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Cowboys Training Camp Opens – Early Warning Signs

With the opening of Dallas Cowboys training camp, one can really sense the end of last season’s drama, as a new season full of expectations begins. I love this time of the year because it almost always reminds me of spring when all the slumbering trees come back to life and there is a rebirth of nature everywhere. The slate is once again clean and enthusiasm is running rampant as a new rookie class practices on the field with last years returning vets. Lots of new faces, plenty of renewed spirit, and heaps of positive attitudes. If only we can bottle it up and keep it in case we need it at some point this season.

I couldn’t wait to get home, eat dinner and search my favorite Cowboys sites for news of how day one unfolded. I was actually pretty excited about reading some of the players quotes and what they had to say today from the Alamodome, especially from our new and unequivocal leader, Tony Romo.

Im sorry and sad to say this, but most of what I read was a little disappointing and gave me a bad overall feeling of what might lie ahead. There’s three things specifically that I learned that really put a damper on my excitement.

Tony Romo Avoids The Press

So now that Romo has the floor all to himself, he chooses to clam up and avoid the media aka the fans? Our leader decides that the best way to usher in a new season is to duck for cover and hide in the locker room while reporters are roaming the ground looking for some words of encouragement for the new season? This is a recipe for disaster, and considering how Tony Romo has closed out the last three seasons, the last thing he wants to do is piss of the beat writers. One of them is already calling attention to Romo’s media ban,

Tony Romo decided not to talk on Day 1 of training camp. Does that bother anyone? I can’t recall the starting quarterback ever blowing off the media on the first day.

If Tony Romo is to be the face of the organization, when will he man up and face the music? He already has a reputation for being soft, and the only reason they haven’t attacked his leadership skills was because it was believed he was being undermined by Terrell Owens. The beat writers are simply trying to their jobs. For a season that was supposed to have less drama, Romo may have transformed training camp into a three ring circus. And he is the ringmaster.

Camp Cupcake Is Now Camp Marshmallow

Wade Phillips announced that Cowboys plan to avoid contact in training camp. Huh? What did he just say?

“We’re gonna tackle in the preseason games,” said Phillips with a straight face. “There’s no reason to tackle our own guys. You’re more susceptible to injury when you go live.”

Oh my God, tell me this is just an April Fools day joke that is four months late. No contact? Really? The sound byte of Wade Phillips was so shocking and hilarious that it quickly spread throughout the league and was even piped into Giants training camp where the team laughed uncontrollably for five minutes.  It didn’t take long for the forums to go viral with this news, and now the Cowboys are being called the Cowgirls, America’s Queens. One fan is planning on sending the Cowboys a couple of cases of soft fuzzy bunny slippers to replace their cleats.

I thought for sure the Cowboys would show up to camp and get mean and physical. How can you evaluate a player when they can’t tackle and hit? Injuries are a part of the game. I think it’s more dangerous when you play or practice so as not to get hurt. I just think this is a terrible idea. The Redskins, Giants and Eagles are all licking their chops waiting to deliver some punishing blows. I didn’t think that a team who lost 44-6 the last time they took the field, would take such a soft approach.

If You Play And Practice As A Team, You Win As A Team

Josh Ellis had something that caught my attention in his blog.

Something I thought was weird from today’s workout, at the beginning it was odd to see several of the Cowboys veterans who aren’t involved in the kicking game stay in the locker room until midway through the special teams portion of practice, after most of the team had already stretched.

Marion Barber chatted with coaches during the opening field goal drills, and Tony Romo, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton came out later on, and joined the team for a second period of stretching. Strange as it sounds for the acknowledged leader (Romo) to have a different arrival time than most of his teammates, that apparently is how the Cowboys are going to roll.

Again, another head scratcher. While most teams practice together and are on the field at the same time, the Cowboys have given different arrival times to different players.

Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but on day one of training camp doesn’t everyone show up at the same time and get some sort of a rallying speech from the head coach, then the defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator and finally a few words from our quarterback?

Who decided they were going to treat training camp like high school and assign different periods and times to all the players. And even in high school, at least you had homeroom.

