Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Hello, Frisco; Tony Romo Still Has Haters

Ronald Martinez

The news from training camp and points east is coming fast and furious for the Dallas Cowboys. Here are a few of the things the complete Cowboys fan needs to know.

One Week Of Camp In Frisco Part Of Team's Future Move
It appears to be official. The Cowboys are bidding farewell to Valley Ranch and moving to a new facility to be built in the north Dallas suburb of Frisco, that will be shared with the local schools - and include a 12,000 seat indoor stadium.

In addition, the agreement calls for at least one week per year of Cowboys training camp to be held in Frisco.

OK, it takes about two and a half hours to drive from my house to Frisco . . . Hey, what are you people waiting for! Break some ground, already!

5 Wonders: Sean Lee's sack total - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas
If any of you are wondering why the Cowboys even care about a new training facility, this explains why.

I wonder if people realize how out of date the Cowboys' Valley Ranch complex is. There is no doubt it is serviceable, but most of the BCS college programs have better facilities than the Cowboys.

You think of Valley Ranch as this magical place because of the history of the franchise, but it is just not as functional as it needs to be, which is a big reason why we will see the team move its practice facility to Frisco, Texas. It's not just the lack of an indoor facility, though that is a big part of it.

They don't have a place to cook their own food, they need more space for rehab programs, and the player lounge is hardly even a room. We make too much of these things when it comes to free agency because money speaks the most, but there's a reason why the Cowboys have taken their high-prized free agents to Cowboys Stadium first on their visits. When the team moves to Frisco in the future, the facility will match the stadium.

How nice will Cowboys' facility be? - ESPN Dallas
The city of Frisco has committed $115 million to the project, with $25 million going to the actual Cowboys headquarters. Two of the latest state of the art facilities came in at quite a bit less than that, the Seattle Seahawks spending $60 million, and the New York Jets forking over $75 million. Dallas already looks to be coming out ahead. But think about this for a moment:

When the Cowboys and Arlington came to an agreement on a new stadium, the original plan had each side chipping in $325 million.

Arlington's contribution was capped at $325 million; the Cowboys' contribution wasn't capped, and Jerry Jones threw in another $600 million (give or take) to make AT&T Stadium the best stadium in the world.

Can't wait to see this place? Me neither. This could be the real JerryWorld.

NFL's Most Engaged Fan Bases - TicketCity
We here at BTB know that the Cowboys are still and will continue to be America's Team, despite all the uninformed and poorly thought out attempts to prove otherwise. But I thought I would at least give this feeble attempt a quick look. They claim to use metrics of total attendance, home attendance, ticket prices, percentage attendance, and social media, all weighted and such. Here are their first five teams, with the score they derived for each.

Overall Rank Team Overall Score
1 Dallas Cowboys 100.0
2 New England Patriots 89.64
3 Green Bay Packers 87.29
4 NY Giants 85.51
5 Pittsburgh Steelers 84.41

As I was saying, this clearly scientific and insightful analysis by an obviously perspicacious group of researchers supports the obvious truth, so all the naysayers can just quit now.

Former NFL DL Travis Johnson: ‘Tony Romo Is A Thief, A Loser' - BlackSportsOnline
One thing that has been a little subdued for the past few months has been the Tony Romo hate out there. Well, it is back in full force (I started to type something else there until I realized another meaning it could have, but I'll leave to you to figure out what I changed, and why). Former Houston Texans DL Travis Johnson had this to say about Romo:

"Tony Romo has not earned a dollar he's been given in this league," Johnson said. "Matt Schaub will get the job done. I believe in him. I played with him and against him. He can take this team to a Super Bowl. Can he win a Super Bowl? I don't know. It's a whole different ballgame once you get there. But he can take this team to a Super Bowl. Tony Romo is not that guy. He is a thief. They need to bring him up on federal charges right now. He's killing the franchise."

As the article went on to note, Johnson himself, a former first round draft choice, had all of three sacks and 136 total tackles over a five or six year career (depending on what source you check). Great return for that pick, I'd say. And he was not unchallenged on those statements.

For Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo, perception doesn't always equal reality | Audibles - SI.com
Almost everyone threw up a BS flag over Johnson's comments. Even those who do have a negative opinion of Romo would have a hard time disagreeing with Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar, who keeps it simple and factual.

If you want to keep it on the surface and claim that Tony Romo doesn't apply enough "winner sauce" to the game of football, that's your prerogative. But for those interested in reality over common perception ... the reality is that Romo is a better than average quarterback with streaks of greatness and equal streaks of frustration. And that makes him very much like most long-time starters in the NFL.

Scout's Notebook: RB Blocking Well; DE Claimed Off Waivers; Scout's Eye: Williams Smooth In Return; Smith Settles In - DallasCowboys.com
Bryan Broaddus has two looks at what has been going on the past couple of days. Among other things, he talks about the latest personnel move by the Cowboys.

The Cowboys keep trying to fix the defensive end position. The club claimed Thaddeus Gibson, who now joins his eighth team in four seasons. Gibson (6-2, 243) has played as an outside linebacker in 3-4 scheme. He was recently cut by the Titans but has also played with Chicago, Houston, Washington, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

A former fourth-round pick in 2010 out of Ohio State, Gibson has three career tackles. To make room, the Cowboys waived tackle James Nelson, which should suggest Demetress Bell is ready to return to practice.

Dallas Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford to be in cast, walking boot for next two months - DMN
One of the reasons for so many personnel moves is the injury to Crawford, who has been keeping himself busy while he heals. Sort of.

What's one of the toughest aspects of being back in Texas with a cast on his left leg? Dog-sitting for teammate Kyle Wilber.

Crawford has been watching Wilber's French Mastiff puppy, something that has led to a few messy situations. Wilber wants daily videos of his pet and the recordings haven't always gone smoothly.

"Every time I start the video, I call her name and she'll walk to me but pee halfway," Crawford said. "I got to let it happen because I can't just get up fast and try to stop her."

This is from a major newspaper, folks. Therefore, it has to be real news. So now you have it.

Breaking Down the ‘Boys: Why Tyron Smith could be a Pro Bowl left tackle in 2013 - DMN
Mostly, the author discusses his methodology in ranking tackles. Basically boils down to "Because Tyron Smith is goooooood."

Sabin: In return from injury, Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware out prove he's still one of NFL's elite - SportsDayDFW
This one has more in the way of quotable stuff about one of the Cowboys' true superstars.

"But he's special," defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said. "I've been around special. He's special. Obviously he's gifted but he's a worker and he's into the details. Now it's just the day-to-day grind and it's just fundamentals so we can get him to play as fast every down. That's the process right now we're going through. "

Ware seems to be adjusting quite well. At times during practice, he has dominated the Cowboys' hulking left tackle, Tyron Smith, shoving him aside while clearing a direct path to the quarterback. In the Cowboys' 19-17 loss to Oakland last Friday, Ware pounced on running back Darren McFadden, snuffing out the first play from scrimmage.

Healthy Danny Coale makes strides - ESPN Dallas
You have no idea how apprehensive I am about including this. I have been through special spiritual cleansings as a precaution to preclude any and all traces of the goatmouth.

Coale has practiced for the past week, and he played against Oakland on Friday but did not have a catch. He is facing an uphill climb to make the 53-man roster, but he is just glad to be back on the field.

"It's great to kind of gain confidence mentally and physically each and every day," Coale said. "It's a steppingstone process, but it's getting better as the days go on. I had that little setback, but it's good to come out each day and feel like you're making strides. You wake up in the morning and you're not stiff, the knee feels good; that's great for me."

Is Jason Hatcher a Forgotten Man for the Dallas Cowboys? The Hub | Sports + Music
Well, not if you have been paying any attention to just about any part of training camp at all.

Hatcher is going to be a force to be reckoned with for the Cowboys up front. He caused a fumble against the Oakland Raiders on Friday night, although it was charged to Lee, and has gotten the better of the Cowboys offensive linemen in practice all camp long.

Expect Hatcher's sack totals to rise in the 4-3 alignment as he gets more opportunities to rush the passer in the 3 technique.

