As promised, here is the Q&A with Dave “Grizz” Halprin at bloggingtheboys. Dave spent some time at the Dallas Cowboys training camp and was kind enough to agree to a Q&A about his observations in California. I like the points he makes about Roy Williams. We are so quick to criticize him but we forget his 100-plus tackles. I hope to see a special year for Williams this year.
I’d like to thank Dave for not only doing this, but for his commitment to the Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team.
Q: We have heard a lot of talk about the wide receivers. Other than Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton, who has looked really good in practice? If someone is going to get released, who do you think it is going to be?
A: I thought for a lot of practice Sam Hurd looked the best of the other receivers. He was consistently getting open and catching almost everything thrown his way. He really looked like he was stepping up to the 3rd WR role. Later in camp though, Miles Austin started showing what he could do and opened my eyes just a bit. He still has a little trouble with consistency and catching the ball every time but he was making some plays and coming on strong. I think the preseason is setting up as a battle between those two for the majority of reps behind the starters. Danny Amendola showed some promise, maybe enough to force them to keep six WR’s, it will all depend on his performance in preseason and whether he can make a contribution on special teams. I don’t see any surprise releases from this group, T.O., Crayton, Hurd, Austin and Stanback will make the team and Amendola is the guy on the fence.
Q: Adam Jones. How has he looked? Does he appear rusty after such a long layoff? What position do you think he will end up playing?
A: Jones looks good but I don’t think he looks as good now as he will look six weeks from now. There was a little rust and you could tell in the first week he was just getting used to football again. He didn’t back down from T.O. and was very physical in coverage but T.O. was consistently getting the better of him in the early stages of camp. As TC progressed though, Jones was shaking off the rust and getting his timing back to the point where he was breaking up passes and showing his excellent coverage skills. For a little guy, he’s extremely physical in his coverage but also has the speed to recover. Without a doubt, he’ll at least be the third corner, but it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point he takes over as the starter opposite Terence Newman.
Q: Do you sense in the practices that this team is on a mission?
A: It’s hard to read something like that from the practices. But you do get the feeling that this team understands that it’s loaded with talent and the only thing keeping them from accomplishing everything they want is injuries or their own failings. They keep talking about finishing – finish the play, finish the season, finish on top. That seems to be their mantra for this year. So they weren’t practicing any different than I’ve seen them do over that past few years but watching them it’s obvious we have talent everywhere, it’s just a matter of finishing.
Q: Out of all the players you watched, who made the most impression, whether it is a veteran or a rookie?
A: Bobby Carpenter was a real eye-opener out there. This is my third training camp watching that guy and starting with the 4th or 5th practice this year he was all over the place making plays. I’ve never seen him look so good for such an extended period of time. A real surprise in camp and if he can keep it up during the preseason games he might just force the coaches to find some significant reps for him. Other highlights were Felix Jones, he just moves so well, Sam Hurd as mentioned above, and the defensive line as a whole were looking murderous out there, Tank is a different player so far this year in comparison to what he brought last year.
Q: You met with Peter King of Sports Illustrated. Did he provide any insight on what he thought about the Cowboys?
A: Not really, I only met with him for a few minutes and he was actually more interested in asking me questions about blogging. Things like how do you cover the Cowboys not living in Dallas, how do you make money from doing it, things like that. He was genuinely interested in what I was doing and was a very nice guy to talk to with none of the “I’m a big-time journalist” attitude you might expect from a guy of his accomplishments. Plus, he bought me a coffee, so he was all good in my estimation.
Q: How has Roy Williams looked? Are his days in Dallas numbered?
A: Roy looked liked Roy for the most part. He’s never going to be great in coverage so I didn’t expect to go into camp and see him become Terence Newman. But he was very active out there and appeared to be moving well and very into what he was doing. He had a couple of big plays and I even saw him make good in coverage a few times. But we didn’t get to see him do what he does best and that is hit people and make tackles because Wade just doesn’t allow that in camp. So we’ll have to wait on that. I’ve never thought Roy’s days were necessarily numbered in Dallas, so I don’t think much will change. The Cowboys are satisfied with his 100+ tackles last year (their internal stats) and will limit his liability in coverage by pulling him off the field on obvious passing downs.