The Dallas Cowboys OTAs are over. Next up is the mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, which will no doubt result in many fevered discussions of Mike Jenkins, among other things. But that can wait while I take a look at some other things going on of direct, and not so direct, interest to fans of the Cowboys.
After a very successful debut season with Dallas, DeMarco Murray is looking to bounce back from his season ending injury. With attitude.
The Cowboys running back, though, won't deny he still has a chip on his shoulder.
"The approach is the same," said Murray, who led all rookies with 897 yards despite missing the final three games. "At the end of the day, I'm still the... sixth running back taken last year, third-round pick, looked over by many, and I'm still working to get better. I'm not a veteran. I haven't been here for many years, so I'm trying to work hard every day and prove to myself that I belong here."Charean Williams | Ft Worth Star-Telegram
I love the attitude there. Also that he is using mixed-martial arts training. And sometimes, I wonder if Jason Garrett is writing the comments for the players to give to the press.
A big contribution to DeMarco's success this year is likely to come from free agent pickup Lawrence Vickers, signed from the Houston Texans. After very good jobs lead blocking for both Peyton Hillis during his time with the Cleveland Browns and Arian Foster with the Texans, Vickers was a bit taken aback when he got cut.
"It was a shocker, I was shocked," Vickers said. "I was shocked. Then by Foster getting his (new) deal I would think there's more reason you got somebody that's going to protect him. I guess they just didn't value the position. I guess that's what it is."Calvin Watkins | ESPN DFW
Don't worry, Lawrence. JG5000 loves him some fullback.
More stuff to keep you on top of all things Cowboys after the jump.
The OTAs ended on Thursday with something a little different. Instead of practice, the team conducted a camp for high school kids.
In past years, the Cowboys ended organized team activities with paintball, bowling and fishing. This time, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett decided to do something more substantial.
The Cowboys hosted their first Dallas Cowboys U high school football camp for 160 underserved student-athletes in the area, with a seven-on-seven tournament ending Thursday morning's activities. Tight end Jason Witten's team beat offensive tackle Doug Free's team in the final.
They split the kids up into teams, and the other head coaches were Tony Romo, Gerald Sensabaugh, Jay Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Miles Austin. The head coaches then drafted other players to be assistants. It sounds like it must have been a heck of an experience. Here are a couple of tweets you might enjoy about it.
Cowboys U winning team and coaches t.co/Q7lOrE45— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) June 7, 2012
What I kept thinking during the youth clinic 7-on-7 tournament: Tyron Smith is like four, five years older than these kids.— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) June 7, 2012
Yeah, Rob, don't you love it?
A couple of more serious notes about the team:
Dallas is set at the starting tackles with Tyron Smith and Doug Free, but behind them they have only the very inexperienced Jermey Parnell and a bunch of UDFA candidates.
So don't be surprised if the Cowboys go searching for some young veterans who are available. In fact, former seventh-round pick Pat McQuistan, who recently spent time in Miami and New Orleans and is an unrestricted free agent, is expected to work out for the Cowboys at Valley Ranch on Friday.Nick Eatman | DallasCowboys.com
For me, one of the biggest surprises of the offseason was the signing of Kyle Orton to be the backup quarterback. He explained a little more about his decision.
Orton said he thought a lot about where he wanted to play, and Dallas was the best fit. While being the No. 2 guy isn't ideal, it didn't change his desire to play for the Cowboys, and like Kitna he wants to support Romo as best he can.Josh Ellis | DallasCowboys.com
"Tony's the man, you know? There ain't no doubt about it," Orton said. "He's played great football. He's a great quarterback. So I'm excited. It's really the first time I've been around another veteran in my career. I've done a lot of learning with young guys in the room. I can still learn a lot about football, and hopefully I can help him out in any way I can."
I know there is one thing that many, many people are really missing. That is news on the NFLPA lawsuit against the league. Well, never let it be said that I don't try to please. DeMaurice Smith gave an interview to a sports station in Washington, and made some comments relating to the Cowboys.
On the pressure on him as the head of the Player’s Association:
"For us, for the Redskins-Cowboys, for the cap smoothing, making decisions that are in the best interest of all 2000 players, that's the only thing that motivates what we do."
On the penalties that faced the Redskins and the Cowboys and now the lawsuit:
"What anybody would see from the position the league took with Redskins-Cowboys is the only way you could punish them is if they violated some rule. If the rule they violated is that they overspent on the cap, the way we look at that is isn't that evidence in of itself that there was some rule? Agreeing to the deal didn't in any way ratify or put a stamp of approval on the collusion. Not at all."
On the timeline for the lawsuit to be worked out:
"The timeline will be, I'm sure the league will respond with whatever legal challenge that they will file in order to not reach the merits of the case. My guess is that they will do and file whatever they can to try to get the case dismissed before there is any real inquiry into the salient facts of the case. The timeline is probably within the next 40 or 50 days."
I don't usually cover the offseason doings at rival teams, but I was intrigued by the announcement today that our dear, dear friends the Philadelphia Eagles were firing team president Joe Banner. Since Dallas uses its own unique power structure, I was a bit puzzled at just what problem the Eagles were trying to solve by the move, but I found an explanation that makes sense.
When (Head Coach Andy) Reid was asked in late March at the NFL owners meetings about a report by the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer that he had threatened to quit if he wasn't given more control, Reid dismissed it by saying that he's had "final say for a number of years."
That was true and not true. Yes, Reid largely has had final say in personnel decisions since Banner and Lurie fired Tom Modrak back in 2001. But in his role as the team's salary cap wizard and chief contract negotiator, Banner had a great deal of influence over many of those personnel decisions.
Reid had grown weary of having a locker room full of players with bad attitudes because of the way they had been treated at the bargaining table. He felt a kinder, gentler approach was needed. At some point, probably right before Lurie announced in early January that Reid would be returning, I think (Owner Jeff) Lurie came to the same conclusion.Paul Domowitch | Philadelphia Daily News
Just thought you might be interested.
Finally, something I have refrained from for a while. The restraint was requested from up the chain, and I have been good. So I am going to beg a bit of indulgence, just for this one little thing. I will be good after this, but it is news, and it is Cowboys related, and some of the people here may want to know this.