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Cowboys news: Ezekiel Elliott’s travel plans cause a stir in Cowboys Nation

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Check out today’s latest and greatest news surrounding America’s team!

NFL Pro Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Late last night, our own RJ Ochoa picked up on a picture reported to be Ezekiel Elliott heading back to Dallas on a plane.

Mike Fisher then poured a little cold water on any thoughts of a deal being imminent, even though it seems Zeke did travel home.

Who knows if it means anything, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Aloha: Rams and Cowboys face off in Honolulu - The Associated Press

The Rams will be without Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson so we should be okay...

With two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott about to miss his second preseason game in a holdout, rookie Tony Pollard should get a slightly longer look than he did in the opener at San Francisco. Playing just the first series against the 49ers, Pollard had four carries for 16 yards on a drive to a field goal. Alfred Morris, the primary replacement during Elliott’s six-game suspension two years ago, could see his first action of the preseason after signing during training camp.

Many of the Rams’ top players are not even making the trip to Hawaii. Coach Sean McVay intends to stick to his strategy of sitting out his key starters for the entire preseason.

After spending last week in Northern California ahead of a game in Oakland, the Rams are already a bit tired of life on the road again, so they’re only spending about 48 hours total in Hawaii.

Who to Watch: Opportunities for Rookie DTs - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com

With the majority of the big name starters likely not playing, who should you keep an eye out for against the Rams?

Ricky Walker: Speaking of forgetting people, I owe Ricky Walker an apology. During the first two weeks of training camp, I struggled to remember the guy was even on the team. With so many talented pass rushers, it’s hard to keep track of everyone — especially the undrafted rookie from Virginia Tech. Then came the San Francisco game and the dude was everywhere. Walker tallied three tackles, a quarterback hit and a tackle for loss against the 49ers. Now comes the real challenge: can he do it again? If he can, it’ll be quite an interesting development at the back of the D-Line depth chart.

Cowboys LT Tyron Smith to miss preseason game vs. LA Rams with stiff back - SportsDay

The words “Tyron” and “back” make us sick to our stomachs.

Smith joins several other injured Cowboys players who are in Dallas to continue rehabbing, including right guard Zack Martin (back) and defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) and Tyrone Crawford (hip).

As most of the Cowboys’ main players got off numerous buses to check into their Honolulu hotel just before sundown on Thursday, there was no sighting of Amari Cooper, who has missed some practices because of a sore heel.

However, linebacker Sean Lee made the trip even though hasn’t practiced in a while as he deals with a sprained MCL.


A DEEP DIVE INTO COWBOYS QB DAK PRESCOTT’S VALUE - Kevin Brady, Inside the Star

Kevin Brady with an excellent piece on Dak Prescott, and his value going forward.

Why else is Dak good, Kevin?

I’m glad you asked!

While remaining as aggressive in the passing game as anyone else, Prescott turns the ball over much less. His interception percentage was just 1.5%, tied for 4th among all quarterbacks last year. While he did have a weird fumbling spurt at the beginning of 2018, Prescott has never been someone who throws a lot of picks. And, you guessed it, that’s good.

Prescott’s value is also measured through Expected Points Added. Expected Points uses the down, distance, and field position to estimate a team’s expected net point advantage. Simply put, how many points is this team expected to score considering their circumstances.

EPA is the difference between expected points at the beginning of the play and end of the play, defined by Brian Burke as a play’s impact on the score of the game.

Prescott had a total EPA of 71.7 in 2018, 12th among all quarterbacks. He was also 6th in rushing EPA by QBs, further emphasizing how important his quarterback runs are. Lastly, Dak finished 8th in EPA on non-zero value added QB-plays (most plays that are not handoffs).

Looking at every QB drafted over last five years except for Dak Prescott is an eye-opening exercise - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys

Imagine looking at this, and still thinking the Cowboys should turn to the draft to find the quarterback of the future.

