During the dead period between minicamp and training camp we are all suffering through, rankings of all forms spring up from writers looking to provide content. USA today put together a list of the 100 most influential figures in the NFL, and heading the list, ahead of Roger Goodell and everyone else, was Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones. And it is based on much more than just the glittering empire he has built in Arlington and now Frisco.
No owner was more influential in pushing others to sign off on the
Los Angeles Rams' stadium deal in Inglewood, Calif. - rather than a Carson deal for the San Diego Chargersand Oakland Raidersthat was backed by a lot of "old school" owners. Jones was sold on Rams owner Stan Kroenke's grand plan for solving the NFL's conundrum in the nation's second-largest market.
It was the same type of big-picture thinking Jones employed during the 1990s, when he spearheaded a new philosophy for the broadcast committee in selling the NFL's network TV package - which is shared by all 32 teams - that bucked the traditional bidding process and resulted in then-fledgling Fox entering the game ... and providing the impetus to blow the lid off the previous deal.
And you can bet that Jones will be in the middle of the next big NFL deal. He's already sent signals that he'll back a potential move to Las Vegas by the Oakland Raiders.
Jones never rests in seeking ideas to up the ante - which is why he's so important to the NFL.
And there were a couple of other names from the current organization on this very eclectic list, plus a couple of others with past ties to the team.
USA Today's list of NFL's 100 most important people had Tony Romo 26th and Charlotte Jones Anderson 89th. Greg Hardy was 93, Michael Sam 97— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 29, 2016
There are opponents you respect and even like, opponents you hate - and there are those rare few that you love to hate. Buddy Ryan, former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears when they won the Super Bowl, among many other jobs, passed away. He was a unique figure in the NFL, and one who played a large role against the Cowboys.
Ryan was both a genius in football and a genius of agitation. You have to be old-school (or have grown up a Vikings fan in Minnesota like I did) to know that he was also a leader as defensive coordinator of the 1970's Minnesota Vikings "Purple People Eaters."
But as an agitator? Ryan did it to his own head coach in Chicago and he did it again in Houston when as the defensive coordinator he tried to punch offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride during an Oilers game. ... and maybe most of all he was a thorn in the side of everyone and anyone in silver-and-blue — especially Jimmy Johnson.
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Gil Brandt adds just how much of an innovator Ryan was on defense.
Ryan loved to attack when he smelled blood. His 46 defense was an aggressive style of defense, where they covered all five gaps; it was really a one-on-one situation on the line, and they played man coverage everywhere else. It was tough. He had great players, but it was also a great system, because it hadn't been seen before
Condolence to Rex and Rob Ryan, and the whole family.
Now, on to things about football players.
Derek Dooley thinks this is the deepest the wide receiver corps has been since he became the WR coach in 2013. Given how much the Cowboys are depending on the offense to carry the load this season, that would be a very good thing as the team sorts out who to carry into the season.
Dooley called the group the deepest "top-to-bottom" that the team has employed since he joined the staff in 2013, an assessment that was met with agreement by Beasley.
"We’ve had some good groups, but this one has been a really good one, just as far as obviously talent, but guys knowing what to do and really studying and taking it upon themselves to learn everything," Beasley said, via the Dallas Morning News.
Ryan Mack is a name you probably haven't heard much about, but he may find a way to insert himself into the offensive line room as a backup.
Mack can make this roster if he shows the coaching staff he can be physical, flexible and dependable. He obviously can't get hurt and needs to take advantage of situations involving other tackles around him that might get banged up and miss practice time. The Cowboys are high on third-round pick Chaz Green, but he's had some injury issues in the past. Mack has to take all of the reps and play well in the second half of preseason games when his opportunity comes.
After being the butt of a lot of jokes about how much he loves his iPhone, Darren McFadden wants to set the record straight.
McFadden (Pulaski Oak Grove) 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."
In another one of the ever-multiplying lists, the combo of Jason Garrett and Tony Romo was ranked as 14th among all such pairings in the NFL. But that may be as much because of recency bias following the Great Debacle of 2015 as any real analysis of their effectiveness together.
The truth is there have only been two good coaches in Dallas post-Jimmy Johnson; one being Hall of Famer Bill Parcells and the other is Jason Garrett. As far as QBs go, Romo is hands down the best the franchise has seen since Hall of Famer Troy Aikman and often is compared in skill set and Captain America himself: Roger Staubach.
This makes a strong argument for how Garrett and the Cowboys will base the decision on who starts at running back on performance, not hype.
But Ezekiel Elliott will still be the starter.
In the offseason Jason Garrett is all about "the process" which is offseason-speak for "competition." Dallas has a history of ignoring draft pedigree, instead giving playing time to athletes based upon on-field production. Echoing his own NFL history, Garrett pushes this narrative and the Cowboys receive the obvious benefits. The club is able to put the best player on the field and as a hidden jewel they also find it easier to create real competition up and down the roster. A player in a contract year, a player fighting for a roster spot, a player that has a new addition to their family, a player who has one more reason to play hard every snap is a better player. This is "the process" and you don't want to rush it. You want to stretch it out in all it's glory and receive the maximum benefit. At RB, Dallas is looking at a plethora of riches.
There have been several articles out lately about some teams and players who advocate the idea of going for two on all extra point tries. Bryan Broaddus has a succinct opinion on how the Cowboys will approach it.
No. That's really not Jason Garrett's style. Whether you like it or not - he's a by the book coach and that will not change.