Saturday, August 1, 2015, 7:03pm
Romo had a sty below his left eye treated after Thursday’s walk-through and did not take part in the afternoon practice. The sty had been troubling Romo for a little bit and the decision was made to treat it so it would not be an issue as camp progresses.
“I don’t want to get into specifics of what we did, but we don’t think it’s a major thing and we do anticipate him practicing today,” coach Jason Garrett said.
The search for DeMarco Murray’s replacement will go on without Darren McFadden practicing at the start of training camp. On Thursday, he was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury.
McFadden, 27, was dealing with the hamstring injury in organized team activities in June. He was limited then and doing rehab work on the side during competitive drills. McFadden can be removed from the active/PUP list once he is medically cleared. He can then practice immediately.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old McFadden hasn't cracked 3.5 YPC since the 2011 season, when he ran for 614 yards on 113 carries (5.4 YPC) in seven games. That's the rub with McFadden -- fantasy owners haven't been able to count on his durability. He has missed roughly a quarter of his team's games since entering the league. We believe he’ll serve as a change-of-pace/3rd-down back behind Joseph Randle.
Four months after Jones raved over Darren McFadden as still possessing the "kinds of skills that got him drafted with the fourth pick," the Cowboys owner and general manager spent Wednesday praising McFadden's competition, Joseph Randle.
"We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential -- and we based that on, not on what he did at Oklahoma State or how we drafted him, but by literally being a teammate around here for the last two years -- but he has the potential to be the kind of back that would step in there and be your No. 1 back," Jones told reporters. "If he were not here, then I wouldn't feel as good as we go into the season and what might happen."
He was highly effective (6.7 YPC) in 2014 and is reportedly showing more maturity after several off-the-field issues. He's not going to see a DeMarco Murray-type workload, but 225-250 carries is feasible if he wins the lead back job, and it appears he will.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 11:46am
He was fourth in the running back chase to replace DeMarco Murray behind Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar. Williams had two arthroscopic surgeries on his knee in the offseason, the most recent coming after the Cowboys' June minicamp.
Williams spent last year on the Cowboys' practice squad, spurning chances late in the season to join other teams' active rosters. The Cowboys rewarded him with a two-year deal that included a $240,000 signing bonus.
There was some consternation, both among fans and media, that the Cowboys lost an integral part of their offense when running back DeMarco Murray signed with the Eagles. But the price -- a five-year, $42 million deal ($21 million guaranteed) -- was prohibitive and the Cowboys were right to look for running back help elsewhere.
A lot can happen between the start of training camp and the regular season, and the Cowboys will no doubt be on the lookout for backs that can help them. And that list could include Chris Johnson, the former Titans first-round pick who struggled with the Jets last season and remains unsigned.
If the Johnson-Cowboys rumors sound familiar, they should; CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora wrote earlier this month that several NFL executives brought up Dallas as a possible landing spot for Johnson. And Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said in May that Johnson was on the team's short list, according to the story. It could be significant news for those targeting, or looking to keep, Joseph Randle.
One of the main Giants storylines to watch heading into training camp is the status of Odell Beckham Jr.'s hamstring injury, which kept him off the practice field for a good portion of the team's offseason program. The good news is that Beckham seems to be on the mend.
In a sit-down interview with the NFL Network's Kim Jones, Beckham was asked about his health status, one year after he missed all of training camp, preseason, and the first four regular season games with a strained hamstring.
"It feels a lot better actually," Beckham said. "I would rather be healthy than anything else. I just don't want to go through that, what I had to go through again last year, and not just for myself – just for this team."
Not exactly the most revealing answer, but Beckham added that the plan is for him to be 100 percent by the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The guess here is that he will have his practice reps monitored throughout camp.
Beckham said that the Pro Bowl that he actually had two tears in his hamstring which didn’t fully heal during the season. If true, then perhaps he has just scratched the surface on his full potential. Once his season started in Week 5, he averaged 17.2 FP (standard) and 24.8 FP (PPR), which was the best in the league in both scoring systems. The only (minor) concerns are his current hamstring injury, and a potential sophomore slump if teams are able to find a way to slow him down.
