FRISCO, Texas – The Boys are all back at The Star.
Zack Martin is in the fold, becoming not only the highest paid guard in the league but at this point will own the Cowboys' highest average salary.
David Irving is back working at The Star, limited to strength and conditioning work, but at least he was huffing and puffing his way back into shape during this minicamp, with one day remaining.
And even though there are a bunch of guys still recovering from offseason surgeries – Maliek Collins, Terrance Williams, Joe Looney and Kony Ealy – at least they've been here rehabbing, doing what they can to be ready for the start of training camp just 41 days away.
Right around the corner, so let's load you up with some Shots by getting _real_.
- Heavy Payload: Trying to produce what just might again be the best offensive line in the NFL does not come cheaply. With the completion of Zack Martin's extension, six years, $84 million, here is what the projected starting five contracts now in place come to, presuming second-round draft choice Connor Williams wins the starting left guard spot. The current total package for those five guys – left to right: Tyron Smith, Williams, Travis Frederick, Martin and La'el Collins – totals 26 years, $258.9 million. That's real money now, not phony baloney padding.
- Flop 100: See where Ezekiel Elliott is ranked 54th on NFL Network's Top 100 poll. Really? Now, we know this supposed poll comes courtesy of players voting. Well, wonder where the defensive players from the teams Zeke actually played against last year had him listed. Because look, Zeke rushed for 983 yards, 17 short of 1,000, playing in only, and let this sink in, 10 games. My University of Missouri math tells me he averaged 98.3 yards a game. The NFL's leader, Kareem Hunt, rushed for 1,327 yards over 16 games, or 82.9 a game. And of the top 10 in total rushing yards for last season, guess whose average was No. 1. That's right, Zeke's. Please, 54.
- Two-Sided Pancake: This is one of Bill Parcells' favorite sayings: Now there's two sides to that pancake. So let me invoke this pancake theory to reports the other day of Cole Beasley saying this while complimenting new Cowboys receivers coach Sanjay Lal's attention to detail, the deduced inference being former receivers coach Derek Dooley nor his SMU head coach June Jones didn't know what they were doing: "It feels like the first time we're actually being taught how to run routes instead of just naturally doing (it). When you get to the NFL and you're supposed to know, stuff is assumed. Lal narrows down step by step, doesn't assume anything from basics." He does. But guess what? Let's flip this over. Beasley led the Cowboys with 75 catches and 833 receiving yards in 2016, with a rookie quarterback.
- Wide Ins: Speaking of wide receivers, with Terrance Williams still rehabbing from offseason foot surgery, and Deonte Thompson nursing a sore Achilles and shoulder, here were your top three receivers going with the first-team nickel offense during Wednesday's minicamp practice: Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley and rookie third-round draft choice Michael Gallup. And as pointed out previously, Beasley still is working inside and outside in the formations. Said Beasley when told of being moved outside some, "I was excited. Bring it, man. I'm ready for the challenge."
- Plant Foot: Been over this previously, how it appears Jaylon Smith is moving significantly better during these offseason practices than he was last year. No brace. Less effect of the drop foot showing, caused by the damage he suffered to his peroneal nerve that final game at Notre Dame. Says Coach Rod: "You can just see it, plants and drives … cuts and breaks to the ball, just looks different."
- Miked-Up: When Hall of Famer Michael Irvin shows up to watch a practice, Jason Garrett never misses a chance to get him in front of the team, as he did after Tuesday's practice. Guys seem to at least listen to what the former Cowboys wide receiver says, even if he hasn't played a down going on 19 seasons. Then afterward, Lal had Irvin speak with Tavon Austin for a while, then introduced him to rookie wideout Cedrick Wilson, the Cowboys' sixth-round pick out of Boise State. Irvin got right down to business, showing the youngster the importance of getting off the line of scrimmage and demonstrating a few techniques, doing so in the 95-degree heat.
- Hot Shots: Yes, another 97-degree day in June here, so let's go. Even if David Irving hasn't done more than conditioning these past two days back, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli says, "Just love seeing the big dinosaur fire out … Without DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford working in team drills on Wednesday, the top two defensive ends out there with the first team were Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong … No messing around at guard, so with Martin back out there during skeleton drills at right guard, Connor Williams remained with the first team at left guard. Chaz Green then moved from right guard to left tackle on Tuesday with the first team and then worked with the seconds as Tyron Smith worked with the firsts on Wednesday. Free agent Cameron Fleming continues to work second team at right tackle.
Now on to the final mini-day.