How About An Early 53 Man Roster Prediction?

Roy E WilliamsOffense (24)

QB (3)- Romo, Kitna, McGee

RB (3)- Barber, Jones, Choice

FB  (1)- Anderson

TE  (3)- Witten, Bennett, Phillips

WR (5)- Williams, Crayton, Austin, Hurd (if healthy), Stanback (if healthy) Ogletree, Manny Johnson and Holley are the options for injured WRs

C (2)- Gurode, Gibbons

OG (4)- Davis, Kozier, Holland, Gibbons (Brewster to IR)

OT (4)- Adams, Colombo, McQuistan, Free

 

Defense (25)

NT  (2)- Ratliff, Siavii

DE  (5)- Spears, Olshansky, Bowen, Hatcher, Dixon

OLB (5)- Ware, Spencer,  B.Williams, Butler, Hodge

ILB (4)- James, Brookings, Carpenter, Jason Williams

CB (5)- Newman, Jenkins, Scandrick, Brown, Mickens

SS (2)- Sensabaugh, Michael Hamlin

FS (2)- Ken Hamlin, D. Smith

 

Special Teams  (4)

FG- Folk

KO’s/ ST- Buehler

P- McBriar

LS- Ladouceur

I Miss It All

footballWatching all the offseason news, from Brandon Marshall to Anquan Boldin, Jay Cutler to Brett Favre; from tragedies like our practice facility accident to the tragic and sudden loss of Air McNair. All of this made me realize I miss football. As a true fan of my Dallas Cowboys and football in general – football is indeed a part of me.

I miss the fall afternoons and the Sunday nights, the great battles of the NFC East, and even the tragedy that was the Detroit Lions last season. I miss NFL Live. I miss Devin Hester and his amazing returns. I miss Adrian Peterson and the spectacular defense in Baltimore and in Pittsburgh.

I miss the Monday Night Football enchiladas and chips and the Sunday Night bragging rights when Dallas would win. I miss arguing with my mama (who is a NY Giants fan) non-stop about who’s team is better.

But most of all I miss the game in general.

As we the fans prepare for our tailgating and our face paint and our respective teams begin the journey to their respective training camp locations – we all embark on one thing. That one goal that every team has, yet only one team a year can realize. We put ourselves and our everyday lives on the line for one day in early February, WHY??…. So our team can enjoy the life of a champion and we as fans can live that with them.

So fans, wives, daughters, husbands, sons, house pets – get ready because its football season once again!

*****GO COWBOYS*****

News and Notes From Day 2 of Cowboys Practice

There wasn’t too much to report on Day 1 of practice, but on Day 2 I read some things that caught my attention.

For one I’m glad Tashard Choice is looking to show that last year was not a joke. He wants everyone to know he is for real and he is here to make plays. Reported by DallasNews.com, Choice made some big runs in practice this afternoon and RB coach Skip Peete said that Choice has “unbelievable vision”.

“They didn’t know how good I was,” said Choice, who is still perturbed that he slipped into the fourth round after twice leading the ACC in rushing. “I had to prove it to them.”

“I’ve got to show them every day. Every day,” Choice said. “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder when I’m out here. Believe that.”

Said RB coach Skip Peete…

“I think he’s going to have the opportunity to play a lot this year,” Peete said. “In what situations, you don’t know right now.”

I continue to like what I hear from the Dallas defense. This goes back to the OTA’s when it was reported that Wade Phillips wants to attack offenses and move people around the field. DallasNews.com reported that today DeMarcus Ware was being moved around the defensive line.Ware lined up on the left side of the line and blew by Pat McQuistan.

Said coach Phillips…

“The better pass blockers are at left tackles, but the more crafty guys are on the right side. They usually run to the right side, so you have those big, strong guys over there. You have to find a way to outwit them.”