Oh man, what a first day of training camp…

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!

Forward Progress: An Opinion is Worth A Thousand Words

Hello to all. It’s me TD, and I would just like to take a brief moment to say hello again and welcome to my weekly column: Forward Progress. I will be sharing my thoughts and opinions with all of you, every Thursday, over the course of the roller coaster that is the NFL season. I will never claim to be all-knowing as this is just a place to speak my humble opinions and I hope that you all will correct me when you believe I am wrong and share your opinions on my opinions. Of course, I would like to thank Lone Star Struck for this amazing forum that all of us Cowboys fans should be thankful for. It continues to be an honor to be a part of the great team here at LSS!

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 It’s funny that I mentioned opinions in my small introduction above, because that is exactly one of the things that I want to discuss. With training camp looming like a beacon of light to illuminate the darkness that is the off-season, I am reminded of all things good….and bad about football season. The good, well that’s easy, it’s optimism, it’s excitement, it’s the sharing of Sundays with family and friends, and the thrill of victory when our Dallas Cowboys pull it out in the end. The bad, well, it’s pretty simple…..the fair weather fans, the unwarranted ripping and criticizing of the players and coaches after a poor performance, and yes, the actual sadness of defeat when the good guys do lose.

There is no other sport as popular as football, at least here in the United States, and with all of that comes the wide range of things that come along with that kind of passion, you just learn to accept it I guess. I try my very hardest to not be a fair weather fan, but I do get really upset when we lose just like everyone else. I will rip someone for poor effort or quitting, but not for making mistakes. I just want to be clear that I am not saying anyone is a better fan than anyone else, because that is usually what people say as a defense if you criticize them for criticizing the Cowboys, if that makes sense.

I am just humbly sitting here in my living room, wondering how long will the honeymoon last, and how long until MySpace and Facebook and the chat rooms are calling for Romo to be cut and Wade to be fired? It’s just an amazing dynamic to witness over the course of the season. It’s going to be interesting, as the NFL did us no favors, and we will have to be ready to go as a team from the time we break camp, or we could be looking at a tough start to the season and we could see many seats available on the bandwagon, as people jump off as fast as they can. I am confident we will weather the early quarter of the season, and hopefully the worst case scenario will be a 2-2 start. Either way, I will be right here, riding shotgun on the Dallas Cowboys bandwagon. I hope the majority of Cowboys fans will do the same, and not let the small percentage of the negative fans ruin our spirit and/or take away our hope.

Another thing I was thinking about was playmakers. Who in your opinion is the Cowboys top playmaker? The one guy that is going to be there week in and week out, making big time plays when the team needs them the most? A dynamic, dominating player that makes the other teams gameplan around him?

To me, it is simple, there is no other player on our team like that other than DeMarcus Ware. He is a superstar that requires constant double and even triple teams at times to stop him, or should I say try and stop him, as he still led the NFL in sacks last year, and was robbed of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award by the anti-Cowboys media.

Yes, Romo is the QB and he touches the ball on every snap, and is an incredible playmaker, but let’s face it: Tony has to prove some things this year, he has to hold on to the football better, cut down on turnovers, and be consistent over the entire 16 game schedule to take his place among the “elite” quarterbacks. I believe he will do those things, and Felix Jones will get some chatter as a top playmaker with his big play ability and speed, but as of today….RIGHT NOW, DeMarcus is the team’s top playmaker.

Taking a quick glance around the NFC East and you see it is not a division filled with big play ability, you have a few speed guys like DeSean Jackson of the Eagles, and Santana Moss of the Redskins seems to always have his best games against the Cowboys, but mostly it is a division built around defense, grinding running games and above average quarterback play. That is why I don’t understand why people think that we are going to be so ineffective without “the player who will go unnamed” at the WR position. I have nothing against the guy, but you can win this division without the original 81, and you can also NOT win it with him.

