Each weekend I provide 10 quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys. I delve into the Cowboys’ backup quarterback situation (as if no one’s done that already). Our Mike Fisher takes on Stephen A. Smith. Denzel Washington is in the house. And someone got a really interesting tattoo (not me) in this edition of First and 10.
1. You’ve probably been inundated with Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback information. So here’s some more — in five mini-points.
*You have to feel bad for Kellen Moore. He finally got a real chance to gain a legitimate standing in the NFL as a backup — this injury will cost him three or four months — and it goes out the door now. Moore is a free agent next year. I’ve seen this story unfold before. I doubt seriously Moore is a Cowboy in 2017.
*You better hope Tony Romo plays 16 games, given what’s behind him at this moment. I mean, you were hoping for that anyway. But, it’s serious now. The offensive line has to keep Romo as insulated as possible.
*The Cowboys botched this by not bringing in a veteran. Jerry Jones is usually very good about getting a veteran backup when he has a Pro Bowl-level quarterback (Troy Aikman or Tony Romo). This goes all the way back to Steve Beuerlein in the early 1990s. But the last two years they’re really underwhelmed. Brandon Weeden. Matt Cassel. Kellen Moore. And now they may have to pay through the nose to get Josh McCown. There’s no one to blame but the Cowboys on this one. And every day they wait the price goes up.
*Our Mike Fisher wrote a great premium piece on the quarterback situation, including weaving through all of their options and the timeline of the Cowboys going from “we need a vet” to “hey, you know, let’s see what the young guys have.” You can check it out right here with a premium subscription at CowboysHQ.com. (Hint No. 1: If you want the inside dope on the dopey Michael Vick rumor, this is where you get the good stuff. Hint No. 2: Josh McCown remains in Browns camp but remains in Cowboys play.)
*I think that Dak Prescott and Jameil Showers are going to get a lot of reps. And that’s a good thing when it comes to talent development. But the difference between four preseason games and the regular season is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon for rookies or second-year players who haven’t take a regular-season snap. Anyone who thinks that by September either of them would be ready to be a heartbeat away from starting for an injured Romo is drinking whatever “Jerry Poppins” is drinking (I’m gonna borrow that from Fish. Hope he doesn’t mind). Look, if either of these guys was good enough to start in the NFL this year they would have been first-round picks. Heck, even Tom Brady — perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time —wasn’t ready to roll in Year 1 as a sixth-round pick. Joe Montana — the other potential GOAT — was a third-round pick and sat for nearly two years behind Steve DeBerg. Prescott and Showers aren’t going to magically sprout into starters in a month.
2. Our Mike Fisher took ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to task on Facebook Live. To catch you up, Smith had some pointed comments about the Cowboys’ opening ceremonies at the start of training camp, which featured the Cowboys taking the field with members of the Dallas Police Department and families of those officers that died last month during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. The ceremony — which was spearheaded by tight end Jason Witten — was widely praised and underscored the solidarity the Dallas community has felt since that act of violence.
Smith connected that shooting last month with the off-the-field issues the Cowboys have had recently — specifically the suspensions of Rolando McClain, Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence. Smith’s comments:
“If you are America’s team, if you are the team with the star on your helmet, playing in that billion dollar playpen, I don’t blame you one bit for doing what you did yesterday in terms of locking arms, taking the picture, obviously what happened was in Dallas, so we understand the correlation there. But it just got me to thinking, that clearly, why you don’t wish this on anybody, and you know the Dallas Cowboys as an organization, as individual players, as a fan base, nobody wishes this to happen. Not if you got any kinda of decency. It just took me back a second and said you know what, If you have so much respect for the law, why don’t you try obeying it as an organization. Why don’t you try milking headlines for what you do on the football field instead of transgressions that continuously happen off the field.”
His point was … well … I actually don’t know what his point was. I mean the Cowboys’ desire to honor police officers and their families has absolutely nothing to do with the issues the Cowboys are experiencing off the field. Smith’s correlation of the two is so implausible that it doesn’t register as logic.
So our Mike Fisher took to Facebook Live the next day and, well, explained some things to Smith. And at nearly 92,000 views he’s obviously struck a nerve.
