By Greg Rector
We’re now less than three weeks away from the potential opening of the 2020 NFL season, and in this strangest of season’s, there’s been good and bad news for the Dallas Cowboys.
The bad news, of course, was the season-ending injury suffered by Gerald McCoy, something that no one wants to see that happen to any player. If the reports from training camp are any indication, the good news here is the influence McCoy had in a short amount of time on one Trysten Hill. Hill has been attentive, has been on time, and is displaying a lot of improvement over his rookie season.
The good news was the signing of former Vikings DE Everson Griffen, who, along with Aldon Smith (another good news story), will make Tank Lawrence’s life a whole lot easier on the other end of the defensive line. For me, Griffen is an upgrade from Robert Quinn. Double-teaming Lawrence. Will only allow both Griffen and Smith, opportunities to pin their ears back and go right at opposing quarterbacks. The other good news is Vander Esche is showing no signs of his neck issues from last year. He has also become the defensive signal-caller, freeing up Jaylon Smith. Who, according to reports, has looked tremendous. Coordinator Mike Nolan has been running 3-4 and 4-3 schemes all camp long. That flexibility means unlike last year, opponents won’t know what’s coming. Several teams said they knew exactly what the Cowboys defense was going to do. Those days are over.
The offense meanwhile is also firing on all cylinders thus far. Just as the defense has seen multiple schemes being run, the same holds for the offense. From empty backfield sets. To having Pollard and Elliott running two-back plays. Again being unpredictable will be a key for this group t0 be successful. The steal of the draft CeeDee Lamb is living up to the hype, especially in red-zone plays. Daily catching TD’s during those sessions. Lamb is also absorbing every bit of knowledge he can from Amari Cooper, of whom Lamb has said, “Seeing him (Cooper) run in and out of his routes is amazing.” while Cooper has said, “Everything he wants to learn, I will be gladly teaching him.”
Of course, not much else will matter without Dak Prescott. From McCarthy to QB coach Doug Nussmeier, the one refrain is constant regarding Prescott. His work ethic is off the charts. Always first to arrive and last to leave. The business side of things will look after itself. Prescott is a mature, consummate professional, and leads by example. What that means for the upcoming season remains to be seen.
Now for the oh too normal off the field issues, which yes kids means it’s time again to speak of Jerry Jones. In the aftermath of the Jacob Blake police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week, there has been a massive response from athletes. The NBA players boycotted playoff games, and as I write this are meeting to determine how they will proceed or not. Meanwhile, Cowboys players have openly stated their intent t kneel during the anthem. Dontari Poe, being the most vocal about it so far. Good old Jones, though, wants to find a compromise still. His idea? Kneel before the anthem but stand when it’s played. Like my last article said, sorry Jerry, but there’s going to be no compromise here. It’s time that the commissioner has a chat with Jones, Goodell has come out publicly on board with players kneeling, and needs to have all franchises united on this issue. Plain and simple, the times have changed, and Jones must adapt to the new reality.
The only other issue currently is Earl Thomas, released by the Ravens, and the will they or won’t they sign him to a deal? When Ian Rappaport reported quickly, the Cowboys were out on Thomas; Jerry Jones was swift to react, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” The organization has met to discuss Thomas; all feelers have been put out to his former team as McCarthy is good friends with Seahawks GM John Schneider, to get a better picture as to whether or not Thomas will be a fit. This is a nice change from the days of Jones seeing a? name guy” was available, and let’s sign him. Hopefully, this is decided on that fact alone.
You can find me on Twitter @GregCowboys