After an offseason filled with plenty of drama, David Irving has been suspended for the first four games to start the season.
Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving has been suspended four games for a violation of the NFL’s policy and program for substance of abuse.
Irving was also suspended four games to begin the 2017 season because of a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy.
Irving finished the 2017 season with nine sacks and one forced fumble.
The six-foot-seven and 290 pound defender missed most of the Cowboys off season workouts dealing with what he describes as a “personal matter.”
From Up to the Minute Live: #Cowboys DE David Irving is suspended 4 games for violating the substance abuse policy, stemming mostly from missed tests and failure to adhere to the program. pic.twitter.com/EWGh5UgMr4— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 15, 2018
David Irving suspended for first four games of 2018 season - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Our own RJ Ochoa immediately pointed out that the Cowboys will begin the season with a defensive starter suspended for the fifth year in a row. Hairopoulos adds a nugget that has to have even die-hard fans wondering what's going in Dallas.
Seventeen Cowboys missed 108 games with suspensions from 2014-17, the most in the league in that stretch.
Runners-up Baltimore and Cleveland had roughly half that many games lost entering last season.
Newy Scruggs: Why Dak Prescott is the QB of the future - SportsDay Staff
In a recent chat, Scruggs explained why Prescott is the long-term QB for the Cowboys, even if some fans don’t like hearing it.
Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones are sold on Dak Prescott.
This question about convincing the Cowboys he is the future is not being asked by the people who will be paying the contract. It’s being asked by the fans, mainly the Romo lovers.
Dallas has no backup plan for Dak right now. The quarterback room has an undrafted QB and a 5th-round rookie. Jones said during draft weekend he wanted them to start building up young signal callers, not old vets.
Barring a major injury, I see Dak Prescott being the long-term QB for the Cowboys.
Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: The Thing That Makes Dak So Special - Bleacher Report
Roger Staubach weighs in on Dak.
In a recent interview with broadcaster Brad Sham (via the Dallas Morning News), former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach said something I’ve been trying to say about Dak Prescott. I haven’t been able to encapsulate it as well as he did.
Staubach explained why Prescott is so well-respected in the Cowboys locker room.
”You know, when I saw [Troy] Aikman as a rookie, he never complained. He had a rough year, he never blamed anybody else. And you could tell he was a football player, and he was going to be not only a good football player, but a great football player, because just the way he handled himself.
”Dak [Prescott] has got a lot of that in him. You don’t see him blaming anybody else. And I truly believe a quarterback has to be very confident in themselves, but you’ve got to transfer that confidence to your teammates. And if you can’t transfer that confidence to your teammates, you’re not going to be successful, because you can’t do it by yourself. And they have to really believe in you. They just have to have this instinct that even when things go wrong, that they still believe in you.
”I think I did have that. I think the players believed in me and I think, whether it’s Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or Dak, they cannot do it without the team believing in them. And they have that ability, that confidence you look at and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to figure out how to win this game.’ That’s what you have to do as a quarterback is to have the confidence of your teammates.”
Which unit is going to be most improved from a year ago? - SportsDay Staff
Jon Machota answered questions in a chat on Friday, and one of them was about the most improved unit on the team.
Machota: Offensively, I'll go with quarterback. Defensively, the DBs.
I believe a third season with the same offensive coordinator will be a good thing for Dak Prescott. Other QBs have had big seasons in Year 3 with Scott Linehan and Prescott could certainly be the next. It'll hurt losing Dez and Witten, but I think Dak will be just fine finding the open guy as long as the offensive line is giving him time. Behind Dak, a full season under his belt should be a huge boost for Cooper Rush. They also added another young talent in Mike White, who could develop into a good player.
As far as the defensive backs go, adding Earl Thomas would make that position group the runaway leader as the "most improved." But even without him, last season saw a lot of young players get valuable playing time (Xavier, Kavon, Jourdan, Chido). That experience should only help. And then you add an aggressive, experienced, up-tempo coach like Kris Richard and there's plenty or reasons to think that unit could be the most improved from 2017.
Cowboys WRs buying into mission statement: 'Be more violent than [our opponent] and impose our will on them' - Jon Machota, SportsDay
'Violent' is not a word associated with Cowboys WR play in recent years, but wouldn't it be nice if it was?
While talking this week about the leadership he has seen at the position, [Sanjay] Lal said it's been a group effort.
"We together have found what our mission statement is, per se, and everyone kind of buys in," he added, "so I'm happy with how it is right now."
What is the mission statement?
"Be more violent than the guy trying to oppose us and impose our will on them and all that entails," Lal said, "which are a lot of details."
You can watch the full interview with Lal at the mothership.
Broaddus and Helman give their biggest standouts at both receiver and tight end at the conclusion of minicamp.
Q: I realize it is still early in the summer, but with the OTA’s and minicamp work done. Is there a particular wide receiver or tight end that Dak seems to be building a good rapport with?
