Posts

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!

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.

Reactions Following the Collapse of the Cowboys Facility

The day after the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility, some questions are finally being answered.

Officials say a ‘microburst’ is to blame for the damage. A storm with high winds, just under that of a tornado, swept through the area. However, the only reported damage was to the Cowboys practice facility.

A dozen were injured while 60 people walked away with only scrapes and bruises. New Special Teams coach Joe DeCamillis suffered broken vertebrae in his back and will likely need surgery. Cowboys assistant scout Rich Behm underwent surgery on his spinal cord late Saturday night at Parkland Memorial Hospital, according to Matt Mosley of ESPN.

Here are some reactions following the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys training facility on Saturday, May 2nd: 

Bobby Carpenter “It was kind of unbelievable, seeing the shots from inside and everything. To think that something like that could happen. We’ve been in there when it’s been windy, a little bit of light-shaking, but nothing quite that extreme.”

Dan Reeves on Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis injuries:  “It’s just lucky and fortunate and a miracle really he’s not paralyzed.”

David Buehler: “My initial thought was, how many people are dead in this? I thought I was the lucky one.”

David Buehler:  “I thought I was OK, and then a steel pole hit me in the right side of the head and left a big knot. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever experienced. We were all in shock. Welcome to the NFL.”

Dave Campo: “I feel like I was in a fight. When it came down, I didn’t have much time to react. What scared me the most was that my son was in the building. Practice was going well. That was a helluva ending.”

An Anonymous Player because the players were instructed not to comment: “It was really loud, the rain, which is normal for a bubble. When the lights really started shaking and the walls beating is when we knew it was getting bad, and then it started to collapse. We just started taking off running. One wall fell toward the middle. We didn’t have anything fall on us. Before we left the structure, we were leaning up against the wall thinking it was a tornado.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Woodall: “The fact that there weren’t more injuries is rather miraculous.”

Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News (Speaking of Josh Ellis and Nick Eatman of dallascowboys.com): “All I saw was blue jerseys. I was trapped. I couldn’t move. Then those guys lifted it up-not very far, but I was able to move from my side to my back. … Once I got out of there, I looked back and the whole thing was down.”

Jim Zorn, Washington Redskins head coach: “I asked our guys, ‘If you’re a praying man, really remember those guys.’ What a tragedy that is. How unpredictable that must be. Fortunately, they didn’t have 115 guys in that bubble at that time because there might have been a lot more injuries. So we’re thankful that there were very few.”

Wade Phillips: “We’re lucky no one got electrocuted with all the water in the building. A couple of players had minor injuries, but they were all right.”

Cowboys Extra Points: No Curses This Year

extrapts2For those Cowboys fans who believe that the HBO series ‘Hard Knocks’ cursed the Cowboys last season, you will be pleased to learn that the Cincinnati Bengals will be the feature team this summer. I guess with all the drama and illegal action in Cincy, it should be rather interesting to watch the likes of Ocho Cinco and Chris Henry ‘knock’ around. Oh yeah, and Tank Johnson’s there now, too.

Several sources believe that the draft, which was said to be aimed at improving Special Teams, may leave linebacker Bobby Carpenter without a job. Talk about a draft bust…

Speaking of players who should question their value on the team, Greg Ellis better watch his back. Ellis is 34 and this will be the last year of his contract. How many linebackers did the Cowboys draft again? 

It never was a guarantee that the free agent Keith Davis would be brought back but after the ‘special teams’ draft, it’s certain his days in Dallas are behind him.  DMN reminds us of Davis’ very interesting tenure with the Cowboys:

Davis definitely had an interesting tenure with the Cowboys. He made the team as an undrafted free agent in 2002, then was cut the following year after getting shot while in the parking lot of a strip club, putting him in position for Bill Parcells to make an example out of him. After a stint in NFL Europe, he earned his way back onto the Cowboys’ roster and was a special teams stud and occasional fill-in starter for the next six seasons, during which he survived another gunshot and spent a training camp with the Dolphins.

