McCarthy Anticipates Dak Ready For Camp

by Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips & David Helman

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May 15 Updates Dak Prescott

#4 QB

Height: 6-2 Weight: 238 lbs College: Mississippi State

3:05 p.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy believes quarterback Dak Prescott is on track to be fully cleared for the start of training camp this summer.

“I have no reason not to think that,” McCarthy said. “I think this week and Phase 2 (of the offseason program) will be a nice step in that direction.”

The Cowboys are scheduled to begin organized team activities later this month, followed by a minicamp in early June. McCarthy said Prescott will probably do “most things” on the field during that phase of the offseason program, but added that the Cowboys’ athletic training staff continues to have a plan in place for Prescott regarding workload as he moves through his rehab from last year’s ankle surgery.

“But I know he feels really good. He’s really had some excellent workouts the last couple weeks,” McCarthy said. “I see him doing most of the work.”

——————————————– Simi Fehoko

#81 WR

Height: 6-3 Weight: 220 lbs College: Stanford

1:46 p.m. – It didn’t take long for rookie wide receiver Simi Fehoko to hear from quarterback Dak Prescott.

“He texted me a couple minutes after I got drafted, telling me to get ready to work and we’re about to go light up the league and all of that,” Fehoko said. “And then I’ve seen him in the locker room here and there. He’s a cool guy. Down to earth. Super humble. Obviously, he’s a ballplayer, too.”

Fehoko is catching passes from tryout quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Brady Davis at this weekend’s minicamp, but he’ll be working with Prescott soon enough.

——————————————– May 13 Updates Micah Parsons

#11 LB

Height: 6-3 Weight: 245 lbs College: Penn State

5:20 p.m. – Friday, Micah Parsons will wear No. 11 with the Cowboys for the first time when rookie minicamp gets underway.

It’s a number with special meaning for the first-round draft pick. He wore it at Penn State. And with the NFL’s relaxed rules on jersey numbers for linebackers, No. 11 – worn by Cedrick Wilson last year – became possible for Parsons in Dallas.

“It feels good. I get to start my own tradition, my own legacy, the first linebacker here to wear this (No.) 11 (jersey),” he said Thursday. “And hopefully I rock it well.”

——————————————– May 12 Updates J.T. Barrett

# QB

Height: 6-2 Weight: 225 lbs College: Ohio State

As Ben DiNucci enters his second season, the Cowboys were hopeful he would be eligible to participate in this weekend’s rookie mini-camp at The Star. However, the NFL ruled that he played enough last season to keep him out of action, which will feature the rookies and first-year players, beginning Thursday through Sunday.

So the Cowboys need some live arms to participate in the camp considering they did not sign a quarterback in the rookie free agent class.

Illinois State’s Brady Davis, a two-year starter in college with over 21 starts, has been invited to participate in the camp along with J.T. Barrett, a former star at Ohio State, who has been with the Steelers, Saints and Seahawks in the last three seasons.

Barrett, who played at nearby Wichita Falls, was briefly a high school teammate of T.J. Vasher, one of the rookie free agent receivers in this year’s class.

——————————————– May 11 Updates Antwaun Woods

#99 DT

Height: 6-1 Weight: 318 lbs College: USC

4:15 p.m. – Following his release from the Cowboys last week, defensive tackle Antwaun Woods signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.

Woods was a productive player for three seasons in Dallas and had signed a one-year restricted tender to return in 2021, but the Cowboys found themselves in a logjam at defensive tackle after drafting three linemen earlier this month. Woods was among six players released last week to make room for the Cowboys’ draft class on the 90-man roster.

There’s a mini-connection between Woods and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Eberflus, a former Cowboys passing game coordinator Matt Eberflus, had already joined the Colts when Woods signed with the Cowboys in 2018. But Eberflus previously worked under former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached Woods for two seasons in Dallas.

——————————————– May 7 Updates Dallas Cowboys

2:41 p.m. – The conversation about training camp took a step toward clarity on Friday.

The NFL sent out a memo to its 32 clubs about offseason protocols regarding COVID-19. Among the topics covered was the issue of 2021 training camp.

NFL teams were required to conduct training camp at their home facilities last year as a result of the ongoing pandemic. This year, the league is allowing teams to go off-site for training camp, provided they submit a plan for following COVID-19 protocols to the league for approval.

This is potentially big news for the Cowboys, who are well-known for holding training camp off-site. The organization has conducted training camp in Oxnard, Calif., for much of the last decade, and has also practiced in San Antonio, Austin and Wichita Falls, Texas, among other locations.

Obviously, this isn’t an official indicator of where the Cowboys will hold training camp. But at the very least, the NFL has made it possible to do so.

——————————————– Dallas Cowboys

9:53 a.m. — As the Cowboys keep their eyes peeled for more backup quarterback competition, Jeff Driskel is expected to take a free agent visit, according to reports.

Driskel, 28, is a five-year veteran who entered the league in 2016 with the same rookie quarterback class as Cowboys starter Dak Prescott.

The Broncos released Driskel earlier this week. He has appeared in 15 career games (9 starts) with the Broncos, Lions and Bengals, completing 202 of 345 passes (58.6%) for 2,120 yards, 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Driskel started against the Cowboys in 2019 as a member of the Lions and posted a 109.3 passer rating with 2 touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a 35-27 loss to Dallas.

——————————————– May 6 Updates Dallas Cowboys

2:30 p.m. – The NFL has announced official dates for the Cowboys’ upcoming offseason workouts, including next week’s rookie minicamp:

Rookie Minicamp: May 14-16

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 24-25, May 27, June 1, June 3-4

Mandatory Minicamp: June 8-10

The Cowboys are still in the Phase One of the voluntary offseason program, a four-week period that includes strength and conditioning, virtual meetings and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two (May 17-21) has been shortened from three weeks to one week. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, “perfect play” drills, drills and plays conducted with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, with each group permitted to align 11 or fewer players across from 11 or fewer players. Players on one side of the ball may execute a play, but players on the opposite side of the ball may not initiate contact with, or attempt to impede the progress of, players who are running the play. All such drills must be conducted at an acceptable walkthrough pace (i.e. Pro Bowl practice).

Phase Three (May 24-June 18) includes OTAs and minicamp.

——————————————– May 4 Updates Dak Prescott

#4 QB

Height: 6-2 Weight: 238 lbs College: Mississippi State

5:55 p.m. -How well is Dak Prescott’s ankle rehab going?

Extremely well, according to the Cowboys star quarterback.

“I’m close. I can go play in a game right now and in my head be very, very successful,” Prescott told reporters Tuesday in Dallas after delivering meals to the homeless as part of a community initiative with OurCalling. “There’s no doubt that when I need to be successful and when I need to do the things that it takes to be on the field, I’ll do exactly that and the time will be right.”

Prescott hasn’t put an exact timetable on his expected return this year, and although OTAs are scheduled to begin later this month, it’s quite possible the Cowboys will be very cautious with his work before training camp, as they are for any player coming back from a significant injury.

Prescott is continuing to follow the plan laid out by the medical and athletic training staff. As he said, he’ll be back on the field when the time is right.

In the meantime, he’s clearly making progress. Head coach Mike McCarthy watched one of Prescott’s injury rehab sessions and said he was impressed with Prescott’s footwork and movement on the surgically-repaired ankle.

——————————————– Israel Mukuamu

#38 CB

Height: 6-4 Weight: 205 lbs College: South Carolina

11:26 a.m. – Technically, you might argue the Cowboys did not draft a safety last week.

The club probably disagrees with you, though.

Sure, sixth-round pick Israel Mukuamu primarily played cornerback at South Carolina, where he led the Gamecocks in interceptions the last two years. But he does have experience at safety and made one start there last season.

After the draft, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mukuamu will likely start out at safety, not corner.

“I think we’ve got some safety aspirations for him,” Jones said.

——————————————– May 3 Updates Leighton Vander Esch

#55 LB

Height: 6-4 Weight: 256 lbs College: Boise State

3:35 p.m. – No, the Cowboys did not pick up the fifth-year option on Leighton Vander Esch’s rookie contract.

But Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones emphasized that they want Vander Esch to stay in Dallas well past the final year of his deal in 2021.

“Our intentions are to keep Leighton around here for the next four or five years,” Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan. “We’ve just got obviously some unknowns. Not unlike Sean Lee, Leighton’s had some bad luck with injuries that we were able to work through with Sean.

“And then of course not knowing what our cap situation is going to be next year, where the league is going to peg the cap, how all of this is going to work out, we just felt like unfortunately we needed to do this.

“But we … had a good visit with his agent and they know our intentions are to keep him around.

——————————————– April 30 Updates Micah Parsons

#11 LB

Height: 6-3 Weight: 245 lbs College: Penn State

3:59 p.m. – Upon arriving to The Star in Frisco for his introductory press conference, first-round draft pick Micah Parsons visited with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn about plans for the rookie linebacker within the scheme.

There’s another potential checklist item for Parsons as he joins the Cowboys: his jersey number.

Parsons hopes to wear his college number, 11, but there’s a catch: it currently belongs to three-year veteran receiver Cedrick Wilson.

Parsons was asked Friday where negotiations stand on that front.

“I discussed it, but I didn’t talk to Cedrick yet,” Parsons said. “If I can’t get No. 11, I’m pretty sure we could figure something out.”

After a pause, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones chimed in.

“What negotiation?” he said with a smile.

——————————————– April 29 Updates Leighton Vander Esch

#55 LB

Height: 6-4 Weight: 256 lbs College: Boise State

12:19 a.m. – As soon as the dust settled on the Micah Parsons pick, thoughts turned toward Leighton Vander Esch.

That’s natural any time a first-round pick is used on a current starter’s position, but especially so in Vander Esch’s case. After all, the NFL deadline to exercise his fifth-year option is approaching on Monday.

To hear it from Cowboys officials, though, the decision to draft Parsons has no bearing on Vander Esch’s future.

“I don’t think it affects it,” said chief operating officer Stephen Jones. “We’ll make a decision on Leighton – we’ll make that decision when the time comes. We’ve got some discussions to have on that, period.”

Vander Esch missed six games last season with various injuries, and he has missed 13 total games over the last two years. If the Cowboys exercise his option, his contract will be extended through the 2022 season. If they don’t, he’ll be slated to hit free agency next spring.

Parsons may not affect that a decision, but it’s still a decision the Cowboys will have to make in the coming days.


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