American Football

Cowboys news: 4 Dallas players who opened some eyes at OTAs


NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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And other notable headlines surrounding America’s team.

4 Cowboys players who are already turning heads at OTAs – Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat

Don’t get too excited, as it is still early in the preparation process for next season. Based on the reports out of OTAs, Trotta surmises that Deuce Vaughn, Kelvin Joseph, KaVontae Turpin, and Michael Gallup are already turning heads. Here’s his write up on Gallup.

4. Michael Gallup

That said, fans are searching for any reason to jump back on the Gallup train after his poor 2022 following ACL surgery. Gallup has been adamant that he’s fully healthy (and confident) for the first time in two years and the early returns at OTAs back that up.

According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Gallup caught passes on consecutive plays during the team’s two-minute 7-on-7 drill. Gehlken added Gallup is moving comfortably and that he would’ve had a touchdown if not for Stephon Gilmore getting a hand on the pass in the end zone.

That’s Gilmore in a nutshell, but Cowboys fans have to love hearing Gallup is back clicking on all cylinders. Two catches might not seem like much — it could have been more; these were the only catches that were reported on social media — but the big takeaway is Gallup looking more like his pre-injury self.


All offseason, the question of who the five starting offensive linemen would be, and where they would line up, has loomed large. Answers to those questions are beginning to arise.

Zack Martin didn’t participate in OTAs on Thursday, and with Terence Steele still recovering from injury, the first hints of who we may see out there was dropped by Jon Machota on Twitter.

Tyler Smith was at left tackle, Matt Farniok at left guard, Tyler Biasasz at center, Josh Ball at right guard, and Tyron Smith at right tackle.

Farniok and Ball only got first-team reps at guard because Martin and Steele were out.

Steele is still trying to make his way back from a torn ACL and MCL he suffered during the Week 14 game against the Houston Texans on December 11, 2022,

Again, this will be a partial starting five because Martin will be there, etc.

A note on Twitter from Michael Gehlken said that if a healthy Tyron Smith does not start at right tackle, Matt Waletzko as his backup would surprise him.

Why Cowboys’ problem sorting out starter at left guard is ‘great’ for Dallas – Michael Gehlken, DMN

Speaking of the position group, take a look at the Cowboys’ offensive line from a “glass half full” perspective.

Last year, following August hamstring tendon surgery, Tyron Smith spent months rehabbing to make his season debut at left tackle. But soon before Smith’s return, Steele heard pops in his knee and walked off the field Dec. 11 against the Houston Texans. Smith stepped in for Steele the next week, playing right tackle for the first time since his rookie year.

Things can change quickly.

If nothing else, the Cowboys have the talent to respond.

Coach Mike McCarthy praised the position group’s versatility when asked Thursday how he would characterize the state of left guard. The incumbent starter, Connor McGovern, signed with the Buffalo Bills in March.

“We all want to line up and play [the same] five guys for 20 games,” McCarthy said. “Having continuity to your offensive line directly reflects your win total. You look at the history of that. But I think you do have to recognize that [with] 17 games it’s a bit of a stretch. So position flex is critical. You guys know all of the combinations. You’ll see us working on all those angles.”

Farniok has stepped in before.

Last year, McGovern suffered a high-ankle sprain on the first drive of the Cowboys’ season opener. Farniok played the game’s final 62 snaps and took every left guard rep the next two weeks.

Farniok’s positional flexibility allows him to step in at all three interior line positions.

Israel Mukuamu’s versatility is buried on Cowboys’ depth chart, but not for long – Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire

2023 could be Izzy’s time to shine.

After seemingly exhausting all other nickel CB options, Quinn turned to the former sixth-round pick for the 2022 postseason. Mukuamu performed well, allowing only a 44.4 percent completion percentage when targeted, 49 total yards yielded, and a notching pass deflection (per PFF).

Mukuamu only played a total 72 snaps in the slot in 2022 (coincidently he logged 72 snaps as a box safety with another 45 as a free safety) but he showed enough to make the Cowboys feel safe if they have to turn to him again this coming season.

For as well as he played the final two postseason games of the 2022 season, Mukuamu is not expected to pick up where he left off as the Cowboys nickel CB. DaRon Bland and Jourdan Lewis are expected to fight for that post, pushing Mukuamu back down as a depth piece and emergency injury replacement.

Mukuamu showed in 2022 he can play a variety of roles on the Dallas defense, making him a vital depth player on Quinn’s unit. He’s a safety blanket for the Cowboys secondary. His long arms, versatility in coverage and tackling ability also make him an option in strategic match-ups against taller TEs and in the red zone.

Mukuamu raises the floor of the secondary and is an important piece of the defense heading into the 2023 season.

Dak Prescott & Cowboys Offense: Improved Enough to Be NFL Best? – Riley Sheppard, Sports Illustrated

It wouldn’t require a massive leap forward to be the league’s best, but it would take some fine-tuning and luck.

“The Cowboys will likely be able to replace [Schultz’s] production with a three-pronged group of young guys in Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot and second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker,” Bleacher Report writes.

With Elliott’s departure, Tony Pollard heads into the year as the Cowboys featured back behind an experienced and dominant offensive line. However, dealing with numerous injuries last season – including Tyron Smith missing 13 games – the unit first needs to get healthy before Week 1.

“An offensive line that could compete to be the best in football brings it all together,” Bleacher Report writes. “If Tyron Smith can stay healthy, it would allow them to move Tyler Smith to play left guard, giving them a great starting five of both Smiths, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin and Terence Steele.”

As no stranger to adversity a season ago, Dallas looks to improve upon its offensive output with an improved and healthy roster next season.

Projecting the carries split for Cowboys running backs in 2023 – Jess Haynie, Blogging The Boys

In Dallas’ first year without Zeke since 2015, what will the carry distribution look like?

Who actually makes the 53-man roster is part of this projection, so let’s say it’s what we just outlined above. Pollard as the starter, Jones as the primary backup, Vaughn as a change-up option, and Luepke at fullback. Based on what we’ve seen in the past, here’s an idea of what the carries split might look like:

Pollard – 200 carries (50 catches)

Jones – 120 carries (35 catches)

Vaughn – 30 carries (25 catches)

Luepke – 20 carries (15 catches)

Of course, it’d be easier to project if Scott Linehan or Kellen Moore were still calling the shots on offense. Trying to predict what McCarthy and Schottenheimer are going to do is more of a blind jump, but we at least have a few things to go by. For example, one can look back on how McCarthy utilized FB John Kuhn in Green Bay and perhaps glean some of what he might do with Luepke.

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