DALLAS — While Jerry Jones was clearly ecstatic about the news he received moments earlier regarding AT&T Stadium being one of the host venues of the 2026 World Cup, he still had time for some football talk, especially with training camp about five weeks away.
Here are some of the highlights from his media session following the World Cup news:
- Jones confirmed that head coach Mike McCarthy has once again been fined by the NFL – this time for $100,000 by the NFL for violations against the practice policies. The OTA practices were apparently too physical. Not only does McCarthy get the fine, but the Cowboys will be docked one OTA day next spring. This comes after McCarthy and the Cowboys both were fined last year. Ironically, the Cowboys were supposed to hold a three-day minicamp this week but McCarthy limited to just one day on the field as the Cowboys players and coaches are off until the start of training camp on July 25.
- The Cowboys will learn more about the rookie class when the pads come on in training camp, but Jones is excited about the overall group's work in the offseason program. "We've got really young players, not only the draft picks but also more college free agents that have a chance to help us this year than I've seen in a long time," he said. "They're important for us. Their lack of success would cripple our hopes this year. Their success would enhance our hopes more than any group than I think we've seen. I think they've got that kind of appeal. I'm not so sure that isn't pretty common around the league with the emphasis we've got and the structure of salaries we've got that this happens. But it's certainly our case right now."
- The offense has gone through some personnel changes this offseason, most notably the Amari Cooper trade to Cleveland. But Jones is confident in the group for several reasons. "I'm really happy with Dak (Prescott), just his work to get in top shape coming in. I like Zeke's physical condition. Those are pluses. They are musts for us," Jones said. "I like the fact that (Tony) Pollard's got an enhanced expectation. That'll pay off for him and us. And I really like our receiving corps. I know we're missing Cooper, but that's going to get some more balls for somebody else out there. And I think that we've got a group of receivers that can enhance Dak's passing and our execution, so all of that's good."
- Jones is also optimistic about the offensive line, which will be replacing two starters from 2021 (tackle La'el Collins, who was released, and guard Connor Williams, who signed with the Dolphins). "A place that was probably my most concern that I'm the most encouraged is in our offensive line," Jones said. "We've got some players from last year, young players last year, that are going to be real contributors, and then we've got some new players this year, our draft picks principally, that will help us."
- To no surprise, Jones was asked about not only Mike McCarthy's job security but former Saints head coach Sean Payton was brought up, something that seemed to bother Jones this time around. "Sean Payton shouldn't be out there (discussed)," Jones said. "For him, the Cowboys, that's just sheer out of the air. It's well known we're good friends and we think a lot of him as a head coach. But in this case, asking the way you're asking, he shouldn't be a conversation piece. Mike has got an opportunity here to win a Super Bowl. That's really the measurement that I look at. But it's also an eternity between right now and next year."