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According to Adam Schefter, Marshawn Lynch is said to have ended his holdout after not receiving a new deal and will report to training camp.  Lynch is in the third year of a four-year, $30 million deal. He received $6 million of it in a signing bonus. Lynch will make $5 million in base salary this season and $5.5 million in 2015, but he wanted more money up front or more money guaranteed. For more go here http://proxy.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11291797/seattle-seahawks-marshawn-lynch-end-holdout-according-sources

 

UPDATE: Seahawks give Lynch $1.5 million raise http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/nfl/290933/sea-giving-marshawn-lynch-$1.5-million-raise?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&rw=1

 

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38

2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE - Rookie DeMarcus Lawrence out with broken foot - DE back to Dallas for surgery - Garrett, Marinelli discuss options without Lawrence - Analysis

DeMarcus Lawrence Goes Down | :27 | Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end and second round draft pick DeMarcus Lawrence went down with a foot injury during Tuesday’s practice. Reports have him expected to miss 8-12 weeks (Watch Video)

Jason Garrett: DeMarcus Lawrence injury; Tyron Smith extension | 13:59 | Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett addresses the media from Oxnard. (Watch | Listen)


OXNARD, CA – On Tuesday, DeMarcus Lawrence was working on his pass-rush moves and finding a way to beat Tyron Smith in a drill.

On Wednesday, he’s heading back to Dallas.

Today (Thursday), he’ll be having surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot.

That’s how quickly things can change for an NFL player, especially one like Lawrence whom the Dallas Cowboys have high hopes for. He was supposed to be one of the players that could fill the void of DeMarcus Ware and help a pass rush that struggled mightily in 2013.

Now, the Cowboys will have to wait anywhere from 2-3 months before getting some contribution from their second-round pick. Getting Lawrence also required a third-round pick in a trade to move up for the 34th spot.

“He’ll have to go back to Dallas and have surgery on it,” said head coach Jason Garrett, who confirmed the 8-12 week timetable. “He was off to a good start in camp. There’s still a lot of football left in the season after 8-12 weeks.”

Lawrence will likely have surgery, recover from the procedure a few days and then should be able to return to Oxnard to be with his teammates, coaches and medical staff before the team breaks camp on Aug. 15.

Garrett said the Cowboys are still working on moving guys around to fill in for Lawrence’s injury.

“None of these things with our depth chart are etched in stone,” Garrett said. “He was working with the second unit. We’ll just move guys around.”

One of those guys will be Kyle Wilber, who has been playing SAM linebacker. He’ll likely rotate into the defense on pass-rushing downs.  Look for Tyrone Crawford to have a bigger role in the defensive line rotation as well.


RELATED: Garrett, Marinelli discuss options with DE DeMarcus Lawrence out

OXNARD, CA – The reality that DeMarcus Lawrence won’t be ready to go for at least eight weeks has set in.

Disappointment about the loss still lingers, but the focus now shifts to figuring out which players will shift around and replace the Dallas Cowboys second-round pick, who’s dealing with a foot fracture.

“It’s tough, but we just move on right now,” Rod Marinelli said. “We’ve got to get him healthy, get him ready to go again, but we’ve got some young guys that can really step up for us. We’ve got some movement, and (Kyle) Wilber can obviously help us on our third down. We’ll just kind of keep rotating these guys and developing them.”

It was around this time last year that George Selvie came from free agency to the Dallas Cowboys and eventually worked his way into a starting defensive lineman for the team. It’s possible the Cowboys add someone in free agency to fill Lawrence’s spot, but they’ve got some options already on the roster.

As Marinelli mentioned, playing Wilber – who’s currently the first-team strong side linebacker – as a nickel rusher at right defensive end is one of those options.

“I feel good about him because he trained as an end,” Marinelli said. “Usually you don’t like that as much because of timing and so many other things that are involved. But he’s got some good stuff, and he’s smart enough to play a little dual role for himself.”

Head coach Jason Garrett said Wilber’s ability to rush the passer on third down in addition to performing his roles at linebacker and on special teams make him a very valuable commodity for the Cowboys.

But he’s not the guy who’s been lining up at right defensive end with the first-team, and neither was Lawrence.

Those starting reps have been going to veteran Jeremy Mincey, who’s gone against Tyron Smith more in individual and team drills than any other defensive end. Mincey could end up being the answer at that spot on early downs, and Marinelli said Mincey’s also capable of bumping inside.

The defensive coordinator likes what he’s seen early in camp from the journeyman defensive lineman, who’s spent time with five teams since getting drafted in 2006 and had an eight-sack season back in 2011.

In addition, Garrett said Mincey seems to have an “infectious way about him,” and he emits a certain passion and spirit that demonstrate his love for playing. Garrett also added the Cowboys have had their eye on Mincey and tried to sign him at different points throughout his career. They were able to get that done this offseason.

“When you bring a guy in like that, who’s got some skins on the wall, who’s been around good teams, good players, has been a good player himself, that can be a real positive influence on a unit that’s fairly young,” Garrett said. “He practices as hard as anybody we’ve got on this team. He’s always going 100 miles an hour and always asking me what he can do better to help our football team. He’s just a real positive influence.”

Another option at right defensive end, who was taking reps behind Lawrence, is Martez Wilson. He’s still working through the process of switching over from linebacker, and because of his background in the league, the 2011 third-round pick isn’t the typical defensive end.

At 260 pounds, he’s 20 pounds lighter than Mincey, but his 4.5 40 speed gives him traits that make him unique for the right reasons, and Marinelli can see the potential.

“Wilson has some speed on the edge,” Marinelli said. “We’ve just got to keep him going. And the young player (Dartwan) Bush just keeps jumping out, just keeps showing up.”

Another possibility is looking at Tyrone Crawford, who’s typically played the left end spot when bumping outside to end, although that move may be more of a last resort. After the injury to Lawrence, though, a lot of players are in the mix to get chances at right end.

“What I just look at is, hey, opportunities, go and get it,” Marinelli said. “One thing you never promise, I never promise, is playing time or jobs. We promise opportunities. Take advantage of opportunities, then things work out well.”

Whoever ends up filling the spot, or whatever medley of players end up taking those snaps, the right defensive end will need to be counted on for a while with Lawrence expected to miss eight to 12 weeks with the injury.

Marinelli said working on a player’s development is what he really enjoys about coaching, so it’s a disappointing loss not to be able to do that with the rookie. In addition, Garrett said he doesn’t think the rookie end will be thrown back in immediately after his foot heals, because Lawrence will need time to get acclimated to playing at the NFL level.

On the bright side, both Marinelli and Garrett said Lawrence is in good spirits and has the right mindset with his rehab. Lawrence told Garrett on Tuesday night after finding out the results that if he’s supposed to be out eight to 12 weeks, he’ll make it eight.

Until then, the Dallas Cowboys will continue perusing all options, from rookies to veterans to free agent possibilities.

“None of these things we’re doing with our depth chart are etched in stone by any means,” Garrett said. “He had been working with the second unit. We have a number of defensive linemen, a lot of defensive ends in the mix right now. We’ll just move guys around.”


RELATED: Scouts opinions and options with Lawrence’s injury

  • With the injury to the foot of DeMarcus Lawrence during the one-on-one pass rush drill, there are a couple of different ways that the front office and coaches can play this. They still have their projected starter in Jeremy Mincey in position so that is a positive from their point of view. Now Martez Wilson, who had been seeing time behind Lawrence and who hasn’t looked bad at all in the drills and the opportunities that he has received during the camp. His hand use has gotten better, he has always had the ability to burst and chase along with the knack to be able to bend and finish. They could also flop George Selvie over on passing downs and go with Tyrone Crawford at the left end just to see how that would work. I have heard the name Larry English mentioned a bunch and the Cowboys visited with him here recently but you have to remember that he too is coming off a scope of his knee that he is still waiting on and the last two seasons he too has not been a picture of health and has missed several games. To be honest, I have a feeling that the front office might feel like that Wilson is a better player than English and would consider other options.

  • BW Webb finally looked like the player I thought he might become when he was drafted last season out of William & Mary. He played with far more aggressiveness and when he had to be physical he stepped up and was able to handle that aspect of the game. With Webb you have a player that plays with lateral quickness and agility. He can be a hard guy to run away from and it was finally nice to see him put all that together. He did a nice job of using his hands and staying in position with the receiver. He wasn’t reaching or grabbing to just try and hold on. He showed awareness and the understanding of what the receiver was trying to do to him route wise and he was able to counter that movement. There is no question that Webb has the skill to play in the slot or outside and cover from those positions as long as he stays aggressive and continues that approach. It’s when he doesn’t play that way he is no use to this defense. Maybe Tuesday’s practice was a step in the right direction for him because he sure played better.

  • It appears that rookie Anthony Hitchens is getting more snaps in his natural linebacker position on the outside. Where I have been impressed with Hitchens is with the range that he has been able to play with. There is an extended burst to his game and he has that ability to once he sees it, he is gone. He is a fluid moving player that can extend his hands, work down the line and get to the ball.  He is playing with a great deal of awareness in the running game. His body control has been very good along with his contact balance. He has a real knack for being able to play on his feet and the more of an opportunity that he has to handle situations on the move, the better he has played. He looks more comfortable playing now than he did while he was lined up as the Mike linebacker. Been a good start for him.

