1. I’m buying that the Dallas Cowboys are adopting a “best five” philosophy when it comes to the offensive line. I’m also buying that La’el Collins will be the starting right tackle on opening night.
Stephen Jones spoke specifically on the subject during the Cowboys’ golf tournament earlier this week.
We all know when the Cowboys signed Collins they were interested in his position flexibility. He played tackle at LSU, but they slid him into the guard position almost immediately. Now that Doug Free has retired and there’s a spot open on the outside, it’s logical the Cowboys would explore this possibility.
Collins wasn’t mismatched at guard, but I feel there’s ample evidence to support the conceit that the run offense ran much better with Ron Leary at left guard than Collins. Leary, of course, is now in Denver. Sliding Collins outside allows the Cowboys to slide Jonathan Cooper into that right guard position. Cooper, a first-round pick a few years ago, is physically and technically more capable, in my opinion, of doing the things the Cowboys want at that position. I also think that Zack Martin isn’t an option to move to right tackle. That might actually make the offensive line worse, even though Martin played tackle in college. His athleticism, and the way he applies that at his position when he pulls to his left, is unreal. Few NFL offensive linemen can do what he can do. He’s about to become a wealthy man for a reason.
Chaz Green is an option at right tackle, of course, and he played tackle in college. But the issue, as our Mike Fisher pointed out earlier this week, is that Green isn’t healthy right now. As talented as he is, staying on the field due to his health is his biggest hurdle, and it’s been that way since college. Collins hasn’t avoided injury, of course, but his history isn’t as extensive as Green’s. Plus, there’s Dan Skipper, the massive Arkansas tackle that, I believe, will earn an invite to training camp and intrigue the Cowboys right to the end of final cuts.
It’s good to have options. But by September I believe Collins will end up being the Cowboys’ starter at right tackle and Cooper the starter at left guard. And this offensive line will continue to be one of the league’s best. And if it shakes out like that, then the Cowboys will have four first-round picks — and a fifth that should have been — opening holes for Ezekiel Elliott and protecting Dak Prescott. It’s amazing that the Cowboys not only committed to this, but have executed it so expertly.
By the way, there’s been some questions about Collins’ contract status. Fish cleared that up this week, too.
Honestly, I think Collins just misspoke. It happens.
2. So Jaylon Smith is only participating in walkthroughs and meetings during this weekend’s rookie mini-camp. And people start losing their minds. Hey, you know this guy is going through veteran workouts this week, right? And he’s still working through the injury he suffered 16 months ago. Plus, he’s still wearing a brace for drop foot. His rehab has been tremendous, but he still has some miles to go and I don’t blame the Cowboys for taking it slow. That’s all this is — managing his workload.
Remember — the goal is for this guy to be ready for September, not June.
3. The Cowboys were playing a lot of golf this week. First, Tony Romo tried to qualify for the U.S. Open, but failed to get out of sectional qualifying. We all know Romo is a very good golfer, but most of the guys in these qualifiers are pros and only the Top 7 moved on (the cut line was 3-under 69). So no shame in shooting a 75. And I can tell you there’s quite a bit of pressure. When I was in my 20s I was good enough to try and qualify for the U.S. Amateur Public Links tournament a few times. I never got out of qualifying, either. Shout out to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer, who provided tee-to-green coverage via Twitter. A day walking a golf course is one of the best ways you can pass the time, as far as I’m concerned.
But the media couldn’t resist a good headline (porn).
Nor could Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner resist tying the two together. The headline: Tony Romo fails to advance in U.S. Open qualifying, will focus on announcing. I didn’t realize the two things were related. I mean, if he qualified for the U.S. Open was he just going to up and quit announcing? C’mon. Plus, you KNOW he’s gonna try again next year.
Romo is obviously enjoying his retirement, and yet some can’t resist continuing to kick him around. And it’s gonna be that way for a while.
Completely unrelated to golf, Jerry Jones told reporters that the Cowboys have no plans to honor Romo at this time, unlike their plans to honor DeMarcus Ware. There’s one big reason why not — Romo isn’t OFFICIALLY retired. Until he actually files his paperwork, there’s no need to honor him, except for polite applause when he’s in the CBS booth for the two Cowboys games he’ll theoretically work this season.