Quick Hits:

  • Micheal Vick is reportedly hoping to speak with Commisioner Roger Goodell about a partial re-instatment allowing him to participate in a teams training camp while awaiting a final decision from the league, similar to what Pac Man had last year for the Cowboys. I just can’t see an NFL team giving him a shot. I may be completely wrong but I just don’t see any team wanting to go through the media scrutiny and the criticism from the public, just to have him in their camp. I Guess we’ll see.
  • Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams is undergoing training to become a massage therapist, according to the New York Times. Basically more well known for his off-the-field pot smoking antics than his football prowess on the field, Williams is looking towards his post-football career in holistic healing and medicine. He said he plans to play football for two more years and then retire. I was always a huge Ricky fan, and I give him credit for getting his life back in order. I hope he finds happiness in his career choice and stays healthy to finish out his career.
  • Former Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman has signed a one year deal with the upstart UFL’s Las Vegas franchise. He becomes the league’s marquee player, which is not saying much. The UFL’s inaugural season will last six games and end on Thanksgiving weekend. I am predicting that the UFL’s second season will be…..never.

2009 Projected Offensive and Defensive Leaders

Hello again to everyone, I hope that you had a good week. We would all like to know how the Cowboys will do this year and I wanted to throw my predictions out there. Due to our inexperienced and young wide receivers, I believe that we will be focusing more on the run, especially since we have three healthy and good running backs. I think the Cowboys will be able to run the ball more and take a little pressure off of QB Tony Romo. If the offensive line can give us some good blocking on running plays we should have a great year. Here are my projections for the offense and defense for this year. Of course I could always be wrong, lets hope I am and they do better.

OFFENSE 24 pts per game

  • QB Tony Romo 24 TDs 10 INTS
  • RB Marion Barber 170 rushes 1,014 yards 10 TDs
  • RB Felix Jones 120 rushes 600 yards 7 TDs
  • RB Tashard Choice 60 rushes 270 yards 2 TDs
  • TE Jason Witten 80 receptions 900 yards 5 TDs
  • WR Roy Williams 75 receptions 1,040 yards 10 TDs

DEFENSE 56 sacks

  • LB Demarcus Ware 17 sacks
  • CB Terence Newman 5 INTs

It is fun to be able to try and predict what the Cowboys will do, so feel free to come up with your own projections. We should all be getting hyped up about the new season since training camp begins at the end of the month. GO COWBOYS!!!

Football In The Movies

With Training camp right around the corner, I have been watching some football movies. I was wondering what my top 5 football movies would be.  Watching some of these movies would get us into football mode, if we are not already there, but it would help. Hard Knocks from last year was good,  but I wouldn’t consider that a movie. Other than North Dallas Forty, the Cowboys do need to make a movie of some sort.

So here are my TOP 5 FOOTBALL MOVIES of All-Time.

You might agree or disagree. I would love to hear from anyone what there Top 5 would be.

#1. Remember the Titans – Just an awesome movie. Based on a true story. When i watch this movie it reminds me of the segregation they had back then. The only down part of the movie is of Gerry Bertier involved in the accident. But it also shows real life. I would probably guarantee that this is almost everyone’s top #1 or #2 football movie of all time.

#2. Rudy – Another true story. Great feel good movie. Rudy overcame the odds when everyone told him he could not play football for being to short. He registered a sack in his only game. To have his teammates help him play in that game and also carry him off the field. To this day, I don’t think anybody has ever been carried of the field like he was. To play for an elite school like Notre Dame is an achievement in its self. 

#3. The Program – This movie takes a look at the bad parts of football from drunk driving to steroids. It is a well written movie. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should check it out. It includes lots of football action and the struggles of each individual players life’s to play for a school contending for the National Championship.

#4. Friday Night Lights – Very good movie. It was made into a book, then a movie and now a hit TV show. There are some things I wished they would have put in the movie that was from the book, especially Carter High School academics and the court problems it faced in order to get to the Championship game. This movie is also a true story of High School football in Texas. I don’t live in Texas but I imagine it is like this on Fridays.

#5. Varsity Blues – I know its a kid-type movie, but a really enjoyable one. Very comical on how high school kids life are looked at in high school football in Texas, once again. Texans love there football! Whenever this movie comes on television I will stop and watch it. Enjoyable film.

