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5/30/2007

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Hotel Reservations

Flozell Adams, you love him or you hate him. You love when he blows people off the line and you hate when he goes over the line offsides. The Cowboys find themselves in a interesting position at LT this year and for free agency in 2008. In 2008, Adams becomes an unrestricted free agent and you can bet there's going to be a big market for Adams.

Looking ahead at the market for 2008 and even 2009, there aren't any marquee names at LT, and LT is a difficult position to solidify, teams draft very high to fill the LT spot. A few year's ago the Raiders tried to fill LT with Robert Gallery and he's being moved around that line with no identity - a virtual bust. The Browns drafted OT Joe Thomas, #3 pick overall to block Brady Quinn's blindside. Next year's draft offers two top seniors at OT in Michigan's Jake Long and USC's Sam Baker, but like any year, it's a risk. With Adams available in '08 there's not much risk for teams. Teams are very willing to roll the dice on a LT.

Was this offseason's big free agent payouts an aberition or will this be the norm? If you're Flo its gonna be another player's market and moreover for Adams since he will be atop several teams looking for a LT.

I'm predicting Adams will make his run for the big pay day with a solid season and another Pro Bowl nod. The Cowboys know that if Adams has a solid year, he will be a hot commodity for other teams. The reality is that other teams will target Adams in 2008. We may put some offers on the table, but I suspect Adams will be looking for "Bigg" money as in our very own free agent signing, Leonard Davis ($49.6 million/7yrs) and that's not going to happen.

Adams is going to be virtually unsignable for our taste, and not that we don't have some spending taste, but I think the Cowboys have put themselves in a good position with young guys like McQuistan, Marten, and Free. These are big guys, and I look for all three of these guys to be in the starting lineup as Garrett is bringing Big Back, that is the overall plan.

Its a win-win for Adams and the Cowboys. Expect Adams to be that true Pro Bowl player from a few years ago, run blocking, pass blocking, and blowing people up, too bad we only get this high level of play during contract years. Next offseason, teams could be setting reservations with Hotel Adams for free agency 2008.
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Mark Cuban to Compete with Jerry Jones?

Dallas Mavericks owner is poised to establish a professional football league that will compete with the NFL. Cuban is looking to launch the UFL (United Football League) in August 2008.

Cuban went on to say(FOX Sports):
"(Former NFL coach) Bill Walsh used to tell me that the last 20 players cut from every team were almost interchangeable with the last 20 players to make the team," Hambrecht says.

So far, the UFL has decided to put teams in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Mexico City. Cuban, unsurprisingly, is considering buying the team in Vegas, according to the report.
Like gimmick leagues from the past, this will be a failed venture, see XFL, USFL.

5/28/2007

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Happy Memorial Day

I want to wish all of our soldiers past and present, at home and overseas a happy and safe memorial day. The bravest of the brave lay it on the line each day to help protect this great nation, which we should all be grateful for. Thank You.

Not much news today, but I did find this cool article from HOFMag.com named "He Shut Up and Played" by Lessley Visser. Its a good read on Aikman.

Excerpt:
"For as long as I can remember," said Troy, now the lead analyst at Fox, "all I wanted to do was play professional sports. I was able to live that dream, I know very few get the chance. Norv would often remind me, when I'd lost or been sacked a million times, 'This is the job you always wanted'. To win three World Championships and be selected to the Hall of Fame, I am humbled."

Enjoy and Continue supporting our troops!

5/26/2007

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To Be a Two Back System or Not To Be

| You can say the Cowboys started this revolution in 2005, when we added Marion Barber III to the backfield. The Cowboys drafted Julius Jones the year before. In 2005, we drafted MB3, and some thought he would be used as a possible back up to Julius Jones, but those weren't the plans. Parcells planned on using a two-back attack, and the Cowboys one of a few teams that paved the way for other teams going to a two back system.

ESPN's Len Pasquarelli suggests that the two back system is on its way out. Pasquarelli points out several teams getting away from the two back system, such as Indianapolis and a few other former two back systems:

Addai, who led all rookies in rushing yards in 2006 despite not starting a regular-season game, also figures to tote a significantly heavier load in the offense this year.