Bryan:That’s a great question. The guys that come to mind for this me are Michael Gallup and Blake Jarwin. Those guys have found ways to generate space and have been reliable catching the ball when it’s thrown in their direction.
David: I have no idea if it will help him make the team, but there is no denying the rapport that Dak has built with Lance Lenoir. The two have been working together throughout the offseason, and it showed up in these spring practices. Lenoir has his work cut out for him in training camp, but he is building trust where it counts.
Hanson explains why he thinks the “stage has been set for a huge season” for Thompson.
Speed is an important asset on every NFL team. But on the Dallas Cowboys it’s pure gold. That’s primarily because the Cowboys severely lack in that department. The only other pass-catcher on the Dallas Cowboys who does have it is Tavon Austin and he’s unproven in his new role as ‘web back’.
Deonte Thompson, who ran a 4.31 40, is a well-proven outside weapon. He’s not going to carry an offense but he has the ability to stretch the field. Last season, his best as a pro, he rated as one of the NFL’s most successful deep threats.
Hairopoulos lists some of her minicamp standouts.
The fourth-year player appears to be thriving after returning to cornerback after spending the last two seasons at safety. His length and athleticism are well-suited for the techniques and approaches of new defensive backs coach Kris Richard. Cornerbacks are charged with being disruptive at the line of scrimmage, staying on top of receivers and preventing the deep ball.
”He’s embraced it,” Garrett said. “He fits with some of the things we’re trying to do from a technical standpoint with our corners. ...You see him really getting better before your eyes each and every day.”
The Cowboys secured the defensive tackle from Oakland through a trade during the draft that gained most notice for Dallas shipping return man Ryan Switzer out west. But defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli kept coming back to “51” when he was asked who stood out during the offseason. Marinelli knows how to develop the big guys up front. Ward, a second-round draft pick in 2016 who had a lackluster stretch with the Raiders, also filled a need with the absence of Maliek Collins, who is still recovering from foot surgery and may not be ready for the start of training camp.
Nunley explains some of the differences she noticed between the ‘17 minicamp and the ‘18 minicamp after three days of non-padded practices.
Our quarterback is a tougher guy than he was last season and we now have Ezekiel Elliott without a luminous [sic] 6-game suspension. In addition to that, now, without Dez and Witten, the world is looking to see who will step up. Our offensive line has improved with La’el Collins and Connor Williams. And our defense is filling in nicely; the secondary has stepped up and we’re excited about Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch, and Jaylon Smith. Last, but not least, we’re patiently/impatiently waiting to see who will emerge at the safety position. Only time will tell.
Alper breaks down some highlights from interviews with running back-coach Gary Brown, and Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott about doing “more” in 2018.
It will also likely mean a lot of men in the box trying to force the Cowboys to go away from an established offensive strength. In order to counter that approach, Brown said this week that he wants Elliott to be in the “greatest shape” of his life so that he is “ready to get a lot of carries” once the regular season gets underway.
On Thursday, Elliott signed on for Brown’s plan.
“I’m all for it, you know what I mean?” Elliott said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “A lot is asked from the running back for the Dallas Cowboys, a lot has been asked for me the past two seasons, and I think I’ve had some great strides this offseason getting ready to carry that workload this season.”
Moton reflects on the Earl Thomas to Dallas rumors and is “buying” that Earl Thomas will be a Cowboy at some point in the 2018 season. We’ll see what happens...
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill confirmed the Cowboys still have a lingering interest in Thomas after his statement.
”While the Cowboys have expressed confidence in 2017 sixth-round pick Xavier Woods being able to step in at free safety with Jeff Heath ... competing at strong safety, the team has also quietly held out hope of being able to acquire ... Thomas in a trade with Seattle.”
Until Thomas signs a reconfigured deal with the Seahawks or general manager John Schneider decides to move him, we’ll continue to hear speculation about the six-time Pro Bowler joining his former defensive coordinator, Kris Richard, who now serves as a defensive backs coach in Dallas.
Thomas, 29, may force his way out of Seattle. It’s a strong possibility Schneider grants his wish to play for the Cowboys sooner than later.
Buy or Sell: Buy
Our own Cole Patterson published an interesting poll on “who is the most underrated player on the Dallas Cowboys?”. Here are the results of the vote so far for the most underrated Cowboy currently on the roster.
Scales gives some insight on Garrett’s send off message to the team. Let’s hope that all 90 players take this in and take it seriously.
Does the head coach’s message also include ‘the talk’ about staying out of trouble during the five weeks where no team activities are planned?
“It’s certainly something you try to talk to your team about and reinforce the importance of making great decisions,” notes Garrett. “Not only get yourself ready to play, but in decisions you make off-the-field to give yourself the best opportunity. You don’t do anything to distract you from the task at hand which is coming in and being your best individually so we can be our best as a team.