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Cowboys news: Ezekiel Elliott’s diagnosis re-focuses the issues for the 2020 season

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Plus, where does Dak Prescott rank among quarterbacks this year?

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What do Ezekiel Elliott, other teammates’ positive COVID-19 tests mean for the Cowboys in the long run? - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

The positive test for Ezekiel Elliott brings back into focus what the NFL is facing in the age of the pandemic.

No matter what precautions are taken, no matter what guidelines are followed, positive tests are now a part of the NFL landscape. Protocols put in place help, but they’re not an impenetrable shield.

Once camp is underway, does anyone believe the Cowboys or any other team will go a week or two at a time without recording a positive test?

Elliott is said to be doing fine. The Cowboys and their fans should be thankful for two things.

One, this doesn’t appear to be serious and he’s not experiencing complications. And two, this didn’t hit the Pro Bowl running back a few hours before the Cowboys first of two games against Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

There’s not enough data at the moment to declare an individual won’t catch COVID-19 again once he or she has already had it. But U.S. health officials lean toward reactivation of the virus as being unlikely.

Past/Present: Romo & Roy on College HOF Ballot - Staff, The Mothership

Some ex-Cowboys are up for a big honor dating back to their college days.

The Cowboys were well-represented on the latest ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame, with seven players from the list of over 200 players and coaches from all levels.

Of the 99 divisional players (small-schools), quarterback Tony Romo is the most notable for the Cowboys. He starred at Eastern Illinois and was a first-team All-American at the FCS level, but also won the Walter Payton FCS Player of the Year award.

Other players on the ballot include Oklahoma safety Roy Williams, an All-American who won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2001, just a few months before being drafted No. 8 overall by the Cowboys.

Offensive tackle Flozell Adams, an All-American standout at Michigan State, is on the ballot along with linebacker Ken Norton Jr., a dynamic linebacker at UCLA.

Other players on the ballot who eventually made their way to the Cowboys’ roster include linebacker Jack Del Rio, a standout at Southern Cal, kicker Luis Zendejas (Arizona State) and wide receiver Bernard Ford (Central Florida).

The announcement of the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT will be made in early 2021, with specific details to be announced in the future.

Cowboys, Panthers both to observe Juneteenth - Curtis Crabtree, PFT

The Cowboys are among a growing number of NFL teams that will observe Juneteenth as a holiday.

According to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Cowboys will give their employees this Friday, June 19th, off as a holiday in remembrance of the order given by Union general Gordon Granger on that date in Texas in 1865 announcing slaves were now free in the state.

The Carolina Panthers will do the same, per Josh Klein of TheRiotReport.com.

The NFL itself let league employees know last week that they would be given the day off as well. The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs had since followed with statements announcing their intentions to do the same for their own employees. The Cowboys and Panthers can be added to that collection.

Ranking the eight NFL divisions by quarterback: NFC South claims No. 1 - Adam Schein, NFL.com

The NFC East comes out on the bottom when it comes to ranking divisions by their collection of quarterbacks. Here’s what was said about the 8th ranked NFC East.

8) NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott

New York Giants: Daniel Jones

Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz

Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins

Wentz is a flat-out stud. Prescott should shine under Mike McCarthy. There is slight pause on both, with the Jalen Hurts implementation in Philly and Dak’s contractual ambiguity in Dallas. But for the sake of conversation, I think both situations play themselves out in a positive way. While Hurts’ presence equals drama in a city that loves it, Wentz is still special. He can rise above sports talk radio chatter. The jury is very much still out on both Jones and Haskins as they head into Year 2. Neither set the world on fire last fall. (Sure, Jones had some productive games, but his general ball security was a serious issue.) By the end of the coming season, when it comes to stacking up all of the quarterbacks in the AFC East and NFC East, I won’t be at all surprised if Jones and Haskins rank Nos. 7 and 8. And that’s what cements this ranking for the division.

Film room: 3 Cowboys who will soar in 2020, including how Xavier Woods can evolve into a Pro Bowl-caliber safety - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Each new season brings with it some candidates for breakout performances on each team. For the Cowboys, it’s the safety who was once looking primed for a breakout year just last season.

Under Rod Marinelli, especially by the time Kris Richard joined the staff, the Cowboys played Cover 3 at a higher clip than almost every other team in the NFL without disguising it much either. Marinelli and Richard will propagandize that they kept it simple so that the players can play as fast as possible but, in reality, it just made the Cowboys defense very predictable, meaning opposing QBs could easily anticipate and identify Dallas coverage. Every coverage has a weakness, so it was easy for opposing QBs to consistently target the voids in Dallas’ Cover 3.

Under Nolan, the Cowboys should play a wider variety of coverages with a lot more disguise baked into each look. I’m going to let Nolan explain why:

“I believe you have to have a mix. If you peg yourself in one hole and just do one thing, that’s easy for the best quarterbacks to dissect and take advantage of,” Nolan said. “So I do believe you have to have a good mix between man and zone, there are different types of man [coverages] and different types of zones... When you play the best quarterbacks you need to give that quarterback looks and you need to do different things, so you have to have some sort of variety to be successful.”

DE: Is Tank on Elite Level? Who Replaces Quinn? - Johnny Auping, DallasCowboys.com

DeMarcus Lawrence’s first season after signing his massive contract extension brought with it high expectations and a disappointing box score. But that doesn’t detract from how valuable Tank is to this defense.

Lawrence signed a five-year extension worth $105 million a year ago, and he followed that up with a relatively disappointing season, at least for what is expected from a player on that kind of contract. He only recorded five sacks and 45 tackles last season, both lower than he had managed in the previous two seasons.

On one hand, with the emergence of Robert Quinn and his 11.5 sacks last season, perhaps you could argue that the attention given to Lawrence opened things up for Quinn. But either way, with Quinn gone, that type of production is unlikely from the right defensive end spot, so Lawrence will have to generate those sacks himself this year.

It’s hard to overstate how important it is that Lawrence be the most consistent player on the defense. The secondary is full of enticing potential, but it’s just as riddled with question marks.

Constant pressure to opposing quarterbacks can mitigate a lot of unknowns on defense. Lawrence recently told FS1, “Trust me, my sack numbers will go back up [this year.]” Lawrence is paid more than Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints. If he can consistently play at Jordan’s level then it could elevate the Cowboys to legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

BTB Podcast

ESPN had an All-Decade NFC East team and we have some thoughts.

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