Here are five things we learned about the Dallas Cowboys at Saturday's boxing title fight at the Ford Center, including owner Jerry Jones' thoughts on Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, David Irving and the team's health after OTAs and minicamp.
1. Quarterback Dak Prescottjoined the Showtime Championship Boxing telecast before IBF Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr. made quick work of Carlos Ocampo at the Ford Center on Saturday night and said the Cowboys were going to be an exciting team that will surprise a lot of people, despite the losses of tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant.
“We’re going to be an exciting team this year,” Prescott said. “A lot of new faces. I think you are going to find we have a lot of new guys on this team, within this organization, that can make plays. We plan on surprising a lot of people.”
2. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is one person who won’t be surprised by anything Prescott and the Cowboys do in 2018.
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Jones said he wakes up every day feeling better and better about Prescott.
Jones actually believes the overhauled receiver corps, minus Dez Bryant, with new coach Sanjay Lal and a number of new additions will help Prescott be a better quarterback.
He said the receivers will be where they are supposed to be, running precise routes, which fits Prescott’s strength of going through his progressions and throwing to the open receiver.
A Jones fight night quotable: “If you do right, Dak will do really right.”
Jones believes the receivers will do right and be where they suppose to be. He also believes Prescott the runner will show up more in 2018 against the boxes stacked to stop running back Ezekiel Elliott.
In addition to Lal, Jones is just as excited about the additions of offensive line coach Paul Alexander and secondary coach Kris Richard.
He said the upgrades to the coaching staff will pay huge dividends.
3. Speaking of Ezekiel Elliott, when asked if trusted Elliott would stay out of trouble over the next five weeks before the start of training camp, Jones said he trusted Elliott as much as “he trusts himself."
He said he still needs a talking to to stay on the straight and narrow, sometimes daily.
Jones said there is a new sense of awareness with Elliott after the issues of last year and he believes Elliott will be fine heading into camp.
Irving has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Gregory has applied for reinstatement to the league after being suspended in 2016 for repeated violations of the substance abuse policy.
He was suspended for the first four games last year for taking a banned substance.
There's seemingly always been something with Irving but his talent warrants patience from Jones. He had seven sacks in eight games last year. If he produces at that clip for 12 games in 2018, Jones will take it.
And he will take Gregory back in a heartbeat if the NFL reinstates him in time for the start of training camp on July 24.
5. The thing that excited Jones most about OTAs and minicamp was the health of his team. More specifically, Jones is giddy over the lack of soft tissue injuries, like hamstring and groin strains, that have plagued the Cowboys for years.
The Cowboys made a point of changing how they work out to ensure the players will be healthy for training camp and most importantly the start of the season.
Jones is still frustrated with how hamstring injuries set back then-rookie cornerbacks Chido Awuzie and Jordan Lewis last season.
He said the Cowboys will continue to be smart about injuries in training camp and the preseason.
Jones said it has brought him full circle to when the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys used to practice together in the 1990s and late Raiders owner Al Davis stopped practice one day after the workouts got too physical, saying the goal was to have his players available for the season and not leave it all out on the practice field in Austin.