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It’s an eventful weekend for the Cowboys as training camp 2021 comes to an end. One of the team’s big men has thrown one final scare into the staff, but no one seems too concerned about his prognosis. Just the same, he won’t play in the final preseason game; he’ll be sitting this one out along with about 30 of the other starters. Those players aren’t the only ones who’ll be watching from the sides when Dallas plays Jacksonville; the team will have substitute offensive and defensive coordinators as well… but for different reasons.
After Sunday’s game, it will be all about final roster cuts. We’ve got predictions on who makes the 53, while also keeping an eye on other players who’ll suddenly be looking for employment. A talented quarterback has himself a new team; that’s one less option for Dallas should they choose to upgrade their backup plan. We’re looking ahead to next year, too, and wondering if Michael Gallup will really be a bargain. We’re profiling a few names Cowboys fans should know, from their new long snapper to two talented linebackers to a hopeful at fullback. Jerry Jones is talking about Tony Romo’s Hall of Fame chances… and the current Cowboys quarterback is inexplicably left off a pretty major list. Here’s the News and Notes to close out training camp.
Updates: La'el Collins' injury status; more :: The Mothership
Link Right tackle La'el Collins may have given the Cowboys a bit of a scare when he left Friday's practice with what the team is calling a neck/shoulder stinger. Head coach Mike McCarthy reassured the media on Saturday that the injury "doesn't seem of a serious nature, but it's something we're watching." Collins is not expected to play Sunday in the preseason finale, but such is the case for over two dozen Cowboys players as well.
Big opportunity for assistant coaches on Sunday :: The Mothership
Link Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is still unavailable to the team as he awaits a return from the Reserve/COVID list, so Joe Whitt Jr. will call defensive plays for the second preseason game in a row. But the Cowboys will have a substitute calling the offensive shots, too. Mike McCarthy announced that quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier will fill in for Kellen Moore versus the Jaguars on Sunday. It's great experience for Nussmeier, and lets Moore start game planning for Tampa Bay.
Final Cowboys prediction for initial 53-man roster :: Cowboys Wire
Link Training camp is over. There's one preseason game left to be played. So... who makes the Cowboys' 53-man roster for the 2021 season? Our K.D. Drummond makes his pick for QB2, decides the fate of fullback prospect Nick Ralston, makes a tough call on which wide receiver is sent to the practice squad, and passes judgment on camp darlings like Israel Mukuamu, Azur Kamara, Bradlee Anae, and Isaac Alarcon.
NFC East news: Eagles trade for QB Gardner Minshew, something the Dallas Cowboys should have done :: Blogging the Boys
Link With the backup quarterback job in Dallas far from locked up, the team may find themselves in the market for a veteran arm before the start of the season. One of the more attractive candidates, though, is suddenly off the market. The Eagles traded for Gardner Minshew, giving up just a conditional sixth-round draft pick to Jacksonville in exchange. Minshew would have been a clear upgrade over Cooper Rush, Garrett Gilbert, and Ben DiNucci, and he apparently could have been obtained for peanuts.
The NFL let Jabril Cox fall into the Cowboys' laps; he projects to make them pay in short order :: Cowboys Wire
Link Jabril Cox wasn't expected to be there for the taking with the 115th pick in the 2021 draft. After a strong performance in the Cowboys' preseason slate, though, the LSU linebacker is poised to not only make the final roster, but he may well be in the conversation when it comes to crowning the starters.
NFL's 'Top 100 Players of 2021': Five things the voters got wrong :: NFL.com
Link Any countdown-type list like this is sure to ruffle some feathers. But NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman takes particular exception with five of the most egregious flubs. Among them: how could the current crop of players across all 32 teams just suddenly forget that Dak Prescott exists and is still (despite missing 11 games last season) one of the best quarterbacks in the game? That's what happened; Prescott didn't make the Top 100 players. But Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield did?!? "Shame. Shame. Shame," Bergman scolds.
Keanu Neal's new home suits him well, at linebacker and with the Cowboys :: Cowboys Wire
Link When Dan Quinn brought in former Falcons safety Keanu Neal, many thought it would provide a nice boost to the secondary. But then it was revealed that Neal would move to linebacker. The move looks to be a stroke of genius, as the switch- so far in camp, anyway- seems to be a more natural fit for the hard-hitting Neal.
Malik Hooker looks to make an impression in preseason finale :: Michael Gehlken (Twitter)
Jerry Jones on Tony Romo’s Hall of Fame credentials: ‘He would be a first-round ballot with me’ :: Dallas Morning News
Link The Cowboys owner covered a lot of ground during a Friday chat with 105.3 The Fan. In addition to Dak Prescott's importance and Ezekiel Elliott's bounceback this season, Jones started the campaign for former quarterback Tony Romo to be considered for Canton. "There's no question in my mind that Tony is skilled," Jones said, "and had accomplishments statistically that were there. The fact that we did not have a Super Bowl during that time is always going to be in the conversation."
Jake McQuaide looks to replace Cowboys cult hero as long snapper of the present :: Cowboys Wire
Link No one thinks about the long snapper... unless he's a 16-year fixture with the club and is suddenly dropped like a bad habit to make room for the special teams coordinator's guy. Jake McQuaide now has big shoes to fill in Dallas, but in a role like his, the best he can hope for is to go completely unnoticed.
Should we really expect WR Michael Gallup to take a discount in 2022? :: Inside the Star
Link It's widely assumed that finances will force the Cowboys to part ways with either Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup after 2021. It's also taken for granted that it would be far cheaper to keep Gallup than Cooper. Jess Haynie wonders if that's really the case, though, as Gallup will likely be one of the most sought-after talents in the league. Gallup is set for a monster year, so he won't come cheap; if the Cowboys do retain him over Cooper, it won't come at some bargain price.
4 players the Cowboys should sign if they’re cut this week :: The Landry Hat
Link The Cowboys will have to let go of some talented players next week, but so will 31 other teams. If they become available, Steven Mullenax says that Dallas should keep an eye out for Lions defensive tackle Kevin Strong, Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer, Raiders offensive tackle Brandon Parker, and Steelers running back Benny Snell.
Moose Crossing? Nick Ralston's path to Cowboys' 53-man roster may be paved with history :: Cowboys Wire
Link Daryl Johnston will always be the greatest fullback in Cowboys history. But Nick Ralston is ready to make a name for himself, too. The undrafted free agent earned a bit of social media buzz last year when video of him pulling a semi as training went viral. The Texas native and lifelong Cowboys fan has a strong shot to make the roster, with Rico Dowdle and Sewo Olonilua already lost for the season.
2021 Training camp comes to a close :: Dallas Cowboys (Twitter)