Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys won’t let decal denial derail unity message

Dak Prescott is ready to make the most of his first opportunity Saturday.
Dak Prescott is ready to make the most of his first opportunity Saturday. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Owner Jerry Jones told reporters he understood the NFL’s decision to not allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear the “Arm-in-Arm” decal in the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.

So did coach Jason Garrett and tight end Jason Witten.

The Cowboys unveiled the decal before their first training camp practice, walking out “arm-in-arm” with Dallas city and police officials including Mayor Mike Rawlings, police chief David Brown and families of four of the five police officers killed last month.

The Cowboys used the moment to show “unity” and have worn the decal throughout training camp. They hoped to carry it into the preseason, but were denied by the league.

“What’s really important is what we tried to do, and that’s to unite that community, our community, and show that support for those families and really honor the leadership of our city,” said Witten, who spearheaded the ceremony.

“I think that decal not being on the helmet is not going to stop that. It’s going to continue to do that not only now but in the future as we move forward. As players and an organization that is something we’re going to continue to support.”

Dez elite?

Dez Bryant considers himself among the top wide receivers in the game, but Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t seem to agree right now.

Nine receivers have better odds than Bryant to lead the league in receiving, according to Bovada. Bryant is in a group of six receivers with 33-to-1 odds, along with Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas.

The odds-on favorite is Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown at 2-to-1. Atlanta’s Julio Jones (3/1), New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. (15/2) and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins (10/1) are also among the favorites.

In an interview with the NFL Network on Wednesday, Bryant seemed determined to reclaim his spot among the elite receivers in the game.

“There’s only one thing I’ve got to go out there and do, that’s go out there and be me,” Bryant said. “I love Antonio Brown. I love Julio Jones. I love Odell Beckham. I put myself up there with those guys as well.

“But it’s not all about me sitting here talking. I’m just going to go out there and show them. That’s something I’m real damn good at doing.”

Bryant is coming off a forgettable year in which he dealt with foot, ankle and knee injuries. He posted career-lows in receiving yards (401), touchdowns (3) and games played (9).

But Bryant is showing signs of having a bounce-back year and may be a smart bet to realistically pull off the feat in leading the league in receiving yards.

Bryant made another spectacular one-handed catch during team drills Thursday, splitting cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Byron Jones, in hauling in Tony Romo’s pass in the back of the end zone.

It’s those types of plays that have Romo and coach Jason Garrett buzzing about Bryant being back healthy.

“You’re seeing flashes of him,” Romo said Wednesday. “I think by the end of the week he’s going to be Dez Bryant again, if he’s not already there. It’s all about getting yourself in great physical condition and pushing yourself every day. We know how talented he is.”

Youngsters ready

All eyes will be on the Cowboys’ young quarterbacks when they open the preseason Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Can Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers carry the positive signs they’ve shown so far in training camp into game action?

Prescott and Showers both know this will likely mark their most extensive playing time in a game situation in the preseason, and are embracing the moment.

“Every opportunity is a chance for me to go out there, put my best on the line and get better,” Prescott said. “I’ve got to be ready for every moment.”

For now, Prescott is the Cowboys’ backup quarterback. Team brass have said multiple times they are comfortable for the time being having Prescott serve as Romo’s backup in the wake of Kellen Moore going down with a broken right fibula.

But Prescott must show he can handle game situations, as Showers must.

“If I got out there timid and late on throws, it’ll just show I’m not ready,” Showers said. “And I am ready. I’m going to get a lot of playing time this game, so I need to show that I have control of the offense, that I know what I’m doing and I’m confident in myself. Just have fun and play.”

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