The Dallas Cowboys officially had their first training camp practice Sunday and the way they decided to start things off made a statement about unity to not only the NFL, but the nation. As a team, they walked arm in arm onto the field with a few special guest intertwined between players to make their statement known.
You may have forgotten, but earlier this month a sniper killed four police officers and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer and it shook the entire Dallas community to the core.
Thanks to fellow Staff Writer Sean Martin, you can read some of the past and present Cowboys players reactions to the shootings in Dallas via twitter.
For such a devastating event to take place so close to home really impacted the community and in particular Dallas Cowboys' own, tight end Jason Witten. He was so impacted by this dreadful situation that the wheels started turning, resulting in him trying to come up with some way to honor the people affected by the situation the most, the families of the officers that lost their lives in the line of duty.
Idea for Cowboys' unity statement today with Dallas PD started with Jason Witten and was in collaboration with Charlotte Jones.
Witten's idea quickly escalated and was then followed through in large part to Charlotte Jones-Anderson's hard work and dedication to the organization. A lot of Witten's teammates quickly jumped on board with the idea as well.
Here's an exclamation of what the Cowboys organization and their players are trying to accomplish by coming together with the families of the fallen Dallas police officers, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and Police Chief David Brown.
More about Cowboys bringing Dallas mayor and police chief and family members of 4 of the 5 fallen officers to camp:
There might not be any better way to get a point across than to have one of the most visible sports franchises in the world come together and make a statement of unity to everyone.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown even spoke with the team and encouraged them to use their status as a professional football player to help find a solution to stop the violence and come together as a community and nation.
@DPDChief encouraged the players to use their voice towards the solution. #ArmInArm #DallasStong #DallasCowboys
America's Team plans to continue to show their support throughout training camp and preseason by wearing an "Arm In Arm" decal on the back of their helmets to signify the statement of unity, just like they did by interlocking their arms when first taking the field on Sunday to kick off training camp.
Here is a look at what the "Arm In Arm" decals look like.
The Cowboys are wearing a helmet sticker to support their "Arm in Arm" initiative for the City of Dallas Police Dept
The hope is that they can continue to wear the decals in the regular season, but they're still waiting to get official permission from the league.
Personally, I could really see the "Arm In Arm" initiative taking off and a lot of other teams around the NFL joining in with the Dallas Cowboys and their statement in support of unity.
In fact, the New Orleans Saints also faced a similar situation with police officers being gunned down in their community like Dallas did, so I could see them as being on board..
It's way past time that people started standing up against the violence that has become a reoccurring theme here recently across our nation and I for one am proud of my Dallas Cowboys for coming up with a way to do just that.
You can bet that the families of the slain Dallas officers appreciate what the Cowboys organization is trying to do, as well as the Dallas PD. It might have just brightened their day just a little bit to be able to take the field with their local sports team, after nearly a month of grieving the loss of their loved ones.
Chief Brown even took to twitter and expressed his appreciation to the Cowboys organization.
@dallascowboys Thank you & Jones' fam for hosting the families of the fallen officers on your 1st day of practice!
We need more sports organizations around our nation doing things like this and maybe, just maybe we can unify as a nation and stop the violence.
Way to go Dallas Cowboys!
It's about time someone takes a stand and do the right thing for a change.
WR Randall Cobb Named Cowboys “Surprise Standout” for Offseason
NFL teams have wrapped up their offseason activities with the close of OTAs, especially where the players are concerned, and await the start of training camps next month. In reviewing the last few months, ESPN had their local reporters each pick a surprise standout from their team's practices. Todd Archer, who covers the Dallas Cowboys full time, selected veteran receiver Randall Cobb.
Cobb is in his first season with Dallas after signing as a free agent last March. He's spent the last eight years with the Green Bay Packers and was a Pro Bowler in 2014, but has struggled with injuries the last few seasons.
Here were Archer's observations on how Randall is doing so far with the Cowboys:
Normally a player with Cobb's résumé -- 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career -- would not be considered for a category like this. But injuries limited him to only nine games and 38 catches for Green Bay in 2018, and it was hard to know what the Cowboys were getting in the veteran receiver.
If the offseason work is any indication, they have found a replacement for Cole Beasley. Cobb's versatility can expand the offense for others, such as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cobb looked quick in and out of his breaks and fast enough to make plays down the field. Will he put up the 1,287 yards he had in 2014? No, but he gives Dak Prescott a security blanket in the slot who can turn a small gain into a big one.
