Cowboys offseason report: Healthy offense could put team back atop NFC East - Lorenzo Reyes, USA Today
With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant better and Ezekiel Elliott on board, Dallas expects to contend again.
Remaining healthy is really the most significant issue facing the squad. As long as Romo can stay on the field, the Cowboys should be competitive enough to fight for a division title, one that went to the 9-7 Washington Redskins in 2015.
Dallas plugged away and tried to fill holes on the roster, though some remain, several due to suspensions. But the NFL draft, in which the franchise made some win-now decisions, illustrates what the front office thinks about its chances in 2016.
Asked if the draft was an interpretation that the Cowboys are closer to 12-4 than 4-12, team owner Jerry Jones didn't hesitate: "I certainly feel that way."
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are top Comeback Player of the Year candidates for 2016 - Chris Wesseling, NFL.com
Wesseling names 10 candidates to watch, and two of them are Cowboys.
The Cowboys' Triplets were the talk of the league in 2014, as Romo finished third in the MVP race, Bryant led the NFL in touchdown receptions and DeMarco Murray earned the Offensive Player of the Year award. Murray proceeded to sign with Philadelphia, Bryant injured his foot in the season opener and Romo fractured his collarbone the next week, effectively sinking Dallas' hopes in 2015. Now that Romo and Bryant are healthy and No. 4 overall draft pick Ezekiel Elliott is the prohibitive Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite behind the game's dominant offensive line, the Triplets should be back in full effect to lift the Cowboys back to the top of the NFC East.
Giants 2016 schedule: Who is the best QB they will face? | NJ.com
This slideshow ranks the QBs the Giants will face this year, and Tony Romo comes in fourth after Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees.
Romo is a Giant killer. The Giants know they will see him in Week 1. But Week 14 is a coin toss given his injury history.
Tony Romo’s return to Burlington comes at a unique time - Jason Arndt & Mike Ramczyk, Myracinecounty.com
My Racine County, a news portal serving Burlington, Wisconsin where Tony Romo held his youth football camp a little over a week ago, offers a transcript of Romo's news conference. Here's a partial excerpt.
Question: This last draft, your team drafted rather deep defensive-wise, rather than offensively.
Romo: My job is to play quarterback, it is not my job to draft, and I think for us, we need to improve in all areas. We didn’t play well enough last year, we didn’t play up to our standards and our football team needs to get better.
Whether it is through the draft, bringing in new people or the improvement of the players on our team, I think in all those areas, we needed to get better. And I think that we did that. We are still building and we still have a long way to go, but we are going to have a great opportunity to have success this season.
Question: Do you think the high expectations of the running game could help?
Romo: I think anytime you can run the football, it is going to help your team. At the same time, you got to be able to run, get good stops, you got to get good special teams.
All these things matter. In a lot of ways, the game has come down to the last five or six minutes. Thirteen games a year, you are going to look at, it is going to come down to one-score football games. In those one-score games, you got to score a touchdown, you got to get a stop or you got to control the ball and play the game. I am pretty confident that our team will do it.
Why pass-rush poor Cowboys can find Super Bowl hope in 2006 champion Indianapolis Colts - Rick Gosselin, SportsDay
I'm not a fan of Gosselin's brand of I-told-you-so-ism, but he does make an interesting analogy between the 2016 Cowboys and the 2006 Colts.
Those Colts are the only team to reach the Super Bowl in a non-strike season with fewer than 30 sacks. And they won when they got there. Indianapolis managed only 25 sacks that year but still finished 12-4 to capture the AFC South. The Colts then knocked off Kansas City, Baltimore, New England and Chicago in the postseason to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
The 2016 Cowboys have the same blueprint as the 2006 Colts. Indianapolis was all about offense that season with a franchise quarterback (Peyton Manning), Hall of Fame receiver (Marvin Harrison), talented rookie runner (Joseph Addai) and a couple of Pro Bowl blockers (Tarik Glenn, Jeff Saturday).
The Colts finished second in the NFL in scoring that season and third in yards. That allowed Indianapolis to overcome a defense that finished 21st in the NFL, 23rd in points allowed and 30th in sacks.
Cowboys lineman La'el Collins has cleats that look like pancakes - Jared Dubin, CBSSports.com
Collins made pancake blocks his specialty during his rookie season with the Cowboys, and if you want to see a boatload of gifs about Collins pancaking people, this post is for you.
Ezekiel Elliott explains why he's wearing No. 21 for Cowboys - Brad Crawford, Bucknuts.com
Bucknuts is a site dedicated to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Say you lived in Europe, and were unfamiliar with college football, that would be a pretty funny name for a website, no?
Anyway, turns out Ezekiel Elliott is in fact not wearing No. 21 this season to honor Deion Sanders, but because he can't wear his college number (15) in the NFL, and "21 looks like 15 in the mirror."
2016 NFL training camp dates and locations - Staff, NFL.com
It's now July, and that means training camps are just around the corner, so NFL.com offers the dates and locations of the camps for every NFL team this year.
NFC East Q&A: How do you stop Odell Beckham? - Dan Graziano, ESPN
How do the division's other teams view/handle the New York Giants' Odell Beckham? The ESPN reporters from the other three NFC East teams weigh in, and Todd Archer says, Odell who?
Thankfully for the Cowboys, he did not have the highlight of the year last season, as he did in 2014 when he made that one-handed grab on Brandon Carr. But a funny thing happened in 2015. Beckham wasn't a factor in either game. He caught nine passes for 79 yards. The Cowboys kept him under wraps after seeing the damage he could do in 2014. The Cowboys don't vary their coverages often. They stay basic and they often don't shadow the big-time receivers, either. They rely on team defense to get the job done. It worked last year and I can't see them changing much in 2016.
NFL.com ranks Eagles' Doug Pederson as the worst head coach in the league - Brandon Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation
In case you missed this, Gowton's review of the NFL.com head coach ranking should have you smiling.
Elsewhere in Harrison's rankings, Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys ranks as the best head coach in the NFC East. He's listed at No. 17, which is too high. Washington's Jay Gruden is second at No. 24. New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, whom the Eagles reportedly favored, rounds out the division at No. 28.
Former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly ranks 12 spots higher than Pederson at No. 20. Kelly ranked 13th overall at this time last offseason. I argued that ranking was too low for him. Whoops.
Need to Know: Are the Cowboys the Redskins’ biggest threat in the NFC East? - Rich Tandler's, Real Redskins
You may or may not haved smiled at the Eagles article directly above, but this one should have you laughing out loud.
The Redskins’ biggest threat in the NFC East is supposed to be the revitalized Cowboys but the more I look at them the less I’m buying it. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com listed the Cowboys’ "blue chip" players and I wasn’t impressed. Jason Witten is 34 and averaged 9.3 yards per catch last year. Sean "If He Can Stay Healthy" Lee is turning 30 soon and he hasn’t played a full season in any of his six NFL seasons. How Orlando Scandrick, who missed all of last season and has never been to a Pro Bowl, is considered a blue chipper I have no idea. What you have left is a very good run blocking offensive line and Tony Romo passing to Dez Bryant. Doesn’t look like much more than a .500 team to me but we’ll see. The Redskins should be more concerned with the Eagles, who have the best defense in the division.
DeAngelo Williams proves he doesn't pay much attention to free agency - Jared Dubin, CBSSports.com
More laughs: Alfred Morris signed with the Cowboys this offseason, but Williams apparently didn't get the memo.
Bro u in Dallas now when did this happen https://t.co/diyuoLectD— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) July 2, 2016