The long wait is over -- FOOTBALL IS BACK!
The Dallas Cowboys reported to training camp on Tuesday, and had their first practice on Wednesday. They put on the pads Thursday for their first two-a-day practices. I think I'm in heaven.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a die-hard Cowboys fan. Since their inception in 1960, I have only missed one game. I have caught all the others, either on TV, on the radio or in person. The only one I missed was the day I got shot, and I was being operated on while the game was being played. Even then, my daughter tells me that my first question on waking up was "Did the Cowboys win?"
But enough about me. The Cowboys are in camp, and this year they have a new coach. I'm not thrilled about this. I was a big Parcells fan and had hoped he would stay a couple more years. But I'm willing to give new coach Wade Phillips a chance. At least he's a Texas boy with a good pedigree. I thought his father, Bum Phillips, was a great coach for Houston during their "luv ya blue" days. It was good to see Bum at the first practice.
Everyone seems to have come in with a good attitude. Even T.O. admits he was not an "impact player" last year, and is aiming to be better this year. Jason Garrett is back as the new offensive coordinator. He promises to have a less predictable offense this year. I certainly hope so.
Right now, the big worry about the offense is the line. They must be better than last year if the Cowboys are to be successful. It doesn't help that two starters are beginning training camp on the sidelines recovering from off-season surgery. Neither does the fact that 3rd round lineman Martens is still a holdout. I hear the Cowboys want him to sign a contract that would take a couple of years before the big money kicked in. Naturally, he wants the big money now. I hope they can work this out soon. If he doesn't get to camp soon, he will be useless to the Cowboys this year.
It looks like the defense will be OK if they can avoid injuries. Ellis' achilles injury is still a little worrying. At least it looks like first round linebacker Spencer has agreed on a contract and will be in camp soon. If Ellis can't play, he will be needed.
It also looks like the defensive backfield will be better. The cornerbacks are pretty good, and we got a little more help at safety during the off-season. But the biggest help they could get is an improved Cowboy rush. Spencer and a healthy Ellis could really help with that.
But this is just the first week of camp and there's a long way to go. The first pre-season game is a couple of weeks away (August 9th). That will be our first opportunity to see some of the new players, and judge for ourselves how things are working out.
I can hardly wait!