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Dallas Cowboys Leadership “Not Alarmed” by Ezekiel Elliott’s Absence

John Williams



5 Questions the Cowboys Must Answer in the NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys hosted their annual "State of the Team" press conference to kick off training camp yesterday, and as you can imagine a lot of the 40-minute gathering with the media focused largely on the Dallas Cowboy's star running back; Ezekiel Elliott.

With players reporting for their scheduled physicals in the morning on Friday, Elliott was officially deemed "late" or "did not report" by the team, but one thing was evident when Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett were asked about Elliott's absence. They weren't at all concerned.

In Jerry Jones' opening remarks, he made a point to say that "every player that we have is under contract" several times. When asked by Jane Slater from the NFL Network if the Dallas Cowboys planned to fine Elliott for his tardiness, Jones deflected saying, "I've not ever made it a practice of getting into the details of how we execute our agreements (with players). Meaning that fining a player for reporting late is in the contract that the team and the player have negotiated, but Jerry Jones wasn't going to say whether or not they have opted to use that option available to them.

This is a front office that has seen it all and is used to having to negotiate and finalize contracts during training camp and so they aren't at all alarmed by Elliott's absence.

Here's what Jerry Jones had to say regarding Elliott's absence:

"I'd say there are very few conversations that Stephen and I have that at some point in that convo we're not discussing the player, impact on other players relative to the cap and financial. It's almost like getting up and turning the lights on, it's such an every day (occurrence). You livewith this all the time. And so when you don't have the player on the field, for whatever reason, then you would be discussing, "well that's why we put that in place"... "what are the repercussions?" It's not alarming... that you have to go to bed thinking about some aspect of it when dealing with the number of contracts that you are.

"So that's why I don't want to seem cavalier about it, Zeke's a great player, I don't want to seem cavalier about it, but I also don't want to be unrealistic being alarmed about it. This is what we do. This is the air we breathe. And if you flared and knee-jerked just because you have parts of it that need addressing, you wouldn't be a good managers."

Jerry Jones via

Later in the press conference, Jerry made a point to single out Jason Garrett and coaches in general because they have to live in the "next man up" world. They have to prepare for and deal with players being absent due to injury, suspension, and sometimes financial situations. Garrett reiterated this as he talked about the opportunity that arises for another player as well as giving the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate other players. At running back, in particular, Ezekiel Elliott not yet reporting for training camp provides an opportunity for rookies Tony Pollard and Mike Weber to get some reps with the first-team offense that they might not have gotten had Elliott been available.

Stephen Jones said he's "optimistic that things will work themselves out." He also talked a little bit about the natural deadline that comes with the start of the regular season about six weeks away.

The Cowboys brass understands those hold outs and negotiating new contracts with players who are under contract is part of the nature of the business that is the NFL. Stephen Jones even talked about it in the same way he does player acquisition, that it's a year-round process.

From the sound of it, the Dallas Cowboys leadership doesn't plan on addressing contract situations in their daily press conferences during training camp. Over and over they reiterated that when they're working with a player under contract on an extension, there's really no timetable and the deals get done when they get done.

While it may seem like a dire situation to have Ezekiel Elliott missing the first part of training camp as he seeks a contract extension that will likely make him the richest running back in the NFL, the Cowboys front office isn't worried.

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett each talked about what a great player Ezekiel Elliott is and Garrett especially talked about what a smart player he is. Garrett wasn't worried about Elliott missing time in training camp as it relates to picking up the offense because "he has a high football I.Q." and "had a great offseason."

At some point in the next month, Ezekiel Elliott is going to get his contract finalized and be out on the practice field with the Dallas Cowboys. More importantly, Elliott will be lined up in the backfield when the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants week one of the regular season.

They're not alarmed, you shouldn't be either. When it matters, Elliott will be there.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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Cowboys K Brett Maher’s 63-Yard Field Goal Sets New NFL Record

Jess Haynie



Brett Maher

After hitting a 63-yard field goal last night in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Kicker Brett Maher now owns the NFL record for most field goal made at 60 yards or longer. It was the third 60-plus FG of his career and second so far this season.

Maher hit a 62-yarder last week in Dallas' loss to the New York Jets. That kick tied him with Sebastian Janikowski and Greg Zuerlein for having two career field goals of 60 or more.

