Camp Cowboys' Prelude: Top 10 Observations
Stephen Jones, Wade Phillips, Jerry Jones and some big whig from Ford kick off Cowboys Camp '09 by pretending to drive a pickup.
You guys tell me what you want to know about a certain player, coach, mascot, etc. during training camp. I'll go to practice and come back with some tasty morsels. Or perhaps some disgustingly petrified crumbs. Whatever.
Just got back from the State of the Union kick-off address over at The Alamodome and I gotta skeedaddle back over for the big shindig tonight. So let's make these snappy:
10. I did indeed spot a road-side IHOP on the drive down. In Temple. Exit 299. Maybe the National Enquirer is on to something.
9. Alas, first person I bumped into in the lobby of the team's Grand Hyatt hotel headquarters was none other than Tony Romo. He was alone. Wearing sneakers and khaki slacks. Weird.
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8. Second encounter was head coach Wade Phillips, who rode up with me on the elevator. Or perhaps it was vice versa. When a lady with a zonked-out baby in a stroller joined us, Wade remarked, "Aw, sacked out." He's a genuinely nice man. Makes me feel bad for referring to him as Coach Stumbledoofus.
7. Speaking of Wade, he's a lame-duck coach in the final year of his contract. Jerry slobbered all over him during the opening press conference, but wanted no part of talking contract extension. I say Wade is gone, win, lose or draw after this season. Wade: "I don't worry about my job; I worry about the job I'm doing." Funny moment when Jerry was introducing the Ford guy up on the dais as "the man to my right." He was actually to his left, leaving Phillips - on Jerry's right - with his palms open seemingly wondering if he'd been demoted to the marketing department.
6. Bad news on the injury front already as third-round draft pick Robert Brewster is out for the season with a torn chest muscle suffered in a recent workout. With offensive line depth a concern entering camp, that's not good. Also, the Cowboys waived receiver Travis Wilson to make room for 4th and Long winner Jesse Holley.
5. Wade probably won't morph into Vince Lombardi, but there are signs he toughened up in off-season workouts. The Cowboys had 16 players injured during OTAs. Said Jerry, "I've talked to several teams that didn't have any injuries."
4. Jerry responding to most pre-season picksters ranking the Cowboys third in the NFC East behind the Giants and Eagles: "Yeah, I think that's fair. But we're a young team. We'll be much better at the end than we are at the start." That'd be nice for a change, eh?
3. Wade channeled Barry Switzer in his opening remarks, kinda sorta slamming his fist on the dais while proclaiming "We're ready. We got knocked down last year but we're going to get up. And we're going to get up fighting." More promising, Phillips said his goal is to ride the three-headed running-back monster of Marion Barer/Felix Jones/Tashard Choice into one of the NFL's Top 10 running teams. Just hope offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was listening.
2. Champing at the bit, while the party's country-or-something-or-other-music band did its sound check late-afternoon, two Cowboys jogged around the field and played catch: Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton.
1. After Jerry promised not get his expectations too high this season, our friend Dale Hansen asked him to expound on the notion. Dale: "Are you saying you don't have high expectations or that you're just trying not to talk about your high expectations?" Wade: "Good question." Jerry: "Well, as you know I've drawn back a lot of nubs after reaching out there with some pretty high predictions. But I think this team will play to the level of the new stadium." Since Jerry thinks Cowboys Stadium is the planet's biggest, bestest building, I guess we're talking 16-0!
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