Byron Jones was officially removed from the PUP list which means he could be on the field for the Cowboys’ opening week tilt versus the Giants.
Jones won’t participate in the preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but should be available for Week 1 when the Cowboys host the New York Giants. That’s not just good news for the team, but definitely for Jones, who is entering a contract year and looking to prove his 2018 breakout was no fluke.
With his fifth-year contract option having been exercised, the Pro Bowl corner back is locked in through the 2019 season -- but nothing further -- and conversations regarding a potential extension haven’t yet gained any real traction. The club met with Jones’ representatives at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis to get the ball rolling, but the more pressing contract talks of Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliotthave dominated their time. The club was able to work in an extension on linebacker Jaylon Smith in August, but Jones remains patient knowing another strong year will only increase his value.
How Ezekiel Elliott Became a Dominant Force in The NFL - Keith Gordon, Maxim
An expansive Ezekiel Elliott piece from Maxim (of all places). It’s a terrific read. While much has been made of a few select quotes, the entire article is worth your time.
“The offensive and defensive lines, that’s where the game starts,” the 24-year-old Missouri native told Maxim last month.
“That’s the heart of the team, that’s what drives a team. Dak and I were very fortunate to be drafted to the Cowboys where we have the best offensive line in football. They make our jobs a lot easier.
”Those are guys we’re close to, we love to spend a lot of time with, take trips with, and show them that we’re very appreciative of what they do. They don’t get the spotlight, they don’t get a lot of glitz and glamour, or a lot of praise. They work hard, they’re blue-collar.”
Unlike the blue-collar linemen, star running backs are always in the media’s focus, but Elliott has worked hard to avoid getting caught up in the noise thus far in his career.
“Being a top guy, you’ve just got to be able to silence that. A lot of it is just to get stories, just to get clicks. But what matters to me is what’s going on with our team, what’s going on in our locker room, and just winning ball games.”
And winning in Dallas means extra attention and exaltation, playing for the self-proclaimed “America’s Team.”
“It’s great being a Dallas Cowboy. The fanbase we have is the biggest in football, probably the biggest in sports. It’s a dream come true.”
The strength of schedule for each NFL team based on opposing quarterback tiers, post-Luck edition – Mike Sando, The Athletic
In an interesting exercise, a look at the quality of quarterbacks each team will face. While the Cowboys face the 22nd hardest group, on average, they also face each of the top three.
22. Dallas Cowboys
Opposing QB average: 2.64
Dak Prescott’s average: 2.73
Games when opposing QB is in higher tier than own QB: 7
The Cowboys are the only team to face the top three players in the 2019 QB Tiers survey — Rodgers, Brady and Brees. There are enough lower-rated quarterbacks on the schedule to drag down the average overall.
Monday Morning After: Cowboys’ strong ST play, and how it could dictate roster decisions – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Sturm looks at special teams and how the players on the fringes of the roster can earn - or lose - a spot based upon their ST’s contributions.
The kickoff and punt teams — cover and return — are filled largely with players who receive nothing more than the absolute league minimum and often are happy to be in the NFL in any capacity. They are involved in the most vicious collisions and do more damage to their bodies than pretty much anyone while receiving almost none of the proceeds. A few will get promoted to the more glamorous worlds of offense and defense if they handle this job well, but most will simply be discarded at the end of their minimum contracts and replaced with new 22-year-old models in four years’ time.
Tied to this reality is the fact that many players who are highly-rated and drafted out of college were stars at their universities and thus not asked to run special teams at that level either. They must now adjust to life in the NFL, but you are likely to be disappointed if you expect your top prospects to have any idea how to cover kicks.
Lastly, we know how close the games are in the NFL and how one score seems to decide most. Special teams may be part of the safety phase-out in the league, but how many games are decided by a big return, a turnover on special teams, a miss-or-make field goal or a bad snap?
In other words, you can have the best roster in the league and still be sabotaged by poor special teams. Yet this is a portion of the game that is almost completely ignored by fans, media and fantasy football.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys roster projection 2.0: Taco Charlton earns a spot on the 53, veteran RB gets cut and Dallas keeps 6 WRs - Calvin Watkins, SportsDay
Roster projection season is in full swing.