And now onto our QB Tony Romo who chose not to speak to the media yesterday. I liked some of the things he said today and what some others have said about him and his approach to the game. I still really want to see that Romo smile the way you saw back in 2007 when it looked like he was having fun and also playing well.

Romo on playing QB in the NFL…

“I don’t know if any year is any different from any other year when you play the position that quarterbacks in the National Football League play. Here it’s always all those things on the table, it’s all part of playing the position. You either can handle all the stuff that goes along [with it], and handle all the stuff off the field … again you’re not going to last very long [if you can’t.]

Romo on the last game against the Eagles…

“I talked about that a long time ago,” said Romo. “We’re kind of moving by last year. I think for us it’s just about going forward and improving this year. It’s about today, though. It’s not about our first game, it’s not about next week, it’s about today and this practice. Did we improve right here, what we just did? I think we did. Now we’ve got to go back and do the exact same thing this afternoon and put forth another step forward. I tell the guys, you just keep stacking days together and you’ll be able to add them up at the end of the year.”

Romo on pressure for ’09…

“Yeah, there’s never been pressure any other year,” he said sarcastically. “It’s always just a cakewalk normally. It’s just another season. It’s another season, another start. Like I said, optimism is very high around here. In the last few years, this is probably the first time that we feel not that we’re being overlooked, but some of you guys have decided to take other teams in the division or in the conference and things of that nature. That’s a different role, playing that kind of role — not that that serves you good or bad. It’s just a little different in that regard. That might the only thing I see as a little different.”

“When I was 25 I thought I was mature and I’m sure I wasn’t,” he said. “When I was 22 I thought I was mature, but I probably wasn’t. I’m 29 now. I think I’m mature. Am I? I don’t know. …

“I’m still myself. There’s not going to be anything that I’m going to change. I don’t think you get to this position, you don’t be successful, being someone you’re not. The only way you can get better and continue to try and achieve your goals is just to keep going forward, keep plugging away. The secret is usually just hard work. You do that and you’ve got a chance.”

Coach Phillips on Romo being a leader…

“He was at every workout during the offseason,” Phillips said. “The rest of the players look at that, and if you have anybody slacking off during the offseason you can go to them and say, `Look, Tony Romo is out there working; you need to be working.’ That really helps with your football team. … To me, that’s showing leadership.”

Romo on his relationship with OC Jason Garrett…

“I’m lucky to have Jason (Garrett) around,” Romo said today. “My relationship with him is very strong. I feel very fortunate to be able to have a guy like that that I get a chance to talk with and work with. He has a very good mind.

“I really enjoy just being around the guy. That makes it even more enjoyable to be there every day.”

“Basically, it’s about us doing things the right way,” Romo said. “As players, we need to go out and execute the plays. I think we’ve got a great chance. Coaches are putting us through great opportunities right now, so we’re excited about that.”

For those of you who are worried about the lack of hitting in practice do not have to worry about Marion Barber.

Coach Phillips said of Barber…

“He said, ‘Don’t tell those guys not to hit me. because I’m going to hit them,’” Phillips said of his marquee back. “His attitude is like it’s always been.”

FORWARD PROGRESS: Weapons Of A Different Breed

Forward Progress

Training camp is finally here! Rejoice Cowboys fans! Another beginning will soon be upon us, and this is the first step along the lengthy journey of the season. You win in December and in playoff games and in Superbowls by preparing both physically and mentally here in late July and August. I didn’t get a chance to hear much of the “State of the Cowboys” address by Owner Jones and Coach Wade, but let’s be honest, I don’t think I missed a whole lot other than some cliche’s and some hopeful optimism, not that there is anything wrong with that. I must admit that it is hard to be so close, yet so far away from real football. In a way, I am going to have to fight through a lot of the things that are going to be brought up and mused upon over the course of the next 3 or 4 weeks. You know, the usual suspects: Can Romo win in December? How will the offense perform without Terrell Owens? Can Wade get his players to stay motivated? Blah, blah, blah! I understand that the media has a job to do, but I am just not interested in the same ole, same ole.

