The owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys has long been seen as one of the most influential people in the NFL, and a key factor in the tremendous growth of the league in popularity and profitability. Now Jerry Jones could soon have a bust in Canton.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that Jones, the Cowboys' owner/general manager, and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue have been named contributor finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
While some people (most notably Denver Broncos fans who wanted Pat Bowlen in ahead of him) were not convinced of why Jones deserves to be in the HOF, there are a lot of reasons for his inclusion. Jeff Sullivan explains, in detail.
As much as anyone since he bought the team in 1989, Jones has changed the game, the landscape, the numbers, the business, heck, even where teams are playing their home games. The very fabric and essence of the National Football League is what it is at this time and place because of Jones, first and foremost. He has been the league's most powerful and influential owner for at least a decade now and maybe longer.
And there is certainly support for him outside the Dallas fan base and media.
Like him or not, you can't write the story of the NFL without Jerry Jones. He made the league bigger and more profitable. I'd vote him in.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 16, 2016
Since we've covered a lot of Dak Prescott news in previous days, the quote from this article will be short and sweet.
But this will be a bit longer. This article covers Prescott's very successful premiere, but focuses more on the touchdown play Dez Bryant. And it does so as a look at how the Cowboys may be incorporating run-pass option plays into the offense. This is something that our own Joey Ickes and Landon McCool have been speculating about extensively. This is an offensive concept that the team can use now with Tony Romo at the helm, but it also would be something that is already familiar to both Prescott and Jameill Showers from their college days. It could be very valuable for the time when one or both of them might be at the top of the QB depth chart for Dallas.
So while Prescott's performance should give Cowboys' fans hope for what they might see in the future, this play should give them some insight into what they might see this season: A cutting edge concept that, in the end, reduces to a winning formula: Run the ball behind that great offensive line with extra numbers, or throw it to #88. That makes sense to me.
One last Dak thing.
Not only was Dak Prescott the top-graded rookie QB in week 1, he was the top graded QB overall, edging out Teddy B. pic.twitter.com/L6iteGILzA— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 16, 2016
And this link is here just to remind you what the Cowboys are avoiding by letting the backup QB situation play out with Prescott and Showers. It could be them scraping the bottom of the available quarterback barrel.
Hmm. Wish I'd thought of that.
Why do I wonder this? Because the Cowboys have the personnel to overload some positions (receiver, running back, tight end, defensive line) and they might want to use all possible spots to keep players who could help more than a third quarterback.
Meanwhile the business of managing personnel continues as the Cowboys cleared two roster spots on Tuesday.
The Cowboys thinned out their roster on Tuesday, moving veteran offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield to IR, and waiving recent UDFA DT pickup Gerald Dixon Jr.
And promptly filled one of the vacancies. The position was driven by the broken foot suffered by rookie Chris Brown, who may soon be another player lost to IR or an injury settlement.
After the Cowboys lost a rookie receiver due to injury, the team added yet another rookie, signing former Alabama standout Richard Mullaney.
Although the churn is ongoing, things can really heat up as teams have to make the cuts at the end of the preseason to get to 53. There are often some good players available from teams that are talent rich at certain positions, or who are trying to sneak a good player onto their practice squad. This article has a nice summary of how things go, and a reminder why the Cowboys have a bit of an advantage this year in waiver claims.
Based on the record from last season, the Cowboys have the 4th claiming priority this year. Basically, this means that if we're interested in players for the 53-man roster that have been waived by other teams, we have priority over 28 other organizations that might also want that player. This priority spans until the trade deadline.
Jason Witten is entering his fourteenth season with the Cowboys. That just seems ridiculous for an offensive skill player who endures so many hits in his job. We have all been waiting for the dreaded but inevitable erosion of his abilities. It looks like the wait may be a little longer - and that is a good thing.
Each year strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik puts the Cowboys through a combine of sorts in the offseason program to measure strength and explosiveness and speed and quickness. Each year Witten is one of the top finishers, regardless of position or age. His numbers in Year 14 are close, if not better, than what he did at the 2003 combine. His 40-yard dash time was only a tenth of a second slower.
It is a good thing Witten is so incredibly durable, because the Cowboys may well have lost tight end James Hanna for the start of the season due to surgery he is not having on his injured knee.
Hanna was placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp with a bone bruise. He has sought multiple opinions and has opted for the surgery.
For more on the impact Hanna's loss will have, as well as why that term "bone bruise" is to be feared, see this.
The NFL is experimenting with sideline video of plays for the coaches and players to use, and it sounds like Scott Linehan is already eager to adopt the technology full time.
"There's no saying, 'Hey, this is what they did,' when you watch the video," Linehan said. "You don't see still shots pre-snap and post-snap. You see the whole play so you can say, 'No, they actually started in the B gap, but came around to the C gap,' or, 'They actually looked like 3 zone, bit it was really a form of (Cover) 2,' because you get to see the whole play. You don't get to see that until Monday morning generally. I feel like it's a really good tool for the quarterbacks personally."
Finally, if you did not take the time to read this already, you really need to rectify that. This gives some very interesting analysis from outside our Star shaped bubble, like this answer as to whether maintaining Time of Possession by the offense really helps the defense.
It's definitely not as strong a correlation as you might expect. The idea makes sense on paper: If your defense is shaky, it makes sense to keep them on the sidelines as long as possible with an offensive approach that naturally shortens the game. But last season, the correlation between time of possession per drive and defensive DVOA was just 0.03. That means there's essentially no correlation at all between the two. The Cowboys themselves should serve as a prime example -- Dallas' offense ranked third in TOP/drive last season (3:00 exactly), but it's not as if that helped the defense much in the end.
The more critical factor for the Cowboys will be how often their defense gets to play with a lead, not how long they're on the field.