Dominic Rhodes, the nominal starter in 2006, is gone, having defected to Oakland as an unrestricted free agent

Other top contenders that have moved away from the two back system are New England and the Bears. Corey Dillion was released from the Patriots, and is about to retire, the Bears opted to trade Thomas Jones to the Jets. Basically these teams have not moved away from this system, but have been forced to rely on a #1 RB due to player attrition via release, trade, and free agency. There's going to be attrition every year, and teams would like the luxury of having a two back system, but there are all these variables that will come into play. In addition, some players in a two back system aren't going to be happy because in some cases one of the two backs wants to be the #1 and only starting back.


More:
Just when it seemed the pendulum was swinging toward teams that preferred a two-back system, a practice that would have been anathema not too many years ago, the momentum seems to have shifted again. General managers who were justifiably concerned over the effects of wear and tear on their No. 1 tailbacks, and thought that they had found a viable solution by spreading the carries around, suddenly find themselves fretting again about a lack of distribution in the running game.

The system does work well, but when you have two good running backs, one of the two will eventually want the chance to be the #1 sole starter for another team. Its the idea that doesn't work well with young talented players that inherently want the spotlight, recognition, and accolades - its natural, its competition. Everyone wants to be the next Emmitt, Walter, or Barry.


There are still some top contending teams that utilize the system like The Cowboys (Jones & Barber), the Saints (McAllister & Bush) ,the Chargers (Tomlinson & Turner), and Jacksonville (Taylor & Maurice-Drew). With these teams, we'll probably see some attrition with the Cowboys and Chargers, eventually the Saints in a year or two. This doesn't mean the system is dead or does it?. If the Cowboys choose not to extend Julius he'll be a free agent next year, but the Cowboys may already have their eyes set on a few other RBs to come in. The Chargers are going to lose Turner next year, so we'll see what their plans are, Norv's background employs a one back system for the most part, so they may be done with the two back system after this year.

So in the end, its not whether teams want a two back system, teams do want the system, but its more of a "short term luxury" than a need. There are great benefits for a two back system. Your offense is more balanced, you have fresh legs in the game at all times, and the wear and tear is diminished a bit on the running backs. The majority of the teams in the playoffs this year employed the two back system - they had that luxury last year. Will we see these teams return to the playoffs with their loses at RB? We will see.

5/24/2007

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Solidifying a Backup QB

It was no surprise when the Cowboys released Drew Bledsoe, but during free agency the question remained as to who was going to backup starter Tony Romo. The Cowboys opted to sign a seasoned veteran in Brad Johnson. Seems like a logical fit.

Move forward to mini camp and there are reports that Johnson looked average at best and lacked zip on his passes. Nothing to be too concerned about I guess, but what if Johnson looks bad in camp and in preseason? For now, let's just hope this won't be an issue once the pads come on.

So you figure Johnson is here for a year, maybe 2 at the very most. The QB to watch is Matt Baker. Baker went undrafted last year, and ultimately out played Drew Henson who was released early. Baker was liked by Coach Parcells, but Parcells opted to just keep two active QBs last year; however, it looks like he could have a place on this team now and the future.

Baker has been working diligently mentally and physically, and appears to be the guy to beat for the #3 QB spot this year, and probably for #2 next year.

Baker remembers how it felt last year, being the odd man out from the active roster:
"It was tough being out there (last year) as the third guy," Baker said. "I prepared every week like I had to be ready to play. That's the way you had to look at it and learn. You go through everything with the team and then not being there in gameday and not exposed to all of that was hard."(DMN)
Physically, Baker spent time working hard under the watchful eye of conditioning guru Joe Jurasek. Baker's arm is stronger and he's exhibited in during this recent mini camp and practices:
"I can make the same throws as last year as I can this year, but it's just being comfortable in taking risks and knowing when to take risks," Baker said. "I have a better feel for the speed of the game."(DMN)
Its early, but as of right now, Baker is making the right decisions on the field and is making his mark at the backup position. Whether or not the Cowboys carry three QBs is too hard to predict right now, but I would say Baker is the guy to beat. Undrafted QBs Matt Moore and Richard Bartel are very raw and green and are probably looking for a practice squad position at best. Baker doesn't mind the competition:
"You've got to compete with anyone, but I was hoping they wouldn't draft one early because in my position it's not too often you let an undrafted guy from the year before compete with a top draft pick,"(DMN)
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Is Keyshawn Canton Bound?

