By Mike Fisher
FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) – Cowboys management pledged on the very first day of training camp in Oxnard to not repeat a mental mistake from 2015, when the organization’s mindset was to “stay afloat’’ while waiting on the return of injured players.
Maybe not coincidentally, the 2015 Cowboys finished 4-12.
Maybe not coincidentally, the 2016 Cowboys — playing all six games without Tony Romo and playing at times without an assortment of other front-line stars — are 5-1.
“We just want to keep this thing going forward,’’ owner Jerry Jones said after Dallas’ 30-16 win at Green Bay, “knowing in the NFL that the wheels could come off at any minute. So don’t want to get smug about this thing, but it feels good to see these young guys out here.”
The “young guys’’ include fourth-round pick Dak Prescott, the QB sensation who ranks fifth in passer rating in the NFL, first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott, the running back who leads the league with 703 rushing yards, sixth-round pick Anthony Brown playing the nickel corner in place of Orlando Scandrick, and youngsters like tackle Chaz Green, tight end Geoff Swaim, receiver Brice Butler and defensive lineman David Irving, all of whom have helped Dallas thrive while Romo and Dez Bryant and others heal up.
“These young players have gotten plenty of opportunities, both in the preseason and the early part of this season to play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think you have seen them get better day by day, week by week, and that’s an ongoing process. That’s our objective each and every day is to be better than we were yesterday. That’s what we try to put in front of our players, and they’ve responded well so far.”
The Cowboys will have a light workout today and then next week, following a bye, will get back Bryant (who tells me his knee will definitely allow him to play on Oct. 30 against the visiting Eagles) and a host of others. The bye week will also be good for Tank Lawrence (who had a good report on the Monday MRI on his shoulder), Tyron Smith (back), Dan Bailey (back) and Morris Claiborne (concussion).
“The bye,’’ Claiborne tells me, “comes at the perfect time.’’
And the approach up until the bye has been near-perfect, too.
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