Training Camp 360:
The Dallas Cowboys are low hanging fruit for much of the mainstream sports media and Captain Jones would have it no other way. We knew there would be sexy stories written about Romo and it being do or die time. We expected to hear about how Rob Ryan will make lemonade from lemons. The stories were almost already written about the new Garrett way and it took all of two days to see that the rookies had to earn the Cowboy stars on their helmets.
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We also can always depend on the overreaction to the various injuries that litter every camp. Terence Newman is now out for the preseason due to a groin. He easily could miss a game or two of the regular season since we are talking about a groin which is most aggravated by running. That is enough to prompt every fan to scour the free agents list for available corners. I must confess to having a curiosity about Newman’s replacement or should I say, Scandrick’s replacement since Scandrick is who will replace Newman. Some of the same people that were salivating over acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha and ditching Newman are now proclaiming this a rebuilding year if we don’t find a suitable replacement for Newman.
The interesting dilemma about us camp heads is the blind spot we have as we hear the different camp developments. How many times have you been excited to hear how well Ogletree is doing getting open, running routes and catching everything in sight? It does sound good but do we stop to think about who the person is or people struggling to cover him? Would you feel good knowing Jenkins is struggling to cover Ogletree? Or Scandrick? If Tyron Smith is faring well against everyone not named Ware, do you feel good about Spencer? Or Butler?
Training camp is a camp to train and if we feel good about the head coach, the mentality of the team, and the physicality of the practices, then we can embrace the team and not worry so much about the nicks and cuts or a bad week of practice for the starting guard. We definitely should not be worried about who the free agency Super Bowl winner is. We can leave the bright lights updates to the Werders, Schefters and LaCanforas but those updates usually do not portend what the upcoming season will yield for the Cowboy fan. In fact, the Cowboys season most likely will be defined by the work the backups get, the consistency in a heavy pass rush, and the toughness of the team physically and in the way they respond to adversity or deficits. In that regard, who the personnel is pales in importance to how that personnel is trained.
The Packers showed tremendous character and heart in their late season run to get into the playoffs with a roster gutted by injuries. The other Super Bowl participant not only sustained major injuries to their best defensive player, but started the season with their QB on the sidelines. The 2011 Cowboys do have a chance to win the 2011/12 Super Bowl as long as they realize their opportunity truly lies in the next few weeks of camp. If this team forges a hardness and tenacity, the outlook of the season will get brighter and brighter.
Here’s to a great remaining camp for our BOYS of summer. Some fights, lots of blood and sweat and the coming together as a contender. Mean, confident and methodical. These are the keys to a successful camp and the recipe for contention.
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Dez Bryant pointing at his latest training camp victim.