There will be those who believe that Keyshawn is HOF worthy and some that won't, but the truth is that Keyshawn Johnson will probably be nominated sometime soon after he is eligible for the Hall of Fame. Is Johnson a lock or a shoe-in? Not likely, but as Cowboy fans, we know that all to well with Drew Pearson still out there uninducted and with Irvin taking 3 attempts to get in.

For me, Keyshawn has already taken the first step by staying active in the sports arena by signing a deal with ESPN. Keyshawn will stay fresh and upto date in football, he's a likable personality in the booth and he'll make some relationships with other media pundits who ultimately vote people into the HOF. So this is the first step.

Statistically speaking, he has the numbers and the accolades. Let's take a look at Keyshawn's numbers vs. Irvin's numbers vs. Andre Reed:

Keyshawn Johnson
3-time Pro Bowler: 1998, 1999, 2001
1 Super Bowl Victory
167 games Rec 814 yrds 10571 y/r 13.0 TDS 64

Michael Irvin
5-time Pro Bowler: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
3 Super Bowl Victories
159 games Rec 750 yrds 11904 y/r 15.9 TDS 65

Andre Reed
7-time Pro Bowler: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
0 Super Bowl Victories
227 games Rec 951 yrds 13198 y/r 13.9 TDS 87

Michael Irvin is a Hall of Famer after 3 attempts, Andre Reed made it to the finals, but did not get in this year, statistically speaking Keyshawn's numbers are close to Irvin's. So, based on this, would it be so far fetched to think Keyshawn would not be inducted? He's got the Super Bowl victory, the Pro Bowls, and solid numbers, pretty well balanced career when you compare him to Irvin and Reed.

If Keyshawn stays in major media sports broadcasting, and keeps his personal life in-check, then its my estimation that Keyshawn has a legitimate chance of being a hall of fame nominee/inductee.

5/23/2007

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Keyshawn Retires from NFL

Keyshawn visited several teams and was offered a contract with the Tennessee Titans, but Keyshawn opted to retire. Keyshawn will now join the guys at ESPN. I wish Keyshawn the best in his retirement, he'll be a good voice at ESPN. I think he did a pretty good job in his draft day coverage, and this should carry over. He did good things in the NFL, and was an exciting player to watch over the years.

Keyshawn had a few comments about his retirement, from The Ledger Independent:
"I've done everything I wanted to do in my career. I tried to find as much as I could to push me back and play football for one or two more years," Johnson said at a news conference on the Southern California campus, where he starred in college.

"I wavered time and time again," he said. "I've lived my dream. Now, I'm going to live another dream. I think today is not as emotional as the last two weeks, thinking about it. There were times there were sleepless nights, wondering if this was the right thing to do."

5/22/2007

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CowboysBoard.Com DeMarcus Ware Interview

Thanks to our fellow die hard board member cowboyzadam for landing this exclusive interview for our community. Thanks cowboyzadam! Enjoy!

1. Since the fans already do this, how much do you compare yourself to Shawne Merriman? Does his success play a role in your personal motivation?"

Shawne is a very good player and deserves all the positive credit he gets. I have never understood why he is labeled as being overrated as a player. He does what his Coaches ask of him and he does it well. I understand that fans will always compare the 2 of us but that does not mean I put much importance on it. I do what I do best and Shawne does what he does best. I never use a player to self motivate myself. I look within myself for motivation because every time I step out on the field I am striving to better my game and myself for my fans and my teammates.

2.How do you like the new Wade Phillips' environment?

Yes, the atmosphere with the Cowboys has become a lot looser. The guys are joking around a lot more in the locker room and during practices. We are professionals and we know when to draw the line and get back to work, and Coach Phillips allows us to do that. I think you Cowboy fans are in for a treat this year.

3. What kind of help and tips are you going to give Anthony Spencer, seeing as he is in the same spot as you were in 2 years ago?

Spencer is a great young guy with fire in his eyes let me tell you. He does remind me of myself a little bit because he is hungry. I think he is a little bit ahead of me right now as when I first came to Dallas. He is very smart and has an uncanny natural ability to pick things up really quick. The guys all seem to like him and I just tell him to listen to everything the Coaches say and ask a lot of questions. You cannot let yourself get discouraged because there is a lot to learn for a rookie coming into the NFL. He has to take it one day at a time and he knows I am there for him if he needs help.