  • Sure wish that I could have seen more from L’Damian Washington in these practices because my scouting eye thought that I would have. I have yet to see him make any of those types of down the field plays that I observed while he was at Missouri. I feel like the biggest issue for him has been his ability to finish plays. He just hasn’t put himself in good enough position to do that. His practices continue to be him dealing with a man on him, trying to reach back and make a catch. He really hasn’t extended for a ball and gone up to take it away from a defender. Instead of aggressively going to snatch it, he has allowed it to try and get to his body. We all know when that happens that defensive backs have a chance to knock it away and they have done just that. In watching him play, I am not sure really how confident he is? He is unlike the other receivers on this team that have that attack the ball and attack the defender. There is no question that he has the initial quickness with the extended speed to separate but he is playing like he is stuck in first gear. He has the appearance of a guy that can be an electric player but it just hasn’t happened for him in this first week of training camp.

Question from: DERRICK BRAZIL | PITTSBURGH, PA | With DeMarcus Lawrence’s foot injury sidelining him for at least eight weeks, how huge of a setback is it, and who’s the “next man up”?

Rowan: It’s huge. This is the time for rookies to get adjusted to playing at the enhanced speed against bigger players on a regular basis. It’s when they get their bodies ready for a level of football they’ve never seen. Lawrence has only gone through a week of football at camp, so who knows when he’s healthy again how long it’ll take after that for him to be ready to be a difference-maker. As for who steps up, the Dallas Cowboys really need Jeremy Mincey to be a good edge rusher. He’s been taking the majority of first team reps against Tyron Smith as is. I’m also interested to see if Martez Wilson can take advantage of more reps.

David: There’s no denying it’s a pretty big setback. The hope was Lawrence would be a big part of this rotation – if not an outright starter – and now he’s gone for what looks like the first month of the season or more. We’ve talked a lot about Tyrone Crawford shifting between defensive end and defensive tackle, but my guess is he’ll need to focus a lot more on rushing from the outside going forward. It could be a huge boost if Jeremy Mincey can up his game a notch or two from where he’s been in recent seasons. 

Filed under: Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys, David Helman, NFL, NFL Audio, NFL Dallas Cowboys Injury Update, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Photographs, NFL Video, Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner Tagged: Dallas Cowboys Injury Update, Dallas Cowboys news, Demarcus Lawrence

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

30

2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE - Rookie DeMarcus Lawrence out with broken foot - DE back to Dallas for surgery - Garrett, Marinelli discuss options without Lawrence - Analysis

DeMarcus Lawrence Goes Down | :27 | Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end and second round draft pick DeMarcus Lawrence went down with a foot injury during Tuesday’s practice. Reports have him expected to miss 8-12 weeks (Watch Video)

Jason Garrett: DeMarcus Lawrence injury; Tyron Smith extension | 13:59 | Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett addresses the media from Oxnard. (Watch | Listen)


OXNARD, CA – On Tuesday, DeMarcus Lawrence was working on his pass-rush moves and finding a way to beat Tyron Smith in a drill.

On Wednesday, he’s heading back to Dallas.

Today (Thursday), he’ll be having surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot.

That’s how quickly things can change for an NFL player, especially one like Lawrence whom the Dallas Cowboys have high hopes for. He was supposed to be one of the players that could fill the void of DeMarcus Ware and help a pass rush that struggled mightily in 2013.

Now, the Cowboys will have to wait anywhere from 2-3 months before getting some contribution from their second-round pick. Getting Lawrence also required a third-round pick in a trade to move up for the 34th spot.

“He’ll have to go back to Dallas and have surgery on it,” said head coach Jason Garrett, who confirmed the 8-12 week timetable. “He was off to a good start in camp. There’s still a lot of football left in the season after 8-12 weeks.”

Lawrence will likely have surgery, recover from the procedure a few days and then should be able to return to Oxnard to be with his teammates, coaches and medical staff before the team breaks camp on Aug. 15.

Garrett said the Cowboys are still working on moving guys around to fill in for Lawrence’s injury.

“None of these things with our depth chart are etched in stone,” Garrett said. “He was working with the second unit. We’ll just move guys around.”

One of those guys will be Kyle Wilber, who has been playing SAM linebacker. He’ll likely rotate into the defense on pass-rushing downs.  Look for Tyrone Crawford to have a bigger role in the defensive line rotation as well.


RELATED: Garrett, Marinelli discuss options with DE DeMarcus Lawrence out

OXNARD, CA – The reality that DeMarcus Lawrence won’t be ready to go for at least eight weeks has set in.

Disappointment about the loss still lingers, but the focus now shifts to figuring out which players will shift around and replace the Dallas Cowboys second-round pick, who’s dealing with a foot fracture.

“It’s tough, but we just move on right now,” Rod Marinelli said. “We’ve got to get him healthy, get him ready to go again, but we’ve got some young guys that can really step up for us. We’ve got some movement, and (Kyle) Wilber can obviously help us on our third down. We’ll just kind of keep rotating these guys and developing them.”

It was around this time last year that George Selvie came from free agency to the Dallas Cowboys and eventually worked his way into a starting defensive lineman for the team. It’s possible the Cowboys add someone in free agency to fill Lawrence’s spot, but they’ve got some options already on the roster.

As Marinelli mentioned, playing Wilber – who’s currently the first-team strong side linebacker – as a nickel rusher at right defensive end is one of those options.

“I feel good about him because he trained as an end,” Marinelli said. “Usually you don’t like that as much because of timing and so many other things that are involved. But he’s got some good stuff, and he’s smart enough to play a little dual role for himself.”

Head coach Jason Garrett said Wilber’s ability to rush the passer on third down in addition to performing his roles at linebacker and on special teams make him a very valuable commodity for the Cowboys.

But he’s not the guy who’s been lining up at right defensive end with the first-team, and neither was Lawrence.

Those starting reps have been going to veteran Jeremy Mincey, who’s gone against Tyron Smith more in individual and team drills than any other defensive end. Mincey could end up being the answer at that spot on early downs, and Marinelli said Mincey’s also capable of bumping inside.

The defensive coordinator likes what he’s seen early in camp from the journeyman defensive lineman, who’s spent time with five teams since getting drafted in 2006 and had an eight-sack season back in 2011.

In addition, Garrett said Mincey seems to have an “infectious way about him,” and he emits a certain passion and spirit that demonstrate his love for playing. Garrett also added the Cowboys have had their eye on Mincey and tried to sign him at different points throughout his career. They were able to get that done this offseason.

“When you bring a guy in like that, who’s got some skins on the wall, who’s been around good teams, good players, has been a good player himself, that can be a real positive influence on a unit that’s fairly young,” Garrett said. “He practices as hard as anybody we’ve got on this team. He’s always going 100 miles an hour and always asking me what he can do better to help our football team. He’s just a real positive influence.”

Another option at right defensive end, who was taking reps behind Lawrence, is Martez Wilson. He’s still working through the process of switching over from linebacker, and because of his background in the league, the 2011 third-round pick isn’t the typical defensive end.

At 260 pounds, he’s 20 pounds lighter than Mincey, but his 4.5 40 speed gives him traits that make him unique for the right reasons, and Marinelli can see the potential.

“Wilson has some speed on the edge,” Marinelli said. “We’ve just got to keep him going. And the young player (Dartwan) Bush just keeps jumping out, just keeps showing up.”

Another possibility is looking at Tyrone Crawford, who’s typically played the left end spot when bumping outside to end, although that move may be more of a last resort. After the injury to Lawrence, though, a lot of players are in the mix to get chances at right end.

“What I just look at is, hey, opportunities, go and get it,” Marinelli said. “One thing you never promise, I never promise, is playing time or jobs. We promise opportunities. Take advantage of opportunities, then things work out well.”

Whoever ends up filling the spot, or whatever medley of players end up taking those snaps, the right defensive end will need to be counted on for a while with Lawrence expected to miss eight to 12 weeks with the injury.

Marinelli said working on a player’s development is what he really enjoys about coaching, so it’s a disappointing loss not to be able to do that with the rookie. In addition, Garrett said he doesn’t think the rookie end will be thrown back in immediately after his foot heals, because Lawrence will need time to get acclimated to playing at the NFL level.

On the bright side, both Marinelli and Garrett said Lawrence is in good spirits and has the right mindset with his rehab. Lawrence told Garrett on Tuesday night after finding out the results that if he’s supposed to be out eight to 12 weeks, he’ll make it eight.

Until then, the Dallas Cowboys will continue perusing all options, from rookies to veterans to free agent possibilities.

“None of these things we’re doing with our depth chart are etched in stone by any means,” Garrett said. “He had been working with the second unit. We have a number of defensive linemen, a lot of defensive ends in the mix right now. We’ll just move guys around.”


RELATED: Scouts opinions and options with Lawrence’s injury

  • With the injury to the foot of DeMarcus Lawrence during the one-on-one pass rush drill, there are a couple of different ways that the front office and coaches can play this. They still have their projected starter in Jeremy Mincey in position so that is a positive from their point of view. Now Martez Wilson, who had been seeing time behind Lawrence and who hasn’t looked bad at all in the drills and the opportunities that he has received during the camp. His hand use has gotten better, he has always had the ability to burst and chase along with the knack to be able to bend and finish. They could also flop George Selvie over on passing downs and go with Tyrone Crawford at the left end just to see how that would work. I have heard the name Larry English mentioned a bunch and the Cowboys visited with him here recently but you have to remember that he too is coming off a scope of his knee that he is still waiting on and the last two seasons he too has not been a picture of health and has missed several games. To be honest, I have a feeling that the front office might feel like that Wilson is a better player than English and would consider other options.