This unit could go with five and be alright. However, the strong work of Devin Smith and Cedrick Wilson has pushed the coaches into some difficult decisions. Noah Brown (knee) has missed so much time, but is a de facto tight end/wide receiver who is liked by Jason Garrett. Jon'vea Johnson and Reggie Davis regressed over the last 10 days so they're headed to practice squad. But Johnson might get signed by another team. He's a talented player that just needs to find a level of consistency.
Why the NFL’s field goal record is waiting to be smashed - Robbie Gonzalez, Ars Technica
So, apparently the science and engineering guys are convinced an 80- or even 90-yard field goal is in our future. Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about that.
That's the interesting thing about the field goal: While the in-game record has barely budged in half a century (before Prater, it belonged to New Orleans Saints placekicker Tom Dempsey, who made a game-winning, 63-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions all the way back in 1970), kickers are capable of much greater distances. "In practice, if there's wind going and a broken-in ball, you can see guys going back to 80, maybe even farther than that," Butker says. Which is why players, coaches, and sports scientists all agree that it's only a matter of time until someone breaks the record.
The question is: By how much?
Probably by quite a lot. "I would not be surprised if at some point in my day I saw somebody kick an upper 80s, maybe even 90-yard field goal," says Chase Pfeifer. A biomechanist and biomedical engineer, Pfeifer was a placekicker as an undergraduate at Florida State University. He went on to perform 3D analyses of elite placekickers, including where and how fast their foot makes contact with the ball, and the flight dynamics of their kicks—originally for his PhD dissertation, and later for fun and profit.
Ezekiel Elliott warns Cowboys by invoking Emmitt Smith’s departure - Mollie Walker, NYPost.com
I don’t always go to the New York Post for my Cowboys news, but when I do, it’s always interesting.
Ezekiel Elliott wants to make one thing clear: He wants to be part of the Cowboys organization — just for the right price.
The star running back, who has been sitting out of training camp this summer amid contract negotiations, broke his silence in an interview with Maxim published Monday about his time in the league and his potential future in Dallas.
“I love playing for the Dallas Cowboys, I love the organization, my teammates. I do want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life and hopefully that’s a possibility,” Elliott told the magazine. “But even Emmitt Smith, the greatest running back ever, ended up going to play a couple of years for another organization. So it’s just the nature of the game, but I want to be a Dallas Cowboy for as long as I can.”
John Cleese Has the Best Wisdom on the Silly Metrics Battle Regarding Dak Prescott - SeekingNumberSix, Blogging The Boys
Some interesting thoughts from our own BTB FanPost section.
If anyone can find another instance in which the top two wideouts from an NFL team were let go and in both instances, neither of them found work with other teams for several months, please post evidence of this in the comments section. I won’t hold my breath. Dez Bryant was cut April 13th of 2018. He was offered what he considered an insulting amount of money to play for Baltimore, he turned it down. (To be clear, Baltimore did not in any way believe he was a number one receiver. They were offering in the range of 7 million/year—roughly what Beasley got a year later. Starting #1 wideouts earn as much as 16 million/year. Dez was due to make 12 million if Dallas had wanted him. They did not.). Months passed. He ended up signing a minimal, prove it deal with the Saints after the season began--in November. Then tore his Achilles. Terrance Williams is still unsigned. These are former Cowboys that had many great moments for this team and my hope is they have a great future.
But if we are being honest about their abilities as number one and number two wideouts for the Cowboys, then we have to conclude they weren’t up to the task for their spot on the depth chart after 2015. Dez was a number two wideout manning the number one slot and T-Will was a number three wideout manning the number two slot.
So that is my premise for the following statement, which I have made before:
Any metric you want to look at for Dak Prescott as a passer from 2016 right on up until Amari Cooper arrived, tells you nothing whatsoever about how he compares to other QB on other teams, with better receivers, different coaches and different schemes.
Make sure to check out the latest episode from the BTB podcast feed on this fine Tuesday.
Be sure to get all the good stuff all the time from BTB by subscribing to the Blogging The Boys podcast feed!