4. What do you miss most about Parcells?

Read the rest at CowboysBoard.Com

5/20/2007

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Holmgren Re-visits K-Ball Conspiracy

Holmgren recently chimed in again on the k-ball controversy in which Tony Romo bobbled the snap which led to a gut-wrenching Cowboys loss. To me its even ridiculous to imagine Holmgren would confess something if something crooked was done in the first place, who would admit to such a heinous act? You just never know though. Holmgren went on to say:

"Well, the ball looks shiny because of the light. I went to Erik Kennedy, our equipment guy, and he goes, 'Hey, listen, I was in there, the Dallas guy was in there, by the rules of how we did those things.' They both go in there, and they rub them down and inspect them. That was the way it was.

"Now, if you watch Romo, he caught the ball. But then when he went to put it down, he lost it. If it was really slippery, sometimes you'll see it like a greased pig; it will kind of slip through his hands. But he caught it, and then he just got a little casual [putting it down]."(AP)
Let's be real, we'll never really ever know. What we do know is that the K-Ball rule has been tweaked to help combat future controversy.

From AOL Fanhouse:
Now the NFL will mark the 12 K-balls in the game, one through 12. K-ball No. 1 will be used on the opening kickoff and on every kicking play it's available. Then the No. 2 K-ball will be put into play. It, too, will be used on every kicking play until it is no longer available.

The rule used to be that twelve K-balls, marked 1 thru 12, were rotated during a game so that each ball was used the same amount of times. Those balls were fresh out of the box and weren't allowed to be used for anything until they get into the game. However the balls weren't worn enough and would often still be slick and have been a sore spot for kickers throughout the league.
The Cowboys have already tested out some of these new k-balls from the manufacturer, Wilson Sporting Goods. This offseason the Cowboys got with specialist and deep snapper L.P. Ladouceur.

"It is a little sticky," long snapper L.P. Ladouceur said.

The league has made several minor changes to the K-ball rules for next season, at least partly stemming from Tony Romo's botched hold late in the Cowboys' playoff loss to Seattle. (FWST)
Anyway, here's to us hopefully not needing to rely on FGs to win games anymore. I'm hoping that Garrett and the rest of the offensive staff let this group of guys loose. Let's be explosive and lets attack rather than be cautious every single drive.

5/19/2007

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Cowboys Enemy Wire: Portis Has Patella Tendonitis

While scanning the web for news, I came across some news on the much hated Washington Redskins. Its always good to keep tabs on the enemy, and there seems to be some concern in DC over RB Clinton Portis' knee or lack there of.

We all know Portis has had some durability issues throughout most of his career, but is looks like the nagging injuries are taking a toll on Portis. Not to say that Portis is not going to play well this year, but it is something to monitor. Portis was unable to practice at OTAs the last few days due to soreness in his knee, its not believed that this will take Portis out of action, but we'll see.

From Rotoworld.com:
After experiencing pain in his knee during OTAs, Clinton Portis missed Thursday and Friday's sessions while meeting with Dr. James Andrews.

Team Dr. Bubba Tyer says Portis has patella tendinitis in the knee. Already rehabbing from shoulder and hand surgeries, the new injury may jeopardize his availability for the rest of the offseason if it lingers. Tyer expects Portis to be "fine" after "some therapy," but this is a situation to monitor. Portis has more wear and tear on him than the typical 25-year-old running back.
If for whatever reason Portis' injury requires time off during the season, and I believe ultimately it will based on his past history, then we'll see back up RB Ledell Betts as the starter. Betts was given a long-term deal last season for this very reason - Portis is simply too banged up and they need someone adequate to help out.

The fans in DC don't seem very upbeat about this latest development some may still be bitter about the Bailey for Portis trade.

