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is third start against t
18-09-2018 08:32 AM
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is third start against t
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OXNARD David Andrews Jersey , Calif. (AP) — Dak Prescott threw two interceptions just a few plays apart in a training camp practice, including an ill-advised pass across the field to a receiver just a few yards from the line of scrimmage.

Those picks, and the decisions that go with them, are under more scrutiny after the Dallas Cowboys‘ quarterback followed his remarkable rookie season with a somewhat pedestrian encore. And Prescott is among those doing the scrutinizing — each night at camp in the film room.

“When I go back, I’m being super-critical of myself, of the throws, of the placement, of where I should have went with the ball,” Prescott said Sunday. “I’m tough on myself. So when I go back tonight, all of that was OK, it’s got to better and this is why it’s got to better. And I take my notes and I move forward.”

With the release of three-time Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant and the retirement of 15-year tight end Jason Witten , Prescott is working with a revamped group of receivers and unproven batch of tight ends.

The resulting rough patches for the passing game after a week and a half in California aren’t surprising, but notable nonetheless considering how the offense usually appears to be ahead of the defense with the Cowboys this time of year.

“The best teams I’ve been on are where it’s back and forth all day and everybody is just competing and battling and no one really dominates the whole day,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The other side competes back and challenges back and fights back. That’s what we’ve had really throughout training camp.”

There’s a reality facing Prescott Dontae Johnson Jersey , though.

Two years ago, he set an NFL rookie record for passer rating and was voted the league’s offensive rookie of the year for a team that finished with an NFC-best 13 wins. In 2017, the interceptions more than tripled (from four to 13), the passer rating dropped by almost 20 points and the Cowboys missed the playoffs at 9-7.

Some will point to running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations, which started halfway through the season just as Prescott and the Cowboys were looking good enough for another playoff trip.

Others will remind of injuries that sidelined left tackle Tyron Smith for three games, a big reason the offensive line didn’t live up to its reputation as one of the best in the league.

Regardless, the onus will be on Prescott to keep defenses honest with the Cowboys making no secret of building their offense around Elliott, Prescott’s fellow rookie star who led the NFL in rushing that season.

“We have a lot of knew kinks here and there that is going to help everything else,” Prescott said. “It’s going to help our running game. It’s going to help our play-action game out. As long as we’ve all bought into the offensive system, it is going to pay off.”

Of the two key free agents Dallas signed at receiver, Allen Hurns has missed some time with leg discomfort and Deonte Thompson hasn’t practiced at all because of Achilles heel soreness.

Terrance Williams, the second-longest tenured Dallas receiver behind Cole Beasley, is working back slowly from offseason surgery for a broken foot.

Rookie Michael Gallup, a third-rounder who was the team’s first draft choice at receiver after dumping Bryant Derrick Thomas Jersey , has shown promise in camp. That’s a sampling of the collection the Cowboys hope to use to replace Bryant — and develop a rapport with Prescott.

“It’s challenging, but it’s not tough,” Prescott said. “That is what you want. Those guys are going to be rotating in the game. So we have to go ahead and get in out here … so I can gain chemistry with all of them and figure out who is a guy I can call on in that time.”

The Cowboys have to decide how much time to give Prescott and his new receivers in the preseason, starting Thursday night at San Francisco.

Last year, with Prescott coming off his sparkling debut, he played just two exhibition games. If the Cowboys follow the same plan, Prescott will skip the 49ers game. But it would be easy to argue that the Dallas passing game needs the work.

“It is important for those guys to play together,” Garrett said. “You want to be a careful of putting them in the situation where it’s ultimately not going to be productive for your team. So you want to find your spots in practice and preseason games to get them quality work.”

The quality has been lacking at times in camp.

Neither Jesus Aguilar nor Bud Norris wanted to let their team down.

Aguilar succeeded twice.

Aguilar homered to break up rookie Jack Flaherty’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning, then homered again in the ninth to lift the Milwaukee Brewers over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Friday night.

Both teams got just three hits. The benches and bullpens briefly cleared in the eighth after Eric Sogard slid into St. Louis shortstop Yairo Munoz, who caught a wide throw on a bunt play in the eighth.

Norris (3-2) started the ninth for the Cardinals by striking out Travis Shaw. But, Aguilar followed with an opposite-field drive to right for his 16th home run.

”Don’t get a strikeout. Don’t get a strikeout,” Aguilar said about digging in against Norris. ”That’s why I was kind of overaggressive, I think. I got lucky to hit that pitch.”

Norris, speaking in front of his locker in the subdued Cardinals clubhouse Riley Dixon Jersey , owned up to the mistake.

”I yanked one pitch, and he hit it,” Norris said. ”That’s the game.”

It was another tough loss for the Cardinals, who have lost nine of the last 12.

”Watching them walk us off, that’s hard,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”Jack did everything he could possibly do.”

Corey Knebel (1-0) pitched the ninth for the NL Central leaders.

With one out in the seventh, Aguilar drove an 83 mph slider from Flaherty into the Brewers’ bullpen in left, where reliever Jeremy Jeffress caught the ball on the fly. A woman who was knitting – it appeared to be crochet, actually – in the front row behind home plate barely flinched as Aguilar connected.

”He got that ball almost off the ground,” catcher Yadier Molina said. ”We’ve got to give him some credit.”

Aguilar tipped his cap to Flaherty.

”He was dominating the strike zone tonight, and I think we got lucky,” he said. ”We tied the game in the moment. It’s a new game, and we’re moving forward, thinking we’re going to win this game.”

Flaherty matched a career high by striking out 13 in seven innings Damon Harrison Jersey , allowing just one hit. The Cardinals played stellar defense behind him after giving up six unearned runs with a season-high four errors in Thursday’s 11-3 loss to Milwaukee. Munoz robbed Jonathan Villar of a base hit in the fifth with a nice running backhand stab of a liner tailing away from him.

”That was unbelievable,” Molina said of Flaherty’s performance. ”Good pitching, good effort. Everything was working for him. We didn’t hit enough to get him the win tonight.”

Matt Carpenter walked, advanced on a sacrifice by Harrison Bader and scored on Marcell Ozuna’s liner up the middle in the third.

Brewers starter Junior Guerra allowed one run and three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in five-plus innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: INF Paul DeJong (left hand fracture) took batting practice and is anxious to return. ”It looked like he didn’t miss a beat, but we’re going to have to slow down and make sure we’re following the program,” manager Mike Matheny said.

Brewers: LF Ryan Braun missed his second consecutive game after receiving a cryotherapy injection in his troublesome right thumb Wednesday in Los Angeles. … LHP Wade Miley (right oblique strain) made a rehab start for Double-A Biloxi. He went two innings and allowed a run on three hits and struck out three.

QUOTABLE

Each team struck out 15 times and each one seemed to bring consternation with plate umpire Tim Timmons.

”When the pitchers keep putting the balls on the corners, there’s going to be some disagreements,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”There were a lot of balls put on corners tonight.”

YOU’RE GONE

Tommy Pham, batting second, was ejected by Timmons after Pham took a called third strike in the first. He continued to bark about it from the dugout before being tossed for the first time in his career. Bader replaced Pham in center field.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (7-2, 2.69 ERA) makes his third start against the Brewers this season. He won 8-4 in his Cardinals debut on April 2.

Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (5-6, 4.54 ERA) makes his second start this season against the Cardinals. He is 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 10 career outings, including a no-decision April 3 at Miller Park.



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