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Activity picking up out at Valley Ranch

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We must be getting closer to the draft and mini-camps, because activity is picking up at the Ranch. T.O., who initially was a no-show, is now a go, and woe be upon the haters. OK, it’s late at night and I’m a little loopy, but I digress.

He didn’t run any routes or catch any passes, but receiver Terrell Owens is back at the Cowboys Valley Ranch headquarters.

Owens, who underwent surgery March 1 to repair a torn tendon in his right ring finger, was among a host of players participating in the team’s off-season conditioning and teaching program Tuesday.

Owens said he is here to learn the offense with the rest of the team and is looking forward to working with the new coaches.

According to Cowboys trainers, Owens will likely not be cleared to start catching passes until training camp in July.

Nice to hear our resident "bad-boy" is making a serious effort to get in tune with the new offense. (Yes, bad-boy in quotes means I'm being sarcastic).

JJT says:

This is Marcus Spears' year. It's time for him to become a star. If he can't do it in this scheme, then you have to wonder if its ever going to happen. Although the Cowboys drafted him with the 20th pick in 2005, he was the player Bill Parcells wanted more than any other in that draft. Parcells thought his size and athleticism at defensive end in the 3-4 would make him a star.

[snip]

Spears has been OK in his first two seasons, but hardly spectacular. Part of the reason, is the Cowboys didn't play to his strengths: Quickness and athleticism. Wade Phillips will make sure they do.

Of course, you could’ve read this post earlier today and heard the same thing. Yes, I’m patting myself on the back for writing conventional wisdom that everybody already knew, but I was in need of an ego boost. Sue me.

While I’m doing an exercise in self-congratulation, let me continue on with this Q&A from JJT.

Q: Any chance that Bobby Carpenter will replace Bradie James in obvious passing situations?

TAYLOR: I would be surprised if that didn't happen. Carpenter is more athletic than James and is a better defender. Besides, the Cowboys think part of the reason Bradie didn't play as well as the Cowboys hoped last year is because he was worn down by playing three downs. They'd like to get him off the field on third downs, in hopes that it will make him a more effective player.

Me in this post on March 29th:

[Bradie] James, on the other hand, had a below average season, mainly because he can't cover and was the weak link in the nickel package. Perhaps Carpenter might see time in the nickel replacing James if he plays inside, while also spelling Ellis outside if Ellis returns healthy enough to hold down the starter's role.

I’m a genius! NOT! Besides, knowing how some of you feel about JJT, maybe I should write: I'm an idiot!

The draft is drawing near and the prospects are visiting the Ranch. From the DMN:

With the NFL draft three weeks away, the Cowboys are upping their preparedness by meeting with some prospects this week, including three Texas players: cornerback Aaron Ross, safety Michael Griffin and offensive lineman Justin Blalock.

Despite signing Ken Hamlin to shore up the free safety spot, the Cowboys will get up-close looks at three top safeties in Griffin, Miami's Brandon Meriweather and Florida's Reggie Nelson, who is expected to arrive today.

Other players who have visited or will meet with the team later in the week include: Auburn guard Ben Grubbs, who is considered the top guard in the draft, Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis, Ohio State running back Antonio Pittman, Ohio State receiver Anthony Gonzalez, Akron guard Andy Alleman and Missouri Southern offensive tackle Allen Barbre, whose 4.84 40-yard dash was the best among the offensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine.