Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Leary's Knees, Romo's Babies, and Shark Week

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Lots to cover. Step lively.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on G Ron Leary’s injury: ‘We don’t think it’s too serious’ | Dallas Cowboys Blog

Hope the coach is right about this. It would mean the Cowboys at least had another option ready.

"We don't think it's too serious," head coach Jason Garrett said. "We think it can get cleaned up here and he can get back on the practice field in a couple weeks. Again we take those things day by day and it is what we think it is."

Cowboys Corner: Callahan: Injuries mean that all line combos are alive, including Frederick at guard, Costa at center

This is an idea that just won't go away. And I wish it could.

"We're two guards down at that spot," offensive line coach/offensive coordinator coach Bill Callahan said. " We'll have to see what we do going forward. We really haven't finalized anything. I think all combinations are alive. We just haven't settled on one. We'll see how they respond and make our plans accordingly. We haven't announced anything, and we're not going to until after the game. We'll look at some other combinations possibly or maybe just stay where we're at. We'll get a good evaluation.''

Cowboys made splash despite Shark Week - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

Who says Jason Garrett is not in control of the team, even during the "bonding" exercise on the beach?

"It's Shark Week!" safety Barry Church said. "I wasn't messing with that. I wasn't touching the ocean."

That wasn't what head coach Jason Garrett was trying to hear.

"We talked about controlling what you can control," Garrett said, jokingly using one of his go-to coaching phrases. "So get your ass in there."

Cowboys Corner: Cowboys' trip to the ocean turns into shark tales

After I saw this in the video of the last press conference for camp, I had to put it here.

Running back Joseph Randle succumbed to peer pressure and jumped in head first -- literally.

"I am not so sure that Joseph has ever been in the ocean before," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We put a little pressure on Joseph to come in. There were about 25 guys and coaches in the water, so we said, 'Come on, Randle, get in here.' He was on the side of the ocean about 20 feet away. He takes his shirt off, goes running in, and I swear to God, he thought it was a swimming pool because he got about three steps in, the water could not have been more than 12 inches deep, and he jumps up and goes bang. It's rocks; it's sand; It ain't deep. He kind of played it off and got going again, but I am not so sure he knew what he was getting into.Typical Randle. I say that with affection."

Broaddus: My Top 10 Performers From This Four-Week Camp

Broaddus goes over his ballot for the top 10 list on the mothership yesterday. I included it because I like to have positive things about the 'Boys.

DeMarcus Ware - This was a no brainer for several reasons. He has been the most dominate (sic) player in the camp. He works daily against the best offensive linemen on the squad and is rarely defeated or put in a bad situation. His health and fitness level are at an all time high and the scheme really plays to his strengths.

Running the Numbers: Callahan & Unexpected Play-Calls in 2013

For all you stats and analysis junkies, a tasty little treat. (Don't be fooled by Broaddus' byline at the top of the page - you'll see this is a bit different from his work.)

So why don't the Cowboys just run to the weak side all the time? Well, that would obviously be a problem since defenses would catch on quite quickly, negating the advantage the Cowboys once possessed. So NFL offenses need to find some sort of balance, running optimal plays as much as they can before defenses defend them differently. The point that will maximize overall efficiency is known as the Nash equilibrium. In regards to run location, that point is where the efficiency of weak-side runs matches that of strong-side runs. And since NFL teams are still much more successful when running to the weak side, it follows that they should be doing it more often.

Cowboys’ Scandrick thrives on proving critics wrong | Dallas Cowboys | Latest news and...

Let me just say in advance, Mr. Scandrick, that I think you are a really good cornerback and a key to the success of the team this year.

This just in: Scandrick sees all, hears all and reads all, especially the negative, and he uses it as fuel to stoke a fire that burns within.

"Of course, I hear," Scandrick said. "You are going to hear it. You are aware of it. But it's all motivation to me. It's all motivation. I'm driven by negative motivation. It lights a fire under me."

That fire is manifested by a feisty demeanor on the field and prickly personality off it. It has also rubbed some people in the Cowboys' organization wrong.

So instead of being celebrated for being a five-year mainstay at nickel corner, overcoming his small size and modest beginning as a fifth-round pick from Boise State, Scandrick feels as if everything he does gets nitpicked and scrutinized.

Sean Payton Says He Was A Better College QB Than Tony Romo | Robert Littal Presents BlackSportsOnline

No, this is not the start of some weird controversy. Just some old fashioned smack talk. When asked who was better at Eastern Illinois, where both went to college, here is how he answered:

"Payton - wasn't close," the Saints coach answered. "Just look at the numbers. I don't know that Tony's even graduated from Eastern yet."

Offensive line fixes are complex - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

Calvin Watkins stands up for the management in their struggle to get the O line right. Yes, you just read that.

Second-guessing the Cowboys' decisions not to sign Carl Nicks and Ben Grubbs in free agency last year would be unfair. The Cowboys grabbed Livings, a productive starter with the Bengals, and Bernadeau, a talented player with the Panthers, in free agency that year. The price paid to Livings and Bernadeau was nearly a combined $30 million. Grubbs signed a five-year $35 million deal with the New Orleans Saints to replace Nicks, who signed with Tampa Bay.

Solutions for this fix are complex.

Cowboys Corner: Tony Romo remains confident in the team's red-zone offense despite their struggles vs. Raiders

Romo still believes the team can score.

"You'll see hopefully once we open it up, and we get to that point," Romo said. "We're not going to do that [in the preseason]. There's no reason for us to now. Obviously, we want to score a lot of touchdowns in the preseason, get in there. We want to do it the right way, though, as well."

