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Dak Prescott couldn’t duplicate his remarkable rookie year even when fellow first-year star Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t suspended.

Now the quarterback-running back combo for the Dallas Cowboys will have to figure out how to get back to the playoffs in what could be a critical season for the future of coach Jason Garrett.

The Cowboys (9-7) missed the postseason a year after being the top seed in the NFC when Prescott had one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history and Elliott led the league in rushing.

Dallas can blame a slow start while Elliott used the courts to fight his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations Stefon Diggs Jersey Big , and the three straight losses after he finally ran out of legal options.

All along, Prescott often struggled, throwing more than three times as many interceptions with a passer rating nearly 20 points lower for an offense that dropped to 14th in the NFL from fifth.

”If you want to call it that,” Prescott said, still refusing as he had before the season to acknowledge the term ”sophomore slump” after a season-ending 6-0 win over Philadelphia with the Cowboys already eliminated from the playoffs.

”I think I played some of my best ball of my career this year and obviously I played some of my worst ball of my career this year. So you can call it what you want. But like I said, I learned from it and call it a growing year.”

Garrett has missed the playoffs in five of his seven full seasons, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones reiterated on his radio show Tuesday that Garrett will return.

Jones also said he planned to bring back offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli while suggesting there will be changes to the coaching staff.

But Jones has said he believes the Cowboys have the pieces to end a nearly 25-year run without a trip to the Super Bowl, or even an NFC championship game. A second straight season without the playoffs could be the end for Garrett.

”He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently,” Jones said. ”Again, not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we have got some things we need to do differently.”

Offseason story lines for the Cowboys Authentic Derek Forbort Jersey Kids , who have alternated between making and missing the playoffs the past four seasons:

ALL IN WITH DAK: Jones and Garrett still speak about Prescott in terms of a franchise quarterback. He’s an extreme bargain as a fourth-round pick, and next offseason will be the first time they have to think about his second contract. If the Cowboys flop again, it will be an interesting dilemma. ”We think he’s an awfully good quarterback to have leading your franchise,” Garrett said.

ELLIOTT OFF THE FIELD: With the NFL investigation that led to a suspension still looming last offseason, Elliott had trouble keeping his name out of the headlines. He was caught on video pulling down a woman’s shirt during a St. Patrick’s Day parade – an incident that was referenced in the league’s letter detailing his punishment, although it wasn’t a factor in the ruling.

A quiet offseason will be an important step in putting the suspension behind him. ”I think he’s aware how difficult it was this year in terms of things off the field,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said on his radio show Tuesday. ”I’m more convinced than ever that he wants to be a great player in this league.”

DECLINING DEZ: There’s no question that receiver Dez Bryant is trending downward since his All-Pro season in 2014, which earned him a $70 million, five-year deal. He hasn’t come close to a 1,000-yard season and probably has one year left to prove he’s worth the big contract. Bryant said he battled knee tendinitis and frustration over his role in the offense.

CLASS OF 2014: The top three topics on contracts during the offseason are the Cowboys’ top three picks in 2014: right guard Zack Martin; defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who tied for second in the NFL with 14+ sacks; and linebacker Anthony Hitchens. The Cowboys want to get an extension done with Martin even though the two-time All-Pro has the fifth year on his rookie deal remaining. Lawrence could get the franchise tag.



Corrects previous version with Tuesday for comments from Jerry Jones Youth Christian McCaffrey Jersey , not Monday.



Even the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs is excited to see what Patrick Mahomes II can do.

Clark Hunt doesn't seem worried about putting too much pressure on his young quarterback, either.

The chairman and most visible face of the ownership family said after Saturday's training camp session at Missouri Western State University that he's looking forward to seeing Mahomes under center when the Chiefs open their preseason schedule Thursday night against Houston.

He's is eager for what the second-year pro can do for seasons to come, too.

"There's a lot of excitement here in Kansas City and really around the country about Patrick. He is a young man with a lot of skills, has a very high ceiling," Hunt said. "He's going through the process in learning what it means to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. That learning process will continue during the preseason and I'm sure once we get to the regular season."

Mahomes is taking over on a full-time basis from Alex Smith, who was traded to Washington despite the best year of his career. And the fact that Kansas City is pinning its hopes on its first homegrown quarterback in a generation has energized an already fervent fan base.

Season-ticket sales are robust, and there were about 6,000 fans at practice on Saturday.

"It's very exciting for the franchise from a long-term perspective," Hunt said. "If you can develop your own quarterback who can play at the top of the league, you can create an opportunity over the course of a decade to win a championship, and that's what we hope Patrick does for us."

No pressure Womens Kris Russell Jersey , kid.

Hunt has also noticed what many others have this offseason: Chiefs coach Andy Reid has an extra bounce in his step, a byproduct of the fun he's having working with a new, young quarterback.

"I know that's a hard thing to imagine when you're talking about Andy," Hunt said in his annual training camp availability, "but truthfully he seems energized. And that goes all the way back to the preseason, the chance to take a quarterback and mold him, something he's had a lot of success at."

In other news, Hunt declined to discuss the dispute between the league and its players when it comes to protesting during the national anthem. "There's really nothing to report," Hunt said. "Until the league tells us what the policy is, there's nothing really to talk about."

Hunt did say he's spoken to the Chiefs individually and collectively about social justice initiatives, and that the organization was willing to provide human resources and financial resources to help players make a difference with causes that they care about.

"That's not something new for the Chiefs. It's something that's been going on here in Kansas City since my dad brought the team here in 1963 Authentic Jaccob Slavin Jersey ," Hunt said. "I've challenged the players to go out there and make a difference, and there's so many that have a great heart and want to spend the time."

Hunt also said the Chiefs are content with using Missouri Western as their training camp base, even though the majority of NFL franchises now hold camp at their usual practice facility.

Hunt and Reid both like the old-school idea of team-building that occurs at camp, even though it's only an hours' drive from Kansas City. Missouri Western has also built and improved its facilities to the point they rival most major colleges and professional franchises.

He also praised the work done by general manager Brett Veach, who has made several controversial moves since taking over last year. Among them was dealing talented but temperamental cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, a clear attempt at improving the clubhouse culture.

"One thing we really care about as a franchise is the culture and character of the team," Hunt said. "That's something very important to Brett. As he brought in players in free agency and the draft, he made sure those players would be positive contributors to the character of the football team."

NOTES: OLs Cam Erving (knee) and Eric Fisher (shoulder) did not practice, nor did LBs Reggie Ragland (knee) and Anthony Hitchens (hamstring). None of the injuries to the four starters is thought to be serious. ... CB Keith Reaser (quad), LB Tanoh Kpassagnon (heel) and FS Leon McQuay (hamstring) were limited in practice. It's unclear if any will play in the preseason opener.

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Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:04 am
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