2011 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Day 9: My Top 10 Observer-ations
10. To accommodate the veterans who will practice with the team for the first time tonight and to give those fans who get off work later a chance to see their 'Boys, the team has moved its 2:30-5:30 practice this afternoon to 6:30-9:30 tonight at The Alamodome. Players like Doug Free and Abram Elam can't practice until the new collective bargaining agreement is officially ratified, which will happen at some point today (probably around 3).
9. Maybe the most impressive sight of camp is Dez Bryant -- flat-footed, mind you -- throwing a football from the 50 between the uprights. If you didn't know better you'd think you were watching Michael Vick. As in, Bryant is a lefty and effortless. I smell an end-around pass from No. 88 in the playbook.
8. Been praising Dez at this camp, but he's got to tie up these loose ends. The Colleyville jeweler suing the receiver in a claim that Bryant owes him $600,000 is now saying that court documents in the case include forged signatures. My guess is that advisor David Wells signed the papers for Dez, but that doesn't make it right. Also curious in San Antonio that Bryant is crediting his new-found maturity (hey, he admits it's no longer all the media's fault!) to long-time best friend from Lufkin, Carl, and not Wells. I'm told that Dez also hasn't yet re-paid the approximate $7,000 to the liaison of a New Jersey card show he stood up, but that he intends to re-play all his debts once he receives his $1 million roster bonus. That could come at 3 p.m. today when the NFL's year officially begins. Fingers crossed.
7. Make no mistake, Jason Garrett gave an earful to Rob Ryan for making unwanted, unwarranted headlines. I also know that, so far anyway, the head coach is unwilling to allow his defensive coordinator to do a weekly radio show out of fear of having to put out media fires. Garrett knew what he was getting when he hired Ryan, and Ryan knows how the media will turn his molehills into mountains. After Wednesday's practice Ryan blew off the media that wanted him to expound on his "we'll beat their ass" comments. The cat and mouse game begins.
6. Thumbs up to Biga on the Banks restaurant in downtown. May I suggest the habanero scallops as an appetizer, followed by a main course of Red Fish?
5. Behind the scenes on the Cowboys' almost of Asomugha.
4. Secondary coach Dave Campo on his group's performance in 2010, which included surrendering a league-high 33 passing touchdowns: "We had a bad year, no way around that. But we were top five the year before. So it's not like my guys can't play at a high level."
3. As expected, the Cowboys signed safety Abram Elam Wednesday night. Unless something changes drastically, your starters at safety Sept. 11 in New York against the Jets will be Elam and Gerald Sensabaugh. Elam played for the Cowboys in '06, but was let go when Wade Phillips took over for Bill Parcells. Elam, 29, started 31 of 32 games for the Browns under Ryan the last two years and grabbed two interceptions in 2010. So, the Cowboys' defensive secondary in '11 will be anchored by safeties who last year played on the 22nd- and 23rd-ranked defenses and who gave up a combed 59 passing touchdowns. With both safeties signed for one-year, $2.5 million deals this is what Dallas wanted. Prepare to be underwhelmed.
2. I want to be optimistic about the Cowboys. Shoot, a year ago at this time I was trumpeting them playing in the Super Bowl in their own stadium. But when I look on the field each afternoon down here I can't help but see 8-8 talent. Anything over that is a direct credit to Garrett and Ryan.
1. Stop me if you've heard this one before: Terence Newman is injured. Yep, the 32-year-old cornerback who would've been cut had the Cowboys been able to land Nnamdi will miss -- according to his tweet last night -- the remainder of the preseason after suffering a strained groin in Wednesday afternoon's practice. Newman got tangled up with rookie receiver Dwayne Harris, was slow to get up and then walked directly off the field with head trainer Jim Maurer. We've seen this before with Newman. In 2008 he missed most of camp and the season opener with a groin injury and eventually underwent surgery for a sports hernia. In 2009 he was hobbled with a bad foot in San Antonio and last year battled through numerous injuries to start every game. The other starting cornerback, Mike Jenkins, sat out Wednesday's 11-on-11 while recovering from a neck stinger that isn't serious. Welcome to the mix, Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball.
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