Dallas Cowboys Updates

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Updates: Kellen Moore Impressed By Dak's Progress

Don't miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys' regular season. Presented by Sleep Number

June 4 Updates

4:37 p.m. – The Cowboys just completed their second week of organized team activities, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is impressed with the work Dak Prescott has done this offseason in his return from last year's ankle surgery.

"Dak has been working his tail off. He's done a great job," Moore said. "He's certainly done a lot out there during OTAs. We're in a really good place with him. I think he feels really good. Obviously, the process is what it is. It takes time. You trust (Cowboys athletic trainers) Jim (Maurer) and Britt (Brown) and Dak going through it together to decide what he does and doesn't do throughout this whole offseason.

"Really, we're playing ball now. You can ask Dak. He's ready to just go play football. Obviously, if they need to limit him in any regard, they do. But we're playing football. We're playing football like Dak has always played football."

Prescott is participating in most of practice. One exception for now, as a precaution, is team drills that feature a defensive line pass rush.


4:36 p.m. – It's early – just six voluntary OTA practices over the last two weeks – but new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likes what he sees from the rookie class on defense.

"I have been impressed by this crew, the eight draft picks and three free agents that we signed," Quinn said. "The thing that jumped out to me was the speed of the group, whether it be the secondary or linebacker, you can really feel that speed from perimeter guys.

"From the inside guys, it's a mature group we added to the defensive line. Obviously you feel the size of (defensive tackle Quinton) Bohanna and his strength, maybe not as much because it's more of a passing camp. But I have been impressed by (defensive linemen Chauncey) Golston and (Osa) Odighizuwa. Those are guys we're trying to feature into some pass-rushing roles.

"I would say of the group of 11, speed jumped out to me. And then for the big guys, let's continue to develop and see what we have with Odighizuwa and Golston. But those two inside have certainly jumped to me as pass rushers."


June 3 Updates

2:34 p.m. - In his first interview since signing with the Cowboys, pass-rusher Tarell Basham had some interesting quotes during his virtual call with the media.

Basham, who came from the Jets, said he signed with the Cowboys because he was "tired of losing" and sees Dallas as a contender for the playoffs every season. He also said of his position, "you put me there and I'll play it" regarding being a defensive end or outside linebacker.

And while he admitted that he's been a bad "angle-taker" in the past and credits coaches such as Dan Quinn for pointing out his bad habits, Basham's most memorable quote came near the end would he was asked about Dallas being a fresh start to his career.

"It's definitely going to be a new chapter," "Basham said. "But it's a Book of Bash. We're still on the same book. I like to tell people, it's still the same 'ish' just a different toilet. I'm moving up."


4:26 p.m. – As the Cowboys move through voluntary workouts, they're watching the workload of several key veterans who dealt with injuries last year.

Dak Prescott is the obvious example. For now, the star quarterback is being held out of team drills featuring a pass rush in OTAs as he works his way back from last year's ankle surgery.

In last week's practice open to the media, wide receiver Amari Cooper, guard Zack Martin, running back Ezekiel Elliott and Blake Jarwin did not participate. Elliott dealt with nagging injuries throughout much of last season, Martin missed the final month of the season with a calf injury, Jarwin is working back from last year's ACL surgery and Cooper had minor ankle surgery in the offseason.

Linebacker Jaylon Smith (offseason wrist surgery) and offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins (returning from 2020 surgery) had limited work in the practice.

"These guys have all been here pretty much every day, but some of the field work was limited," head coach Mike McCarthy said last week. "We're just being smart with the guys, particularly the ones coming off of surgery and have some things that are hanging on from last year."

The Cowboys have one more week of OTAs, followed by next week's mandatory minicamp.


May 31 Updates

1:01 p.m. - Physically, let's not even try and compare Michael Gallup to D.K. Metcalf. In fact, only linebackers and defensive ends have the body-types of Metcalf, the Seattle Pro Bowl receiver who has become an internet sensation, not to mention one of the league's top young superstars.

Looking at Metcalf's stats, the 17 touchdowns in two seasons undoubtedly stand out.

But he's averaging 15.6 yards per catch and his longest play from scrimmage is 62 yards – somewhat surprising considering his blazing speed.

In three seasons, Gallup has a few more catches and yards since he's played three seasons, but he also has an identical 15.6 yard per catch average and also has a 62-yard reception – the longest of his career.

