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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Micheal Sam, Josh Brent, And More!

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Oh, yeah, and there is a football season about to start.

Some days, when putting together one of these posts, you have to hunt for Dallas Cowboys news.

And then there was yesterday.

BOOM!

Michael Sam set to join the Dallas Cowboys - Outsports

The glitz and glamour of the NFL is taking on one of the biggest stories of the season. But don't get tied up in the hype, this is just the team trying to find a solution for the lack of a pass rush.

Last year the Cowboys had the third-worst pass defense and the worst overall defense in the NFL, allowing over 415 yards per game. They recorded only 34 sacks on the season, and quarterbacks racked up a 96.0 average passer rating against them.

These are not good numbers. Sam can have an immediate impact on the team in the coming weeks.

And then . . .

BANG!

Ex-Cowboys DT Josh Brent reinstated, has to serve 10-game suspension - CBSSports.com

After the long wait, the Cowboys finally get news on Josh Brent. To summarize, don't plan on getting help from him anytime soon.

Although Brent is suspended for 10 games, he'll be to eligible to visit the Cowboys' practice facilities after six weeks and he'll be allowed to practice with the team after nine weeks. The earliest Brent could possible play for Dallas is Week 12 because the Cowboys have a Week 11 bye.

This may not be the final word.

Source: Josh Brent likely to appeal 10-game suspension accompanying reinstatement | Dallas Morning News

However, I don't think I'd hold my breath on any mercy or leniency from Goodell. Not this week, because the news about Brent was, oddly enough, only third on the list of major suspensions announced Tuesday.

Colts' Jim Irsay draws six-game suspension, $500K fine from NFL | FOX Sports

It is a time for a bit of cracking down by Roger Goodell, which might not have helped Brent's situation any. In case you are wondering just what it means for an owner to be suspended:

During the suspension, which takes effect at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Mr. Irsay may not be present at the club's facility, may not attend any practices or games, may not represent the club at league or league committee meetings or at any other team or league event, and may not conduct media interviews or engage in social media regarding any team or league matters.

And then there was this guy:

Wes Welker suspended four games for PED use - Mile High Report

This may sound vaguely familiar for Cowboys fans.

ProFootballTalk reports that Welker tested positive for taking a Molly during the Kentucky Derby laced with amphetamines, citing a source.

Yep. He got caught using the same thing that got Orlando Scandrick suspended for four games. Of course, there was no way anyone could have possibly suspected Welker was using at the time.

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Meanwhile, there is this thing called a regular season looming, and that is going to require the participation of players that are on the actual 53 man roster.

First, though, let me get these out of the way.

"Experts" predict the Dallas Cowboys season - The Big Mac Blog

Dallas Cowboys game predictions - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN

2014 NFL predictions - NFC reporters - ESPN

If you like predictions, or just getting mad because you think your team has been dissed, then please enjoy yourself. Me, I don't read these much, because they are so horribly off most of the time. But just wanted to make them available for your enjoyment.

Still no firm timetable for Anthony Spencer's return to Dallas Cowboys - ESPN Dallas

One more reason why the Sam experiment is happening.

"It's just a gradual process," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He's really done everything we've asked him to do from a movement standpoint in his workouts with the rehab guys. As these weeks go on, he'll do more and more. We try to do football movements with him, we'll ramp up football moves by himself, and we'll slowly integrate him into practice."

Eatman: O-Line Expectations Can't Be Met In Preseason - DC.com

Like most of us, Nick Eatman was worried about how he had not seen the dominance he thought he should from the Cowboys' first-round-talent laden offensive line. His epiphany about why that happened struck me as pretty insightful.

You're not really going to see an overpowering offensive line in the preseason. You're not going to see a team completely push people around over 12 snaps in the first quarter.

That's not what happens generally in any league, any level of football. Even the smaller high school teams can fly around for a quarter or two and make up the difference when it comes to size. Teams that lack size can blitz here, or stunt there, and keep themselves above water for a while.

But the fourth quarter is when teams wear you down. And that's what I think the Cowboys are counting on with this offense that should run the football more, especially later in games.

As Cowboys try to figure out linebacker situation, how much can they trust Rolando McClain? | Dallas Morning News

At the moment, Rolando McClain is definitely one of the three best linebackers on the team, from an athletic point of view. But that is not the issue that seems to loom largest.

