Two Draft Picks Signed Today

The Cowboys got to work signing their 2010 draft picks today with training camp only ten days away. Defensive end Sean Lissemore and offensive tackle Sam Young both signed four year deals.

During the teams OTA’s Lissemore practiced at nose tackle behind Jay Ratliff and Junior Siavii, as well as defensive end. Young practiced at both left and right tackle positions which could help with the depth on the line.

Now it’s onto the rest of the draft picks…Sean Lee (second round), Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (fourth round) and Jamar Wall (sixth round). First round pick Dez Bryant may take some time to sign due to the ongoing talks with the new CBA. Let’s hope Bryant doesn’t miss too much camp.

Updates to come as the other draft picks sign.

Can Kevin Ogletree Claim The #4 WR Spot?

As I made my daily trek for Cowboys news on the internet this morning, I cam across this interesting post by Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Tim takes a look at wide receiver Kevin Ogletree and ponders his role for the upcoming season. He writes,

Undrafted receiver Kevin Ogletree proved as a rookie that he can contribute to the Cowboys. Now, he’s trying to prove that the Cowboys can rely on him.

After a full offseason, Ogletree feels confident that he has a firm grasp of the playbook. He practiced at all three receiver positions, trying to maximize his chances to get on the field.

The Cowboys don’t have any questions about Ogletree’s ability. They like his speed, quickness, elusiveness and hands. They don’t know yet about his dependability.

I was very impressed with what I saw of Ogletree in limited playing time last season. He seems to have a nose for the ball, a flair for the dramatic, and though it was mentioned in Tim’s post I thought Ogletree showed some explosiveness and burst.

As it stands now, Ogletree is probably ranked fifth on the depth chart behind Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant and Patrick Crayton at wide receiver, but with a solid training camp that could change.

I think that Ogletree’s immediate future is somewhat tied to Crayton’s. It is still uncertain what role Crayton will have on this team if any, especially if he holds to his current demands for a trade or release.

Even so, Ogletree has shown some flashes that would indicate he could pass Crayton up on performance alone when training camp begins. It’s one of the things to keep on eye this pre season as the Cowboys decide who makes the wide receiver corps and who will be on the sidelines when they take on the Washington Redskins for the season opener.

Who do you think will claim the #4 WR spot on the roster?

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.

LSS Extra Points: Injury Prone or Extra Precaution

Rookie Dez Bryant was sidelined once again at OTAs, this time due to tightness in his left hamstring.

According to Nick Eatman’s blog at

Since being drafted in late April, Bryant has experienced minor ankle and hip injuries, missed an entire day of OTA practice and meetings with a stomach virus and now the hamstring has kept him out for two practices.

Bryant says its not frustrating, and I’m not sure its time to worry about minor injuries, but it certainly makes one wonder.


It was uncovered by running back coach Skip Peete that Marion Barber played last season with a torn left quad. The injury occurred in Week 2 last season and Barber only missed one game.


Keith Brooking could return to practice as soon as Thursday after being held out because of offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.


Patrick Crayton returned to OTAs yesterday. He agent says Crayton is looking to compete and doesn’t want to be a distraction, its rather hard to do that if you aren’t with the team on the field.

His teammates were happy to see him back with the team.

Kevin Ogletree: “There is a lot more wisdom out there. He has been around a long time. He is just more help for the young guys and more leadership. He is a good player, so obviously we missed him and it’s just good to see him back out there.”

Roy Williams: “He’s not the flashy guy. He is just a guy that comes in and gets the job done. I call him Mr. Consistency. He just plays the same way every time.”

Dez Bryant: “He is a vet. It is nice to have a guy like that. Not only him, but Roy (Williams) and Miles (Austin), who have been through everything. Younger guys (like me) want that. They need someone to follow and it’s great that they are all here.”


Training Camp will be split this year between Texas and California. This is great news for our friends on the West Coast who will get a chance to see America’s Team live in action getting ready for the upcoming season.

San Antonio, Texas: July 23rd – August 6th

Oxnard, California: August 14th – August 27th


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Cowboys To Split Training Camp And Return To Oxnard

According to the Dallas Morning News,  Stephen Jones confirmed an earlier report that the Dallas Cowboys are seriously pursuing a plan to split training camp this year between Oxnard, California and the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Speaking about the yet to be finalized deal that will allow the Cowboys to train in Oxnard for two weeks, the Cowboys Vice President said,

“There’s a good chance we’re there. We’re getting everything put to bed. We get a lot out of it. We get great coverage. I think it gives the players a nice little getaway … I think it will spice things up, getting outside in that cool, fresh air. Obviously we’re not at a point to announce the deal is done, but we’re fired up about it.”

