With the NFL world awaiting comments from now Pro Football Hall of Fame member Jerry Jones in regards to suspended Cowboys' running back Ezekiel Elliott, Jones instead delivered much more relevant news about a player his team will actually have on the field come their preseason home opener against the Colts - LB Jaylon Smith, who will make his official Cowboys debut on Saturday.
Smith has been working towards seeing live game action at an impressive pace since the start of training camp, repeatedly practicing in pads and looking like the all-around stud he was out of Notre Dame before his injury despite playing with a "Richie brace".
Jerry Jones says Jaylon Smith will play this weekend vs. the Colts.
On Monday, Smith was noticeably excited after ending the Cowboys' practice with his signature swipe move and unabated sack of the quarterback. Doing this in a practice uniform that has amazingly become a regular part of Smith's life as the 34th overall pick in the 2016 draft, it is hard to imagine how #54 will be feeling when he puts everything together on Saturday to actually line up and play for the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
ClearEyeView should be trending. Jerry Jones says @thejaylonsmith will be playing on Saturday at @ATTStadium
Jaylon was in uniform for the Hall of Fame game against the Cardinals but was ruled out well before it. It was Stephen Jones that made headlines this past week by hinting that Jaylon Smith could play against the Rams, but his debut will instead come a week later in front of Cowboys Nation.
Talks of Ezekiel Elliott's suspension have overshadowed any true football talk surrounding a Cowboys team that just saw their young defense make a ton of plays against the LA Rams. Adding a ready-to-play Jaylon Smith seems like the perfect reminder to everyone doubting the Cowboys this year that their 2016 dominance was fueled by much more than just Elliott out of the backfield.
The Cowboys are going to be just fine - they have Jaylon Smith playing football in three days. A true MIKE linebacker that can cover, defend the run all over the field, and pressure quarterbacks is a defensive game changer the Cowboys have sorely lacked in their front seven for years now. The Cowboys have failed to put much long-term, consistent talent next to Sean Lee at linebacker in particular.
Smith's NFL debut will come exactly 597 days after the scene in the above picture unfolded, as Smith suffered a gruesome injury in a New Years Day bowl game against Ohio State, where Ezekiel Elliott was there to console his eventual Dallas teammate.
The Cowboys as a team have collectively shown their support for Elliott through his off-field issues, and I expect even more love to be directed Jaylon Smith's way from his teammates, coaches, and fans on the field Saturday - as the Cowboys will host one of their most intriguing preseason games in recent memory, with other key starters such as QB Dak Prescott expected to participate.
Report: Center Travis Frederick Undergoing Shoulder Evaluation
After missing the team's walkthrough this morning, it is being reported that Dallas Cowboys starting center Travis Frederick is having his shoulder evaluated due to multiple stingers. According to reports, Frederick has been dealing with stingers all training camp, and the Cowboys are unsure what is wrong with his shoulder.
Frederick rarely misses any practice time at all, and has not missed a start since he entered the league in 2013. He's the catalyst of this offensive line, and will be greatly missed if his injury is severe enough to make him miss regular season game time.
Jason Garrett says Travis Frederick is getting his shoulder looked at in Los Angeles. He's been dealing with stingers. No update behind that #cowboyswire
Joe Looney has been tasked with replacing Frederick for the time being, taking first team center reps during today's walk through and practice.
Given how meaningless Saturday's game is, I'd expect Looney to start at center against the Bengals this weekend as well. Hopefully the evaluation reveals that Frederick's issues are not serious and he will be ready for game one, but consistent stingers will always make fans fear for the worst.
Cowboys G Marcus Martin Needs Surgery; Impact on 53-Man Roster
Marcus Martin, the veteran guard Dallas signed as a free agent last March, suffered a potential season-ending injury in the team's preseason opener last Thursday night. Just how long he'll be out is still be determined, but it still should impact the Cowboys' final 53-man roster this season.
Martin tore ligaments in his right big toe against the 49ers. However, as of yesterday, it was not decided if he would pursue surgery.
The Cowboys don't expect backup OG Marcus Martin to play this season after he tore ligaments in his big toe in the preseason opener, but he's seeking a 2nd opinion before deciding whether to have surgery. Martin signed a 1-year deal with Dallas as a free agent this offseason.
A former third-round pick in 2014, the 24-year-old was brought in as a potential reserve at both guard at center. He was still in competition with Joe Looney and others for a roster spot, though, and his minimal one-year contract suggested nothing was guaranteed.
Even if Martin doesn't have surgery, he is almost sure to miss the start of the season. Dallas would likely place him on injured reserve, but still have the option to recall him after Week 8.
Marcus' absence all but guarantees that Looney will return in 2018. This will be his third year in the system and his ability to play center is critical.
In my 53-man roster projection last week, I had both Looney and Martin making the team. So if I had that right, that means a spot has opened up for probably fifth-year veteran Kadeem Edwards, who was playing with the second unit in the preseason opener.
The notorious Chaz Green, who has played guard at times, could also be the beneficiary of the open roster spot.
Damien Mama, an undrafted free agent in 2017 who Dallas added this offseason, is the only other guard currently on the roster. We should get to see more of him as the preseason continues.
Marcus Martin's availability, or lack thereof, and how it ultimately impacts the roster will be determined in the coming weeks.
LB Jaylon Smith 100% Healthy Entering 2018 Season
If you need any more reason to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys upcoming 2018 season, then look no further than their 2016 second-round draft pick, Jaylon Smith. His comeback story from the devastating knee injury he sustained in his last collegiate game at Notre Dame has been well-documented, but recent news suggests his journey has finally come full circle.
Once considered a top-five pick, Smith saw his draft stock plummet due to concerns he may never be able to step foot on the field ever again. Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were willing to gamble he would be able to make a full recovery and once again become the player he was with the Fighting Irish.
The long and grueling rehab process couldn't have been easy to endure. Jaylon Smith was forced to pretty much redshirt his rookie season and played on a pitch count Year 2 while he continued to rehab, waiting for nerve regeneration that may never fully heal.
Luckily for him, he joined a team with a really good support system both on and off the field. A support system that just so happened to include his brother, Running Back Rod Smith. It's that support system that could have made a huge difference in his approach to rehab. An approach that may have finally paid off.
All reports indicate Jaylon Smith is 100% healthy once again, or as close to it as possible. Rod Smith, his brother, said Jaylon is back to being as good as he was at Notre Dame. Jaylon however said he is even better than he was. But, they are not the only ones weighing in on Smith's health.
Scouting Director Will McClay went on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio Monday morning and declared LB Jaylon 100 percent healthy from the injury he suffered in college that kept him out his rookie season in 2016 and had him on a pitch count in 2017.
Will McClay isn't the only one that has noticed a difference in Jaylon Smith. Head Coach Jason Garrett has said Smith has grown leaps and bounds from last year and are treating him like a player with no limitations.
"Again, he worked hard in his rehab. Coming into this off-season he was able to take that brace off. I think that's freed him up a little bit," Garrett said.
"And he just looks much more natural. So again, you'll have to ask him that very question, but from our point of view, he looks like he's moving around really well, changing direction really well, making a lot of plays. I think he's gaining more confidence with each day. We really don't have a plan for him right now. He's full-go and ready to practice every day with no limitation."
All of these accounts certainly make it sound like Jaylon Smith's arrow is trending upwards and that he is as healthy as he has been since joining the Dallas Cowboys.
Luckily, we don't have long to see him in action. I don't know about you, but Thursday night when the Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Week 1 of the NFL Preseason can't get here soon enough.
Are you excited to see a 100% healthy Jaylon Smith this season?
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