Meanwhile, the current Cowboys were out at Cowboys Golf Club for their annual outing with sponsors and what not, and our Mike Fisher was among the media who walked around the course watching the festivities.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith looks good in golf attire.
Ezekiel Elliott took some swings (video courtesy of WFAA’s Mike Leslie).
Jerry Jones had no need for rush-hour traffic that morning and took the chopper (are we still calling it Jer Force One?).
And this shot darn near made Tweet of the Week (thanks to The Dallas Morning News’ Tom Fox for taking this wonderful little nugget).
4. StarCast. On this edition of 'Cowboys STARCast' Jamie Horton and Mike Fisher talk about one of the most talked about Cowboys this offseason, Jaylon Smith.
If football and Jaylon Smith don't work out, perhaps the young man could become a life coach or a motivational speaker. He says he'll be ready for opening night against the Giants. At some point we all need to believe him and believe in him. It's the power of positive thinking.
The already-best-offensive-line-in-football added some depth this offseason and La'el Collins might be feeling the squeeze. ... or benefiting from it. This is a good problem to have as long as everybody is on board.
It's all right here on this edition of 'Cowboys STARCast' ... and below, click on more important Cowboys and NFL Draft links! And remember, you can download the Cowboys Sports Radio app on your phone for iOS/iPhone and Google Play/Android. ... Come on inside!
5. Profiling Mini-Campers Cowboys rookie mini-camp is this weekend and our Joey Ickes took some time to profile two draft picks and how they might fit into what the Cowboys are hoping to do for 2017.
First, Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who dropped into the third round but a player Ickes sees as one versatile enough to play on the edge or in the slot.
Then, there’s Colorado corner Chidobe Awuzie, who could become the ultimate position flex player in the secondary.
By the way, I was listening to Matt Mosley’s and Ed Werder’s new “Doomsday Podcast,” and they spoke to Colorado coach Mike McIntyre about Awuzie. McIntyre, if you’re not aware, coached the Cowboys’ secondary for a few years and among those players was Darren Woodson. McIntyre told Mosley and Werder that the only player he’s coached that was as smart as Awuzie about the game was Woodson. So there’s that.
And if you’re looking forward to the 2018 NFL Draft, OvertheCap.com reported earlier this week that the Cowboys are likely to get four compensatory picks — a fourth for Ron Leary, a fifth for Barry Church and Brandon Carr, and a sixth for Morris Claiborne. That’s not set in stone, of course. But that would come in handy as the Cowboys don’t have a fifth-round pick next year.
6. Zack Martin is gonna get paid. How much is the question. Our Joey Ickes went deep in this piece to determine how a Martin deal might play out as the Cowboys seek to extend their All-Pro left guard past the end of this decade. It’s well-researched and a deal similar to this would make a lot of sense for all parties.
At the end of this process, one way or another, Martin will be the game’s best-paid guard. At least for a little while.
7. Mike Fisher was at the Cowboys Home Run Derby. Fans went out to Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco to see the Cowboys hit some baseballs and raise some money for a worthy cause. I wasn’t there. I followed it all on Twitter, thanks to Mike and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr.
Here, Jason Garrett hits home runs.
Then, so does Dak.
Then Zeke, with a flourish.
Then Dez finally showed up, really REALLY late.
I wish I had been in the car when Dez and his dad realized there were no Cowboys at Globe Life Park.
And the Cowboys raised $50,000 for the Salvation Army.
8. Tweet of the Week
I didn’t realize Cookie Monster played quarterback. I kid. But kinda not.
9. This week’s “Great Moments in Headline Porn?” “CBS Sports predicts Cowboys will miss 2017 playoffs.” from CBSSports.com
If a computer were modeling this, I’d be more interested. But it’s Colin Cowherd, so, whatever. But you’re gonna click on it, aren’t ya? And then you’re gonna feel like you do when you eat that one donut too many.
10. One More Thing ….
Add singing (kind of) to Ryan Switzer’s skill set.
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