A couple of weeks ago, team owner Jerry Jones was very enthusiastic about splitting training camp and was hoping that the NFL would accommodate the team and schedule a pre-season game on the West Coast to tie in with the move.

“It’s got a good chance of happening,” Jones said. “There are several logistical things to weigh, but I’m optimistic about it.”

According to another report on by Matt Mosley, Jerry Jones believes the Cowboys can help fill the void of Los Angeles not having an NFL team and that it would also represent a very good marketing opportunity for America’s Team.

The plan would be to open training camp in San Antonio around July 24 because of the team’s inclusion in the August 8th Hall of Fame Game, and then travel to Oxnard for two weeks. A final decision will be made when the preseason opponents are announced.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Cowboys return to Oxnard which I prefer to the closed in atmosphere at the Alamodome, and I do agree with Stephen Jones in that it’s a nice getaway for the players.

A Folk’d Up Kicking Situation

After missing five field goals in the last four games, the Cowboys are starting to worry about their kicking situation. Nick Folk was automatic his rookie year making the pro bowl in 2007 and continued to shine in 2008. He had hip surgery in the offseason and didn’t resume kicking until training camp. This season Folk has missed 8 of 24 attempts.

It’s possible he’s just having an off year and after missing his normal offseason training and routine because of surgery it certainly explains why he’s struggling.

But its also possible that the misses aren’t completely Folk’s fault. As stated by the coaches, it could be a combination of things. Folk automatically gets the blame because he’s the kicker but there is also the long snapper and the holder in the mix.

“The hold, the snap, the kick, the coach,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said, including himself in the equation. “We’ve got to get it squared away.”

“I’m worried that it’s a combination of confidence more than anything,” Wade Phillips said. “They work all the time on it. Those guys spend a lot of practice time snapping and holding, snapping and holding. That’s what they do and kicking. I would feel like we would have more confidence than we’ve had. Whether it’s working into the kicker or the holder or whoever, we’ve got to determine what we need to do there and go forward.”

“I’m not losing any faith in Nick at all,” DeCamillis said. “I’ve been around this thing for 22 years, and I’ve seen them miss ’em and I’ve seen them make ’em. They go through stretches just like any other player. Unfortunately for him, it’s right out in the open for everybody to see.”

Both Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis are confident in Nick Folk’s ability so it doesn’t seem like any big changes are coming, but they will be working on some of the details and smaller aspects of the field goal unit.

Rookie kicker David Buehler is excellent on kickoffs but not as accurate or consistent when it comes to field goals.

Don’t expect to see any noticeable changes any time soon. It’s likely they will just practice more and try to correct the problem.

Hopefully the crowd can get back to cheering “FOLK YEAH!” very soon.

Poll Results: Key Position Battles

At the beginning of Training Camp we asked this question:

Which of these key position battles do you think will be the most interesting?

Poll ResultsThe results were a dead heat between Jenkins/Scandrick (38%) and Crayton/Austin (38%).  In third place was the battle at offensive guard position with Kyle Kosier and Montrae Holland who received 15% of the votes. Finally, linebackers Bobby Carpenter and Jason Williams received a measly 8%.

This poll is full of so much irony. In the end Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick have been told they are both starters who will alternate starts and playing time. Miles Austin didn’t really show us that he deserves to start over vet Patrick Crayton. Kosier and Holland?… boring. Bobby Carpenter and Jason Williams, well that was easily answered when Williams got injured.

Maybe we should have had a 5th choice between Isaiah Stanback and Kevin Ogletree, but who knew?

New poll: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?

Protect That Ball!

One thing the Cowboys and Tony Romo are concentrating on in training camp this season is cutting down on his turnovers, especially his fumbles. Romo’s case of Slippery Pigskin syndrome last year made any fan cringe at the sight of him carelessly running around the pocket with the ball unprotected in one hand trying to make a play. Don’t get me wrong we love the heart and effort, but he has to recognize when to eat the ball or throw it away.

So now if he can take what he is working on in camp into games he should be able to cut down on the 21 total turnovers he had last season, 14 being interceptions, 7 LOST fumbles and another 6 that were recovered by Cowboys.

It really hurt Dallas last year in the last game of the season against the Eagles with the winner heading to the playoffs. Romo fumbled twice in that very important painful game, and one of them was returned for a 73 yard touchdown.

