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The Valley Ranch Review: Gerald Sensabaugh's Versatility; Troy Aikman Earns Bachelor's Degree

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Versatility at the strong safety position is something the Cowboys lacked in last year's starters, Roy Williams and Keith Davis. While both of them are considered better players against the run, former Jaguar Gerald Sensabaugh looks to solidify the secondary with his own balance of coverage and run support skills.

"I’m not really trying to follow Roy," Sensabaugh said. "It’s not a competition between me and Roy. I’m not trying to prove that I’m better than Roy or Roy should have done this or that. I thought Roy was a great player.

"I’m just trying to establish my own name. Then, however you guys (media) feel I play, that’s how it is."

Sensabaugh has been impressive in these organized team activities. Owner Jerry Jones calls the 25-year-old free agent a key acquisition and says the coaches, "brag on him a lot."

Secondary coach Dave Campo is familiar with Sensabaugh from their time together in Jacksonville.

Campo said Sensabaugh is versatile enough to play underneath in the team’s dime package on third down.

"I don’t think it’s a mismatch when a team takes a pretty decent tight end and puts him out wide and gets the safety out there," Campo said.

And how does the fifth-year pro stack up against the run?

"He’s a good run player," Campo said. "I don’t think there’s an issue there. I think he’s a combination safety and can do them both. He’s a solid football player and has strengths in both areas."

The Cowboys' mandatory three-day minicamp will start Monday. Here are some player updates from Todd Archer:

Defensive end Jason Hatcher, who had knee surgery, is expected to practice for the first time this off-season but on a limited basis. Guard Kyle Kosier, who had foot surgery last season, will return during training camp.

Also, outside linebacker Victor Butler and cornerback Mike Mickens, both of them rookies, will get their first taste of full-squad workouts after being unable to attend the OTAs because their colleges were still in session.

Much more VRR after the jump.


Congrats to Troy Aikman, who graduated with a degree in sociology. The HOF Cowboys quarterback spoke about participating in UCLA's commencement.

"I'm glad I came back and went through the ceremony," Aikman said. "I had some reservations because I didn't really know any of the other students, but I had a great time and it brought back a lot of great memories of my time here. UCLA is a great place and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Jennifer Floyd Engel asks the Information Age-old question: Why do we care about an athlete’s personal life? Troy Aikman and Martellus Bennett chimed in some, with their thoughts.

"The athlete has become more and more accessible than they ever have in the past and, with that, there is a certain amount of celebrity that comes," Aikman said. "Now, I wouldn’t make the blanket statement that celebrity translated into greatness. For some, I think it has. For some kids, they don’t necessarily know the athlete for his performance as much as they know him for his celebrity. So they just assume that he’s great. Whereas before you had to do a little more on the field before you got recognized by the masses.

"But to me anyway, and I think it’s true for most people, I think greatness is defined by the same terms. Celebrity may not be."


But what about Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki? He never courted the spotlight personally, quite the opposite, save for the random drunk escapade with Steve Nash back in the day.

And he had to watch as his crumbling love life became almost daily news during the playoffs. There was no proof the legal woes of his fiancée had affected his game, but all of the details, down to the price of the ring and dating progression, were published.

"I don’t think it’s anyone’s business, but it’s news," Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett said. "It’s unfortunate for Dirk, the things he’s going through, but it’s his private life. I think some stuff you can leave off the news. But some of the stuff is worthy of putting in the news. So it is a gray area."

Michael Irvin, Jay Ratliff, and Martellus Bennett played in a charity baseball game. Ratliff had the "hit of the night".

Cowboys defensive lineman Jay Ratliff delivered a punishing tackle on the Rough Riders mascot to keep the furry beast from beating a young fan in a race around the bases.

Marty B was...well, Marty B.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett kept things quiet during the pregame by simply saying "Hi" during the news conference. However, he made his mark prior to the game by pedaling along the front of the stands on a large pink tricycle. Bennett received plenty of attention during the derby for his strikeout as well.

Pat Watkins hosted his first football camp at his old stomping ground in Florida.

#2 Wideout: Patrick Crayton or Miles Austin? KFFL gives its Impact Analysis.

Crayton has been manning the No. 2 wide receiver spot with the first team in recent OTAs. Phillips likes Crayton and has intimated that Austin winning the job away from Crayton will be no easy task. However, although Crayton may have a leg up on Austin in the area of experience, consistency and durability, Crayton, 30, is not very fast, and his talent level has likely flat-lined, whereas Austin, soon to be 25, has excellent speed and is still considered to have upside.

Austin winning the No. 2 spot would provide the Cowboys with the perfect complement to Williams, who is a big, strong possession receiver. They would have a player to step in and fill the void of a speedy deep threat that the Cowboys haven't had since wide receiver Terry Glenn was released. Now with the departure of Owens as well, the Cowboys are pinning their hopes on Austin to give them a defense-spreading, field-stretching receiver. This would in turn open up opportunities underneath for Williams, Crayton, All-Pro tight end Jason Witten, and dynamic running back Felix Jones.

RotoRob also gives his fantasy team preview for the Cowboys.

The greatness of the Dallas Cowboys stretches back to before some of us were even born. Still, the history of America's Team reflects the expectations of every successive Cowboys' team. Ray Buck takes a look at who Gil Brandt selected for his All-’60s Dallas Cowboys.

Wade Phillips spoke to columnist Charles Bryce on a variety of topics, including the change at the wide receiver position, the competition level of the NFC East, and the influence his father has had on his coaching career.

"We’ve got a lot of talent at receiver," Phillips said. "We’ve got to replace one that production-wise did tremendous things. But we feel good about our receivers and our quarterback and our passing game.

"Roy’s been in a whole off-season program and our OTAs (organized team activities). He makes some fantastic catches every day and he’s just a talent. I think all of our fans and everybody will see that during the season. Right now he looks really good."


"Our division is the toughest in the NFC," he said. "The two years I’ve been there, not one team has had a losing record. That’s pretty powerful. I don’t think any division in football can match that. The Giants and Philadelphia and Washington are all going to be good. And everybody wants to beat the Cowboys. It’s a tough, tough division, but I think getting through it, it helps you be a better team."


"I think anybody is influenced greatly by their dad, whether he coaches or not," Phillips said. "But then when he was your high school coach and your college coach and then you worked for him for 10 years and he’s your dad... a lot of the way I approach things is from him."

Bum Phillips will turn 86 in September, and even though he’s been retired from football since 1985, he still stays busy doing what he loves.

"He’s doing great," his son said. "He’s still ranching down in Goliad. He loves to get on his tractor, especially his bulldozer, and just plow everything over. He loved coaching and he loved ranching and once he got out of coaching, he went to something else he loved."

With the Cowboys drafting four linebackers, LBs coach Reggie Herring has had to answer more questions than usual.

Former Arkansas Razorbacks defensive coordinator Reggie Herring apparently had been enjoying some peace and quiet since becoming linebackers coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

According to Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine, Herring has been peppered with questions by the media about the linebacker corps since the Cowboys drafted four in April.

"This is the last time we're drafting any 'backers," Herring said. "Nobody's talked to me in a year and a half."

The NFL predictions for the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC championship is at 4-1 odds.