By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The Cowboys, who began their preseason with a 16-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in last Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game in Canton, move their split training camp to Oxnard, California, this week after a fortnight in San Antonio. A camp off to a rousing start—thanks to the energy and excellence of receiver Dez Bryant—ground to an emotional halt when the rookie receiver sprained an ankle July 30.
He should be back in time for the September 12 regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins, as should defensive end Marcus Spears after spraining a knee in the next-to-last practice at The Alamodome. Other than those two minor, temporary setbacks, the Cowboys in San Antonio were a stirring success.
Doug Free looked more than capable to take over for the departed Flozell Adams at left tackle. New starting free safety Alan Ball, though a bit undersized, proved to be an instinctive ball-hawk capable of producing more turnovers than big hits. And second-year kicker David Buehler, who entered camp with a job despite having never tried an NFL field goal, made 33 of 38 kicks during Dallas' stay down south and made three of four against the Bengals.
"We're excited, but you can't microwave a season," linebacker Bradie James said. "You've got to go through the process. Get better each day in practice at camp, produce in preseason games and then win some regular-season games and get into the playoffs. Farthest thing from our minds is the Super Bowl right now."
Still, there is this assumption that the synergistic stars have aligned. Super Bowl XLV, remember, is February 6—in Arlington.
"This is our year," adds diehard fan Ramons. "The Cowboys will be the first team to win a Super Bowl in their own stadium. It's our destiny. Tony Romo will be in the Hall of Fame. Dez Bryant will be in the Hall of Fame..."
He continued. I could not.
For now, Cowboys fans, it's Super Bowl-or-bust before the Canton busts.
Please, stop whining long enough to enjoy it.