Of course he did have a broken Pinkie finger part of last season that may have attributed to some of the fumbles but prior to that he had already lost 3 in the six games before his injury. The seven lost fumbles last season was more than he had as a starter in his first season and a half so I am willing to put most of the blame on that little broken digit.

The Associated Press reported on Sporting News that “early in off season workouts, Romo started talking about cutting down on risky throws and being quicker to take a sack or throw the ball away. He also said he was serious about getting a better grip on the ball while scrambling”.

This became evident on one play in practice when “surrounded in the pocket on one play, he pulled the ball in tight until just before throwing a completion. Romo did the same thing while rolling out to his right near the goal line a few snaps later, instead of holding the ball away from his body with one hand while running like he so often has done in the past”.

Head coach Wade Phillips is pleased on how his quarterback is progressing with this, as well as how he is maturing as a player.

“He’s a natural. He sees so many things and he has such a quick release, and he’s so accurate,” Phillips said. “He just makes fantastic plays. We see it every day on tape. … He makes a throw that you say, `Wow, what a play.’ That’s what the great ones do.”

Its a long season, but lets see how he does this Friday night against Tennessee in the Cowboys new stadium. We should see him play a few more series than he did in the Raider game, which will help him get ready for the games that count.

Thursday Camp Notes

The Cowboys are already in camp 9 days and their first preseason game is in one week against the Raiders. The news coming out of camp has been boring, which I for one love. No drama, no controversies. Just everyone practicing and focusing on what needs to be done to get better.

A few items that stood out to me from today…

Choice’s Shoulder

Tashard Choice is being held out of practice due to a sore shoulder. Its being reported that the injury is not serious, but that Choice will need a few days off. The MRI taken came back negative and Choice plans on playing next week against the Raiders.

“I’ll be day-to-day, maybe on ice for a couple days,” Choice said. They didn’t want me to do anything today. Take it easy, there’s no point in really pushing it in training camp.”

“It’s banged and bruised, so they’ve got me relaxing, man,” Choice said. “They’ve just got me relaxing a day or so until I feel like I’m able to come back.”

Ref’s arriving for practice

Good news considering how many times the Cowboys have been penalized the last few seasons, and most of the time at the worst possible times. Today the officials watched the kickoff returns, red zone and goal line. The good news is that  very few flags were thrown it was reported.

Romo needed a break today

Tony Romo was seen running off the field this afternoon during goal line drills as reported by He was in such a hurry that he tossed the ball to a field judge who wasn’t ready for it and the ball hit him in the face. No injury was reported and it turned out that Romo just needed a bathroom break.

Colombo and Davis lead the way

When the Cowboys need a first down that is the direction they run like this afternoon during goal line runs as reported by Marion Barber followed Mark Colombo and Leonard Davis on the first two plays. I think that is a smart choice and safe choice to follow those two guys.

Another small fight

Deon Anderson and Pat Watkins got into a small fight during practice as reported by It was Mark Colombo who was the first one in to make sure things were all right.

No news on Ware’s contract

Nothing new to report on getting DeMarcus Ware a new contract and it may not be done before the season starts. It’s a good thing that Ware is a true professional and won’t discuss any contract news or even threaten any holdouts.

“We’re in the process, but we don’t have those kinds of deadlines as far as time,” said Jerry Jones, who declined to discuss specifics of the negotiations with agent Pat Dye Jr. “Never do, never put that on, but we’re working as we should be with his agent to move it forward.”

Huh!!! What exactly does that last part mean? Come Jerry, let’s get this thing done. DeMarcus Ware has improved his game every season and is the teams defensive MVP and should have been the NFL MVP. If a mediocre QB like Eli Manning can get all that money, then Ware really deserves to get a new contract now.

Young Receivers Showing Something In Camp

Training camp is well underway and there have been a lot great things happening in San Antonio. From what I have been reading one of the biggest surprises in training camp has been the play of our young receivers Sam Hurd, Miles Austin, and the other receivers.

Sam Hurd and Miles Austin have been vying for the third receiver slot. They both have been making some acrobatic catches. This is great news, however this is training camp and we will have to wait to see what happens in a real game.

One low spot was Isaiah Stanback tweaking his hamstring and was out of practice, this is not a good sign for him. He has really been injury plagued since he has been with the Cowboys.

Not sure if Jesse Holley can make the team after winning Michael Irvin’s reality show “4th and Long”, but he has been making some plays as well.

Right now, Patrick Crayton is the second wide receiver behind Roy Williams, but we will have to wait and see if the keeps it.

We all know that the receivers would be a big question mark this year, but lets hope they can make their mark.

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, 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. 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