From AOL Fanhouse:
Of course, there would be fewer questions about the defense if the team still had Bailey and that second-round pick. Yeah, I know, Bailey didn't want to be in DC, but that had everything to do with money and nothing to do with, well, anything else. Seeing that Portis signed a $50-million deal, I feel like Dan Snyder and Bailey could've worked something out.
I honestly don't see the Redskins as a legimate contender this year by any means, and with all the bad chemisty, players missing, not working out, etc. it could be the Redskins who end up drafting Arkansas' RB Darren McFadden

5/18/2007

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Good Camp Battles to Watch

While there's already some great intrigue created by this past mini camp session, the truth always finds a way to come to the surface - once the pads get on, its a different story. Let's look at a few key "camp battles" to watch at this year's training camp and preseason.

The top camp battle for me is going to be in the secondary, Watkins vs. Hamlin

Let's be real here, the Hamlin signing is a short-term insurance policy, that provides us with a good veteran and solid depth at FS. Its still likely that Hamlin will lineup opposite Roy Williams, but don't count out Patrick Watkins. Watkins was miffed when he fell to the 5th round last year, came to camp with a chip on his shoulder, and eventually cracked into the starting lineup. For a rookie he played well, sure he had a few mess ups, but that's to be expected from a rookie.

Either way you cut it though, Watkins will see significant playing time, and should Hamlin falter in training camp or the preseason, you can feel good about Watkins getting back in the lineup.

According to our readership 50% believe Hamlin will be the starter, 44% believe Watkins will be the starter, and 5% are not sure. Those numbers are close. We'll see how this one unfolds, its going to be a good one.

The San Antonio Express recently chimed in on the topic as well:
Dallas believes Pat Watkins can still emerge as a starter down the line.

The Cowboys may have settled for Ken Hamlin on a one-year deal because they're planning on Watkins as their starting free safety in 2008 and beyond. An athletic freak, the 6-5 Watkins should benefit from his season to learn.

Carpenter vs. James

If you look at how the starting LBs in the Phillips 34, its safe to assume the starters will be:
OLB Demarcus Ware
MLB Bradie James*
MLB Akin Ayodele
OLB Greg Ellis*

The (*) meaning those in jeopardy of losing their starting spot. In this discussion we're focusing on James. James is the incumbent, but there's evidence the Cowboys are preparing for a scenario that would have Carpenter overtaking James at MLB. Carpenter worked at MLB last offseason, and again this offseason.

James has had one solid season, and has been adequate, and last year did not help his cause with several busted plays directed right at him. Sean Payton knew the weakness in the LB core, and tore it up. Then came Detroit later, and they tore it up. James was horrible in coverage and got ate up regularly.

Is 2nd year player, Carpenter ready to man the spot. Carpenter ran the 2nd team defense and called the plays on defense during mini camp. According to Coach Phillips, he wants the best players on the field and wants to utilize their skills as best as possible. If there's a chink in the armor then its Bradie James, and it would be ludicrous not to want competition there. Carpenter was rated much higher at MLB than James coming out of college, and is way more athletic. You can bet Carpenter is going to be out there more and more.

Worst case scenario, you'd see Carpenter play extensively in nickel packages. Either way you cut it, you gotta have this explosive sideline-to-sideline player on the field somewhere and I think Phillips already recognizes this.

Ellis vs. Spencer

We've all read the same old news, and its a broken record...Ellis wants an extension, and he wants a commitment from the Cowboys. The stark reality is that the Cowboys are not going to redo the contract and Ellis needs to get over that. Sure he can ask for a trade, but the Cowboys are not inclined to make a trade. Ellis is a solid player, and performed pretty good in his new position at OLB in the 3-4, and this year should be no different, so just get out there and play Greg.

Ellis' latest tirades mostly stem from the Cowboys drafting Anthony Spencer, who right now looks to be the real deal and will indeed provide a dynamic one-two death blow punch as he lineups up opposite Ware.

Ellis is the starter according to Coach Phillips, but this is going to be a camp battle to watch. I expect Spencer to overcome Ellis this offseason, and at the latest sometime early in the season. Spencer was brought here to attack the QB, and its hard to envision the Cowboys holding him back.

Jones vs. Barber

The media wants to make this into something sensational, but the reality here is going to be that these two RBs will contribute similarly as they did last year; however, I honestly believe this will be Julius Jones' season. All his talk about 1600 yards and 20tds can come true in this new offense. Garrett likes how Jones runs and sees the same elusiveness that Emmitt had. Back when Jones was drafted his highlight reel looked like Emmitt Smith, and he looked like that player his rookie year, then came his "robotic" running style, overcoached or whatever you want to call it. Garrett is going to let Jones be that instinctive runner again, and watch out.

