OXNARD, Calif. – Training camp has arrived!
The players have reported to Oxnard but every year, it appears nothing truly gets started until Jerry Jones meets with the media.
That took place Tuesday morning at the opening press conference that also included Stephen Jones and Mike McCarthy.
Here are some of the big highlights that came from Tuesday's opening press conference:
- Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones didn't wait for the question – he attacked the "elephant in the room" topic regarding his commitment to head coach Mike McCarthy amidst swirling speculation that he consider other options at the end of the season. "He would not be sitting here today if I didn't think he was the man to lead this team to the Super Bowl," Jerry Jones said. "I have choices. That's a fact. The guy to my right is the guy I'm convicted about and I have been. I think we have successful put together a staff that absolutely gives us the chance to get to the ultimate success."
- McCarthy addressed Jones' comments and said "I'm going to focus on football," which goes in line with the commitment he asks of his players and coaches. "If I'm going to ask them (to stay focused), then I've got to do the same."
- Jerry Jones mentioned the Cowboys lost "three high-profile" players this offseason, obviously included Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory. Jones focused on the word "availability" as being a big factor in their decision to let them go. "That was totally our decision – it had everything to do with their availability and my concern about their availability." Jones then decided to add the sentence "Check 'I' at the door. It's 'we' when you go through the door."
- Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones took that comment to the next step, saying it's time for the young guys to "get more chances." Jones mentioned CeeDee Lamb, Tyler Smith, Josh Ball and Matt Waletzko as players who should be able to take advantage of the extra playing reps.
- · When talking about expectations, Jerry Jones said he believes this team is in "better shape this year" than where the Cowboys were last year. When asked why? He pointed back to McCarthy and his staff. "First of all, this guy sitting right here. The staff he's got. I like this staff. I like the makeup the players one year later and I like the new players we're brought on."
- This offseason has been challenging for Jerry Jones, both and off the field. Jones addressed several members of the organization who passed away, none more important to him than his longtime assistant Marylyn Love. "Now, Marylyn was a setback," Jones said as he held back his emotions. "That's tough. Little different than talking about the things we're interesting in here. Marylyn was vital. This is my first training camp that she's not here, balancing things. (This offseason) has not been trying, it's been about resolve."
- Mike McCarthy said second-year linebacker Micah Parsons has lost a little weight this year, but didn't get into the position he'll playing. "We've had a whole year to implement the schemes around that. He's put himself to take a big second year jump. His impact will definitely be part of our defensive success."
- Jerry Jones said he hasn't heard from the NFL on a possible suspension on cornerback Kelvin Joseph, who has been linked to a murder in Dallas back in March. McCarthy added on Joseph, "I think Kelvin showed humility to his teammates. He was a full participating in the offseason program."
- A day after Zack Martin said the Cowboys are entering camp looking for the team's identity, McCarthy responded and agreed. "Every year you set out to recreate who you are as a football team. The reality is you don't get to carry over anything into the season." McCarthy outlined his desire for the identity to be "discipline, grit and fundamentally sound."
- As expected, wide receiver Michael Gallup (torn ACL) will start out camp on PUP, which means he is eligible to start the first six games on a reserved/injured list. But Gallup, who had surgery in February, can come off the PUP list at any time when he's cleared to start practicing. Other players who are on PUP include Damone Clark, Jabril Cox,
- When asked why Dalton Schultz didn't get a "long-term" contract, Stephen Jones doesn't sound concerned about it. "We tried. It's not like we weren't working on a long-term deal. Sometimes it's just when you get your hands around what the team is going to look like this year, but in the future, you have to play that hand that way. Certainly understand where Dalton is coming from. Dalton is an available player. He plays at a high level. Just getting to the right answer - I think we ultimately will. I think Dalton is going to be a long-term Cowboy. It just didn't work out (right now)."