As the Dallas Cowboys were raising $50,000 for the Salvation Army in the Fifth-Annual Reliant Home Run Derby at Dr Pepper Ballpark on Tuesday, the players took the time to answer pressing topics facing the club this off-season.
DOES THE OFFENSIVE LINE FEEL ANY PRESSURE BEING ONE OF THE BEST IN THE NFL?
Zack Martin: "I think we pride ourselves on coming out and working and getting better. I think the reason we have some success as a group is we hold each other to a very high standard. That's going to continue. So, we're looking forward to this season and continuing to grow."
Tyron Smith: "Not really, just knowing what our job is and know what we have to get done."
Travis Frederick: "For us, there's no pressure because everything that we do has to live up to our standard in our room. So, everything that we do is geared to making sure that we're the best individually that we possibly can be and then collectively as a group the best that we can be."
(Elliott and the other rookies were in attendance at the event, too, shagging balls for the veteran "hitters.'')
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET ORLANDO SCANDRICK BACK?
JJ Wilcox: "It'll be great. We have some more leadership coming in. We're kind of young right now when you look at the depth. So, it will be good, man... Orlando is looking good... So, I'm excited to roll."
Brandon Carr: "He’s definitely focused. He has that chip on his shoulder once again. Orlando’s back. We look forward to him just to keep rehabbing and get stronger and stronger each day. We can add him in training camp if they clear him for it. We look forward to it. We need all pieces this year."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET DEZ BRYANT BACK FOR OFF-SEASON WORKOUTS AS OPPOSED TO LAST YEAR?
Jason Witten: ""Well, he brings great energy. I think, not only for him, but for all of us to have him there. He loves football. It's been a good off-season for him. You talk about getting motivated and excited. He just leaps out when you see him the way that he approaches every day this off-season. He looks good, and I know he's very excited to get back at it.
"He's always running. He's always talking about routes and what we can do better, things that he wants to focus on. It's all about getting better and the energy that he brings. Those a good conversations you want to have, especially last year when he wasn't around. He's also off to a really good start and he's a competitor. He's working hard to get himself, not only to be back, but to do really good and try to be the best."
Carr: "I think he’ll be a big help for us on our side of the ball, just checking an elite receiver every single day. His mentality. He goes hard every single day, every single play, so that’ll be a great asset for us to hone our skills out there."
Terrance Williams: "Good. Dez has been working his butt off the whole time and me, him and Beas and us getting the chemistry back together. It’s going to help us out tremendously."
(Dez tells CHQ in this exclusive visit that he's "feeling good'' but we still expect him to be a limited participant at best for at least the start of the first OTA, next Tuesday.)
WHAT'S YOUR IMPRESSION OF EZEKIEL ELLIOTT?
Frederick: "We got a little bit of time since we can't do a lot of team stuff and teaching sessions. But I think he picks up stuff really quickly which is what you like to see. Early on, you see a mistake. But you see less and less throughout time. So, hopefully once we get into OTA's we can start seeing in a team atmosphere, we can see a really good evaluation."
Witten: "I think it starts with Zeke. I think the last two weeks, been out there with the teaching sessions with him. It's been impressive about how he's gone about it. So, you can tell that he's polished and he's smooth. You don't want to over analyze it yet. We're not even in pads. But I think everyone is working the right way. I think they're going to come in and he's going to be a good asset for this football team."
Martin: "We haven't spent a whole lot of time with the rookies, but it looks like all of the guys are coming in there and working. Obviously he's a special talent. We took him that high. So, obviously we're excited he's here."
MO, BRANDON, WHY DID YOU GUYS COME BACK TO DALLAS OR TAKE PAY CUTS TO BE HERE?
Mo Claiborne: "It's the only place I know. So, I'm used to the guys and the coaches. We have some tough fans, but I still love them all. I wouldn't rather play for anybody else."
Carr: "You know my family first and foremost. We’ve been here for four years. My kids absolutely love the community, love the city of Dallas. My teammates, of course. Those are my brothers. We spent four hard years, been through some things here and just the community. The foundation. I felt strongly I needed to stay here for my foundation, those schools that we have different programs in right now."