Remember the Titans Rudy The Program Friday Night Lights Varsity Blues

So tell me, do you agree with me on football movies or do you have others for consideration? Let me know. I thought this would be a good topic for the start of Training Camp in 7 days.

I just want to say, “How bout them Cowboys!”

Training Camp ’09: Practice Makes Perfect?

It’s time to get excited Cowboys fans! The Dallas Cowboys have released their ’09 Training Camp schedule.

Camp will officially kick off on Tuesday, July 28th at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Practice is open to the public and free for all, so get your jerseys on and take a road trip to San Antonio!

Cowboys veteran linebacker Bradie James is excited about Camp and ready to get back on the field.

“We are definitely excited going back to San Antonio, being around all the fans. There will be a lot of people there, so we will practice well. That helps us out when you get in the dog days of camp, and you see all those fans out there.”

The team will remain in San Antonio until August 19th when they will return to Irving/Arlington for the Cowboys Stadium preseason debut against the Tennessee Titans on Friday, August 21st.

I don’t know about you but I’m ready to see what we got. There should be several positional battles and a ton of young talent ready to compete for a roster spot. I look forward to following these battles and seeing our previously injured guys get back into action. If all goes well, it’s going to be an exciting year! 

JULY
Tuesday, July 28Kickoff Event
Wednesday, July 292:15 PM
Thursday, July 308:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Friday, July 312:15 PM

 

AUGUST
Saturday, August 18:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Sunday, August 28:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Monday, August 38:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Tuesday, August 42:15 PM
Wednesday, August 58:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Thursday, August 62:15 PM
Friday, August 72:15 PM
Saturday, August 88:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Sunday, August 98:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Monday, August 108:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Tuesday, August 112:15 PM
Wednesday, August 1210:45 AM
Thursday, August 13No Practice / Away Game vs. Raiders
Friday, August 14No Practice
Saturday, August 158:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Sunday, August 168:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Monday, August 172:15 PM
Tuesday, August 188:50 AM and 3:15 PM
Wednesday, August 1910:45 AM

 

Tony Romo is Our Quarterback

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. I worked that day but my paycheck will reflect the money, so I am alright with it.

Football is just around the corner and we will involved in the 2009-2010 season. For me, I cant wait. On the 28th, the Cowboys go to training camp, the on the 30th I find out the sex of my baby to be. So lets just say this month will be great. I won’t give away the name of our baby yet. It will be a good one for Cowboys Nation. 

Anyway, with the season fast approaching, Tony Romo will be our quarterback. I think he will take us to the ultimate level we need to be, the Super Bowl. As the years have passed since he was named the starter he has improved every year. I am very confident that Tony is “our” quarterback. 

Just for highlights of the previous seasons. In 2006, Tony threw 5 TD passes against Tampa Bay, tying the mark of Troy Aikman. But in his first game, Tony came in to play against the Giants he threw 3 INT, one returned for a TD. In 2007, Tony threw 5 INT against Buffalo on that MNF game. That game was a miracle to win. With Tony throwing that many INTs and winning the game. WOW!

Tony has been named to 2 Pro-Bowls in his 3 years of playing for the Cowboys. In that span Tony has thrown 62 TD passes. In the same time span only one quarterback has thrown the same number of passes, that was Drew Brees.

Watching the games, I see Tony make mistakes, but I also see him make big strides and flashes of what he could be as a quarterback for America’s Team. This season, as Cowboys fans, will see a more improved Tony Romo. So for now I say – “How bout them Cowboys”!

No Overweight Cowboys At Camp This Year

According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballTalk.com, the Cowboys are continuing the trend of getting tough with their own players. Not only have they rid themselves of the “bad eggs” on the team, they are now imposing large fines for players showing up to camp overweight.

Says coach Wade Phillips, “I expect them to be in the best shape they’ve been in. That’s part of being accountable, not only to their teammates, but to themselves.”

The new fine equals the league’s maximum allowable amount, equalling $453 for every pound the player is overweight come training camp.