The notion of Cobb replacing Beasley is a big one. While we'd like to think that Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will provide plenty of firepower for the Cowboys offense, Dak Prescott has enjoyed a reliable threat from the slot position since he arrived.
Randall Cobb, when healthy, can do more than just make clutch catches. He has good run-after-catch skills and perhaps bring more big play potential than Beasley did.
If Cooper and Gallup do emerge as a dangerous starting duo on the outside, Cobb should have even more opportunities to punish defenses than Beasley did.
If nothing else, it's very encouraging to hear that one of the Cowboys' few 2019 free agent moves is already reaping benefits. Cobb still needs to bring it over a full season to really justify the move, but these early reports are cause for excitement.
BREAKING: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Receives One-Game Suspension
Tight End Rico Gathers already had an uphill climb to return to the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2019. But that climb just got even steeper; the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Gathers today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
If he does make the team this year, with Dallas or anyone else, Rico will have to sit out Week One of the season without pay.
Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse. This is from his arrest in 2018 for marijuana possession.
Gathers' chances of returning in 2019 were already hurt by Jason Witten's reversed retirement. He dropped to fourth on the TE depth chart behind Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz, and Dallas only kept three tight ends last year.
The Cowboys also added Codey McElroy as a developmental player during the offseason.
While the suspension is news, the incident that led to it is not. Dallas already knew about the arrest, which occurred in early September of 2018, and have kept Gathers around up until now.
The NFL's substance abuse system is pretty formulaic, so the Cowboys likely anticipated this suspension all along. This may not change anything about how they value Rico Gathers for the 2019 season.
Nevertheless, a player who can't help you in Week One and is a liability for ever longer suspensions down the road is definitely a red flag against Gathers' job security.
Antwaun Woods: Cowboys DT is Just Getting Started
Antwaun Woods went undrafted in 2016 coming out of USC. After two years with the Tennessee Titans, he would only see one game of action. In May of 2018, the Cowboys signed Woods to a two-year contract worth 1.05 million. Probably seen as nothing more than a practice squad guy, Woods would quickly show he was much more than that.
The newly acquired Woods started his climb to stardom in Oxnard during training camp, and not for making plays. One day during practice he got into a friendly game of fisticuffs with All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. The team even posted the video on social media, which had fans buzzing and wanting to know who he was.
All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott echoed those thoughts when he saw Woods during camp. "Honestly, when we first got him, we were like, 'Who is this guy?'. He was giving Travis Frederick, one of our best players, hell all camp. Just trying to figure out where this guy came from," Elliott said.
Once the regular season started it was clear the Cowboys had found a hidden gem. Although the sack numbers won't dazzle you, seeing as he only registered 1.5, you could forget about running the ball anywhere near him. Woods has amazing quickness for a 300 pounder which allows him to extend his arms before offensive lineman can get a hand on him.
How significant is that? It becomes that much easier to bull rush and blow running plays up in the backfield.
When you can get your hands on an offensive lineman immediately when the ball is snapped, he's basically under your control. You can move him around like a puppet on a string. Essential for a 1-technique nose tackle. With that being said, there should be no surprise the Cowboys finished fifth against the run in 2018 with Woods manning the middle.
Woods draws a lot of double teams, and he handles them well. Having the ability to take on multiple linemen frees up your other playmakers. As the anchor in the middle, Woods made life a lot easier for not only his fellow defensive linemen but the team's two young star Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Allowing them to roam freely like Lions in the Serengeti makes running backs essentially Zebra's carrying the ball, cooked food. So much so that both tallied over 120 tackles and were the only teammates in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in that category.
There's nothing but upside with Antwaun Woods. He's only had 18 games of experience in three years. He's already a stud, but with limited snaps, it can only mean he'll be even more formidable going forward.
The Cowboys have a loaded defensive lineman group with around 15 bodies, plenty of competition. All signs point to him remaining the starter, but it's not guaranteed. Even with that being said I don't expect a complacency from Woods, especially with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn looking like the only sure starters on the defensive line. Plus this is a contract year for him, so you know he'll be even more motivated as he tries to maximize his dollars. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg from this raw talent, setting up for a potential breakout year for him in 2019.
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