Is it because Tony Romo and Dez Bryant play such prominent positions for the Cowboys? These two guys seem to have received the majority of the press after yesterday's inaugural 2010 organized team activity (OTA).
The OTAs are practices without pads that the Cowboys will be holding three days a week for the next four weeks. The media is only allowed access to one workout per week, so they had better get all their Dez and Tony questions in when they can!
Romo's presence at yesterday's OTA made news because he passed on his chance to qualify for golf's Byron Nelson Championship.
"There was really no decision there," Romo said. "For me, it was just this is what I love to do. Why would you not choose that?"
Romo had a tee time Monday morning in open qualifying for the Byron Nelson Championship, which begins Thursday just down the road from the Cowboys' Valley Ranch practice facility. But the 18-hole round conflicted with the voluntary team workout.
"My coaches and teammates know that I would rather not do anything else than this right here," Romo said. "They know it because they see me all the time, and they know it because it really is the funnest thing that we get to do."
More VRR after the jump.
According to Coach Phillips, Romo didn't have to miss his tee time.
"I wouldn’t have minded if he wouldn’t have been here," Phillips said, per ESPNDallas.com. "I mean, the guy works hard every day and has never missed anything. He kept that streak going."
So, what does Romo want the offense to improve upon this year? Toughness on the goalline...that's what Romo wants.
"What's the word I'm looking for," Romo wondered out loud Monday. "Almost the extra . . . toughness. For the extra yard or two. I'm not talking about handing off at the one and getting in the end zone. I'm talking about a guy going into it at the one and taking two hits and getting in. Or me getting that extra first down in the red zone just by half a yard or something that allows us to get another set of plays or get in the end zone instead of getting stuck at the three, kicking a field goal.
"A lot of it's just the wherewithall where you are, and to give it the extra effort to get to that point. Sometimes you've got to lay your body on the line, but that's what we're trying to incorporate this offseason is to do everything you can to get that extra yard down there. A yard is a lot down there, and it matters."
Roy Williams has got to get in some choice words, too! He is just a quote machine, isn't he?
"Last year around this time we were throwing and catching and it wasn't very good. Just to be quite honest with you, we were missing balls, and bad throws and drops and all that in the offseason that carried over to the season," Williams said.
"But this year, we're connecting like Montana and Rice. It's night and day from last year so I know we're expectingbig things for both of us."
Okay, time to talk some Dez Bryant. Obviously, playing wide receiver for the Cowboys and being their first-round pick will pull a ton of media attention. We saw that he was the talk-of-the-town at the rookie mini-camp. It's no different at the OTAs.
But now, he's going up against veterans, such as Mike Jenkins, who likes what he has seen so far of Bryant.
"He's going to be great, man. I've never seen a young guy come in the first day (like that)," said Jenkins, voted to his first Pro Bowl last year in his first season as a starter.
"Usually guys need a day to get into it. "I wanted to get a feel for him today. I kind of lined up in his face like I was going to press. He seems like one of those guys who likes to be pressed, likes to be physical."
During one-on-one drills, Bryant out-leaped Jenkins for a deep ball on the right side of the field and forced Newman into a would-be pass interference on the left.
Ahhh, the makings of a competitive relationship...
"I'm going to be on you," Jenkins told Dez Bryant.
The rookie's response: "I want you to be."
Jason Garrett feels Bryant is doing well in picking up the offense.
"I thought he came out and did a nice job," Garrett said. "He's still learning a lot. There's a lot of stuff we're installing on a daily basis, but he seemed to pick it up well and I thought he had a good day."
Bryant fielded punts before and after practice.
Below, CBS' Babe Laufenberg catches us up on Dallas' first OTA. Yay! Highlights!
Sticking with the wide receivers, Patrick Crayton was not and will not be present at the OTAs. But his agent has indicated that he will participate in later team activities. This, of course, is if no trade is made by then.
"In no way is Patrick sending a message to the Cowboys," said Lyles, who added he told the team Crayton's decision last week. "He will fulfill any and all obligations of his contract."
Without Crayton and Sam Hurd (thumb) participating in team drills, the Cowboys corps of young WRs (Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Manuel Johnson, and Jesse Holley) got in some extra reps.
Sam Hurd wants to stay with the Cowboys, and is not aware of the team trying to trade him.
