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Cowboys news: With Jimmy Johnson inducted into the HOF, there is always a ‘what if’ in Dallas

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NFL: Super Bowl LIV-NFL Honors Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Johnson thanks Jerry Jones for giving him opportunity to make sports history - Charean Williams, PFT

Jimmy Johnson inducted into the Hall of Fame, and talks about Jerry Jones along the way.

“I guess you want to know what I’m going to say about Jerry Jones,” Johnson said early in his 8-minute, 50-second speech. “Well, Jerry, you told me we were going to sports history before we ever bought the Cowboys — before you bought the Cowboys because I didn’t pay a damn cent. You know what? We — WE — we did make sports history, not only for the Dallas Cowboys but for the NFL. To go from the worst team in the league two years in a row to winning back-to-back Super Bowls and building a heck of a football team, we did it, and let me tell you from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Jerry. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.”

Dallas Cowboys still wonder ‘what if’ as Jimmy Johnson enters HOF - Todd Archer, ESPN

How many more Super Bowls would the Cowboys had won if Jimmy Johnson wasn’t fired?

Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman is often asked how many more Super Bowls the Cowboys would have won had Johnson remained coach.

“I don’t know, but my guess is we probably would have [won more],” Aikman said. “But I think even saying that minimizes how difficult it is to win a Super Bowl. We would’ve been knocking at the door every year. We would have been in the hunt and had a chance to win it all, and the reason I say that is for two reasons: One, free agency was coming into play, but Jimmy was a tremendous evaluator of talent, so I don’t know or doubt whether we would’ve continued to bring in young talent. Two, he was so demanding on the details, that our attention to that wouldn’t have wavered.”

Johnson, 78, says he does not carry any personal regret, instead lamenting how he feels bad for his former players.

“I won enough. I feel bad for them because had I stayed, I think we would’ve won a bunch more of them,” Johnson said.

Dak injury update: new info on Cowboys QB ‘baseball injury’ - Mike Fisher, Cowboys Maven

Cowboys remain cautious with Dak Prescott. Still day-to-day with a shoulder injury.

Prescott will not be throwing this weekend as the Los Angeles Rams are here in Oxnard for a Saturday dual practice, and the original plan to have him play in the preseason game on Aug. 13 at Arizona might be altered, too.

But there is no suggestion that the Pro Bowl QB, who rehabbed successfully all year from a 2020 Week 5 season-ending ankle surgery, is in danger of missing the Sept. 9 regular-season opener at Tampa Bay.

“Now it’s just about getting the shoulder (injury) behind me,” Prescott said on FOX. “We’re just being cautious. We’re taking it day-by-day. Obviously it’s five weeks before the season opener, so I’ve got a lot of time.”

Added coach Mike McCarthy: “I think this is something we’ve kind of taken a step back. We still feel the same about the type of injury, but we’re just being more conservative with the timeline. ... After the research and looking at it, we just don’t want this to turn into something big.’’

Notebook: Malik Hooker’s return; o-line boost - Cowboys staff writers,

A healthy Malik Hooker could really upgrade the backend of Dallas’ secondary.

It sounds like Malik Hooker is going to start getting involved.

It remains to be seen how much, but the newly-signed safety is expected to begin upping his workload at training camp, to hear it from Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy.

“We’re going to advance him. Exactly how much hasn’t been set yet,” McCarthy said Friday evening. “We have a staff meeting tomorrow. Once we get all the medical in, we’ll make those decisions.”

That’s obviously a vague description, and for good reason. Hooker just signed about a week into camp after tearing his Achilles last October, and he hasn’t had a traditional offseason program.

The coaching staff undoubtedly will take things slow to start. But after acclimating for the last few practices, it sounds like the veteran will be taking part very soon.

NFL teams ready to take a huge leap in 2021 - Chris Roling, Bleacher Report

All the way to first doesn’t sound too bad for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021.

After rehabbing from his broken, dislocated ankle, Prescott said in May he was “pretty much full-go.” And though he missed the Hall of Fame game to rest an arm setback, the Cowboys “fully expect him to be the starter Week 1,” per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.

That’s about as encouraging as it gets after he completed 68 percent of his 222 attempts last year with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He’ll be a dramatic upgrade over the Andy Dalton-Garrett Gilbert-Ben DiNucci quarterback carousel that held back the offense last year.

Flanking Prescott is running back Ezekiel Elliott and arguably the league’s most dangerous wideout trio: Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.

Prescott might have dragged a miserable defense kicking and screaming to the playoffs last year. But Dallas saw it fit to revamp what was a historically bad unit that ended up surrendering 29.6 points per game, the league’s fifth-worst mark.

Micah Parsons looks to be everything the Cowboys need at linebacker - John Williams, Inside The Star

Micah Parsons looked like a star in the making in the HOF game against Pittsburgh.

His speed and pursuit were on display on several occasions. He made getting to the corner look effortless. He showed an ability to flow sideline to sideline that made Cowboys Nation stop in awe.

On an otherwise disappointing night for many in the silver and blue, Micah Parsons stood out. Though it was just a small sample size, Parsons finished with the highest grade from Pro Football Focus of anyone on the Cowboys roster in his 11 snaps.

Parsons made a splash in his preseason debut, recovering a fumble by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. He showed good awareness seeing the ball hit the turf and jumping on it.

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