Cowboys OTA Wrapup: What Went On Besides Callahan Calling Plays

Layne Murdoch

Hey, if you didn't notice, there was a practice session today for the Dallas Cowboys.

I know the biggest story today out of the Dallas Cowboys OTA session was the kerfuffle about Bill Callahan being the playcaller for the offense this season, and have already had my say about that, What you might have missed in all the excitement was that there was actually real football practicing going on. For those of you who wish to look beyond the earth-shattering import of how the decision about calling plays was more or less officially announced and consider who might be playing what position for the Cowboys, I wanted to do my usual summary of things. Not as much drama, perhaps, but it still might have a wee bit of impact on things this season.

In the midst of creating a feeding frenzy for the Dallas media, Jerry Jones also commented on the status of Tony Romo and his healing back - with his typical precision and clarity.

"We're probably going to be real conservative there and it's probably unlikely," Jones said. "I know I said probably unlikely but it's still probably unlikely that he'll be in mini camp."

I don't know if a reporter asked him a followup question about whether it was probably unlikely or not, but they should have.

There were quite a few players that did not take the field, but in the case of several veterans, it looks like a planned move.

For Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher and Jay Ratliff, it was a day of rest. For Anthony Spencer, Nate Livings, it was a time off to recover from sore knees.

There was a player move to cover as well.

The Cowboys will re-sign veteran safety Eric Frampton and waive/injured defensive tackle Rob Callaway, who needs microfracture surgery on his knee.

Although I sort of like seeing Frampton back, if for no other reason than the opportunity for corny music related jokes, the news about Callaway is not good. Monte Kiffin has long talked about the depth at defensive line, and this eats directly into that depth. I would not be surprised to see the team use some of the cap space they have to bring in someone as a possible replacement, if the other options do not work out. But this may be an opportunity for Ben Bass, who has been doing well so far in OTAs.

While the media was working itself into a frenzy over the Jerry Jones/Bill Callahan/Jason Garrett thing, what has to be the biggest example of spin doctoring of the day went largely overlooked.

Doug Free took a pay cut to stay with the Cowboys, but he said, "I think both sides got what they wanted out of it."

The veteran lineman accepted a two-year deal worth half his former salary when he re-signed with the Cowboys last month. But he said he is happy and striving to improve.

Yeah, I get up every morning thinking "I really want to give up half my income for the next couple of years."

On a serious note, keep running backs coach Gary Brown in your thoughts and prayers.

Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown has missed the last couple of organized team activities because of a medical emergency regarding a family member.

He is expected back soon.

Fortunately for those of us who do not consider soap operas or reality TV the height of human achievement, the two most reliable observers of things Cowboys, Bryan Broaddus and Mike Fisher, actually took the time to watch the practice today and pass on their normal perceptive comments. Broaddus had some good things to say about Bass, as I mentioned earlier, Cole Beasley, Justin Durant, and, most importantly in my eyes, DeMarco Murray.

DeMarco Murray has worked his way back into practice and appears to be moving around well. There are traits that Murray has where I feel like he doesn't get enough credit for his game. DeMarco Murray in my view is a complete back. If I can expand on what I mean by that complete back, it is one that runs the ball well, shows solid, dependable hands and can blitz pickup or make adjustments in the blocking scheme to help in the protection. Where Murray doesn't get the credit he deserves is as a pass protector and you can see it when he is not in the lineup.

Broaddus, perhaps as a reflection of his background, tends to do fairly detailed mini-scouting reports. Fisher goes with more of a bullet point approach, but also gets some really good info out there. Some highlights:

Dallas is leaning toward not employing a full-time fullback this year. As an experiment, linebacker Caleb McSurdy did some work as a goalline fullback.

Justin Durant on the athleticism of his linebacker mates: "It's crazy. I've seen some great, athletic linebackers but they (Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and company) have a chance to be as great as any I've played with. I'm just trying to fit in any way I can.

I think we can further shelve the notion of Travis Frederick as anything but a center - and at this early stage, the Cowboys believe he's a potential decade-long pillar there.

So, until the next episode of As The Franchise Turns, that is it for now.

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