Sullivan: Elliott Case Just Getting Started, Dez The Athlete & More Thoughts

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

  • After eight days in picturesque Oxnard and less picturesque Los Angeles – at least the airport and the neighborhoods around the Coliseum – my thought process on all things Ezekiel Elliott has evolved. I think it has through educating myself on what exactly took place, what has been and can be proven and just a little reflection on what the league's role should be.

  • The NFL is not a criminal investigation operation, nor should it be. It should let those who do that sort of thing, you know, the police, FBI and the like, do so and then react to their findings. How this was handled, from the start, was absurd. Also, there is a 0.0 percent chance Zeke sits out the six games, whether it's this season or next.
  • This cannot be stressed enough. Jerry Jones is incensed, quite possibly the most upset he's been in his 28 years as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. That's not me writing that for effect, either.
  • The case of Ezekiel Elliott, and honestly, more importantly, Jerry Jones against the National Football League is just getting started. And the ramifications could, I would say should, change the league as we know it. On many levels, starting with how discipline is handled. The NFLPA has to be furious with not only the ruling, but also how this was managed. Well, mismanaged.
  • It's not only this case, either. The Tom Brady suspension boggles common sense and the Saints bounty case was beyond stunning.
  • Also, while I'm ranting, the league policy with suspensions, that players aren't allowed in team facilities or have any contact is quite possibly the least thought out rule imaginable. That's when they need help, structure, friends, leadership, more than ever. Does anyone think Randy Gregory is better off on his own this year than going to The Star every day, or being out here at camp? I'm fine with not practicing, not being in uniform, I get that. Ditto for Zeke, but he's much, much better off with the team, in that atmosphere than at home.
  • OK, enough about Zeke for the time being. There are seemingly millions of words being written and spoken about him and the suspension by the day. There's a lot more going on with this team. Let's start with Dez Bryant.
  • He's probably the most gifted athlete I've ever seen in person. I've always said Bo Jackson is the most talented athlete of my lifetime and I stand behind that even today, but wow, the stuff Dez does. He was playing a game of one-handed catch with Cole Beasley during a walk-through last week, from about 20, 22 yards apart, and Beasley can throw it. He played quarterback in high school, and is the team's emergency QB.
  • Dez caught every ball, I didn't count, but they played for 10 minutes. With one hand. Then for the final two throws, he caught them one-handed, behind his back, like allowed the ball to float over his head and then catch it. And as most already know, watching him sling the football is mesmerizing. He had a throw before practice of 64 yards, which in and of itself is preposterous. Except he did it flat-footed. No crow-hop, no stepping into it. Just standing there, flick of the left wrist and launched.
  • One of his assistant coaches at Oklahoma State once told me that Dez would scrimmage with the basketball team and oftentimes was the leading scorer. Those were NCAA Tournament teams. He can also hit a baseball 400 feet. Imagine Dez tracking a ball in centerfield.
  • Seems to be enjoying camp, too. This is easily the most I've seen him sign autographs or take photos with fans since his rookie year in San Antonio. Talked with the media twice in three days, which has to be a record. Know what else? Dez has never once complained the last three years with the Cowboys offense. As long as they win, he's fine with fewer targets than most elite wideouts because Dallas runs the ball more than any NFL team.
  • Byron Jones is playing with a whole lot more physicality. He's even hitting guys in practice, which is kind of discouraged. Like knocking them to the grass. I really like that combination of him and Jeff Heath at safety.
  • I didn't know a ton about Stephen Paea, and honestly, it's not like I've done any research on him the last week, but wow, this dude is really impressive. How he has 2.0 sacks in 24 games the last two years, I can't fathom. Quick first step, was beating the starting offensive linemen a bunch in drills.
  • Several of the veterans had the Wednesday practice off, and they all came out for a few minutes, at the beginning and then at the end, Sean Lee among them. In just the most recent example of his intensity and his inability to shut it down, chill out a little, he came onto the field with his gloves on. Jason Witten and Dez, you know, the guys who catch the ball for a living, left theirs in the locker room. I'll never forget Week 17 at Philly last season, Lee had been told he wasn't playing yet kept his helmet on the entire game.
  • I have a theory on why tight end Rico Gathers keeps trying to catch passes with one hand when there's no need. I watched some video of him playing basketball, going up for rebounds, and he was one of those one-handed grab the ball, then take it down into the second hand before the outlet pass. I was hoping to ask him about it but just didn't happen.
  • If playing wide receiver in the NFL was 100 percent over-the-shoulder catches near the sideline, Brice Butler would be a Pro Bowler. Good guy, too, one of the more personable players on the team. Really thought he was going to push Terrance Williams as the No. 2 wideout last year and just didn't happen.
  • Speaking of, this is the fifth season Williams has been with the Cowboys, and I just misspelled his first name for maybe the 800th time. Took a few efforts with Paea earlier, too. Good thing I wasn't around for the typewriter era of writing.

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

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising