Whether it is unbridled enthusiasm or just plain silliness, the Dallas Cowboys training camp always represents the best and worst of times.
If football is happening, but we as fans cannot see it, do we still get to comment on it? 2020 is a new experience for all of us fans of the game who desperately hope there is a full season this year. Training camp for the Dallas Cowboys, however, remains similar no matter the obstacles.
The next thirty days or so will represent both the best and worst of times for followers of this team. Training camp represents enthusiasm, hope, and the first real taste of the game that leaves us every February.
It also represents hyperbole and absurd overreaction. Training camp is truly the best and worst of times.
On the one hand, we get football again. It is the first time we get to see the new toys that free agency and the draft have produced. This year, specifically, there is also the presence of a new coaching staff. Excitement knows no bounds.
There is also the fact that with the fact that the Dallas Cowboys are truly loaded with talent and full of expectation. Couple that with any possibility of much-needed good news that we all could use and this camp should be like any other.
Part of the unprecedented nature of this is camp is that we as fans will have to rely almost solely on reports from camp. Our own eyes will not be able to tell much of the story. This, of course, will not stop the unnecessary emotional rollercoaster camp brings.
What am I referencing specifically? Oh, I think you know…
Maybe in some other camp. With the Dallas Cowboys, however, you can almost feel the wave of ridiculousness that one simple, insignificant play can produce.
“Why is Dak throwing an interception?” “See, I told you the Cowboys shouldn’t sign him to a long-term deal!” “Why hasn’t Wilson played more!?!” “Donovan Wilson could be the next Ed Reed!!”
Did I see any of these actual statements on social media? Thankfully, no, but that doesn’t mean a few people didn’t put them out in the ethos. Maybe this is a thing with other teams, but I feel confident in saying that no other team provides more opportunity for overreaction than the Dallas Cowboys.
The list of training camp and preseason darlings that fans have went to the table for is equal to that which is depicted for Santa Claus to review wishes during Christmastime. You don’t have to look too far in the past for examples of what I’m talking about.
Just last year, running back Ezekiel Elliott was holding out for a new contract. It just so happened to coincide with the drafting of rookie running back Tony Pollard. In Pollard’s first (preseason) game, he carried the ball five times for 42 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown.
This sparked owner Jerry Jones to very much tongue-in-cheek utter the words “Zeke who?” in the postgame press conference. The following week, Pollard produced another pleasant outing in a 34-0 (preseason) victory over Houston. Suddenly, fans lost their minds.
Pleas to end negotiations with Elliott came often. Armchair salary cap professionals were already thinking of the savings that could be used elsewhere. Never mind that Elliott won two rushing titles in his three years in Dallas. Forget the (then) nineteen times Zeke rushed for more than 100 yards in an actual game. The Tony Pollard Era was in full effect.
This is not intended to throw shade at Pollard. Not only is he a nice player, but he will also be quite helpful in 2020 to this team. It is just one example of how these times are in the world of the Dallas Cowboys.
We would all be best served to focus our energy and excitement that we have football. We should be hopeful that the coaching staff and talented, deep roster will take this team far into January and February. As for guys who make a few nice plays in camp or stars that have off days, let’s just breathe and, as one former coach used to say, put down the anointing oil.