The Dallas Cowboys held their rookie mini-camp over the past weekend, and as expected, almost all the news centered on new addition Dez Bryant. Bryant's presence with the Cowboys at mini-camp spun off a few different storylines - some good, some bad, some really unimportant.
Let's start with the good. By all accounts, Bryant shined at camp - performing exactly as expected for a player with 'top of the draft' talent.
For three days, first-round draft pick Dez Bryant was everything the Cowboys had hoped him to be. Not only did he catch just about every pass that was thrown in his direction - and even a few that weren't really that close - Bryant was head and shoulders above the rest of the rookies.
"Dez Bryant is an absolute talent," Phillips said after Sunday's practice at Cowboys Stadium. "You don't get to be around too many players that come in and look that good that early. In 33 years, there's not many that I can say have looked that talented at their position for a three-day period. We're pleased with him . . . and he was on time for everything."
Forget the out-of-breath stuff, the vomiting, the slightly dinged-up ankle that wasn't serious, all of that is window-dressing that will fade within weeks, what will last is the talent. And everybody agrees, the kid shined in camp. Step one in his progression ends with a check-mark. He has a long way to go, but the expectations are hard to deny.
For more on this subject, and on Patrick Crayton, which is covered below, see Raf's previous post.
Phillips' zinger at the end of the quote above, ( . . . and he was on time for everything." ), was directed toward the press and other NFL organizations that passed on the talented receiver. The Cowboys view all that as unimportant, and I'm with them. And what's the deal with the press dragging Bryant's mother through the dirt? I mean, seriously? Because Jeff Ireland asked a stupid question, and Dez told someone about it, we've had a two week frenzy around Dez Bryant's mom. Unless Dez Bryant's mom is going to be playing in her son's place this coming season, what in the hell does she have to do with anything. /end rant.
Not unrelated to Dez Bryant is another storyline hanging around Valley Ranch. What do the Cowboys do with Patrick Crayton? I wrote about it last week; Crayton is a player without a role. He's the #4 WR, and he's likely to be replaced at his other position, punt returner. It's really a shame, Crayton has been a solid producer for Dallas, but the current situation says trade or release before the 2010 season. His value may go up the closer to the season you get, when injuries or other issues can leave another NFL team with a hole at receiver. The mothership has a good article about Crayton, his future, and what he's meant to Dallas over the years.
Crayton's group wrapped up its signing session around 9 p.m., maybe 20 minutes before the Cowboys traded up to take the guy who will most likely replace him on the roster. Those who were around him when the pick was announced say Crayton became really quiet, visibly upset these things keep happening to him.
Sean Lee spent a lot of time at camp getting one-on-one coaching, and the coaches think he put it to good use. Position coach Reggie Herring said he was "like a magnet sucking up information." He's learning two positions out of the gate.
Lee is learning how to play both 3-4 inside linebacker positions, the "Mike" and "Mo." The Cowboys believe he can back up both starters, Bradie James and Keith Brooking, as well as contribute on special teams. In addition to his quickness and explosiveness, the coaches like how Lee absorbs information quickly.
Montrae Holland officially signed his deal. The Cowboys know their starting five, and they are hoping that Robert Brewster can be the backup swing tackle and that Montrae Holland can be the primary backup in the interior. He'll need to learn the center position well enough to supplant Cory Procter for that to happen.
Cowboys guard Montrae Holland signed a two-year contract Monday with the potential to pay him more than $5 million. The backup offensive lineman is scheduled to make just under $3.7 million in base salary. That number can escalate to just over $5.2 million based on how much playing time he earns.
Jerry Jones is trying to land another Super Bowl, and he's put Troy Aikman in charge of the situation.