Jones thinks he won't be extended; so, not only does he want to play well this season, this is his time to show off his skills for potential teams for 2008. Its not something I personally want to see happen, but its very possible. Some rumors apparently already have Arkansas' RB Darren McFadden penciled in as our starter next season, far fetched? Maybe, maybe not. But let Jones get his run on and see what fans think then. I see the mood changing should Jones have an explosive season.

Barber will be used the same as last year, he too will get his chances to run instinctively, and this can only help Barber.

At the end of the day, there's not a camp battle here, just some interesting topics for fans to argue over.

FACT: Jones and Barber will share the load and BOTH will take this running attack to another level, the best duo in the league. Other teams are installing the two back system, but we have one if the better duos in the league.

Somehow its good to have these type of problems, its good to have this type of depth and competition in areas were it seems incumbents are locks, but not this year. The Cowboys are doing a great job in the scouting department and continue to inject quality players to an already full roster of pretty good players.

5/14/2007

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Garrett's Bringin' Witten Back

There's already evidence of Witten getting more action in the passing game, Coach Phillips stated Witten was in motion, and in some wide-out sets. Look for Garrett to utilize Witten in the same vein as Novacek. He can block in the running game but will be more effective in the passing game which will open up more one-on-one matchups and more explosiveness from the running attack.

Last year Witten had (1) TD.... let me say that again, Witten had (1) TD last season. Now, there is something horribly wrong with that statistic, and I expect a lot more usage from Witten this year. Gone will be the 3 straight running plays for no gain with Barber. Rest assured, Witten will get in the game this year as Garrett's Bringin' him back.
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Roy Williams at MLB in Nickel Packages

News from mini camp had Roy Williams lining up at MLB next to Kevin Burnett in some nickel packages. Hamlin and Watkins manned the safety spots interestingly enough. Back in March after we signed Hamlin I envisioned a way that Roy could be closer to the line while Watkins and Hamlin played saftety

Quoting my own blog from march 23:
I see the Cowboys using all 3 safeties during the course of a game. The Cowboys want Roy closer to the line, so we could see some sort of hybrid formation where Roy is indeed closer to the line, and Hamlin moves to SS, and Watkins at FS, this is probably more of what we're going to see.
This is now reality as this was practiced live at mini camp, from dc.com:

When the Cowboys went to their nickel defense in Sunday's practice, safety Roy Williams teamed with Burnett as the inside linebackers in the 4-2-5 package.

The idea is to get Williams closer to the line of scrimmage, where he is more effective, and out of coverage. Williams had trouble at times last season covering tight ends and receivers down the middle as a safety.

Ken Hamlin and second-year safety Pat Watkins manned the two safety spots in the package, while the corners remained unchanged from last season, with Glenn and Anthony Henry covering the outside receivers and Terence Newman jumping into the slot.

Up front it was DeMarcus Ware at right end and Anthony Spencer at left end, with Chris Canty and Jay Ratliff inside at the tackle positions. Ellis, though, said new head coach Wade Phillips has talked to him about rushing from an inside spot once he's healthy.

This might be the type of player Phillips wants at one of the nickel linebacker spots since Keith Davis was manning the same spot on the seconnd-team defense.

5/12/2007

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Cowboys Mini Camp Day 1 Notes

Football is in the air, as the Cowboys began their offseason Mini Camp. Let's take a look at the headlines in today's mini camp.

TO
The leading headline of course was Terrell Owens. TO was not expected to participate during this mini camp; however, surprisingly he did participate quite a bit. He caught a couple of passes, including a deep bomb from Tony Romo. TO caught everything thrown to him, no dropped passes.

Ellis Update
Greg Ellis was at mini camp, but he was not practicing on field; instead, Ellis was on the sideline working on his rehab with some intense agility drills. Wade Phillips commented on the future of Greg Ellis, and Phillips said: "He's our starting outside backer," "Everybody saw last year what happened when he wasn't there. He can be a dominant player."(DMN) Ellis looked in great shape and apparently there are no signs of a limp. Good news to hear all around. Several players see Ellis as the leader on defense including 2yr DE Jason Hatcher whom we interviewed a couple of weeks ago.

