"Honestly, we just had way too many games that came down to a possession (last year)," Romo said. "If you have eight, 10 games that come down to either making that play or not, then in the NFL you’re not usually going to go 8-0 or 9-0 in those situations. We need to make it so we don’t have as many, so we only have five that come down to that and we go 4-1 . . . That was what we really came away with.
"I think we’re taking steps to rectify that, and this football team, I think, will be a better team than last year."
Scoring more. And earlier. If they can do that, they will indeed be a better team this year.
More player quotes from yesterday after the break.
Miles Austin weighed in on some of the interaction between the vets and rookies in camp when he was asked what he tells the young guys in camp:
"That depends on what’s going on. I try to learn from them sometimes. I’m not always trying to tell them something. If I see something I can help them with I’m going to let them know. But if there’s something that doesn’t feel right for me I might ask them about it so that I can add something new to my repertoire. We (the team’s veterans) are learning and teaching at the same time, but we’re all trying to lead by example."
It's the first Cowboys camp for veteran fullback Lawrence Vickers, and he is suitably impressed by what he saw yesterday, and spoke to reporters about how that is one of the reasons he came to Dallas:
"It is different," Vickers said, summing up his first training camp workout with the Cowboys. "Being in Dallas is like getting the red carpet treatment. It’s almost like being in Hollywood. Everywhere else, it’s a little slow. But when you come to Dallas, it’s different."
"So I kind of understood what it would be like before I came here. And it’s great. It’s not a distraction. Actually, it’s telling you that you’re a part of something great. And if you want to be a part of this, you’ve got to be great."
There were some worried faces in camp yesterday when Morris Claiborne started limping a little towards the end of practice, and even sat out for a few drills will Orlando Scandrick took his reps. According to Claiborne, it was just part of shaking off the rust:
"It’s really nothing more than being sore," Claiborne said. "There wasn’t a specific spot. I’m just sore. I’ve got to get my legs back underneath me. I’m not going to make any excuses about anything, or being rusty. I just have to keep working."
Claiborne will participate in today's practice.
Some of the most eagerly awaited matchups in camp were between Brandon Carr and the duo of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Overall, even if he had some difficulty when he had to carry receivers inside, Carr did very well, and said that his first practice went well:
"My first practice felt good," Carr said. "It was good to finally get back out on the field with my teammates. We had some time off to regroup and get ourselves together, now it's time to grind it out and get ourselves together."
"I'm getting some good work in," Carr said. "This core is among the best in the league right now. Everyday you want to compete and they will push you out here. Dez is a tremendous athlete. He has the ability to push you down the field. He's strong and just him learning the game, his third year in, he's still learning the game and that light blub is going to click. But every day we're going to work and get after it."
It appears that Rob Ryan told his defense that 2012 is "put up or shut up time". DeMarcus Ware has apparently taken that to heart, promising a much better defense this year:
"It's: 'Are we going to do it or not?'" Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. "It's: 'Are we going to step up to the plate?'"
"We are going to be a defense to be reckoned with."
Barry Church got first team reps the entire day yesterday, and both the team and the coaches got to see a more vocal and more confident Church:
"I feel like they’re looking for a more confident me," he said, asked what the coaching staff wanted to see out of him in camp. "Just knowing what I’m doing back there and being able to defend the deep half of the field. I feel like if I can do that, I can get myself into the starting lineup."
"Oh yeah, he’s the quarterback back there. He’s the man," Church said [of Gerald Sensabaugh, who sat out the practice]. "Once he returns, I’m going to feed off him and let him run the show. But I’m definitely going to make some calls as well."
And finally, here's Rob Ryan, remarking on Brodney Pool's injury status and setting the tone for the team, certainly for camp and perhaps even for the season:
"I guess his back tightened up really bad," Ryan said. "But we’re not going to make an excuse. We don’t give a (expletive). The next guy up is going."