Jaylon Smith’s Beginning

It was just one preseason game, and it was just one tackle; but Jason Garrett says that this is just the beginning for linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Really an exciting night for him,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s worked really hard to get himself back to this point. To put his Dallas Cowboy uniform on and to go out here at AT&T Stadium and play in a football game, a lot of work has gone into that and it’s a real credit to who he is as a guy. … It’s just the start, but it certainly is a good one for him.”

I’m excited about this kid. He’s only going to get better at movement as the months go on and he gets more reps, practices, and plays under his belt. I think he has a chance to be a major home run for the Cowboys in place of some of the guys who have disappointed on the defensive side on the ball and some of the departures that have left the Cowboys short at linebacker like Rolando McClain (currently suspended for drugs).

I’m really rooting for Jaylon Smith, who I think is probably a pretty good kid out of Notre Dame.

Dak’s Back

Dak Prescott is back, and made a great touchdown throw to Dez Bryant to open up scoring in the preseason contest against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T in Dallas. The Cowboys hung on to win the game 24-19.

Prescott went 7 of 8 and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and it was about as good of a start as one could have hoped for.

He showed some chemistry with Dez Bryant on the touchdown throw. Bryant had two big catches for 55 yards. He also had a nice play-action roll out throw to Jason Witten. These three are going to do some work.

Rave reviews are saying one should be delighted by Prescott’s preseason debut. He showed he may be able to produce some offense without Ezekiel Elliot in the offense.

Also of note – Elliott’s former coach Urban Meyer has some concern about his former running back.

Ezekiel Elliott Suspended Six Games

The hammer fell on the bad man today – the NFL suspended Ezekiel Elliott six games to start the NFL season. It turns out Ezekiel Elliott assaulted a Columbus, Ohio girl three different times on three different dates last July.

Vegas oddsmakers don’t really feel like this changes the outlook a ton for the Cowboys from what I’m reading. They’re about a half a point worse every game in terms of the spread; so a full field goal over a six-game spread.

Elliott will appeal his suspension.

Cowboys Links of Note

Pro Football Talk has ranked the Cowboys as the number six team in football entering the season. I like it.

They have the Cowboys behind the Packers, and it’s probably due to the toughness of the schedule and having a known commodity at QB in Aaron Rodgers; but this is how PFT finished up the ranking:

The Cowboys will be hard pressed to win 13 games again, especially if Elliott misses any games because of an NFL suspension. But with a defense expected to feature four players who have yet to play a down in the NFL, the Cowboys actually could be better going into the 2017 postseason than they were in 2016 when they went four weeks between meaningful games.

Cowboys Executive V.P. Stephen Jones also says that Dak Prescott “Will be better than last year”.

This is a gutsy take, but you always expect an owner named Jones in Dallas to push his chips to the middle of the table and go all-in.

“He knows he’s got to take his game to another level,” Jones said. “The great ones get better each year. I think he expects that from himself, I know he puts in the work, I know he’s a leader, the team responds to him, the team wants to play hard for him. That’s rare. I think he’s going to answer the bell and I think he’s going to be better than he was last year.”

“I’m just amazed with how he handles himself,” Jones said. “Football is first. he’s got an insatiable appetite to want to get better.”

The Cowboys also cut Lucky Whitehead today for failing to appear in court after a shoplifting charge.

Dak Prescott working prior to training camp

Cowboys rookies are reporting to training camp, and Dak Prescott is hard at work in Orlando to prepare for his own reporting to camp in Oxnard, California when the rest of his teammates show up in a few days.

Prescott is putting in work with Tom Shaw, a former strength coach with several NFL teams.

“I think he’s the best,” Prescott said of Shaw. “He’s my guy. He tells you exactly what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. He is honest with all the guys which I greatly appreciate. I came here to Disney to train because I wanted to be in the best possible condition when I go back to my team. I wanted to get that good sweat in down here in Florida to make sure that from a conditioning standpoint, I’m ready to go when my team heads to training camp in California.”

Shaw had some glistening praise for Prescott as well:

“He is serious about improving all aspects of his game – and I mean all of it,” Shaw said, via Walt Disney World Sports Public Relations. “He works on the non-football stuff – the conditioning, the core strength work, the weight room strength work, and he attacks the on-field work that’s necessary to become a great player in the NFL. This guy is a worker.”

“This guy has a chance to be an elite quarterback in the NFL,” Shaw said. “The game is important to him. He wants to improve, and he works at it. That’s the way you improve in the NFL: You have to work at it, and that’s what Dak does.”

I think Prescott is truly doing everything he can to ensure there’s no sophomore slump for him. And if there’s not, he’s going to be one of the biggest stars that this game has ever seen.