There are a multitude of stories going on at Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard. OCC and rabblerousr have been doing an outstanding job of reporting things, but both of them have noted that they do not have the best vantage points. The practices are taking place on two different fields, and much of the activity is just a bit too far away. So, to provide a little supplemental coverage, here is a summary of what some of the other writers are saying about things as the Cowboys head into their second off day of camp.
First off, it looks like the day off is needed. Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News noted how tired everyone looked.
The Cowboys still have 16 players out with injuries, and they need a day off. Their performance during Tuesday's practice showed that.
Todd Archer at ESPN Dallas noted the same thing, and that Tony Romo and Kyle Orton had their throws cut back. He also saw some tempers starting to fray, which is to be expected as they start getting tired of beating on one another.
Things got a little feisty during the session. Veteran DE Kenyon Coleman did not like something about a block from rookie TE James Hanna and shoved him in the back. Rookie TE Andrew Szczerba attempted to come to Hanna's defense with a shove back. Later, Szczerba got into a mini-scrum with DE Tyrone Crawford. Sean Lee gave C Phil Costa a shove. NT Josh Brent expressed extreme displeasure with LB Caleb McSurdy for not making the calls loud enough.
The first pre-season game against Oakland, on Monday night, probably can't come soon enough for the team.
More things from the guys who get paid to do this stuff after the jump.
A big concern that has run throughout camp is the lack of depth at center. At one point, the situation with the players currently being used as backups got so bad that starter Phil Costa had to go in with the third team so Stephen McGee could at least get the ball cleanly. The players being used to fill in, David Arkin and Harland Gunn, both are inexperienced, and some of the bad snaps may not have been their fault.
Be interested to hear why the Arkin snaps are hitting the ground. Always been told that if ball goes straight down, QB fault, happen 2x— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) August 7, 2012
As rabble and others noticed, all the bad snaps happened when Kyle Orton was under center, so maybe that had something to do with things. But the question still remains as to what the team is going to do for a reliable backup. As Calvin Watkins reported at ESPN Dallas, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski, a couple of the projected possibilities there, are now pretty much off the table.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said he doesn't believe either player will return this training camp and their long-term statuses are in question. "I will say, I am concerned about those two," Jones said. "I don't think they'll be available to start the year more than likely."
However, Jones also does not feel that it is a particularly big issue, as Jimmy Burch reported in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.
In terms of the center issues, Jones said he reserves the right to bring in a veteran center at a later date. But he believes the snapping problem will disappear once Mackenzy Bernadeau, who returned to practice today after overcoming hip and knee ailments, is up to speed. The Cowboys list Bernadeau as their starting right guard but he has played center in pre-season games the past four years with Carolina.
All is not gloom and doom. In most of the practice summaries, Cole Beasley's name keeps cropping up in a very good way. He seems to be doing even better since his temporary absence from camp. Back to Stephen Jones, in another piece at the Star-Telegram by Burch.
"I think he's actually playing better now than he did the first couple of days of camp," said Stephen Jones, the Cowboys' director of player personnel. "Obviously, there were some things he needed to get straightened out in his mind. And it looks like he's gotten that done."
Dan Graziano, in his ESPN NFC East blog, admits that one of the draftees may make him eat a word or two.
I was critical of the Cowboys' draft in general, and my feelings on third-round pick Tyrone Crawford were that they'd picked a guy who couldn't help them this year -- a project defensive end for a 3-4 defense when they'd already traded their second-round pick and still had 2012 needs to address. But watching Crawford practice -- watching him in drills against the likes of Tyron Smith -- it's easy to see how the Cowboys could indeed find a role for him this year as a situational pass-rusher in nickel or dime packages . . . So keep an eye out for how they deploy him on third downs. Could be that I was (hope you're sitting down!) wrong about that one.
ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon has his idea about the best show at camp: Dez Bryant vs. Brandon Carr.
The Bryant-Carr battles are about as fun as training camp practices can get.
Bryant seemed to have the upper hand Tuesday, using his big frame to subtly push off to get great separation on several routes. (Think Michael Irvin.) Carr got the best of Bryant a few times, too, most notably blanketing Bryant and breaking up the pass on a deep corner route.
Some good things come out in funny ways. Carlos Mendez of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram caught up with Sean Lissemore, who was not happy about getting pushed back in the goal-line drill. He felt he didn't perform up to his own expectations. What caught my eye was his answer when asked who got the push.
"Two guys. Maybe two guys behind them, too."
He wasn't smiling.
"It's a tough job, but it's got to be done."
Oh, can we have some more of that attitude, please?
With all the injuries going around, it is interesting to note what DeMarcus Ware told Brandon George at the Dallas Morning News he was doing to try to head off the neck stinger problems he has had in recent seasons.
Ware might have found a solution for his come-and-go neck problem: yoga. He said that the Cowboys brought in yoga instructors during the off-season.
"That helped out a lot," Ware said, "keeping guys flexible."
With a lot of things going on, it is hard to figure out what the biggest story is. I guess there are varying opinions on that, but I do like the possible answer Todd Archer at ESPN Dallas came up with.
If there is one thing that is indisputable through the Dallas Cowboys' first eight practices in California, it is that this is Jason Garrett's training camp.
The Cowboys head coach is everywhere.
Garrett's camp. Garrett's team. Garrett's way. Maybe it's just me, but I like the sound of that.