Carpenter playing at MLB again?
Today the Cowboys worked Carpenter at MLB, and why wouldn't they, he's a very athletic gifted tackler. Phillips keeps repeating the notion that he wants the best players on the field and he wants to utilize their strengths in a way that will benefit the team. Carpenter is not a bust, and did not have a disappointing year. To even think he did, is a farce. Carpenter was held back by Parcells to a degree, but once he was injected at the end of the season and playoffs, you could see the first round talent was the real deal. The question however remains, where is he going to play? MLB or OLB?

I'm confident Carpenter will be on the field on a regular basis. Does that mean Carpenter could replace James at MLB? Yes, its a possibility and to not consider that would be plain dumb. James struggled in coverage bigtime, and Carpenter is a well rounded player that can do a better job. Carpenter could also see time at OLB in the nickel, were his coverage skills could come into play again. Carpenter knows this and says: "It was a rough transition last year," Carpenter said. "But looking at it this year, I feel confident that I can play either/or and be successful at both. I just want to be out on the field making plays."(DMN)


Romo on Fire
Romo has been hard at work mentally and physically. Romo was on fire today when he connected for 16 of 20 during 11-man drills today against the defense. Even though the high pressure packages on defense were not in effect, Romo still looked sharp by several reports from this first mini camp. Romo has been relieved of duty on field goals and Brad Johnson will be the new holder thankfully.

Julius Jones Not Practicing With Team?
From DMN: Julius Jones is getting the majority of the reps with the first-team offense, but he hasn't necessarily made a great impression on Wade Phillips.

Phillips pointed out that Jones is one of the only guys that hasn't been working out at the Cowboys' facility. Jones opted to work out in Arizona instead.

Phillips noted that Jones, who is chiseled as usual, appears to be in great shape and knows the team's new pass protection schemes. But Phillips prefers his players to work out with the team strength coaches. Phillips also believes the off-season conditioning program is important to the "team aspect."

Phillips Differentiates Between Laid Back & Hardwork
I knew this would come into question, but Coach Phillips made it clear today during his press conference when it came to his coaching styles and philosophy. Phillips said: "Hard work and good times go together," Phillips said. "But hard work has got to come first."(DMN)

Isaiah Stanback Still Learning
Last year the Cowboys used a 4th round pick on Skylar Green in hoping he would be the answer in the return game; however, this was not the case and Green is no longer with the team. A year later, the Cowboys are still looking for an answer. Stanback was drafted this year in the same round and is a converted QB to WR/PR specialist according to the Cowboys. Playing WR for Stanback is nothing new, he actually started out as a WR, but was converted to a QB. Kinda sounds like Patrick Crayton who the Cowboys hope to have the same conversion success with Stanback. Today Stanback did field some punts. "Stanback looked like a beginner back there. He had trouble judging a few punts, although he fielded every ball cleanly during the second practice.

The other Cowboys who caught punts today are Terence Newman, Patrick Crayton, Jamaica Rector and Quincy Butler." (DMN)

Rookie QB Matt Moore Looked Bad?
Apparently undrafted rookie Matt Moore looked horrible today, and was outplayed with 3rd string incumbent Matt Baker. From DMN: Moore's first pass in 7-on-7 drills was picked off. He fumbled his first snap in 11-on-11 drills. He didn't do anything too impressive with any of the few other reps he got. Incumbent third-stringer Matt Baker looked much better, but it's not like the job will be determined by the events on the first day of minicamp.

5/07/2007

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Cowboys Mini Camp Dates Set

Saturday, May 12
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PRACTICE (Open to the Media)
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. OPEN LOCKER ROOM TO MEDIA
1:30 p.m. COACH PHILLIPS AVAILABLE
3:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. PRACTICE (Open to the Media)

Sunday, May 13

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. OPEN LOCKER ROOM TO MEDIA
1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. PRACTICE (Open to the Media)

Monday, May 14

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PRACTICE (Open to the Media)
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. OPEN LOCKER ROOM TO MEDIA
1:30 p.m. COACH PHILLIPS AVAILABLE
3:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. PRACTICE (Open to the Media)