If you know nil about sports, you’re watching the Olympics. If you really like sports, you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan. Welcome to the 2012 Dallas Cowboys season, my fellow Cowboys fans, a season that already in its training camp prelude has been fraught with joyful anticipation and portending hardship. Each parcel of encouragement has been accompanied with messages of dread. A better test than the true to time “glass half full or half empty” trick to spot an optimist or a pessimist would be to ask them their opinion after four days of Cowboys training camp. If you want to be a Diogenes fan who thinks the franchise can do no good, you have your evidence. If you want to be a Pollyanna who believes things keep getting better like in that old song The Beatles sang, then you have your items for proof. As a realist who takes all the news, Dallas Cowboys 2012 training camp has been both great and terrible.
Let’s start with the good news.
Show Me the Carr Facts – Indications out of training camp are that our free agent cornerback for whom Jerry Jones “paid retail” will live up to expectations. He picked off one of Romo’s passes on Day Three and has played aggressive press coverage against two very physical receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. His work ethic has been exemplary and he’s given us the assurance that we’ll have at least one side of the field under the control.
Teri Hatcher and Cindy Crawford – Oh, I’m sorry. I got my notes for my article on “Hot Women in the 1990’s” mixed up with my notes on the two defensive linemen that have been consistent and disruptive in training camp. It’s nice to see Jason Hatcher maintain the progress he made in 2011 and pick up where Stephen Bowen left off. Similarly, it’s nice to hear Tyrone Crawford shattering the dreams of third and fourth string offensive linemen by stuffing the run and harassing the quarterback like a termagant on her husband of twenty years.
Going To Church On Sundays – This has largely been due to Brodney Pool failing his conditioning tests, but even after Pool joined the team did Church retain his first team reps. Jason Garrett even spoke highly of #42 in yesterday’s press conference saying Church was the type of guy who exceeded expectations. Of course, when you’re a 2010 undrafted free agent out of the University of Toledo, the height of the coaches’ expectations for you is comparable to Herve Villechaize. Nonetheless, it appears that we can expect a solid contributor for the money at free safety unlike what we’ve had in previous seasons.
Now, let’s get to what’s worrisome.
Mackenzy Bernad’oh – “What did he do?” you ask. “He hasn’t even been practiced yet!” That’s true, but his injury was the harbinger to the injuries sustained in our dubious interior offensive linemen corps. Since Bernadeau went down, we’ve had Kevin Kowalski, Nate Livings, and Bill Nagy injured. Now, we look to Derrick Dockery and Daniel Loper to give us, not only some depth, but someone along the interior line here in training camp.
Third Rail Receiver – The Dallas Morning News stated on August 2nd that Dwayne Harris led the way in the third wide receiver race, which includes candidates like the entitled Kevin Ogletree, the recovering Ray Radway, the out-of-shape Andre Holmes, the hobbled Danny Coale, and now the heartless Cole Beasley. Truly, we’re not going to know what we’ve got until our first preseason game. Even after that point, if no one has emerged as a clear winner and not a winner by default, it’s very possible the Cowboys tap the waiver wires for support.
Morris’ Maladies – During the off-season, it was his wrist. Now in training camp, it’s his knee for which he’s receiving an MRI. I’m not declaring Claiborne a bust or even injury prone, but you never want to see a Cowboy of this caliber with nagging injuries. His training camp experience overall has been a microcosm of the Cowboys’ training camp thus far: filled with hopes and concerns and spackled with injury. It’s unrealistic to say that as Claiborne goes, so goes the Cowboys’ season, but it has been interesting to note the similarities.
It’s a long way to that first preseason game. By that time, the balance will shift to either full-on optimism or inescapable dread. At least the Olympics will be over by then and our facile acquaintances can stop pretending they’re suddenly interested in sports and leave it to the aficionados.