"I haven't heard from them telling me that I can go look anywhere," he said. "They have never been that blunt or straight-up with me. All I know is I signed a contract with them, and it would be a blessing to stay with the Cowboys."
"I'm with the Cowboys, so I love being with them and working as hard as I can with the Cowboys. Obviously, my goal isn't to remain a special-teams player. I want to start and play wide receiver in the league."
Also, excused was DE Marcus Spears (personal reasons), who will be back with the team today. Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen rotated first team reps. Because Hatcher is more of a force in the running game, he looks to be next in line behind Spears. Bowen, though, was among the leaders on the team in quarterback pressures in '09.
Below, are the other players who missed the workout because of school obligations or injuries.
Tight end Scott Sicko, running back Lonyae Miller, wide receiver Terrell Hudgins and defensive lineman Sean Lissemore could not attend Monday's OTAs because their respective college semesters have not ended. Lissemore is expected to return Tuesday and Miller's return is set for Friday. Sicko and Hudgins, who was out with a skin graft, could attend next week's workouts.
Linebackers Keith Brooking and Stephen Hodge were out with knee injuries, fourth-round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is out until training camp following shoulder surgery, and tight end Nick Tow-Arnett was also not participating because of an injury he suffered during the rookie minicamp.
The Star-Telegram's OTA pics.
"You really need a center/guard type if you take them to the game," coach Wade Phillips said. "Kosier could play the backup center and Montrae can go to the game, which he wasn't able to do before. It gives us a little stronger in that area as far as who we take to the game and so forth."
Kosier took a couple of snaps at center on Monday, as did Travis Bright.
Robert Brewster will see most of his reps at RT.
"You might be surprised by some guys coming up," Houck said. "We've got some guys like Brewster that no one really even talks about very much that might be one heck of a player."
Brewster said he has been trying to get in better shape, and has lost about 30 pounds since last season. His weight loss also helped impress the head coach.
"(Brewster) was real competitive last year when he started OTAs and then he got hurt," Phillips said. "But he's reshaped his body and that's helped him, and he moved around well today."
The ILB rotation is all Jason Williams and Sean Lee:
Jason Williams and rookie Sean Lee rotated at inside linebacker. Keith Brooking, who recently had knee surgery, did not participate in Monday's OTA. Stephen Hodge, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee, was in street clothes Monday. He will not return until training camp.
In this DC.com Q&A, Reggie Herring spoke on the departure of Bobby Carpenter and the addition of Sean Lee.
"Well Bobby is gone, and we've got to move on with that. That's the league - guys come and they go.
At the end of the day, what Sean Lee brings to us is a young, talented, committed football player that has a chance to do some really great things. But he hasn't done it yet. We've got a long way to go, but at the end of the day he's a complete player - run/pass coverage, run-and-hit defensive football player that has a chance to help this football team. It remains to be seen."
Jason Williams spoke about his development as a pro.
"I'm extremely eager to get out there. I feel better prepared than I was last year. Now that I've had a year under my belt, I feel more comfortable with the defensive scheme now, so I'm ready to get out there. I feel a lot more comfortable now with my rush defense. That was kind of like my main issue last year. But now ... the whole offseason I took a lot of time."
Lest we forget about the kicking game!
The Cowboys are counting on David Buehler to win the kicking job. They don't want to burn two roster spots on kickers this year. Connor Hughes, though, hopes to make it a hard decision for the Cowboys. *Punter Mat McBriar, who had knee surgery after the season, isn't ready to kick yet. But his rehab is right on schedule, Wade Phillips said.
ESPN's NFC East Blog contrasts Buehler and Hughes.
As kickers go, Buehler is an amazing physical specimen with a monster leg. In his rookie season, he proved to be one of the best kickoff guys in the NFL, which is what he was drafted to do. Buehler has not attempted a field goal in the NFL and clearly is a major unknown in this capacity. He is a long-levered kicker and his get-off time might be a concern, let alone his consistency. But at a minimum, he will be called on to kick the long field goal attempts.
Hughes is much smaller and physically less impressive, but like Buehler, he has yet to even attempt a kick at this level. The Cowboys did hire former kicker Chris Boniol as a consultant, specifically with the intentions of helping Buehler, who is an intriguing project.
DCC tryouts are going on as we
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