  • BW Webb finally looked like the player I thought he might become when he was drafted last season out of William & Mary. He played with far more aggressiveness and when he had to be physical he stepped up and was able to handle that aspect of the game. With Webb you have a player that plays with lateral quickness and agility. He can be a hard guy to run away from and it was finally nice to see him put all that together. He did a nice job of using his hands and staying in position with the receiver. He wasn’t reaching or grabbing to just try and hold on. He showed awareness and the understanding of what the receiver was trying to do to him route wise and he was able to counter that movement. There is no question that Webb has the skill to play in the slot or outside and cover from those positions as long as he stays aggressive and continues that approach. It’s when he doesn’t play that way he is no use to this defense. Maybe Tuesday’s practice was a step in the right direction for him because he sure played better.

  • It appears that rookie Anthony Hitchens is getting more snaps in his natural linebacker position on the outside. Where I have been impressed with Hitchens is with the range that he has been able to play with. There is an extended burst to his game and he has that ability to once he sees it, he is gone. He is a fluid moving player that can extend his hands, work down the line and get to the ball.  He is playing with a great deal of awareness in the running game. His body control has been very good along with his contact balance. He has a real knack for being able to play on his feet and the more of an opportunity that he has to handle situations on the move, the better he has played. He looks more comfortable playing now than he did while he was lined up as the Mike linebacker. Been a good start for him.

  • Sure wish that I could have seen more from L’Damian Washington in these practices because my scouting eye thought that I would have. I have yet to see him make any of those types of down the field plays that I observed while he was at Missouri. I feel like the biggest issue for him has been his ability to finish plays. He just hasn’t put himself in good enough position to do that. His practices continue to be him dealing with a man on him, trying to reach back and make a catch. He really hasn’t extended for a ball and gone up to take it away from a defender. Instead of aggressively going to snatch it, he has allowed it to try and get to his body. We all know when that happens that defensive backs have a chance to knock it away and they have done just that. In watching him play, I am not sure really how confident he is? He is unlike the other receivers on this team that have that attack the ball and attack the defender. There is no question that he has the initial quickness with the extended speed to separate but he is playing like he is stuck in first gear. He has the appearance of a guy that can be an electric player but it just hasn’t happened for him in this first week of training camp.

Question from: DERRICK BRAZIL | PITTSBURGH, PA | With DeMarcus Lawrence’s foot injury sidelining him for at least eight weeks, how huge of a setback is it, and who’s the “next man up”?

Rowan: It’s huge. This is the time for rookies to get adjusted to playing at the enhanced speed against bigger players on a regular basis. It’s when they get their bodies ready for a level of football they’ve never seen. Lawrence has only gone through a week of football at camp, so who knows when he’s healthy again how long it’ll take after that for him to be ready to be a difference-maker. As for who steps up, the Dallas Cowboys really need Jeremy Mincey to be a good edge rusher. He’s been taking the majority of first team reps against Tyron Smith as is. I’m also interested to see if Martez Wilson can take advantage of more reps.

David: There’s no denying it’s a pretty big setback. The hope was Lawrence would be a big part of this rotation – if not an outright starter – and now he’s gone for what looks like the first month of the season or more. We’ve talked a lot about Tyrone Crawford shifting between defensive end and defensive tackle, but my guess is he’ll need to focus a lot more on rushing from the outside going forward. It could be a huge boost if Jeremy Mincey can up his game a notch or two from where he’s been in recent seasons. 

Filed under: Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys, David Helman, NFL, NFL Audio, NFL Dallas Cowboys Injury Update, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Photographs, NFL Video, Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner Tagged: Dallas Cowboys Injury Update, Dallas Cowboys news, Demarcus Lawrence

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

 

Richard Sherman has let the league, fans, and other players know on numerous occasions that he is the best cornerback in the league. Arizona Cardinals Patrick Peterson was no exception. After the news broke out regarding Peterson’s new contract, (which is almost $13 million more than Sherman’s) Sherman took to Twitter and retweeted the following stat:

Patrick Peterson quickly fired back with a Tweet responding to Sherman’s retweet:

Not to be outdone, Sherman showed Peterson why he has no reason to be mad:

Once again, it appears Sherman ends up with the upper hand, showing that not only he can talk the talk, but that he has already walked the walk.

Sherman’s Twitter battle with LeGarrette Blount: http://kcsportsninja.com/richard-sherman-schools-legarrette-blount-on-twitter/

Sherman’s Twitter battle with DeAngelo Hall: http://kcsportsninja.com/richard-sherman-and-deangelo-hall-engage-in-twitter-war/

Follow me and SportsNinja!

KCSportsNinja Twitter: https://twitter.com/KCSportsNinja

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For more from my sports blog visit  http://noodleofnam.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nams-Noodle-Sports-Blog-FB-Page/252192688235247

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NamsNoodleSport

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47

2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE - Dez Bryant committed to winning - “Walk around like a champion” - NFL Network interviews with Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones

Dez Bryant: “Walk around like a Champion” | 8:07 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant chats with Rich Eisen and Michael Irvin about his strong desire to win in the 2014-2015 season under the new offense. (Watch Video | No Audio)

Jerry on drafting Manziel “It was that close” | 8:00 | Jerry Jones sits down with Michael Irvin and Rich Eisen to discuss the upcoming 2014-2015 NFL season and how the Dallas Cowboys nearly drafted Johnny Manziel last May. (Watch Video | No Audio)

Dez Bryant: Contract will take care of itself | 4:39 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant meets with the media after a recent morning practice to talk about his expectations for the wide receiver group heading into camp. (Video | Audio)


RELATED: Dez Bryant continues to rise as a player and a young team leader

OXNARD, CA – By almost any measure, whether it’s his gaudy statistics, his rapidly-approaching payday or even his Madden rating, Dez Bryant is considered one of the league’s top receivers.

What Bryant said scares him is how much better he think he can still be.

“Truthfully, to be honest, I feel like, man, I’m still rising. I learn new things and things just become easier by the day,” Bryant said. “To me, it’s almost kind of scary to me just because of the fact of how much I love the game — not only myself, I want my teammates to be great. The way that I feel, I don’t hesitate to share that with my teammates. And I’m going to continue to keep doing that and see where we go from there.”

The concept of team was a popular topic during Bryant’s first speaking session of this training camp. That goes along with the somewhat surprising revelation that, despite being just 25 years old, Bryant is one of this team’s oldest, most experienced receivers.

“I’m not the old guy — I’m not,” Bryant said with a smile. “I’m still one of the youngest.”

That might be true, but with the departure of Miles Austin in the offseason, even more eyes are on Bryant – not just to produce, but to lead. Bryant said he reached out to the receivers during the offseason, organizing dinners and other activities for the group. That said, he maintained his desire to keep the receiver corps on an even field.

“Because of the experience, yeah, but other than that nothing has changed. Everybody, in the wide receiver group, looks at each other as the same,” he said. “That’s how I want it and that’s how they want it and that’s how we’re going to keep it, and we’re just going to continue to try to make each other better.”

If Bryant can truly improve on 185 receptions for 2,615 yards and 25 touchdowns – his combined totals for 2012 and 2013 – he really will have something scary on his hands. The contract talk that surrounds those type of numbers is sure to be loud, but in that regard Bryant maintained his stance from the spring.

“I’m confident in my play and I’m pretty sure that’s going to take care of itself,” he said. “There is no need for me to be stressed out or worried about it — it’s going to come. Like I said, it’s deserving. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”

In the meantime, the work continues with the team’s practices. The guy throwing Bryant the ball had some good perspective on continuing to build on a Pro Bowl season.

“I talk with him a lot about taking ownership and being the best version of himself,” said Tony Romo. “He’s already good but now he can dig in and find those little things that only he knows.”


RELATED: Dez Bryant describes how he’s becoming a better pro

IRVING, Texas – Even after a career-high 93 catches and a career-high 13 touchdowns, there are ways for a receiver to get better.

So what would those be for Dez Bryant, as he attempts to compile his third straight 1,200-yard season?

“Coming quicker off the ball, being at the correct depth, being patient on your routes,” Bryant said. “Just because it’s open in a certain coverage – not giving too much details – but not taking the bait, finishing the whole route and executing that play the best way I possibly can.”

Whereas all the offseason questions used to center on his off-field antics, they now focus on how he’s perfecting his craft as a receiver. That’s a credit to Bryant, who continues to establish himself both as a player and a person.

Now one of the top receiving threats around, Bryant said he’s known since he entered the league he had a target on his back. The key for him now, after proving himself among the NFL’s best, is leading his position group and, most importantly, staying positive through the good and bad.

That latter point was the hardest thing for Bryant to do in his transition to the NFL.

“I knew in my heart I’m a positive guy, and instead of me trying to explain and tell the world that I’m a positive guy, why not just go out and just show it and let everybody see it for themselves?” Bryant said. “I honestly feel like that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m not here to impress anybody. I’ve been doing what I wanted to do since I stepped foot in the league, and that’s be a role model for these kids. I’m going to keep trying to build that.”

Bryant gives credit to other leaders on the team – both current and former, including Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, and Jason Hatcher – for showing him how to be a professional and how to handle himself the right way.

He said he’s taken what he already knew and what he learned from the veterans and helped it all sculpt him.

“I wasn’t understanding the whole process of how to be a professional player,” Bryant said. “As time went on, I started learning little by little and it all came together and still is.”

Bryant admitted it took him a while to understand how to be a professional. He had to figure that out early in his career, then get on the right track and remain steady.

He feels he’s done well with that recently, and as long as that continues, the questions thrown at him will all be football-related.

That’s a credit to Bryant, who’s overcome tribulations and let the positive influences from veterans around him mold him professionally and personally. He takes a great deal of pride in the steps that he’s taken throughout his career.

“I do, of course,” Bryant said. “I’ve got two baby boys and they watch me every day. I have to make sure I’m doing right.”