3. Andrew Gachkar is going to miss three-to-four weeks with a fractured thumb. Gachkar will undergo surgery. But it’s OK because Rolando McClain is gonna be back from Purple Drank suspension in … four months. Riiiiight.
Thank goodness the Cowboys signed Justin Durant when they did.
4. I had the chance to speak with Wess Moore and “Game On” on FoxSportsArkansas on Thursday. There was a lot of Cowboys talk of course, but we also talked about college football — specifically TCU — since the Horned Frogs are going to host the Arkansas Razorbacks in September and I cover the Big 12 for another site. We spent most of our time — surprise — talking about the Cowboys’ quarterback situation.
Give it a listen here and make sure you listen to Wess’ show from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. You can hear it live on Fox Sports Radio in Little Rock or on the Web at foxsportsarkansas.com.
5. CowboysCast is here to help wrap up the first full week of training camp. Our Mike Fisher talks with host Bobby Belt about something we’ve already discussed — Fish’s pointed words for ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. Fish and Bobby also debated the quarterback situation, which we’re going to debate to death until the Cowboys do something about it. Then, our Mark Lane joined Bobby to talk about some of the players that have impressed the team and the fans, including Darius Jackson, Brice Butler, and Morris Claiborne. Finally, Bobby managed to slip in Friday’s injury to linebacker Andrew Gachkar.
6. I’m encouraged by what I’ve heard about Morris Claiborne coming out of camp. It sounds like he’s playing with a renewed vigor and, more importantly, making more of the kinds of plays the Cowboys were expecting when they drafted him. It’s way early, but it appears as if the one-year contract may be having the effect I hoped it would have — incentivizing Claiborne to play his way into a longer-term deal. I’m not sure if I want that longer-term deal to be in Dallas just yet, though.
7. The Blue-White Scrimmage will be on Sunday. What I’m looking forward to the most is seeing whether this defensive line is able to get anywhere near the quarterback. I mean, they’re not going to hit anyone. But can they at least get there?
Maybe answers come before preseason Game 2, at home against Miami. Sources tell CHQ that's the target game fo Benson Mayowa as he comes back from minor knee surgery.
But for now? The Cowboys aren't going to play most of the front-line guys, including Zeke and a host of others. 105.3 The Fan will have live coverage and in fact, the Cowboys (and Texas Rangers) flagship station rolls all day Sunday starting at 10 a.m. DFW time with "FISHNATO,'' our Mike Fisher live from Oxnard with one-on-one visits with Dez Bryant and Tank Lawrence and Mo Claiborne and ... well, everybody.
8. It’s our Tweet of the Week:
I can understand doing something like that on your arm or your leg. At least you can cover that when you go to work. But your hand? That’s right out there, every day, man.
9. This week’s Great Moments in Headline Porn — “The Dallas Cowboys deny that Tony Romo is fat” from washingtonpost.com.
I expect better from the Post. This was just a bad camera angle (the photographer, Jon Machota, admitted as much). But read the story anyway because the Internet just took this thing and ran with it.
10. On a non-Cowboys note, I’m the editor of College Football America and our 2016 Yearbook is out now. Our yearbook is more than 300 pages, features more than 900 college football teams and previews more than 100 college conferences. If you’re looking to get ready for the college football season there is no better way. In fact our late publication date means we have more up-to-date information than other football annuals.
The print edition is available online via Amazon.com and other major retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. Additionally, an iBooks version for iPads and iPhones is available through Apple’s iTunes bookstore and the iBooks app. A Digital PDF version is available through Lulu.com and viewable on any tablet reader or computer that will support Adobe Reader. Prices start as low as $9.99.
One more thing. Dwight Freeney is no longer available. So there’s money for Rolando McClain and his “Purple Drank” but not for a guy who had eight sacks last year? Whatever.
A guy who is always available at Camp Cowboys is Hollywood legend Denzel Washington, who made an appearance on Saturday evening (along with his son, HBO's Ballers star JD Washington, himself a former football player in real life). Denzel spoke to the team about not wasting opportunities and about how "bad habits'' become "habits,'' he high-fived fans and spoke of Dallas making the playoffs and, Fish swears to goodness, he recited a blue line from one of his greatest roles ...
"Oh, you m-----f----ers!''