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#pounditSunday, September 20, 2020

Dallas Cowboys

Mike McCarthy: Controversial pass interference ‘made me sick’

Michael Gallup pass interference

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy spoke on Monday about the offensive pass interference call that hurt the team in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Cowboys lost 20-17 and were particularly hurt by a penalty call on Michael Gallup in the final minute. The call took away a 47-yard gain that would have put Dallas in good position to tie the game at minimum.

The call was considered controversial because it was hard to see what Gallup did wrong (video here). Even NBC’s announcing team disagreed with the call.

McCarthy on Monday talked about the play.

“It made me sick when I watched the TV copy. I thought Michael ran an excellent route. The DB attempted to clamp his arm, (Gallup) pulls his arm out and makes a catch,” McCarthy said via Jon Machota.

Referee Tony Corrente on Sunday defended the call.

I still don’t think the call was the correct one. It’s unfortunate for Dallas, because they otherwise would have had a very good chance to tie the game.

Dontari Poe becomes first ever Cowboys player to kneel during national anthem

Dontari Poe kneel

Dontari Poe kneeled during the national anthem before Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Rams game, which was a first.

Poe was the first Cowboys player to kneel during the anthem.

Poe, who was signed by Dallas in March, said in August that he planned to kneel.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed disappointment with national anthem protests in 2016 and was said to have had a rule against kneeling. His stance on the rule changed, though he continued to caution that there could be fan backlash over the gesture.

Jerry Jones: Fans turning away from Cowboys over anthem protests is ‘huge issue’

Jerry Jones

The Dallas Cowboys kick off their regular season in just five days, and Jerry Jones has yet to explicitly say whether he will change his policy on national anthem protests.

During his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday, Jones once again spoke about the importance of players being able to express themselves but doing it in a “sensitive” manner. He also said it would be a “huge issue” if Cowboys fans turned away from the team over national anthem protests.

“That is a huge issue — huge,” Jones said. “You know by just the nature of the way that I run the team how much I appreciate the interest that’s in the Dallas Cowboys. Now I know there’s interest just because they want to see us get beat, but still the big interest is there. I’m very sensitive to that. That’s exactly why I’ve said that I want our players to be very sensitive to just how important it is to the majority of our fans, more than any other team, the majority of our fans how sensitive they are recognizing what this great country is and what this flag stands for.”

Jones did, however, once again hint that he will allow players to kneel.

“I would expect the Cowboys to show great sensitivity and I hope fans will receive it — however each individual presents it — that it’s a genuine ask for help,” he said. “Because right now in our society, we got some things we need to address.”

Jones seemed to indicate recently that the Cowboys would do something during the national anthem other than kneeling, but some Dallas players have already said they will kneel.

Though he may loosen up, Jones has had a strict view on national anthem protests for several years. He told players at one point that they would not be playing for the Cowboys if they kneeled during the anthem, and we saw one player change his approach to anthem protests after being traded to Dallas last year.

Did Cowboys cut Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to sign Earl Thomas?

Earl Thomas

The Dallas Cowboys surprisingly cut Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on Thursday, but was that the antecedent for a much bigger move?

Earl Thomas is a free agent after being cut by the Baltimore Ravens a week and a half ago following issues with his teammates. The Cowboys have frequently been mentioned in connection with Thomas, so it’s no surprise that the Clinton-Dix move had many wondering if a Thomas signing were on the horizon.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Thursday that they are not ruling anything out when it comes to adding a safety.

Xavier Woods and Darian Thompson are projected to start at safety for the Cowboys now that Clinton-Dix was released. Clinton-Dix was signed in March for $2.5 million guaranteed and up to $4 million.

There has not been chatter recently about where Thomas might sign since becoming a free agent.

Jerry Jones plays coy with rumors linking Earl Thomas to Cowboys

Jerry Jones

It’s hard to figure out exactly how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have in Earl Thomas, and that is clearly the way owner Jerry Jones wants it.

The Cowboys were mentioned as the favorite to sign Thomas as soon as he was released by the Baltimore Ravens. However, reports quickly indicated they are not planning to pursue the Pro Bowl safety. Jones seemed bothered by the fact that his team was no longer considered in the running, and he played coy once again when asked about the rumors on Tuesday.

New Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has said how important the locker room dynamic is to him. While Thomas could undoubtedly make a difference on the field, it’s impossible to ignore the circumstances surrounding his exit from Baltimore.

You can never rule out Jones signing a star player, but the Cowboys probably would have signed Thomas by now. If McCarthy doesn’t want him, Jones would be wise to not step on his coach’s toes — at least not yet.

Emmitt Smith warns Cowboys not to ‘mess with’ Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys were unable to come to an agreement on a long-term extension this offseason, and Emmitt Smith wonders how that could impact the chemistry of the team in 2020.