Filed under: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, David Helman, Jerry Jones interview, NFL, NFL Audio, NFL Dallas Cowboys Player Interview, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Network, NFL Video, Rowan Kavner Tagged: Dallas Cowboys news, Dallas Cowboys training camp 2014-2015, Dez Bryant, Jerry Jones

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

74

2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE - Dez Bryant committed to winning - “Walk around like a champion” - NFL Network interviews with Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones

Dez Bryant: “Walk around like a Champion” | 8:07 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant chats with Rich Eisen and Michael Irvin about his strong desire to win in the 2014-2015 season under the new offense. (Watch Video | No Audio)

Jerry on drafting Manziel “It was that close” | 8:00 | Jerry Jones sits down with Michael Irvin and Rich Eisen to discuss the upcoming 2014-2015 NFL season and how the Dallas Cowboys nearly drafted Johnny Manziel last May. (Watch Video | No Audio)

Dez Bryant: Contract will take care of itself | 4:39 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant meets with the media after a recent morning practice to talk about his expectations for the wide receiver group heading into camp. (Video | Audio)


RELATED: Dez Bryant continues to rise as a player and a young team leader

OXNARD, CA – By almost any measure, whether it’s his gaudy statistics, his rapidly-approaching payday or even his Madden rating, Dez Bryant is considered one of the league’s top receivers.

What Bryant said scares him is how much better he think he can still be.

“Truthfully, to be honest, I feel like, man, I’m still rising. I learn new things and things just become easier by the day,” Bryant said. “To me, it’s almost kind of scary to me just because of the fact of how much I love the game — not only myself, I want my teammates to be great. The way that I feel, I don’t hesitate to share that with my teammates. And I’m going to continue to keep doing that and see where we go from there.”

The concept of team was a popular topic during Bryant’s first speaking session of this training camp. That goes along with the somewhat surprising revelation that, despite being just 25 years old, Bryant is one of this team’s oldest, most experienced receivers.

“I’m not the old guy — I’m not,” Bryant said with a smile. “I’m still one of the youngest.”

That might be true, but with the departure of Miles Austin in the offseason, even more eyes are on Bryant – not just to produce, but to lead. Bryant said he reached out to the receivers during the offseason, organizing dinners and other activities for the group. That said, he maintained his desire to keep the receiver corps on an even field.

“Because of the experience, yeah, but other than that nothing has changed. Everybody, in the wide receiver group, looks at each other as the same,” he said. “That’s how I want it and that’s how they want it and that’s how we’re going to keep it, and we’re just going to continue to try to make each other better.”

If Bryant can truly improve on 185 receptions for 2,615 yards and 25 touchdowns – his combined totals for 2012 and 2013 – he really will have something scary on his hands. The contract talk that surrounds those type of numbers is sure to be loud, but in that regard Bryant maintained his stance from the spring.

“I’m confident in my play and I’m pretty sure that’s going to take care of itself,” he said. “There is no need for me to be stressed out or worried about it — it’s going to come. Like I said, it’s deserving. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”

In the meantime, the work continues with the team’s practices. The guy throwing Bryant the ball had some good perspective on continuing to build on a Pro Bowl season.

“I talk with him a lot about taking ownership and being the best version of himself,” said Tony Romo. “He’s already good but now he can dig in and find those little things that only he knows.”


RELATED: Dez Bryant describes how he’s becoming a better pro

IRVING, Texas – Even after a career-high 93 catches and a career-high 13 touchdowns, there are ways for a receiver to get better.

So what would those be for Dez Bryant, as he attempts to compile his third straight 1,200-yard season?

“Coming quicker off the ball, being at the correct depth, being patient on your routes,” Bryant said. “Just because it’s open in a certain coverage – not giving too much details – but not taking the bait, finishing the whole route and executing that play the best way I possibly can.”

Whereas all the offseason questions used to center on his off-field antics, they now focus on how he’s perfecting his craft as a receiver. That’s a credit to Bryant, who continues to establish himself both as a player and a person.

Now one of the top receiving threats around, Bryant said he’s known since he entered the league he had a target on his back. The key for him now, after proving himself among the NFL’s best, is leading his position group and, most importantly, staying positive through the good and bad.

That latter point was the hardest thing for Bryant to do in his transition to the NFL.

“I knew in my heart I’m a positive guy, and instead of me trying to explain and tell the world that I’m a positive guy, why not just go out and just show it and let everybody see it for themselves?” Bryant said. “I honestly feel like that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m not here to impress anybody. I’ve been doing what I wanted to do since I stepped foot in the league, and that’s be a role model for these kids. I’m going to keep trying to build that.”

Bryant gives credit to other leaders on the team – both current and former, including Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, and Jason Hatcher – for showing him how to be a professional and how to handle himself the right way.

He said he’s taken what he already knew and what he learned from the veterans and helped it all sculpt him.

“I wasn’t understanding the whole process of how to be a professional player,” Bryant said. “As time went on, I started learning little by little and it all came together and still is.”

Bryant admitted it took him a while to understand how to be a professional. He had to figure that out early in his career, then get on the right track and remain steady.

He feels he’s done well with that recently, and as long as that continues, the questions thrown at him will all be football-related.

That’s a credit to Bryant, who’s overcome tribulations and let the positive influences from veterans around him mold him professionally and personally. He takes a great deal of pride in the steps that he’s taken throughout his career.

“I do, of course,” Bryant said. “I’ve got two baby boys and they watch me every day. I have to make sure I’m doing right.”

Filed under: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, David Helman, Jerry Jones interview, NFL, NFL Audio, NFL Dallas Cowboys Player Interview, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Network, NFL Video, Rowan Kavner Tagged: Dallas Cowboys news, Dallas Cowboys training camp 2014-2015, Dez Bryant, Jerry Jones

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

24

In 2006, under then new-NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games for stomping on the head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode during a game.

In 2013, Brandon Meriweather was suspended for two games for “repeated violation of the NFL’s helmet-to-helmet policy.”

In 2014, Ray Rice was suspended for two games for knocking his then-fiancé unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

Does this not add up to anyone else? Let me get this straight: Rice was given the same punishment for knocking a woman unconscious on video as Meriweather was for tackling violations? And received a lesser suspension than Haynesworth, who’s violation was against another man and during a game when the man had protective gear on? Haynesworth’s suspension, at the time the longest ever for an on-field incident, was appropriate; Rice’s suspension is shockingly and disgustingly light. I am outraged, irate, infuriated… there aren’t enough words for my level of disgust at Ray Rice, the NFL and those supporting this wife beater.

We have all seen the video of the Ravens running back carrying Janay Palmer’s lifeless body out of the elevator and laying her carelessly on the floor. Ever the gentlemen, he makes sure to pull her feet out of the way so the doors could close. It wasn’t made public, but Atlantic City Police have said they have video of Rice actually punching Palmer unconscious. Think about that for a moment — Rice took his fist and hit his fiancé, who he supposedly loves, in the head so hard that she was out cold. But of course that doesn’t render the same punishment as Haynesworth using his foot to hit another man who was wearing protective equipment.

What might even make the light suspension worse is that it was handed down by Roger Goodell, the man who is supposedly “cleaning up the NFL.” Apparently cleaning up the NFL doesn’t refer to those who abuse women, only those who smoke pot, take performance enhancing drugs or hit other men too hard during games.

The first time I saw the video I gasped in horror. Rice’s attorney described the incident as a “minor physical altercation.” I’d like anyone to look at the video of Rice dragging Palmer’s limp body out of an elevator and tell me there was anything “minor” about it. That any lawyer would dare to use such a word—minor— to describe what Rice did to Palmer is utterly degrading to all women.

Adding insult to injury, the Baltimore Ravens released a statement a few days after the video went public, in which Coach Jim Harbaugh said, “The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they’re both committed to doing that….They understand their own issues. They’re getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that’s really positive.”

Wow. Bad grammar aside, are you $a*!@#(%&;@#! kidding me?! This isn’t “a couple [of] issues,” it is violent abuse that is indicative of the man Ray Rice truly is. Do we think this is the first (or last) time he has done this? Statistics tell us that it is likely not: Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18-24, 76% of females ages 25-34, and 81% of females ages 35-49. Palmer standing by his side, and even marrying him, after the incident does nothing to change what happened. Sadly, many women stay with the men who abuse them, either because they confuse abuse with love, they believe he “won’t do it again,” or because they are scared to leave because they fear for their safety or they are afraid to be alone.

As a female football fan, I’m insulted and disgusted that Rice was given such little punishment for his violent crime. I’m offended and sad that his lawyer would call the exchange “minor” and I’m further offended that the Baltimore Ravens organization, players and some fans are standing up for this wife beater – because that is exactly what Ray Rice is.

Despite saying he was “taking responsibility for his actions, Rice rejected a plea offer that would have spared the running back jail time in exchange for completing probation and undergoing anger management. Instead, he pleaded not guilty—not guilty to something that is on camera. In a move that says far too much about our society, Rice was accepted into a program for first-time offenders that will clear him of charges in as few as six months if he stays out of trouble and attends regular counseling.

I am sad that the only consequence for Rice knocking a woman out cold is a two-game suspension. No jail time, no probation, not even a fine. I am sad for Janay Palmer, even if she isn’t sad for herself. I’m sad that, yet again, violence against women goes underpunished. I’m sad that a man was let “off the hook” because he can run with a ball. And I’m sad that talent and money outweighs violence.

