Gallup’s return, Sam Williams’ mentors, Tony Romo’s back

Right now, the Cowboys depth chart features a lot of blanks, just waiting to be filled in with names as Week 1 draws closer. One Dallas star may be getting good news about when his name could be penciled in. Michael Gallup may not be ready for the season opener, but he could be back in action within the team’s first few games, says one insider.

Meanwhile, we look at three defensive starters who may not be starters much longer, we check out who’s been coaching up the club’s second-round draft pick, and we highlight a young pass-catcher looking to beat the odds in camp. We’ve got news on several Cowboys alums, too, including the former rusher who’s heading up his own program now, the marquee star whose back is still acting up on the field of competition, and the colorful legend who was granted football immortality over the weekend. All that, plus we go inside one of the Cowboys’ most visible marketing assets, and we ride along with No. 8 as he pours one out for more of his fans across the Lone Star State. That’s all up in News and Notes.

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Among Todd Archer’s picks for the 53-man roster is an encouraging nugget on wide receiver Michael Gallup. While it’s almost assured that he won’t be recovered enough from his ACL tear to play in the season opener, “he should be ready sometime in September.”

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The second-round draft pick has big shoes to fill, hoping to make Cowboys fans forget about losing Randy Gregory in free agency. But he’s got the assistance of some huge mentors. Williams says Micah Parsons has helped him put his speed to use, while Hall of Famer Charles Haley has provided “old-school” instruction on fundamentals like get-off and hand work.

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Sure, guys like Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, and DeMarcus Lawrence can be penciled in to the starting lineup now. But Neville Gallimore, Dorance Armstrong, and Jourdan Lewis could see enough of a challenge in camp to relegate them to the bench in backup roles.

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It’s not that the Cowboys were wrong to get out from under their deal with Amari Cooper, it’s that they showed their hand way too early and therefore got way too little for him. The Cowboys should have been able to pry at least a Day 2 pick out of a team for Cooper. As it happened, they traded him for prospects who might not even make the 53-man roster.

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After going undrafted out of Florida A&M and spending two years in the USFL, “The Kitchen” cooked up a stellar career in Dallas. From waving off a big bonus for making weight to legendary fried-chicken runs to the infamous debate over whether he actually had a Snickers bar hidden in his uniform on the field, Newton was always among the biggest Cowboys personalities, in every sense of the word .

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Dennis Houston was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection at Western Illinois. But the undrafted free agent will have his hands full in terms of competition, battling five other rookie and first-year receivers in trying to make the Cowboys. Thanks to other injuries, though, he got some first-team reps with Dak Prescott during OTAs and minicamp.

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Continuing its countdown of the teams that have been legitimately good… but not good (or lucky) enough to win it all, the 2003-2021 Cowboys come in at No. 11, the highest-ranking active heartbreak dynasty. Get to a Super Bowl, and there’s always a chance you might win it. The Cowboys have cunningly avoided the threat of their heartbreak dynasty coming to an end, though, by making sure they bow out just a bit early. Tony Romo provided a beacon of hope, in the top 10 in DVOA in all but one qualified season. But Dallas doesn’t get a reputation for coming up short if Romo isn’t around to keep them in contention to begin with. And since he’s been gone, they’ve just been getting bounced in awkward ways in January.

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The ex-QB was doing well in the Match Play Championship and even playing under par on the 14th hole on Tuesday. But it’s what he was doing during his opponent’s putt that made the rounds on social media. Romo’s back was apparently acting up, so he dropped to all fours right on the green for a little cat-cow stretch. “My back, it definitely pops up more often than I’d like,” Romo said. “But I played 36 holes yesterday. I do this whole routine beforehand. I can’t just show up and play.”

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Count Phillip Tanner as the latest Cowboys alum to break into the coaching ranks. The running back who played in Dallas from 2011 to 2013 has been tapped as the new head coach at Southwest High School in Fort Worth. He had been an assistant under former Cowboy Jon Kitna for two seasons at nearby Burleson High.

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The Cowboys are still the only NFL team with its own custom tour bus, and they have two of them. The newest coach is nine years old, but totally state-of-the-art. It seats 19 passengers in two separate lounges and sports a fully functioning kitchen, a half-bath, and nine flat-screen TVs. This bus has 200,000 miles on it; still a long way to go to catch the original 1998 model, whose odometer has rolled past 2 million miles and is still going strong.

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Troy Aikman continued his Texas tour, promoting the new beer (that gets its name from his old jersey number) by pouring and posing for fans. “I thought we had some good crowds, but this has exceeded my wildest expectations,” he told the El Paso Times of the Monday stops at three local bars.

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