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Rico Gathers Getting Looks as the Second Tight End

John Williams

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Rico Gathers

Training camp has begun meaning the time for speculation is over and it's time to begin seeing what the Dallas Cowboys will look like on the field. We'll finally get to see what second year tight end Rico Gathers looks like after a full season on the practice squad.

James Hanna and Geoff Swaim are still working their way back from injuries. They've only participated in the walk throughs at this point, leaving some snaps available for Gathers to find a role on the team. So far, the results are encouraging.

Yuma (@YumaCactus) is attending training camp and is an excellent follow. He's putting pictures and video up for people to see and you should definitely take a look.

B✭Schlerf on Twitter

80 had back to back nice catches on throws behind him.

Two observations from this tweet.

First, it seems that he's getting open and second he's making adjustments to the ball.

Both of those things are vital to gaining trust as a receiver. A lot of receivers can catch perfectly thrown balls, but catching passes that aren't perfect will lead to more trust and more opportunities from the quarterback.


Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players To Watch At Rookie Minicamp 4

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Rico Gathers #80 (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

From Bryan Broaddus' Scout's Notebook, it seems that Gathers is making some strides in his recognition and in his blocking assignments.

"Rico Gathers got some work with Jason Witten and the first unit in "12" personnel package – that is, one running back and two tight ends. James Hanna and Geoff Swaim worked in the morning walkthrough while Gathers had his shot in the evening. Gathers showed some nice recognition in picking up a blitzer from the slot that allowed Ezekiel Elliott the ability to make a nice cut behind him."

Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com

David Moore also had a Q&A for the Dallas Morning News where he took a question on Rico Gathers.

The question was, "What is Rico Gathers going to have to accomplish at camp to get a spot on the roster?"

"Moore: He has improved dramatically from where he was at this stage last year. He flashes brilliance. What he needs to do in this camp is show a better understanding of the offense -- he still makes too many assignment mistakes -- and more consistency in his level of performance."

David Moore - Sports Day, Dallas Morning News

The offseason reports of Rico being "1,000 times better" aren't hyperbole after all. It's still very early in training camp and there is still much to show, as Moore points out, but there are encouraging signs.

With Jason Witten entering the twilight of his career, we're hoping Gathers can carry the mantle when Witten calls it a career. While, it's unreasonable to expect Gathers to have a Jason Witten type of career, it is reasonable to get excited about the things Gathers can bring to the football field. He just has to put it all together.

Here's hoping Gathers is able to "stack one good practice on one good practice" as he makes his case for a roster spot.


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Dallas Cowboys Optimistic that Amari Cooper Returns Sunday

John Williams

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Report: Amari Cooper has MRI on Right Ankle

It doesn't take a deep look at the Dallas Cowboys offense over the last year and not see the significant impact that Amari Cooper has had. He's been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over the last calendar year and has opened up so much for the Cowboys offense both with his impact as a pass catcher and for the attention he draws from opposing defenses. In Cooper's last 15 regular-season games with the Dallas Cowboys, he's caught 86 passes on 121 targets for 1,240, and 11 touchdowns. He's been everything the Cowboys front office could have hoped for when they made the trade with the Oakland Raiders after week seven of the 2018 season.

Amari Cooper has been dealing with foot issues since training camp and then went out on the first offensive series against the New York Jets with a thigh contusion. His absence was definitely felt as the offense struggled to find any rhythm in the first half of their week six loss.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

Though he hasn't practiced this week there is some optimism that Cooper could potentially practice on Friday and play in this pivotal week seven matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. A contusion is basically a bone bruise, which is painful and can inhibit movement and flexibility. The most important thing to judge when determining if Cooper will be able to play or not is the level of inflammation that still persists in this leg. If the inflammation is better and he has better movement and flexibility in the leg, then he should be able to go.


Amari Cooper had a field day against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 14 of the 2018 season when he caught 10 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Even in the week 10 contest, Cooper caught six passes for 75 yards. He's had a ton of success against the Eagles and with them still having injury issues in the secondary, there's a possibility for him to have another big game this week if he's able to play.

It's an encouraging sign that he's going to try practice today given the concern during the game in the days just after the week six contest. We'll have to keep an eye on how Friday goes and the pregame reports, but if all goes well, the Cowboys offense will be in much better shape with Cooper back on the field.


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Dallas Cowboys Sign DT Justin Hamilton to 53-Man Roster

Jess Haynie

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Justin Hamilton

After placing Tyrone Crawford on injured reserve Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys signed Defensive Tackle Justin Hamilton yesterday to fill the roster spot. Hamilton was most recently with the Kansas City Chiefs during the offseason but did not make it past final cuts.

List at 6'2" and 315 lbs., Hamilton brings a big body to the defensive line. The Cowboys have had issues with their run defense lately, particularly two weeks ago against Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers, so this signing indicates a desire for more size in the trenches.

Some fans are disappointed that Dallas didn't call up preseason darling Daniel Wise from the practice squad, but Wise is another smallish defensive linemen in the same mold as Crawford and others already on the roster.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett said the Cowboys worked out DT Justin Hamilton a couple weeks ago, felt like he was the best fit to take Tyrone Crawford's spot on the 53. Crawford moving to IR.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Justin Hamilton has been signed to the Cowboys active roster. Jason Garrett said the team likes his size.

The Cowboys ran into issues recently when starting DT Antwaun Woods was missing time with injury. Neither Maliek Collins or Chris Covington was able to adequately replace his role as the anchor up front, taking up space and denying run lanes.


Justin Hamilton hasn't had a ton of NFL playing experience for has been around since 2015, when he went undrafted and was signed by the Buffalo Bills. Since then he's bounced between rosters and practice squad with five different teams, appearing in just eight games only one of those as a starter.

The Cowboys must have felt the need for more beef at defensive tackle. Hopefully, they also see some potential in Hamilton that other teams haven't yet unlocked.

Antwaun Woods is the latest example of Dallas being able to find diamonds in the rough. Woods also went undrafted a few years back and spent a couple of years in Tennessee before the Cowboys finally got ah old of him. Now Antwaun is arguably their best defensive tackle.

Will Justin Hamilton find similar success with his new team?  We certainly hope so!


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REPORT: Tyrone Crawford Having Season-Ending Surgery, Headed to IR

Brian Martin

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Tyrone Crawford

And the hits keep coming. Defensive Tackle/Defensive End Tyrone Crawford will have season-ending hip surgery and is expected to be placed on the Injured Reserve.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is being placed on injured reserve. He has been dealing with a hip injury since last season. He was held out of training camp because of it and has struggled to play through it this season

Tyrone Crawford is yet another player on a long list for the Dallas Cowboys who have recently succumbed to the injury bug. With the bye week still a week away and the Philadelphia Eagles up next on the schedule, all of these injuries are happening at the most inopportune time.

All of these injuries put the Dallas Cowboys in a tough position this week against the Eagles.  The NFC East division hangs in the balance and you can bet the absence of Tyrone Crawford will have an impact on the game one way or another. That's the short term though. How Crawford's injury impacts the Cowboys long-term has yet to be determined.


Replacing someone with the versatility to play either DT or DE won't be easy for Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys defense. His versatility has been invaluable over the years, which makes it all that much harder to find a replacement.

Luckily, the Cowboys had the foresight to try to address the DL this offseason. They added DT Christian Covington through free agency, drafted DT Trysten Hill, and even brought in a few undrafted free agents who showed promise in preseason. Someone out of this group will have to step up, but who?


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