During an interview with Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio Monday, Smith issued a warning to the Cowboys over the way they have handled Prescott’s contract situation. He said Jerry Jones and company should be careful not to “mess with” the star quarterback.

“If you try to mess with Dak Prescott, trying to mess with him mentally, try to mess with him from a financial standpoint, you’re going to affect the whole chemistry of that entire team,” Smith said. “That’s one of the things I’ve seen many coaches, organizations, and owners do too often and just destroy the chemistry of a ball-club. I’ve seen it happen and I don’t think they need to do that with Dak.”

Smith knows plenty about contract disputes with the Cowboys. He missed the first two weeks of the 1993 season because he and Jones couldn’t work out a deal. Dallas eventually signed him after starting the year 0-2.

As far as Prescott being the right quarterback to lead the Cowboys, Smith says he has no doubt.

“I do think Dak is the guy going forward. There’s no question in my mind about that,” he said. “Dak Prescott is in control of that offensive unit, is in command of that offense, and he has earned the respect as the leader of that team. The way he plays the game translates in that.”

All indications have been that the relationship between Prescott and the Cowboys is still in a good place. They can’t sign him to a long-term deal now that the deadline for franchise tagged players has past, but for all we know they could have a handshake agreement in place. If not, Smith is among those who believe Jones should tread lightly.

Jerry Jones shoots down reports that Cowboys are out on Earl Thomas

Numerous reports on Tuesday indicated the Dallas Cowboys have decided not to pursue Earl Thomas, but team owner Jerry Jones says those reports are premature.

Jones said during his appearance on 105.3 The Fan that the team will not make a decision until meeting with Thomas and his representatives. He was very blunt when asked about the report that the Cowboys will not pursue Thomas.

The Cowboys have been linked to Thomas for several years now, and we know how much Jones loves star players. Thomas infamously went into the Dallas locker room after a game a few years ago and told then-head coach Jason Garrett to “come and get me.” There have been numerous reports of the Cowboys trying to trade for him since.

New Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy indicated on Monday that he is happy with the roster the way it is. McCarthy also has a close relationship with Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider, who knows plenty about Thomas and the issues he has had in the locker room.

All indications are that the Baltimore Ravens released Thomas over much more than a practice altercation with a teammate. Still, Jones clearly is not ready to rule out signing him.

Dak Prescott says he still wants to be a Cowboy for life

Dak Prescott will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag after months of negotiating a long-term extension, but the quarterback insists there are no hard feelings between him and the Dallas Cowboys.

There is typically some tension between a player and team when a long-term agreement is not reached before the franchise tag deadline. Even if that is the case with Prescott and the Cowboys, Dak told reporters on Wednesday that his stance on wanting to be a Cowboy for life has not changed.

“No, not all. I grew up wanting to be a Dallas Cowboy and I have dreams of being a Dallas Cowboy until I’m done throwing a football,” Prescott said, per Jon Machota of The Athletic.

Prescott also said he believes the relationship between his agent Todd France and Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones is stronger following the negotiations.

Prescott is going to make a fully guaranteed $31.4 million this season, so he can’t be that upset. Kirk Cousins played under the franchise tag two straight seasons with Washington and then went on to sign a massive, fully guaranteed contract with the Minnesota Vikings, proving that playing under the tag can work in a player’s favor if he remains healthy.

All indications are that Prescott and the Cowboys were extremely close to an agreement before the deadline passed last month, which could explain why there are no hard feelings. A long-term extension for Prescott still seems more likely than not.

Jerry Jones has not decided if he will let players kneel for national anthem

A significant number of NFL players are expected to kneel during the national anthem when the 2020 season begins, and many have wondered if Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will change his stance on anthem protests. As of now, he is not ready to commit to doing that.

Jones was asked during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday whether or not he will require players to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” this season like he has in the past. He said no decision has been made but indicated he is open to changing his policy.

Jones has had a strict view on national anthem protests for several years. He explicitly told players at one point that they would not be playing for the Cowboys if they kneeled during the anthem, and we saw one player change his approach to anthem protests after being traded to Dallas last year.

The Cowboys will likely have an internal discussion about how to handle the anthem, but Jones saying “that was then” may have been a hint that he is willing to alter his stance.

Report: Cowboys players forming their own training camp bubble

The NFL will not be using a bubble format for the 2020 season, but that isn’t stopping some players from making one of their own.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer, a number of Dallas Cowboys players are essentially creating their own bubble for training camp by checking into a hotel next to the team’s training facility and staying there. A source told them that the “majority” of the team would be staying there, and players are being strongly encouraged to do so.

Some members of the Cowboys have learned first-hand the importance of staying healthy as several players, including one high-profile name, reportedly contracted COVID-19 prior to the start of camp.

The Cowboys will be thrilled with the players here for taking matters into their own hands and being proactive. Things like this will increase the chances of the NFL season starting on time and concluding without incident.