Postcard from camp: Cowboys
I'm in San Antonio, at the first portion of the split training camp of the Cowboys. Dallas, in a bow to their loyal Texas fans, trains inside the Alamodome for two weeks, then splits for the cooler climes of Oxnard, Calif., 75 miles north of downtown Los Angeles and bordering the Pacific Ocean. The cool sea breezes there actually make the dog days of August not so dog-like -- and the trip allows the Cowboys to continue the tradition of training in southern California started by
1. Dallas has to have the best skill-player depth in the NFL.
2. I've been coming to Dallas training camps for a long time. And I haven't seen or felt the kind of confidence I felt here over the last day and a half since the Cowboys were a Super Bowl team in the mid-90s. Spent some time with
Last point about Romo: He lost about seven pounds, which isn't that big of a deal, but it looks like he's moving around better and more freely than he did a year ago. Of course, it's easy to be moving around without much effort on the fifth day of camp. Lets see how mobile he looks in the fifth week of the season.
I didn't see first-round wideout Dez Bryant light it up in the two workouts I saw the way he lit it up over the weekend. (Wednesday morning's installation walkthrough for the newbies made it futile to make judgments on players.) But this is how high Bryant's stock is: Two members of the Cowboy hierarchy told me they've got to start ratcheting down the Bryant's-a-superstar talk coming out of camp. So you watch -- you're going to start hearing the coaches say, "This kid's got a long way to go,'' in the next week or so. But deep down, the Cowboys have been wowed by his work ethic, ability to go up and make tough catches, and how quickly he's picking up the offense.
Very good lunch selection at the Cowboys training table in the team headquarters, the San Antonio Grand Hyatt Hotel, across the highway from the Alamodome.
1. I won't see a team with better 1 to 80 talent (I don't think) on the rest of my trip. If Dallas stays healthy, it'll be a very tough out in the playoffs.
2. There is no tougher road schedule than this one: at Washington, at Houston, at Minnesota, at Green Bay, at the Giants, at Indianapolis, at Arizona, at Philadelphia on New Year's weekend. Look at that schedule. Except for Washington (and this could change, depending on how quickly
3. The Cowboys seem worried, really worried about only one position -- kicker. That's where
4. What's odd: Listening to vendors in the Alamodome at 9:15 a.m. call out, "Beer here! Miller Lite! Beer here!''
5. Sight I thought I'd never see: Felix Jones (221 pounds) heavier than Marion Barber (214).