FRISCO While you deal with the swelter, know that your Dallas Cowboys are (mostly) chilling in the Omni - 'Camp 1st & 10: '90% Luxury, 90-Degree Heat' ... The top 10 stories of the week as the Cowboys get on the field at The Star for training camp ...
1) COOL COWBOYS
Earlier this week Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said about 90 percent of the team was staying in The Omni Hotel, which is part of The Star campus in Frisco. It’s all part of the Cowboys’ idea of creating as much of a bubble as possible around the team.
Sufficed to say, gone are the days when NFL teams would spent their training camp in the dorms of a college campus isolated from their fans back at home.
Now, they’re isolated in the lap of luxury. How luxurious?
Need to relax? Hey’s there’s a pool deck and a bar (they’re gonna open anything for Jerry, right?). Plus, an outdoor fire pit for those nights when all they want to do is study the playbook (and you know Texas is the only place where the weather is hotter than the fire pit).
When the Cowboys are done with the training table, they can hit the restaurant or order room service, even at three in the morning for the lady friend they just snuck into the room (Seahawks fans get the joke, although for one Seahawk it’s not a joke).
By the way, if they did manage to sneak in that special friend and you need a gift, Jerry’s daughter, Charlotte, has a boutique.
When in their room, players can set the A/C to 68 degrees (because it’s damn hot outside), fire up the Keurig and have some coffee, put the valuables in the safe and relax on the sofa. Or, if they’re lucky enough to get a suite (and you KNOW Dak has a suite) check out that expanded seating area.
And, in a COVID world, that Omni Safe and Clean CDC-Certified means something.
So as you hope for the temperature to drop, know that your Cowboys are safe and sound in the Omni. Or at least 90 percent of them. At an average of about $242 a night for the rest of the month.
2) WELCOME EVERSON (NOT WALLS)
Earlier this week the Cowboys made a signing few expected, bringing in defensive lineman Everson Griffen on a one-year contract.
This gives the Cowboys a potential defensive line with a set of Pro Bowlers with which few defensive lines can compare.
After the signing, our Mike Fisher broke it down, and his breakdown started like this:
If this was all about a football team on paper, the Dallas Cowboys could start clearing the way for a sixth Super Bowl trophy on display here in the lobby at The Star in Frisco. Everson Griffen represents just the latest in a deep harvest of star-quality offseason "gets'' by the Joneses, Will McClay and (very importantly) new coach Mike McCarthy and his staff.
Indeed, McCarthy and the staff qualify themselves as "gets.''
But the latest prize, Everson Griffen, is a fine example of how football isn't just about "names'' and "paper.'' There are upsides to the four-time Pro Bowler's acquisition - three major ones ... and there are downsides.
3) DAK FACES THE MEDIA
Dak Prescott's immediate reflection upon the expiration of the July 15 opportunity to create a long-term deal with the Dallas Cowboys? "Grateful and blessed.''
And now, with a month having passed, a $31.409 million contract and football underway, while addressing the media for the first time via Wednesday's virtual training-camp-opening press conference, the franchise QB's reflection?
"I'm excited as hell to be a Dallas Cowboy,'' Prescott said. "I've been a fan of this organization for years. I love every bit of the platform I get to be the quarterback here. No frustration as far as that.
"I believe something will get done. With my hopes, I believe I'll be a Dallas Cowboy for the rest of my career."
Those were the opening four paragraphs to our Mike Fisher’s story on Prescott, who faced the Dallas media (virtually, of course) for the first time since the start of training camp. Prescott said he wants to be a Cowboy “for life” and see no reason why that can’t happen. I wrote about the Cowboys’ need to get Prescott signed long-term a couple of weeks ago in this space, after a week of breaking down the options that might be available to the Cowboys in 2021 if their relationship with Prescott broke down. You can read it here.
My mind hasn’t changed. Sounds like Prescott’s hasn’t either. Fish has all the details here.
Prescott talked about a wide range of topics during his press conference, but two other ancillary items are worth noting, too.
First, Prescott’s agent, Todd France, and his employer, Creative Arts Agency, parted ways. Fish reported on that and broke down what it means. One thing to keep in mind is that CAA is one of the largest organization of sports and talent agents around, so losing France, on the surface, doesn’t sound big. But France joined CAA as their sports division co-head and was considered their No. 1 football agent. He also represented DeAndre Hopkins, Fletcher Cox and Aaron Donald. Still, this doesn’t feel like a Jerry Maguire moment. France will, likely, remain Prescott’s agent.
Second, the Joneses — namely Jerry and Stephen — are more convinced than ever that they can get a deal done with Prescott, for what that’s worth.
