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— Dak Prescott threw two interceptions just a few plays apart in a training camp practice Marcus Davenport Saints Jersey , including an ill-advised pass across the field to a receiver just a few yards from the line of scrimmage. Those picks, and the decisions that go with them, are under more scrutiny after the Dallas Cowboys‘ quarterback followed his remarkable rookie season with a somewhat pedestrian encore. And Prescott is among those doing the scrutinizing — each night at camp in the film room.
“When I go back, I’m being super-critical of myself, of the throws, of the placement, of where I should have went with the ball,” Prescott said Sunday. “I’m tough on myself. So when I go back tonight, all of that was OK, it’s got to better and this is why it’s got to better. And I take my notes and I move forward.”
With the release of three-time Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant and the retirement of 15-year tight end Jason Witten , Prescott is working with a revamped group of receivers and unproven batch of tight ends.
The resulting rough patches for the passing game after a week and a half in California aren’t surprising, but notable nonetheless considering how the offense usually appears to be ahead of the defense with the Cowboys this time of year.
“The best teams I’ve been on are where it’s back and forth all day and everybody is just competing and battling and no one really dominates the whole day Roquan Smith Bears Jersey ,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The other side competes back and challenges back and fights back. That’s what we’ve had really throughout training camp.”
There’s a reality facing Prescott, though.
Two years ago, he set an NFL rookie record for passer rating and was voted the league’s offensive rookie of the year for a team that finished with an NFC-best 13 wins. In 2017, the interceptions more than tripled (from four to 13), the passer rating dropped by almost 20 points and the Cowboys missed the playoffs at 9-7.
Some will point to running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations, which started halfway through the season just as Prescott and the Cowboys were looking good enough for another playoff trip.
Others will remind of injuries that sidelined left tackle Tyron Smith for three games, a big reason the offensive line didn’t live up to its reputation as one of the best in the league.
Regardless, the onus will be on Prescott to keep defenses honest with the Cowboys making no secret of building their offense around Elliott, Prescott’s fellow rookie star who led the NFL in rushing that season.
“We have a lot of knew kinks here and there that is going to help everything else,” Prescott said. “It’s going to help our running game. It’s going to help our play-action game out. As long as we’ve all bought into the offensive system, it is going to pay off.”
Of the two key free agents Dallas signed at receiver, Allen Hurns has missed some time with leg discomfort and Deonte Thompson hasn’t practiced at all because of Achilles heel soreness.
Terrance Williams A.J. Green Bengals Jersey , the second-longest tenured Dallas receiver behind Cole Beasley, is working back slowly from offseason surgery for a broken foot.
Rookie Michael Gallup, a third-rounder who was the team’s first draft choice at receiver after dumping Bryant, has shown promise in camp. That’s a sampling of the collection the Cowboys hope to use to replace Bryant — and develop a rapport with Prescott.
“It’s challenging, but it’s not tough,” Prescott said. “That is what you want. Those guys are going to be rotating in the game. So we have to go ahead and get in out here … so I can gain chemistry with all of them and figure out who is a guy I can call on in that time.”
The Cowboys have to decide how much time to give Prescott and his new receivers in the preseason, starting Thursday night at San Francisco.
Last year, with Prescott coming off his sparkling debut, he played just two exhibition games. If the Cowboys follow the same plan, Prescott will skip the 49ers game. But it would be easy to argue that the Dallas passing game needs the work.
“It is important for those guys to play together,” Garrett said. “You want to be a careful of putting them in the situation where it’s ultimately not going to be productive for your team. So you want to find your spots in practice and preseason games to get them quality work.”
The quality has been lacking at times in camp.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doubled down Wednesday on insisting that his players stand for the national anthem, declaring that he wouldn’t support anyone who chose to stay in the locker room. Speaking at his annual news conference to open training camp in California Kerryon Johnson Jersey , the outspoken billionaire became the first owner to say publicly that his players would not be allowed to stay off the field during the anthem.
”No,” Jones said when asked if he would support players staying in the locker room. ”Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line.”
Last week, the NFL and the players’ union agreed to suspend the rule approved by owners this spring that gave players the option of staying in the locker room while allowing teams to discipline players who took a knee or sat during the anthem.
The decision to begin negotiating on the issue came hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protested during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under team policy.
Last season, Jones was the first owner to declare that he would bench a player for protesting during the anthem. Two of his players – defensive linemen David Irving and Damontre Moore – raised their fists briefly as ”The Star Spangled Banner” ended but weren’t disciplined.
”I obviously wouldn’t dare speak for any of the other owners, much less in general about 31 other owners,” Jones said. ”As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, you know where I stand. Our team knows where I stand on the issue.”
The issue erupted in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. The demonstration spread to other players and teams.
The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009, the year it signed a marketing deal with the military. Jones had already owned the Cowboys for 20 years when players moved from the locker room to the field for the anthem.
Jones said he understood the point of view of players who say they aren’t protesting the flag or the military.
”This is a case where we need to in my mind check that and be real clear that it is, the priority is about the flag, and be real clear about that Cheap Marcus Davenport Jersey ,” Jones said. ”Sometimes it’s best to just be real clear and succinct so that nobody misunderstands. I think that’s our case.”
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys don’t have an anthem issue because his father has made his stance clear from the beginning.
”I do understand when you see the back and forth,” Stephen Jones said. ”But we’ve been consistent and we’ve never moved. Jerry’s never changed his stance once. I think he feels strongly about it.”
The younger Jones didn’t want to speak for the players when asked if Jerry Jones’ strong message is the reason none of his players have defied him.
”I was always brought up when you work for somebody and they’re the boss, you play by their rules,” Stephen Jones said.
Jones, who drew praise from President Donald Trump when he said last year that he would bench players, said Trump’s continuing involvement in the anthem issue is ”problematic” for the league.
Trump weighed in again after news of the Dolphins’ policy broke, tweeting ”The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand,” a reference to Roger Goodell.
”His interest in what we’re doing is problematic from my chair and I would say, in general, in the owner’s chairs Breeland Speaks Youth Jersey ,” Jerry Jones said. ”And unprecedented if you really think about it. But like the very game itself, that’s the way it is and we’ll deal with it. But, yes, everybody would like for it to go away.”
Unlike other sports organizations, the Cowboys haven’t distanced themselves from Papa John’s after founder and CEO John Schnatter was ousted over a racial slur.
Schnatter was already under fire for suggesting last year that the pizza company’s sluggish sales were a result of the controversy surrounding the anthem.
Jerry Jones, who has had a close relationship with Schnatter, said the Cowboys couldn’t cut ties with the company because of an ownership stake in Papa John’s stores. Stephen Jones said the team was linked to 50 stores in the Dallas area.
”I regret that for John,” Jerry Jones said. ”But at the end of the day we’ve got too many people, too many customers, too many people that we just need to do as good as we can do under the circumstances.”
NOTES: DE David Irving was placed on the ”did not report” list after getting clearance from the Cowboys to deal with personal issues. Jerry Jones said he didn’t expect Irving to attend camp for the three weeks the Cowboys are in California. … DT Maliek Collins (foot) was placed on the physically unable to perform list, while S Kavon Frazier and DE Randy Gregory are on the non-football injury list. Gregory was recently reinstated from a yearlong ban for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

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