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The Dallas Cowboys rookie running backs received a surprise treat yesterday when Emmitt Smith walked out on the field to give them a few pointers.  Felix Jones was a little tongue tied at first but it was Tashard Choice who was truly awestruck.

"I had to catch myself a little bit when I saw him," Choice said. "He's the all-time leading rusher and you know what he stands for and how he used to work. I love 22. I was ecstatic. I couldn't do nothing but look at him and tell him, ‘Nice to meet you. My name is Tashard,' but he already knew who I was.

"I was a little ecstatic too after learning that."

As Grizz noted in his post, having vision as running back is a special thing and was one of the many aspects of Emmitt's game that set him apart from all the rest. Emmitt makes a great point about other backs sharing that same vision:

"[Emmitt] said, 'There are others that can see it, but they can't do anything about it when they see it.'"

Emmitt also had some interesting advice for Marion Barber: ease it up a bit.

"I think he spends a lot of energy that may not be necessary," Emmitt said during yesterday's visit to Valley Ranch. "For a starting back, I'm all about putting your heart into it, but you're doing a lot of kicking, running up, bucking and you're exerting a lot of energy. We need you for four quarters -- and I'm going to say we because I'm a Cowboy, too. We need you for four quarters.

"If Marion has to carry the load for four quarters, there's no way he can handle it."

I think it's a great theory, but Barber's running style is what makes him great, and the Cowboys drafted Jones and Choice to ensure that he can keep doing his thing all season long.


JJT has a nice article about Marcus Dixon's struggles to get to the NFL.


I always liked Dave Campo's attitude and his method of coaching. Unfortunately it didn't exactly translate into success as a head coach, but its great to see him finally back into his element as a position coach. He makes a great point with the rookie defensive backs when he challenges them to think of how many "truly outstanding" receivers they played against in college. The answer was five. Total.

"Every guy they play against here is one of those five guys," Campo pointed out. "A second-string receiver here is one of those guys. When they make that transition [to the NFL], they have to bring it every single time they line up."


Rashard Mendenhall strained his hamstring during the first day of Steelers mini-camps.  Now, that's not really a big deal since it is still May. What I found interesting though was Mike Timlin's explanation for the injury.

"It's becoming somewhat commonplace for some of these high-round draft picks for this type of situation to happen to them during minicamp weekend," Tomlin said.

Because they're in such demand by the pro scouts before the draft, it throws off their conditioning.

"The schedule that these guys are on is really not conducive to preparing them to come in to meet what waits on them at minicamp," Tomlin said. "They go to the combine, they go to their pro day, then they go on this city tour."

I guess that explains the rash of rookie injuries across the NFL this past weekend.

Hat tip to BTB regular Longhorn for breaking the news in the comments.

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