Some of the things that I am looking forward to finding out over the course of training camp will be how the new additions to the defense are going to fit in, who will win the number two spot at wide receiver and maybe, just maybe, get a glimpse at how Jason Garrett plans to manage all of his unique weapons.

Ah yes, Mr. Garrett and his weapons. I can’t think of a Cowboys team in the past with a more unique set of offensive weapons than this 2009 outfit. It will be a challenge and a delicate balance to efficiently use all of the running backs and tight ends, as well as develop the chemistry and timing between Romo and Roy Williams and the rest of the receivers. I am excited to see what Garrett can do with this group. I still have confidence in Garrett, I think he did have some challenges and obstacles dealing with Owens last year and in the end I believe that it affected his play calling and game planning. That is just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

I think that the best thing for Garrett, Romo and the entire franchise would be to have the heart and soul and identity of this team actually be the running game. If you are able to establish the run week in and week out, then it makes everything else so much easier. You can control time of possession, and gain valuable field position by churning out those first downs. Honestly, if we are unable to establish THIS team’s running game than there will have to be major changes in many areas next off-season. The extremely well compensated offensive line, led by Leonard Davis, are just flat out going to have to open some holes and then let the three headed monster do it’s thing. We have 3 backs who could arguably be starters for almost 20 other NFL teams at least. There are other great backs in the league, but I can’t think of any teams who would turn down Marion Barber or Felix Jones, and very few who would not like to have a guy like Tashard Choice somewhere in the mix. All that being said, there are no excuses to not dominate in the running game this year.

Once we soften up the line of scrimmage, we can open up our can of beans and rice! We should be able to carve up the middle of the field as well as any team in the league with our dynamic tight ends. We have the top tight end in all of football in Jason Witten, who also will contribute to the running game with his solid blocking, and then the young, explosive Marty B as his sidekick. This will be one of the most exciting things to watch this year for me. It’s not exactly rocket science here. When it’s third down and six, look for Beans and Rice.

And then, when it’s time to really put it on them, as my boy Nate the Cowboy Ninja would say, just dial 9-11. Romo to Roy Williams, and don’t forget Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd. This is where the majority of the big gains will and should come from and if the running game is established and the middle of the field has been softened up by the tight ends, it will be easy pickings for an accurate passer like Romo.

Man, just looking at all of the options gets me really excited, we have the weapons. It’s time to optimize them and, bottom line, that’s on the shoulders’ of the coordinator.

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD

Cowboys Training Camp Opens – Early Warning Signs

With the opening of Dallas Cowboys training camp, one can really sense the end of last season’s drama, as a new season full of expectations begins. I love this time of the year because it almost always reminds me of spring when all the slumbering trees come back to life and there is a rebirth of nature everywhere. The slate is once again clean and enthusiasm is running rampant as a new rookie class practices on the field with last years returning vets. Lots of new faces, plenty of renewed spirit, and heaps of positive attitudes. If only we can bottle it up and keep it in case we need it at some point this season.

I couldn’t wait to get home, eat dinner and search my favorite Cowboys sites for news of how day one unfolded. I was actually pretty excited about reading some of the players quotes and what they had to say today from the Alamodome, especially from our new and unequivocal leader, Tony Romo.

Im sorry and sad to say this, but most of what I read was a little disappointing and gave me a bad overall feeling of what might lie ahead. There’s three things specifically that I learned that really put a damper on my excitement.

Tony Romo Avoids The Press

So now that Romo has the floor all to himself, he chooses to clam up and avoid the media aka the fans? Our leader decides that the best way to usher in a new season is to duck for cover and hide in the locker room while reporters are roaming the ground looking for some words of encouragement for the new season? This is a recipe for disaster, and considering how Tony Romo has closed out the last three seasons, the last thing he wants to do is piss of the beat writers. One of them is already calling attention to Romo’s media ban,

Tony Romo decided not to talk on Day 1 of training camp. Does that bother anyone? I can’t recall the starting quarterback ever blowing off the media on the first day.

