No more mining of obscure statistics and struggling to come up with something interesting to write. Training camp is here as the Dallas Cowboys get things under way in Oxnard.
A major topic today was what came out of the opening press conference with Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett.
Less Talk, More Walk - N. Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
The Cowboys are not saying much this year, and that even includes Jones, as the focus seems to be entirely on what they put on the field. And Garrett is nothing if not consistent when he speaks.
"The only thing I have to say is it's a real privilege to be here. It's a hard room to get into," Garrett said. "We have 90 guys on our football team. We have 20 or so coaches, we have staff members. It's an honor and a privilege to be in the National Football League. It's an honor and privilege to play and coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Day one of training camp is a great day. It's a new beginning for really everybody, the 2013 version of the Dallas Cowboys is different from any collection we've had or ever will have. We're excited about the opportunity in front of us."
Jerry Jones Doesn't See Season As Make Or Break For Garrett - R. Kavner, DallasCowboys.com
Dallas' owner and general manager is still trying to quell the talk about Jason Garrett being on the hot seat this year. And uses some rather clear and direct language for him.
Garrett's remained a constant through all the uncomfortable changes Jones promised in the offseason. When asked if it's fair to say this is a "win or else" season for Garrett, Jones didn't hesitate with his quick response.
"I wouldn't use the word fair," Jones said. "It's a mistake. That's not right."
Jones keeps trying to explain that he is taking a long term approach to the coaching situation. And we can expect very few in the media will listen.
Garrett, Jones eager to see what's next from Dez Bryant - C. Mendez, Star-Telegram
There is no doubt that Dez Bryant is seen as an emerging star for the Cowboys. There seems to be a new article about him every day, and all discuss the high expectations for him after the breakout performance he had in the second half of 2012. The head coach and owner put forth their opinions, and they are on board with everyone else: Bryant has grown up and the NFL better be ready for him.
Garrett ready to hand over playcalling - C. Williams, Star-Telegram
I think we just had the announcement Garrett planned to make all along, when he planned to make it, before the reporters got Jones to spill the beans early. Now we can hope (although it is probably a futile one) that the topic will be how well it works, not who made the decision.
Cowboys to monitor Tony Romo's throws - T. Archer, ESPN Dallas
After Romo missed all the OTA and minicamp work recovering from surgery to remove a cyst on his back, the team is going to take care to make sure he doesn't overextend himself. But don't call it a "pitch count".
"It's more communication: ‘How ya feeling?' and you also look at the ball," Garrett said. "Does the ball look a little dead or tired? But mostly, it's communication with him and how he's feeling. We'll all get a sense of that, and we'll communicate about that each and every day and come up with our plan."
So don't they have enough balls to rest one when it gets tired?
Garrett: Cowboys need to run the ball better and more - R. Sabin, DMN
It is still a chicken and egg kind of argument, but there is no doubt that a more productive running game will go hand in hand with a better season. Whether it is a cause or a result of winning will no doubt still be up for discussion. The head coach seems to lean toward the former.
"When you run the ball well, so many things open up for you," Garrett said. "It's amazing how when you run the ball well, the opportunities to throw the ball well present themselves and the opportunities to play better defense present themselves."
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur did not participate in the conditioning test Saturday, because of a calf injury. Offensive guards Nate Livings (foot) and Ron Leary (calf) also are out for the beginning of camp.
Welp. That is going to make the anticipated competition between Nate Livings and Ronald Leary a bit dicey.
Cowboys want to look at Travis Frederick at guard - C. Mendez, Star-Telegram
The first round draft pick will start at center, but all that talk about moving him over is apparently not idle speculation.
"We anticipate him spending most of his time at center, which is what he did all throughout the OTAs and mini-camp practices, but we do think there are some opportunities to see him a little bit at guard," Garrett said.
Those last three items were given a bit of analysis about the impact this might have on decisions the team needs to make about the offensive line.
For an offensive line that shouldered the blame for the inability to run the ball with any consistency, this is clearly not the way this group wanted to start out. There are other positions on the squad where you can work around injuries in camp and still function well but the offensive line is not one of those.
Broaddus goes into a good discussion of why this is really not what the team needs to start things off. The main thing is that the Cowboys need to get the offensive line sorted out as soon as possible, to work on the continuity the starters need. This is especially important for Travis Frederick, who is going to have enough on his plate as a rookie. He does not need to worry about what the guys next to him are going to do. He needs to know how they will respond.
Hopefully, the injuries to Leary and Livings, or at least to one of them, are going to be resolved shortly. The Leary injury is apparently something new.
Jason Garrett said Ron Leary's calf injury happened within the last week.— Brandon George (@dmn_george) July 20, 2013
And Livings also seems to be recovering from something besides the previously known issues.
Told Nate Livings cut his foot not long ago and team wants to make sure it's healed before he's on the field.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 21, 2013
That at least sounds fairly minor.
Next up: The first day of practice. Stay tuned!