I hope no one cheers for Ray Rice in his first game back; I hope the Baltimore fans turn their backs when he is announced; I hope they boo him when he gets handed the ball. But, sadly, history tells us that if Rice does well on the field, all will be forgotten and forgiven. In fact, this week it was reported that “Rice gets warm reception from fans at practice.” Applauding a guy that is so tough he knocks out his girlfriend in an elevator where she had no where to run. They should be ashamed of themselves

I, for one, will not forget. I hope others do the same.

No Rice.

Domestic Violence Statistics*

*Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), both government agencies.

Read More of Jennifer at Real Women Love Sports

The NFL 2 games suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for assaulting his wife at an Atlantic City Casino had triggered a lot of opinions.  Female members of the sports media have been telling it like it, but they have been subjected to a lot of negative comments on social media.  Sam Ponder of ESPN tweeted about objectification and disrespecting women online, but she was subjected to mean-spirited comments, and they verbally attack her newborn baby.  Stephen A Smith who also worked on ESPN talked about women provoking violence on herself, but he has since apologized for saying that.  Michelle Beadle ripped Smith for his take on the subject, and talked about her own experience in abusive relationship.  Beadle was subjected to angry tweets from men for having an honest opinion on this issue.   Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio talked about this issue and took calls from listeners.   She was subjected to name calling and insults, and that is not right.   Some men are afraid of women who have strong opinions, and who work in the sports media.    They type mean-spirited insults and name calling that in poor taste.   I hope we have a mature conversation on this issue, but after this week it is not happening any time soon.

159

During NFL Training Camp, all teams are fixing to get back into the swing of thing in preparation for the upcoming season. The unfortunate thing is that injuries can also happen during that time as well. For the San Francisco 49ers, the injury bug has hit them as twice at the same position when running backs Kendall Hunter tore his ACL and LaMichael James went down with a dislocated elbow. While Frank Gore has been the catalyst in the backfield for a decade, age is certainly not on his side, and will need someone to complement in the rushing game.

San Francisco will now have to rely on 2nd year back Marcus Lattimore, who would actually be seeing playing time for the first time in his career after a knee injury in college prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. Lattimore’s injury in 2012 was not the only time he had issues staying healthy. During his Sophomore season, Lattimore sustained a torn ligament in his knee midway through the season. While Lattimore had 38 touchdowns and 2,677 rushing yards in 29 games at South Carolina, his durability and history of injuries is a bit of concern right now. Rookie Carlos Hyde is coming fresh off a 2013 campaign, helping the Ohio State Buckeyes to a 12-2 record and amassing 1,521 yards on the ground and 15 rushing touchdowns.

For the time being, it looks like Lattimore and Hyde will need to step up their roles for San Francisco until LaMichael James is cleared, and provide Frank Gore and the 49ers with reps in the rushing game. Both also now have a clear shot to at least compete for the backup spot on the depth chart due to the injuries to James and Kendall Hunter.

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Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended by the NFL for two games for an assault on his wife at an Atlantic City Casino.  There have been a lot of controversy about the league decision and it is bad for business. There is no excuse for his actions, and his wife should have not apologized for the incident.   In my opinion, Rice should have received a full year suspension for his actions.  The NFL has a big female fan fanbase, but this incident is a cause for concern among them.   How should the female fan base react to this suspension? The NFL should have a set policy for domestic abuse and DUIs and the punishment should be a one year suspension, and that should be a deterrence against these crimes.   I had the chance to listen and read many opinions on this matter, and it is clear that the perception is the NFL is not doing right to their female fan base.    Keith Olbermann of ESPN believes that the NFL doesn’t care about their female fanbase, but want their money.    How does the NFL justified this punishment it can’t because in the long run it will hurt the female fanbase, and it will hit them in the pocketbook.

Ben Roethlisberger is entering his 11 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.   He went from being almost traded for sexual assault allegations that got his suspended in 2010 to a family man with two children.    He has rebuilt his image, and now he can do something special.  He has two years left on his 100 million dollars contract, and the Steelers will talk about his contract before the 2015 season.    He could get greedy and ask for more money or he could give the Steelers a home town discount.    By giving them a discount Ben could let the Steelers sign other key players to be in good shape for a few more runs at winning multiple Super Bowls.    I feel Ben has some great years left in him the question is will he give the Steelers a few more Super Bowls as well.

98

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - The Boys Are Back website

OXNARD, Calif. – At long last, the Dallas Cowboys arrived at Naval Base Ventura County (at Point Mugu) and began their quest into the 2014-2015 season.

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t played a game in almost seven months, but their offseason has seen no shortage of excitement. There was the swapping of Pro Bowl caliber players at the offset of free agency, the team’s consideration of Johnny Manziel before eventually selecting Zack Martin in the 2014 NFL Draft and the loss of Sean Lee to a torn ACL on the first day of Organized Team Activities.

That doesn’t even include the summer storyline of Kyle Orton’s participation – or lack thereof – in offseason workouts before his eventual release last week.

None of that was able to sidetrack what was a highly-participated offseason program, and it certainly didn’t dampen any enthusiasm on the flight from Dallas to the West Coast.

“I can tell – there’s a certain energy on the plane. Guys are here and they’re ready to go. You can feel it,” Frederick said. “As you’re walking by, guys are talking about where they think we’re going and guys are ready to work, excited to show off what they’ve done and the hard work they’ve put in.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Tony Romo - The Boys Are Back website

The Dallas Cowboys arrived at Point Mugu, minutes away from their training camp headquarters at the River Ridge Residence Inn in Oxnard. Before departing to begin camp, the team met and signed autographs for military personnel and their families at the base.

“It’s so cool that they let us do this. Coming in here last year, I had no idea this is how it was going to work. They said something about landing on a military base, and I said ‘How does that work,’” Frederick said. “The opportunity that we get to come and land here, we’re just minutes away from the facility, which is really nice, instead of having to land at LAX or Burbank – one of those places where it’s going to take us a really long time to get out here.

“It’s not very easy to get to Oxnard from an airplane, so the opportunity they give us to do that – we’re very grateful for that. Going out and meeting and talking to those people, the stories that they have, it’s really an inspiration for us.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Jason Witten Travis Frederick - The Boys Are Back website

The work begins in earnest, with physicals, press conferences and meetings slated to begin today (Wednesday), with the first practices of the season tomorrow (on Thursday). To hear it from Frederick, that workload is something the team is ready for and something it has embraced from the early stages of the offseason.

“It’s purely work – we’re out here to work, we’re out here to make our team better,” he said. “Our team has done a really good job of doing things in the offseason, and I can speak especially for the offensive line and tell you that our group has put in the work and we’re ready to go – and I know that we’ve seen that throughout the others.”

There won’t be any shortage of facets to work on. Oxnard will be the site for Tony Romo’s first true work of the offseason, as he limited himself during OTAs and minicamp. The same should go for Henry Melton, who was still rehabbing a torn ACL during the spring. The Pro Bowl defensive tackle will hope to spark a unit that not only finished last in the league last season, but lost playmakers and longtime veterans in DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher – not to mention Lee.

“Even though we lost a couple of great players, I feel like that just forced everybody else to step up and know that their role’s going to become a lot more important because of the people that we lost,” said Barry Church. “I feel like that’s making everybody study the playbook a lot more and knowing the defense front and back going into this season, and that should help us play a lot faster.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Jason Garrett Barry Church - The Boys Are Back website

Plenty of eyes will be on Church and the defense, as the need for defensive improvement has been one of the dominant storylines of the offseason. But as the Cowboys made their way to the autograph signing, one thing was abundantly clear – the offseason storylines of Valley Ranch are gone, and the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 season has begun in Oxnard.

“The weather’s a lot better than it is back in Texas,” Church said. “I feel great. I feel like this is going to be a great camp for us.”


RELATED PHOTOS: Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 season journey begins …  

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team Bus - The Boys Are Back website

Dallas Cowboys take buses to the airport for Training Camp departure

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team Airplane - The Boys Are Back website

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THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Zack Martin - The Boys Are Back website

Zack Martin and 89 teammates ready to work

Filed under: Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, David Helman, NFL, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Photographs Tagged: 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Dallas Cowboys training camp 2014-2015, Oxnard

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

149

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - The Boys Are Back website

OXNARD, Calif. – At long last, the Dallas Cowboys arrived at Naval Base Ventura County (at Point Mugu) and began their quest into the 2014-2015 season.

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t played a game in almost seven months, but their offseason has seen no shortage of excitement. There was the swapping of Pro Bowl caliber players at the offset of free agency, the team’s consideration of Johnny Manziel before eventually selecting Zack Martin in the 2014 NFL Draft and the loss of Sean Lee to a torn ACL on the first day of Organized Team Activities.

That doesn’t even include the summer storyline of Kyle Orton’s participation – or lack thereof – in offseason workouts before his eventual release last week.

None of that was able to sidetrack what was a highly-participated offseason program, and it certainly didn’t dampen any enthusiasm on the flight from Dallas to the West Coast.

“I can tell – there’s a certain energy on the plane. Guys are here and they’re ready to go. You can feel it,” Frederick said. “As you’re walking by, guys are talking about where they think we’re going and guys are ready to work, excited to show off what they’ve done and the hard work they’ve put in.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Tony Romo - The Boys Are Back website

The Dallas Cowboys arrived at Point Mugu, minutes away from their training camp headquarters at the River Ridge Residence Inn in Oxnard. Before departing to begin camp, the team met and signed autographs for military personnel and their families at the base.

“It’s so cool that they let us do this. Coming in here last year, I had no idea this is how it was going to work. They said something about landing on a military base, and I said ‘How does that work,’” Frederick said. “The opportunity that we get to come and land here, we’re just minutes away from the facility, which is really nice, instead of having to land at LAX or Burbank – one of those places where it’s going to take us a really long time to get out here.

