It was a big night for the Dallas Cowboys at the NFL honors. For your convenience, here's a summary of all the awards handed out last night.
|AP Most Valuable Player||Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons||Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year||Eli Manning, New York Giants; Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals|
|AP Coach of the Year||Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys||AP Comeback Player of the Year||Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers|
|AP Offensive Player of the Year||Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons||AP Defensive Player of the Year||Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders|
|AP Offensive Rookie of the Year||, Dallas Cowboys||AP Defensive Rookie of the Year||Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers|
|Offensive Line of the Year||Dallas Cowboys||AP Assistant Coach of the Year||Kyle Shanahan, Atlanta Falcons|
|Air & Ground Players of the Year||Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons;, Dallas Cowboys||Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award||Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts|
|Deacon Jones Award||Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons||Fantasy Player of the Year||David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals|
|Salute to Service Award||Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons||Greatness on the Road Award||Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Performance Play of the Year||Buccaneers WR Mike Evans' one-handed catch against the Falcons||Clutch Performer of the Year||Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017|
|LaDainian Tomlinson,, , Kenny Easley, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Jerry Jones|
Dak Prescott makes sure to share moment with Ezekiel Elliott - Todd Archer, ESPN
Dak Prescott shared his Offensive Rookie of the Year honor with Ezekiel Elliott, showing the bond the Cowboys' rookies forged this season.
Named the Associated Press' Offensive Rookie of the Year on Saturday, he made sure his Dallas Cowboys teammate, Ezekiel Elliott, went to the stage with him to accept the award and offered to split the trophy with Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards.
"He deserves it as much as I do," Prescott said. "His yards, his catches. The way we handled everything in the backfield it was always together. The defense had to hone in on us to stop the run game, which made my job easier. Without Zeke, I doubt I win it."
Cowboys Offensive Line Wins Inaugural "Offensive Line Of The Year" Award - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys offensive line gets some well-deserved recognition.
The success the Cowboys had in 2016 was largely based on the foundation of this line, as they provided consistently excellent protection for rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and opened the holes for league rushing leader and rookie Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas is one of the few teams using the old-school run-centric approach today, and that line is what allows them to be so successful. The same basic group has now cleared the way for two rushing champions in three years, having led the way for DeMarco Murray in 2014. They are certainly deserving to be the first such group recognized for this honor.
Cowboys' Jason Garrett named NFL coach of the year - Lorenzo Reyes, USA Today
This is the first NFL Coach of the Year honor for Garrett and only the third NFL Coach of the Year honor for the Dallas franchise. Tom Landry was the NFL's Coach of the Year in 1966 and Jimmy Johnson was the NFL Coach of the Year in 1990.
"This is a team award," Garrett said during his acceptance speech. "This is the ultimate team award."
Rushing Leader Ezekiel Elliott Named FedEx Ground NFL Player Of The Year - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott missed out on the Offensive Rookie of the Year award (Prescott edged Elliott by 28.5 to 21.5 votes) but made up for it with this award.
The NFL’s 2016 rushing leader was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year, recognizing his contributions to the league’s fifth-ranked offense.
A first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, Elliott rushed for a league-best 1,631 yards with 15 touchdowns, third-best in the league and the most by a Cowboys running back since Emmitt Smith’s 25 in 1995. He did not play in the team’s regular-season finale and finished 178 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s 1983 rookie rushing record.
Jerry Jones named to Hall of Fame’s 2017 class - Nortwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an outsider no more.
His 27-year journey from oil man from Arkansas to rebel NFL owner to one of most influential figures in the league's history has a final stop.
As of Saturday, he will be forever immortalized among the league's greats as he was voted in as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 for his contributions to the game.
There is no discounting the Cowboys' three Super Bowl titles of the 1990s under Jones' guidance. He also has helped make the NFL the billion-dollar industry it has become.
"I'm excited for him," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. "It's a no-brainer. His vision and what he has done, not just for the Cowboys but what he has done for the league. I don't think anybody can imagine how much he has grown this game. For all of us players, past and current, he has really has been like a father figure to me not only football but in business and his approach."
Tony Romo rumors now include Chiefs, Bills, Texans, Cardinals, Broncos - David Fucillo, Niners Nation
The 49ers SB Nation blog takes a look at at the recent reports that Romo might be an option for Kansas City.
Could we actually see the Chiefs move on from Smith at this point? I think from a pure talent and production standpoint, Romo is an upgrade. But the injury issues are a major problem. He’s great when healthy, but that is as big a if for a team that is already playing solid football. Alex Smith is not a quarterback that will put a team on his shoulders week-in and week-out and put up huge numbers, but he is a guy who can do good things with the right weapons around him. Should the Chiefs make a move for Romo, or continue trying to add some more weapons around Smith and hope he can help get them to the promise land?
However this all plays out, there will be a lot of dominos falling when March arrives. I would not be surprised if one of the potential first round quarterback-needy teams ends up acquiring one of free agents or trade possibilities. Who it ends up being will be left to rumors for the next month.