Nick: I think there are a few good battles, but I don’t know how any of them compare to running back. It’s not only the most wide-open, but the highest-profiled position as well. I think Joseph Randle will get the early nod but something tells me Darren McFadden will end up getting more carries. And the way this team uses Lance Dunbar will be interesting. So to me, it’s running back all the way.
Bryan: Running back. I have put my eggs in the McFadden basket but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see one of the other backs step up and have the type of camp that makes this front office and coaching staff sit up and take notice.
We believe that Randle is certainly the better option at this point, but Broaddus and Eatman both think that McFadden still has the better chance to lead the team in carries. Randle's ADP has climbed into the 4th round, so he's a risky pick at that point in the draft given this uncertainty.
It's a very similar deal to what Dez Bryant got in Dallas, and it shouldn't be too shocking the announcements came just a short time apart. Bryant's signing bonus is a bit higher, however. There were some rumors the Broncos and Thomas weren't close to a deal leading up to today, and we even had a news item earlier this week the Broncos weren't in a hurry to sign Thomas to a long-term deal with a chance QB Peyton Manning retires after this season. Also yesterday, it was reported there was a real chance Thomas would not report to camp and could also miss games. Thomas is ranked third on our WR list, but is often getting drafted outside the first round and after Dez Bryant. However we project him as one of three WRs to go over 100 receptions this season. Like Bryant owners and potential owners, those protecting or eyeing Thomas in fantasy drafts can relax a bit.
The Dallas Cowboys and their franchised-tagged star wideout Dez Bryant have hammered out a long-term contract ahead of Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. Bryant agreed in principle to a five-year, $70 million deal with $45 million guaranteed, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. While nowhere close to the $16 million per year earned by Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Bryant's $14 million average per season exceeds the $12.82 million he would have made in 2015 by signing his franchise tag. The new pact puts to bed a summer-long drama that saw negotiations flatline between Dallas and Bryant.
Bryant is coming off a monster campaign that saw him set a career mark with 16 touchdowns, and he rolls into September as the heart and soul of a Cowboys offense, especially now with RB DeMarco Murray leaving for the Eagles. Bryant has emerged over five seasons as a top-five NFL wideout, both in real life and the fantasy world. We rank Bryant fourth on our WR list, but he's getting drafted as a top-three fantasy WR, and in the first round. Owners and potential owners can now rest easy because Bryant had threatened to miss camp and games if no long-term deal was reached. He should be poised for another big season as the center point of the Dallas offense, especially with the questions surrounding the running game.
You’ve heard about the 30-30 club. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell could redefine it. 30-20.
Less than 30 sacks for Roethlisberger, more than 20 carries a game for Bell.
These are modest goals that can vault the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense from a high-yardage attack to possibly the league’s most potent one.
Last season felt like a breakthrough for Pittsburgh’s offense, not only because of its 6,577 total yards -- second in the NFL behind the Saints -- but for Roethlisberger’s best sack rate since 2005. His 33 sacks in 16 games symbolized progress for a quarterback who’s been sacked nearly twice as much as Tony Romo. Romo has 242 sacks in nine seasons as starter, and Roethlisberger has 419 sacks in 11 years.
Less hits will equal a longer career for the 33-year-old Roethlisberger. And though Todd Haley’s offense protects quarterbacks with a quick passing game, the Steelers’ running game can make that transition easy for Roethlisberger, the story added. It doesn't hurt that Bell has emerged into one of the better do-it-all backs in the league and the addition of DeAngelo Williams as a backup should help the run game. This news could make Bell a bit more attractive to fantasy owners, even with a looming suspension to start the season.
The coaches lauded the work of Terrance Williams in Bryant's absence during the offseason program. Williams became the de facto leader of the wide receiver room. He and QB Tony Romo were much more in-tune with each other.
"He's not only taken a tremendous leadership role in the group, really setting the example of how you do things, he's expanded his route inventory," wide receivers coach Derek Dooley said at the conclusion of last month's minicamp. "He's played X. He's played Z. He's played in the slot and every day he went out there and was the same player. Every route, every opportunity he had he took advantage of it. So he's made a big jump this offseason."
Devin Street worked with the starters with Bryant absent. He had just two catches as a rookie in 2014 but the coaches liked his development through the year. Getting the extra work with Romo in the spring will help his development this year. Coaches say players make the biggest jumps between their rookie and second seasons. While any work would have been good work for Street, having that work come with Romo is an added bonus.
