Day two of Dallas Cowboys OTAs was the chosen day for media members to attend, and we learned a lot as a result.
Our own Michael Sisemore did a great job of recapping what went down right here, but now that we’ve had time to properly digest it all, what did we learn? Let’s discuss.
Zack Martin is at The Star, but he’s not participating, and that’s okay
The Cowboys have the best guard in football, and this is a contract year for him. Zack Martin hasn’t gotten his long-term deal just yet in Dallas, but everybody knows he ultimately will.
Even though Martin is absent from OTAs, he’s still at The Star. This bodes well.
Garrett: Zack Martin was at facility yesterday working out but missed practice because of contract talks. Will continue to miss practice. “There’s a business side that both sides are working through”— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) May 23, 2018
Ezekiel Elliott seems to be on the right track this season
Zeke has led the league in rushing every season that he’s played all of it (see what I did there?), and this season looks to be one with no inhibitions circling him. This is certainly a welcome sign.
Normally running backs will take almost all of their carries during practice to the end zone to work on conditioning. Ezekiel Elliott did more than that in the first OTA. On the final rep of team drills whether he got the ball or not he ran to the end zone, sometimes as much as 40 yards.
This is an important season for the Cowboys. Much has been made about how they’ve made the offense (brace yourself) Dak-friendly, but they’ve really just built it around their weapon of a running back. It’s great to see him doing well.
Injured guys are injured... and David Irving isn’t in shape
Prior to practice beginning Jason Garrett had a press conference to address all pertinent matters. Among things like Terrance Williams’ issue and the like, he noted the players that wouldn’t be participating in practice.
Jason Garrett says Maliek Collins, Sean Lee, Terrance Williams, and David Irving won't practice.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) May 23, 2018
Maliek Collins and Terrance Williams are both dealing with foot injuries. Sean Lee is, well we need to be careful. David Irving reportedly missed practice because he is getting into shape. For real.
LB Sean Lee and DL David Irving won’t practice today. Garrett said Irving is getting into shape.— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) May 23, 2018
It’s definitely a little concerning that Irving isn’t already in shape, but perspective must be kept that it’s still only May. Take note of it, though.
There’s definitely going to be competition at wide receiver
Even though some people find the group to be the worst across the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys clearly like all of their receivers to a degree. It seems everyone is getting a fair shake at contributing.
Another fun thing from OTAs today. Cowboys’ coaches are definitely down to take a look at everyone at WR. Saw at least seven different receivers taking reps with the first team. #cowboyswire— David Helman (@HelmanDC) May 23, 2018
As of now the only real locks are Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and Michael Gallup. Terrance Williams may or may not be in that club, but getting arrested isn’t helping matters. Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, Lance Lenoir, and KD Cannon are going to make this group a fascinating one.
The Rico Gathers experiment might not necessarily be a home run
Rico Gathers was one of the Cowboys that spoke with the media after practice, and boy did he say a lot. Gathers talked about how he was cleared after Week 7 last year, and he made note of working hard this offseason to ensure he would be on “someone’s” 53-man roster come September.
Also, Rico Gathers said he never had an injured jaw last year after training camp hit. It was all a concussion: "The jaw injury was more media related. I don’t know where that came from. Clear that up. It was mostly dealing with the headaches that come with having a concussion."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) May 23, 2018
It seems like there’s nothing of real substance going on with Rico right now. He’s a tight end entering his third season with the team, and the need for a playmaker there has never been greater than it is right now. That being said, it’s still hard to see how he contributes enough to be on the 53-man roster as of now.
Byron Jones is not only a cornerback, but a starting cornerback
Entering this offseason, the team decided Byron Jones was a cornerback once again. Even though it’s (kind of, but not, but also really) his first year playing the position, he’s already getting starting reps with the team.
First-team Cowboys cornerbacks were Byron Jones on the right side and Chidobe Awuzie (now wearing No. 24) was lined up on the left— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 23, 2018
Dallas has a sneaky line of depth at corner (albeit not too experienced depth), and that’s reinforced all the more by Byron’s presence. Him and Chido as a starting pair is something we can all get down with.
Dak Prescott has a new badge of... honor?
After the first day of OTAs, something caught my eye. Dak Prescott was wearing white shorts.
This isn’t a big deal obviously, players can wear whatever shorts they want; however, white shorts/pants have typically only ever been worn by Dez Bryant in the past.
Sure during practices where the Cowboys wear pads they all wear their white pants, there are definitely exceptions, but when they’re in general practice attire you only ever typically saw Dez rocking the white shorts. It seemed to be specific to him.
Looking at all of the Cowboys at practice on Wednesday, that baton may have been passed to Dak Prescott. He’s the only person wearing white shorts, everyone else has blue and a few have grey.
Does this mean anything? Probably not, but why then would Dez have been the only one in the past and Dak the only one in the present?