Dallas Cowboys

Besides Dak and Zeke goals, here are 5 other things we learned about the Cowboys

Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is no longer wearing the brace for drop foot and he is hopeful of being better than he was at Notre Dame when he was considered a top five draft talent and the best linebacker in college football.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is no longer wearing the brace for drop foot and he is hopeful of being better than he was at Notre Dame when he was considered a top five draft talent and the best linebacker in college football. Associated Press

Quarterback Dak Prescott wants to be the best quarterback in Dallas Cowboys history.

And running back Ezekiel Elliott not only plans to have a good year but hopes to be even better than before.

Here are five other things we learned about the Cowboys this week:

1. Linebacker Jaylon Smith reiterated that he has worked without the brace for drop foot since the beginning of the offseason. He said he feels good and hopes not to have to wear it during the season. He is not only shooting to get back to 100 percent after missing all of his rookie season in 2016 because of a knee injury he suffered in his final game at Notre Dame. But he also hopes to be better and faster than he was at Notre Dame when he was considered a top five draft talent and a possible future all-pro.

Linebacker Jaylon Smith gets high marks for hard work and positive attitude recovering from a college knee injury. He is set to get his chance to play Saturday. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)

"From the start, people thought I'd never be able to play the game again," Smith said. "I've been able to accomplish that, and each and every day I've gotten better. Last year, each game I improved. I'm getting there. I'm going to be better than Notre Dame 100 percent -- my overall knowledge of the game has improved each and every day and [I'm physically] going to improve as well."

2. Byron Jones is ecstatic about his move from safety to cornerback and he absolutely loves the addition of secondary coach Kris Richard. He agrees with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli who said Richard might be the team’s best offseason addition.

“He is great,” Jones said. “His energy is contagious throughout the meeting room. He is a smart guy. We love him. We like the passion he brings to the game. He is going to make a big impact this season. You can already feel it.”

Richard said he liked Jones at cornerback when he was scouting him at Connecticut before the Cowboys drafted him in the first round of the 2015 draft and moved him to safety. Jones said he is getting comfortable at the new position.

“He said he likes long rangy corners,” Jones said. “I am the perfect player for what he wants”

3. Guard Zack Martin is still waiting on the long-term contract extension that the Cowboys have been promising him the past two offseasons. He admits it’s a nuisance that it hasn’t gotten done but allows he is able to cope better because he is back working with his teammates and focusing on football in the offseason program and coming OTAs.

“It’s been better now that we are in the facility with the guys,” Martin said. “I don’t think about it now because I am with those guys working out. And it’s kind of back to normal. We will see. Hopefully it gets done. We will see where it goes.”

4. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is focused and excited about the season. He thinks the defensive line is as deep as it’s been in a long time with the additions of Kony Ely and Jihad Ward.

“The sky is the limit for us,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence has also resigned himself to playing the franchise tag this season and not thinking about a long-term contract. He said if he plays as expected, the Cowboys will have no choice but to reward him.

“I don’t care about that,” Lawrence said of the franchise tag. “When the situation happened I discussed it. I feel like it is over now. I am playing. Why does it matter? If I do my thing, they have no choice but to sign me.”

Lawrence had a career-high 14.5 sacks in a breakout season for him in 2017.

5. Tackle Tyron Smith, who has missed six games the past two years with a variety of injuries and has been slowed by back problems the most, said he feels better than he has in a while.

Smith didn’t have any offseason surgeries. He has focused on rest and rehab and getting a jump on his workouts in hopes of preventing his past problems.

“I feel great right now,” Smith said. “I feel better than I did last year. It’s been a process trying to get back to where I was.”

Smith said the offensive line is learning new things and new techniques from new offensive line coach Paul Alexander, who replaced Frank Pollack in the offseason.

“He has been teaching us new things we haven’t seen before, and it’s been helping,” Smith said. “Every coach has their own technique, and we are learning what he likes.”

Dallas Cowboys players got on the baseball field for charity at the Seventh Annual Reliant Home Run Derby in Frisco, benefitting The Salvation Army Greater Metroplex Command. Each home run hit by the players earned money for the charity.

Clarence E. Hill Jr.: @clarencehilljr
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