Three days into training camp and all is mostly well with the Cowboys. Unlike last season, when day one saw defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford tear his Achilles tendon, the Cowboys have been relatively injury free. Aside from guard Ronald Leary missing time due to a hamstring issue, rookie defensive end Ben Gardner hurting his shoulder in Saturday’s session and Brandon Carr missing time as he tends to the serious health concerns regarding his mother, everyone else that was expected to go has been active.
Here are some other early observations from the first three days of practice
THURSDAY / FRIDAY
- The first two days featured not only the team sans pads but also no activity where the offense squared off against the defense. All drills were either individual, positional or the full eleven working against air. This is part of the plan to make sure players are able to ease into things after the time off from the last set of OTA’s.
- Tony Romo did some work Thursday but did not participate Friday. While some may find this a contradiction based on the information provided by coach Jason Garrett prior to camp when he stated Romo would be fully participating, this is the smart move. Nothing is going to be won in the first three days of camp. Romo has an excellent rapport with Jason Witten and Dez Bryant so their timing should be spot on once Romo ramps up his work.
- Romo did however provide the media with something to discuss. At his first press conference of camp, he told all those with a recording device..
“I feel personally like I’ve just started to come into the player that wanted to be six, seven years ago,” he said. “I think and I’ve said it before but I think over the course of the next four or five years, you’ll see the best version of me that I’ve had throughout my career.
If this is true, Cowboys fans and the organization both will be very happy. While this year has brought a new quarterback to get heavily scrutinized by the media (hint: he wears the number two and his home is the new home of LeBron James), Romo is still overly criticized for all the recent ills of this franchise. Four or five years of 65% completion percentage, 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio and 95+ passer rating should give Dallas plenty of time to put together a stellar defense which may finally bring ring number six to the hallowed halls of Valley Ranch
- The other talk from Day One of camp revolved around Dez Bryant and his lack of a new contract. We learned that Bryant contemplated missing camp before thinking better of it and doing his part to show his true leadership skills. When asked about it directly, this is what Bryant had to say:
“Truthfully, to be honest, I put my teammates first. That’s the God-honest truth. Coach Linehan here is new. It’s a new offense. I need to be there, and a lot of these guys look up to me. I couldn’t be selfish. I can’t be selfish. I won’t be selfish. Like I said, that stuff, eventually, I promise it will take care of itself, regardless of what the situation is.”
I am on the record stating that Dez should get paid and my opinion isn’t changing. Everything that Dez is about should be everything you want from your superstar. If Jordy Nelson just got $40 million over four years, Jimmy Graham got the same and Roddy White just banked $30 million on a four-year extension, Dez should not be twisting in the wind. Nelson has less touchdowns than Bryant and has played two more years. He also has never eclipsed Bryant’s bests of 93 receptions or 1,382 yards. White is six years older than Bryant and has had three straight years of decline in receptions and touchdowns. As for Graham, he is pretty much on par with Bryant both number wise and also regarding age. Would anyone balk at a five-year deal worth $50 million with $22 million guaranteed? Get it done and let’s move on…