It’s not shocking that this most recent round of Dak discussion, number 538,229 by my count, has been brought on by the report (that later had a few opposing it) regarding how much Prescott’s camp is seeking as an average salary on his potential new contract.

Putting a dollar value on things establishes a sense of worth, that’s undeniable. While some believe it’s “worth” it to pay Dak market value (not necessarily $40M per year, but the neighborhood of market rate) there are also those who believe it’s more “worth” it to move on from him and try to draft another signal-caller for the Cowboys.

Drafting a quarterback, drafting anything, is so difficult. It’s a calculated science (and sometimes a lot of luck, that’s arguable in the case of Dak incidentally) that requires enormous studying and analyzing. It’s hardly an easy thing.

This made me curious so I decided to look back at drafting a quarterback has gone over the last five years (five felt like a good sample size). I’ve listed every quarterback drafted between 2014 and 2018 leaving this season’s rookies off of the list because we haven’t seen them get any NFL action. There are guys who you can easily chalk up to be busts, guys who are still hanging on, players who are unequivocally better than Prescott, and quarterbacks who are still at a place where it’s fair to be undecided on.


Sources: Zeke in best shape of his career while in Cabo San Lucas holding out of camp - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram

Getting Zeke back and in shape before the start of the season would be uh.... nice.

Per ESPN’s Adam Shefter, Elliott is weighing in the low 220-pound range, the lowest since his rookie year and will be ready to go if and when the two sides come to a deal.

Sources have confirmed Shefter’s report. Elliott is fit and explosive.

He is listed at 228 pounds in the Cowboys media guide.

And while the Cowboys are heading to Hawaii for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, Elliott is still in Cabo, per a source.

That Elliott is good shape is not a surprise to owner Jerry Jones, who said he never had any concerns about the star running back being ready to go whenever he returns to the team.

“No, not really. Not at all,” Jones said. “Zeke has the ability to completely hit the ground running, if I may use that. He has that and we expect that. He says that, and I believe him, that he’s in great shape. I don’t think that will be an issue when he does come back.”


DOES ROBERT QUINN’S SUSPENSION HELP TYRONE CRAWFORD’S JOB SECURITY? - Jess Haynie, Inside the Star

Could Tyrone Crawford’s job really be in question?

There has been a lot of speculation this offseason as to whether or not veteran Defensive Lineman Tyrone Crawford would remain with the Dallas Cowboys. But now that free agent addition Robert Quinn has been hit with a two-game suspension, could Crawford’s spot on the 2019 roster be more secure?

With several big contracts to figure out for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and perhaps Byron Jones, the $7 million in salary cap space that Dallas saves by releasing Crawford could be put to good use. But that also means losing the player; Tyrone may not be a star but he wouldn’t be easily replaced.

Solid and versatile, Crawford has started in 74 games for the Cowboys over the last five years at both defensive end and tackle. He’s never lived up to his contract, which Dallas mistakenly gave him when they expected he would become a breakout star under Rod Marinelli, but he has been one of their most reliable defensive players and a team captain over that time.

When Dallas added six defensive linemen this offseason between free agency (Quinn, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington) and the draft (Trysten Hill, Joe Jackson, Jalen Jelks), it felt like Crawford’s run was coming to an end. He’s easily the most overpaid player on the Cowboys roster and appeared to have been pushed out of the starting lineup at both DE and DT.


Rank’Em: Best 15 Players of Training Camp - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

With training camp winding down, here’s a few players that stood out in Oxnard.

In what has turned into a year tradition, the staff writers voted the best performers of training camp here in California.

The Cowboys still have some work to do back in Dallas, but the heavy lifting of camp was done in Oxnard, and there were some clear standouts.

While the top player might not be a surprise, none of the next five have ever made a Pro Bowl. But you couldn’t tell based off what they did in camp.

The writers of DallasCowboys.com watched every practice and put together their list, which kicks off with one of the more underrated players on the team.