ESPN has launched their training camp preview and have released their first of many power rankings. The Cowboys sit at #4 behind New England, Indianapolis and Jacksonville.
#4 (4) Cowboys 13-3-0; QB Tony Romo knows the only way he can validate his immense talent is to win a playoff game. With this team, he'll finally break through. (MM)
Get ready to hear nothing but that for the next few months. Forget that DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Crayton, Terence Newman, Marion Barber, Andre Gurode and Wade Phillips are all 0-fers in the playoffs. All we will read is how Romo needs to overcome his playoff demons, despite the fact that this will be just his second full season as quarterback.
ESPN also presents one burning question for each team as they head into training camp. The Cowboys big question is at receiver.
Teams will often shade the free safety to Owens' side, but late in the season, opponents also bracketed Jason Witten, who is one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league, which really slowed this offense down. Patrick Crayton, last season's No. 2, put up good numbers (50 catches and 7 TDs), but is not a big playmaking threat. Backup developmental receivers Miles Austin and Sam Hurd will push Crayton for that spot this season and finding that complementary receiver to take pressure off Owens and Witten will be a huge lift to an offense that struggled late in the season.
My counterpoint is that teams really didn't shut down our offense until Owens went down with an injury. Romo had a few bad games but the Cowboys offense was never truly contained until Owens was off the field. That would be where my concern lies regarding the offense, but that concern holds true for every team and their star players.
It turns that underneath it all Terrell Owens really isn't that bad a person. ESPN's Sam Alipour tells the story of how Owens came to his aid last week following the ESPYs, and Owens didn't bother to stick around and bask in praise for the good deed.
It's a shame that stories like this don't get more front page coverage than they do.
Hat tip to scottmaui for his fanshot.
In significant news from around the NFC East, the Redskins and Giants have made some moves that will change the landscape of the division just a bit.
Jason Taylor has been traded to Washington for a second-round pick and a future sixth-rounder. The 'Skins have recently lost a couple of good pass rushers for the season due to injury and have replaced them with one of the best defensive ends in the NFL. While the Redskins' defense will certainly improve, I don't think this is anything for the Cowboys to panic about. Marc Columbo and Flozell Adams have been facing premier NFC East defensive lineman for the past few years; I don't think one more will make much of a difference. It will be a challenge but I think our 'Boys are up to it.
Hat tip to LiveNDieBlue
Today the Giants shipped Jeremy Shockey to the New Orleans Saints for a second and fifth-rounder in 2009. Last November, when Shockey was having a career day against the Cowboys, if you would have told me the Giants would happily trade Shockey away I would have laughed in your face. My how things can quickly go sour.
I actually think this could be bad for the Cowboys. I always enjoyed Eli squirm under the pressure put upon him by Shockey and Tiki Barber and he never had a real voice in the huddle. Now those two are gone, Manning has a Super Bowl under his belt and a whole lot of confidence. That could be dangerous to the Cowboys. This also significantly improves the Saints, a team that is loaded offensively and who I think will bounce back from a sub-par 2007.