News: DCW: Boys Prepare for Camp

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    A Long Haul
    Cowboys Prepare for Training Camp
    By Sam Iannuzzi

    Ask just about anyone who has had to move in their lifetime and they'd probably tell you they'd rather have a heat rash than have to relive the experience.

    One can only imagine if your job was to arrange for 12 tractor trailers to haul everything from socks to blocking sleds so an NFL team can hold training camp far, far away. If your name is Mike McCord, you don't have to imagine and you pretty much have to relive it every year.

    McCord, the Cowboys equipment manager for the last 11 years, has the daunting task of basically taking the Cowboys Valley Ranch complex and moving it clear across the country to Oxnard, Calif. Come July 29, the Cowboys of 2004 will take a charter flight to the West Coast to prepare for the season.

    For the first time in 14 seasons, camp will not be in Texas for most of the summer. The last two years, training camp was in San Antonio; before that, Wichita Falls and Austin. Four years ago, the Cowboys spent eight days in Oxnard while taking a break from the Texas heat to prepare for a game with the Oakland Raiders.

    Although it is never easy to get all of that equipment and training material from one place to another, going out west has presented some challenges for McCord and his staff.

    "This is a new place, even though we've been there once before. Getting set up initially is a little difficult because of the small quarters," says McCord. "We're going to have to bring in some portable buildings for meetings. Our equipment room is going to be in a portable building."

    Instead of the Marriott Riverwalk and San Antonio's Alamodome, the Cowboys will be at a Marriott Residence Inn and will practice at a City of Oxnard public complex. The area was the home of the Raiders training camp back in the mid-1980s.

    While the players will enjoy the cooler weather, having camp so far from home is a real challenge for those who make sure the team and staff have whatever they need.

    "We don't have the luxury of popping back up to Dallas like we have the past couple of years," says McCord. "When we have camp in Texas, a lot of things can get back and forth in a hurry. This year we're getting with every department to make sure we can ship as much of what they need together. We can't have last-minute stuff."

    While the marketing department and support staff have needs like clothing and promotional items, it is the football portion of camp that requires the bulk of the moving load. McCord and his team will plan on having 120 sets of equipment from helmets to shoulder pads to knee pads. While the roster is expected to include 88 players, the extra sets are for backup because of possible turnover in camp and the possibility of equipment needing to be replaced.

    Since the cool California air can drop the temperature into the 50 degree range overnight and in the early morning, several of the trunks will have some heavier clothing for coaches and players that were not needed deep in the heart of Texas.

    Aside from practice, which will be conducted on two city-owned football fields at the Oxnard complex, the players will have to continue their daily weight training. That means setting up a mini-weight room on site. This year the weight room will be set up on some public tennis courts right next to the fields.

    "We basically take a sampling of all the machines because we don't take everything with us," says McCord. "There'll be a canopy tent over the equipment that can be dropped down on the sides. That will help keep the moisture down because it can get damp there."

    Red Byboth of Dallas Moving and Storage has had a long association with the Cowboys. Usually, his company is moving more traditional cargo. Relocating a football team for a month presents some unique challenges.

    "The weight room is the heaviest but some of the field equipment is real odd-shaped, like blocking sleds, and they don't load real well," says Byboth. "Although the football players are in great shape, it takes a whole different set of muscles to load and unload this stuff."

    Once practice starts, one of the most challenging daily tasks is all the dirty laundry - clothing and towels mostly. McCord estimates that the players and coaches accumulate roughly 700 pounds of laundry per practice for the nearly 90 players and 30 support staff. The Cowboys have made arrangements with a local service but McCord will be sweating each delivery because the team requires a quick turnaround. Even a short traffic jam could cause considerable inconvenience for the team should it delay the delivery of clean laundry.

    As McCord says, the location presents challenges but getting set up for training camp is no easy assignment. "Every year it is quite an undertaking no matter whether you are going down the street or crosscountry," he says.


    If anyone want to have any of these articles posted, shout out. I won't spam the board with all of them unless there're requests

    Jul 1, 2004
    Vinny, Parcells Reunited
    Camp California
    Well-Balanced Life
    Profile: DeMingo Graham
    Ask Coach Parcells
    A Long Haul
    Long Road to NFL
    Youngsters Compete
    Memorable Games at Texas Stadium
    NFC East
    Players Become Coaches
    Thinning Ranks at RB
    Browsing the NFL
    Will Offense be Satisfactory?
    Letters to the Editor
    Cowboys Confidential
    Landry-Era Reunion
  2. MikeD17

    MikeD17 Benched

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    well balanced life sounds interesting and the one about the offense.

    ask coach parcells would be good too :)
  3. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    I'll keep them all within this thread so they don't gum up the works.

