For nearly 4 years now Running Back Darius Jackson has been chomping at the bit to prove to his naysayers he's a starting caliber RB in the NFL. He could finally be getting just such an opportunity with the Dallas Cowboys right now due to Ezekiel Elliott's current absence from training camp practices.
Zeke is currently a no-show in Oxnard, California, where the Dallas Cowboys will once again spend half of training camp and preseason to prepare for the 2019 season. He's currently holding out in the hopes of a contract extension, meaning someone needs to step up and take over his first-team reps in practice. So far, that player is No. 26.
Darius Jackson, a former sixth-round draft pick by Dallas, only has a grand total of six career rushing attempts in the NFL, all of which occurred last season. Despite entering his fourth season in the league, Jackson hasn't really been able to prove what he can do as of yet due to a little bad luck and injuries. That could be changing though.
You may have forgotten, the Dallas Cowboys surely haven't, but Darius Jackson has a really intriguing skill set based on his college tape at Eastern Michigan and his testing numbers at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine.
Based purely on those numbers alone he compares favorably to David Johnson (Cardinals), Adrian Peterson (Redskins), and rookie RB Justice Hill (Ravens). Unfortunately, we all know these numbers mean diddley squat when it's all said and done. Production is the true measuring stick, of which Jackson's has been minimal at best.
Like I mentioned earlier though, this all could be changing now that he's finally receiving an opportunity to prove himself. Getting the first crack at practicing with the Cowboys first-team offense could go a long way in opening the eyes of the coaching staff and earning more playing time once the regular season kicks off.
In the past some unfortunate injuries and bad luck has held him back, but I can almost 100% guarantee this is the opportunity he's been waiting for since entering the league in 2016. The only question is, can he take advantage of it?
The Dallas Cowboys clearly like something about Darius Jackson's intangibles. They've released him on a number of occasions, hence his carousel of jersey numbers (34, 44, and 26), only to bring him back time and time again. Maybe, just maybe, he will have better luck this time around.
Jackson of course won't be the only one vying for more playing time while Zeke is holding out for a contract extension. Don't be surprised if you see Tony Pollard, Mike Weber, or any other RB on the Cowboys roster thrown into the mix with the first-team. After all, training camp and preseason is all about the evaluation process.
If Darius Jackson plans on having a career in the NFL, let alone with the Cowboys, he can't let this opportunity slip through his grasp. This is his time to shine!
Do you think Darius Jackson can take advantage of his opportunity?
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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