Tony Romo heads most impactful players returning from injury - NFL.com
There are many players on the mend who will significantly shape the 2016 season. But only one player can be atop this list, and it's none other than Tony Romo.
1) Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys:
There's a cruel irony in knowing that Romo followed the best season of his career in 2014 with an injury-plagued 2015 campaign. He missed 12 games as a result of two separate collarbone fractures and his absence haunted this team all year. It's fair to say the Cowboys would've run away with the mediocre NFC East had they not been forced to use three different quarterbacks to replace their fallen star. That revolving door of signal callers resulted in the Dallas averaging just 17.2 points a game and finishing 4-12. That's why Romo tops this list right now. Bring him back to an offense with highly accomplished pass catchers (Dez Bryant and Jason Witten), an exciting rookie running back (Ezekiel Elliott) and the best offensive line in football, and it's hard to not see the Cowboys returning to the postseason. All Romo has to do is stay healthy.
Ranking all 32 NFL rushing attacks, from best to worst - Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports
In the absence of football news, rankings are one of the go-to options when you need content. This ranking purports to rank the NFL rushing attacks, and has the Cowboys ranked sixth overall.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Despite having to deal with injuries and troubled players at the running back position (Joseph Randle), the Cowboys had the ninth-best rushing offense in the league last season. Darren McFadden led the bunch with 1,089 yards. McFadden is now dealing with an elbow injury suffered while dropping his phone, which gives way to the inevitable. Rookie Ezekiel Elliott enters the league with massive expectations running behind Dallas' star-studded offensive line. Furthermore, Lance Dunbar will be back, and the addition of Alfred Morris gives them a bruising back. Thanks to depth, overall talent and a great offensive line, the Cowboys will be one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Last year, NFL.com published a similar ranking and had the Eagles ranked No. 1 overall. Just one year later, they are ranked 27th on this list - which immediately validates this entire list of course.
For Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott, it may be greatness or bust - Kent Babb, The Washington Post
Babb writes that Elliott could be the most hyped player - particularly at his position - in the past decade.
Even Gary Brown, Dallas’s running backs coach, couldn’t help himself recently. After describing how the team’s first priority with Elliott is insulating him from unrealistic expectations and unfair pressure, Brown called his newest rusher the most complete rookie back he has ever seen.
"Clearly he’s that. Clearly," said Brown, himself a former NFL running back. "Run, catch, block — he does it all."
Jason Witten shoots down any notion of playing for another team - Jon Machota, SportsDay
There's been some fan fiction published this week speculating about Witten possibly leaving Dallas in free agency. Here's The Senator himself on whether he would think about chasing a Super Bowl with another franchise.
"I really wouldn't," Witten said. "I don't think it would be fair if I approached it that way. I'm all in here with the group of guys I get to do it with, especially this organization. ... Mr. Jones has allowed every opportunity for this dream of ours to be reality, so there's a commitment and a loyalty there that you want to bring that back here.
"Circumstances played out differently for [DeMarcus Ware], and I'm happy for him because he's one of the great guys and great players and great teammates. But I couldn't see myself doing it anywhere else besides right here."
Darren McFadden: Injury from slip near pool, not from dropped cellphone - Pete Perkins, WholeHogSports
McFadden set the record straight on the cause for his much-publicized offseason injury.
McFadden said reports he broke his elbow after he fell in an attempt to save a dropped cellphone were untrue. He said he was in a friend's backyard after a funeral and slipped on cement near a swimming pool.
"I just slipped down and landed on my elbow," he said. "My phone was in my hand, and so people kind of put that story out."
"I got a few weeks left in this brace, but other than that, my body feels good," McFadden said. "I feel great, and I'm looking forward to the season. I'm ready to go."
Two players to look forward to in camp - Albert Breer, The MMQB
Breer profiles two unheralded NFL players who could play pivotal roles for their teams, and one of them is Cowboys DE Benson Mayowa.
The Cowboys basically bought Mayowa on spec in March. By wresting him away from Oakland with a three-year, $8.25 million offer sheet, they bet that his modest production over three years (two sacks) will grow with increased opportunity (he only started three of 30 games with Seattle and Oakland).
What they’ve seen thus far is a player with effort, speed, length and a team-first attitude, and he did get work with the first team in the spring. What they don’t know is how he’ll play in a bigger role, and that’s going to be important come September, with Greg Hardy gone and both DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory facing four-game suspensions.
