Random Observations

Miles Austin is a GREAT receiver. He is elite. Period. Dez Bryant will make this offense unstoppable when he finally starts opposite Austin.

-2009 Ball State 3rd round pick Robert Brewster is still a year away from being an NFL caliber OT or G. Missing his rookie year due to injury, he just doesn’t have “it” yet. I would release him on the final cuts and try to get him back on the practice squad. If not, oh well. We need solid backups to survive this Super Bowl run.

-The tight end situation is terrible. It went from a strength on the team to a worry with John Phillips tearing his ACL. Although, if Sicko progresses this year, it gives us an out with Martellus Bennett should he continue his mundane play.

Alex Barron needs coaching. Hudson Houck must change this guy’s bad habits or he will be a one and done as a Cowboy. You don’t pay good money for Pat McQuistan production.

-No way do you cut Deon Anderson. If you want Chris Gronkowski on the final 53, you must deplete another position’s depth and keep two fullbacks. Deon has been a fantastic blocker and a surprise threat out of the backfield as a receiver.

David Buehler is doing a good job. Kickoffs, as usual, have been stellar. Touchback after touchback. Field goals have been good enough to keep believing in him. I love that he is working with Chris Boniol.

Jon Kitna will be a solid backup should we, God forbid, need him to hold the fort for a few games.

-The linebackers on this team are off the hook. Our starters dominate. Bradie James and Keith Brooking will be the vocal leaders on this very strong defense. There are surprises such as Leon Williams that will make the final cuts a very hard job.

-Too much is being made of win/loss, Redzone failures and other trivial statistics in the preseason.

-5 preseason games could make you a tired team in January.

Wade Phillips is awesome. His defense rocks and he has survived the headhunters of Dallas (media) through hell and back.

AP: Cowboys Offseason Recap, Super Bowl Chances

Interesting read by the Associated Press on the Cowboys and their chances for another title.

Since the end of last season, and even before that, Jerry Jones has constantly reminded his Cowboys that Super Bowl XLV will be played at their own stadium in February.

“Our owner lets us know the game is at Cowboys Stadium and he would love his team to play in it,” Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. “We are doing everything we can get to get there.”

But long before the possibility of being the first host team ever in a Super Bowl, or even playing a 2010 regular season game, the defending NFC East champion Cowboys have quite a summer trip.

Training camp begins Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. That begins a five-week stretch in which the Cowboys will travel more than 6,500 miles, practice in three different cities and play preseason games in four stadiums.

“We’re America’s team, everybody wants to see us,” receiver Roy Williams said.

Dallas will be the first full squad to begin camp, but Cleveland rookies report Friday. Rookies for New England and San Diego report Sunday, and every NFL team will be in camp by Aug. 1.

For the third time in four years, 17 of the 32 teams will conduct training camp at home. Just nine years ago, only five of 31 teams stayed home for preseason workouts.

Super Bowl champion New Orleans opens camp at home July 29. But before the Saints won the title last year, the previous three Super Bowl winners — Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and the New York Giants — had all held camp away from home.

For the Cowboys, the climate-controlled Alamodome will be their base for two weeks before going to Canton, Ohio, to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. A few days at home and a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium follows that.

Then comes two weeks in Oxnard, Calif., a strech that includes a game at San Diego. They break their West Coast camp and head to Houston for a game before finally getting to settle in at their Valley Ranch facility to prepare for the home preseason finale and the start of the regular season.

“I’ve had some pretty strange years, but not moving like that,” said 13-year veteran Keith Brooking, going into his second season with Dallas. “I played in the Tokyo Bowl, 16-hour flight or whatever it was two weeks into training camp and still having four preseason games to play. But never two weeks at camp, then moving.”

“Nobody cares where we practice. People care about whether we win,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Jones raised the Lombardi Trophy three times in a four-year stretch in the mid-1990s. But the five-time champions have gone 14 seasons without winning a title and didn’t even win another playoff game until last January.

The 20-year owner could think of no better way to end the championship drought than by winning a Super Bowl at his $1.2 billion stadium that opened last season.

“They have the potential to get there,” said NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith, the three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month. “Hopefully those guys have taken this offseason and said next year should be our time.”

With lofty expectations and their longest training camp in more than a decade ahead of them, it’s good for the Cowboys there are few issues and little drama. Just plenty of motivation.

“I really do feel that we’ve got top talent on the team, but this same talent, the majority of it, saw us fall short last year,” Jones said. “And that keeps anybody from getting too caught up in what this looks like. We’ve got a lot of work to do when we get to training camp.”

Here are some of the top storylines for the Cowboys so far:

• Doug Free gets the first chance to replace left tackle Flozell Adams, the expensive 35-year-old five-time Pro Bowler cut last spring. Free, going into his fourth season, started seven games at right tackle for injured Marc Colombo last year.

The Cowboys also acquired tackle Alex Barron, sending Bobby Carpenter to St. Louis in a trade of underachieving former first-round picks.

