Imagine if Rolando McClain showed up in Dallas today.
First, he'd probably show up over at Valley Ranch. Security would have to inform him that the team had moved to the new facility, The Star. Rolando would ask for directions and head 30 miles north to Frisco.
If he didn't get distracted along the way, Rolando would arrive to find out that the team had already departed for Seattle for tonight's game. Bemused and dejected, he would ask if he could at least check out the new facility. Someone would take pity on him and let him into The Star.
Rolando McClain would be in awe of the gorgeous new facility. He'd be so excited about being able to work here next week, then take a 10-week break, then come back in November.
Rolando would get to the locker room. Naturally, he'd start looking for his name and number. He'd look... and look... and look.
Eventually, Rolando would ask whoever was attending him what was up. Where was his locker? Had there been a clerical error?
Somewhere in that room is a locker for number 94, Randy Gregory. Both Gregory and Rolando McClain did not report to the Cowboys training camp. Neither is currently counted on the team's roster.
One guy has a locker at The Star. The other doesn't.
Some want to paint McClain and Gregory with the same broad stroke. They're both "knuckleheads" or "druggies." They're both hurting the image of the Dallas Cowboys and should be released.
Clearly, the Cowboys don't see it that way. Neither do I.
Rolando McClain is 27-years-old. This is his third team since entering the league in 2010. He's been out of the NFL and come back more than once, even having retired at one point and missing all of 2013. He is facing 10-game suspension this year for using a "purple drank" and was reportedly severely out of shape when he showed up for the team's summer practices.
Randy Gregory is still just 23-years-old and was a rookie last year. By all accounts, Gregory is a hard worker and was only held back last year by injuries. He faces his own suspension this year, still officially just four games, for repeated offenses with marijuana.
Both guys clearly have their issues and personal demons. However, there's a very important line that has to be drawn.
Gregory has a drug problem. McClain has an attitude problem.
McClain's two years in Dallas have been a testament to his incredible talent and yet a reminder of how much of it is wasted. He's never been "all in" with the Cowboys. He doesn't fight to play through minor injuries. One can only assume that his conditioning and preparation for games isn't what it could be.
And yet, when on the field, Rolando McClain can still be an impact player. His natural gifts are that strong.
Dallas clearly sees that they can't help McClain change who he is and how he views his football career. Rolando doesn't care about his teammates. He doesn't care enough to be here through camp and preseason and help guys like Anthony Hitchens and Mark Nzeocha be ready to play in his absence.
Rolando is a self-centered mercenary. He has been for two years. And now the Cowboys are done paying for his services.
If you've lived long enough to know the difference between 23 and 27, you know why the Cowboys may feel differently about Randy Gregory. You probably understand why he still has a locker.
Obviously, Gregory's story may not have a happy ending. He could wind up on that tall scrap heap of former NFL players who wasted their talent and fell out of the league, be it to their own selfish interests, personal problems, or a mix of the two.
But right now, Gregory seems to be acknowledging his issues and is taking steps to work on them. That's all the Cowboys can ask for now, and it's enough to merit their continued support and the hope for a positive outcome.
One guy's checked himself into rehab. The other's completely checked out.
That's why Randy Gregory still has a locker and Rolando McClain doesn't. Seems perfectly logical to me.
Report: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Could Only Miss One Game
The Dallas Cowboys might not be without their rising star at free safety as long as they originally thought. According to DallasCowboys.com's Bryan Broaddus, Xavier Woods could only miss this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
They gave him a physical and didn't sign so that tells me a little something. Xavier Woods is not going to be out 4-6 weeks. Might miss one game... https://t.co/EFcpjlZnPH
Woods suffered a high ankle sprain this past Sunday against the Washington Redskins that was supposed to keep him out 4-6 weeks. If he is only out one game that would be amazing news for the Cowboys with the toughest part of their schedule coming up. Safety Darian Thompson is set to start this Sunday opposite Jeff Heath in place of Woods, with rookie Donovan Wilson and Kavon Frazier also their for insurance. Will Xavier Woods be back against the New Orleans Saints next week? Something to keep an eye on. More details to come.
Devin Smith Has Opportunity to Shine in Michael Gallup’s Absence
In the wake of today's news that Michael Gallup will miss the next 2-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to trim the meniscus in his left knee. Gallup was having another solid game for the Dallas Cowboys when he suffered the injury. It's an unfortunate setback for Gallup was emerging as a go-to player for Dak Prescott in the passing offense.
