4

Three Dots … and a Cloud of Dust …

More than likely, he will probably, possibly, potentially be a part of the Cowboys' offense this seson. Maybe, that is.
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Ken Hamlin (unsigned), Roy Williams (family vacation) and Terry Glenn (gimpy knee) weren’t present at yesterday’s Dallas Cowboys’ OTA (back in my beat writing days we called them “quarterback school”) at Valley Ranch, but I was.

The Top 5 highlights:

1. It was evident right away that money hasn’t changed Marion Barber. Forced by Cowboys’ officials to hold a mini-press conference at his locker in light of his brand spankin’ new contract, Barber was short, and none too sweet. Asked if he felt added pressure given the new deal and the new starting role? “Next question, please,” Barber said. Asked the difference between a back that carries 16 times and 20 times in the NFL? “Next question, please,” Barber said. Asked if he was planning on enjoying his increased media celebrity? “It’s bad, man. I’m sweating bullets,” Barber said. The almost funny give-and-take went on for 20 minutes. Afterward, I wasn’t sure if Barber was channeling Leon Lett or had merely perfected the unique art of being politely surly …

2. Zach Thomas, all short, stocky, feisty and wearing No. 55, will remind you old-timers of Lee Roy Jordan. His instincts have already wowed head coach Wade Phillips. During a team drill, the offense ran a reverse that Thomas sniffed out for a two-yard loss (though there is no tackling, or even hitting allowed during OTAs). “You just don’t see that from an inside linebacker,” Phillips cooed. “He recognizes plays as fast as anybody as I’ve coached. As fast as guys like (Philadelphia’s) Seth Joyner and (Denver’s) Karl Mecklenburg.” Just to try to trick Thomas, the Cowboys later ran a fake reverse. Said Phillips, “He’s too good. Didn’t bite on it.” …

3. First-round draft pick Mike Jenkins had an up-and-down day, intercepting a deep pass to Isaiah Stanback but also getting burned deep by Patrick Crayton. Get used to it. …

4. Tony Romo canceled a Pro-Am tee time with comedian George Lopez out at Colonial to take part in the workout. “Obviously I love golf,” said Romo, “but this is more fun.” Added Phillips, “The guy is amazing. For as much as he does – and he’s everywhere – he hasn’t missed anything around here in two years.” Somehow shaking off his shattered relationship with you-know-who, Romo was his giddy, jovial self. “I’ve been working on some things this off-season,” he said. “It’s exciting.” Asked if the “things” were fundamentals, like footwork or release, Romo quipped, “Oh, they’re a little more involved. You’ll see.” Guesses? …

5. He wasn’t on the field for yesterday’s workout, but he was the topic of plenty locker-room banter. Phillips termed him an “outside possibility”, “hopeful” and “play it by ear.” Romo said “he’s going to surprise a lot of you guys with his level of play.” Terrell Owens chimed in that “we’re counting on him.” Who dat? Terry Glenn and his surgically repaired knee. … -- Richie Whitt

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