If Tony Romo is to be the face of the organization, when will he man up and face the music? He already has a reputation for being soft, and the only reason they haven’t attacked his leadership skills was because it was believed he was being undermined by Terrell Owens. The beat writers are simply trying to their jobs. For a season that was supposed to have less drama, Romo may have transformed training camp into a three ring circus. And he is the ringmaster.

Camp Cupcake Is Now Camp Marshmallow

Wade Phillips announced that Cowboys plan to avoid contact in training camp. Huh? What did he just say?

“We’re gonna tackle in the preseason games,” said Phillips with a straight face. “There’s no reason to tackle our own guys. You’re more susceptible to injury when you go live.”

Oh my God, tell me this is just an April Fools day joke that is four months late. No contact? Really? The sound byte of Wade Phillips was so shocking and hilarious that it quickly spread throughout the league and was even piped into Giants training camp where the team laughed uncontrollably for five minutes.  It didn’t take long for the forums to go viral with this news, and now the Cowboys are being called the Cowgirls, America’s Queens. One fan is planning on sending the Cowboys a couple of cases of soft fuzzy bunny slippers to replace their cleats.

I thought for sure the Cowboys would show up to camp and get mean and physical. How can you evaluate a player when they can’t tackle and hit? Injuries are a part of the game. I think it’s more dangerous when you play or practice so as not to get hurt. I just think this is a terrible idea. The Redskins, Giants and Eagles are all licking their chops waiting to deliver some punishing blows. I didn’t think that a team who lost 44-6 the last time they took the field, would take such a soft approach.

If You Play And Practice As A Team, You Win As A Team

Josh Ellis had something that caught my attention in his blog.

Something I thought was weird from today’s workout, at the beginning it was odd to see several of the Cowboys veterans who aren’t involved in the kicking game stay in the locker room until midway through the special teams portion of practice, after most of the team had already stretched.

Marion Barber chatted with coaches during the opening field goal drills, and Tony Romo, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton came out later on, and joined the team for a second period of stretching. Strange as it sounds for the acknowledged leader (Romo) to have a different arrival time than most of his teammates, that apparently is how the Cowboys are going to roll.

Again, another head scratcher. While most teams practice together and are on the field at the same time, the Cowboys have given different arrival times to different players.

Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but on day one of training camp doesn’t everyone show up at the same time and get some sort of a rallying speech from the head coach, then the defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator and finally a few words from our quarterback?

Who decided they were going to treat training camp like high school and assign different periods and times to all the players. And even in high school, at least you had homeroom.

Oh man, what a first day of training camp…

T’was the Night Before Camp Opens and…

Wade Phillips showed some fire during today’s press conference with owner Jerry Jones. Hopefully Phillips fire was real and not just some smoke.

“We were knocked down some last year, and we’re gonna get back up,” he said, smacking the Built Ford Tough podium for emphasis. “We’re gonna get back up fighting!”

“We’re winning, but we’re not winning enough,” he said. “That’s the step we want to take.”

Here is a shortened video of the press conference posted by DallasNews.com.

http://www.dallasnews.com/video/dallasnews/hp/index.html?nvid=384295

Jerry Jones informed the audience at the press conference today that Wade Phillips is the only choice for the Cowboys and that the team will benefit from him. Although, if that is true than why hasn’t Wade been signed to a contract extension since he is entering his final year? My guess is that Jerry Jones is waiting to see the results from 2009.

“I want to emphasize this,” Jerry said. “I’m so solid in my thinking that by having Wade Phillips as our head coach and what he brings with his experience and what he brings to the table with his experience as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, with his full perspective of his first year as head coach and his second year as head coach, I like that mix. I like that combination of not only his skill but what he brings to the table, and I like what our players see when he steps up there as our head coach.”

