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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: "Expect Big Things From Dez", Defending 12 Personnel, More

The team is in Oxnard, football is in the air and the media machine is kicking back into high gear, so we've got lots of Saturday reading for you to catch up on.


Jason Witten: "Dez Bryant has come full circle." - Audio by DCFanatic, transcript by DMN
At a recent pubic event in Shreveport, La., Jason Witten talked about how Dez Bryant has matured on and off the field:

"Dez should be proud of himself. As I mentioned [earlier], the standard gets raised when you perform at a high level in this league. I think he understands that the bar is going to be set higher for him going into this year. He needs to be one of the best wide receivers in the National Football League. In order to do that, he’s got to do it day-in and day-out. I expect big things from Dez coming into this upcoming season."

Matching Up to 12: How teams matched up defensively against 12 personnel - Football Outsiders
What do you do defensively against 12 personnel? Do you send in your sub packages or do you stay in your base defense? Not an easy question to answer apparently, as precisely half of the league played more sub packages against 12 personnel, while the other half of the league played more base defensive personnel. This and much more from FO.

Greg Cosell on the difficulty of defending 12 personnel -
BTB user Scottmaui transcribed part of a football podcast in which Greg Cosell talks about the difficulty of defending 12 personnel.

Cosell: "I talked to a bunch of defensive coordinators this offseason, and obviously we always talk about the read option, but the other thing I was curious about was the 12 personnel package, one back two tight ends, and almost to a man they all told me that that’s much tougher to defend conceptually than three wide receivers. Now three wide receivers, maybe there’s a mismatch, but the bottom line is conceptually and personnel wise, everybody knows how to defend three wide receivers. But 12 personnel with two tight ends, not everybody knows how to defend that right now. Because it poses a personnel issue, the first thing you have to decide is do you stay base or do you play nickel?"

Romo Reflects On First Training Camp As Rookie 10 Years Ago - N. Eatman,
Nick Eatman offers a nice article in which Romo looks back at his first training camp, his interaction with Parcells and the excitement of competition. Well worth a read.

Some players coud be limited to start training camp - C. Williams, Star-Telegram
As they've done in previous years, the Cowboy will do a conditioning test on Day 1 of training camp, writes Charean Williams, who sees DeMarcus Ware (shoulder), Jay Ratliff (sports hernia), Mackenzy Bernadeau (shoulder) and receiver Danny Coale (knee) as players who might not be fully cleared immediately.

Gannon: Callahan won’t be solely committed to run - T. Orsborn,
Many fans are pinning their hope on Bill Callahan to increase the team’s commitment to the ground game. Not so fast, says QB Rich Gannon, who won NFL MVP in 2002 with the Callahan-coached Raiders:

"Bill wants to establish the running game and have a tough, physical offensive identity," said Gannon. "But you have to remember that with Bill as head coach in 2002, we led the NFL in passing, and that was after we led the NFL in rushing with him as offensive coordinator in 2000. So he has that in his background, the ability to shift gears and take advantage of the personnel."

Adrian Peterson on DeMarco Murray: ‘I know Dallas hasn’t seen the best out of him’ - J. Machota, DMN
Petersen has some encouraging words for those worried about DeMarco Murray:

"He’s a heck of an athlete, heck of a player and a better man off the field," Peterson said. "I KNOW Dallas hasn’t seen the best out of him. The moment he stepped on that campus, I knew if he stayed healthy he was going to be good. That’s the type of mentality he has. You’ve seen that in Dallas. He’s so versatile with what he can do blocking, running the ball, catching the ball. He’s going to be a good player for the Cowboys."

Infographic: All The Info To Know About 2013 Training Camp -
The folks at the mothership put together a nifty graphic with all sorts of factoids about training camp. For example, it appears that the great State of California is experiencing a Gatorade shortage, because the Cowboys are shipping 9,720 twenty oz. bottles and 2,592 twelve oz. bottles of Gatorade the 1,449.5 miles (one way) from Irving to Oxnard. They're also out of sunscreen in California, which is why the Cowboys are packing 65 bottles. As you can see, lots of fun can be had with the graphic.

Broaddus: Five Thoughts Before Departing For Camp -
Broaddus reflects on the O-Line, the D-line, the running backs, the linebackers and the backup QBs.

Is it Super Bowl or bust for the Cowboys? C. Williams, Star-Telegram
Like every year, the Cowboys have high expectations heading into camp, but Garrett kills off any postseason shenanigans with his "process" mantra.

"I think every coach and player in the National Football League is excited about going to training camp," Garrett said. "[The Super Bowl] is the goal for all of us. We’re excited to get there. There’s a lot of work to do, and what we try to do is focus each and every day and get on that path and do things the right way. We feel like we have the right kind of guys on our staff; we feel like we have the right kind of guys on our football team. It’s time to go to work."

But the headline is nice.

Monte Kiffin hopes to bring doomsday back to Big D -
This headline is even nicer. Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention the doomsday defense at all.

NFC's most important players -
Adam Schein identifies the most important player on each NFC team, but you've got to seriously question a list that features the most important players for 16 teams and includes only two quarterbacks. For the Cowboys at least, Schein has Tony Romo as the most important player, but not before neatly packaging almost every conceivable Cowboys cliche into the intro:

The problem is that Tony Romo is set up to fail. The owner is meddlesome. The head coach's seat is scorching hot. (Jason Garrett was stripped of his play-calling duties and seemed to be the last one to know about it.) The offensive line isn't good. The running back can't stay healthy. The defense is overrated, and Dallas hired a coordinator who doesn't fit the personnel. But, somehow, Romo will get blamed.

In reality, Romo gives this band of misfits the best chance to succeed. Without him, the Cowboys would win six games.

Who ya got? Jason Witten vs. Tony Gonzalez -
Sean Tomlinson takes a fantasy look at which of the two elite tight ends has the edge. No spoilers from me on this one.

Story behind football's innovative yellow first down line -
Fun read if you're into things like this, or if you need topics for your next water-cooler talk in the office.

"The large conference room full of ESPN executives was silent as Jerry Gepner and I finished presenting a simulation of a yellow, electronic first down line for football telecasts in May 1998. Finally, the silence was broken.

"Can you really do it?" one said.

We nodded.

Introducing the "Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue" -
Last year, the Cowboys introduced this "two-part entertainment entity consisting of a percussion troop and drum line to provide the rhythm and the dance team providing the spirit of Dallas Cowboys' true blue." You can see the DCRB performing on the plazas as you enter the stadium and on elevated platforms during the game. We at BTB have focused exclusively on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders so far, and to remedy that we bring you the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue by way of the embedded "I Wanna Be A Cowboy" video below.


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