Jun 12, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones (28) during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Views from the Loon: No excuses for failing

Had there been conditioning tests 30 or 40 years ago, would Bill Bates, Don Meredith, Walt Garrison or Charlie Waters have failed?  Back in the day, the National Football League training camp was more like a combat zone for athletes.  Some teams began training for the regular season, which started in mid-September, in the middle of the summer.  Two months of intense, physical practice on the field, to get into shape and prepare for the regular season.  Practice sessions were held in the heat of the day, under grueling circumstances, and hard core strength conditioning drills.  Many of these players took home $60,000 – $80,000 per year back in the ‘70’s, so a second job was sometimes needed to pay the bills.  The players would come in out of shape and overweight.  So, what are the excuses for Felix Jones, Andre Holmes, and Brodney Pool for failing their conditioning tests on day one of camp?

July 30, 2012; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys players go through some stretching during opening day of training camp. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The former Dallas Cowboys mentioned above would have most likely failed their tests on day one, but as was stated, money was different and they were not expected to train year round.  Training camp for them was the time to get into game shape.  The players today have access to facilities year round and can take advantage of staying active and physically ready.  There’s also the big known fact that they make a great deal more in salary than did their predecessors.  The lowest paid Cowboy makes $465,000 per year.   What’s your excuse Jones, Holmes, and Pool?

Training camp today is more like a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel.  Sure the Cowboys put in some practice time, but much of it is without pads and for a couple of hours per day.  They watch film, discuss playbooks with their coaching staff, work out in the weight room, and sign autographs for the fans who show up.  In the days of Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi, the players spent more time on the field and in the weight room than fraternizing with the fans.  It’s obvious that there are different expectations today, but there is absolutely no excuse for not being prepared on day one.

Jones is the back up to DeMarco Murray.  Has he conceded the running back position without a fight?  Nearly every position going into a new season is up for grabs; especially when you have solid athletes vying for the coveted spot.  Pool is listed as one of several to watch at safety.  He’s young, healthy, and strong, so what gives?  Holmes could potentially step in at that question mark #3 wide receiver slot.  If you know you have some fierce competition at your position, why do you not prepare?  These are serious questions that we need answered.  The punishment is no practice, basically.  Now is that really a punishment?  They get free room and board at the Four Seasons, a per diem each day, and who knows what other perks.  If the coaches would come down on these guys a bit harsher, we wouldn’t be seeing such lackadaisical attitudes.

I would venture to guess that Bates, Meredith, Garrison, and Waters would have passed their conditioning tests had there been one.  Those guys were committed and loyal where players today show little of that same mentality.  Sure they love to play football, most have played all their lives.  It still leaves a bit of a bad impression that three seemingly young, capable, very-well-paid Cowboys were not prepared to run two sets of 10, 60-yard sprints…in less than 8 seconds.   Head Coach Jason Garrett was annoyed and sent them to remedial training until they could pass the test again.  Lucky for them, they passed and have been cleared to start practice on Friday.  Inexcusable.

I’m very disappointed with myself for getting here and not being ready, I’ve learned my lesson with that. Now I’ve got to just get out there and catch up. I’m behind but I just have to keep working and hopefully get back in the mix. —  Andre Holmes


These players are paid very, very well to do a job.  There’s zero excuse for not being ready.



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Tags: 2012 Training Camp Andre Holmes Brodney Pool Conditioning Test Dallas Cowboys Felix Jones