“There was no wavering because I know it’s the best thing for the Dallas Cowboys to have Wade Phillips as our head coach,” Jerry said.

“I don’t worry about my job,” Phillips said. “I worry about the job I’m doing.”

Nothing new to report on the new contract for DeMarcus Ware. Reported by DallasNews.com…

“It’s still a top priority for us,” said Stephen Jones, who declined to comment specifically about the negotiations with Ware’s agent, Pat Dye Jr. “Our hope would be that we’ll get something done.”

“From what I’ve seen, he can compartmentalize his business both on and off the field,” Jones said. “I feel comfortable that he’ll be just fine with that.”

We have all seen DeMarcus Ware develop into one of the top defensive players in the NFL. In my opinion Ware is the best in the NFL. And when other players threaten to stay away from camp over contracts and even hold out from camp, Ware is a professional and is preparing himself for the season and not wanting to let his teammates or coaches down. GET DEMARCUS WARE SIGNED NOW, PLEASE!!!!!

Mixed Emotions: News Around the NFL

Micheal Vick conditionally reinstated, Plaxico Burress to testify, Antonio Peirce to be charge in Burress shooting case, Brett Favre stays retired, and the NFL loses a great defensive mind…

Mike Vick the troubled superstar formerly of the Atlanta Falcons got the go ahead as of Monday morning that he will be allowed to play this season, but under certain stipulations. Tony Dungy must mentor Vick. Vick will not be allowed to play in the first 2 pre-season games, and he is still facing a regular season suspension no more than 5 games and no less than 1. Vick served his 23 and a half month sentence in prison, followed by house arrest and was released July 20th.

News has come out that ex Giants wide out Plaxico Burress will testify Wednesday morning in front of the grand jury, stemming from his November night club incident in which he shot himself in the thigh. Antonio Peirce is now under investigation in the same incident, Peirce drove Burress to the hospital and took the gun after the shooting.

Brett Favre told the Vikings he would remain retired. The 39-year old quarterback told reporters he didn’t feel like he could physically play at an acceptable level.

Now a more touching subject DC Jim Johnson has passed away today. Yes Johnson was a Eagle, but the man was a genius, a pure defensive genius. Remember the blitz and coverage packages he threw at our Tony Romo?

As football fans and lovers of the game we will miss you Jim.

***** GO COWBOYS *****

And It’s Deep Too

As training camp begins, Jason Garrett has something to prove as the OC. T.O. is no longer there so, there are no excuses. Now the plays should be more focused on winning then feeding someone’s ego. But this isn’t about that old news. This is about what he has in the backfield. They may not be the famed Smash and Dash in Carolina or Tennessee, but it should be feared.

The Dallas backfield is the strongest it has been in years. Marion Barber as we all know is a wrecking ball. The great thing about him is that he isn’t that big and he has that ability to break tackle and the power to run over defenders. This year should be interesting  to see how he was injured and wasn’t 100% when he came back. It goes unsaid, he has something to prove.

Felix Jones, God I love this dude. My friend thinks he’s Emmitt 2.0. The speed of Felix is something to reckon with. Like Marion, he has something to prove after being injured for the season last year. It will be interest to see if he’s used in the passing game as well.

Tashard Choice was an unexpected surprise for us last year. He ran over and around the Steelers and Giants defense with no problem, the boy is awesome. But let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for Barber and Jones getting hurt, what were the chances of us seeing him on the field like we did last year? With that said, are we going see him in action this year? In a few plays I’m sure, but will he be used in the offense or special teams? This has to be on Garrett’s mind. He has three running backs that can be used in almost anyway.

The other two backs are Keon Lattimore and Alonzo Coleman. Going off what we seen last year in the pre-season, it’s a shame these won’t get a lot of snaps, if any snaps. The backfield is deep, very deep and it should be a nightmare for any defense to deal with.

Let’s Go Cowboys!

