INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL Scouting Combine continues to roll along, and the Cowboys are making their voices heard.
The Cowboys have been in the news throughout this week in Indianapolis, from suspensions to surprise returns from retirement. As the week winds toward its close, the organization’s biggest voice of all – owner/general manager Jerry Jones – had his say.
Jones appeared on ESPN’s “NFL Live” live from Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday afternoon, where he discussed a number of the big topics surrounding his team this offseason.
Here are some notes from the interview.
· As might be expected, the interview kicked off with some talk about Jason Witten, who surprisingly returned to the Cowboys’ roster on Thursday after a 10-month retirement. Jones was glowing in his praise of the 11-time Pro Bowler, as the Cowboys look to welcome their longtime veteran back to a thin tight end room.
“In my time in the NFL, commissioners, owners, players, coaches, Jason Witten is in the top five people I’ve ever met,” Jones said. “He’s just an outstanding person to be around, and he leaves and left a hole with the Cowboys and with what a coach would look for when he left to go into broadcasting.”
· How much does Jones believe in quarterback Dak Prescott? Let him explain: “If we were sitting here this afternoon and tomorrow and he was out on that field getting ready to go in the draft as a quarterback, and I had the No. 1 pick, that’s who would get that pick in this draft. That’s what I think we’re looking at, except we’ve had three years of really getting to know him. We're a fortunate franchise to have Dak Prescott, and we're going to build around him for the future."
· Jones confirmed that the Cowboys will resume contract talks with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence’s agent again this week. Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said Tuesday that the team has made an offer to Lawrence’s camp and he’s confident an extension will eventually get done. If no deal is struck by March 5, the Cowboys can franchise Lawrence and extend their negotiating window to July 15.
· It’s a unique Combine week this year without a first-round pick, but Jerry Jones reiterated that the team is “proud” to have acquired Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper from Oakland last October for what turned out to be the 27th overall selection. “We’re excited about not only what he was able to do for his game, for him, but for our team last year,” Jones said. “And we’re excited about his offseason.”
· Jones was also asked about the role of two young coaches, Kellen Moore and Jon Kitna, to his coaching staff. Moore was promoted to the offensive coordinator position after spending one year as the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach, while Kitna was hired in January after several years as a high school coach.
There have been many questions about the duo’s inexperience at the NFL level. And while Jones readily acknowledged that fact, he said he wants to try to use that youth as an advantage in 2019.
“Now, I’d be the first to tell you that the experience is lacking,” he said. “So what I want to make sure that we do is use every ounce of their not having done it before, their excitement about trying new things, their excitement about gambling – that’s young. That’s inexperience. Now, when they’ve been here 20 years, we’ll rely on their experience. But right now I want to make sure that as a staff, we lean toward new things and new ideas.”