But remember — they can’t start negotiating until after this season.
4) THIS WEEK AT TRAINING CAMP
The Cowboys ramped up to prepare for their first practices at The Star in Frisco on Friday, so, yes, The ’75-Member Staff’ was all over it.
First, if you’re into really early looks at starting lineups, we have that, based on how the Cowboys lined up during that first workout.
Then, due to DeMarcus Lawrence's talent, stature and personality, he is among the leaders of the Dallas Cowboys locker room. But the boss in the Lawrence home?
“She basically told me there’s no way possible that I could miss this season, so we’ll have to sacrifice and do whatever we have to do to survive and be a great family,” Lawrence said, referring to wife Sasha's pregnancy and the Lawrences' decision for Tank to play on despite the COVID-19 threat. “My wife is taking care of home.”
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Meanwhile, we take a trip back to March, when the Washington Football Team was ACTUALLY courting Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper in free agency. Ultimately, Cooper re-signed, and he talked about why he did so, and it has something to do with the ‘value of America’s Team?’ who would have thought?
Our Bri Amaranthus wondered out loud if there were two rookies that could make the Cowboys’ starting lineup come September. And they’re the two most likely suspects, but it’s worth discussing.
Meanwhile, Mike Fisher explored the idea of some Cowboys playing different positions than they did a year ago. Fish outlined three potential candidates and explained why they could be in different places on the field.
5) COWBOYS BLITZCAST: TRANSLATING MCCARTHY AND XFL UPDATE
Welcome to the ‘The Blitzcast – A Dallas Cowboys Podcast by Drunk Sports in partnership with CowboysSI.com.’ “BigRed” Lance Dorsett, Timm “IndyCarTim” Hamm, Colby Sapp and Chris Bussell are your hosts as we discuss all things Dallas Cowboys and all things NFL. Special thanks to our sponsors, CowboysSI.com and The Maverick Bar at 1616 Hebron!
On today's show we discuss coach Mike McCarthy's first official meeting with the team, and as he describes it, their "unique opportunity" for this season. A kicker is "kicked to the curb,'' and do the Cowboys need Ray Finkle in camp?
We also discuss the possibility of the "new" XFL 3.0, as the league was purchased by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital purchase the team for $15 million. Mark Perry from XFLNewsHub.com (@XFLNewsHub) joins the show to discuss the purchase of the league, the possible plans for the future, and if there will be XFL football in 2021.
6) COWBOYS RESPOND TO RACIAL JUSTICE INITIATIVES
Part of the thread of sports in 2020 is the pursuit of racial justice, especially for players in a league that is predominantly made up of African-Americans. The Cowboys are the game’s most recognizable franchise and this week both the head coach and the owner addressed it.
”I know for me personally, it’s made me take a hard look at the blind spots that I may have in my life from my experiences,” McCarthy said. “One thing I do know, and we continue to echo to everybody involved in football operations, is to take a step back. I think we all need to listen more. How can we really be part of the progress?”
At the time our Mike Fisher wrote that piece on Aug. 10, he referenced the fact that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been quiet on the issue. That silence ended the next day, when Jones had his first call with the Dallas media, as Fisher reported.
"Everybody understands where I stand with the flag,'' a demonstrably more open-minded Jones said as part of a lengthy opening statement. "Everybody also understands where I stand on backing our players. ... My job is to do what's right. I want to show the world that I can deal with grace and come up with the right solution.''
Fish noted that Jones has met with at least three presidents, along with a conversation with at least one big sponsor, Bank of America, on public courses of action.
As Fish noted, this is a marked change for Jones from the past. Here’s hoping it sticks.
7) WILL YOU, THE FAN, BE AT COWBOYS GAMES THIS YEAR?
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones believes you will be.
"The Dallas Cowboys plan on playing all of our football games and we plan on playing them in front of our fans.''
8) WHITT'S END: MY WALK THROUGH COWBOYS HQ WITH SOME 'GRACE'
Jerry Jones’ “grace” was worth the wait. After remaining deafeningly silent for four months on everything from Dak Prescott’s contract to America’s turbulent social justice, the Dallas Cowboys owner on Wednesday promised to respond with “grace” to players that kneeled in protest during the National Anthem.
No matter which team you root for in today’s emotional climate, a little grace toward the opposite opinion will go a long way. Besides, Grace > Glory Hole.
9) TWEET OF THE WEEK
Get a College Football America Yearbook today and see what college football stars might be Cowboys in 2021.
10) AND ONE MORE
Not sure why the Calgary Flames needed to know that, but …