DALLAS — The third phase of the Dallas Cowboys' offseason program got underway on Monday. The third phase includes 10 organized team activities and then concludes with a mandatory minicamp from June 15-17.
Here are four storylines to watch for during the Cowboys' phase three of offseason workouts:
1. How will Dak Prescott look?
The biggest question on every Cowboys fan's mind is how the franchise quarterback is recovering from his broken leg sustained on Oct. 11, 2020, in a Week 5 37-34 win over the New York Giants that derailed the season.
Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on May 15 that Prescott would be able to do "most things." In doing "most things," that means there are "some things" that Prescott won't be doing, and that will fuel the speculation as to how far along the two-time Pro Bowler is in his rehabilitation process, and if he will be ready to go for Week 1 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Prescott will be working in coordination with trainers Britt Brown and Jim Mauer to discern the proper workload for OTAs.
2. How many reps will Micah Parsons get?
The Cowboys drafted the Penn State linebacker with the No. 12 overall pick, and this was after they decided to not pick up former 2018 first-round linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's fifth-year rookie contract option.
Is Parsons going to be stealing snaps from Vander Esch as early as OTAs? Though Parsons may see a bevy of snaps, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is working on creating multiple defensive looks with different skill sets and tools with the underlying commonality being speed and quickness.
3. How does Quinn meld existing talent with his definitive vision?
The Cowboys’ defense is in a unique position where they are going back to a scheme that worked with their personnel, yet they will still incorporate a 3-4 base defense. One of the biggest challenges that Quinn will have is blending defensive backs such as Jourdan Lewis into his scheme. The former 2017 third-rounder is 5-10, 195 pounds — not exactly rangy and lengthy like Richard Sherman, who Quinn coached in Seattle from 2013-14.
However, Quinn isn't going to discount guys who don't fit his preferred measurables. "When we bring a player on the team, I say, 'This is the role I see for that person,'" Quinn said on May 1. "That doesn't mean every single guy has these certain specific traits, but you do want to find as a coach what makes this player unique and what things can he do as opposed to the things he can't do. But having speed and length helps, but by no means is that — there's been plenty of players you guys have covered and I've coached that didn't have the same length. But it does give you a good basis to start."
4. What will happen along the interior offensive line?
Dallas knows they have right guard locked up with four-time All-Pro Zack Martin, but center and left guard remain question marks, albeit with Tyler Biadasz and Connor Williams penciled in as starters.
Nevertheless, the Cowboys will have to ascertain what they have as far as depth along the interior, given the departure of Joe Looney and the recent waiving of center Adam Redmond.
Dallas does have a reliable backup in third-year Connor McGovern, who started eight of his 14 games active in 2020. Dallas can get started on seeking answers to their questions even though offensive line evaluation is difficult during offseason workouts as there are no pads and it is essentially basketball on grass.
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