Could Cowboys WR Dez Bryant still be deployed as a punt returner? - DMN
If you are going to forget something, how about starting with this idea? It is another unwanted impact of the continuing issues with injury and some poor special teams performances. Jason Garrett, unfortunately, doesn't forget easily.

"We don't anticipate him being our primary returner, but when you have a guy like that you always want to keep that in your back pocket," Garrett said.

Speaking of the Deztroyer, I don't normally like people who tweet selfies. But in this case, I do make an exception.

And while we are on a bit of a multimedia kick, here is video of rookie center Travis Frederick that shatters a few of those "dumb jock" stereotypes.

Cowboys C Travis Frederick says engineering translates well to football. 'The defense is a puzzle.' (via startelegramvideo)

Blocking could keep Dallas Cowboys' Gavin Escobar off the field - ESPN Dallas
I didn't want everyone to think everything was just beer and skittles at camp. (Don't ask me to explain what that means. I just like the way it sounds.)

"He's developing. He really is," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He's a natural pass-catcher. He can run routes and get away from people. He hasn't had a lot of opportunities in games to do that up to this point. The thing where he's getting better and better is blocking, both as a run blocker and as a pass protector."

Now that, I can explain. We call it "damning with faint praise".

Brandon Carr impressed that rookie J.J. Wilcox can separate football and family issues - Star-Telegram
The rookie taught the veteran a thing or two about grace under pressure with his performance in camp while knowing his mother's health was deteriorating rapidly.

"Did not know what was going on," Carr said. "And that just kind of shows you his maturity level, as well. It's a big issue, but at the same time, he didn't really let it affect his play or let it be known or show it out here when it's time to come out here and go to work. But now he's doing what he has to do to take care of his family. We understand that, but at the same time, he did a good job of coming out here and still executing and doing his job."

Garrett calls team bonding amid shared experiences 'a really important piece' of training camp - Star-Telegram
Have you ever wondered why some NFL teams still do training camp, rather than just having practices in their home facilities (which many teams are going to)? The Dallas head coach has his reasons for taking the players away from Dallas.

"They're together. They eat meals with each other. They get tape," Garrett said. "Everything they do is kind of next to each other, and we think that's a positive thing. You can create that same environment at home. I've been part of that as both a player and as a coach. So you just kind of figure it out. But that's a really important piece of training camp. You better make sure that happens."

Respect for Garrett survived hard offseason - NFC East Blog - ESPN
Speaking of the man who has been called a puppet, emasculated, and on the hot seat, it is nice to see some reporting of how he seems to have his football team clearly behind him.

Garrett doesn't waste any energy worrying about the perception of his power, or lack thereof, at least not since the clumsy PR handling of the play-caller change. He'd prefer to focus on ways to empower the Cowboys' leaders, an effective method to make sure that Garrett's message is reinforced throughout the roster.

The buy-in from those leaders is clear - and not just when they're talking directly about the head coach.

Guys like Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee sprinkle Garrett-isms into their speech without even thinking about it. That's strong evidence that the Cowboys continue to buy in to Garrett's message and believe in his approach despite disappointing seasons in the first two full years of his head coaching tenure, which prompted Jones to force a major reconstruction of Garrett's staff, including the delegation of offensive play-calling duties.

Oklahoma State Football Player Dating Cowboys Cheerleader Because She Saw Him on TV and Thought He Was Cute | The Big Lead
Finally, a little real life fairy tale.

Seems a Cowboys Cheerleader (Jordan Daigle) was watching Oklahoma State play some football on TV, and thought one of the players, Zach Craig, who participated in the coin toss for the game was cute. Through the modern miracle of Twitter, she made contact with him, and once he realized it was not a joke (thank heavens this was before the Manti Te'o story broke), he found himself with a really great new girlfriend.

Now for the moral of the story. Craig got to walk out for the coin toss because he had an exceptional game against Texas Tech the week before the Oklahoma game. Hard work pays off. You block a punt and return it for a touchdown and you get to date a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

Oh, just a hint: You might want to click on the link to the original article. If you like slideshows of cheerleaders. In bikinis and such. Just sayin'.

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