As you probably heard, the NFL went full no fun league in shutting down the National Fantasy Football Convention Tony Romo had scheduled for Las Vegas. Romo has developed a reputation for being low key about his comments to the press, but this time, the Dallas Cowboys star quarterback is not happy, and was openly critical of how the league handled the situation.
"It's just a very frustrating process that went down, when all they had to do was literally call me or actual event organizers at the NFFC, and that never took shape," Romo said. "Instead, it was about almost scaring the people attending the event. That just seems silly to me. We could have been far more mature about this. That makes you think it was just about money, and that's disappointing.
The league's approach to the situation certainly supports the contention that they were unhappy about not having a piece of the action, since they seemed much more interested in dissuading NFL players and others from attending than correcting the supposed infraction of the rules. Romo was not afraid to call the league out for hypocrisy.
Romo called the league's letter a "scare tactic" and said the league could have acted sooner to express misgivings about the location of the event, but that they never reached out to him or the organizers about that problem. Romo also suggested that the league and teams only have a problem with associations with gambling when they aren't getting a cut of the proceeds, as they will with a recently announced sponsorship agreement between MGM Grand and the Lions.
While the league managed some huffy and legalistic rejoinders to Romo's criticisms, the initial response was an ill-considered tweet. It was quickly taken down, but it was too late.
Troll tweet that was quickly deleted pic.twitter.com/4HeDqhgNjT— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 9, 2015
It may be more an attempt to save face than anything, but the NFL is suddenly putting other NFL activities connected to gambling venues under scrutiny.
The Fantasy Sports Combine is scheduled for July 17 at the Wynn Las Vegas, and current players Brandon Marshall, Shane Vereen, Von Miller and Michael Floyd are billed as making appearances at the event.
The Strikes for Kids charity bowling event is July 12 at The Palazzo on July 12. Sammy Watkins, Alshon Jeffery, Aqib Talib and Terrance Knighton are scheduled to attend.
As of now, those events are scheduled to go on as planned, but an NFL spokesperson said the league is looking into them.
Meanwhile, there were also some football things for Romo to talk about.
So who has caught Romo's eye this year during organized team activities?
First-round pick Byron Jones.
"I think the rookie, Jones, has done a real good job," Romo said of the defensive back Monday as he visited with The Hardline on 1310 The Ticket [KTCK-AM]. "I think that he has showed some promise. He's got a skill set that ... he'll be able to grow and continue to get better as a player."
He also mentioned Randy Gregory for the job he has done in the OTAs.
Oh, and there was news involving Cowboys not named Romo.
Bryan Broaddus serves up another set of penetrating observations, including some less noticed things about the offensive line.
If there is an area of this Cowboys offensive line that doesn't get enough credit, it is in their mobility and the way they can play in space as a group. If you really take time to study the five starters, you see their ability to stay on their feet and finish blocks -- whether that is on the second level in the running game or on the edge in the screen packages.
It's a given for guys like Tyron Smith, Doug Free and Zack Martin to be natural in space because of their backgrounds as tackles, but I have noticed in these practices how much of a better job both Travis Frederick and Ronald Leary have been -- especially Leary, who at times might appear like he is lumbering but that's not the case at all. Leary's overall foot quickness and balance have improved to the point where I believe you will see more plays to the edge with the style of backs this team has.
If Fredbeard is correct, Smith is getting close to Larry Allen territory.
According to center Travis Frederick, Smith can bench anywhere from 600 to 700 pounds.
"He does crazy things in the weight room that I wish that I could do and I never will be able to do unfortunately," Frederick said, via the Morning News. "It wouldn't be unusual to see a small car."
There are a group of UDFA wide receivers on the Dallas roster trying to beat the odds and make the team. Cole Beasley has been there, done that, and offers some advice.
"Really it's all about seizing the opportunity," Beasley said. "If you get a chance you've got to take advantage of it. My rookie year I was inactive for a lot of games and when I was active I'd get about four plays a game. I'd get a ball (thrown my way) and if I didn't take advantage of that I'd probably be cut right now."
Many doubted Beasley's NFL future at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, but he's become a safety valve for quarterback Tony Romo out of the slot. Following a career-best four touchdown catches in 2014, Beasley signed a four-year, $13.6 million extension in March.
Now is the time to try out some new things with players, and at least one of these is almost certain to get some work in the regular season.
On the defensive line, the Cowboys are using Jeremy Mincey at defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. He led the Cowboys with six sacks last season, lining up mostly at right defensive end. He played some tackle in 2014, but with the acceleration of DeMarcus Lawrence in his second year and the additions of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory this offseason, Mincey is getting time to work inside.
Finally, nothing wraps up one of these like a little snark directed at the Philadelphia Eagles. In this case it comes from former Eagle Cary Williams, who is now with the Seattle Seahawks. It may be sour grapes, but obviously he is not one of Chip Kelly's biggest fans.
"We was talking about the fact that our conditioning and things like was going to kick in because we worked harder than everybody in the National Football League with the Chip Kelly thing," he said. "We got out there, we got our teeth kicked in. So all that conditioning didn't necessarily work. Preparation wasn't necessarily the greatest neither that week. When you're going up against teams that prepare well, practice well, coach well, it's difficult in games like that. I think towards the end of the year we were exhausted and we got outcoached the majority of the games."