But the most identifying stat in looking for "big-play" receivers is average per catch. Metcalf has established himself as that, but the stats also suggest Gallup isn't too far behind.


May 27 Updates

2:09 p.m. – Dak Prescott is back on the field for OTAs, and his teammates see the same quarterback who was on pace for record passing numbers before his season-ending ankle injury last October.

"The ball's coming out the same as was before the injury," tight end Dalton Schultz said. "From what I can tell, it looks like right where he picked back up off of. All looks the same to me. The ball is in my hands the same exact way. So I'm excited to see how he continues to progress."

Prescott took part in most of Tuesday's open OTA practice. As a precaution for now, the Cowboys are holding him out of team drill reps that feature a pass rush, gradually ramping things up before training camp.


May 26 Updates

2 p.m. – Tyron Smith and La'el Collins had limited participation in Tuesday's OTA practice as the starting offensive tackles continue to make progress in their return from last year's injuries.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said Smith (neck) and Collins (hip) "look great," and the team will continue to follow a specific plan for both players' offseason work.

"They both look in great shape," McCarthy said. "They both have been here the whole time through phases one, two and three. They're where they need to be. There's a level of caution also with them here this week and the next two weeks. We'll see them in the full-go manner come training camp."


May 25 Updates

5:30 p.m. – Blake Jarwin was at OTAs on Tuesday, but he's not quite ready to take the field.

Coming off his ACL tear all the way back in Week 1 of 2020, Jarwin is still working diligently on his rehab. The fifth-year tight end is confident he could practice today if need be, but he also understands the need for caution.

"I want to get out there, and it's been a long time since I've been able to run full speed and catch a ball," he said. "But you've just got to understand and trust the plan, trust the process."

The start of training camp is still a ways off. And even if he doesn't get into the mix during these offseason practices, Jarwin was very clear about his goal for the summer.

"I'll just keep pushing along, and I anticipate, Day 1 of training camp, being ready to roll," he said.


10:45 a.m. – The Cowboys started off their week by signing a wide receiver.

The team worked out two receivers along with quarterback Brett Hundley last Friday, and now they've come to an agreement with Johnnie Dixon.

Dixon played at Ohio State, where he caught 67 career passes for 1,146 yards and 16 touchdowns. He went undrafted in 2019 and spent time with the Arizona Cardinals. He also worked out with the Cleveland Browns this spring, before ultimately securing a deal in Dallas.


11:21 a.m. – Al Harris is finally slated to get his moment in the sun.

The Cowboys' defensive backs coach was a seven-year starter and a two-time Pro Bowler for the Green Bay Packers from 2003-09. His achievements were enough to get him nominated to the Packers' Hall of Fame last year.

Of course, like many other celebrations, Harris' induction alongside Charles Woodson was put on hold due to COVID-19.

With things slowly opening back up, the Packers announced Wednesday that the ceremonies would proceed Saturday, Aug. 28, at Lambeau Field.

By that point, Harris should be close to wrapping up his second training camp with the Cowboys, who are slated to finish their preseason with a home exhibition against Jacksonville.


May 17 Updates

1:40 p.m. – The NFL has announced the 2021 strength of schedule rankings, and on paper, the Cowboys have one of the "easiest" schedules in the league: 31st out of 32 teams with a cumulative .452 opponents' win percentage from 2020.

"Easy" deserves quotation marks for a reason. We all know parity is real in the salary cap era, and the Cowboys do have both Super Bowl participants on this year's schedule (the champion Bucs and AFC champion Chiefs) plus a Saints team that went 12-4 in 2020.

The NFC East's struggles last year definitely impacted the overall win percentage – and thus, the ranking. The Giants, Eagles and division champion Washington were a combined 17-30-1 last season.


May 15 Updates

3:05 p.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy believes quarterback Dak Prescott is on track to be fully cleared for the start of training camp this summer.

"I have no reason not to think that," McCarthy said. "I think this week and Phase 2 (of the offseason program) will be a nice step in that direction."

The Cowboys are scheduled to begin organized team activities later this month, followed by a minicamp in early June. McCarthy said Prescott will probably do "most things" on the field during that phase of the offseason program, but added that the Cowboys' athletic training staff continues to have a plan in place for Prescott regarding workload as he moves through his rehab from last year's ankle surgery.

