The Cowboys have moved to Oxnard for the 2019 training camp. Tradition holds that Jerry and Stephen Jones, along with Jason Garrett, hold a “State of the Union” press conference to kick things off. That’s what they did today, and below is a recap of what they said. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Remarkable the way he came in for Romo. Connects with people, they want to play for him, gotten better, not always smooth, Plays big in big momens and games. He’s been about that.
Jerry Jones is excited about the coaching staff
In his opening statement Jerry Jones expressed confidence in the team and the Cowboys coaching staff. Despite Jason Garrett entering a contract year the owner expressed that he is very happy with the state of his team. He also made sure to emphasize that every player currently on the roster is signed which obviously had to do with the Ezekiel Elliott chatter.
Ezekiel Elliott is officially late
Jerry Jones was asked right away if Ezekiel Elliott was considered late. He said he was.
He added that the CBA “provides” for the Cowboys to be able to fine Zeke for not showing up but declined to answer whether or not the team will do so. He also noted that there will be no updates on this matter, so get ready for some more confusion.
There are preparations in place
Jerry Jones was a bit agitated when discussing the Ezekiel Elliott matter (it’s a frustrating one). He noted that there are preparations in place but that all of this is part of the way that the NFL works.
Jason Garrett and Stephen Jones also chimed in that all of this is part of the business of football. They all spoke confidently of the young players that are on the roster.
Stephen Jones said things usually work themselves out
While he noted that the Cowboys have had conversations with Elliott’s camp regarding a new contract, Stephen Jones did say that these sorts of things tend to work themselves out.
Dallas is constantly looking at the salary cap
The Cowboys know the circumstances of the NFL and have considered everything surrounding their situation already.
Jerry Jones: I’d say there are very few conversations that Stephen and I have, but what at some point in that conversation we’re not discussing player, its impact on other players, relative to the cap and financial. It’s almost like getting up and turning the lights on.
Jerry also noted that he didn’t want to seem cavalier about this situation but was stressing the importance that the team has looked at this situation a lot.
Stephen Jones added that training camp is a time where the team has traditionally done some big contracts. This whole part of the presser felt like some optimism that the front office was trying to give the fans, but it’s all true.
“You have to have two people to make a deal.”
Stephen Jones dropped an interesting comment in the midst of all this discussion in saying that “you have to have two people to make a deal.”
The Cowboys got an extension done with DeMarcus Lawrence this offseason so we know that they’re not opposed to handing out big money. He noted that some players/agents want to work fast, others want to wait. Some want to see how the market shakes out before making a deal, but training camp is a great place to get these things done.
This isn’t a distraction
Ezekiel Elliott not being in Oxnard is going to cause a lot of discussion, but Stephen Jones quickly shot down the idea of his holdout being a distraction. He praised Jason Garrett for always being able to keep the team’s heads down regardless of what’s happening.
Any time a player isn’t there is a great opportunity for someone else
Always the optimist, Jason Garrett expressed that something the Cowboys tell their players is that absences from some present opportunities for others. With Elliott out of camp for now there will be plenty more snaps for Tony Pollard, Mike Weber, so on and so forth.
The value of the position plays into it
Surprisingly, Stephen Jones dropped an answer when asked if this situation with Zeke has anything to do with the value of the running back position.
He noted the value of the position, the player’s health, the player’s age, the full body of work goes into discussions.
Michael Thomas’ holdout in New Orleans doesn’t impact the Cowboys
Asked if Michael Thomas holding out from the Saints worries the Cowboys with regards to Amari Cooper, Stephen Jones said no.
He did note that you would have to ask Cooper how he felt, he also added “we could do the deal tomorrow” but that you would have to talk to Cooper’s representatives about where they are on that. He noted that the team would probably get something done with Cooper “for sure.”
Contracts get done when they get done
Asked if Dak Prescott is the first contract to get done Stephen Jones said essentially that he had no idea (in a good way).
He explained that it’s so difficult to put a timeframe on deals with any player because so many things come up for so many different reasons. Throughout the entire presser Stephen expressed confidence in the entire Cowboys roster and seems to be very firm in his convictions. He also noted they are discussing contracts today with the media but then are done with it.
The Carson Wentz deal impacts Dak Prescott in the obvious way
Asked if the deal that the Philadelphia Eagles struck with Carson Wentz has any bearing on Dak Prescott, Stephen Jones said that it obviously does simply because all of these contracts impact each other.
Jerry took this time to chime in and added that while that is true, there are still some unique variables to the Cowboys. He explained that the Cowboys have to look at their entire team and all of the pending contracts and so whatever they do with one player is part of their overall plan for the group. He simply noted that the Cowboys are focused on their own.
Jerry Jones doesn’t want to talk about Jason Garrett’s contract
After fielding questions about tons of player contracts Jerry Jones was asked what he had to see from Jason Garrett this season in order to give him a contract extension in 2020.
At first he asked for a repeat because he didn’t hear the question and then jokingly did it a second time before moving on. Take that how you will.
“Is it realistic to expect a step forward this season?”
Jerry Jones answered this by saying he expects the Cowboys to be a better team, took a second to pause, and added that he believes the personnel supports that. He talked about experience within the staff and from Jason Garrett and said again that he expects the team to be better.
He also added that this should result in advancing the team’s record or playoff performance, but he wouldn’t give a specific answer about what a better team this year exactly means. He did say he wants Jason Garrett to be the coach as long as he is here.
Byron Jones, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Noah Brown will all start on PUP. Jason Garrett also added that each has a different timetable.
Offseason conditioning winners haven’t been determined yet
Every year the Cowboys have offseason winners. These are superlatives for guys that showed up the most, worked out the most, you get the picture over the course of the offsesaon. They are typically rewarded with special parking spots or scooters or something of that sort for the time in Oxnard. Garrett said it’s yet to be determined who won.
Players being held out of team drills
Connor McGovern will be limited at the beginning of camp as he’s coming of of a pectoral injury. Garrett also said that “a handful” of other guys would be in that category as well.
Jerry Jones noted that he met with Randy Gregory on Thursday but was very calculated with his comments considering Gregory is currently suspended. He said that Gregory has been working hard and the the decision-makers have noticed. He added that last year he felt everybody made “a C+” with Gregory, but sounded optimistic about things moving forward.
Jerry added that he did not know when Gregory will be applying for reinstatement but believes that he will.
Dak Prescott is a great leader
We’ve heard this for several years now (literally) and Jason Garrett was yet again asked to describe Dak as a leader. He obviously praised what Dak has done over the course of three seasons and attributed it all to Dak’s leadership and how he connects with people.
h- No comment on the Tyreek Hill investigation
Asked if they had any comment on how the NFL handled Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s investigation in regards to Ezekiel Elliott, all Cowboys brass said that they had none.