• After receiver Miles Austin went from relative unknown to Pro Bowl player and Dez Bryant was drafted in the first round, Patrick Crayton asked for a trade and skipped most voluntary offseason workouts. But Crayton, who could still end up playing for somebody this season, showed up for the final week of workouts and the minicamp, working like he always had.

• Safety Ken Hamlin, a 2007 Pro Bowler who like Adams had a contract through 2013, was also cut. Alan Ball, primarily a cornerback his first two seasons, is the likely replacement opposite Gerald Sensabaugh.

• Hamlin’s departure is the only significant change for coach Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, which allowed the fewest points in the NFC last season and ended the regular season with consecutive shutouts for the first time in the team’s 50-year history.

With Jason Garrett calling plays for Tony Romo and a record-setting offense, and Phillips settling into the dual role as the NFL’s only head coach-defensive coordinator, Jones is excited about the continuity of the coaching staff. He believes that is good for Phillips, who is 33-15 after three seasons in Dallas and finally has a playoff victory as a head coach.

“You can just sense it when you’re talking to him, he’s so comfortable in himself around this team,” Jones said. “I’m not talking about he’s laid back or taking things too easy. He’s just gotten very comfortable, exudes to me when I’m with him, the feel, that feeling he feels about his team.”

Someone is always watching!

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Redskins have assigned Morocco Brown, director of pro personnel, to watch all five Cowboys preseason games to prepare for the season opener in Washington on September 12th.

Owner Jerry Jones has no issues with opponents scouting the Cowboys. Jones brought up a conversation he had with former NFL head coaches Don Shula and Marty Schottenheimer after the 1992 season. Both coaches said they knew what was coming on every offensive play during their games against the Cowboys, but they were never able to stop it.

In other news is reporting that cornerback Jamar Wall who was the Cowboys sixth round pick this year has agreed to terms.

That leaves Dez Bryant and Sean Lee still unsigned. Reports over the last 24 hours were that the Cowboys and the agent for Dez Bryant have been talking and trying to avoid any kind of holdout. No news has been reported on what is happening with Sean Lee.

Training Camp Less Than A Month Away

Training camp is just right around the corner, less than a month away actually. The dates and times of the camp were announced yesterday. The Cowboys will split dates between San Antonio, TX and Oxnard, CA.

Camp will open July 24th in San Antonio and run through August 6th before the team transfers to Oxnard from August 13th-27th. In between the journey the Cowboys will have two preseason games, one being the Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH versus the Bengals on August 8th, and the other the preseason opener against the Raiders August 12th at Cowboys Stadium. During that week the team will practice at Valley Ranch before their trip to California.

You can find the full camp dates and times on the Cowboys official website.

Training camp is open to the public. If you attend and would like to share your experience and/or photos with Lone Star Struck don’t hesitate to contact us or email me direct at lonestarstruck at aol dot com.

Cowboys To Play in Hall of Fame Game

The Cowboys will play in the NFL Hall of Fame game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday August 8th this summer. The game will air on NBC at 7 p.m. Central time.

It will be great to have the Cowboys play in Canton following Emmitt Smith’s enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.

This will mark the Cowboys fourth time in franchise history to play in the NFL’s Hall of Fame game, the last was in 1999.

The special exhibition game also means the Cowboys will have five preseason games instead of the usual four.

It’s nice to know the team that Emmitt loved so much will be there supporting him during this memorable time in his life.

Props to the NFL for recognizing Emmitt and the Cowboys (for a change).

First Preseason Game

Hey folks, well the first preseason game is coming up on Thursday and it I cannot wait. No, it will not be a game in which the starters will play much, if at all. What it means is that the season is right around the corner and we will finally get to see what the Cowboys have learned from last year’s performance.

We will get to see some young rookies show what they have and maybe show us that they deserve a starting position. We never really learn a lot from the preseason games, but it is football and the real games will be here soon enough.

Hopefully we will get to see a series or two of Romo and the other starters, I am curious to see the changes in the offense or lack of changes.

Anyway, it will be great to see some Cowboys playing football and to see some hitting by the defense. Even though we have experienced some injuries already, hopefully we will not have more. We will see what happens.


Cowboys News: Glenn Will Miss the Final Two Preseason Games

It has been reported that Coach Wade Phillips has ruled out the return of Terry Glenn for the final two preseason games. When Glenn had arthroscopic knee surgery on August 1st, he was projected to be back for the final preseason game, however that no longer seems probable. Coach Phillips said Glenn will return to practice after the August 30th game. Glenn hasn’t had any setbacks in his rehab and the team isn’t worried about the veteran’s lack of practice.

"No, it’s not a real concern," Phillips said. "He knows what to do and he knows how to do it and as long as he’s ready physically, I think he’ll be ready to do it."

As for the rumors going around that Terry Glenn has re-aggravated his knee, Coach says he has no idea where that information came from. Glenn should be ready to go for Week 1, September 9th against the Giants.

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