Sullivan: Dez and Scandrick Deserve To Be Voted Team Captains

Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

  • I'll be writing more about this once training camp starts and really right up until the players vote in the days before the regular-season opener. Seems like campaigns start earlier and earlier nowadays, so I would like to kick off my own for Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick to become team captains this season. The four returning captains should be locks in Jason Witten, Travis Frederick, Sean Lee and Dan Bailey, but with Tony Romo retiring and Barry Church signing with Jacksonville, that leaves an offensive and defensive opening.
  • This isn't about seniority, either, although Scandrick is the longest-tenured defensive player, entering his 10th season, and Dez trails only Witten on offense. Yes, absolutely mind-boggling this will be Bryant's eighth campaign. This is about so much more, though, as it should be. Serving as a captain of any team is a huge responsibility.
  • Now, Dez and Scandrick have each been known as not exactly the easiest dudes on the team to deal with. Both have matured over the years, and honestly, Scandrick's me-against-the-world attitude makes him the player he is, which for the majority of the last five years has placed him among the top slot cornerbacks in the league.
  • Look, there's not much to take from minicamps, OTAs and the rest of the offseason. There's just not. They aren't wearing pads, there's limited contact. What did stand out for me was Dez and Scandrick were acting like leaders, working with their younger teammates, saying the right things in the locker room. Easily the most even-keeled I've seen Dez in terms of talking with the media. He even gave them a heads up on what day he would be talking at minicamp.
  • Also, and this is important, they both want the gig. That's the first step to being a captain, wanting the job. A lot of guys, it's not their deal, not their thing. Both have wanted to be captains the last few seasons and Dez was upset about not being voted one last year.
  • The only way I don't see this happening is if the offense goes with Dak Prescott because the quarterback is almost always voted a captain. And yes, Dak is a leader. I remember the Monday following the playoff loss to Green Bay last season. Last day the media is allowed in the locker room for a few months and guys are cleaning out their stuff, getting their exit interviews, Jason Garrett held a team meeting. Anyhow, nearly every player made an appearance for the 30 minutes or whatnot of open locker room. I can't recall who it was, but someone walked to his locker, I know it wasn't a starter, and within seconds the media throng around him resembled the starting quarterbacks at Super Bowl media day.
  • A member of the PR staff asked Dak if he would take a few questions and he asked, "Do I have to? Is it mandatory?" Told no, Dak thought for a second and said, "I should, I should, let's do it." And he took questions for 10 minutes. That impressed me. Know it's a little thing, but he understood his responsibility.
  • Still, I think Dak can wait until Witten retires, whenever that is. It's not like it's going to affect his leadership. Leaders lead and Dak is a leader. That was evident at minicamp. The team gravitates toward him, on the field and in the locker room. And I think being named captain would go a long way with Dez. Scandrick, too, and really, he should be a lock.
  • Of the seven NFL head coaches who are longer tenured with their current team than Garrett, only Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis hasn't won a Super Bowl. Heck, he hasn't even won a postseason game. Then again, I'm sure someone would be quick to point out that Garrett has just one playoff win.
  • Also, by the conclusion of this upcoming season, Garrett will have been the Cowboys' head coach for as many games (120) as Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips combined.
  • It's going to be one day shy of seven weeks between the opening of training camp on July 24 in Oxnard and the opener against the Giants on the night of Sept. 10. And while there's a lot more to cover at camp than these last few months, that's still a whole bunch of practicing football.
  • I know there was talk the last week of keeping the ball in the hands of Ezekiel Elliott even more in 2017, but it's hard to imagine him having higher than 360-370 touches. He finished his rookie campaign with 354, which was second in the league to Arizona's David Johnson. Two years ago, Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 357. Then again, DeMarco Murray did have 449 in 2014, so there's that. Not sure I knew this, maybe at the time, but Murray was just eight touches shy of the second most for a season in NFL history. The record is James Wilder with Tampa Bay in 1984.

Follow Jeff Sullivan on Twitter, @SullyBaldHead, or email him at jsullivan@dallascowboys.net.*

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