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The departure of Dez Bryant from the Dallas

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The departure of Dez Bryant from the Dallas
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The receiving corps has been rebuilt with a focus on fleet-footed players."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Dallas Cowboys NewsDallas Cowboys 2019 OTACowboys feel the need for speedNew Amari Cooper Cowboys Jersey ,134commentsThe receiving corps has been rebuilt with a focus on fleet-footed players.CDTShareTweetShareShareCowboys feel the need for speedMichael Gallup is now just one fast option for the offense.Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports The departure of Dez Bryant from the Dallas Cowboys marked a sea change for the team. Bryant, for years the main target in the passing game, was a big, physical receiver who won a lot of matchups by out-muscling the defender for the ball. But he was not the fastest receiver, and there were times he was brought down from behind. He also was not always a great route runner. Now, the Cowboys are looking to a new kind of receiver. They want players who can get open and then pull away from defenders. And since Bryant left, they have stocked up.It started with Amari Cooper, who largely saved the 2018 season by becoming the WR1 the team tried and failed to live without. He is a master technician in getting open, and once he has the ball in his hands, he has the speed to pull away. You don’t often see him chased down. Prior to Cooper’s arrival, Michael Gallup was pretty much the lone speed merchant for the team. We saw him repeatedly get behind the coverage. Sometimes Dak Prescott would get the ball to him for a chunk play, but often we saw wasted opportunities as they failed to connect. One thing we are hoping for is that Jon Kitna is going to help Prescott with his footwork and mechanics to help him get the ball into Gallup’s hands more often.And this offseason has seen three significant additions who have the potential to really help with the need to get deep in a hurry or run away from the pursuit. In a recent post at DMN’s Sportsday, Jon Machota listed three new members of the Cowboys who were drawing a lot of favorable attention at the OTAs - and all three could play major roles in the passing game.First is free agent acquisition Randall Cobb, who was described as “quick”. When you add in his football smarts (as covered here) he offers some real value in his primary role as a slot receiver, and can be used in multiple other roles. It is worth noting that he also saw some work on special teams as a gunner https://www.thecowboyslockerroom.com/authentic-leighton-vander-esch-jersey , which is usually done by more rapid players. Cobb checks both the route running and speed boxes.The second player Machota discussed was fourth round Tony Pollard. He was taken as a running back, but if what we are seeing and hearing about Kellen Moore’s offense is at all correct, Pollard is going to get his chances as a receiver. He was used in that role at times in college, with good effect. His speed is one of his most valuable traits. Look for it to be capitalized on.The third name in the Sportsday article was UDFA WR Jon’Vea Johnson, who is the pure speed variety of receiver. He has an uphill battle to break through to the 53-man roster, but according to WR coach Sanjay Lal, he has already made an impression on the staff, and he himself knows what he has to bring to the team.Now the Cowboys have some great tools to use in that role of taking the top off the offense, which is something we need to see. One of the many issues last season was how often the team would send four receivers on vertical routes, only to have all of them do a comeback at the sticks. That has to change, and with the options the team now has, it is easy to do. One or two receivers going deep complicates things for the defense, and should result in either a shot at a quick score or an open man to get a fresh set of downs.That leaves the question of who will be the guy to fight for those tough receptions, especially down in the red zone. Bryant was superior at that. But the answer is already in place in the return of Jason Witten. He is a master at bringing the ball down in traffic, and also has great skill in getting open in crowded areas. It is interesting to note that there has been a good bit written about how he has come back looking faster Taco Charlton Jersey White , but given what we saw in 2017, it may be more accurate to say he is really “less slow”. In any case, he is a very different challenge for the defenders, and that is good to have.All of this still hinges on Moore and how he calls the plays, as well as the execution of the rest of the offense, particularly Prescott and the offensive line. Prescott needs to make good reads and decisions, and he needs a little time before the pressure starts affecting his throws. But Kitna brings a lot of hope for the former, and the improved health of the line should go a long way for the latter. Now if Moore can use the new speed at his disposal effectively, this offense could take off.Literally. If you're still thinking Christian McCaffrey is just a receiving back, it may be time to reconsider.The Panthers' second-year running back is coming off a perception-changing game on Sunday, rushing for a career-high 184 yards on 28 carries while playing all 67 offensive snaps in a 31-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was an eye-opening outing for a player who'd never run for more than 66 yards in a game.McCaffrey is third in the league in rushing, 3 yards behind Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott and San Francisco's Matt Breida entering the team's bye weekend and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry.While many consider McCaffrey's greatest strength to be his receiving ability — which is not entirely inaccurate given he set a franchise rookie record with 80 receptions last season and he caught 14 passes for 102 yards in a Week 2 loss to the Falcons — he is proving he can carry the load on the ground, too.The 5-foot-10, 205-pound McCaffrey is motivated to dispel the notion that he can't be an every-down back that can run between the tackles, where he continually gouged the Bengals."It definitely bothers me Amari Cooper Jersey White ," McCaffrey said of the perception. "But the more and more I've gone through this league, I learned that it's never been about proving anyone wrong or proving anybody right. Just proving myself right."Panthers coach Ron Rivera has often defended the team's first-round pick in 2017, saying nobody ran between the tackles more in college than McCaffrey."His ability to run the ball inside, he doesn't get enough credit for it," Rivera said.Of course, doing it at Stanford is a lot different than doing it in the NFL where defenders are bigger, faster and stronger. Now it will be up to McCaffrey to prove he can produce consistently as an every-down running back for an entire season, not just one game.Teammates are confident he can."He's obviously not just a receiving back, he's a total running back," Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said. "He shows signs that this is not a fluke, he's been doing this his whole career — collegiately as well as professionally."Rivera shocked some earlier this offseason when he said it would be "ideal" if the Panthers got McCaffrey 25-30 touches per game, similar to how offensive coordinator Norv Turner used LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego. He had a career-high 30 on Sunday.McCaffrey's 14 catches the week before might have caught the Bengals off guard. They seemed determined to take him away in the passing game, but couldn't stop him on the ground.The fact that McCaffrey commands so much attention as a receiver and a runner is the reason the Panthers never took him out of the game.When he wasn't being used as a ball carrier, he proved to be an effective decoy on all four of Carolina's touchdowns.On one second-quarter play, Newton dropped back and faked a pass to McCaffrey Womens Michael Gallup Jersey , drawing defenders in that direction, then threw a screen pass back to the other side of the field which C.J. Anderson caught and took 24 yards for a touchdown.On Carolina's other three scores, McCaffrey served as a decoy with fake handoffs going his way to distract the defense, including on both of Newton's TD runs .Panthers center Ryan Kalil said McCaffrey's quickness makes him dangerous — and an ideal player to block for."He has great vision and great patience and he knows how to hit those holes," Kalil said. "He has a lot of pride during the week and it obviously paid off."Said McCaffrey: "I don't think a whole lot as soon as the ball is in my hands. I kind of just try and feel everything out. Once you know where everybody's going, it can kind of slow down for you."The one area where McCaffrey has struggled is near the goal line.He's yet to score a touchdown and has had difficulty moving the pile in short-yardage situations. The Panthers are turning more and more to the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Newton to get the ball into the end zone.But everywhere else, McCaffrey is proving to be hard to stop.McCaffrey is quick to deflect praise to his makeshift offensive line, which has been forced to play without three starters, including second-team All-Pro right tackle Daryl Williams."I think it obviously starts up front," McCaffrey said. "Those guys did an absolute unbelievable job all day getting after their guys and they continue to do it all game long. When we can get in a rhythm running the ball it opens everything up."



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Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:49 am