Back In The Saddle Again – Training Camp Notes

Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips are all smiles at the start of Cowboys Training Camp

I skimmed through all the different beat writer reports from today’s Cowboys Training Camp, and summarized all of the information for you.

Training Camp Player Valuations – In terms of talking about players after practice, Phillips doesn’t like to do it. He feels he needs to see some practice tape before talking about how well a player did or how bad a player did. Phillips said it gives him a chance to give better answers to questions.

“You may see a player do something real good in practice and the rest of the plays didn’t play well,” Phillips said. “Like a guy in a game, you think he played well, and he didn’t play well at all.”

Ain’t That A Kick In The Pants – The coach made a note that David Buehler isn’t the only placekicker on the roster. Delbert Alvarado is also a kicker but hardly gets mentioned because after the team released Connor Hughes, it was assumed Buehler had no competition. Even Buehler said he’s competing against himself.

“Alvarado did well, and that’s why we kept him in the spring,” Phillips said.

Safety First – Does Pat Watkins have a shot to become the starting free safety over Alan Ball? Phillips said he does and that there is competition at almost every position. However, Phillips would like to see Watkins, who is a strong special teams player, be more consistent on defense. Watkins did have a nice breakup of a long pass Saturday.

He Ain’t All That – *Dez Bryant, the rookie wide receiver, was impressive in his first practice. Phillips said it’s not the best debut he ever saw.

“I don’t know if he looked any better than Steve Largent when he came in,” Phillips said. “Cris Carter when he came in, I’ve seen some pretty good ones.”

Not To Be Nosy, But – *Marcus Spears is still the starting defensive end, but he will get some snaps at nose tackle during training camp. The Cowboys did some of this last year with him. Phillips doesn’t believe it’s the start of something long term for Spears.

“I would be comfortable with him playing there,” Phillips said of Spears at the nose. “He’s a smart player and he’s a good run player already, and normally nose guard is a run-player position. [Jay] Ratliff has taken it to a different level; you don’t see nose guards getting six and eight and ten sacks. But I think Spears can fill that role as a run player and I think he’ll do a good job there.”

We Kneed You Man – *Linebacker Keith Brooking might miss the second practice Sunday. He’s fine, but Cowboys want to bring him along slowly because he had minor knee surgery in the offseason. Brooking looked pretty good Saturday knocking down a pass and moving around pretty good.

MartyB TV Off The Air – Wade Phillips said he does not expect Martellus Bennett to miss much practice time in training camp with the sprained left ankle he suffered last week while working out. The Cowboys placed Bennett on the non-football injury list because he did not suffer the injury while under the Cowboys’ care.

When The Game Was Fun

As we huddle up behind the green car our star quarterback calls out the plays. You go to the fire hydrant and stop, you go to the driveway and then cut 5 yards in and you just go straight for the touchdown.  That was the play calling we used to make as kids standing in the streets for hours and hours in front of our houses. Calling out as we run down the street to pass the stop sign for a touchdown, he’s at the 15 the 10 the 5 TOUCHDOWN COWBOYS!!!!

th_celebrateRemember those days? I sure do. Back when football was fun for everyone. That was when nothing else mattered. Then you make it to high school. The dream of playing in the NFL is out there for the taking. Standing on the field and looking over to see your family cheering you on in the bleachers. Going out after the game and celebrating a great win. Hearing the horns honking at you as you sit outside the local burger joint. Cheers come from passing cars, smiles and laughfter everywhere.

Next thing you know your standing at the mailbox, waiting for the mailman to bring that “letter”.  As you see him round the corner, you glance back into your house, seeing your parents watching you thru the front window. You are handed an envelope, You stand there for what seems like forever just staring at it. As you open it, tears fill your eyes. Then it hits you, YOU GOT IN!!!! You jump for joy and go screaming into the house.  Jumping into your dads arms, screaming I DID IT I DID IT, I GOT IN. That letter from college saying, you have been given a scholorship. You are now going to play college football. STILL HAVING FUN?

What happened to those days? If we go back and look down the street, we will still see those kids in the street, those horns honking by the local burger joints and that kid standing by the mailbox. So why not think back to then and realize how much fun the game was. How we used to dream to be where we are now, playing football in the NFL.  Take this bye week to reflect back to the days growing up and dreaming to be here and realize it was fun. Start having fun again, and the sky is the limit on where we could be standing next season.

Cowboys’ – Bengals’…. Where is That Killer Instinct?

Good Afternoon Cowboys’ Fans:

As we close the book on the game with the Cincinnati Bengals and a 31-22 victory yesterday, I can sum this game up by saying, “complacent, somewhat lethargic, and often just down right sloppy”. I don’t know if the Cowboys were still “hung over” from the loss to the Redskins or not, but this team is experiencing some mental issues right now that I am not sure a good “shrink” would have the answers. They have lost “that killer instinct”!!

When the Cowboys jumped out to an early 17-0 lead, I felt the game was going just as planned against a Bengals team the boys were supposed to beat easily. Suddenly it seemed the Cowboys let their foot off the gas and began to coast. Before they could speed up again, it was 14 minutes to go in the game and the Cowboy’s lead had shrunk to 17-16. It was only then that Marcus Spears forced a Chris Perry fumble and the Cowboys’ came back to life. Romo connected with T.O. on a 57 yd touchdown pass and the game seemed to be in hand.

 I was happy to see the running game return with MB3 and Felix Jones, and the defense played very well. I was very disappointed we lacked intensity in other areas i.e. special teams and QB play.

I became extremely concerned in the third quarter with Tony Romo as I think everyone in Texas Stadium could sense he had gotten so down on himself that it really affected his play and mentally he had taken himself completely out of the game. I just think Tony is “beating himself up” over his turnover situation so far this season to the point it is actually affecting the way he releases the ball. I felt yesterday that at times he was almost unsure about throwing the ball in fear he will throw another interception. That was not the normal Romo that is usually all smiles and loving to play the game as he finished with a very uncharacteristic season low of 14-23 for 176 yds and three touchdowns.

Possibly we can look upon this victory and the lack of intensity by the Cowboys was due to playing the 0-4 Bengals? What concerns me though is if that is the case, the Cowboys have to get back to the basics again.

To play on words; “When you have a wounded animal backed into a corner like the Bengals were, you have to go in for the kill.” The Cowboys have a relatively difficult test Sunday on the road against the Cardinals and then two games that would seem to be easy tests against the Rams in St. Louis and Tampa Bay at home. These games are a chance to gain back that momentum. A momentum and they must have in 4 weeks when they travel to the Meadowlands for their first match up with the “G-men”.

I am in no way down our team or feel that this team is not still the best in the NFL. I think they just need to do some soul searching and come back to that determination and intensity that they had at the beginning of the season. They need to get back that “killer instinct”!!! 

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