Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith‘s struggles in 2020 were part of why the team felt it needed to add competition in the form of first-round LB Micah Parsons and free-agent addition Keanu Neal. Smith’s future in Dallas is now more up in the air than it seemed when he signed a six-year extension a couple of years ago but he’s only focusing on what he can control.
“I think when you talk about Cowboys ownership, it’s about them doing their jobs on adding talent to make the team better,” Smith said via the Athletic’s Jon Machota. “For me, I’m blessed to have this opportunity. And Micah is going to do some great things. He’s my little bro. We’re all rocking. Leighton is looking great. Keanu, all the new guys coming in, it’s just an amazing linebacker room. And we’re going to grind. We’re going to work. And we’re going to do what we got to do to get ready to have a great season and a great defense.”
Neal is listed as a safety but the plan is for him to play weakside linebacker in DC Dan Quinn‘s scheme.
I feel I can play safety, linebacker. Wherever they put me, I’m going to go out there and play at my best. Growing up, I played linebacker in middle school and high school. Then we changed the defense and I switched to safety. So I went to college as a safety, but in my heart, I have been a linebacker for a while. I still have an understanding of what everything entails with playing linebacker,” he said.
Neal plans to bulk up slightly from 217 pounds to 222 to help with living closer to the line of scrimmage.
“Typical linebacker stuff,” Neal said. “Playing the hook, playing curl, dropping in some of our coverages. Lining up over the tight end, playing man on the tight end and the backs, things of that nature.”
- Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin is continuing to take it easy as he returns from a torn ACL: “I’m coming along. Getting close. There’s really no reason, I guess, to rush into it. Just make sure that I’m feeling good, and I feel good. I’ll just keep pushing along, and I anticipate, Day 1 of training camp, being ready to roll.
- Cowboys S Damontae Kazee said a couple of other organizations showed interest in him this offseason but he wanted to sign with a contending team: “There was a couple teams out there trying to get me, but I wanted to come to a team that I know we’re going to fight and get to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. I believe in the guys, and guys believe in me up here.” (Jori Epstein)
- Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (ankle) said he’s not “limited or restricted” and is ready for the regular season: “I’m not being limited or restricted to doing anything. I’m ready to go. I don’t know as far as being tackled or my ankle being jerked and stuff under a pile, obviously we’re not there yet. But we’re far from being there, so I’m good to go really.” (Jon Machota)
- Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy confirmed that Prescott doesn’t have any problems with his mobility: “Has been moving with a lot of confidence for some time now.” (Calvin Watkins)
- McCarthy said OTs Tyron Smith (neck) and La’el Collins (hip) both look in “great shape” and should be ready for training camp: “They both looking in great shape.” (Calvin Watkins)
Eagles WR Jalen Reagor said he believes he had a strong offseason.
“You can look at it two ways,” Reagor said, via Pro Football Talk. “People can say whatever they want to say. But if you respond, you’re wrong. But it is what it is. Like I said, I know what I can do better, that’s why I attacked this offseason the way I did. We’ll see if everybody has the same energy after this season.”
- Reagor mentioned the new coaching staff will have him work in the slot, but every wide receiver needs to have versatility in the offense. (Mike Kaye)
- Reagor thinks he and first-round WR DeVonta Smith complement each other. (Jeff McLane)
“Nothing other than we’re just going in a different direction. We have an opportunity to get some young guys on the field,” Rivera said, via Ryan Homler of NBC Sports. “We went out and brought in a veteran left tackle. So, feel very comfortable with those decisions because of the players we have on the roster right now.”
Rivera believes Moses and Christian will do well on other organizations but reiterated that Washington wants to get “young guys on the field.”
“They’re both very good players, they were good players for us and they’ll continue to be good players in the league,” Rivera said. “We just feel it’s an opportunity to get some young guys on the field.”