Now for some good news for all of you ‘Die Hards':

The Cowboys first preseason game is exactly 3 months and 14 days away. And, only 4 months and 14 days until the first game of the 2009 Dallas Cowboys Football season.

BIG “D” Issues For the Cowboys

With all the talk so far this offseason surrounding Mr. Owens, and with free agency starting at the end of this week and the draft right around the corner we need to talk about some big issues surrounding the boys defense.

First, Demarcus Ware, all signs are Jerry is going to break the bank and make him the highest payed cowboy in team history, this is by far the most important move we need to make and would solidify our pass rush for years to come.

On the other side should we let Ellis go? He scheduled to make over $6 million next year for just a 3rd down pass rusher, thats pretty steep! Unless he wanted to take a significant pay cut and less playing time, I just dont see this happening.

Which brings me to Anthony Spencer. Is he ready to play every down and live up to his draft position? He may have the skills, he just scares me. His recent arrest, and if you watched Hard Knocks, remember he didn’t show for a treatment on an injury and was fined by Wade. These things make me wonder if he’s mature enough to step up and take the position fulltime.

Now lets talk about our unrestricted free agents: Canty, Burnett, and Thomas. Canty would be painful to lose. He has been a solid force on the D-line, but the contract he is looking for might be too rich for our shrinking cap space, which leaves us either starting Jason Hatcher or Stephen Bowen. I think Hatcher would fit well he has showed me some promise in his playing time.

If Thomas and Burnett leave in free agency it would leave the biggest hole in our defense. Basically, it would leave Bobby Carpenter to play next to Bradie James. I dont know your thoughts but thats a frightening thought in my eyes. We all know Ray Lewis is out there and he has said he wants to play in Dallas, but can Jerry afford him?

After D-Ware signs I’m not so sure. Another guy that might be more affordable is Keith Brooking who is suppose to be being released by Atlanta before Friday.

The secondary has potential to be above average. T-New is solid when healthy, but thats the question can he stay healthy? As much as I love the way Roy Williams plays the run and the hits he lays, he just plain stinks in pass coverage. Like Ellis, he is scheduled to make over $6 million this year and might be cut prior to the start of free agency. Its either that or him restructuring to take a major paycut which I don’t see happening either.

My thought was to bulk him up and try him in that middle linebacker spot. I don’t think that’s too far fetched. He is made to hit and I’m surprised I haven’t heard anything like that. If he goes, who is playing strong safety? 

I don’t believe Pat Watkins is ready to step in there so I’d say move Anthony Henry to safety and let Scandrick and Jenkins compete for the corner. My vote, from what I’ve seen, is Scandrick. He just showed me way more last year than Jenkins did. One thing is for certain, count on the Cowboys picking up more corners and safeties in the draft and even free agency.

I want to hear your thoughts Cowboy fans.

I love me some…. preseason

There are things in life that just make you happy. It doesn’t matter what bills are due, what you have to get done, how you are feeling, what you think about your ex-girlfriend. Nope, none of those things matter when you get the rare occasion to enjoy the things in life that make you truly happy. For me, one of those things is the DALLAS COWBOYS. I am excited about the start of preaseason tonight, because it is the start of the journey to, hopefully, Tampa Bay and the Superbowl. I don’t care if Romo plays 7 plays, I don’t care if TO plays 2 plays, we have arrived. We are finally to this day. The Cowboys will take the field. The wait is over. There is a god!

As for the game itself, Offensively, I am looking forward to seeing Felix Jones and Tashard Choice in an expanded role. Although, I wouldn’t expect us to show too much tonight in regards to Felix moving all over the field and lining up at different postions. It will be nice to see him get to tote it a few times though. I am also looking forward to seeing WR Danny Amendola. I want to see if he can carry his strong training camp over to the playing field. It won’t be Romo throwing to Amendola though, Brad Johnson should take over after the first few series and look for 3rd String quarterback Richard Bartel to get most of the 2nd half tonight and for the rest of the preseason.

