Cowboys News: Rookies on facing Tom Brady, jersey number changes, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins updates

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Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy has turned his focus to Tampa Bay. With the Dallas defense facing a stiff test in the season opener against Tom Brady, the Cowboys rookies on that side of the ball are both awed and determined at the prospect of taking on the GOAT. Osa Odighizuwa, for one, has even done some scouting of the seven-time Super Bowl champ, and he thinks he’s found a weakness or two.

The business of game-planning for an opponent comes now that the Cowboys have thinned their roster to 53, though the personnel shuffling continues. Several players were placed on short-term IR Thursday, to allow several others to come off the COVID list. And if that’s not confusing enough, several more players have picked new jersey numbers to wear. There’s reaction to Cam Newton’s sudden unemployment status, updates on Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, expert analysis on what to expect from Dak Prescott in Week 1, and early predictions on who will walk away with the NFC East crown and an automatic playoff bid. News and Notes, coming right up.

Cowboys rookies geared up to see the GOAT :: The Mothership

Link Tom Brady was drafted into the NFL before Micah Parsons celebrated his first birthday. Next Thursday, they'll line up across from each other to kick off the 2021 regular season. Parsons and Osa Odighizuwa share their thoughts on making their pro debut against the greatest to ever play the game. "He was playing football before I even knew what it was," said Odighizuwa. "Just to be in this game, to be playing against the GOAT, is crazy."

Does Tom Brady have a weakness? Well, Dallas Cowboys rookie Osa Odighizuwa has a list :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Link Tom Brady may have more Super Bowl rings than the 60-year-old Cowboys franchise, but Osa Odighizuwa isn't intimidated. In fact, he has a game plan. "He's not very mobile," the rookie said by way of a scouting report. If Odighizuwa and his defensive mates can get Brady on the run, they can bring down his passer rating. He even cited the stats to back up his claim. "I think they said it goes down by 50."

CB Kelvin Joseph, DT Neville Gallimore among Cowboys moved to short-term IR :: Cowboys Wire

Link Because they spent a full day on the official 53-man roster, Kelvin Joseph, Neville Gallimore, Francis Bernard, Josh Ball, Malik Turner, and Sean McKeon were eligible to be placed on the Injured Reserve/Return list. The Cowboys made that move Thursday, meaning each player could be re-activated in as little as three weeks.

McCarthy (kind of) answers question about Cowboys' interest in Cam Newton :: Jori Epstein (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/JoriEpstein/status/1433461787186417669

2021 NFL playoff predictions: Who will win hotly contested AFC North, NFC West? :: NFL.com

Link Twenty-nine of the Network's analysts picked a winner for each division. Nineteen of them said the Cowboys will end up on top in the NFC East. In explaining why, Lance Zierlein chalked it up to Dak Prescott's return, the three wideouts he'll be throwing to, a "slimmer, quicker" Ezekiel Elliott, and rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, who he thinks could be "the difference-maker."

Report: CeeDee Lamb among 4 Cowboys back to work from COVID list :: Cowboys Wire

Link The Cowboys got three players back from the Reserve/COVID list on Thursday. CeeDee Lamb, Carlos Watkins, and Damontae Kazee were cleared to practice once again in preparation for Week 1. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is also back at work after his bout with the virus. Connor Williams and Noah Brown remain on the COVID watchlist.

La'el Collins not a practice participant Thursday, still expected to play Week 1 :: Todd Archer (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/toddarcher/status/1433482201300099075

Cowboys Wire Podcast: Reviewing the trim to 53, waiting to trade for Gilmore? :: Cowboys Wire

Link Our K.D, Drummond looks at the feasibility of trading for cornerback Stephon Gilmore, plus reviews the Cowboys' top two tight ends through a fantasy lens, and dissects the club's roster cuts in the latest edition of the Cowboys Wire podcast.

Tyron Smith feeling so good, he's ditched his neck roll :: Michael Gehlken (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/GehlkenNFL/status/1433505558003396608

Dallas Cowboys: Breaking down the biggest secret to a blockbuster season :: The Landry Hat

Link The "secret" to a blockbuster 2021 season in Dallas? Spoiler alert: it's No. 4. "When [Dak] Prescott is healthy and able to do his thing, everyone around him becomes better whether they're on offense, defense, or special teams. He's one heck of a leader and undoubtedly a difference-maker when he's on the field."

How will Dak Prescott look coming back from injury? NFL on CBS’ Tony Romo, Phil Simms weigh in :: CBS DFW

Link Everyone will be watching next Thursday to see how Dak Prescott looks in his first football game in eleven months. CBS analysts Phil Simms and Tony Romo have already been watching. Simms believes Prescott's recent shoulder strain came from overcompensating for his repaired ankle: "He changed the way he was throwing the football and when you change, the body wasn't ready for it." Romo expects there to be some initial settling in for Prescott. "I do think there will be a slight adjustment when the plays are difficult and everything doesn't go perfect," Romo said. "That speed is just hard to duplicate."

Lucky 7: CB Trevon Diggs, several other Cowboys get new jersey numbers :: Cowboys Wire

Link Second-year man Trevon Diggs will revert to his old college number (7) now that Ben DiNucci, Lirim Hajrullahu, and Hunter Niswander are all done with it... and since defensive backs are suddenly eligible to wear single digits. That's just one number swap happening in Dallas this week; among the others, rookie linebacker Jabril Cox will sport No, 14, Osa Odighizuwa goes up to No. 97, and Hard Knocks favorite Azur Kamara will take over No. 54, following in the tradition of past defensive greats Chuck Howley and Randy White.

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