"But I know he feels really good. He's really had some excellent workouts the last couple weeks," McCarthy said. "I see him doing most of the work."


1:46 p.m. – It didn't take long for rookie wide receiver Simi Fehoko to hear from quarterback Dak Prescott.

"He texted me a couple minutes after I got drafted, telling me to get ready to work and we're about to go light up the league and all of that," Fehoko said. "And then I've seen him in the locker room here and there. He's a cool guy. Down to earth. Super humble. Obviously, he's a ballplayer, too."

Fehoko is catching passes from tryout quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Brady Davis at this weekend's minicamp, but he'll be working with Prescott soon enough.


May 13 Updates

5:20 p.m. – Friday, Micah Parsons will wear No. 11 with the Cowboys for the first time when rookie minicamp gets underway.

It's a number with special meaning for the first-round draft pick. He wore it at Penn State. And with the NFL's relaxed rules on jersey numbers for linebackers, No. 11 – worn by Cedrick Wilson last year – became possible for Parsons in Dallas.

"It feels good. I get to start my own tradition, my own legacy, the first linebacker here to wear this (No.) 11 (jersey)," he said Thursday. "And hopefully I rock it well."


May 12 Updates

As Ben DiNucci enters his second season, the Cowboys were hopeful he would be eligible to participate in this weekend's rookie mini-camp at The Star. However, the NFL ruled that he played enough last season to keep him out of action, which will feature the rookies and first-year players, beginning Thursday through Sunday.

So the Cowboys need some live arms to participate in the camp considering they did not sign a quarterback in the rookie free agent class.

Illinois State's Brady Davis, a two-year starter in college with over 21 starts, has been invited to participate in the camp along with J.T. Barrett, a former star at Ohio State, who has been with the Steelers, Saints and Seahawks in the last three seasons.

Barrett, who played at nearby Wichita Falls, was briefly a high school teammate of T.J. Vasher, one of the rookie free agent receivers in this year's class.


May 11 Updates

4:15 p.m. — Following his release from the Cowboys last week, defensive tackle Antwaun Woods signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.

Woods was a productive player for three seasons in Dallas and had signed a one-year restricted tender to return in 2021, but the Cowboys found themselves in a logjam at defensive tackle after drafting three linemen earlier this month. Woods was among six players released last week to make room for the Cowboys' draft class on the 90-man roster.

There's a mini-connection between Woods and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Eberflus, a former Cowboys passing game coordinator Matt Eberflus, had already joined the Colts when Woods signed with the Cowboys in 2018. But Eberflus previously worked under former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached Woods for two seasons in Dallas.


May 7 Updates

2:41 p.m. – The conversation about training camp took a step toward clarity on Friday.

The NFL sent out a memo to its 32 clubs about offseason protocols regarding COVID-19. Among the topics covered was the issue of 2021 training camp.

NFL teams were required to conduct training camp at their home facilities last year as a result of the ongoing pandemic. This year, the league is allowing teams to go off-site for training camp, provided they submit a plan for following COVID-19 protocols to the league for approval.

This is potentially big news for the Cowboys, who are well-known for holding training camp off-site. The organization has conducted training camp in Oxnard, Calif., for much of the last decade, and has also practiced in San Antonio, Austin and Wichita Falls, Texas, among other locations.

Obviously, this isn't an official indicator of where the Cowboys will hold training camp. But at the very least, the NFL has made it possible to do so.


9:53 a.m. -- As the Cowboys keep their eyes peeled for more backup quarterback competition, Jeff Driskel is expected to take a free agent visit, according to reports.

Driskel, 28, is a five-year veteran who entered the league in 2016 with the same rookie quarterback class as Cowboys starter Dak Prescott.

The Broncos released Driskel earlier this week. He has appeared in 15 career games (9 starts) with the Broncos, Lions and Bengals, completing 202 of 345 passes (58.6%) for 2,120 yards, 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Driskel started against the Cowboys in 2019 as a member of the Lions and posted a 109.3 passer rating with 2 touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a 35-27 loss to Dallas.


