Oh, the anticipation! The 2010 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp is right around the corner. The coaches and players are preparing; fans are too.
Leading into camp, which begins this Saturday, we should expect to follow the progress of contract negotiations between the team and its three remaining unsigned rookies: Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, and Josh Price-Brent.
We should also expect to hear much about how this camp will put the Cowboys on the road like no other camp has. Not only are they splitting time between Oxnard, CA and San Antonio, TX, but they will also hold practices at Cowboys Stadium and will be heading out earlier than most teams to play in the Hall of Fame Game to kick off the preseason.
More VRR after the jump.
The Cowboys veterans are ready to practice, no matter what city the team holds training camp.
"You've got to have that laser-sharp focus," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "Put your blinders on and keep moving forward. Focus on the task at hand and take each day as it comes. You play for this organization long enough, you learn real quick you have to do that to be successful."
Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten said leaving San Antonio to train in breezy Southern California will break up the monotony of camp. "Camp can get old," Witten told Dallas-Fort Worth's KESN-FM. "I'll tell you what, this is better than staying in San Antonio for five weeks."
Bradie James sums up the sentiment.
"Nobody cares where we practice. People care about whether we win," linebacker Bradie James said.
If you plan on attending camp in San Antonio, here is SAEN's information page. As usual, the team begins camp with its Kickoff Event.
Friday at Alamodome (free admission) — Interactive fan zones open at 5 p.m.; dome doors open at 6 p.m.; pep rally/concert featuring musical acts Duelo and Bowling for Soup, players, coaches and cheerleaders starts at 7 p.m.
And here's a summary of the San Antonio practice schedule:
Practices: 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Monday, Thursday; 9 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday-Wednesday. Runs through Aug. 6. Free; parking $10. Autograph sessions after each practice.
More on what to expect if you plan on attending the Cowboys Kickoff Spectacular at the Alamodome.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and head coach Wade Phillips will address Cowboys fans and share their insights and expectations for the 2010 camp. Brad Sham, the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys, will introduce the players who will be fighting for a roster spot throughout camp.
The night will include special musical performances from Texas natives and Grammy nominees Bowling for Soup, along with Latin recording artists El Duelo. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and Cowboys mascot Rowdy will make a special appearance.
No Sean or Dez signing yet? Well, as of now, only two players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft's first two rounds have been signed: Vladimir Ducasse (61st overall) by the Jets and Brian Price (35th) by the Buccaneers.
The Star-T debated the challenges of getting Dez Bryant signed in time for camp, but his agent Eugene Parker, says they would like to get the deal done "as soon as possible".
The challenges of the uncertain labor negotiations and the possibility of a lock out next year have impacted contract negotiations across the league. No other first round pick is under contract and just one of the top 64 has signed.
Bryant was picked No. 24 overall. The Cowboys generally like to let players around their pick get signed so they can have a basis for negotiations. But with No. 23 and No. 25 unsigned, the Cowboys won’t have any current deals to go on. Parker, however, remains optimistic. He said it shouldn’t take long after they can get to some agreement on how to structure the contract.
"We don’t have to follow, we can lead," Parker said.
The team's rookie salary pool will definitely come into effect when the team agrees not only with Bryant, but Sean Lee and Price-Brent as well.
So, of the rookie deals made so far with fourth-rounder Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, sixth-rounders Sam Young and Jamar Wall, and seventh-rounder Sean Lissemore, we can estimate the Cowboys have spent just over $1.8 million of their rookie pool, leaving nearly $2 million more to work with in getting Bryant, Brent and second-rounder Sean Lee signed.
The Cowboys will be challenging supplemental pick, DT Josh Price-Brent, as soon as camp breaks.
The challenge is getting the Illinois product, who was selected in the seventh round of the supplemental draft last week, up to speed on the system as fast as possible.
The Cowboys also would like Price-Brent to drop weight and get down close to 300 pounds, according to a league source. He checked in at nearly 6-2 and 321 pounds at his pro day in Champaign, Ill., earlier this month.
The National Football Post's Joe Fortenbaugh begins his "position battles to watch" report with a look at the Dallas wideouts.
Williams has been a complete bust since being traded from Detroit to Dallas during the 2008 season, catching just 57 passes in 25 games with the Cowboys. However, Bryant currently isn’t under contract and due to the learning curve that comes with adjusting to press coverage at the NFL level, Williams will likely open the year as the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart.
For the fantasy footballers...
But you have to look at it like this: If the Cowboys had any faith at all in Williams entering 2010, they wouldn’t have spent a first round draft pick on Bryant. Williams is currently being targeted in the 12th round while Bryant is going in the 6th, but it’s only a matter of time before the six-year veteran finds himself with a very limited role in the offense. In our opinion, Williams isn’t worth a draft pick and Bryant should be targeted sometime after the 10th round.
SB Nation Dallas-Ft. Worth's Brett Perryman asks the questions many of us are wondering as camp approaches.
How is Doug Free going to hold up?
Are Alan Ball and Mike Hamlin any good?
Does Roy Williams have anything more than what he's shown here?
How good are the young linebackers?
How will the running backs be handled?
Is Martellus Bennett going to step forward as a third year player?
Is Stephen McGee an NFL QB?
And of course, how good will Dez Bryant be?
In his NFC East blog, Matt Mosely asks some of the bigger questions for all four Beasts. For the Cowboys, it's all about Doug Free.
All the games he played at right tackle last season for an injured Marc Colombo gave him a tremendous amount of confidence. And offensive line coach Hudson Houck, who once tutored Larry Allen, raves about Free.
It's a risky move by Jerry Jones, but it's one he didn't have to contemplate for long.
He missed most of the off-season work with a fractured left index finger suffered early in the organized team activities. He said the finger is healing well after the surgery and rehab but it's not his call as to whether he will take part in every practice early in camp.
Planning to visit the Hall of Fame? Click here for all the travel information you need.
Jimmy Johnson will compete on this season's "Survivor", but it's the real deal--not a celebrity edition.
This casting stunt also gives "Survivor" an extra dose of credibility because Johnson sees the show as a genuinely competitive endeavor. Few other reality shows have that kind of cachet, and it’s why "Survivor" has remained on the air far longer than many of its peers.
Watch out Manchester United...the Dallas Cowboys are closing the gap!
Forbes released its list of the world's most valuable teams Wednesday, with the English Premier League club leading the way at $1.84 billion. The top American franchise, the Dallas Cowboys, was second at $1.65 billion.
And if you really want to prep for the Dallas Cowboys 2010 season, then all you need is a copy of The Maple Street Press 2010 Cowboys Annual. Just got mine the other day and I must say, it is super cool! Orders are being processed and shipped as you read this!