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Dallas Cowboys News and Notes: Quarterback Sneak

All the newsworthy doings on the first day of mandatory mini-camp. Today's news: Romo vies for extra practice time (in a sneaky sort of way); Jerry speaks in Jerryspeak; several youngsters looking good; custom-made braces; Redskins LOLZ

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo attempts to sneak into team drills by wearing Caleb Hanie's jersey - Jon Machota, DMN
Number Nine has been limited all offseason as the coaches have kept him out of team drills. On Tuesday, he tried to circumvent their no-teams injunction by swapping jerseys with Caleb Hanie. How did Jason Garrett realize it was Romo and not Hanie? He noticed Hanie’s jersey was "a little snug." Ouch. But before we panic, read the following...

Tony Romo's Anxiousness grows greater - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
I was struck by Romo's response when asked about his conditioning:

Miles ahead of last year...I don’t think they’re comparable. I think last year I was just starting around this point so this year I’ve had whatever [number of] months to kind of get myself into feeling like I can go. Now it’s going to be more perfecting as opposed to just trying to hammer everything out in four weeks, three weeks.


The best source for Cowboys information remains Jerry Jones - so long as you can parse his inimitable "Jerry Speak" to get to the heart of the matter. The truth is that he cannot keep a secret, especially if sharing a bit of knowledge will make him appear to be an insider to a gaggle of reporters. Here, he tells us more about Orton that Garrett has been letting on:

We’re aware that he wasn’t going to be here...We’re just handling all of our business with him, just the way the agreement’s called for. This is mandatory for him to be here and the consequences have been pre-negotiated when we did our contract.

Unfortunately, the contract didn't include a whiny veteran clause, one that forces Orton to give back all outstanding monies - and to do 200 "I'm sorry" push-ups.

Jerry Jones in waiting game with Kyle Orton - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
All kidding aside, Archer clearly lays out the "consequences" to which Jones referred above:

Orton missed Monday’s physical, which subjects him to a fine of $10,930. By missing Tuesday’s workout he could be fined $11,575. If he misses all three days, then he would be fined $69,455. If he doesn’t show up for training camp, then he would be fined $30,000 for each day he misses. A $75,000 de-escalator has already kicked in Orton's contract for missing the workouts. With the fines and de-escalator, Orton's $3.25 million base salary would be reduced to $3.09 million if he plays.


Escobar feeling stronger after early start in offseason - Rowan Kavner, The Mothership
In the good news department, Gavin Escobar has been on the "Jason Witten" workout. Apparently, he began to work out four days a week with Jeff Heath and Cameron Lawrence, but Jason Witten soon joined the group and led the workouts.

We just did what he did. I thought that was great, just being able to work out with a bunch of the guys.

Um, yeah. Good plan. In addition, he swore off Mickey D's and tried to eat healthier foods. Word around the ranch is that he has transformed his body.

Scout's Eye: Carter looking more comfortable in nickel - Bryan Broaddus, The Mothership
As per usual, The Broad One has some nice observations to share from the open-to-media session, including positive reviews of Terrance Mitchell and Bruce Carter, But the one that caught my eye was this, on UDFA tight end Jordan Najver:

Najvar had a snap during practice where DeVonte Holloman came screaming off the right side while Caleb Hanie was the quarterback and Ben Malena was at running back. In Jason Witten fashion, Najvar read the blitz on his release, ran five yards up the field, curled inside and started clapping for the ball. It was a perfectly executed "Hot" read on his part...

Lest anyone forget, Najvar was one of my draft picks in the FPW Pet Cat draft. So, whenever he does anything well, you're sure to hear about it...!

Terrance Mitchell playing catch-up - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Michell, who attended the rookie minicamp - where he impressed - missed OTAs because his alma mater, Oregon, is on the quarter system. In his absence, all of the other young players have been progressing while he's been home in Sacramento, California, working out with friends. The good news is that the stage doesn't seem to big for him.

With Orton absent, Weeden making most of first-team reps - Nick Eatman, The Mothership
As we know from OTAs, Weeden has been getting a lot of work in Romo's and Orton's absence. Why is this important" We'll let Jason Garret philosophize:

The big thing for guys like that are there are a lot of levels for confidence really in life and in football. And certainly playing that position. You have to keep getting to that next threshold of confidence, understanding what the offense is and how to call plays in the huddle, the command you have within that offense against that defense that you’re playing against and really just getting to the point that you are so confident that you are just cutting it loose and playing.

Dallas Cowboys Jeff Heath: 2013 better than some think, but I'm "way more comfortable" now - Jon Machota, DMN
Although he was every frustrated Cowboys fan's favorite punching bag in 2013, Heath actually had a solid season - it was largely his good play that kept the very promising J.J. Wilcox on the bench. That said, the Cowboys would prefer him to be the "third safety." And he's the deliverer of good news:

I can speak for the safeties because we all feel the same way, we’re all still young. Having the second off-season in this system, it’s really starting to slow down for us. I feel like we’re playing a lot better right now than we did at this time last year.


NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs provide inspiration for Dallas Cowboys - Rainer Sabin, DMN
Jason Garrett often looked to other sports franchises that have developed long-terms programs. This time around, he showed the players footage of the Spurs recent finals play against Miami. A good way to emphasize team, if you ask me...

Cowboys want Josh Brent to focus on rehabilitation before talking about a return to football - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
Unfamiliar with Jerryspeak? Here's a fine example:

The No. 1 thing the league is interested in right now is his rehabilitation. No. 2, the league is in the business of when somebody has rehabbed, when they have paid whatever penalties they are, then the league is in a position to want them to come back and play. So I’m relying on that. But he’s got to show where he is in his rehab process which is continuing and to some degree, another stage is happening right now. He’s got to show that. Plus he’s got to be evaluated through what has happened for him in the last couple of years. He hasn’t played, so he’s paid quite a penalty already by now having played over the last couple of years, just from that perspective.

Read more here:

Ummm. Yeah, what he said.

Second round pick DeMarcus Lawrence will sign soon, getting the entire draft class under contract - Charean Williams, Star-Telegram
Remember the good old days when rookies held out into training camp? Those days are no longer. All of those who love the new CBA say "yeeeeaaah..."

Cowboys requiring linemen to wear knee braces - Charean Williams, Star-Telegram
One of the Cowboys watchphrases this offseason has been injury prevention. Yesterday, in a gesture to the Parcells days (Big Bill insisted that his Big Uglies wear knee braces), all linemen, on both offense and defense, wore team-mandated custom knee braces that are designed to protect the knee's ligaments from lateral impacts. Apparently, the defensive linemen were already voicing their displeasure at the move.


Jason Hatcher to get MRI on knee - Hogs Haven
Jason Hatcher, the Redskins biggest free agent acquisition on defense this year, will not participate in the team's three day mandatory mini-camp due to pain and swelling in his knee. Could it be that he's taken the Cowboys injury bug with him to Washington? If so, it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch (Dan Snyder, you know what they say about karma).

Vernon Davis and Alex Boone might deserve raises, but there's only so much money to spread around - Matt Barrows, Sacramanto Bee
Two 49ers are holding out; both have two years left on their contact, but want more money. The Niners are starting to feel the cap squeeze that young, talented and successful teams do, so they can't be renegotiating contracts that still have two years left on them. Of course, as our own Dawn Macelli pointed out, "Its the Whiners so it will be referred to as maximizing their financial resources. Only Cowboys have to worry about cap hell."

Too true, D-Mac. Too true...


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