Are you all too hyped up about the Cowboys? Tom Ryle thinks maybe you are. But who wants a dose of realism at this stage of the offseason?
If we need to curb our enthusiasm about the 2016 players who weren’t on the roster but still have the advantage of a year of meetings and work in the playbook, we really need to hit the brakes on the 2017 rookie class. Yes, it looks like there are some very nice pieces to use there. But they are all pieces, not transformational players. None are likely to have anything near the impact of Prescott or Elliott. If you want a benchmark for them, then Maliek Collins or Anthony Brown are far better. And to be honest, this would be a successful draft class if five or six of them fell somewhere between Collins and Brown.
Here’s one reason to curb your enthusiasm - suspension for David Irving looming, and DUI arrest of Nolan Carroll. And neither Jourdan Lewis nor Ezekiel Elliott have been cleared by the NFL commissioner.
In the organization's first comments since the Carroll arrest, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones called both situations "disappointing."
"Nobody is perfect," Jones said Tuesday during a 'Talkin' Cowboys' radio interview on the team's official website. "Everybody makes mistakes. Obviously if they make one while they're wearing a Cowboys star it's magnified in a big way.
"We just have to continue to try to educate these young men that there's consequences and there's accountability that you have to have for the bad decisions you make. Then we have to move forward and do the very best we can. We know it's frustrating and disappointing to our fans and all the people who support us.
At least Zeke is back.
Ezekiel Elliott's car accident didn't keep him down long.
The Cowboys running back returned to the practice field Tuesday as the team began its second week of organized team activities. The NFL's leading rusher missed all three practices last week after his involvement in a minor accident.
Now for some articles on guys who have something to prove.
Todd Archer names Jaylon Smith as the Cowboy with the most to prove.
The Cowboys took Smith in the second round last year, knowing that he would need a redshirt season because of a major knee injury that included nerve damage in his final game at Notre Dame. He is healthier now, and Smith and the Cowboys say the nerve is regenerating. He has done everything so far with the team in the offseason program and will be worked back cautiously during the organized team activities and minicamp after being away from the game for 18 months. Smith needs a brace on his foot to help with a case of drop foot, but there is hope that he will not need it when the season begins. There is no way of knowing right now how effective Smith will be, but all eyes will be on him when camp starts in July.
Stephen Jones think Smith will prove himself.
“Where he sits today he is definitely going to be a big contributor for us,” Jones said recently on KESN ESPN 103.3 FM. “What our medical people believe, he should only improve. He gets more and more nerve functions every day. He is only going to get better. As we watch him move and gain confidence, it’s certainly encouraging. We just believe he is going to be a big time contributor for the Dallas Cowboys.”
How good can Anthony Brown be? He got a tatoo to keep him motivated.
The Dallas Cowboys cornerback opted to symbolize the chip he carries on his shoulder as a sixth-round pick in 2016 with a tattoo of a potato chip and the number 189, his draft slot.
This isn’t so much about Charlton, as it is about the Cowboys’ recent run of bad luck at defensive end. Here’s hoping he fares better as a rookie than Demarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, or Charles Tapper did.
Like the three seasons before, the Cowboys drafted another defensive end in 2017. Taco Charlton was selected with the teams first-round pick, 28th overall. This is the highest investment the team has made on an edge rusher since a decade ago when the team selected Anthony Spencer with the 26th overall pick in 2007. The Cowboys are counting on Charlton to contribute and cannot afford to see him fall victim to another rookie injury.
OCC goes through the list of players who may be ready to step up their games.
The most obvious place to look for Pro Bowl newbies are former first-rounders who haven't been to the Pro Bowl yet: Byron Jones, honorary first-rounder La'el Collins, and Taco Charlton.
There are also a few veterans who've at least been on the periphery of a Pro Bowl conversation before.
Hanna definitely has something to prove, as he may have a hard time just making the roster coming off his injury and with Rico Gathers primed for a role.
“I’m on schedule,” Hanna said last week. “I’m not coming back until training camp regardless, but I feel good. I’ve been increasing gradually ever since I started rehabbing after this last surgery. I’m coming along.”
Tony Romo doesn’t have anything to prove on the football field. But in the booth? That’s another matter. Turns out Phil Simms didn’t exactly get fair warning he was being demoted. This from Chris Simms:
"It's been out there rumored for two weeks. I had to tell my dad first before CBS or anybody because I found out from an NFL insider."
"I forwarded the text message that I was sent and it basically said, 'Hey, listen, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Romo's being offered your dad's job on CBS. That sucks, I'm sorry.' And my dad was in Barbados, and I had to forward the text message to him to let him know."
Dak was nervous when he came to the Cowboys, despite his calm outer demeanor. But the veterans, for the most part, helped him out. All but Jason Witten.
The Dez handshake calmed Prescott's nerves some but he still fretted over meeting future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. Meeting the 10-time Pro Bowl tight end made him most nervous, he said.
To make matters worse, Witten wasn't going easy on the rookie. Prescott remembered his first warm-up pass to Witten -- and it wasn't a completion.
"We're just throwing a deep ball to the guys, over the shoulder, it looks all pretty and glamorous," Prescott said. "And it's supposed to be easy. But it's my first time throwing to Jason Witten. At this point I'm like, ah I'm nervous. Like I've got to hit Jason Witten's stride.
"So I throw the ball. It wasn't as tight of spirals as it should have been. And Jason, I think if he sticks his hands all the way out, he catches the ball. But I guess this was his moment of showing me how detailed and how precise this league is. And how precise I need to be in everything that I do. And he simply just watches the ball go over his shoulder and fall. And at this moment, my heart just drops.
"I'm like, gosh. I just blew my first pass to Jason Witten."
Are the Cowboys really holding a slot open for Romo’s return? Nah.
The rookies currently don't have spaces in the main locker room. They are located in a rookie dressing room. When the rookies are added to the mix, adjustments will be made and that could be when a veteran is moved into No. 9's old space.
After saying these kinds of nice things, Benoit then gives the Cowboys a C+ - go figure.
The beauty of this secondary is that its three best players are versatile. Third-year pro Byron Jones might be the only defensive back in football who can truly play anywhere. He has the range to operate in centerfield, he’s a good enough tackler to venture into the box, he’s strong enough to press receivers on the outside, and he possesses the twitchy quickness to battle in the slot. Jones can answer a lot of problems. In addition to him, top corners Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown (a tremendously underappreciated sixth-round pick last year) can play inside or outside. With Jones, Scandrick and Brown all capable of filling so many different roles, the Cowboys can tailor their game plans to opponents while also making that game plan more user-friendly for the rookies. With three guys who can do so many things, no rookie DB will have to do something he’s not comfortable doing.
What else is new? An Eagles player mouthing off about how great they think they are!
"I think it can," Johnson said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, when asked if he believes the Eagles can be the best offensive line in the league. "A lot of people look at Dallas, and Green Bay. But, as far as talent goes, this is the most talented group that we've had. I think we have the chance to be the best, or at least top in the top-five."
One of many tough opponents the Cowboys will face this year. They’ve lost their offensive coordinator. Will they lose their moxie?
The dreaded Super Bowl hangover. Dan Quinn is an outstanding coach, but this one will be hard to get over (see: Carolina Panthers). Like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons are talented at all positions, so the matchups are difficult. But where will this team be halfway through the season? That’s the big question.