Rumors continue to link Tony Romo to KC but what do the Chiefs think? - Arrowhead Pride
The Romo rumors continue, and the Kansas City SB Nation blog is a little baffled by all the reports swirling around the interwebs.
You could take this to mean they’re looking at Romo or you could take this to mean they’re looking at someone in the draft. There are no on the record quotes supporting this. In fact, I have yet to see any quote or even a report that says the Chiefs are specifically considering Romo. It’s been "Romo likes the Chiefs" or "the Chiefs make sense as a destination". Good luck getting the Chiefs to say something on this one.
One thing we haven’t talked about enough - which we will if this becomes real - is that it would cost something to trade for Romo. The Cowboys likely won’t cut him and let him sign anywhere.
The other thing is that you’d have to have a plan for Alex Smith. They can’t take on Alex and Romo’s salary. Rapoport says the Chiefs would likely cut him for $7 million in dead money.
Dallas Cowboys are ‘thrilled’ to keep core of coaching staff intact - Drew Dvison, The Star-Telegram
Jason Garrett is signed through 2019, and his coordinators Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli are under contract through 2017. The Cowboys are not very forthcoming about the contract status of the remaining coaches, save to say they'd like to keep them all in Dallas.
Jones wouldn’t name specific assistants who had expiring contracts, but the goal is to keep the coaching staff together as much as possible.
As executive vice president Stephen Jones said, "Continuity, to me, is a big thing. The way we’ve managed our team over the last seven, eight years, we put a lot of premium on that. With Jason being here and his longevity here with the organization, I think all of that is really important.
"At the same time, I think we’ve got one of the best staffs in the league. Obviously, can’t get into what other teams think about our guys, you’d have to ask them, but obviously we like to keep our guys. But we also want what’s best for everybody. I don’t hope for guys not to have opportunities, at the same time obviously if it doesn’t happen, we’re always thrilled to keep our coaches and our personnel people."
On the front office side, the Cowboys are happy that they’ll retain Will McClay, the senior director of college and pro personnel.
"I don’t want to comment on that other than that Will is happy here," Stephen Jones said. "There’s people who have been interested in him, I think that’s a fair way to characterize it, because there have been."
Rod Marinelli: Cowboys have 'special' coaching staff - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Marinelli is pleased that the majority of the coaching staff will return in 2017.
"I think it's really important," Marinelli said after a Pro Bowl practice Saturday. "It goes back to Coach [Tony] Dungy for me. We kept our staff together until they got better jobs. You find teachers. Teachers are hard to find, that really want to teach the game. I think once you get really good teachers, and you keep working, then you got something special."
What kind of teachers do the Cowboys currently have?
"It's special," Marinelli said. "I like [Matt Eberflus]. I think he's special. Joe [Baker] and Greg [Jackson] came in, same type of guy, had a college background in terms of teaching and pro, so you got that. [Leon Lett's] coming along really good. I just really like it. Guys that want to go out and it's not about you, not about the call, it's about teaching football."
Why Dak Prescott calls Travis Frederick the 'genius' of the Cowboys offense - SportsDay Staff
On recent Mike & Mike show Pescott talked about how much the offensive line helped him in his rookie season.
Prescott: "Travis Frederick - he's the genius. He's up front. He's got all the checks. He's got everything that I'm thinking."
"I get up to the line, maybe I'm teeter-tottering on this check or that check - which one is it? 'Hey Trav, are we good?' Trav says, 'Yeah, we're good' or 'Nah, nah, kill it' or something like that."
"So, just having a veteran like that just allows me to feel that much more comfortable - I know the checks already, but if it's ever a situation where it's 50-50, I know I've got a guy right there I can just kind of whisper to and he's going to put me in the right situation."
Cowboys need to address the pass rush more than the secondary - Jon Machota, SportsDay
In a recent chat with readers, Jon Machota answered a question about what the defensive priority should be this offseason.
Question: Do you think Dallas needs a pass rusher or a good DB more?
Jon Machota: Pass rusher, and it's not close. But good luck finding one. Denver and Oakland have two of the best, and they'd gladly draft another one over a position of need. It's far more likely a team will find a quality CB such as Anthony Brown in the sixth round than an effective pass rusher after Round 2. If the Cowboys had a good pass rush, everything on the back end would improve. I know Randy Moss recently said the Cowboys need a shutdown corner that can follow another team's No. 1 WR all over the field. That's great, but I look at the Green Bay game and think of how little that would've mattered. Pressure on Rodgers is more important that taking away his top receiving option. The elite QBs, the ones you'll face in the playoffs, will be just fine throwing to their No. 2, 3 and 4 options if there is little to no pressure on them.
Not forgotten: For every Super Bowl star, there's an equally talented player who didn't make it - Bill Plaschke, LA Times
The Falcons' Alex Mack was asked about the best high school player he's ever seen. His surprising answer led to this very readable story that will be worth your time on Sunday morning.
For every star, it seems there is an equally bright light who grew up alongside him and yet somehow faded. Maybe it was injury. Maybe it was fate. Whatever it was, it illustrates the fine line between a man playing in the Super Bowl and a former teammate watching on TV.