    Well-Balanced Life
    Wiley Takes Unconventional Route
    By Ken Sins

    "It's an against-all-odds story..." - Marcellus Wiley

    Growing up in a rough neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, Marcellus Wiley wasn't into conformity. He was always a little bit different, and proud of it. And since he was always among the biggest kids on the block, bullies stayed out of his way.

    "I've always wanted to be the guy you couldn't predict," says Wiley, signed as a free agent in the offseason to take over as the Cowboys' left defensive end. "I don't want to be conventional or normal where you know what's coming. That's been my life across the board. It's an against-all-odds story but it's not done. I'm still writing a lot of the story. God has blessed me and allowed me to survive."

    Football provided Wiley with a way out of the inner city, but he took an unconventional route. He could have accepted an athletic scholarship from a sports factory like UCLA, but instead Wiley opted to go across the country to New York City and play for Columbia on an academic scholarship.

    "I always thought about balance in my life," he says. "My family preached to me to do well in school as well as on the football field. That was important when I was weighing all my scholarship opportunities, to keep that in mind. Columbia offered me a unique experience academically, but it was also a challenge athletically. I was looking at the long run, that you can only play football for so long. I wanted to have something as a safety net that would carry me on for the rest of my life."

    "Welcome to Bulgaria," reads the sign on Wiley's locker at Valley Ranch. His new teammates have quickly discovered that Wiley likes to keep the atmosphere loose.

    "When I leave my house, I throw a switch and I'm in Bulgaria," Wiley says. "In Bulgaria, only the strong survive. It's a way of acting the fool, and I like that."

    Says defensive tackle La'Roi Glover: "He has a lot of energy, a lot of personality. He's a playmaker who loves to play the game."

    One of the Cowboys' top offseason priorities was to upgrade their pass rush, and they awarded Wiley a four-year, $16 million contract in the hopes he can perform like he did in 2001 when he amassed a career-high 13 sacks for the San Diego Chargers.

    The Cowboys have been trying to replace Charles Haley since Haley's departure after the 1996 season. They've spent draft choices on, among others, pass-rush candidates Ebenezer Ekuban, Kavika Pittman, Shante Carver and Peppi Zellner. But no Dallas defensive end has put up a double-digit sack season since Tony Tolbert had 12 in 1996.

    Coach Bill Parcells wants more pressure on the pocket. The heat is on Wiley, a former Pro Bowler who at 29 should be in the prime of his career.

    "Coach Parcells says he wants sacks without relying on the blitz," Wiley says. "That's why I'm here."

    Wiley was born in Compton, Calif. and went on to become an all-conference football player at Saint Monica High in Los Angeles. His high school jersey was retired by the school in 2002.

    All the while, his parents, Valerie and Charles, kept their son's head out of the clouds.

    "I compare it to a coloring book: my dad is my outline, and my mother is the colors," Wiley says. "My mom shaped my personality. We look dead twins, size included. She's the reason I have a pulse. I do a lot for her but she does more for me."

    His decision to attend Columbia, an Ivy League school that doesn't award athletic scholarships, was met in his hometown with incredulous shakes of the head. Rather than being surrounded by other athletes in the jock dorm of a Pac-10 powerhouse, Wiley had to fend for himself and compete in the classroom with some of the brightest young minds in the country.

    "The toughest thing was the culture shock in the classroom and the social aspects of it all," he says. "Sure, I played football, but students there were more competitive with the books than I was in football. That was tough, being around so many diverse people. It was a challenge to keep it balanced with academics.

    "There were some very talented students at that school. I thought I was smart. I took calculus and had high board scores. Then I get into the classroom and these guys were whipping my butt. I never felt so overwhelmed. In football, I could lift weights and get stronger. But they were even more blessed academically. They were winning that battle."

    Wiley played defensive end and tailback for Columbia, which improved from 2-8 his freshman year to 8-2 as a senior. That was the Lions' best finish since 1945. He also sat out the entire 1995 season on a leave of absence, concentrating on his studies and working in a center for homeless and troubled youth in New York.