  • californy

    Part of the problem is there no accountability anymore. These player a soft and pamper. There very few NFL tough guys anymore. Witten is one of those few guys that I know of, he will play through broken ribs and not complain about it. I would like to say Romo one of those but i dont buy the report he had a puncture lung. I would assume he would be hospitalize and not play in next week game. Emmitt is another of those tough guys. It no conincidence these are my favorite Cowboy players.
    There plenty of finger to go around to see who is at fault. Is it the player union, or is it managment fault. Mosr people today work harder and are getting paid the same, they are more productive as a result. The NFL is not one of those places that follow this pattern. There only a handful of players who train and practise hard. TO was one of those people who out train everyone, and the fans and this team turn on him for his choice words on not being productive. When you hear what he was saying, he was speaking the truth. Some people just dont want to hear the truth. With me on this site I dont surgar coat thing you will hear what i have to say and i dont hold anything back either.
    The Parnell Contract, he was given a extention to be this team swing tackle with a million dollar signing bonus. What up with that, he pretty much given a free pass and doesnt have to compete for a job. He just about guarantee a roster spot, without having to compete for it. Then you look at the fact, he has never even started a College game or NFL game as a tackle. There is no accountability in his contract, he doesnt have to earn his spot. Claiborne is in the same situation, he is pretty much given a staring spot without having to compete for him. Jenkins is not allow to compete with him for a staring spot at CB. Then you have Costa, there are many more qualify center out there, even Scout Broaddas try to bring that to Stephen Jones Attention, but the team decided to go with players who have no experience in playing the spot with Arkin and Harland Gunn. Costa is pretty much given a spot without having real competition.
    You are going to see more player making this roster for the mere fact they are drafted rather than being signed as FA. Hanna is a lousy blocker and really doesnt have the hands to be a back up TE. But the boys release one of the better TE in George Bryann who was one of college best blocker and he also had double the stats that hanna had in college in receiving yards. Hanna is pretty much given a free ride. My guess is Wilber will be beaten out at LB by Hamilton, but Wilber will make the 45 man squad and not Hamilton base on the fact he was drafted. There is no accountability in this team when player are chosen base on the fact they are drafted vs being FA. All this is to show JJ is good in the draft, when the fact are contrary. JJ had had better luck in the undrafted FA player than he has in the draft. This team has produce and develope many player who were not drafted, here are some examples Romo, Miles, Fiametta, Laurant Robinson. I expect the following player to have a shot of making this squad as undrafted FA, Cole Beasley, Isaac Madison, Adrian hamilton, levy Adcock and Harland Gunn.
    I believe these player try harder because in their life their are no guarantee like they give the drafted players.

    • http://twitter.com/osupride97 Tonni Shook

      Excellent points. I always say that the 5 & 4 star athletes in college don’t always make the best NFL players. Many a first rounder becomes a bust in the big leagues. Give me the undrafted FA’s and/or low draftees anyday. They are hard workers and earn their position. You’d think JJ would know that by now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dboyz62 David Perez

    Jerry Jones is gonna start holding players accountable. Shape up or get shipped out. Follow the rules of society or you won’t be a Dallas Cowboy.

  • californy

    Part of the problem here in Dallas is JJ is too close with some of these players. He rather be their friend than their boss. In many ways this has hurt the team. JJ tend to reward player base on one year preformance and public support, and in the process he over pays them. I believe Spear got one of those contract last year. Spears has been a great supporter of community charities, and he is very active in this communuitry. But this is a business of winning football games and let be honest Spears better day are all in the past. In some twisted way JJ hated to lose Bowen to the rival Redskins so he over compensated Spears in the process. Ratliff is in the same position as Spears. Ratliff no longer fits this system, he is no longer a Probowl player despite being elected every year. This year he will earn his salary, by resting more and practising less. This cant be a good thing at all, how is this contract a example to his other team mates about their hard work and practises. In reality Ratliff should have the surgury he needed and call it a year.
    Then you have the Scandrick Contract. This one makes less sence than all the other. Scandrick isnt even the starter. But he made 4 times what Jenkins made last year. Why would JJ pay a back up player starter money. Then this year when he was told he is needed at safety he refuse to play there. I see a possiible starting spot for Scandrick, I dont know what he is seing because his behavior is one of selfishness. Yeah Accountability starts at the top, when you lack it you have no sense where the state of this team is at any point in time. If you go back 15 years you can see this team being a middle of a road team. You may not like it but that where they really belong. Anything beside middle of the road is just wishful thinking.

  • merchantofchaos

    Keep telling it like it is, Tonni. The way I look at it is this: NFL careers are notoriously short-lived, right? Wouldn’t it behoove players to get in and stay in shape for what is a very short time to prolong their career and make as much major money for as long as they can?

    • http://twitter.com/osupride97 Tonni Shook

      You would think so. Loyalty means nothing any more. It’s all about showing’ me the money!