The biggest and most awaited news of the day requires no link. The Dallas Cowboys will be winging their way toward Oxnard and training camp tomorrow, where they'll get settled into their home away from home. The drought is coming to an end: Football's back!!!
Now, let’s get down to the other news of the day.
The 20 Questions series over at the mothership is winding down as the preseason heats up. In this installment the guys in the know debate the question we all wish we knew a solid answer to. Here are two takes on the question:
Rob Philips: Fans should be excited that we’re even discussing this. Why? Because Prescott feeds off skepticism. Some thought he couldn’t play quarterback at the college level. Same thing last year as he slipped to the fourth round. Talking to people close to him over the last year, he’s honestly one of the most motivated players I’ve covered in this organization. It’s not an outward chip on his shoulder, more of a quiet strength.
Bryan Broaddus: There is no question that Dak Prescott can take his game to a higher level. Just go back to that playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Game on the line, high pressure situation going toe to toe with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play says a lot about him. He will not only build on the successes that he had during his rookie season but he will grow from that game where he came up a little short.
Ezekiel Elliott and his issues are still big news as camp approaches. This time it is former teammate turned broadcaster Tony Romo offering up his take on Elliott's situation.
"Zeke, he's a friend. I know that he's a good kid. He's just trying to find his way. He's in a position that he's always going to be in a spot where people are going to take a photo, they're going to talk about him. We all get these little times in our careers where you can go two different directions.
"He's figuring it out. He's obviously made some choices he'll reflect back and wish he'd done a little different. But at the same time, just not a whole lot of people are really thrust into this spotlight; this soon, at that age. Really, even in the National Football League there's only a few of them.
"I always want to give people a little grace period and a little time. The fact that I know him and I know his personality and how much good he does off the field, how good he is with people, I think he's going to figure it out and be fine. But like we say, you always got to take responsibility and try to improve in all facets of life."
Romo knows all too well just how hot it can be standing in the spotlight in Dallas. Everything is magnified by playing on one of the game’s biggest stages and the former QB has experience in the learning curve that Zeke now faces.
Covering pro football from New York, Silverman spends a good deal of time looking not only at the home team Giants but also the three squads that they face twice per season. In this preseason take he offers up his prognostication of the potential highs and lows each squad will face. Here's his take on the Cowboys.
Best Case: The Cowboys were impressive and lucky last year in rolling to a 13-3 record. When Dak Prescott took over for the injured Tony Romo in the preseason, few thought he would turn into one of the league’s elite leaders. However, he took his opportunity and ran with it, and he got a huge lift from fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys have the depth and explosiveness on offense to put opponents away, and the defense should be able to hold its own despite some key personnel losses. Record: 13-3, first place.
Worst Case: While Prescott played sensational football as a rookie and passed every test, he did not face much adversity last year. How will he react to that scenario this year? The likelihood is that Prescott will have a bad game or two. Will he bounce back after a three-interception performance or a 125-yard passing game? Elliott may be ready for a fall as he has had several off-the-field issues. If the running game struggles, that will triple the pressure on Prescott, as well as a defense that lost cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, along with safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. Record: 8-8, third place.
He’s back again.
It has reached the point to where you are almost surprised if Justin Durant does not show up in Oxnard. Once again the team has reached out to the journeyman linebacker to come in and serve as an insurance policy for the squad. With injuries and potential questions hampering the availability of the Dallas backers, Durant once again responds to the call. This guy is a solid bet to give the team 100% of his efforts and don’t be shocked to see him on the sidelines again this year.
By adding Durant, the Cowboys protect themselves with the possibility that Mark Nzeocha could be placed on the physically unable to perform list before camp as he recovers from knee surgery. Linebacker Jaylon Smith is also coming back from severe knee surgery and is expected to go every other day in the early part of camp.
One person who will not be joining the team for the initial days of training camp will be rookie defensive back Jourdan Lewis.
Lewis will be answering charges in Michigan stemming from a domestic violence complaint involving his girlfriend. The team is standing behind the third-round draft selection but also not excusing his behavior.
“We’ve had some incidents here in the offseason that we’ve had to address. But if we didn’t believe in the players who were involved in the incidents, they wouldn’t be with our team. We believe in them. It doesn’t mean they’re infallible. It’s our job to respond the right way, hold them accountable, hold themselves accountable.” - Jason Garrett
On a much lighter note, Dez Bryant, who is no stranger to incidents such as what Lewis is facing, used the final day before heading west as an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the home folks in Lufkin.
The Dallas receiver hosted a Texas BBQ and invited all 16,000 or so of his friends back home to attend.
Jerry Jones will soon be inducted into the hallowed halls of Canton, and that brings with it a lot of attention to the moves that made him a Hall of Fame guy. DMN takes a look at the best talent that Jerry, the GM, has brought in during the time he has been in charge.
While the SportsDay DFW crew looks at the impact Jones had on the gridiron, Shine looks at what Jerry, the business owner, has meant to the sport of professional football.
Over the course of his 29-year tenure as an NFL owner, Jerry Jones has gone from outsider to consummate powerbroker, whose actions have fundamentally reshaped the business of the sport, from television deals to sponsorships. These accomplishments will be on full display when Jones is inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame on Aug. 5.
With Legends continued growth, Jones’ legacy is still being written, with the potential to impact franchises, leagues and venues around the world for decades to come.
Of course, JJ has his own point of view on his time as the Cowboys owner, GM, and and all around face of the franchise. The man who could be the reincarnation of P. T. Barnum is not shy about talking about his achievements. In his own words, Jerry tells us what his best effort has been over the course of his tenure.
Here’s a hint. The move he is most proud of involves another man who could rival Jones in his ability to self promote. The other thing both share in common is that they could absolutely get it done when called upon.
"I saw the impact he had," Jones said Thursday during a Pro Football Hall of Fame conference call. "When he became a free agent, that impacted our ability to win.
"I don't want to take anything away from the team we had put together. But Deion made that kind of impact on our third championship I was involved in."