It was the first day of minicamp for the Dallas Cowboys, so there are a lot of storylines out of Valley Rancy about the team. (Enjoy that, because things come to a halting screech, or something like that, after Thursday's session at AT&T Stadium.) Here are some of interest:
As was expected since he did not turn up for his physical, backup quarterback, neckbeard grower, and couch potato Kyle Orton failed to show Tuesday.
Orton missed all the voluntary workouts amid reports that he is contemplating retirement. Dallas coach Jason Garrett has said he expected Orton to show up for the mandatory three-day minicamp that started Tuesday.
Owner Jerry Jones is not looking for much to happen on this front.
"Well of course we were aware that he wasn't going to be here and we're just handling all of our business with him the way the agreements call for,'' Jones said. "This is mandatory for him to be here and the consequences have been pre-negotiated when we did our contract.
"We have, the organization has, visited with his representation and so we'll just kind of let it play out from there.''
You may notice the disconnect between Jason Garrett saying he expected Orton to show and the different take Jones had on that. That may be because Garrett really couldn't imagine Orton taking the fines to not show or be that unprofessional, because Garrett was trying to be the nice cop about everything, or just some Jones revisionism.
Dallas has a fairly long history of practicing with California teams, including the Raiders.
The Raiders announced Tuesday that they will practice with Dallas at the Cowboys training camp base in Oxnard, California, on Aug. 12 and 13.
In something that just seems a little unreal for a pro football practice, Tony Romo tried to disguise himself so he could get some more reps. The team is strictly limiting his activities as he recovers from back surgery.
Romo traded jerseys with backup Caleb Hanie and got under center, but Cowboys coach Jason Garrett quickly noticed Hanie's jersey was "a little snug" and told Romo to get back on the side and out of harm's way.
Apparently he tried Brandon Weeden's jersey, too, but it is smaller than Hanie's.
I think the team is just engaging in some wishful thinking here by holding off on putting Sean Lee on IR. But there is no rush.
"We're not counting on [his return in 2014], but we haven't done anything on the roster to preclude that from happening," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
DeMarcus Lawrence is the only draftee who has not signed his contract, but there is no real issue here. Just a bit of a scheduling one.
Lawrence's agent has been out of the country, delaying a deal being finalized, but the Cowboys believe his deal should be completed by the end of the week.
The San Antonio Spurs brought one championship to the Lone Star State, and did so with a style of unselfish team play that is not often seen in the NBA anymore. So of course people like Romo and Garrett would bring them up as an inspiration for the Cowboys.
"It's hard not to appreciate what they've done through these playoffs," Garrett said. "You can't deny brilliance. You can't deny excellence. That's what they are. They're the quintessential team."
OK, I know a lot of people have their criticisms of Garrett, but really. How many NFL coaches can even pronounce "quintessential", much less use it correctly in a sentence? Imagine that coming out of Wade Phillips' mouth.
I'm kinda trusting the headline here, because when I actually read what Jerry said, I am not sure if he thinks the replacement for Sean Lee is in Valley Ranch, a free agent somewhere else, or coming on a spaceship from the planet NFLPA. And I am usually good at Jerryspeak.
I approve this move.
"We're going to have them in practice right now and see how guys respond to them," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We think it's good. It's a good preventative measure. Sometimes guys get rolled up on the offensive and defensive line. It happens away from them, a guy falls on them. It's been a long study through the years, it's been going on for 30-plus years, about the value of knee braces."
The team hasn't decided if the braces will be used in games, and there have been complaints, particularly from the defensive linemen. But protecting the knees seems worth giving up a little mobility in practice. It was also mentioned on Twitter that the receivers were wearing compression pants to help prevent things like the dreaded hamstring pull, and during the Minicamp Live podcast from DallasCowboys.com Tuesday, it looked like the defensive backs and receivers all had them on.
Not the most persuasive argument, although I have made pretty much the same one. Jones goes on to support his contention - still with his typical confusing style.
"We are better right now, and I think better on the field. We're certainly better on paper than we were at the end of the season last year. Not on paper at the beginning of the season last year, but on paper right now relative to how we ended up last year.'
Just don't start talking about the strengths of the team, Jerry.
Fortunately, they asked Romo and not Jerry Jones, who made the original assertion about mountain running. Romo went on to say he probably wouldn't, but also explained one of the many reasons why he is a professional football player and you aren't.
"I think I got started a little earlier this year so I don't probably have to do the mountains as much,'' Romo said. "But I'm sure ...
"I like the aspect of just going away for a few weeks and really pushing it to another level. Just eat sleep and drink football and working out and perfecting your craft, so I enjoy that.''
Yeah, my idea of a good time.
Jones says there is no timetable. He also would not address whether there are any concerns about Bryant's off the field behavior.
Does Jerry believe the 25-year-old has done enough in the previous four seasons on and off the field to warrant a new deal?
"Well, I don't want to get into off the field, at all," Jerry said. "But Dez, from the standpoint of his direct team activities, his preparation, his conditioning, he's in better shape than he's been. He needed to be in better shape as compared to the last several years. He certainly advanced from the standpoint of his route running, his awareness. All of that is a good thing."
I've seen pictures of Dez without a shirt on. If he needs to be in better shape, I may have to quit claiming to be a man at all. Somebody find me some pictures of Montrae Holland at his playing weight, stat, so I can feel better.
Those are some of the highlights. More minicamp to come, and we will be bringing you all the news.