With Gallup's absence comes an opportunity for other wide receivers on the depth chart. The player most likely to benefit the most is former second-round pick and first-year Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Devin Smith.
Smith exploded on offense for the Cowboys in week two against the Washington Redskins. He had three receptions on three targets for 74 yards and a 51-yard touchdown reception that was the first score of the game for the Dallas Cowboys. After Gallup went down with the injury, Smith was the immediate beneficiary of snaps, catching his other two passes on the drive after Gallup's injury, including one that picked up the first down.
Devin Smith will take on a larger role with Michael Gallup out. This catch yesterday by Smith was his first TD since 2015. He has battled back from two significant knee injuries.
Devin Smith played 26% of the offensive snaps on Sunday and was dynamic and effective in the passing game. Afte the Gallup injury, any time the offense was in 11 personnel (3 wide receivers) Devin Smith was the next man up.
They used Smith on play-action twice and on an RPO signifying their belief in his ability to make plays in the passing game. The former second-round pick from Ohio State has excellent speed and showed out throughout the preseason and training camp to earn his spot on the 53-man roster out of training camp.
In fact, the team felt so good about Smith coming into the season that they were willing to subject both Cedrick Wilson and Jon'vea Johnson to waivers before placing them on the practice squad.
If Michael Gallup does have to sit out for four weeks, then Smith has an excellent opportunity to cement himself within the Dallas Cowboys receiving hierarchy and potentially audition for his next job in 2020, either with the Dallas Cowboys or someone else around the NFL. Smith had likely earned the opportunity to play ahead of Tavon Austin in the offense -- whenever Austin is back -- and how the next two to four weeks go could have a huge impact on the Dallas Cowboys and his own future.
With the emergence of Michael Gallup toward the end of 2018 and to start the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys offense has been much healthier and balanced. It hasn't had to rely on one player to carry the offense and the passing game in particular.
When the Dallas Cowboys have several receiving threats it makes life easier for everyone on offense and much more challenging for opposing defenses. With Devin Smith coming into the lineup, teams are going to have to respect his downfield speed, which could open things up in the short to intermediate areas for the rest of the offense. After his 51 yard touchdown on Sunday, opposing defenses will have to pay attention to Smith.
In week three against at tanking Miami Dolphins squad, Smith may have another big game. In week one, the Miami Dolphins allowed Baltimore Ravens rookie Wide Receiver Marquise Brown to go off for four catches, 147 yards, and two touchdowns. The two touchdowns were on receptions of 47 and 83 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys need Devin Smith to be an effective player in order to keep the balance they've had in their target distribution. Teams will shade coverage toward Amari Cooper with Gallup out and Devin Smith will have to take advantage. Over the last few months, Smith has shown flashes of the ability that once made him a second-round pick. Now he's got a huge opportunity ahead of him and the Dallas Cowboys need him to take advantage of it to have the same level of success they've experienced in the first two weeks of the season.
REPORT: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Out 4-6 Weeks With Ankle Injury
Another tough injury coming out of last week's game against Washington; Cowboys starting Safety Xavier Woods is now expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain injury.
This comes just a day after Dallas lost WR Michael Gallup for 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Cowboys FS Xavier Woods is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, source said. A blow to the secondary with #Saints, #Packers among upcoming opponents.
The next man up at safety appears to be Darian Thompson, who has been with the Cowboys since midway through the 2018 season. He was re-signed as a free agent last March and is one of the key reasons that Dallas chose not to keep veteran George Iloka at final cuts.
Cowboys S Darian Thompson will make his first start Sunday since joining team in 2018, source said. S Xavier Woods is sidelined with high ankle sprain.
Earlier this morning, it was reported that Dallas is working out free agent safety Josh Jones. He was a 2nd-Round pick of the Packers in 2017 who was released last month after falling down the depth chart and demanding a trade.
Dallas still has Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson on the roster for safety depth. While many fans would love to see Wilson get the start this week, Darian Thompson's game and athleticism are more suited to play the free safety role.
Thompson also has experience, having started 17 games from 2016-2017 with the New York Giants. He was their 3rd-Round pick in 2016.
Thankfully, this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins gives the Cowboys a soft opponent with which to make these adjustments. But missing Xavier Woods is going to hurt; he is a rising star on defense and easily their top player at safety.
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