Now Brett stands alone in that category. Last night's kick also was just one yard shy of Matt Prater's record for the NFL's longest field goal; Maher hit from 64 yards in 2013.

If Brett Maher ever gets a chance to kick in Denver, he may have a great shot at breaking Prater's record as well. According to NBC's data from last night, Maher's kick would have been good from 66 yards out.

It was a good night overall for the Cowboys kicker. Maher had two other makes from 26 and 29 yards.

Despite his heroics at times, Brett Maher has been one of the least accurate kickers in the NFL the last two years. Even after last night Brett is hitting just 71.4% of his field goals so far in 2019; that ties him for 25th in the league.

The most puzzling aspect of all with Maher is how much he struggles with shorter range kicks. You almost have more confidence in him kicking from 60 yards out than attempting an extra point.

Few kickers could survive that kind of performance and uncertainty, but few can do what Maher can with his long range ability. It's a risk/reward situation that the Cowboys are continuing to work with.

For today, at least, Maher and his team are basking in the glory of a great game. Let's hope both can keep up the positive momentum.

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Cowboys Get Good News on Vander Esch, Quinn Injuries After Eagles Game

Jess Haynie



Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch off to a Fast Start 1

The Dallas Cowboys got a big win last night over the Philadelphia Eagles, but there was concern that they also suffered some big injuries. But good news; despite their leaving the game and not returning, both LB Leighton Vander Esch and DE Robert Quinn appear to have avoided any significant issues.

Vander Esch suffered a neck stinger in the second quarter and did not come back. It appears he was held out as a precautionary measure, and the Cowboys' 21-7 lead at that point may have contributed to the decision.

Jane Slater on Twitter

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch just told me he's good. First neck stinger. Disputes "history" of neck issues reports. Told me he would have continued playing but "wasn't up to me

Quinn's rib injury also occurred before halftime and ended his night. The veteran picked up his obligatory sack before going out, and it sounds like he should be fine for Dallas' next game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @GMFB: The #Cowboys got a few injury scares, but LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and LB Robert Quinn (rib) are expected to be OK.

These defensive standouts join a host of Cowboys starters who are going to benefit greatly from the team's bye week.

Dallas went into the game with injury concerns to WRs Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, OTs Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, and CBs Byron Jones and Anthony Brown. Of those, Brown was the only one who did not play last night.

Still, all of these players need a week to rest and be ready for the long haul of the regular season.

The Cowboys will get back to work in Week 9 with a road trip to New York, facing the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Thankfully, it looks like Leighton Vander Esch and Robert Quinn will both be ready to play in two weeks.

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Dallas Cowboys Optimistic that Amari Cooper Returns Sunday

John Williams



Report: Amari Cooper has MRI on Right Ankle

It doesn't take a deep look at the Dallas Cowboys offense over the last year and not see the significant impact that Amari Cooper has had. He's been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over the last calendar year and has opened up so much for the Cowboys offense both with his impact as a pass catcher and for the attention he draws from opposing defenses. In Cooper's last 15 regular-season games with the Dallas Cowboys, he's caught 86 passes on 121 targets for 1,240, and 11 touchdowns. He's been everything the Cowboys front office could have hoped for when they made the trade with the Oakland Raiders after week seven of the 2018 season.

Amari Cooper has been dealing with foot issues since training camp and then went out on the first offensive series against the New York Jets with a thigh contusion. His absence was definitely felt as the offense struggled to find any rhythm in the first half of their week six loss.

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Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

Though he hasn't practiced this week there is some optimism that Cooper could potentially practice on Friday and play in this pivotal week seven matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. A contusion is basically a bone bruise, which is painful and can inhibit movement and flexibility. The most important thing to judge when determining if Cooper will be able to play or not is the level of inflammation that still persists in this leg. If the inflammation is better and he has better movement and flexibility in the leg, then he should be able to go.

Amari Cooper had a field day against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 14 of the 2018 season when he caught 10 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Even in the week 10 contest, Cooper caught six passes for 75 yards. He's had a ton of success against the Eagles and with them still having injury issues in the secondary, there's a possibility for him to have another big game this week if he's able to play.

It's an encouraging sign that he's going to try practice today given the concern during the game in the days just after the week six contest. We'll have to keep an eye on how Friday goes and the pregame reports, but if all goes well, the Cowboys offense will be in much better shape with Cooper back on the field.

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