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Cowboys State of the Team press conference: Jerry Jones addresses national anthem protests and more

The Cowboys front-office spoke about training camp and more in their annual State of the Team address.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Coach Mike McCarthy Press Conference Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since we have heard from Jerry Jones, but he, Stephen Jones and Mike McCarthy spoke to the media today. Given the length of time and all of the changes that have happened since we last heard from the elder Jones, there were plenty of questions for him. Below is a recap of what all three men had to day.

Jerry Jones opening statement

Dallas Cowboys owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones got things started by noting how many (virtual) conversations he has had over the last few months as they pertain to the Cowboys themselves and across the National Football League.

He said that it is a great thing to be opening training camp but that the team would obviously love to be out in Oxnard, California, but are aware of the circumstances surrounding our world.

Jerry observed that the Cowboys are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the franchise and that football is about preparing for change. He noted that extraordinary adjustments have been made to The Star and across the NFL so as to be as safe as possible amid Covid-19. He said later this week there would be protocols and guidelines available on how things will be handled in places like AT&T Stadium.

Jerry said that the team is very excited about their new head coach and acknowledged that people know what the Cowboys think of him. He said he is excited for every Cowboys fan, player, and is excited to have Mike McCarthy be the team’s head coach. He talked about Coach McCarthy being out there just today and personally working the quarterbacks and that was very exciting to watch

Jerry said that the number one asset that the team has is the Dallas Cowboys fans all over the world. He noted that only 7% of fans have only ever been to an NFL stadium and that television is how most people access the National Football League. He said he has had more fun than anything maximizing the platform of the Dallas Cowboys and that when things got “a little dull” he tried to liven it up from time to time. He said he is very proud of the platform that the team has. He did note that this presents challenges as well as opportunities.

Jerry acknowledged the debates that are happening across the United States as far as masks and the like are concerned. He said that the team is going to address these challenges but that the team’s number one interest is the fans of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jerry Jones on social justice

The last few months have seen an awakening across the United States when it comes to the subject of social justice. We have seen several players associated with the Dallas Cowboys, and the organization itself, make statements and pledges in the name of this fight.

Jerry Jones is well on record about how he feels about standing for the United States national anthem, a subject of great controversy, and noted that while his stance is clear on the subject he also believes in standing up for and behind his players.

He noted that he was proud of Dak Prescott for the plea that he made to the Governor of Oklahoma, but he noted that the key word here is grace. He said that he has nothing to prove when it comes to the flag or when it comes to the Cowboys players. He said that he wanted everyone to be a part of grace, not only in our actions, but grace in our understanding. He said he wanted the Cowboys players to understand the perception and where they are coming from regarding the flag. He said he wants Cowboys fans to understand where the team’s players are coming from there.

He said he is going to have grace regarding players that are sensitive to the flag.

Jerry did note that he has not spoken with Dontari Poe or Gerald McCoy, both have noted that they wanted to see Jerry Jones’ thoughts on these issues, but that he is listening. He did note that he has never had a one-on-one visit with them given the extraordinary times.

Jerry’s sense on Dak Prescott’s mindset

Obviously Dak Prescott did not get a long-term contract extension this offseason and that was a subject of great discussion. Jerry Jones noted that the team believes that Dak Prescott is the quarterback of the future for the team, but that things were particularly difficult this offseason given the financial variables associated with Covid-19.

He spoke glowingly of Dak Prescott and seems committed to him for the future, but obviously the contract is a factor there.

Jerry is a “biased” person regarding what football does

There are many questions as to how football can be played throughout this fall, the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences both cancelled their fall sports on Tuesday, and Jerry Jones noted that he is obviously biased in terms of wanting football to be carried on.

He noted that the NFL can be an inspirational part of how we address Covid-19 both this year and moving forward into 2021.

He said he wants to have a complete season and wants to do it in front of the team’s fans.

Mike McCarthy on the team’s readiness to go on the field

Coach McCarthy said that the Cowboys are off to an excellent start and noted that Wednesday was the first day that they were able to have the full team on the field for a Phase II workout. He said that the group is looking forward to Friday for the first real practice.

McCarthy said in a lot of ways this would be kind of the end of an offseason program and that the team is probably a little bit further along in that regard in his own experience. Today and tomorrow the team will finish up the installation phase.

Following state guidelines for fans

The subject of fans in the stands is one of great discussion across sports everywhere. Jerry Jones noted that the Cowboys will adhere to all protocols and adapt them to the uniqueness of AT&T Stadium (which he acknowledged was within the protocol).

Jerry noted that he did not have an expectation on an exact number of fans attending Cowboys games this season. He noted that this was sort of a moving target but acknowledged that the Cowboys are very unique given the number of suites and their stadium that has 3M square feet in it.

Players involved in the bubble

Tuesday brought with it a report that the Dallas Cowboys are creating a bubble-like environment at The Star in Frisco. Mike McCarthy noted how the Cowboys are very fortunate to have a facility that can handle something like a bubble-like environment, he gave credit to Todd Williams (football operations) for setting things up to work in this way.

Interaction with players regarding protests

As noted there have been many members of the Dallas Cowboys that have made statements over the last few months regarding societal issues over social justice.

Mike McCarthy noted that there has been a lot of discussion regarding things of a schematic nature over the offseason but that the conversation has included a variety of topics. He just noted that the communication aspect has been excellent.

Stephen Jones noted that he believes the key word has been “embrace” and that the Cowboys have done what they can to embrace all the things and events that have happened virtually this offseason. He noted that the players had choices to opt in or out regarding this season’s uncertainties and that this is going to be a situation that is evolving constantly.

Jerry Jones noted that because things have happened virtually that he spoke with more players entering the draft than he ever had in any year prior. He talked about how he has spent 6-7 hours a day on the phone over these last few months discussing things of a great variety with players, future players, coaches, and the like.

The possibility no college football

Stephen Jones noted that it will obviously be difficult to evaluate certain prospects that do not play college football this season. He said that he believes the Cowboys personnel department will do whatever they can, things like watching older tape, and is confident that it can be done.

Why a deal didn’t get done with Dak Prescott

Stephen Jones agreed with Jerry Jones that the financial impact of Covid-19 played a factor in negotiation with Dak Prescott. He also referenced other deals getting done playing a factor, likely Pat Mahomes’, but that the team is confident in something ultimately getting done with their star quarterback. He said they will be thinking about ways to get a deal done during the season even though they can’t sign a deal until the season is over. He also noted that Dak is 100% committed and that they are looking towards the future.

Contingency plans

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for Covid-19 which raised the question across the league as to what a team would do if their head coach tested positive during the season.

Mike McCarthy noted that they have had conversations regarding their leadership group and have plans in place for any disruption there.

How will the offensive line look to start camp

There have been a lot of questions as to what the Cowboys are going to do at center this season with Travis Frederick retiring. Mike McCarthy noted that Joe Looney has been taking snaps with the first team. He also noted that Connor Williams and Connor McGovern have been taking snaps at left guard, although he said Williams will be worked in slowly as he recovers from his injury.

Jerry Jones closing remarks

Jerry Jones took the opportunity to wrap things up and said that he appreciates everybody involved with the Dallas Cowboys. He noted that many businesses and people all over the country are dealing with hardships amid the current times. He said he knows how lucky and privileged the NFL is to be who it is and that they will have grace and compassion for people that are struggling.

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