Answers Needed From The 2009 Training Camp

Well, training camp is here as it started yesterday. The Cowboys enter this year’s training camp with a lot of unanswered questions. We all are seeking answers to the following questions:

Who will be the number 2, 3, & 4 wide receivers?

Who will be the starting right cornerback?

Will LB Bobby Carpenter be playing a more active role this year?

How will we ensure that all three of our running backs get carries?

Will the offensive line be able to provide better pass and run blocking?

Will wide receiver Roy Williams be able to put up comparable numbers to that other wide receiver we had?

Will Jason Garrett’s offense be able to get back to where it was two years ago?

Will the special teams be able to perform better under Coach DeCamillis?

These are some of the many questions that training camp should help to provide and yes some of the questions we will not know until the season begins. I believe that this year’s camp will be harder and more will come out of it than did last year. I believe the Cowboys have learned that you get what you put into it.

Yes, last year we started out okay, but we did not finish okay and I believe that training camp instills that work ethic that can carry you through the year. The young players on the team need to step up and play big and I think that will. I hope that we start strong out of the gate and do not let up until we have won the Super Bowl!

Injury Bug Starting Already, Update On Draft Picks

It’s been reported by ESPN that rookie offensive lineman Robert Brewster will miss the entire 2009 season. Brewster apparently suffered at torn pectoral muscle following the June mini-camps. Big loss for an offensive line that really needed to develop some depth.

“I can’t even tell you how disappointed he is,” Brewster’s agent, Cliff Brady said. “I’m trying to keep him positive, [saying] ‘Look, let’s just take this year to work on you and your body and learn the system. You can miss a lot or as little as possible depending on how smart you are.’ He’s a smart kid. He just wants to play so bad.”

“It’s a real disappointing man . . . you don’t even know,” Brewster said late Monday afternoon. “I was supposed to come in and help the team and I was supposed to get in there and start learning. It’s real disappointing especially because I’ve never been injured before. I started all the games in college, and I never missed one. So now that I’m going to miss my whole rookie year, I can’t believe it.”

“I really didn’t know what my role would be this year,” Brewster said. “But I was just trying to learn as much as I could. I will tell you this . . . you won’t see anyone come back stronger than I will. I am going to use this as motivation as much as I can. If this is going to be my ‘redshirt’ year, that’s fine. But I will try to make this a positive for me.

“It’s just tough right now because the off-season was going so great for me. I was working really hard with (strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek). Working with Joe, I never missed a day. I was even getting extra work in. I was changing my entire body. I was at the point where I was the strongest I’ve ever been.”

“I was in the weight room and it wasn’t any different this time. We were in there, going hard like we have all summer,” Brewster said. “I was busting my tail and as I got to my last rep, I just felt like someone pinched me in the arm. And then I heard a big pop in my arm. I found out it was my pec. I couldn’t believe it.”


Three more draft picks signed four year deal on Monday. Brandon Williams (LB), Michael Hamlin (S) and David Buehler (K) will be reporting to camp on time. That leaves three draft picks that need to be signed in the next 24 hours. Jason Williams (LB), Stephen McGee (QB) and Robert Brewster (OL) are now on the clock to be signed. Once Brewster is signed he will most likely be placed on the physically unable to perform list. All three are expected to be signed in time.

Football Is Here!

With the Cowboys training camp starting in a few days. I am so excited about this upcoming season. The other day I was watching ESPN and Skip Bayless was talking to Patrick Crayton. The obvious question was asked whether the Cowboys are better now than with T.O.?

The answer that came out of Skip’s mouth shocked me. Now, I can’t stand Skip but his answer was awesome! He said with the running backs that we have, which he said could start for any team. He also praised Tony and the receiving core of Witten, Williams and Crayton. The Cowboys should be the best in the NFC East or at least the second best. For once I actually agree with him.