On the defensive side of the ball, of course, I want to see what Pac-Man has up his sleeve. He has already come out in the papers predicting an interception return for a TD so, the man has confidence if nothing else. This will be his first live action in over a year. It will be fun to watch, and if he gets that PICK SIX, he’s got me sold. Don’t tell, but I am already starting to like him a little bit. Another thing to watch, Bobby Carpenter. It is time for him to start making some plays, he will get plenty of oppurtunities tonight. This is his 3rd year and his salary keeps getting bigger. Look for him to improve and produce or as Jason Garrett said on Hard Knocks: “Find the Door”.

And of course….the “I” word. Injuries. I don’t fear injuries any worse because they are playing in a game, I fear injuries every day and every play of training camp. There can be an injury in the weight room, in non-contact drills, anytime and anywhere. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope we come out clean and ready to keep getting better and keep working hard in camp.

After all, it’s a long way from San Diego to Tampa Bay.

 

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD


The Sunday Spot by Fredooch

Hey Cowboy fans, it’s me Fredooch bringing you your update for the week and my personal feelings when it comes to all things Dallas Cowboys. First of all let me say I couldn’t of be prouder to be on this staff than if I were a staff member on DallasCowboys.com. We have a great bunch of writers and staffers here and all I can say, and I can’t say it enough, thanks Kelly for making me part of this thing here on LoneStarStruck.com. Its both and honor and a pleasure.

 

Ok now onto the Dallas Cowboys Rumor mill:

*Rumors out of Miami and Detroit have all three franchises talking trade come draft day. Rumor out of Miami has it that Bill Parcells still thinks the world of OLB Bobby Carpenter (believe it or not) and that Carpenter will be shipped out to Miami come draft day for a 3rd rounder. Rumor out of Detroit has WR Roy Williams coming to Dallas for DT Marcus Spears and the 28th pick of the NFL Draft.

  • According to sources close to Dallas WR Terry Glenn, he will bypass having microfracture surgery on his injured knee to play one final year in the NFL. He hopes it’s with Dallas. If he is cut or released, he will retire.
  • Julius Jones, according to some sources wants to be a feature back in the NFL and has his eyes on either the Atlanta Falcons or Carolina Panthers.
  • The Dallas Cowboys are actively trying to lock-up RB Marion Barber III and DE Chris Canty to 5 year deals and both will be signed in the next couple of weeks. Expect Canty to sign a deal similar to the one Jay Ratliff signed during the season, maybe a little more expensive.
  • Jerry Jones is still EXTREMELY DISSAPOINTED about the loss to New York. Sources say that Jerry Jones wasn’t even able to watch the NFC Championship game this past week. EXPECT Jerry to sign a BIG-TIME free-agent this off-season on the defensive side of the ball. I say it’s going to be CB Marcus Trufant or CB Ashante Samuel. If it happens, remember where you heard it first. Everybody said that the Cowboys would never sign Deion Sanders because he was too expensive. Well guess what? Jerry got creative, which I believe he is the best in the business at, and signed Deion.

Now for my Dallas Cowboys ranting. I was a little disturbed last week by something DT Marcus Spears said after the Cowboys loss to the Giants in the post-game interview. I don’t know if any of you caught that interview but Spears basically said in a nut shell that some players on the Cowboys side didn’t give 100 %, including him, which is why they lost. Now, I know what you’re saying. He was just being hard on himself. NO! When Spears said this, he said it so nonchalantly. Like oh well, we lost, get over it!

The Giants wanted it more than we did. I don’t know if this attitude is the reason the Cowboys are actively “shopping” Spears but considering all things, I do hope we get rid of this guy if this is his way of thinking. It’s easy for me to sit here and criticize a guy but when your making more money than Police Officers and Fire Fighters make in 10 years, you bet your two cents you’re going to get criticized, especially by me.

If God had granted me the athletic ability of a Marcus Spears or a Roy Williams, yes our Roy Williams, and I was making millions of dollars a year to play a child’s game, then I would give everything I had on every play and leave everything on the field. If we lost, then I could go to sleep at night knowing fully well that I left everything on that field that Sunday afternoon. And when I retired, the only thing I would want to be remembered for by my peers is that every time they faced me, they feared me and knew they always got 200% from me.

