With the talk surrounding Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout, Dak Prescott says he is focused on the field as he prepares for the season.
“For me it’s about coming out here to focus on this – not be distracted by any of that stuff, any of that conversation,” he said Saturday. “Just focus on getting better. Be the best player that I can be and making sure that everybody around me is, as well.”
Prescott also isn’t naïve. Dating back to June, his representatives and the Cowboys have exchanged offers on a new contract for the fourth-year quarterback. The conversation is expected to continue this month at camp, as both Prescott and Cowboys officials both know.
“Talks, I’m sure at this point, have continuously happened,” Prescott said.
Cooper, like Prescott, is participating in training camp. He explained why he is on the field and not holding out for a big pay day.
He gets updates from Saints receiver Michael Thomas, who is also holding out in hopes of becoming the highest paid player at the position at $20 million annually and possibly re-setting the receiver market for Cooper.
“He has updated me maybe two or three times. I never call him,” Cooper said Saturday from Cowboys training camp, a place he wants to be and never thought about not being.
“Different strokes for different folks,” Cooper said. “Their situations are different than mine. I have a fifth-year option coming up to where I get paid a significant amount of money if I play on that. But the running back position, you know [Chargers hold out running back] Melvin [Gordon] is one of my good friends, and he tells me the contract he would play on this year, it’s nothing. It’s peanuts to an elephant. Everybody’s situation is different.”
Brinson writes that is smart for the former first-round selection to not holdout this offseason.
Cooper is correct. His situation is different than all of these guys for a few different reasons. (Also, uh, hey Chargers, he basically just said Melvin would play for cheap, so go do the easy thing and sign him to the obvious deal.)
For starters, Cooper is on a “new” team -- he was traded to the Cowboys in the middle of last year from the Raiders in what can only qualify as a controversial trade. That deal quickly turned in the Cowboys favor, with Dallas’ offense taking off once Cooper arrived. It would be weird if he showed up via trade and immediately started holding out. That’s not exactly an ideal way to endear yourself to your new bosses who you want to give you a pile of money.
Secondly, Cooper probably understands he’s a little bit below the tier of guys like Julio Jones and Thomas and maybe even A.J. Green. Green suffered an injury in practice this week so maybe that’s complicated but the point remains: Cooper can sit back, see what Jones and Thomas get in their holdout situations, and expect to top those numbers if he has a big season.
And here’s the best part for Cooper when it comes to the contract. He’s a 25-year-old wide receiver who has played four years in the NFL and produced three 1,000-yard seasons. Because of where he is playing now, he’s uniquely positioned to break the bank next year. Cooper is on his fifth-year option, which means the Cowboys only method of retaining him for 2020 without a lucrative contract extension is via the franchise tag.
Despite Zeke not being in Oxnard with the team, his teammates are still supportive of the star back. Dak said this:
“It says a lot about Zeke because he’s a guy that comes in each and every day and does things the right way,” Prescott said. “As I said, we’re not worried about him because we know wherever he is, he’s doing things the right way. He’s getting himself ready. We’re not worried. He’s a professional. He takes care of his business when it comes to this game. That’s something we’re all thankful for. And this team, it just shows our camaraderie. Shows the brotherhood that we’ve created over the years for the guys that have been here and then the guys in the spring that have come in and been thankful to be part of this.
“We’ve got a great team. And it’s because we’ve got a lot of great people off the field. We stay tight-knit and when we come on the field, things are easier.”
While Jason Witten added that Zeke will “eventually get here”:
“I believe eventually he’ll get here,” Witten said. “I don’t worry about that from that standpoint. Zeke loves playing. He loves being around the guys. He’s like a little kid the way he kind of approaches and has fun. He wants to be out here. It’s part of these things that work out. It’s not easy when you go through that. Talk to me in a month. I guess if that was an issue if he wasn’t there. Right now, I know he’s working through that. We’d love to see him out here, but we’ll see how it plays out.”
You might be wondering how the coaching staff is handling Zeke not being around. Watkins has the answer on how Moore is dealing with teaching the offense without their star.
With his star running back holding out, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore isn’t sweating not having Ezekiel Elliott, but he definitely would like to see him back on the field soon.
”There’s always value to that,” Moore said Sunday. “These reps are awesome. You understand the business aspect of this thing, let him go through that process and hopefully we’ll see him sometime soon.”
Coming into training camp, the biggest issues for Moore were just calling the offensive plays as a first-year offensive coordinator and taking command of the meeting rooms. Now he’s got to deal with not having Elliott. Instead, Moore will call plays for Darius Jackson, who has six career carries, and a pair of 2019 draft picks in Tony Pollard and Mike Weber. There’s also Jordan Chunn, an undrafted player from Troy.
Cowboys fans are hoping Kellen Moore will bring new wrinkles to the offense. One such thing that we have seen thus far is pre-snap motion.
Pre-snap motion is just one wrinkle that the Dallas Cowboys new offensive coordinator is going to install into his offense. Kellen Moore picked that up during his time at Boise State under now Washington Huskies Head Coach Chris Petersen. As we’ve attempted to figure out just what Kellen Moore would bring to the offense, it helped to look back at his time at Boise State to get a feel for what was important to his success.
If you’ve ever coached in a sport where you’ve had success as a player, you always try to take the things that made you successful and use them as a coach. Kellen Moore is the winningest quarterback in college football history, so there’s no doubt that he’s going to bring a lot of the concepts that made him a success at Boise State to his first coordinating job.
Pre-snap motion helps the offense and the quarterback, in particular, to identify mismatches, identify man vs zone coverage, and it helps snuff out any potential blitzers. Dak Prescott has been really good at reading the defense pre-snap over the years and this is another tool that will help his pre-snap read and post-snap decision making. The other thing pre-snap motion does is force the defense to communicate assignments on the fly. As Moore points out in his time on Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp, communication can lead to miscommunication. If you’re forcing the defense to adjust and communicate, there will be times where there is miscommunication.
What is the biggest challenge surrounding the new Cowboys offensive coordinator? Broaddus weighs in:
Bryan: This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but this will not be a new offense. There are still base concepts and beliefs that will carry over to what they currently have in the playbook. Where Moore will have an advantage he has an idea what did work with the offense since he’s been here under Scott Linehan and can build from that. The disadvantage will be experience calling a game. Does he have enough counter measures to go to when Bill Belichick or Wade Phillips is taking things away? That will be key for him.
Phillips gives his take:
Rob: The biggest advantage for Moore is the element of surprise. No one knows his tendencies as a play caller yet and I doubt he’ll tip his hand in the preseason games. The biggest challenge? As Mickey said Saturday on Talkin’ Cowboys, it’s the rhythm of calling plays. But he’s got a boss, Jason Garrett, who was a first-year coordinator here in 2007. There are plenty of people he can lean on.
Who is the best UDFA for the Cowboys entering training camp? Maybe former Kansas Jayhawks defensive lineman Daniel Wise.
Dallas Cowboys: DL Daniel Wise
Daniel Wise flashed a little bit of everything at Kansas but didn’t test well.
Wise, 6’3” and 281 pounds, didn’t wow onlookers in the athleticism department even though the film showed him wreaking havoc on quarterbacks—and he promptly fell out of the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys, who are always looking for help on the line, didn’t hesitate.
Given the disruptive nature he showed on film and his ability to play multiple spots on Kansas’ front, Wise figures to make a strong push behind Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods right away, especially with the former in a contract year.
Wise’ initial outlook has him as a rotational passing-down player, which represents superb depth for Dallas.