May 6 Updates

2:30 p.m. — The NFL has announced official dates for the Cowboys' upcoming offseason workouts, including next week's rookie minicamp:

Rookie Minicamp: May 14-16
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 24-25, May 27, June 1, June 3-4
Mandatory Minicamp: June 8-10

The Cowboys are still in the Phase One of the voluntary offseason program, a four-week period that includes strength and conditioning, virtual meetings and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two (May 17-21) has been shortened from three weeks to one week. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, "perfect play" drills, drills and plays conducted with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, with each group permitted to align 11 or fewer players across from 11 or fewer players. Players on one side of the ball may execute a play, but players on the opposite side of the ball may not initiate contact with, or attempt to impede the progress of, players who are running the play. All such drills must be conducted at an acceptable walkthrough pace (i.e. Pro Bowl practice).

Phase Three (May 24-June 18) includes OTAs and minicamp.


May 4 Updates

5:55 p.m. —How well is Dak Prescott's ankle rehab going?

Extremely well, according to the Cowboys star quarterback.

"I'm close. I can go play in a game right now and in my head be very, very successful," Prescott told reporters Tuesday in Dallas after delivering meals to the homeless as part of a community initiative with OurCalling. "There's no doubt that when I need to be successful and when I need to do the things that it takes to be on the field, I'll do exactly that and the time will be right."

Prescott hasn't put an exact timetable on his expected return this year, and although OTAs are scheduled to begin later this month, it's quite possible the Cowboys will be very cautious with his work before training camp, as they are for any player coming back from a significant injury.

Prescott is continuing to follow the plan laid out by the medical and athletic training staff. As he said, he'll be back on the field when the time is right.

In the meantime, he's clearly making progress. Head coach Mike McCarthy watched one of Prescott's injury rehab sessions and said he was impressed with Prescott's footwork and movement on the surgically-repaired ankle.


11:26 a.m. — Technically, you might argue the Cowboys did not draft a safety last week.

The club probably disagrees with you, though.

Sure, sixth-round pick Israel Mukuamu primarily played cornerback at South Carolina, where he led the Gamecocks in interceptions the last two years. But he does have experience at safety and made one start there last season.

After the draft, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mukuamu will likely start out at safety, not corner.

"I think we've got some safety aspirations for him," Jones said.


May 3 Updates

3:35 p.m. — No, the Cowboys did not pick up the fifth-year option on Leighton Vander Esch's rookie contract.

But Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones emphasized that they want Vander Esch to stay in Dallas well past the final year of his deal in 2021.

"Our intentions are to keep Leighton around here for the next four or five years," Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan. "We've just got obviously some unknowns. Not unlike Sean Lee, Leighton's had some bad luck with injuries that we were able to work through with Sean.

"And then of course not knowing what our cap situation is going to be next year, where the league is going to peg the cap, how all of this is going to work out, we just felt like unfortunately we needed to do this.

"But we ... had a good visit with his agent and they know our intentions are to keep him around.


April 30 Updates

3:59 p.m. – Upon arriving to The Star in Frisco for his introductory press conference, first-round draft pick Micah Parsons visited with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn about plans for the rookie linebacker within the scheme.

There's another potential checklist item for Parsons as he joins the Cowboys: his jersey number.

Parsons hopes to wear his college number, 11, but there's a catch: it currently belongs to three-year veteran receiver Cedrick Wilson.

Parsons was asked Friday where negotiations stand on that front.

"I discussed it, but I didn't talk to Cedrick yet," Parsons said. "If I can't get No. 11, I'm pretty sure we could figure something out."

After a pause, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones chimed in.

"What negotiation?" he said with a smile.


April 29 Updates

12:19 a.m. – As soon as the dust settled on the Micah Parsons pick, thoughts turned toward Leighton Vander Esch.

That's natural any time a first-round pick is used on a current starter's position, but especially so in Vander Esch's case. After all, the NFL deadline to exercise his fifth-year option is approaching on Monday.

To hear it from Cowboys officials, though, the decision to draft Parsons has no bearing on Vander Esch's future.

"I don't think it affects it," said chief operating officer Stephen Jones. "We'll make a decision on Leighton – we'll make that decision when the time comes. We've got some discussions to have on that, period."

Vander Esch missed six games last season with various injuries, and he has missed 13 total games over the last two years. If the Cowboys exercise his option, his contract will be extended through the 2022 season. If they don't, he'll be slated to hit free agency next spring.

Parsons may not affect that a decision, but it's still a decision the Cowboys will have to make in the coming days.


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