We now have six weeks of trying to dissect every bit of information we have from the Dallas Cowboys' offseason practices. But as their defensive coordinator states so clearly, we don't need to read too much into things.
Rod Marinelli makes his OTA statement every year in various interviews with the media. He makes it every day with the players. "OTA's are for teaching. Camp is for evaluation." That's that. Reporters hammer the coaches with evaluation questions every day. They try and respond honestly but to be frank, they really can't. You see the coaches aren't evaluating. They're teaching.
The lack of any real or new data doesn't stop the analysis, of course. With the top three corner spots basically locked up by Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and Morris Claiborne, the crew at the mothership look at who might win the backup job. David Helman thinks one player did a lot to prove himself at the end of last season.
It's so easy to write off a guy who spends an extensive amount of time on the practice squad - which is exactly how Deji Olatoye started out his stint with the Cowboys. But when Olatoye got promoted to the active roster on Nov. 18 last season, he set about proving his ability. He appeared in five games last year and started in two, notching 13 tackles and a pass deflection. Most memorably, he provided the Dallas defense with one of its few clutch plays of the season when he intercepted Tyrod Taylor in the end zone at the end of the first half against Buffalo.
UDFA Andy Jones was one player that did stand out a bit during the practices, getting a lot of work while Dez Bryant was still rehabbing his foot injury. The odds are still against him, but there may be a way.
The back end of the wide receiver depth chart looks wide open, which is great news for all of the young receivers on the Cowboys' roster. Jones is going to have his work cut out for him, but his size and athletic ability compare favorably to anyone he'll be going up against. What might help Jones even more is if the Cowboys opt to keep six receivers on their 53-man roster.
Dallas largely sat out free agency, with the only really notable signings being Cedric Thornton and Alfred Morris. That was not the case for the rest of the NFC East.
When the Philadelphia Eagles signed Fletcher Cox to a six-year contract extension with $63 million in guaranteed money, it just added to the NFC East arms' race.
New York has guaranteed more than $140 million and Washington has guaranteed $114.7 million.
The Cowboys, in contrast, are somewhere in the bottom half of the league in guarantees handed out this year, with the final figure still undetermined since Maliek Collins still hasn't signed his deal. But currently, they are at about $52 million, or less than half of what the Giants have committed. Whether that is good or bad depends strictly on what the teams get out of their differing investments.
It has been covered already that the Cowboys are using special footballs that whistle when not held correctly to cut down on fumbles. Now it turns out that they are not the only ones.
Cutting down on fumbles is the goal of the ball, developed by Division II Northwood University assistant coach Tom Creguer and used by Washington, the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and several college teams, including Tennessee and Michigan State. The San Diego Chargers plan to start using them at training camp.
Bryan Broaddus, who used to work for the Green Bay Packers, makes an interesting point about one advantage the Cowboys have over some other teams concerning what the players do between minicamp and training camp..
There are guys that will get away from it completely and then there are others that still come in everyday and work out. I had a chance to visit with Sean Lee on Monday. One of the great advantages of this team playing in Dallas is that players want to make their homes here. In Green Bay we didn't have that luxury and it took some time for our players to get going once training camp started - they don't have to worry about that.
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant have stated that they have plans to get together for their own workouts. Romo does not see any problems with Bryant being ready for camp.
"For him, it's just about getting your wind, getting down in and out of your break consistently when you're coming back off an injury, and trusting it," Romo said. "That just takes a little bit of time. I see no effect of him not being the Dez Bryant that everyone knows."
There are sixteen teams in the NFC. Of the ten best offensive players in this list, three of them are Cowboys. And as you may have guessed, they all play on the line.
The strange, sad tale of Joseph Randle seems to have no end in sight.
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle wracked up a new felony charge Tuesday connected to an alleged threat made against a Sedgwick County Jail deputy while Randle was incarcerated on two other pending felony cases, according to court and Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office records.
The deputy was in one of the jail's detention pods shortly after 8 p.m. on May 14 "enforcing the rules" when Randle allegedly "threatened the deputy for doing so," sheriff's spokesman Lt. Lin Dehning said in an e-mail. Specific details of the threat have not been released.
To counter that with something more pleasant, here is a look back at one of the more significant moves ever made by the Cowboys. Craig Morton was the starting quarterback, and had been since Roger Staubach suffered an injury early in the season. But with the Cowboys down 28-13 early in the fourth, Tom Landry made a move that led to one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history.
Entering the 4th quarter, coach Landry decided to make a change, the change, at QB. Enter Captain Comeback.
It took a lot of other heroics, including a successful onside kick and a late interception, but Staubach was the catalyst in forging a stunning 30-28 victory for Dallas.