It wouldn’t be shocking if the Cowboys looked to yet another one of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s former Falcons to come in and be a role-player in Dallas. In fact, it could be a very shrewd move. We’re also looking at the offensive coordinator in this edition of News and Notes; what if, despite popular opinion, it really wasn’t some massive shift in Kellen Moore’s playcalling that caused last season’s downhill slide?
We’ve also got notes from league executives on how the Cowboys’ draft went, where the team ranks among all NFL squads with their draft haul, and profiles of two rookie defenders looking to bring a physical presence in 2022. All that, plus why Leighton Vander Esch may be “proving it” this year for a new team, what first-rounder Tyler Smith had to say to the Cowboys reporter who said he’d quit if Smith were drafted, and the strange claim from a former pizza chain CEO that Jerry Jones tried to use him to run Roger Goodell out of office. All that and more, coming right up…
Way-too-early bold predictions for the 2022 NFL trade deadline :: Bleacher Report
Jabril Cox is coming off a serious injury. Rookie Damone Clark may not play this year because of one. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has turned to familiar faces before; could a reunion with linebacker Deion Jones be a possibility? Jones had his best seasons as a Falcon under Quinn; Atlanta could trade him post-June 1 and save $10.7 million against the cap in 2022 with a savings of $13.1 million in 2023.
Leighton Vander Esch is back to “prove it,” but probably for other teams :: Inside the Star
The Boise State veteran was given a $2 million guarantee for the 2022 season in Dallas. But with the selection of LSU’s promising Damone Clark to go along with Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox at linebacker, it’s starting to feel like Vander Esch’s upcoming season will be a 17-game audition for someone else in next year’s free agency frenzy.
DT John Ridgeway: ‘Vanilla Gorilla’ eager to bring animalistic edge to Cowboys run defense :: Cowboys WIre
It shouldn’t take long for the 23-year-old rookie to win over the hearts of Cowboys fans. The Tyron Smith-sized defensive tackle prides himself on playing with an edge, vowing, “I’m going to try to break someone’s neck when I get out there. If I can’t, I’m just going to tackle someone really hard and try to make a big play, make the crowd go crazy.”
Kellen Moore’s offense didn’t change mid-season despite the declining efficiency :: Blogging the Boys
Observers had a hard time putting a finger on exactly what changed with the Cowboys offense down the stretch in 2021. But the metrics say that, despite popular opinion, it wasn’t coordinator Kellen Moore’s scheme. Runs up the middle, deep passes downfield, no-huddle usage… all stayed basically the same from before the bye to afterward. So while it’s not fair to say that production declined because Moore started doing something different… it is fair to wonder now if maybe he should have.
2022 NFL Draft: Execs unfiltered on all 32 classes — Jets display urgency, Saints ‘destroyed’ value :: The Athletic
It’s one thing for draftniks to give out their grades for how teams did with their picks. It’s another to hear from actual league executives. “I am critical of the risks Dallas takes,” one said, “but they have a very good scouting department. That is never in question. They get talent.” But another hedged: “They do a good job in general on the front-line guys, but I think they do less of a good job with role players and maybe the dozen players on their roster after their starters.”
2022 NFL Draft class rankings: Chiefs, Jets, Ravens shine brightest :: NFL.com
In this top-to-bottom ranking of all 32 teams’ draft classes, the Cowboys end up right where they started the weekend of picks: at No. 24. In the grand spectrum of draft grades, the Cowboys’ mark generally seems to boil down to what you think of Dallas’ polarizing first-round pick. Tyler Smith is “sushi raw” and has that well-publicized penalty problem. But if this “ball of clay” gets molded the right way by the Dallas staff, though, he could be prove to be something special.
Cowboys’ Tyler Smith calls reporter who claimed he’d retire if Smith got drafted :: The Landry Hat
Bob Sturm of The Athletic and radio station KTCK said the morning of Day 1 of the draft, “I will submit my retirement papers” if the Cowboys selected the Tulsa lineman in the opening round. After Smith was indeed the pick, he called the station to have a little fun at Sturm’s expense: “Is that Bob I heard? I’m surprised you clocked in today, man. I saw some things on my social. I thought you were taking a forever leave of absence there.” Sturm took the heat in stride but stuck to his guns about Smith being “a bit of a developing thing.”
Diamond in the rough? Cowboys may have found UDFA gem in Ga Tech safety Juanyeh Thomas :: Cowboys Wire
The Yellow Jackets safety isn’t a finished player by any means: he has a hard time locating the football in the box and he struggles with being aware of receivers entering and leaving his zone. But he’s incredibly physical and shows fluid movement on the field. That alone is enough to make him worth taking a flyer on.
Rank’Em: Top 25 rookie seasons in team history :: The Mothership
Expectations are high for this year’s crop of rookies. But where will the 2022 first-year players rank among the club’s best newbies of all-time? It’s a strong list when Herschel Walker sits at No. 25. From Julius Jones to Dexter Coakley, Michael Downs to Nick Folk, there are some blasts from the past here. Icon Emmitt Smith is, amazingly, outside the top 10 while Micah Parsons makes a run at the top spot with last year’s lights-out performance. But as far as rookie campaigns go, you can’t beat what Dak Prescott did in his debut season.
Former Papa John’s CEO: Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder wanted me to get Roger Goodell fired :: ProFootballTalk
In 2017, the Cowboys owner was upset with the league commissioner over the national anthem controversy that was brewing at the time as well as the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott. Ex-CEO of Papa John’s Pizza John Schnatter claims Jones told him, “You need to take this guy out. You’re the number one sponsor of the league, as far as notoriety and acceptance and association. Everybody loves you, they love Peyton [Manning, a Papa John’s franchisee and sponsor]. We hate Goodell.” Schnatter did eventually criticize Goodell on a conference call over his leadership before he stepped down at Papa John’s.