With this amount being very public now, I’m sure every player on the current roster is well aware of the weight they are supposed to be come late July and will make darn sure they show up ready to go. The media embarrassment would be far greater punishment than the monetary fine imposed should such infraction occur.

The new look and tough attitude continues to make me proud. We’re gettin there Cowboys fans…We’re gettin there…

Heads Up San Antonio, Cowboys Are Headed Your Way

camplogo_2009_350The Cowboys have finalized a date for training camp. The team will report to the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Tuesday, July 28th.

Practice will begin Wednesday, July 29th and end on Wednesday, August 19th.

Fans are welcome to come watch their favorite team play. As always training camp is free and open to the public.

The Cowboys always plan a nice kickoff event with festivities for fans to enjoy. A schedule for training camp will be released soon.

A Look At Our CB/Safety Depth After Draft

Well after a very interesting draft weekend I figured I would list our CB/Safety Depth Chart for everyone to our depth at the positions now.

 

 Please note that the only the starters listed are guaranteed depth chart positions as of right now numbers 2+ are my predicted spots.

So with this depth at secondary we are set for some interesting training camp battles to stay on the roster. I personally see Jerome Carter, Michael Hawkins, Pat Watkins, and Stephen Hodge to be cut before the 53 man roster is due in.

THE UNOFFICIAL START TO THE 2009 SEASON

Free agency started overnight and for a lot of us fans the new season has just begun.

The bad taste that has been in my mouth since the Cowboys lost in Philadelphia is slowly disappearing. Even though the Cowboys are not projected to make any big signings, this is what being a Cowboys fan is all about. You know what I mean don’t you?

Debating who should back up Tony, or  looking for a veteran safety, corner, or inside linebacker… Cowboys talk is just great!  

Then we have the draft.

The draft is probably my favorite weekend of the year. Mock drafts followed by mock drafts, and even more mock drafts, I just cant get enough!

Then OTA’s, mini-camps, and talking about how players are looking, and  what our chances are in 09. 

I just cannot get enough Cowboy chatter. Then before you know it its July and we are talking training camp which I will be attending for the first time in my life! And just like that we are breaking down our first matchup in week one. 

Isn’t this is what being a die hard Cowboys fan is all about.

Hard Knocks Episode 2: Trains, Planes and Lowber?

It seemed like forever, the wait from the premiere episode of Hard Knocks, to the second episode tonight. I watched the first episode at least 5 times! Where as the first installment was an overview and reflection, this episode was more of an in-depth look at training camp and preparations for a (preseason) game. I still thouroughly enjoyed it again!

One of my favorite parts of this episode was a look at Zach Thomas. I know that Felix Jones and Pac Man Jones are flashier additions to the team, but I think Zach may be the most important. He looks fresh, healthy and hungry. With him and Bradie James up the middle, I think you will see alot less of those 7 yard gains on 1st down that make it near impossible to get a 3 and out.

Another cool thing in this weeks show was the overwhelming respect the players have for Coach Phillips. I read alot of blogs, columns and other Cowboy related media, and no one seems to mention or give credit to Wade. All I hear is win the Superbowl or get fired. And this may be reality, but how many coaches would find a way to let there ego get in the way and not even put his team in a POSITION to win the Superbowl. I know one for sure, and he lives in Miami now. I give Coach Phillips alot of credit and I am hoping that he gets his ring, because I truly believe he deserves it.

As far as the undrafted rookies go, I understand that HBO is trying to put a little drama into the show. Will they make it, will they not? Short answer: NO. Maybe “Ray Lewis’ Little Brother”  has a chance at practice squad, but that’s it. As far as Lowber, the “80th man on the roster” goes, I got bad news for him, the season starts with 54 players.

This show continues to have my attention gripped and I can’t wait for next weeks episode already. As far as the San Diego game goes, anyone who is concerned or worried about that should take a step back of that ledge and remember what Coach Phillips said. “These games are for getting better.” That’s all they are.

I Don’t know if Hard Knocks has any room for improvement.

 

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD