The Dallas Cowboys completed Day Three of their first set of Offseason Training Activities yesterday, and will take the weekend off before returning to Valley Ranch next Tuesday to go at it again. Unfortunately for fans, we won't get much of the evaluation from those able to watch as the next three-day session will be closed to the media. We should continue to get injury reports following the conclusion of practice each day, and hopefully the news will remain on the up and up.
We've finally heard of all of the offseason surgeries various players have undergone and, knock on wood, no new injury seems to be looked at as a serious setback in the vein of New York Giants' star receiver Hakeem Nicks' broken foot. He might be out three months and may not make it back in time for the season opener against Dallas due to his rehab schedule. A week ago I said temper your enthusiasm over what you hear coming out of OTA's and camp; well temper your misery. Playoff contenders are seeing stars and starters go down; sometimes for the whole year. See, Johnny Knox, Chicago.
As far as Cowboys injuries you may not have been aware of, ESPN's Todd Archer has the scoop.
Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is not taking part in the OTAs yet because of a foot injury, while guard/center Kevin Kowalski and offensive tackle Jermey Parnell are slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively.
You could use a bit of good news right about now, huh? Well how about the fact that the Cowboys scintillating rookie runner from '11,DeMarco Murray, is back to 100% and showed it in drills this week? Ian Rappaport of NFL.com reports:
"It felt great just to get back on the field," Murray said. "I have been working out for a long time, rehabbing. And I’m finally done with all of that. It felt good to get back in the huddle with the guys and play some football. I have been doing everything in the past month-and-a-half, 100-percent-wise. No limitations. I’m feeling good out there."
Running Backs Coach Skip Peete is excited to see what the combination of Murray and newly signed fullback Lawrence Vickers can do together; but that won't really happen until players can hit, which means training camp.
"The majority of the running game comes from your feel with that person in a live setting, so we’ve got to wait and see what it’s like in training camp when we get in our inside run period, where we’re actually full speed against our defense and see how they both respond and react to whatever the defense presents to us," Peete said after an OTA practice this week at Valley Ranch. - Star Telegram
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Charlean Williams checks in with a profile on third-year receiver Dez Bryant who will have to expand on his two-year contributions for the Cowboys to have an elite offense in 2012.
"I think Dez, like a lot of young players, has to become a more consistent player," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I think he's shown all of us that he's capable of doing a lot of great things on the field, but you have to do them play in and play out; you've got to do them quarter in and quarter out, game in and game out. That's something that he, like a lot of younger players, has to get better at. It starts with practice. He's working hard in practice -- on how he's running his routes, how disciplined he is and working on that consistency."...
Last season, Bryant took a helmet to the thigh in the first half of the first regular season game. Though he sat out only one game, Bryant never was right again, he said.
"I don't think I was ever where I wanted to be," Bryant said. "... I just didn't feel like [it] healed quick enough."
Bryant made 63 receptions for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. But unsung third receiver Laurent Robinson, signed off the street after the season began, was the team's go-to wideout as Miles Austin battled his own injuries.
"It was very frustrating," Bryant said. "But you've just got to get through things, get to the end the best way you can and try your best to get back on the field. Some of the game tape that I watched from last year -- I really wasn't too proud of myself [because the injury hindered him]. I know it's because of the injuries, but I feel like this year, I'm spending more time focusing on my body and making sure everything is right."
The Cowboys have added Jim Abrams to the organization; fresh off of six seasons in Tampa Bay as their national scout. Todd Archer has the rundown on all the shifting.
Abrams will serve as the Cowboys’ West Coast scout with Sam Garza serving as a scout for Texas and Oklahoma. Bill DeKraker will move from the Midwest to Northeast and Kevin Simon was bumped up from the team’s Combine scout to the Midwest. Mitch LaPoint will remain the team’s Southeast scout. Justin Stucky will take over as the Combine scout.
Assistant director of player personnel Tom Ciskowski, who is entering his fifth season, national scouts Drew Fabianich and Walter Juliff and college scouting coordinator Chris Hall will overlap the entire country.
Quite simply, one of the best preseason gambling advice columns I've seen from a mainstream site in some time. Of course, I feel that way because he shares my beliefs on some points and made me think "a ha", and "interesting" on a few others.
Joe Fortenbaugh advises to stay away from over bets in most scenarios this early in the offseason, as one training camp injury could derail all hope for a team. His other two top tips? Eliminate the unpredictable (rookie head coaches and rookie signal callers) and be generous when studying the schedule.
I definitely recommend reading the entire column for any at-home prognosticator, but I'll give away the Dallas advice.
OVER Dallas Cowboys (8.5): I’ve said it repeatedly over the last two months: The Dallas Cowboys are being undervalued by Vegas bookmakers. Time for me to put my money where my mouth is.