NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Vikings

     

Cowboys

Cowboys G Connor Williams struggled at times during his rookie season as he struggled to make the transition from college offensive tackle to professional guard. Williams was pushed around and took this offseason to add weight and strength to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

“He does everything he can to be the best player he can be,” Cowboys HC Jason Garrett said via the Athletic’s Jon Machota. “I thought last year he grew a lot … He battled back and competed and got a chance to play in the playoff game and did some good stuff. He came back here in the offseason, outstanding offseason. He built his body up. He’s a bigger, stronger man than he was a year ago. I think he’s taking advantage of these opportunities.”

With Ezekiel Elliott holding out for a new contract, more work at running back has been left for Cowboys fourth-round pick Tony Pollard. The rookie split time in college at Memphis with Rams third-round RB Darrell Henderson and also has experience playing wide receiver. So far during camp, Pollard has looked natural as a full-time runner. 

“One of the most exciting players to me of this training camp,” Cowboys QB Dak Prescott said via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “The things that he’s been able to do running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s making plays. … He’s going to help us out.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott‘s deal is the most likely to get done the soonest. 
  • Breer suspects the Cowboys would be willing to go up to and maybe slightly past the four-year, $57.5 million extension Rams RB Todd Gurley signed. 
  • According to Breer, he’s heard the Cowboys are willing to give QB Dak Prescott more than $30 million per year. 
  • Breer notes the deal for Cowboys WR Amari Cooper is on the backburner for now, as there are other wide receiver extensions coming up that could help Cooper’s negotiating stance. 
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Breer Dallas is trying to avoid a repeat of the late-2000s when they became “real top-heavy” following several major extensions: “You’d like to avoid that.”
  • Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones says they’re confident in HC Jason Garrett entering the final year of his contract without an extension, as he’s done it before: “And of course, Jerry’s made it very clear and I feel the same way, I want Jason Garrett to coach for the next 10 years. If we go out and we kill it, he’s made himself a lot more money than he would have if we’d signed him last year. We know he’s gonna say, ‘OK, I did it, now pay me.’ And fair enough. So he’s got all his chips pushed to the middle.”
  • Cowboys DE Robert Quinn underwent successful surgery for a hand fracture and is still expected back by Week 1. (Moore)

Eagles

Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Eagles RB Jordan Howard was dealt to Philadelphia for relative peanuts when the Bears decided to go in a different direction at running back. Howard acknowledges his performance dropped in 2018 and he’s looking to set things straight in 2019 before potentially changing teams again. 

“I am looking to re-establish myself,” Howard said via Philly.com’s Marc Narducci. “I fell off last year and want to get back to the consistent player I have been in the past.”

  • The Athletic’s Zach Berman writes that the Eagles have free-agent DE Connor Barwin on the backup dial, but the hope is DE Josh Sweat proves capable of handling a spot in the rotation.
  • Berman believes the Eagles keep five safeties in 2019 since they’ll run more three-safety packages. 

Vikings

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins explained that there have been some issues when it comes to how much first-round C Garrett Bradbury sweats during practice. 

I’m going to take it back to how much he sweats again,” Cousins said, per Andrew Krammer. “He promises it’s not a problem in games, but it remains to be seen because his shorts today were soaked. He says it’s not a problem on game days, so the moment of truth Friday night. But apparently you know they keep these domes air conditioned. You get a break on the bench with those colling fans. I’m hoping that really helps. That’s a big thing I’m going to take away from Friday night, was how tough was it to grip the ball after he snaps it to me? If it is tough, we might be in pistol and shotgun all year, which coach [Gary] Kubiak and Kevin [Stefanski] wouldn’t like very much.”

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