Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy is impressed with the way his defense has responded this offseason. He’s excited after early results have seen the group go from weakness to potential strength.
“The defense has really been ahead of the offense throughout camp, and that’s been consistent,” McCarthy said, via The Athletic. “I’ve been in this league a long time. I’ve never seen one side of the ball flipped the way we flipped it in one offseason. I think it’s a real credit to what we were able to do in free agency and in the draft. I think it’ll definitely be evident when we get into the regular season.”
The top-to-bottom depth of the team’s linebacker corps has also stood out to McCarthy. Dallas added first-round rookie Micah Parsons and free-agent Keanu Neal to a group that already included Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith.
“I’ve never had comfort like we have right now,” he responded. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of a linebacker group on any team I’ve been with, and I’m not trying to disrespect anyone, but to have that depth and that veteran experience from top to bottom and then to have the rookie class joining, it’s an outstanding group of linebackers.”
- McCarthy has taken notice of third-round DT Osa Odighizuwa while filling in for fellow DT Neville Gallimore: “Osa has been coming along really strong in probably the last 10 days.”
- With Cowboys DC Dan Quinn in the COVID-19 protocols, secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. took over defensive play-calling duties against the Texans. (Tom Pelissero)
- McCarthy said QB Cooper Rush will get reps with the first team during practice this week. (Calvin Watkins)
- Eagles first-round rookie WR DeVonta Smith exited practice briefly with an ankle injury but was able to return and participated in 11 on 11 drills. (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
- The Athletic’s Dan Duggan lists Giants CB Madre Harper, OLB Ryan Anderson and CB Sam Beal as players who dropped in the standings for a potential roster spot this last week.
- On the flip side, Duggan says OLB Trent Harris and sixth-round CB Rodarius Williams are making strong pushes to be on the right side of the roster bubble.
- Giants OLB Ifeadi Odenigbo has been converting from 4-3 end to 3-4 outside linebacker since signing with New York and was expected to be a key rotational player. However, Duggan notes he hasn’t made much of an impact so far and his roster spot could be in jeopardy.
Washington’s roster has gotten quite a bit deeper now that HC Ron Rivera is entering his second year in charge. The competition is fierce in a couple of spots and it could end up pushing recent draft picks like 2020 fifth-round OL Keith Ismael off the roster. Teams don’t like to cut draft picks but Rivera says it matters less after that first year.
“The only time it’s ever important is the first year after that you start looking at the guys that are going to help you right now,” Rivera told JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. “You really don’t want to cut a guy that you drafted right away, but you want to play the guys that give you the best opportunity to win.”