Welcome to opening night of the 2009 NFL season. Sure it’s not the Cowboys, but it’s real football and I can not wait for it to start. The Cowboys have been quiet this preseason, except for the video board that took up the headlines for two weeks! I loved that the team was focused on football and there was no circus in town. The Cowboys have had so much negative headlines over the last few years, so it was nice that the main player in the news this preseason was Kevin Ogletree. Seems like everyone is doing the right things to get themselves better. And it’s also clear that they do not let what others (the media) say about them affect them. Sunday is fast approaching. Let’s get this season started the right way.
Here are some news and notes from today reported by DallasNews.com.
Update on DeMarcus Ware
Ware’s agent Pat Dye met with Stephen Jones this afternoon to discuss the new contract. Progress was made, but it’s unsure how much progress. Ware is scheduled to make $1.005 million and without a collective bargaining agreement he would become a restricted free agent after the 2009 season. There does not seem to be a deadline in getting a new deal done and both sides are determined not to let this become a distraction.
“I don’t want it to be and I know they don’t want it to be a distraction for DeMarcus,” Dye said. “Up to this point, it hasn’t been, and we’ll do our best not to let it be.”
“It was very, very cordial,” Dye said. “They made some significant moves in certain components of the contract and we made some significant moves on certain components of the contract. I think it was a very constructive discussion, but until you reach a result or have a result, how do you measure progress?”
“I wouldn’t say anything is closer,” Ware said, “but I would say the process is still going. We’re still trying to get some things done. They’re trying to show they want me here and I’m trying to show them I want to be here.”
In 2008 Ware recorded 20 sacks to lead the NFL. He also had his first 100 tackle season along with eight tackles for losses and six forced fumbles. Ware would like to get another 20 sacks in 2009.
“That’s always motivating but at the end of the day your goal is to try and get it again, but you’ve got to look at ‘how effective can I be?’ ” Ware said. “Can I be more effective than I was last season? I feel like with what I’ve done and what we do now, I can be.”
Team Captains announced
The Cowboys announced four full-time Captains for the 2009 season: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Bradie James and DeMarcus Ware. Sounds like the right choices since these four are the veteran leaders on offense and defense. There will also be a fifth Captain every week for special teams which be different for every game. For the Tampa Bay game it will be Matt McBriar. Ware will be the only new Captain out of the four this season.
“He works hard all the time, and he has a great attitude,” Phillips said. “That’s the kind of captain you want. By his actions certainly and the way he works, he’s a great example.”
Miles Austin and Sam Hurd
Miles Austin and Sam Hurd have announced that they should be fine for the Tampa Bay game on Sunday. Austin tested the hamstring during practice yesterday and said he had no issues with it.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Austin said. “I’m ready to play.”
We all know how great of a player DeMarcus Ware is and because of that fact we should listen when he says that Anthony Spencer is ready for a breakout season in 2009. Spencer has been playing behind Greg Ellis since being drafted in 2007. Now that Ellis is no longer with the team Spencer has his chance to show everyone what can do. And Ware believes he will.
“I’m really looking forward to it. You know how they always say, can he fill Greg’s shoes? Everybody’s going to stop talking and they’re going to see him putting pressure on the quarterback, stopping the run, still being able to drop. He’s a smart guy. In practice, he’s hardly making any mistakes. And he’s getting pressure on that quarterback, too.”
The other day all-world running back Emmitt Smith said that the 2009 Cowboys would win seven games. That did not sit well with Tony Romo. I believe his response shows his maturity as a player and as a leader.
“People outside of this locker room, they don’t affect this football team,” Romo said. “We’ve really narrowed our focus. We don’t have time to discuss what different people might be saying or talking about our team, because it really doesn’t come out any way. It’s about the game. It’s about beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“This week, we’ll be able to go out and hopefully improve and get better. All we can do is do that. Whatever people might say or might not say, that’s for those people to talk about. But all we think about is the game and getting better today.”