“It’s not very easy to get to Oxnard from an airplane, so the opportunity they give us to do that – we’re very grateful for that. Going out and meeting and talking to those people, the stories that they have, it’s really an inspiration for us.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Jason Witten Travis Frederick - The Boys Are Back website

The work begins in earnest, with physicals, press conferences and meetings slated to begin today (Wednesday), with the first practices of the season tomorrow (on Thursday). To hear it from Frederick, that workload is something the team is ready for and something it has embraced from the early stages of the offseason.

“It’s purely work – we’re out here to work, we’re out here to make our team better,” he said. “Our team has done a really good job of doing things in the offseason, and I can speak especially for the offensive line and tell you that our group has put in the work and we’re ready to go – and I know that we’ve seen that throughout the others.”

There won’t be any shortage of facets to work on. Oxnard will be the site for Tony Romo’s first true work of the offseason, as he limited himself during OTAs and minicamp. The same should go for Henry Melton, who was still rehabbing a torn ACL during the spring. The Pro Bowl defensive tackle will hope to spark a unit that not only finished last in the league last season, but lost playmakers and longtime veterans in DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher – not to mention Lee.

“Even though we lost a couple of great players, I feel like that just forced everybody else to step up and know that their role’s going to become a lot more important because of the people that we lost,” said Barry Church. “I feel like that’s making everybody study the playbook a lot more and knowing the defense front and back going into this season, and that should help us play a lot faster.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Jason Garrett Barry Church - The Boys Are Back website

Plenty of eyes will be on Church and the defense, as the need for defensive improvement has been one of the dominant storylines of the offseason. But as the Cowboys made their way to the autograph signing, one thing was abundantly clear – the offseason storylines of Valley Ranch are gone, and the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 season has begun in Oxnard.

“The weather’s a lot better than it is back in Texas,” Church said. “I feel great. I feel like this is going to be a great camp for us.”


RELATED PHOTOS: Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 season journey begins …  

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team Bus - The Boys Are Back website

Dallas Cowboys take buses to the airport for Training Camp departure

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team Airplane - The Boys Are Back website

Dallas Cowboys players head up into the airplane

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team Cargo on Airplane - The Boys Are Back website

The Dallas Cowboys cargo is loaded

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team Airplane pilots - The Boys Are Back website

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THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Team flight to California - The Boys Are Back website

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THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - America's Sweethearts - Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders - The Boys Are Back website

Lady’s first! America’s Sweethearts – The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders lead the way

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Jason Witten and teammates depart - The Boys Are Back website

Players deplane at Naval Base near Oxnard, California

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - America's Sweethearts - Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders autograph

Soldiers visit with one of America’s Sweethearts – The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

THE BOYS ARE BACK - Dallas Cowboys arrive at Naval Base near Oxnard, California - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - Zack Martin - The Boys Are Back website

Zack Martin and 89 teammates ready to work

Filed under: Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, David Helman, NFL, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Photographs Tagged: 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Dallas Cowboys training camp 2014-2015, Oxnard

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The Boys Are Back 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Schedule - Dallas Cowboys 2014 schedule - Dallas Cowboys 2014 Schedule - The Boys Are Back website 2014-2015 - button

EDITORS NOTE: For more information regarding the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 Schedule or 2014-2015 NFL Schedule, click HERE (or the NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule button)

The Dallas Cowboys Calendar of Events is also featured on this site … Click on the NFL Dallas Cowboys Calendar button for continually updated information.

 

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If you’re looking for the Dallas Cowboys 2014 schedule; dallas cowboys schedule 2014; dallas cowboys schedule 2014-2015; 2014-2015 dallas cowboys schedule; dallas cowboys schedule 2014-15; dallas cowboys 2014 schedule; cowboys 2014-2015 schedule; cowboys schedule 2014-15; cowboys schedule 2014; nfl schedule 2014 2015; cowboys schedule 2014-2015; 2014 2015 nfl schedule; cowboys 2014 2015 schedule; dallas cowboy schedule 2014; cowboys 2014 schedule; dallas cowboys 2014-15 nfl schedule; dallas cowboys 2014 schedule; dallas cowboys schedule 2014 2015; 2014 dallas cowboys schedule; dallas cowboys 2014-15 schedule; dallas cowboys 2014 and 2015 schedule; dallas cowboys, nfl, cawboy de dalas 2014 2015, cowboy de dalas 2014 2015, Dallas Cowboys schedule free, Dallas Cowboys schedule download, Dallas Cowboys schedule wallpaper, Dallas Cowboys calendar, Dallas Cowboys calendar of events, and more … you found it!!!

Filed under: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, NFL, NFL Dallas Cowboys Preseason, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Regular Season Tagged: 2014 Dallas Cowboys regular season schedule, 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule, Dallas Cowboys 2014 2015 schedule, Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015, Dallas Cowboys schedule download, Dallas Cowboys schedule free, Dallas Cowboys schedule printable, NFL Schedule 2014 2015

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The Boys Are Back 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Schedule - Dallas Cowboys 2014 schedule - Dallas Cowboys 2014 Schedule - The Boys Are Back website 2014-2015 - button

EDITORS NOTE: For more information regarding the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 Schedule or 2014-2015 NFL Schedule, click HERE (or the NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule button)

The Dallas Cowboys Calendar of Events is also featured on this site … Click on the NFL Dallas Cowboys Calendar button for continually updated information.

 

Thank you for visiting The Boys Are Back website!

Click HERE to see the latest news about your 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys!

Help spread the word about The Boys Are Back website!

Please use the SHARE buttons below!

If you’re looking for the Dallas Cowboys 2014 schedule; dallas cowboys schedule 2014; dallas cowboys schedule 2014-2015; 2014-2015 dallas cowboys schedule; dallas cowboys schedule 2014-15; dallas cowboys 2014 schedule; cowboys 2014-2015 schedule; cowboys schedule 2014-15; cowboys schedule 2014; nfl schedule 2014 2015; cowboys schedule 2014-2015; 2014 2015 nfl schedule; cowboys 2014 2015 schedule; dallas cowboy schedule 2014; cowboys 2014 schedule; dallas cowboys 2014-15 nfl schedule; dallas cowboys 2014 schedule; dallas cowboys schedule 2014 2015; 2014 dallas cowboys schedule; dallas cowboys 2014-15 schedule; dallas cowboys 2014 and 2015 schedule; dallas cowboys, nfl, cawboy de dalas 2014 2015, cowboy de dalas 2014 2015, Dallas Cowboys schedule free, Dallas Cowboys schedule download, Dallas Cowboys schedule wallpaper, Dallas Cowboys calendar, Dallas Cowboys calendar of events, and more … you found it!!!

Filed under: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, NFL, NFL Dallas Cowboys Preseason, NFL Dallas Cowboys Schedule, NFL Regular Season Tagged: 2014 Dallas Cowboys regular season schedule, 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule, Dallas Cowboys 2014 2015 schedule, Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015, Dallas Cowboys schedule download, Dallas Cowboys schedule free, Dallas Cowboys schedule printable, NFL Schedule 2014 2015

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With the Steelers beginning Training Camp this Saturday at St. Vincent College in Latrobe there are a lot of questions that have to be answered.  The defense has gotten younger and faster, but can they can force turnovers and make big plays when they need to.  Will new offensive line coach Mike Munchak help this line play up to its potential, and it would help for them to be healthy and gel together.   Will the addition of LeGarrette Blount and a healthy Le’Veon Bell turn the running game into a key factor for the offense.   Will Markus Wheaton come on strong and take the pressure of Antonio Brown.   Will Ben Roethlisberger continue his play from late in the season and help the team  get off to a strong start. Will Dri Archer be a big factor in the running, receiving and return game.   Could Adam Podlesh or Brad Wing help them have a consistent punter  to pin team back near their goal line.  These are the questions the Pittsburgh Steelers are facing in training camp and these next few weeks will answer some of these questions.

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THE DEZ DUO IN DALLAS - Dallas Cowboys sign WR Dezmon Briscoe to 2014-2015 training camp roster; DT Chris Whaley waived - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys added another Dez to the receiving group, less than 24 hours before the team departs for training camp.

Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe will be joining Dez Bryant and the rest of the Cowboys, who now have 11 receivers on the roster, at camp. The Cowboys also waived defensive tackle Chris Whaley today, but he could return to the team on the non-football injury reserve list (if he clears waivers). 

Briscoe, a Dallas native, was a 2010 sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. He went to Tampa Bay later that year, where he played in his first two NFL games. Briscoe was with the Bucs in 2010 and 2011 and has since been with the Washington Redskins, but he hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2012.

For his career, Briscoe’s compiled 43 catches for 502 yards and seven touchdowns in 25 games. The former Kansas Jayhawk missed last season in Washington after going on injured reserve.

Briscoe’s best season came in 2011 with the Bucs, when he played in all 16 games and had 35 catches, 387 yards and six touchdowns. He’s got intriguing size at 6-2, 210 pounds, giving the Dallas Cowboys another young receiver at an increasingly taller position group in Dallas.

It’ll be an uphill climb for Briscoe to make the team. He’s now the 11th receiver on the Cowboys roster. They’re expected to keep five or six receivers on the final 53-man roster.

Filed under: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Roster moves, NFL, NFL Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Update, NFL Photographs, Rowan Kavner Tagged: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys roster 2014-2015, Dallas Cowboys training camp 2014-2015, Dezmon Briscoe

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128

THE DEZ DUO IN DALLAS - Dallas Cowboys sign WR Dezmon Briscoe to 2014-2015 training camp roster; DT Chris Whaley waived - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys added another Dez to the receiving group, less than 24 hours before the team departs for training camp.

Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe will be joining Dez Bryant and the rest of the Cowboys, who now have 11 receivers on the roster, at camp. The Cowboys also waived defensive tackle Chris Whaley today, but he could return to the team on the non-football injury reserve list (if he clears waivers). 

Briscoe, a Dallas native, was a 2010 sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. He went to Tampa Bay later that year, where he played in his first two NFL games. Briscoe was with the Bucs in 2010 and 2011 and has since been with the Washington Redskins, but he hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2012.

For his career, Briscoe’s compiled 43 catches for 502 yards and seven touchdowns in 25 games. The former Kansas Jayhawk missed last season in Washington after going on injured reserve.

Briscoe’s best season came in 2011 with the Bucs, when he played in all 16 games and had 35 catches, 387 yards and six touchdowns. He’s got intriguing size at 6-2, 210 pounds, giving the Dallas Cowboys another young receiver at an increasingly taller position group in Dallas.

It’ll be an uphill climb for Briscoe to make the team. He’s now the 11th receiver on the Cowboys roster. They’re expected to keep five or six receivers on the final 53-man roster.

Filed under: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Roster moves, NFL, NFL Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Update, NFL Photographs, Rowan Kavner Tagged: Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys roster 2014-2015, Dallas Cowboys training camp 2014-2015, Dezmon Briscoe

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

66

MASTERMINDING A MARINELLI MIRACLE - Anticipating the Dallas Cowboys 55th NFL Training Camp - Overcoming historic 2013 defensive struggles - Defensive coordinator faced restoring faith in America’s Team

IRVING, Texas – Defense … defense … defense.

That will be the Dallas Cowboys battle cry when they land Tuesday (July 22, 2014) at Naval Air Station Point Mugu in Southern California.

Defense … defense … defense.

That will be the Dallas Cowboys overriding priority during their upcoming three-and-a-half week training camp stay at the River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, Calif., starting with the first practice on Thursday preparing for the 2014-2015 NFL season.

And for good reason.

Looking back at 2013 … close, but no cigar:

When analyzing 2013’s third consecutive 8-8 season, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t score enough points to win two of the eight games they lost: 17-16 to Kansas City and 24-22 to Philadelphia.

In the other six losses, in order to win the Cowboys would have needed to score 31, 52, 32, 50, 46 and 38 points. In other words, an unreasonable average of 41.5 points a game. And despite that, the Dallas Cowboys lost three of those games by a combined total of only five points.

Why, this 2013 Cowboys team averaged 27 points a game, normally a total worthy of a winning record. Only five teams last year totaled more points than the Cowboys’ 439. Those teams’ combined average record was 10.6-5.4. Of the five, only the Chicago Bears with 445 points did not finish with a winning record (8-8).

The wrong side of history:

But see, that’s what happen when you throw down not only the worst defense in the league in 2013, giving up an ungodly 6,645 yards – third most in NFL history – but also needlessly to point out, the worst defense in the Dallas Cowboys’ 54-year history.

That’s what happens when you give up at least 30 points seven times in a season, not surprisingly losing six of those games. And to think, in those six losses the Cowboys averaged 30 points a game.

That’s what happens when you set an NFL single-season record for allowing four quarterbacks to throw for more than 400 yards in a game, and there would have been a fifth if not for New Orleans calling off the dogs in a 49-17 thrashing of the Cowboys with Drew Brees at 392, the Saints in no need of even attempting a pass over the final 11:11 of the game.

That’s what happens when you are scorched for 33 passing touchdowns, matching the franchise single-season high previously set in 1962 (5-8-1) and matched in 2010 (6-10).

That’s what happens when you give up a total of 51 touchdowns, one short of the franchise single-season record, again set in 1962 when the expansion Cowboys were in their infancy.

That’s what happens when you shatter the record for having given up the most first downs in a season (388) by 67 and also set a franchise single-game record by giving up 40 first downs to the Saints, seven more than the previous high.

We could agonizingly go on and on, but really there is no need. You get the picture. Leave it up to these Dallas Cowboys to provide a 180-degree different meaning of the historic Doomsday Defense.

So yeah, 2014, defense.

And if this defense does not improve from last year’s horrendous production, which by the way wasn’t that much worse than the 2010 and 2012 versions, to at least be mediocre (by definition average or middling) then this Cowboys team will not eradicate itself from that deepening rut of three consecutive 8-8 seasons.

In fact, considering all this, how in Hades did the Dallas Cowboys ever go 8-8 last year with this &%$# defense?

Next coach up … Marinelli’s Mission:

So when training camp begins you half expect to hear, Good morning, Mr. Marinelli. Your mission, Rod, should you choose to accept it …

Too late, he’s already made his choice, Rod Marinelli, the former Vietnam Army vet, having taken over for Monte Kiffin as the Cowboys’ third defensive coordinator in three years and fifth in the last five. Hmmm, sensing a trend here since Jason Garrett has taken over as head coach at the 1-7 point of the 2010 season – obviously for good reason if checking the defensive performances the past four years?

Oh yeah, and to make Marinelli’s job that much tougher – as if it wasn’t tough enough to start with – the Dallas Cowboys ultimately part ways with defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the franchise’s all-time sack leader, and declined not to overpay their 32-year-old free-agent defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, last year’s NFL Pro Bowler and team sack leader.

Bad enough? Ha! Marinelli also will be without the heart of soul of this defense, middle linebacker Sean Lee, already rehabbing from tearing his ACL during the first offseason practice. And there is no telling if 2012 Pro Bowl defensive end Anthony Spencer will return this season, or if at all, following the career-threatening microfracture surgery last year to repair damaged cartilage under his left kneecap.

Want to wish the man luck?

Marinelli remains stoically undaunted in his task of reviving a Cowboys defense which has not ranked better than 14th (so average) since finishing eighth in 2008. And he just might need every bit of his previous 37 years of coaching experience to pull this off.

Next man up … Marinelli’s Misfits:

When Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked back in June why he thinks this defense can be better than last year’s, the one riddled with injury after injury and playing an unheard of 20 different defensive linemen, no wonder he said, “Because we were so bad last year there is nowhere else to go but up.”

Then, a tad more serious, Jones said, “We are better right now, certainly on paper and on the field, than how we finished last year.”

You know, he’s got a point. By time that final winner-take-the-East game rolled around last year on Dec. 29th, the Cowboys defensively were playing without Lee, Spencer, Tyrone Crawford and Justin Durant. Ware was playing with one arm, his elbow in need of surgery and still with a hamstring that never got right from training camp. George Selvie and Morris Claiborne were playing with shoulders in need of offseason surgeries, although Claiborne because of a hamstring injury was playing for the first time since early November. Ernie Sims was out with a groin injury.

Scarier? Here is a list of Marinelli’s Misfits who actually played in the game: Edgar Jones, Frank Kearse, Corvey Irvin, Everette Brown and Jarius Wynn. And that’s not to mention having to start rookie safety Jeff Heath, DeVonte Holloman at middle linebacker for just the second time in his football career and playing former defensive end Kyle Wilber at strong-side linebacker.

What a mess.

So yeah, indeed Jerry has a point.

Now, so far, unlike last year when the Dallas Cowboys were signing guys on Monday, practicing ’em on Wednesday and lining ’em up on defense Sunday, the Cowboys will land in Southern California with only one guy just coming off his couch: former eighth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft Rolando McClain (more on him below), signing him a few weeks ago out of desperation to replace Lee at middle linebacker, taking a chance on a guy who did not play football last year, claiming to have retired, and then walked away from the Ravens this past April after a brief comeback fling. Who knows?

Masterminding Marinelli Miracles:

For this defense to improve here is what definitely needs to happen …

  • Defensive tackle Henry Melton, the free agent signed to replace Hatcher, must return to his 2012 Pro Bowl form of Chicago before tearing his ACL in the third game of last year.
  • The versatile defensive lineman Crawford must make an impact, no matter if it’s at defensive end, the 3-technique defensive tackle or as a pass-rushing defensive tackle on the nickel.
  • Second-round (and third-round) draft choice DeMarcus Lawrence must provide quarterback pressure at defensive end for what was a pressure-deficient defense last year.
  • Defensive end Selvie, second last year with seven sacks, must prove not to be a one-year wonder on the strong side after coming off his couch to start 16 games.
  • Wilber must prove he’s the real deal at strong-side linebacker after playing surprisingly well at a position he hadn’t played previously before the final month of the 2013 season.
  • Weak-side ’backer Bruce Carter, who has seemed much more engaged this offseason than last year, like really into it, has to play to the team’s vision of him.

Some of this happens, and you won’t have to worry about that porous secondary of last year hung out to dry far too many times with little to no pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If he remains healthy, watch out for Claiborne.

Muddled in the middle:

That brings us to middle linebacker, enough to make your head hurt without Lee available. This offseason we’ve seen rookie Anthony Hitchens there. We’ve seen the veteran Durant there. We’ve seen Holloman there, a guy who played remarkably well in his only two starts last year.

So did the Dallas Cowboys, and they’ve decided to bring in sight unseen Rolando McClain on a one-year minimum deal, the fourth-year veteran having missed all of 2013 and really this entire offseason. An inexpensive leap of faith? He showed up in better shape than expected, but then his physical ability has never been questioned.

The 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp will serve as a cardiovascular examination of his heart. Does the dude really want to play? If so, the Cowboys might have just hit this one out of the park.

Restoring faith in America’s Team:

So here we go, the 55th training camp beginning Tuesday for the Dallas Cowboys. Heading West in search of the illusive upgrade to finishing so-so, half-n-half, or menza-menza.