I remembered I once was watching this NFL films program on Hall Of Fame lineman from either the Steelers or 49ers of the 70’s or 80’s I don’t recall and they asked him who the best player they ever faced across from them was. I remember this guy saying, and don’t quote me word for word here, “Oh man, that’s easy. It’s without a doubt Randy White. That guy was a Beast. He had this clock that would never stop ticking and whenever I faced him I was physically and emotionally drained. You always got 100 % from that guy. They called him the Manster. He literally was half man and half monster.” Of course Randy White was an All-Pro and Hall of Famer and a 1st Round Pick.

My point is that if everyone on this team gave everything they had two weeks ago, we would be talking Cowboys vs. Patriots Superbowl. But it wasn’t meant to be. I am not saying that Marcus Spears is a horrible player but he has not lived up to the billing of being a 1st round draft pick. Bobby Carpenter hasn’t either but at least Spears has been given the opportunity. So I will leave it at that Cowboy fans.  Well that’s all for now kiddies and remember, see you next Sunday. Same Cowboys time! Same Cowboys place! Same Cowboys channel!       

Trade Rumors Swirling Around Valley Ranch

From Dallas Morning News: 

Rumor has it that the Cowboys are shopping former first-round picks DE Marcus Spears and LB Bobby Carpenter at the Senior Bowl.

Carpenter simply isn’t a fit in a 3-4 defense, which makes Bill Parcells’ decision to pick him pretty puzzling. Carpenter couldn’t get on the field in any of the Cowboys’ defensive packages this season but was a solid special teams player. He wasn’t considered a reach when the Cowboys drafted him 19th overall two years ago, so some 4-3 teams might be interested.

Spears isn’t a bad player, but he hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing. To use a Tuna term, he’s J.A.G. If the Cowboys get rid of Spears, Jay Ratliff could take his job, with Jason Ferguson and Tank Johnson forming a good NT tandem.

Time to give Jerry some advice: What would you want for Spears or Carpenter? I’m not sure the return for either would be more than a second-day pick, so try to be realistic.

Injury Report: Week 4

Game Status:
Out:
LB Greg Ellis (Achilles)
WR Terry Glenn (Knee)
S Keith Davis (Pectorals)
S Courtney Brown (Arm)

Questionable:
CB Terence Newman (Foot)

Probable:
FB Oliver Hoyte (Neck)
LB Bobby Carpenter (Quadriceps)

 

Wade Phillips suggests that Greg Ellis is "50/50" this week. He practiced in full team drills on Thursday in the dime package.

Keith Davis has a torn pectorals muscle suffered during the Bears game last Sunday. Also, back-up safety Courtney Brown injured his arm in practice on Wednesday. Brown would have replaced Davis on Sunday, but now the Cowboys will look to Pat Watkins as emergency backup and possible even Nathan Jones if needed.

Terence Newman’s plantar fascia is doing better but he now suffers from knee tendinitis. He will most likely play but not start on Sunday.

Bobby Carpenter has a slightly torn quadriceps muscle that may have occurred during the preseason finale against Minnesota. Carpenter was ordered by doctors 4-6 hours of rest but he wants to deal with the pain and play.  

Dallas Cowboys Weekly Poll Results

Hi Cowboys fans!
 
Here are the results of our first Cowboys Poll of the new season. Last week we asked you…
 
What Do You Think Of The Cowboys Off Season Moves?
 

 
I am not surprised that 83 percent of you thought the Cowboys had a pretty darn good off season. Given the fact that we had to replace Bill Parcells and most of the coaching staff, I think we did alright with the new coaching regime. We also added some high profile players and locked in some of our stars to contract extensions as well. The word is that our top draft pick is in camp and he is turning some heads with his play and just signed a new contract. Not bad for the Cowboys, not bad at all.
 
This week we opened training camp as we prepare for a new season of Cowboys football!
 
