Cowboys owner Jerry Jones received the honor of being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night, and in his speech he expressed gratitude for just about anybody you could possibly think of. In fact, he mentioned some names you might have never even considered.
Many think of Jerry as a glory hog; a man whose ego drove Jimmy Johnson away and had him constantly trying to make big moves to look like a genius general manager. Even if there's a little truth to that, Jerry showed last night just how much he appreciates everyone who had a hand in the Cowboys becoming the biggest franchise in sports.
Jerry thanked the men who helped make the Cowboys into America's Team; Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, and Gil Brandt. Jones said he stood on their shoulders in taking the franchise forward.
Jones went on to thank Jimmy Johnson for the work he did in building and coaching the Cowboys championship teams of the 90s. He also made sure to give credit to Barry Switzer, who had the unenviable task of trying to follow in Jimmy's shadow and still brought home another title.
Jerry even took time to thank Herschel Walker for the willingness to be part of the infamous trade that allowed the Cowboys to build their 90s dynasty. I even learned something, not previously knowing that Herschel could have stopped the trade but allowed it to go through.
Next up were special comments about the Triplets and Larry Allen, including thanks to Emmitt, Michael Irvin, and Larry for asking Jerry to present them at their own Hall of Fame inductions. Jerry also went on to list many other big names from the 90s, such as Darren Woodson, Jay Novaceck, and Daryl Johnston.
Jerry then moved into the modern era, thanking Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and DeMarcus Ware for their time with the Cowboys. He also endorsed Witten and Ware for their own very deserving Hall of Fame spots.
These are just a few of the many men who received a nod of appreciation from the sincerely grateful Jerry. He also gave recognition to his personal assistant Marilyn Love, who according to Jerry "runs the Cowboys" after 40 years of working for Jones.
As one would expect, Jerry finished with his family. The Cowboys are indeed a family business, and Jones individually recognized his sons Stephen and Jerry Jr. and daughter Charlotte for their contributions to the team and the NFL.
Gene Jones, who introduced her husband for his enshrinement, was next up. Jerry said she has never missed a game in all of his years of owning the team. He said the best lesson he ever taught his children was the value of a great spouse.
Say what you want about Jerry Jones, but the man used arguably his greatest moment of personal recognition to mention everyone that's helped along the way. He also closed with thoughts about the role of football itself; the game molding him as a man going back to his own playing days.
There's no denying that Jerry's made some bad choices through the years, but he's also made some great ones. Jerry was learning how to own and run a football team while winning Super Bowls, and those three quick championships set a bar that has been hanging over him ever since.
The greatest sin a sports owner can make is putting his own wallet above the franchise and its fans. Jerry has done the opposite; spending whatever it took to try to make the Dallas Cowboys a winner. If anything, Jerry's desperate pursuit of success on the field has been his enemy at times.
It wasn't about profits. The Cowboys are the most valuable team in sports despite all these years with another Super Bowl win. Jerry's moves have always been having a winning team for the sake of the men who work for him and the fans who follow it. He built AT&T Stadium as a monument to the most recognized team in all of professional sports, not to himself.
Jerry Jones became a Hall of Famer by always doing what he thought was in the best interests of the Dallas Cowboys and the National Football League. Even in these years without another Lombardi Trophy, Jerry has been a champion of the game and the fan experience. Without him, the last two generations of Cowboys fans may not have ever existed.
Every bit of gratitude that Jerry showed last night, every Cowboys fan should show it right back.
Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.
Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:
- WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
- LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
- CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable
The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.
Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.
Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.
- WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
- WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
- S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
- RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
- RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
- G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
- CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
- CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable
It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.
Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.
Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.
In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.
Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.
Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.
Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.
Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.
Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.
Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.
The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.
Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.
Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.
Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.
Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.
He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.
If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.
Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.
Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.
That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.
#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance
It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.
But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.
According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.
Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.
What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.
For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.
As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.
Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.
Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).
Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.
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