on the job. It’s another smart move from the front office by helping the defense when it comes time to playing these preseason games.
CB: The forgotten man in all this cornerback talk has been Tyler Patmon. With the addition of Byron Jones and Corey White, it appears that Patmon’s role might be much less on the defense. Morris Claiborne has made incredible progress, but the need for extra cornerbacks is still there. Patmon can line up outside, but we have also seen him play in the slot. This is an advantage that he has over White, who is much better in the slot than outside. Another challenge could come from rookies Jason Wilson and Joel Ross – both of whom were solid players in college. It was Wilson that took the majority of his reps inside during the rookie minicamp and did a nice job of handling that role. We could also see that Patmon, Wilson and Ross all play better than White and he is off this roster at the end of the day.
S: We may not see Byron Jones taking snaps at safety in these OTA practices initially, but we could see that in training camp. They want him to compete at corner, get comfortable and work from there. There is no question that Jones could play the position if needed, but it’s important that they see him work and compete with Brandon Carr in case they have to make a salary cap move there. A player that looked good from the rookie minicamp was Tim Scott from North Carolina. On his college tape you can see him playing both as a corner and safety in ACC games and doing a nice job. The advantage to Scott’s game is that he could line up as a true free safety, but also in the slot as well. His movement is good as is his intelligence, which makes him a nice fit for the position. Scott might be a bit of a long shot to make the roster but he has the traits to do so.
Did you know? You can keep up with the ever-changing Dallas Cowboys Roster over the spring and summer right here, on The Boys Are Back website! Players are organized by position, and updated regularly as players are cut or added throughout the offseason.
EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT: NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season | Kickers moved back 15 yards | Defensive scoring opportunity created
The NFL has been tinkering with the PAT in hopes of making it a more difficult and therefore entertaining play for spectators. Continue reading →
HOW ‘BOUT THEM WOWBOYS?: Dallas Cowboys make sure La’el Collins has his moment in the sun; Rookie’s inspirational message sends shockwaves around Cowboys Nation | The trade-bait debate | A true-blue must-see video
What else can you really say about what has happened here this week, particularly on Thursday afternoon at Valley Ranch. Continue reading →
FOUND HIS HOME ON THE RANGE: Meet La’el Collins, your newest Dallas Cowboy | Team introduces La’el Collins to the media | Dallas Cowboys introductory Press Conference
La’el Collins introductory Press Conference | Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, of the Dallas Cowboys introduce outstanding LSU OT La’el Collins and his mother to the media. Notice he’s been issued Mark Tuinei’s jersey number.
This press conference is available on the Dallas Cowboys audio archives page of The Boys Are Back website | Duration: 37:41 | Check out the audio HERE. Check out the video HERE on the Dallas Cowboys video archives page.
The original announcement article of the official signing is posted HERE.
REINFORCING ROMO’S WALL: Dallas Cowboys officially sign top OT prospect La’el Collins | Trenches formed with four first-round pounders | NFL Draft Prospect Profile | Pro Scouting Reports
LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins has officially signed with the Dallas Cowboys after going undrafted in last weekend’s NFL draft. Continue reading →
UNITY UNIT UNITED: O-line is fine with current RB stables | Dallas Cowboys offensive line ready to gel with running backs | North Texas Food Bank benefit
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line sticks together, on the field and off it. Continue reading →
MEET YOUR NEW DALLAS COWBOY: Swing Secured–OT Chaz Green grabbed at 91 | Pro Scouting Report | Bonus Audio–Secret Call and more | NFL Draft 2015
After getting one of the better value players in the entire draft earlier in the night, the Dallas Cowboys came back in the third round to take offensive tackle Chaz Green with the 91st pick. Continue reading →
MEET YOUR NEW DALLAS COWBOY: Sacker Secured–DE Randy Gregory slips to sixty | Pass rusher too good to pass, twice | Pro Scouting Report | Bonus Audio–Secret Call and more | NFL Draft 2015
The Dallas Cowboys took another step toward fortifying their defense in the second round, selecting Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory with the 60th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Continue reading →
MEET YOUR NEW DALLAS COWBOY: Secondary Secured–CB/S Byron Jones snagged 27th overall | Pro Scouting Report | Bonus Audio–Secret Call and more | NFL Draft 2015
IRVING, Texas – Having patiently waited throughout the opening night of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected one of the best athletes in this draft class, snagging Byron Jones with the 27th overall pick. Continue reading →
YOU’RE THE GENERAL MANAGER: Your 2015 NFL Draft Trade Value Chart | Dallas Cowboys draft pick trade value chart | Dallas Cowboys Draft Primer
The 2015 NFL Draft starts tomorrow night, so you’ll have to get busy wheelin’ n dealin’ if you want to pull of the trade of the century! To make it easier, here’s your personal (and printable) copy of the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart that teams use to assign a value to each pick. Continue reading →
DALLAS COWBOYS DRAFT PRIMER: Your 2015 NFL Draft Day Primer | Top-350 eligible NFL Draft Prospects 2015 | NFL draft class of 2015
There are 1000 prospects eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft. Of those, 256 will be taken in the 7-round draft, including the 32 NFL compensatory picks granted to respective clubs. Out of 1000 players, 350 of them have a ‘draft grade’ assessment and ranking.
MARINELLI’S MAULERS & BALLERS: The Great “Chicken or Egg” Debate | Fast & Furious Front-Four Freak Formula | Building the Dallas Cowboys Texas-2 Defense | Promising Players & Prospects | 2015 NFL Draft primer
Editor: What came first … the chicken or the egg? When debating how to build a dominate defense in today’s NFL, this question comes to mind. What’s Rod Marinelli’s first priority … what must come first … the rushmen or the defensive backs? History shows us that a defense can succeed either way. But, the hearts and minds of True Blue fans of the Dallas Cowboys straddle both sides of this fence … with equal conviction. Continue reading →
GOING DEEP–BEYOND THE HUDDLE: Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence answers your questions | True-Blue special feature
Dallas Cowboys rising star DeMarcus Lawrence answers fan submitted questions. A part of being a True-Blue is getting to know your players, beyond their jersey numbers and stats. Check out his answers: Continue reading →
REAL BALLS, RED CARPET & RECORD BOOKS: Star-studded stadium stuffed–Guinness World Records set | 70,252 fans pack AT&T Stadium on ACM’s 50th anniversary | Tony Romo’s Real Balls | Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten & Troy Aikman
The roof was open and the stars were out for as The Academy of Country Music held its annual awards show live from AT&T Stadium last night. Continue reading →