While there's still time before the July 15 deadline, it doesn't hurt fantasy owners to at least think about life without Bryant on the fantasy radar and what it could mean for other players' value. The story went on to say WR Cole Beasley would continue to serve as the No. 3 receiver in the slot, so his role would essentially be the same, but it could change how much the Cowboys use three wide receiver formations. The article added that tight end Gavin Escobar could be used more in a receiver role, which would likely eat more into Street's snaps than Beasley's.
Just like in the game of cards, jokers are amazing weapons in football because they don’t fit into the book easily when it comes to figuring out ways to defend them.
It is often used to describe the difficult to handle tight ends, but I think we can also list the running backs who aren’t actually running backs. Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush, maybe even Randall Cobb, and yes, the Cowboys hope, Lance Dunbar is at least a “poor man’s” version of that. He is listed as a running back, but if we judge him as running backs are judged, we will quickly be underwhelmed with his running the ball (especially inside) and his pass protection. Both are just not up to the NFL grade.
This is a very detailed story breaking down Dunbar's strengths and weaknesses. The article goes on to say the Cowboys remain convinced that his role must be expanded as a weapon used in ways that are simply difficult to account for by a defense. The author added Dunbar as a runner has a 2-year track record of A) not getting the ball as a RB and B) not being productive enough to compel the staff to give him the ball more. But, he pointed out a Dunbar-led attack helped to knock off Seattle on the road last year, however he wasn't used much after that. The story also says his pass protection is suspect and the team doesn't appear to want to simply hand him the ball as a RB. He's capable of big plays, but probably not consistent fantasy points. Joseph Randle is ranked 24th on our RB list and is expected to at least split carries with Darren McFadden.
Monday, July 13, 2015, 5:06pm
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, there have been no talks about an extension between Jones and the team.
The good news here is Jones already promised he wasn’t going to be “selifsh” and hold out, unlike another situation, the story points out. Jones is a late-first, early-second round selection in fantasy drafts this year.
The Cowboys and wide receiver Dez Bryant face a July 15 deadline to work out a multi-year contract extension and Bryant is reportedly doing what he can to turn up the heat on the team with Wednesday fast approaching. Ed Werder of ESPN reports that Bryant called Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones with an ultimatum about contract talks. Per Werder, Bryant told Jones that he will skip training camp if he isn’t signed to a deal other than the franchise tag by the deadline. Bryant also reportedly said that his absence from the team will extend to “real games” when the season gets underway in September.
Depending on where you get your information, some say the sides are close, while others say they are still far apart. As the story said, it’s not the first time that the prospect of Bryant missing games has come up this offseason, but no one from the Cowboys seemed to take the threats all that seriously. Perhaps this will change things as we head into Wednesday's deadline. Bryant took it a step further Monday tweeting out: "As much as I love football...on my beautiful babies.. I apologize #cowboynation but I will not be there if no deal #fact."
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 6:51pm
The Broncos placed their $12.82 million franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas in March and have until 2 p.m. on July 15 to secure a long-term deal. If not, Thomas can sign the one-year contract and play on the guaranteed tag this season. Elway sits two-for-two in these situations, having worked out deals with kicker Matt Prater and left tackle Ryan Clady. Going three-for-three represents a challenge even for a former top Major League Baseball prospect like Elway. The sides began discussing an extension a year ago but have been unable to bridge the gap. Thomas ranks among the game's elite. The Broncos have said they want to sign him long term. However, they would like it at a fair cost that represents a compromise by both sides.
The author says: the Broncos are attempting, it appears, to find a balance between respect and restraint. They know Thomas is a playmaker. The also know Thomas is better than Mike Wallace, the game's second-highest paid receiver with $30 million guaranteed on his contract. They also realize that the entire industry views the contract of top-paid wideout Calvin Johnson, whom Thomas has said he believes he's better than, as an outlier. It has tangled the web with Dez Bryant's talks with the Cowboys; he's in the same franchise-tag situation as Thomas. Thomas is third on our WR list but his ADP shows he's been the fourth WR off the board at the position. We project him for 106 catches and over 1,500 yards.
- Page 1