"He’s a tweener edge type," said one AFC exec who has studied him. "He has some speed rush. He’s not a power player, not a heavy on-the-line or point-of-attack presence in the run game, but he possesses some athletic ability, initial quickness and length." Reading between the lines, you can see how Mayowa’s handling of a heavier workload remains an open question, too. He had his knee scoped at the end of the offseason program, but is expected back for camp.
NFL plans to interview Peppers, Matthews, Harrison about PEDs - Michael D. Smith, ProFootballTalk
Occasionally, the NFL has to release news that it finds unsavory. When it does, it usually chooses a Friday afternoon to do so, and it often waits for a Friday where other news events are hogging the headlines, thus minimizing the PR backlash against the NFL.
Yesterday was just such a day, with the Brexit dominating global headlines, so the NFL decided on a modest little news dump in the afternoon with word that the league will be interviewing players mentioned in a December (!!!) Al Jazeera report alleging performance-enhancing drug use. In case you forgot, the initial report implicated Peyton Manning and others in PED.
A letter from NFL V.P. Adolpho Birch to the players’ union, the NFL outlines its plans to interview several.
"On January 11, 2016, the league notified Messrs. Peppers, Neal, Matthews and Harrison that it had initiated an investigation following the airing of the Al-Jazeera America documentary, which raised serious issues concerning their possible violation of the NFL/NFLPA Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances," Birch’s letter said. "The players were further advised that, with their full and timely cooperation, the investigation would be conducted expeditiously and with minimal disruption.
"While the investigation has proceeded, we have yet to interview the players. We have attempted since early April to work through the NFLPA to schedule them, but despite multiple requests the NFLPA has failed to respond, except to seek reconsideration of the basis for the investigation. This continuing delay and avoidance has obstructed our ability to conduct and conclude the investigation.
"In fairness to all, including the players involved, we must move forward with the interviews. Accordingly, this will advise that the interviews of Messrs. Peppers, Matthews and Harrison will be scheduled for the first day of their respective training camps, and the interview of Mr. Neal (free agent) will take place on or before July 22. The players will be advised of the specific scheduling details by separate correspondence on which the NFLPA will be copied, and of course an NFLPA representative may attend each interview should the player so request."
No mention whatsoever about the biggest name in initial report, Peyton Manning.
The pro football season has started. In Canada. - San Antonio Express-News
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Toronto Argonauts 42-20 on Thursday night in the Canadian Football League. If, by some cruel twist of fate you missed the game, fear not! Clear you calendar and tune in to ESPN2 at 10:00 PM EST tonight to watch the Calgary Stampeders take on the BC Lions.
'You didn't play to get rich': what killed NFL Europe? - Sean Keeler, The Guardian
Keeler takes a look at the history of what began as the Worl League Of American Football in 1991 and morphed into the NFL Europe until the NFL pulled the plug on that in 2007. But the NFL may be rethinking its stance, according to Stephen Jones.
"We’ve reached a point where we really should be looking more at a developmental league, and I really expect that to begin here in the next year or so," Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, a member of the league’s competition committee, told CBS Sports. "We lost a lot of money on NFL Europe, but there were a lot of things the league did well and for all of those reasons – coaches, officiating, players, quarterbacks in particular – it’s something we really do need to be looking at and studying. The time might be right to do it."
Yes, it was essentially the competitive equivalent of the fourth preseason tilt over any given August, practice squads dressed in different colors crossing swords on a different continent. Yes, the echo-ey Fox broadcasts often sounded as if the games were contested within the confines of a gargantuan metal pipe.
Which isn’t to say that, even if the casts and sets were flawed, the basic premise somehow lacked merit. Or reconsideration. To put it another way, as a football consumer, which option would you prefer in the spring: the chance to watch – even sporadically – an eight-team, seven-week spring developmental loop; or copious internet reports from "Organized Team Activities," or OTAs, a menu that consists primarily of players in helmets and shorts playing glorified two-hand touch?
Green Bay Packers president criticizes preseason, says 4 games too many - Jason Wilde, ESPN
Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy said Friday that preseason play is the one aspect of the NFL that is not "first class" and said four games is too many. Apparently, there's a belief within the NFL that one way decrease the preseason would be to have each team play 17 regular-season games, with one of them being an international game, and then play only three preseason games.