Cowboys News: Jersey numbers to free agents, LBs don’t matter, McCarthy talks Dak

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, Asa Henry and Alexandra Cooke
·7 min read
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Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference is still reverberating and being analyzed a day later. His words on Dak Prescott’s signing and his role in the organization prove the quarterback’s influence goes far beyond the field level. While some may question his worth, he’s clearly the crown jewel of Dallas’ free agency haul. On the field, he’s already back working with his offensive linemen who are also working back from surgery after injury wiped out their 2020.

Circling back to free agency, the newest additions to the team have new jersey numbers. Those numbers will be getting called out in practice by the coaches, primarily new defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn who was also a major talking point in McCarthy’s presser. The former Atlanta Falcons head coach is more tied to prominent defenses of the Seattle Seahawks, something Dallas would love to see. Something Dallas needs to see. Quinn’s connections with the Falcons have fostered a bridge to the Cowboys roster for former Atlanta safeties.

Dallas had already signed Keanu Neal (possibly switching full time to linebacker) and then inked Damontae Kazee. Will these additions alter draft plans? The Cowboys No. 10 pick may come down to the likes of either TE Kyle Pitts or Alabama Crimson Tide’s Patrick Surtain II. From draft ideas, to studies that say linebackers don’t matter as much as they used to, to conversations about retirements and potential retirements, it’s been a full 24 hours of Cowboys talk. Catch up!

Cowboys have given out jersey numbers to five of their free agency additions :: Blogging the Boys

Link Jersey numbers represent more than the player, they become history with some even being retired out of respect. Today, numbers of the most recent Dallas acquisitions have been released. Numbers handed out include recently departed L.P. Ladouceur's No. 91, a true hero in the eyes of many Dallas fans. Defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford's No. 98 has also been passed down to a new member of the team. -AC

Cowboys' McCarthy excited for second first season with Prescott: 'We really didn’t get to have Year One' :: Cowboys Wire

Link 2020 was practically a wash, on many fronts. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is looking forward to a do-over in 2021, including his first full offseason working with quarterback Dak Prescott and day-to-day football life getting closer to normal for his players and coaches. -TB

Cowboys conversation: Free agency best move, what still needs to be done and looking ahead to the draft :: The Athletic

Link The Athletic's Bob Sturm and Jon Machota discuss free agency in Dallas so far, including some positive words for the prospects of Keanu Neal and some shade being thrown to edge rushers near and far.

Galina: How modern football has transformed the linebacker position :: Pro Football Focus

Link A fascinating in-depth look at how defense has changed over the last decade plus and where it seems destined to go. This sits hand in hand with Mike McCarthy's Thursday press conference discussion of the changing face of Dallas' defense. With the Sam linebacker extinct, and the Will and Mike roles evolving, what type of defenders work best moving forward? - KD

Tony Pollard among hardest in NFL to tackle :: Pro Football Focus (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/PFF/status/1374700023292760067

Cowboys betting big on Quinn, hoping they aren't chasing ghosts :: Cowboys Wire

Link The Cowboys defense was atrocious in 2020, yielding a franchise-record 473 points. Seeing as the organization is shopping at the bargain bin in free agency, the NFL draft and Quinn's experience will be the driving force behind improving the Cowboys poorest unit. -ML

4th-and-how-much? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Cowboys' McCarthy is a go :: Cowboys Wire

Link Going for it on 4th down can be a risky proposition. However, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was the best in 2020 with four yards or less to go in that aspect. -ML

McCarthy not ready to give up on Aldon Smith's return to Cowboys :: Cowboys Wire

Link McCarthy helped Aldon Smith make his NFL comeback in 2020. And despite reports that suggest the club has already discounted Smith from their plans for 2021, the coach called the free agent's situation "still fluid," saying of Smith, "I personally haven’t moved on." -TB

Cowboys' McCarthy on Prescott: 'He's the keystone of this football team' :: Cowboys Wire

Link Coach Mike McCarthy held his first in-person press conference in over a year on Thursday, and had plenty of topics to cover. Among them, his reaction at the news that the front office had come to terms with his starting quarterback. McCarthy admitted that everything the Cowboys do on the field and everything they are in the locker room rests on Prescott as the foundation. -TB

Cowboys Wire Podcast: Pitts vs Surtain is a generational-vs-best-fit-now draft argument :: Cowboys Wire

Link One is a cornerback who can help the Cowboys defense right now. The other is a tight end who appears to be a long-term megastar in the making. Patrick Surtain II or Kyle Pitts? The Dallas brain trust may be faced with that exact choice come draft day. Our own K.D. Drummond plays a game of "Would You Rather?" on that very topic with Ryan O'Leary on the Cowboys Wire podcast. -TB

Cowboys best backup QB solution may reside in Prescott's inspiration :: Cowboys Wire

Link With Andy Dalton gone, the chair behind Dak Prescott is suddenly empty. Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci are still on the depth chart, but the team is widely expected to go after a veteran passer to be Prescott's primary backup. As No. 4 embarks on a comeback campaign following his brutal injury, the answer may be the quarterback who just made a triumphant return of his own in Washington. -TB

Breaking: Damontae Kazee latest free-agent addition to Cowboys secondary :: Cowboys Wire

Link Following his visit with the Cowboys on Wednesday, free agent safety Damontae Kazee also met with Detroit. But Dallas got their man in the end, as Kazee looks to reunite with his former coaches Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. With the Cowboys "expected to return Dallas to a Cover 3 defense that utilizes a single-high coverage the majority of time," Kazee could be a perfect fit in 2021. -TB

Mike McCarthy dishes on hiring Dan Quinn, Cowboys defensive scheme :: Cowboys Wire

Link Defense was a hot topic at Mike McCarthy's Thursday press conference. While there has been a massive retooling thus far, the 2021 season "isn’t a start-over situation," according to the coach. "We are able to build off of some of the things we accomplished last year." The rest will largely be up to Dan Quinn. -TB

Tyrone Crawford to retire after 9-year career :: The Mothership

Link After nine seasons and numerous injuries, pass rusher Tyrone Crawford has decided to hang up his cleats for good. The veteran was considered one of the team's locker room leaders. Mike McCarthy revealed the news during his Thursday press conference; an announcement was made shortly thereafter. -TB

Updates: No clarity yet on Sean Lee's future :: The Mothership

Link McCarthy had no development on the future of veteran linebacker Sean Lee and whether he will return to the club for an 11th season. When asked, the coach said simply, "We're still in discussions with Sean." -TB

Eagles trade back in 1st round, will select 12th after Dallas at 10 :: RJ Ochoa (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/rjochoa/status/1375501809603772422

Cowboys signing Dak Prescott called “best overall free-agent move” :: Blogging the Boys

Link The Cowboys made the biggest move of free agency when they re-signed Dak Prescott to a four-year deal. Two NFL writers' praised the move, calling the retention of the 27-year old star the best signing of the year.

--AH

Updates: Tyron Smith, La'el Collins "Look Great" :: The Mothership

Link After a year of setbacks on the offensive line 2021 will hopefully deliver a healthy group of players. Head coach Mike McCarthy reports both Smith and Collins look good in their rehab. Such a statement looms large after last year where the offensive line had multiple changes throughout the year and even middle of games. https://twitter.com/SportsSturm/status/1321110266109677569 -AC

Cowboys must act now on a perfect free agent who just became available :: Fansided

Link The Seattle Seahawks have recently released defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Reed, 28, has play in 72 games, had 194 combined tackles and registered 22 sacks over his five-year career. Seattle had asked him to restructure the final year of his deal to afford them cap space, Reed wanted an extension and contention grew to the point of his release. -AC

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