A week to go! Here is a rundown of the itinerary for the Dallas Cowboys bus on its way to Oxnard, just in case you live somewhere along the route. Imagine just how great it must be to work for the mothership and ride the luxury wheels all the way to Oxnard. For pay.
I don't hate Spags. Much.
Now for the rest of the Cowboys news, including some key stories we'll be watching at camp.
Last year there were Romo Wednesdays to protect the quarterback's back. Now, with Dez Bryant having missed all the offseason program during the protracted contract situation, the team may be looking at Dez Days for training camp.
"We've got to get our hands around Dez and he hadn't been in a competitive offseason training [program] and we want to make sure that you just don't throw him right to the wolves," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the opening of the Dallas Cowboys Club at DFW International Airport. "I know he works hard but there is nothing like working with your teammates in a competitive environment. I think it's a little different."
NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino came to Dallas to rehash the Dez non-catch one more time, and he convinced Stephen Jones that it, indeed, was not a catch.
"You know, as it turns out, according to the rule, I think the call was correct," Jones said Tuesday at the grand opening of the Dallas Cowboys Club at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Speaking of the signing, it was indeed very close.
The Cowboys and Dez Bryant's representatives used just about every possible minute to get his five-year contract done in time.
All but about 30 minutes before last Wednesday's 3 p.m. deadline, to be specific.
"It's about as close as it gets," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday from the grand opening of Dallas Cowboys Club at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "But deadlines do amazing things. It causes everybody to really push.
One advantage of having a lot of defensive linemen in camp is that they can work on finding the best fit for players like DeMarcus Lawrence rather than letting need drive the decision.
The Cowboys put their elite pass-rushers on the right in their scheme, but moving Lawrence to the opposite side doesn't mean they're down on him. Cowboys coaches simply believe Lawrence has a better chance to develop into a special player because the left side is a better fit for him.
"He goes either way, but I really like him on the left because he's so explosive out of his stance, so fast," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "You know, sometimes that's a bigger, thicker offensive tackle over there. You might be able to take advantage of him with your speed and quickness."
With Greg Hardy already having his suspension reduced to four games, the pressure is also off rookie Randy Gregory to come in and play as a starter. And that fits in with the plan Rod Marinelli has for him.
Marinelli hasn't wanted to make things too complicated for Gregory.
"Really, it's just getting off the ball," Gregory said. "He really wants me to get off the ball. That's one of the things they want as D linemen. They want you off the ball and turning the corner to get on that tackle as fast as possible, working our hands. Really just get us one good move, one counter move and working levels coming back underneath."
There will always be a concern about Sean Lee staying healthy, given his history, but if he can, this could be a huge year for him.
He will be making a position switch, moving from middle linebacker to the weak-side. In Rod Marinelli's scheme, the weak-side linebacker is given the opportunity to make the most plays. He is protected by the defensive line, allowed to roam free.
Having a healthy Lee and an improved pass rush should improve the Cowboys' defense immensely from their No. 19 overall finish in 2014.
Along with Chaz Green, the team is considering putting Rolando McClain on PUP to start camp. He could still be on the roster for the opening game.
By placing any player on PUP, the Cowboys essentially buy time, if not a roster spot. In order to come off the list a player would need to pass a physical -- and possibly a conditioning test. In the past, coach Jason Garrett has shown some leniency in the conditioning run to players coming off injury.
However, McClain's history does give rise to questions about just how long this might go on. It is something to watch very closely.
How the team resolves the rotation at running back will be a burning question in Oxnard. If the current group of players does not meet needs, then the team could always go on the open market for help - if they could find one.
If the Cowboys are not 100 percent pleased with what they see in the preseason games from their current crop of runners, they will look at other teams that might have runners stockpiled. Veterans such as Ray Rice, Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene haven't enticed them much at all and are declining players. Adding any of them would be akin to adding Eddie George in 2004 and that didn't work out.
Just throwing this in as one more attempt to destroy that zombie for good.
Efe Obada is the very definition of a long shot, but camp is when dreams are alive and who knows what could happen?
Given his inexperience, Obada might be the story of camp if he breaks out during the preseason and makes the 53-man roster. The Cowboys actually tried him at tight end for a day during OTAs. Obada has tremendous athleticism, though. He just needs time to develop, which the team has given him, signing him to a three-year contract. The practice squad seems like an ideal spot for him to develop and learn but with his athleticism, maybe he's got a shot to stick around sooner than expected.
Given the way the NFL got all in a huff at someone else daring to make a profit off of pro football, I hope they get their money - and maybe even more. Tony Romo is obviously financially secure, but it is not just about the money.
You can read the entirety of the suit below — a well-crafted narrative penned by Dallas attorney Julie Pettit. But long story short: The Fan Expo, consisting of Romo and "a Dallas entrepreneur and a team of fantasy football experts," per the lawsuit, wants more than $1,000,000 from the league after it canceled the three-day National Fantasy Football Convention scheduled to take place in July at a convention center attached to the Venetian in Vegas. Pettit confirms to The Dallas Morning News this afternoon that Romo is "part-owner" in The Fan Expo.
This includes several names you would likely think of on your own - and one, Doug Free, you probably wouldn't.
Free, 31, missed both playoff games and the final two regular season games because of foot and ankle injuries. He had surgery to repair the problem, preventing him from participating in offseason workouts. The Cowboys offensive line was at its best last year when Free was healthy. Jermey Parnell, who is now in Jacksonville, did a nice job filling in. If Free is limited during camp, who will play right tackle with the ones? It could be Darrion Weems, who the Cowboys re-signed in February.
Despite a perception that Romo is still undependable late in games (more on that in a post that should be up later), we know that he is actually someone who the team can depend on to pull games out. This looks at five of the best, and one of them was the last victory where he led the team. And you might have forgotten just how shaky things looked for the team before he got things on track.
Despite all the reasons to get off to a fast start, the Cowboys offense struggled through the first half, scoring their first points with 1:37 left in the second quarter. With 8:41 remaining in the third Detroit's Matt Prater hit a 37 yard field goal to put the Lions up 20-7. Those would be the last points Detroit would score.
Romo then lead the team on three scoring drives, culminating in a dramatic third & goal touchdown strike to Terrance Williams with 2:32 left on the clock. The defense would eventually take the ball back from Detroit on a DeMarcus Lawrence strip-sack and fumble recovery, allowing Romo to end the game in victory formation.
This is just for fun, since it is hilarious.