Well, the Cowboys still don't know if they can fully trust McClain, though he's the most athletic of the linebackers.

The eighth overall pick in 2010 hasn't played in an NFL game since November 2012. Since then, he's retired twice and been arrested three times.

The Cowboys never know what they're going to get from McClain on a day-to-day basis. He's missed practice time this preseason for everything from a stomach virus to cramping.

Which Doug Free shows up will be key - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

For another ray of gloom, the team has to wonder which version of Doug Free will show up this season.

Just look at where Free ranked among offensive tackles in Pro Football Focus' grading system the last four seasons: tied for fifth in 2010, 51st in 2011, 68th in 2012 and 20th in 2013.

They need a good version, with the state of Tony Romo and his back.

Bob's Blog - Live from Lewisville: Meet the 2014 Dallas Cowboys (For Now)

Bob Sturm looks over the whys of the current (more or less) 53 man roster. The best part of this requires you to follow the link - he did a chart showing how many of the players on the roster are new to the team this year. (Spoiler alert: It's a bunch.)

Dallas Cowboys have plan in place for Orlando Scandrick - ESPN

So, given the four game suspension and the fact the team can't have contact with Scandrick while he is serving it, what can the team do to try and keep him ready to play?

Before the suspension started, the Cowboys gave Scandrick a workout plan. Scandrick said he would train twice a day with his personal trainer in Los Angeles during his suspension.

Jakar Hamilton, meanwhile, is allowed to work out at the Valley Ranch facility, just not participate in practice. Something to do with PEDs vs. taking the drugs just for fun, I guess (even though Scandrick thought he was just taking the Molly for fun).

Dez Bryant's maturity has Dallas Cowboys WR poised for historic season - ESPN Dallas

He never stops trying to improve himself. Whenever he has a free moment, he still wants to be working on his most basic skills.

You see Dez Bryant, and there's a football in his hands. 

Maybe he's twirling it in his palm. Perhaps he's tossing it high above his head and catching it again and again. Or just cradling it gently like a newborn. 

You see Bryant on the practice field, and he's catching a football. Sometimes, quarterback Tony Romo is throwing it, or coach Jason Garrett is throwing it. Then again, he might have persuaded one of the equipment guys to play catch. 

"Sometimes, I don't make eye contact with him," special-teams assistant Keith O'Quinn said. "Because if I do, I know he's going to want me to go out early and throw him some balls."

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Now for quarterback news.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Tony Romo will be 'improved player' - ESPN Dallas

He's not just saying the quarterback and his back will be as good as ever.

"I also think you'll see an improved player relative to the experience and the time that he's spent with his new coordinator," Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan after being asked about Romo's health. "This is a real successful matchup. I think these guys are going to be pretty effective with the way they work together."

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden adjusts to life as backup - ESPN Dallas

Brandon Weeden may be getting used to being a backup rather than the starter, but he doesn't see the job as being that much different.

"You've got to prepare as if you're going to play. You can't take nights off and not study at night and not do the things you normally do if you were the starter. I think you've got to prepare the same way and when your number is called, go in there and make the best of it."

Dallas Cowboys' Dustin Vaughan happy call never came - ESPN

The somewhat surprising thing from this post is that, while the team calls the players who are cut to inform them, the ones who make the roster never get notified.

Saturday was the final cut-down day in the NFL with teams needing to get to 53 players on the roster. An early phone call means you have to bring your iPad and see the coach or general manager to be delivered the bad news. 

The good news of actually making the roster is never delivered.

Seems kind of mean for the marginal players, actually.

Jerry Jones not surprised Kyle Orton signed with Buffalo Bills | Dallas Morning News

Nothing really to quote, just wanted to show how thorough I was in digging up news about the Cowboys quarterbacks, current and past. Nothing on Caleb Hanie, however.

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Kickoff For BTB's Weekly Pick 256 Challenge

Pick 256 is a season-long contest in which BTB members and readers get to pick the straight-up winners for all games each week. If you haven't yet submitted your picks, now would be a good time, here's the link to the entry form.

Week 1 Pick 256 Entry Form

At last count in the wee hours of the morning, 246 people had already signed up. 85% (208) of those have picked the Cowboys to win the season opener against the 49ers.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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