It was a slower day to end the week, but there were still things to be said and injuries to be revealed.
The Cowboys are the center of attention again and a couple of young quarterbacks are starting to frame their seasons.
All of that and more in Friday’s NFL news and notes.
Three things that matter
Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin to have MRI
Dak Prescott has to be feeling a little bit antsy after offensive lineman Zack Martin was sent for an MRI after complaining about back problems in recent days. Head coach Jason Garrett said Martin is moving around fine but the training staff suggested further evaluation to get more information.
The Cowboys are already without star running back Ezekiel Elliott and if Martin is out for any amount of time Prescott is going to get hit more. Martin might be the team’s best offensive lineman, so while Prescott would already have less protection with the lack of a running game, he may be without more due to a weakened line.
Kyler Murray doesn’t feel pressure
The Cardinals traded a potentially very good top-10 pick in Josh Rosen after drafting Kyler Murray at No. 1 this offseason. They did that because they thought they had something special in the young star, and Murray certainly sounds special in how he addressed dealing with outside pressure going into his first season in Arizona.
“I got to go out and play well,” Murray said, via ESPN. “And if I don’t, then people are gonna be mad, I’m gonna be mad, everybody’s gonna be mad. So, my focus is play well.”
Murray had a tendency to wait a little too long for receivers to get open in college which is something he’ll have to work on in the NFL, but he acknowledged his need to do so when speaking with reporters Friday. He doesn’t sound like a rookie taking over a team that was offensively challenged last year. That’s what matters. He sounds like a seasoned veteran ready to lead his team to wins.
“I think that’s probably one of the biggest adjustments is windows are tighter,” Murray said. “You got to anticipate things a lot more. But that makes it fun. College, you know, dudes would be wide open. It’d be really easy stuff like that. It’s part of being in the NFL.”
He continued: “We’re just kind of honing in on that and sharpening up on those things.”
Lamar Jackson plans to run less
Lamar Jackson lit up the NFL last year going 6-1 as a starter in the regular season and rushing for 695 yards along the way. But he wanted to make it clear he is planning to show off as a passer this season and not just as a runner.
“I don’t think I’ll be running as much as I did last year,” he said, via ESPN. “There were a lot of (run-pass options) and a lot of sudden changes in last year’s game. This will be totally different.”
The important thing here is this. Jackson is absolutely special as a runner. While he may get criticized for a 58.2% completion percentage last year, the Ravens can deal with some bad passes if he continues to run the ball well, move the offense and win games. If he decides he wants to only be a pocket passer — a la Robert Griffin III after tearing his ACL — it could have a negative effect on his career just as it did with RGIII.
New teammate Earl Thomas alluded to just that.
“My thing with him is I don’t want to get caught up in, ‘You got to be a pocket passer, you got to be this,'” Thomas said. “No, Lamar, you be who you are. Be special. If you have to take off, take off. Make the defense work.”
Two things that don’t matter
Redskins think fines will convince Trent Williams to drop his holdout
The Redskins seemingly have no idea what they’re doing. Washington firmly believes that by fining Williams $40,000 per day while he holds out from camp will convince him to come back to the team. The problem here is they apparently don’t know Williams because, according to Pro Football Talk, that’s never going to work.
“Williams doesn’t care,” one league source said.
Williams clearly has no desire to continue to play for the Redskins and firmly wants to be dealt. If he is traded before the start of the season Washington can’t collect on the fines anyway because there would be no game checks to take a fine out of. This is beginning to look like it’s going to lead to the Redskins losing their best offensive lineman.
Jerry Jones not concerned about signing Elliott to extension
Jerry Jones doesn’t shy away from media. But this time, Jones didn’t sound too sure of himself. A perfect example came this week when he used Emmitt Smith’s holdout to simultaneously show he will get a big deal done with Elliot and insult the running back at the same time by alluding to the fact that teams don’t need rushers to win Super Bowls.
He did some more talking Friday and said he thinks the Cowboys will get a deal done with the star before the regular season rather than waiting until several games into the year. He also said the team will not budge and sign Elliott to a deal that will cost the team other franchise pieces like Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Well, with all of that said, none of what was said matters.
The entire summer Jones has talked about how great Prescott, Cooper and Elliott are and yet they picked up a fifth-year option on Elliott. The team will want to get all the yards out of him that they can while he is cheap, which could not have sat well with Elliott. Not to mention the fact he constantly said how he wants to pay Prescott like a franchise quarterback — or something close to $30 million a year which would make it very hard to re-sign both Elliott and Cooper.
Jones is saying a lot right now and a lot of it contradicts itself. What matters is Le’Veon Bell set a precedent last season by holding out for an entire year and now Elliott very well could do the same if he doesn’t get paid what he wants. Jones’ words can’t prevent that.
One video you have to see
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold better watch his knuckles because this little tyke is bringing the heat.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 2, 2019
Friday tweet of the day
Chris Long is spending his new retirement sparking debates on Twitter. What are your thoughts?
My Uber driver telling me that Slash is the most overrated as a guitarist. Steve Morse is his GOAT. Thoughts?
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 2, 2019