    As a senior, he was first-team All-America and All-Ivy, and he graduated with a degree in sociology. His talents weren't hidden from pro scouts, and he was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1997 draft.

    "I never really thought that much about (the NFL)," he says. "Every day I just tried to get a little bigger, a little stronger. I had a late growth spurt, which helped. My mom is 6-1; my dad is 6-4. In college my freshman year, I was only 6-0. So I knew I was going to grow, and it all kicked in. I kept my mind strong and got better and better. When it was all added up, the NFL finally came knocking."

    Wiley was a reserve for the Bills as a rookie in 1997, and then was a part-time starter the following season when he was second on the team with 27 quarterback pressures.

    In 2000, Wiley became a starter for the Bills, racking up 10.5 sacks to become only the fourth Buffalo player with double-digit sacks. That set up a fat free agent payday from the Chargers, for whom he collected the 13 sacks in 2001 to earn his only trip to the Pro Bowl.

    Things went sour in San Diego, however. Injuries, internal problems and the Chargers' diminishing talent on the defensive side of the ball sent Wiley's numbers into a tailspin: six sacks in 14 games in 2002, three in 16 games last season.

    "There were dynamic reasons why production went from high to low," Wiley says. "I've had a few surgeries the last couple of years. I think also changing the defensive philosophy hurt me, and changing of personnel definitely played a role. It became a difficult situation for most of us to succeed. I'm very happy I'm out of there.

    "I've done it before, and that was with much less knowledge of the game. Being surrounded with this cast, with all the character and the personalities, it's going to bring a lot out of me because I'm kind of a high-spirited, high-energy guy out on the field. San Diego became a labor just to get to the field. Sometimes it felt like we had two opponents on game day. But no excuses, I have to show improvement this year.

    "I'm looking forward to personally redeeming some things and making some people admit that they had me wrong."

    The last Cowboy with as many as the 13 sacks Wiley accumulated in 2001? That would be his current position coach, Jim Jeffcoat, who had 14 in 1986. Jeffcoat and Wiley are well acquainted; they were Buffalo teammates in 1997.

    "Adding Marcellus brings in an experienced guy who can get to the quarterback and play the run," Glover says. "This upgrades us. Now the rest of us have to lift our level of play and improve on last year."

    Wiley's decision to sign with Dallas was greeted by cheers from his father, a longtime Cowboys fan who's from Tyler in East Texas.

    "Deep down, I've always been a Cowboys fan," Wiley says. "My father banged it into my head from the time I was a little kid that the Cowboys were the best team. It's kind of a dream come true for my family�

    "I'm family-oriented. With me, it's about family and having fun. I love to have a good time. On the field, the one dancing will be me, definitely.

    "I'm really excited. I really believe in this team and what I can do to make it better. Being in San Diego the last couple of years was obviously a cloudy situation, very disenchanting just to be around. It made it tough to have fun and play the game the way it's supposed to be played. I have a lighter heart coming out here, with a fully charged spirit to show what I can do."

    The presence of Parcells was a major selling point for Wiley.

    "It's going to be a great situation for me," he says. "I have the utmost respect for Coach Parcells, for his honesty. I haven't been around that the last few years. I like that. He's going to tell me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. I'm going out there and change my numbers, to show that I can do what I've done before.

    "(Parcells') reputation precedes him. Everyone knows what they're gonna get. What we want in this game is honesty. We know it's a business, but please respect us through the process and tell us the truth. That's what separates him is his integrity. When I talk to players about other coaches, they don't feel the same level of respect because they'll talk out of both sides of their mouth. Well, Coach Parcells won't do that. He'll tell you straight up."

    Wiley believes that the Cowboys' front four will be balanced. With Wiley, Glover, right end Greg Ellis and enviable depth at all four positions, the Cowboys could present some difficult matchup decisions for opposing offensive coordinators.

    "It's going to be sweet," Wiley says. "La'Roi is a great player who's gonna get a lot of double-teams. Greg is a motor out there who goes hard. I'm added to the mix now. We're going to force them to sit back and say we can't double anybody, we've got to single block them. If you have that situation, you can create a frenzy out there.

    "Expectations are very high and they won't stop until it's Jacksonville (the site of Super Bowl XXXIX). That's the attitude I feel around here. I haven't been around a situation where we really believe in that since my early years in Buffalo. We're going out there with a purpose, which is to win it all.