And in order to break out of that dubious 8-8 malaise the mere mention of the Dallas Cowboys defense mustn’t be preceded with a dirty word.


Special Edition - Training Camp Preview Video - Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

Special Edition: Training Camp Preview Video (CBS11) | Duration 20:10 | Follow the story of the Dallas Cowboys as they make their way though the offseason and on their way to their 2014-2015 training camp. (Watch Video | Listen Audio)

Filed under: Bill Jones, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, Edited: Robert D Knight, Mickey Spagnola, NFL, NFL Audio, NFL Photographs, NFL Video Tagged: America’s Team, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys Defense, Rod Marinelli

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

252

MASTERMINDING A MARINELLI MIRACLE - Anticipating the Dallas Cowboys 55th NFL Training Camp - Overcoming historic 2013 defensive struggles - Defensive coordinator faced restoring faith in America’s Team

IRVING, Texas – Defense … defense … defense.

That will be the Dallas Cowboys battle cry when they land Tuesday (July 22, 2014) at Naval Air Station Point Mugu in Southern California.

Defense … defense … defense.

That will be the Dallas Cowboys overriding priority during their upcoming three-and-a-half week training camp stay at the River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, Calif., starting with the first practice on Thursday preparing for the 2014-2015 NFL season.

And for good reason.

Looking back at 2013 … close, but no cigar:

When analyzing 2013’s third consecutive 8-8 season, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t score enough points to win two of the eight games they lost: 17-16 to Kansas City and 24-22 to Philadelphia.

In the other six losses, in order to win the Cowboys would have needed to score 31, 52, 32, 50, 46 and 38 points. In other words, an unreasonable average of 41.5 points a game. And despite that, the Dallas Cowboys lost three of those games by a combined total of only five points.

Why, this 2013 Cowboys team averaged 27 points a game, normally a total worthy of a winning record. Only five teams last year totaled more points than the Cowboys’ 439. Those teams’ combined average record was 10.6-5.4. Of the five, only the Chicago Bears with 445 points did not finish with a winning record (8-8).

The wrong side of history:

But see, that’s what happen when you throw down not only the worst defense in the league in 2013, giving up an ungodly 6,645 yards – third most in NFL history – but also needlessly to point out, the worst defense in the Dallas Cowboys’ 54-year history.

That’s what happens when you give up at least 30 points seven times in a season, not surprisingly losing six of those games. And to think, in those six losses the Cowboys averaged 30 points a game.

That’s what happens when you set an NFL single-season record for allowing four quarterbacks to throw for more than 400 yards in a game, and there would have been a fifth if not for New Orleans calling off the dogs in a 49-17 thrashing of the Cowboys with Drew Brees at 392, the Saints in no need of even attempting a pass over the final 11:11 of the game.

That’s what happens when you are scorched for 33 passing touchdowns, matching the franchise single-season high previously set in 1962 (5-8-1) and matched in 2010 (6-10).

That’s what happens when you give up a total of 51 touchdowns, one short of the franchise single-season record, again set in 1962 when the expansion Cowboys were in their infancy.

That’s what happens when you shatter the record for having given up the most first downs in a season (388) by 67 and also set a franchise single-game record by giving up 40 first downs to the Saints, seven more than the previous high.

We could agonizingly go on and on, but really there is no need. You get the picture. Leave it up to these Dallas Cowboys to provide a 180-degree different meaning of the historic Doomsday Defense.

So yeah, 2014, defense.

And if this defense does not improve from last year’s horrendous production, which by the way wasn’t that much worse than the 2010 and 2012 versions, to at least be mediocre (by definition average or middling) then this Cowboys team will not eradicate itself from that deepening rut of three consecutive 8-8 seasons.

In fact, considering all this, how in Hades did the Dallas Cowboys ever go 8-8 last year with this &%$# defense?

Next coach up … Marinelli’s Mission:

So when training camp begins you half expect to hear, Good morning, Mr. Marinelli. Your mission, Rod, should you choose to accept it …

Too late, he’s already made his choice, Rod Marinelli, the former Vietnam Army vet, having taken over for Monte Kiffin as the Cowboys’ third defensive coordinator in three years and fifth in the last five. Hmmm, sensing a trend here since Jason Garrett has taken over as head coach at the 1-7 point of the 2010 season – obviously for good reason if checking the defensive performances the past four years?

Oh yeah, and to make Marinelli’s job that much tougher – as if it wasn’t tough enough to start with – the Dallas Cowboys ultimately part ways with defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the franchise’s all-time sack leader, and declined not to overpay their 32-year-old free-agent defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, last year’s NFL Pro Bowler and team sack leader.

Bad enough? Ha! Marinelli also will be without the heart of soul of this defense, middle linebacker Sean Lee, already rehabbing from tearing his ACL during the first offseason practice. And there is no telling if 2012 Pro Bowl defensive end Anthony Spencer will return this season, or if at all, following the career-threatening microfracture surgery last year to repair damaged cartilage under his left kneecap.

Want to wish the man luck?

Marinelli remains stoically undaunted in his task of reviving a Cowboys defense which has not ranked better than 14th (so average) since finishing eighth in 2008. And he just might need every bit of his previous 37 years of coaching experience to pull this off.

Next man up … Marinelli’s Misfits:

When Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked back in June why he thinks this defense can be better than last year’s, the one riddled with injury after injury and playing an unheard of 20 different defensive linemen, no wonder he said, “Because we were so bad last year there is nowhere else to go but up.”

Then, a tad more serious, Jones said, “We are better right now, certainly on paper and on the field, than how we finished last year.”

You know, he’s got a point. By time that final winner-take-the-East game rolled around last year on Dec. 29th, the Cowboys defensively were playing without Lee, Spencer, Tyrone Crawford and Justin Durant. Ware was playing with one arm, his elbow in need of surgery and still with a hamstring that never got right from training camp. George Selvie and Morris Claiborne were playing with shoulders in need of offseason surgeries, although Claiborne because of a hamstring injury was playing for the first time since early November. Ernie Sims was out with a groin injury.

Scarier? Here is a list of Marinelli’s Misfits who actually played in the game: Edgar Jones, Frank Kearse, Corvey Irvin, Everette Brown and Jarius Wynn. And that’s not to mention having to start rookie safety Jeff Heath, DeVonte Holloman at middle linebacker for just the second time in his football career and playing former defensive end Kyle Wilber at strong-side linebacker.

What a mess.

So yeah, indeed Jerry has a point.

Now, so far, unlike last year when the Dallas Cowboys were signing guys on Monday, practicing ’em on Wednesday and lining ’em up on defense Sunday, the Cowboys will land in Southern California with only one guy just coming off his couch: former eighth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft Rolando McClain (more on him below), signing him a few weeks ago out of desperation to replace Lee at middle linebacker, taking a chance on a guy who did not play football last year, claiming to have retired, and then walked away from the Ravens this past April after a brief comeback fling. Who knows?

Masterminding Marinelli Miracles:

For this defense to improve here is what definitely needs to happen …

  • Defensive tackle Henry Melton, the free agent signed to replace Hatcher, must return to his 2012 Pro Bowl form of Chicago before tearing his ACL in the third game of last year.
  • The versatile defensive lineman Crawford must make an impact, no matter if it’s at defensive end, the 3-technique defensive tackle or as a pass-rushing defensive tackle on the nickel.
  • Second-round (and third-round) draft choice DeMarcus Lawrence must provide quarterback pressure at defensive end for what was a pressure-deficient defense last year.
  • Defensive end Selvie, second last year with seven sacks, must prove not to be a one-year wonder on the strong side after coming off his couch to start 16 games.
  • Wilber must prove he’s the real deal at strong-side linebacker after playing surprisingly well at a position he hadn’t played previously before the final month of the 2013 season.
  • Weak-side ’backer Bruce Carter, who has seemed much more engaged this offseason than last year, like really into it, has to play to the team’s vision of him.

Some of this happens, and you won’t have to worry about that porous secondary of last year hung out to dry far too many times with little to no pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If he remains healthy, watch out for Claiborne.

Muddled in the middle:

That brings us to middle linebacker, enough to make your head hurt without Lee available. This offseason we’ve seen rookie Anthony Hitchens there. We’ve seen the veteran Durant there. We’ve seen Holloman there, a guy who played remarkably well in his only two starts last year.

So did the Dallas Cowboys, and they’ve decided to bring in sight unseen Rolando McClain on a one-year minimum deal, the fourth-year veteran having missed all of 2013 and really this entire offseason. An inexpensive leap of faith? He showed up in better shape than expected, but then his physical ability has never been questioned.

The 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp will serve as a cardiovascular examination of his heart. Does the dude really want to play? If so, the Cowboys might have just hit this one out of the park.

Restoring faith in America’s Team:

So here we go, the 55th training camp beginning Tuesday for the Dallas Cowboys. Heading West in search of the illusive upgrade to finishing so-so, half-n-half, or menza-menza.

And in order to break out of that dubious 8-8 malaise the mere mention of the Dallas Cowboys defense mustn’t be preceded with a dirty word.


Special Edition - Training Camp Preview Video - Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

Special Edition: Training Camp Preview Video (CBS11) | Duration 20:10 | Follow the story of the Dallas Cowboys as they make their way though the offseason and on their way to their 2014-2015 training camp. (Watch Video | Listen Audio)

Filed under: Bill Jones, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys News, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, Edited: Robert D Knight, Mickey Spagnola, NFL, NFL Audio, NFL Photographs, NFL Video Tagged: America’s Team, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys Defense, Rod Marinelli

Read more great Cowboys news at The Boys are Back

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