August 4, 2010; San Antonio, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears (96) during training camp at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

It's Front And Center For The Dallas Cowboys

Nov 20, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) prepares to take the snap from center Phil Costa (67) during the first half against the Washington Redskins at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Did anyone in CowboysNation  really buy into the Arkin/Nagy/Costa movement during last year’s Dallas Cowboy’s Training Camp?  I here the resounding ‘NO’s’ already.  The reasoning out of Valley Ranch made sense though, – the O line, Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, and for a minute, Montrae Holland – before them, Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo – was getting old and often injured, not to mention expensive.  A change would have to be made eventually, lets do it now – .  Logical, right?  The purge continued this year letting Kyle Kosier, Holland and short timer, Derrick Dockery, walk.

Jun 12, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith (77) talks with Doug Free (68) during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Problem was, except for Tyron Smith and to a MUCH lesser degree, Doug Free, the Cowboys had no one ready to replace the old guard (no pun intended).  My concern was that Tony Romo was coming off of season ending injury and we are gonna protect him with…?  Then again, the line we had in place let Romo get injured in the first place.  Tyron is a success story and will anchor the left guard position for years to come.  Doug Free is better than anyone else we have and to me that is not saying much, but this is not about those two, it’s about those others.  The Dallas Cowboys gave us David Arkin (can we start calling him a bust yet? Can you call the 13th pick in the 4th round a bust?), who would be beat out by 7th round pick, Bill Nagy.  I had admittedly high hopes for Nagy for that very reason.  Problem is, Bill Nagy falls apart apparently.  This last injury will end up getting him waived and if he clears waivers (he will) put on injured reserve. Bummer.  So even though the intention was to get younger, this year as well, the Cowboys had to bring back the old guys, Derrick Dockery and almost Montrae Holland as well.

September 18, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) calls an audible behind center Phil Costa (67) against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Dallas defeated San Francisco 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

The bigger disappointment for me  has been Phil Costa.  Costa really needed to sit behind Andre Gurode for at least another year, but because Gurode  wasn’t out playing Costa by much and couldn’t come to a restructured contract agreement,  Phil Costa got the spot.  Again, makes sense when you think of the $5.5 mil that Gurode would cost to keep.  Doesn’t make sense when you are throwing a new Center at Tony Romo.  On a side note, it was almost a circus on offense watching Romo work so hard to show every body where to line up on many plays during the first half of the season only to watch the snap sail over his head anyway.  Come on, think back, how many times could you cue the circus music during games last year.  Or the year before that for that matter, but I digress.

Now we have, like, 17 players injured in Oxnard including Phil Costa and the Cowboys are looking for their Center (pun intended).  The Cowboys were gonna sign former Eagles center, Jamaal Jackson but as I write this, the Cowboys weren’t impressed with his work out.  So now the ‘short list’ includes maybe bringing back Andre Gurode, which I think is a great idea if he passes a workout.  It’s hard to foresee injuries, I get that, but if you have been building a ‘Romo Friendly’ offense, don’t you think this O line stuff would have taken on more of a priority over the last 6 years?  This year, the Cowboys are taking some shots by signing Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ron Leary and Nate Livings.  Bernadeau and Livings are injured and Ron Leary has a degenerative knee problem and his career is a stop gap at best if he makes the team.  Why does it seem like the Dallas Cowboys throw these guys against a wall to see who sticks or just forget about it and then just wish Romo the best of luck?  This line almost got Romo killed last year.

This past off season the Cowboys really had no other option than to concentrate on the defense.  After all, the Dallas Cowboys lost 5 games last year after leading in the 4th quarter.  That means, if we had a defense that could stop anybody, their won loss record could very well have been 12-4.  The story of last year gets re-written at that point, doesn’t it?

Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets offensive line coach Bill Callahan during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

With a big exception being Tyron Smith,  Tony Romo’s protection consolation prize to show him the Cowboys care about his health, the Cowboys are grasping at straws, taking shots in the dark or (place cliche metaphor here).  Now we are trying a youth movement.  They brought in Bill Callahan this year to see if he can coach these rag tag youngsters into something, but they have to stay healthy first.  I’ll be happy if we can just find a Center.  Any body know what Mark Stepnoski is up to these days?

Now that the pre-season has begun, I’m starting my Points and Observations   section back up:

-If you get to go to the Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, CA this year, keep in mind the VIP section is not all that different than being one of the first in line to stand along the fence with the True Blue members.  You get free soda and shade but the players pretty much ignore you there too.  I bet a press pass would get you far though. Lol

-That being said, go if you can.  It is so worth it and a necessary trek if you are a Dallas Cowboys fan.

-Anyone who doubts the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team needs only go  and see all the Romo, Witten and Ware jerseys all over Oxnard and Ventura, CA.  Streets are closed off and the traffic was backed up at least a mile just to park.  This was on a Monday.  How far away is Dallas from L.A.?  It’s no wonder that Los Angeles doesn’t miss a local NFL team, The Dallas Cowboys clearly fill that void.

-Marcus Spears did me and a few others dirty when he walked by to sign autographs.  Spears brought another player along with him so you could get that guys signature too.  That put me and the rest of us if we are honest in an uncomfortable situation because the guy that’s signing along side Spears is a guy who most likely won’t make the team and I really didn’t want his signature.  I think Marcus Spears is a good guy, and he probably figured this other kid signing autographs is having the experience of a lifetime, but it doesn’t change the awkwardness of asking who he is and watching everyone, myself included, hesitate as we hand him our jersey or hat or football.  I’m sure Spears got a kick out of it though.

-A side note to that last observation:  In 2004 at this same Oxnard, CA training site,  I remember distinctly when Tony Romo was happily coming by signing autographs as the 3rd string QB.  The people standing around me were asking, “who was that?” “who is #9, look #9 up in the roster program?” “awe man, he’s nobody!” .  Everyone there  wanted Quincy Carter’s autograph.  Let that sink in.

-I hope we sign Andre Gurode

-Does Miles Austin’s hamstrings bother anyone?  On that note, shouldn’t we have at least given Lauren Robinson an offer.  I don’t think we could have outbid the Jaguars but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that Miles has trouble staying healthy lately.

-This is a pre-season game, but I don’t (appreciate) the Oakland Raiders and wouldn’t mind if we had a statement pre-season win. (Is a ‘statement win’ and ‘pre-season game’ ever used in the same sentence?)

-Finally, a big shout-out to the USA women athletes in the London Olympics.  I read somewhere if the American women were their own country, they would rank 3rd in the medal standings.  Impressive. 

(btw- the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies – lame -)

-Artie Cappello

 

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett Jason Witten Jerry Jones Marcus Spears Phil Costa Quincy Carter Tony Romo Tyron Smith

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