Welcome to Training Camp. Er, Paradise
I’ve received lots of suggestions on what you guys wanna know about Cowboys’ camp – How’s Felix Jones look? Can Zach Thomas still play? What’s up with Jerry’s hat? – so the best way to attack this thing is by diving in blurb-by-bloggin'-blurb.
My initial observations after Monday’s afternoon workout here in Oxnard, which took place in temperatures about 30 degrees cooler than back home:
*I’m continually amazed at how each year camp gets bigger. Back in my days as a beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, head coach Jimmy Johnson held his post-practice press conferences in Austin atop a red, plastic crate used to tote Coca-Cola bottles. This year, Wade Phillips sits on a grand stage – a Built Ford Tough stage, of course -- seemingly prepared for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
*Pro Bowl cornerback Terence Newman pulled a groin Monday morning. Doesn’t seem serious – he was out at the afternoon practice yucking it up – but considering he missed the first two games last season after a training camp injury (foot), it’s a little disconcerting.
*First player on the field was Adam “Pacman” Jones, who skipped – yes, skipped – all by his lonesome up and down the field before his teammates arrived for joint stretching.
*With Terry Glenn out of the picture – yeah I’m surprised, but obviously the Cowboys aren’t convinced he’s physically ready to play – one of camp’s most important battles will be for No. 3 receiver. So far Wade says Sam Hurd and Miles Austin are “even.” With his long arms and smooth routes, Hurd just "looks" more like an NFL receiver, if you know what I mean.
*Pacman and Patrick Crayton alternated fielding punts. It’s clear that while Crayton has the team’s softest hands – the ball doesn’t even make a noise when he catches it – Pacman has superior moves. Some of his changes-of-direction are straight out of The Matrix.
*No sight of you-know-who yet, but rumor is she’ll make an appearance. I hear Thursday.
*Hall of Fame receiver-turned-local radio host Michael Irvin spent post-practice time with second-year receiver Isaiah Stanback. Call it a combination of preaching and teaching. Irvin mostly showed Stanback the tricks to escaping cornerback jams at the line of scrimmage. “It’s not a slap,” Irvin yelled. “You hit that man.”
*Rookie cornerback Mike Jenkins had an interception during 7-on-7 drills and second-year corner Evan Ogelsby took a pick of Tony Romo to the house.
*Watching 99-year-old Brad Johnson do his best Jamie Moyer impersonation, floating finesse flutterballs all over the field, the Cowboys are in big trouble should Romo go down for any extended amount of time. We knew that already. But Johnson looks absolutely pathetic.
*So Jerry’s walking around camp in this blue cap with a “D” on the front and, I dunno, something’s weird about it. It fits him awkwardly, making a cone atop his head. Then it hits me, the cap is simply two sizes too small. See, money can’t buy everything.
*Jerry says there’s no timetable for a decision by either parties, but he – in a joint effort with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban – recently made an official presentation to the NBA for his Jonestown Coliseum to host an All-Star Game as soon as 2010.
*Hey, there goes Bobby Carpenter. He’s still here? Weird.
*On a personal note, bumped into some of The Ticket clan yesterday. In the wake of The Hard Lie, Mike Rhyner was friendly as ever to me. Same with Dan McDowell and Donovan Lewis. Haven’t interfaced with Corby Davidson yet, but I’ll keep you apprised. -- Richie Whitt