    "My teammates have really embraced me. It wasn't a situation where they were apprehensive when I came in. There's a lot of respect for what I've done and a lot of understanding of what I've been through my last few years. I look forward to finishing my career out here. You've got a star on your helmet and you've got to prove you're a star. We've got enough talent to do it all."

    He calls the Cowboys "a place of redemption."

    "Growing up in my neighborhood wasn't the easiest thing, going to Columbia wasn't the easiest thing and being in the NFL as an Ivy League player is not the easiest thing," he says. "Now I'm in my eighth year and feeling like I'm starting to understand what this is all about."
  4. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    This reads like a rehash of Bill's last two press conferences.

    Ask Coach Parcells
    By DCW Staff

    Q: Would the game be better if the game day rosters were bumped to 53 rather than the current 45?

    A: Not necessarily. I know there are a lot of people who think that way. I think the game has changed a little bit to the point to where most of us feel like if the roster was slightly expanded for game day it would be of assistance to the coaches and the coaching staffs. The evolution of the game has changed appreciably in that respect that I can remember back when there were only 40 guys. But, I think the more people available to a coaching staff, the more things they'll create to use those people. It's really the chicken or the egg thing. The more you got, the more you're going to have to deal with and the more you're going to need to deal with it. This third quarterback rule, I've never seen the point in that. I've got the guy, he's dressed in his uniform there, and he's the 46th guy, why can he only go in during a certain point in the game?

    Q: You picked Scott Shanle up late last year, but then he never played. What do you see in him?

    A: I personally saw this guy in the summer. He was a seventh-round pick with the Rams coming out of school, and I kind of liked what I'd seen. Our scout who watched the Rams during camp and the preseason had an excellent report on him. That same scout had seen the guy in college, and he didn't have quite as high an opinion on him at that time. Once he saw him this summer; he changed his opinion and thought he had mistakenly graded the guy too low. He just gives us a very young guy at a position we need to be looking for guys. He is a little bit bigger, he's about 6-2 and he's 245, and has good speed. We'll see what we have when we get to camp.

    Q: What do you think of Keyshawn Johnson now that he has gone through a camp with you guys, and what is it that you like about him?

    A: I think he needs a little more work because he is still a little rusty. He was always a player that needed work to stay ready. He knows that, and he is fine with it. He isn't a lazy guy, so that really isn't a factor. He just needs to go play. He didn't play the last half of the season, and then we have had the off-season, so he hasn't really done anything in the last eight months. He will be fine once we get into camp and the preseason.

    I've always liked Keyshawn. He has been good any time I've been around him. Now he's not a kid anymore, you know he's over 30 years old now. He wants to do well and he has some pride. I think I'm a guy who can tell him where he is with his game, and he will listen. Like if I tell him he needs work, then I think he will take that to heart and won't argue with me.

    I also know his heart is in the right place. He wants to help kids. He tries to do things for people. He's got a benevolent side to him, he really does. When you see that you acquire respect for him in a different area. He doesn't have any bad habits. He's a clean-living kid. You like to see those guys do well.

    I also take an interest in his life. I remember I was very concerned when he opened his restaurant years ago. I told him "I've seen a lot of guys do that and it doesn't work out that well sometimes." He knew where he was and sold that since. I think he did all right, I never asked him. That is the type of thing that we've talked about over the years. Things I think are potentially dangerous. I also know that when you get to be a certain age and you lose a lot of money and your earning power is not 10-12 years ahead of you like it is when you enter the league, then that can be not good. So I wanted to make him aware of that.

    I think he likes football. I've never really been able to determine what really motivates Keyshawn to be the way he is. I don't care what it is though, because I know it's there. We've never really talked about that. I don't know if he likes the limelight or if he likes being a star. I don't know whatever it is that gets him to do what he used to do for me, but I don't care, because he's trying to get there and that is fine with me.
  5. MikeD17

    MikeD17 Benched

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    you got to respect this man, coming from a slum like compton , with no money , surronded by violence and drugs and he makes it out and goes to a great university like columbia , does well in football and school.

    Parcells picked a fine player for this team
  6. Charles

    Charles Benched

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    Great stuff Thanks
  7. 2much2soon

    2much2soon Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know those details of Wiley's background - how he ended up at Columbia.
    I like this guy no matter what he does or doesn't do for Dallas.
    As I read the article I couldn't help but think of another Cowboy great, Calvin Hill.
  8. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Thanks for the great reads. Wiley could really help our D this year. I am rooting for him big time and not just because we could use that help.

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