The Cowboys running backs are just beasts. The team will get Felix Jones back. We all know what Barber can do. Tashard has shown flashes of what a great running back he could be. Tashard ran all over the Steelers defense. Now we know what Witten can do. Tony and Williams have been practicing in the off-season together. Should gel just right in time for Tampa Bay. Now Crayton and Austin should expand the defenses and gain lots of yardage.

Wade taking over the defensive play-calling should help the Cowboys tremendously. When Wade took over in the middle of last season it came alive. This season should be just as good or even better. No more Williams getting beat on pass coverage situations. The sophomore seasons of Scandrick and Jenkins will also help. Demarcus Ware will make a run at the sack record again. I think he will get it this year. Spencer will have to show us why we got rid of Ellis.

Now the Cowboys need to cement Adams feet so he doesn’t false start anymore. With that, Tony should have enough time to do what he does best (with no more Jessica distractions). My opinion is that the Cowboys will make the playoffs. If you agree with me or not, get ready for the Blue Star to make it’s name on the new stadium. How ’bout them Cowboys!!

Here Are Your Key Position Battles

Former Dallas Cowboys beat writer, Tom Orsborn, takes a look at some of the key position battles heading into training camp.

Cornerback
MIKE JENKINS VS. ORLANDO SCANDRICK
The battle for the cornerback spot opposite Terence Newman took a strange twist late last month when Jenkins declared via his blog that he’s the starter heading into training camp. The truth is the spot is up for grabs and that the two second-year players likely will slug it out well into the preseason. Jenkins is the better athlete and was the higher draft pick last year, but Scandrick’s confidence and football smarts make everyone wonder why he lasted until the fifth round.

Wide receiver
PATRICK CRAYTON VS. MILES AUSTIN
After getting most of the reps in the offseason, Crayton is the frontrunner for the No. 2 receiver job behind lead dog Roy Williams. But Jerry Jones loves Austin’s speed and potential and has even mentioned he believes Austin could approach Terrell Owens-like production. One problem, though: Austin has yet to prove he can stay healthy. His latest injury was a strained hamstring that sidelined him during minicamp.

Offensive guard
KYLE KOSIER VS. MONTRAE HOLLAND
One of the biggest question marks entering camp is whether left guard Kosier can return to form after foot surgery. His injury problems were a big reason why the offensive line struggled at times last season. The Cowboys acquired Holland in a trade with Denver last preseason and he was slow to learn the offense. But the native of Jefferson, Texas, filled in for Kosier late in the season and could make a strong bid to unseat him.

Linebacker
BOBBY CARPENTER VS. JASON WILLIAMS
Widely viewed as a first-round bust, Carpenter has a chance to shine as the replacement for nickel linebacker Kevin Burnett, who signed with San Diego in free agency. Carpenter’s finesse style makes him a natural to defend on passing downs, but Williams is a superb athlete with blazing speed. Still, it will take time for the third-round pick to learn the pro game, the main reason why Carpenter is favored to win this fight.

Here are a few other situations that bear watching.

We drafted kicker David Buehler in the fifth round and I’m sure he’ll be cutting into somebody’s time. I don’t see the wisdom in carrying three kickers on the team between Buehler, McBriar and Folk.  One of them could be traded.

Jerry Jones loves exposure, so don’t underestimate the presence of Jesse Holley in training camp. Not only will his success usher in a new breed of Cowboys fans courtesy of the reality show 4th and Long, but sales and marketing would get a huge boost in revenue if Holley were to make the team. Sam Hurd better be looking over his shoulder.

Lastly, who will replace the departed safety Roy Williams? Who will pair up with Ken Hamlin in the secondary? Some might think that Gerald Sensabaugh is a lock, but the Cowboys have not given up on Pat Watkins yet, and they did select DeAngelo Smith out of Cincinnati in the NFL Draft. I’m thinking that the ending to the story at safety hasn’t been written just yet.

Any way you look at it, there will be no shortage of battles and story-lines at this year’s training camp. So strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.