So the Dallas Cowboys are hosting the New York Giants to open the SNF season on NBC. Dez Bryant is threatening to hold out for a few games to start the season, so he wouldn't be there if he followed through. But . . .
That would be one awkward open for the broadcast if Bryant is making a $755K statement that night. It is at times hard to believe he would really sit out any games. If he is serious, he should have passed on this honor, too. Instead, mix another message.
Tony Romo is the leader of the team and the spark that makes the offense go. Just, you know, don't tell John Clayton.
"He's playing at a high level," Jason Witten said after the final minicamp practice last Thursday. "I don't know that he threw an interception all offseason. You really found kind of since the St. Louis game [Week 3 last season] he got in a really good niche there where he was playing at a high level and made everybody else play that way. He's done the same going into the offseason.
"He's always critiquing, he's always adjusting, evaluating. The biggest reason why we have such high expectations is because of the way he's playing, the way he kind of demands everybody else to play at that level, too."
The failure to get Lance Dunbar more involved in the offense the past couple of years cast some continuing doubts on whether things will change this season. But there is one very plausible reason that he could have a much more prominent role in 2015.
During organized team activities and minicamp, Dunbar has been one of Tony Romo's favorite targets in third down situations. One of Dunbar's best traits is his ability to take advantage of open space. Romo targeted Murray 130 times over the last two seasons. A large chunk of those passes could be headed in Dunbar's direction.
This is one of Archer's "Five Wonders" posts. The remarks he makes about the running back situation are very logical.
But owner and Jerry Jones made an interesting comment at last week's minicamp. To summarize because it was far too long of a quote: any back the Cowboys sign now would be a backup variety because they like what they have. So that fourth runner better be able to play special teams. If he can't then adding a veteran now makes no sense. If the Cowboys aren't as pleased in camp and through the preseason, then that's when they'll look at a veteran. I don't wonder this. This is something I know: when the Cowboys scouts go on the road this summer for the preseason games they will be looking hard at running backs.
This is another take on an interview that was also touched on in the previous news post, but it includes some additional excerpts. One thing about Jason Garrett is that the message is always consistent, as he demonstrated with his comments on whether or not Romo is "great".
"But really, the biggest thing with a guy like Tony, and for everybody on our team, is to not worry about what those definitions or descriptions are. It's just to keep working hard every day and try to get better at your craft for your football team. I think Tony's certainly done that. He's made a career out of that. We're lucky to have him as our quarterback."
Speaking of Romo, he is the quarterback for this team composed solely of two-star or lower rated high school prospects who have gone on to have good careers in the NFL. He was unrated, which just adds to the list of hurdles he has overcome.
You know Romo was an undrafted free agent. But did you know he was also a highly regarded golfer and basketball player in high school? He also won the 2002 Walter Payton Award, often known as the FCS Heisman.
The article also includes former Cowboy DeMarcus Ware.
This ain't Cabo during the playoffs, folks. But I wonder if some will treat it the same. Does John Clayton know about this?
It says something good about the Cowboys that all four of the contributing writers pick a different name - and all make very good sense, like Nick Eatman's nominee.
So I'm going to go with Tyrone Crawford, because I think he's ready to take his game to the next level. For him to do that, it'll be close to a Pro Bowl level. And that's how good I think he can be. Crawford is the perfect fit for this defense and if he can rack up some sacks this year, I think he'll get enough attention to make a serious Pro Bowl push.
Outside of Nick Hayden, it is hard to find two other players for the Cowboys who have received more criticism from the fans than Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. That may be part of the reason why the two stick together, including during a football camp for young players benefiting the Carr Cares Foundation. And it is a reminder that what happens on the football field is hardly a full measure of a player's worth.
In addition to teaching the kids ages seven through 18 the finer points of football, the cornerback tandem worked the camp and emphasized how important it is to channel the competitive spirit found in athletics into worthwhile off-field endeavors, especially the classroom.
"The same teamwork, the same competitive nature that you have out here on this field, take it to the classroom," Carr said. "Hopefully, we can help these guys excel to the next level." Claiborne said it is necessary for kids to have role models, but it is significant to still "be who you are," as Coach Jason Garrett frequently reiterates.
Maybe George Farmer is a late bloomer, if that can be said at this early stage.
Farmer received a large signing bonus for an undrafted player ($15,000), so clearly the Cowboys saw the natural ability that made him a blue chip high school prospect. But he'll have to separate himself as a pass-catcher and special teams contributor with kick return experience. He began to stand out in minicamp, catching four passes from Brandon Weeden in a single series.
One direct competitor for Farmer is Lucky Whitehead, who at 5'10" and 163 lbs is one of only nine NFL players under 170. And that is right now, with the 90 man rosters. If he is to make the team, he will likely have to follow a very specific blueprint.
Most players of this size will not make it to year three in the NFL before teams move on. Its not all bad however. Outside of Tampa Bay kicker Patrick Murray, who is 165 lbs., slight players have a theme.
They return punts and play the slot. Defense or offense, these players only get an advantage where lightening fast reaction speed is paramount.
The New York Giants see Odell Beckham Jr. as their next superstar. Although it is still very early, his rookie year did show great promise. In a roundtable, ESPN beat writers from the other NFC East teams offered their thoughts on what adjustments would be made to stop him. Here is what Todd Archer had to offer on Dallas' behalf.
The closest move I think the Cowboys made to Beckham-proof their defense was drafting Byron Jones. He's athletically gifted, as evidenced by his 12-foot-3 broad jump at the combine, and he has good size and speed to stick with Beckham. But back to my question: I don't see the Cowboys doing anything truly special scheme-wise to take out Beckham. It's not what Rod Marinelli does. They will double him and try to mix up their looks, but I don't see them doing anything out of the ordinary, mostly because that is not Marinelli's style.
Former BTB writer Joey Ickes is still dishing out the X and O goodness in his new gig. For those who want to increase their knowledge base, this is some fine stuff.