Sure, Stephen Jones has to be upbeat, it comes with his job especially right before camp is set to begin. Still there are some solid reasons to believe that the Cowboys executive vice-president is doing something other than selling snake oil. There are solid pieces on the roster right now that were not in place when the squad finished with one of the leagues best records in 2014 and they are poised to contribute to a turnaround.
"We didn't have a Byron Jones two years ago," he said. "We didn't have a Sean Lee playing for us two years ago. We didn't have Tyrone Crawford playing where he is right now -- he's got so much experience. [Lawrence] and obviously Gregory have got to serve their suspensions but he's come a long way. So we have a chance to have a good defensive football team.
"[I have] a lot of confidence in Rod [Marinelli] and I know he'll come up with ways to get pressure on the quarterback. But we feel good about this team and feel good that we have a great opportunity to really compete for a championship."
The veteran rushman will not only be looking to bounce back from his own injuries in 2015, he will be trying to prove that he can be an answer to some of the questions that many are asking about Rod Marinelli's Merry Band of Rushmen.
McClain needs to stay healthy to show what he can do for the Cowboys, an ongoing issue in his two seasons in Dallas. The Cowboys need his help along a defensive line beset by injuries and suspensions. He has the ability to play both tackle positions. McClain, who hasn't started an NFL game since his rookie season in 2011, will be asked to contribute to a rotation that includes Tyrone Crawford, Jack Crawford and free-agent signee Cedric Thornton, particularly with rookie Maliek Collins, a third-round draft pick, suffering a broken right foot during the offseason.
At long last the final week without football is drawing to a close. Soon the Cowboys will venture to their home away from home in Oxnard, California and begin training camp. The cast of characters over at the mothership have been filling the football void with their 20 Questions segments. As camp draws near they discuss which player or players they expect to have the biggest impact on the squad during the annual pilgrimage west.
Rob Phillips: Last year Randy Gregory as a second-round draft pick was arguably the most impressive defensive player in Oxnard. This year, Cowboys badly need someone to step up at defensive end while Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence serve four-game NFL suspensions. Although both players are eligible to participate in training camp and preseason, this year I’ll pick another newcomer for this year’s camp standout: Benson Mayowa. The Cowboys think he has real potential as an edge rusher – they signed him to an offer sheet in March knowing full well Oakland could’ve easily matched – and he could have a chance to start for at least the first month. He’ll be returning from an offseason knee scope that kept him out of the team’s minicamp in June, and it’s no easy task facing Tyron Smith and the Cowboys’ offensive line daily in practice. But if he can work his way back in quickly, I think we’ll see glimpses of the talent that caught the front office’s attention.
In addition to Gregory, several of the typical names get mentioned, and with good reason, but my pick was not among them. I expect to see a whole different Brandon Carr in 2016. That is going to start from Day One.
Cowboys fans expect that the return of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant will bring about a reversal of fortune for the team, and it will. The truth be told, however; the team is going to need more than just its two biggest cogs working in perfect alignment. There are issues galore to be answered in Dallas. Nobody knows this better than the Jones family.
"We're not sticking our head in the sand right here and saying, 'Well it's all about the injuries, but I still say a lot of teams have a big problem if they don't have their main signal caller. Should we have won more games? Of course we should have. I do think we can have a major turnaround." - Stephen Jones
The team is going to have to find workable answers for many situations, a secondary that has a history of struggles, a passrush that is almost non-existent, and multiple players set to miss part of the season for disciplinary reasons.
For the better part of three decades the Dallas Cowboys called Valley Ranch home, but Thursday the team officially transitioned into the state of the art facilities known as "The Star". The new world headquarters is located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, and it is a sight to behold. Think Jerry-World 2.0. Things are supposed to be bigger and better in Texas, but the Jones family once again manages to blow expectations out of the water with their efforts.
Now that the Cowboys have moved ,business is booming in Frisco. The new headquarters is a state-of-the-art facility that should have Cowboys fans, players and front-office personnel ecstatic for things to come. One local business is already seeing the benefits.
"Just the recent past week, our nights have been two or three times busier. Our sales have so far probably jumped 10-15 percent probably. We always have a really good lunch crowd, I'm just, I'm noticing it more at nighttime," said Charles Long, manager at nearby sandwich shop Texadelphia.