Cowboys Corner: Cowboys QBs and their wives are expecting second children

After all, he knows he can, with his wife expecting their second child.

Backup quarterback Kyle Orton and his wife, Bridget, also are expecting their second child, prompting quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson to joke about something being in the water in the quarterbacks' room.

Tony Romo: Jason Garrett is a ‘fantastic motivator’ for the Dallas Cowboys | Dallas Cowboys Blog

Bet you thought I would tie in another suggestive joke here, didn't you? Nope. Just wanted to bring up Romo's explanation of why the Garrett the media sees is so different from the one his teams follows.

"It's a smart way to go about it with the media," Romo said. "In my opinion, you just don't gain a lot from communicating and talking off the cuff and doing a lot of stuff with the media because the sound bites and the story lines just aren't things that help football teams. He does a great job handling all that stuff."

But just to prove that the real Garrett does leak out, you should catch this video.

And I just wanted to throw this in to really confuse some of you.

George: Energetic Tyron Smith supplies charge for Cowboys’ line | Dallasnews.com - News for Dallas, Texas - SportsDayDFW

Just a reminder that there are some positives surrounding the offensive line.

One-on-one matchups between Ware and Smith never get old despite the groundhog-day nature of training camp practices.

"It's a great battle. Both guys are so talented, but much more than that, they are so prideful in everything they do," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "Whatever they are doing, they want to win. It's a fun thing to be a part of. I've been fortunate in my career to be around a lot of great individual matchups that happen in practice, and it's the kind of matchups you remember for the rest of your life."

Terrance Williams likely to play Saturday - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

And some injuries actually are healing.

After recovering from the head injury, Williams has returned with a vengeance in training camp practices and will probably make his preseason debut Saturday afternoon at the Arizona Cardinals. Dwayne Harris took over as the No. 3 receiver with Williams out but moved back to No. 4 upon the rookie's return.

"It feels pretty good. Finally, I get a chance to go out there and play against a different color," Williams said. "It's just a matter of just being comfortable and going out there and showing what I can do."

Diamond in the rough? Dallas Cowboys WR Anthony Armstrong trying to make final roster after spending two years selling jewelry | Dallas Cowboys Blog

Meanwhile, the veteran is trying to break back into the NFL after some time out in the wilderness.

The Carrollton Newman Smith product's long, twisting journey to the NFL included two years with the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League in 2007 and 2008. During those two seasons, Armstrong took a job at Whitehall Jewelers in Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco just to make ends meat.

"I went in there and they were hiring and they actually had some pretty ladies in there, too, so I wasn't really tripping," Armstrong said, "and I went ahead and took the job."

Rookie Center Feels Like A Different Player From Start Of Camp

I really like me some Fredbeard.

An offseason and a training camp has Travis Frederick feeling like a completely different player from the lineman the Cowboys took with the 31st pick in the draft.

The one trait Frederick's always possessed since joining the league is his intelligence, and his ability to absorb all the information needed to make calls as a starting center in the league has allowed him to transition smoothly into the NFL.

"Even during OTAs, I felt like I had learned a whole college year's worth of experience in those 10 OTAs, and the same thing goes for these practices here," Frederick said. "I feel like I've just learned so much even from OTAs. I'm a different player from the beginning of camp than I am now. I think it's a great opportunity. Every time I have a chance to get out here and practice, it makes me a better player."

Tony Romo: Dallas Cowboys need to run the ball better, and I think we will | Dallas Cowboys Blog

Pay attention to this explanation he gives.

"It's not about, ‘Well, if you get 20 rushes, you win.' That's just not reality. Saying that, the times you get 20-25 rushes ... it's because you're winning and you're running the football to run the clock out. They should have a stat that says there's a certain number in the first two and a half quarters, how many rushes you have at that point. Then we'd see a correlation in some ways."

Cowboys Corner: QB coach Wade Wilson says new play-calling arrangement has benefited both Garrett and Callahan

And hopefully the entire offense.

"The good thing about Bill and Jason is there's been a lot of flexibility - ‘I don't like this,' or, ‘I do like this, let's incorporate this,' " Wilson said Thursday, the eve of the Cowboys breaking camp. "There's been a lot of give-and-take and been very healthy for both of them."

Wilson said Garrett's personality allowed for a smooth transition from play-caller to overseer.

Offbeat: GPS devices offer clues to energy use - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

This is just cool.

The Cowboys' wide receivers run a lot, it seems, between the individual, team and special teams drills. So Bech monitors how much energy is exerted during practices. Depending on how a player reacts, extra stretching or scaling back their work in practice can be prescribed.

Jones: Sean Lee deal at top of to-do list - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

File this under "Yeah, we kinda figured that."

"When we look at things we need to do short- and long-term, he's on that list," Jones said. "His agreement is on that list. That would be the best way to say it. Those things have to fit. In terms of our planning and management of our cap dollars and our future, we're planning on having him on the team. We do plan on it and we factor it in when we look at what we have to spend next year."

Leary knee concerns remind us of Cowboys' depth issues

Finally, an article that probably deserves a little deeper delving. Bob Sturm brings up how lack of depth affects the Cowboys, and looks at how this came about. He has some good points - but maybe one or two should be questioned.

This is a good team. But, they remain paper thin in spots. And although everyone is thin at certain spots, there are better spots to be thin at than on the line of scrimmage in both directions. Which leads us back to the question of, "if you have four picks in the Top 80, can you afford to take luxury items like a tight end and another wide receiver?"

Look, no matter what the Cowboys do, someone will find a reason to question their decisions. It's life when you follow the Star.

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