Last season we had a few players that started to come into their own and showed us some flashes of big play ability. With that in mind, here is this weeks question.
 
Which Of These Players Will Emerge With A Breakout Year This Season?
 
1. Bobby Carpenter
2. Miles Austin
3. Sam Hurd
4. Patrick Crayton
5. Tyson Thompson
 
Cast your vote Cowboys fans and lets us know who you think will step up this season and become StarStruck!

A “Not So Mini” Minicamp Weekend

 

Alright Cowboy Fans, the first official Minicamp is well underway at Valley Ranch. Our ‘Boys are looking sharp and are ready to follow their new leaders. To the surprise of many, even T.O. showed up and ran some routes and caught several passes. Owens is still recovering from two finger surgeries but practiced and played above expectations with the team this weekend. Julius Jones also returned to Valley Ranch after spending most of the offseason in Arizona with his personal trainer.
 
There are a couple of Cowboys who had some complaints. Linebacker Kevin Burnett is upset about not having a starting job. Considering his competition: DeMarcus Ware, Bradie James, Akin Ayodele, Greg Ellis, Anthony Spencer, and Bobby Carpenter; Burnett is really going to have to prove that he can do better to even secure a spot on the roster, in my opinion.
 
Julius Jones also had a few things to say about his position on the team. He wants more freedom, he wants to be able to use his instincts rather than be told to run left or run right. Jones has been training with a personal trainer this offseason in hopes to secure his starting role.
 
Oh, I can’t forget the question that’s on every Cowboys fan’s mind… Who will be the holder in 2007? Well we have three candidates so far, punter Mat McBriar, back-up quarterback Brad Johnson and receiver Jerheme Urban. Maybe they should steer away from quarterbacks this time… Oh come on, I couldn’t pass that up, you all know I’m one of Romo’s biggest supporters!
 
Well overall, everything’s looking fantastic. Wade Phillips was excited to see his new team out on the field, and most of the team was there ready to follow his orders. Greg Ellis is still rehabbing is injury, but according to Phillips he is the starting outside linebacker and hopes to be on the field soon. Leonard Davis missed Sunday’s practice because his wife was having surgery, but should return Monday.
 
Believe it or not the offseason is slowly coming to an end and the new season will suddenly be upon us, so get your popcorn ready!

 

The Future Looks Bright For The Silver And Blue

This is in response to a comment to the blog I posted yesterday. I was going to post it as a comment, but thought I’d share it with a larger audience instead. Here goes…

It’s OK to disagree. We all have the same goal and that is to see the Cowboys build a dynasty.

Dynasties are not built on a year-to-year strategy. They are built on a strategy that employs long term success based on moves that address not only the current needs but future ones as well.

You mentioned that the Cowboys needed an offensive playmaker and I remind you that the Cowboys had one of the best scoring teams in the NFC and certainly the best in their division.

Our collapse last year was on defense, NOT offense.

The Cowboys needed to shore that defense up and they made a major stride in doing that on Draft Day.

We have got ourselves a big playmaker on defense. If you love DeMarcus Ware, then wait until you see Anthony Spencer!

With regard to the 1st round pick in 2008, how will you feel if Cleveland does so bad they finish with a top 5 pick?

Are you saying this was not a great move by the Cowboys?

Believe me Cowboy fans, Jerry Jones is as shrewd a business man as there is in this world.

He built an empire by ensuring that his future would be better than the present.

That’s the way it works in sports as well.

The Cowboys are not looking for a one night stand in 2007. They are looking to reclaim the dynasty that we lost when we started playing from year to year and running in that same old threadmill.

We now have a strategy that will keep this franchise competitive for years to come.

It is built on young stars like Marion Barber (who was acquired in a similar Draft Day trade), Julius Jones, DeMarcus Ware, Bobby Carpenter, Tony Romo and others.

Our future is bright now and will be even brighter in the years to come!

I hope that the 5 people who read this blog will comment on it and let me know what you think!

I LOVE THE COWBOYS!!