Cowboys fans are still seeing red over all the yellow from Saturday night. While the head coach admitted that penalties led to the benching of at least one veteran, the flagfest is simply the latest chapter in a story that followers of the team have become all too accustomed to under Mike McCarthy. One of the club’s former skippers weighs in with how he’d combat the issue, while one of the franchise’s legends maintains that it’s the only thing keeping this roster from all-time greatness.
Meanwhile, the outspoken Deion Sanders has things to say on who does and doesn’t belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, one outlet points a finger at the Dallas front office for the mess at offensive tackle, and another pleads the Joneses not to be tempted to fix the wide receiver shortage with one of the sport’s lightning rods. Five Cowboys represent the first round of camp cuts, the backup quarterback competition heats up, we give an update on who’ll practice this week, and a handful of rookies reveal the sometimes surprising stories behind their new jersey numbers. All that and more in News and Notes.
Mike McCarthy reveals why he benched Cowboys veteran last night :: The Spun
Among the Cowboys’ 17 penalties was a ticky-tack personal foul call on Dante Fowler for pushing an opposing player off a pile. Nonetheless, it got the veteran benched. “That’s a discipline penalty,” McCarthy told reporters after the game. “We can’t have that.” Truth be told, though, the 28-year-old probably wouldn’t have seen much more action at that point in the game anyway.
17 penalty-game shows continuation of Cowboys' undisciplined play under McCarthy :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys led the league in penalties this opening weekend of the preseason. It’s familiar territory; no NFL team has had more penalties since Mike McCarthy became the coach in Dallas. “Something is not being addressed,” said ESPN host and former Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears. “This has now become a Mike McCarthy issue. This ain’t about the preseason game.”
Might be time to 'embarrass’ Dallas Cowboys’ penalty-makers :: The 33rd Team
Wade Phillips has some old-school thoughts on how he’d hold players accountable after drawing as many flags as his former Cowboys team did Saturday. The ex-coach isn’t beyond embarrassing guilty parties by calling them out in front of teammates and even taking them off the field during practice.
Michael Irvin believes only penalties hold Cowboys back from history :: Kevin Gray Jr. (Twitter)
Michael Irvin on Cowboys penalties:
“If the Dallas Cowboys clean up these penalties, they will be chasing the (undefeated) 1972 Miami Dolphins. …
“Did I say something crazy?”
— Kevin Gray Jr. (@KevinGraySports) August 15, 2022
Cowboys make 5 cuts, including spring FA signing, to get down to 85 players :: Cowboys Wire
One day ahead of the deadline to get to 85 players, the Cowboys have axed cornerback Kyron Brown, fullback Ryan Nall, tight end Ian Bunting, undrafted rookie wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, and defensive tackle Austin Faoliu. All but Faoliu have an injury designation, leaving the door open to an IR slot if unclaimed.
Anthony Barr to practice, updates on injured Cowboys :: Jon Machota (Twitter)
The plan is for LB Anthony Barr to take part in individual drills this week for first time since joining the Cowboys. Still yet to be determined when QB Will Grier (groin) will return. Safety Jayron Kearse (back) will not practice this week. LT Tyron Smith (ankle) will practice.
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 16, 2022
How shortened preseason creates a real dilemma for Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys :: Dallas Morning News
The three-game preseason means that teams can hit Week 1 with their starters either completely healthy, or totally primed for action… but not both. With Prescott not playing in the preseason, all but two of his wide receivers on opening night will be new faces with whom he will have had no live-game snaps against actual opponents. The small sample of plays he gets either Saturday night in Los Angeles or next Friday against Seattle will be it.
Rush to Judgement? What's next for backup QBs? :: The Mothership
Will Grier may have increased his odds of getting the QB2 job without even suiting up. Cooper Rush failed to impress in Denver, going 12-for-20 with 84 yards and an interception, but Ben DiNucci surprised in the second half as he engineered the Cowboys’ only score, totaling 112 yards and a 99.0 QB rating. Grier will likely be in the mix against the Chargers and could start Saturday night. But last year at this time, Garrett Gilbert was the favorite to backup Dak Prescott, so anything can still happen.
The first preseason game highlighted how poorly the Cowboys handled tackle depth this offseason :: Blogging the Boys
Tyron Smith has never played a full season in the Dak Prescott era, and is already limping after the game at Denver. That puts even more pressure on Terence Steele on the right side. La’el Collins is gone, rookie Matt Waletzko got hurt early in camp, and Josh Ball looked in over his head on Saturday. But the team seems to think everything at the tackle position is just fine.
Studs and Duds: Cowboys backups inconsistent, but promising :: Cowboys Wire
The run defense gave up just 1.8 yards per carry Saturday night, allowing only one rush over five yards. The Cowboys’ own run game rolled, too, to the tune of 119 yards. Ben DiNucci looked good, as did the team’s young defenders. Cooper Rush and the Dallas pass protection have room for improvement.
Clarence Hill: Antonio Brown not answer to Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver issues :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
This is not Terrell Owens all over again. Despite his public overture for Jerry Jones to sign him, the polarizing Antonio Brown is not the player he once was. He’s not worth the trouble that always follows him, and rookie wideout Jalen Tolbert’s lackluster debut over the weekend isn’t reason enough to change that. There are plenty of proven and reliable veterans who can be a stopgap for Dallas until Michael Gallup and James Washington are healthy again.
Deion Sanders thinks the Hall of Fame is being watered down with too many players :: ProFootballTalk
The Hall of Fame cornerback went off on what he sees as a too-crowded bust room in Canton. “My jacket [has] got to be a different color,” Sanders said. “My head doesn’t belong with some of these other heads that’s in the Hall of Fame.” He complained in a video interview that enshrinement has become a “free-for-all” and should be reserved for “game-changers” only.
HBCU Football: Rookies making a statement in NFL training camps :: Sports Illustrated
Florida A&M’s Markquese Bell is among this year’s crop of HBCU talents looking to earn an NFL roster spot. He’s impressed coaches in Dallas and has an excellent shot to make it past final cuts. He’s far from the only one, though. There are HBCU alums in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, and Jacksonville all looking to make a statement as a rookie.
NFL QB Betrayal Index: Drew Brees, Justin Herbert and Tony Romo top the list :: The Athletic
The QB Betrayal Index attempts to quantify which passers have been most let down by their supporting casts, using the difference between expected points added (EPA) for both offense and defense/special teams. A sizable discrepancy between the two equals higher QB betrayal; the quarterback did his job but was failed by the rest of the team. Dak Prescott placed 13th out of 54 quarterbacks; Tony Romo finished third.
What's behind the number? 15 rookies explain why they chose their NFL uniform number :: ESPN
Though the football newcomer didn’t even know who Troy Aikman was when he got drafted, Cowboys rookie Jalen Tolbert found out pretty quickly he wouldn’t be wearing his collegiate No. 8 in Dallas; No. 18 will have to do. Sam Williams thought he could wear No. 7 or No. 13 until he realized pro teams aren’t allowed to double up on numbers. And it was Tyron Smith who inspired Chargers guard Zion Johnson to choose No. 77.
Cowboys will return to Oxnard for bulk of training camp through 2025 :: Dallas Morning News
The team leaves Oxnard on Tuesday, but they’ve reached an agreement to return to their summer home in California for another three years. This was the Cowboys’ 16th training camp in Oxnard.