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ESPN Clayton: Cowboys Camp Observations

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    Owens should help Jones and Barber


    OXNARD, Calif. -- Here are five observations on the Dallas Cowboys, based on Saturday's practices:

    1. The addition of Terrell Owens, believe it or not, could make the biggest impact on the running game, which struggled last season at 3.6 yards an attempt. Whether he likes it or not, Owens will be the decoy on most early down plays, drawing the safeties away from stopping the run.


    Expect more of an expanded role for Marion Barber, who backs up Julius Jones and is the third-down back. Parcells also plans to move fuillback Lousaka Polite into different positions where he could also help as an H-back. Jones had 993 yards on 257 carries while Barber had 538 yards on 138 carries last season. With a plan to use more two-tight end sets, the Cowboys continue to evolve into more of a power team under Parcells, and that certainly isn't a bad thing. It also doesn't hurt that Owens is a good downfield blocker on running plays.

    Bill Parcells believes the days of just having one halfback who gets all of the carries are fading, and he says the colleges are one of the reasons why. His theory is colleges are rotating more backs into games and that is sending backs to the NFL who aren't used to taking a heavy pounding. "Eventually, whatever colleges do gets to the pros," Parcells said. "You've got to work a long time in college to find a big back. It's really a different deal from the Earl Campell days."

    Jones is the starter but Barber is expected to be more involved in the rotation.

    2.
    How good is the Cowboys offensive line? The Cowboys really don't know at the moment, and it could be the difference between making the playoffs or finishing at the bottom of the tough NFC East. Despite the addition of veteran Jason Fabini, Rob Petitti, last year's starter, will remain the starter at right tackle. Hard work during the offseason has given Petitti a new and improved body. He plays next to steady right guard Marco Rivera. The Cowboys are okay at center with Al Johnson.


    The big question marks are on the left side. Can Kyle Kosier replacemen Larry Allen and his physical play at left guard? Can left tackle Flozell Adams return to Pro Bowl form? He's coming off a knee reconstruction and he's starting camp on the physically unable to perform list. Parcells says better depth and better competition for some of the positions will make the line better.
    Another hope is that Owens' threat as a pass receiver will take some of the pressure off the line. Drew Bledsoe was sacked 45 times and the Cowboys want to become more of a play-action team to get bigger plays from Owens and Terry Glenn. The development of the offensive line will probably dictate whether this team makes the playoffs or not.

    3. After three years of building, Bill Parcells has the type of defensive players he likes. He loves the youth and play-making ability of his 3-4 defense. DeMarcus Ware is a stud pass-rushing linebacker who should be a Pro Bowl player for a long time. The linebacking corps might be so deep that Parcells can't find playing time for everyone. In different packages, Parcells can rotate Ware, Al Singleton, Kevin Burnett and first-round choice Bobby Carpenter on the outside. On the inside, he has Akin Ayodele, Bradie James and Rocky Boiman.


    The defensive line had a setback Saturday when defensive end Marcus Spears tore a meniscus and was lost for two to three weeks. Spears had surgery Sunday. Parcells feels he's solid at nose tackle with Jason Ferguson and he likes the youth at ends of Jay Ratliff, Chris Canty and rookie Jason Hatcher.
    Where does that leave veteran Greg Ellis? Still unhappy. Ellis is a 4-3 defensive end struggling for playing time in Parcells' 3-4. La'Roi Glover struggled with the adjustment at nose tackle last year and he ended up being cut after the season. . "He has to play here or he can retire if he wanted to," Parcell said of Ellis. "Those would be his two choices right now.

    4. From Mark Bavaro to Bill Coates, Bill Parcells loves tight ends. His latest star is Jason Witten, who made the Pro Bowl last year and was just rewarded with a $28 million contract extension. "The good news is that he loves the tight end position," Witten said. "But his expectations are really high. He's very demanding on the tight end position. First off, you better be able to block."


    Parcells is particularly high on tight ends this year because he wants to use more play-action passes. The tight end is critical on those plays because he could block or be a receiver. Not only did the Cowboys add Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame in the second round of the draft, they also paid good money to sign Ryan Hannam from the Seahawks. Expect the Cowboys to use a lot of two-tight end sets this year.

    Witten is now one of the leaders on the offense, but he still can't escape Parcells' talk about his former tight ends. "I've heard every Bavaro-Coates story there is," Witten said.


    5.
    While offensive line is Parcells' biggest concern, the other big worry is at safety. There's no problem with Roy Williams. He's hitting everyone, and it won't be too long before Jerry Jones tries to lock him into a contract extension. Keith Davis is back despite being recently shot while driving his car. It's the second time in his career he's been shot.


    "My father used to have an expression for things like that," Parcells said. "He said, `Hey Parcells, it's never your fault but you are always there."

    Davis' return is important because he's a solid safety and a valued special teams player. Without Davis, the Cowboys would have to rely on veteran safety Marcus Coleman. It's not out of the question for the Cowboys to look for a good, young safety toward the end of camp. It's one of the team's thinnest positions.
    John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

    LINK
  2. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    Poindexter mostly connected on these things. He still interpretted a lot on his own without any evidence. But at least he's getting a little better.
  3. stasheroo

    stasheroo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, but who's "Bill Coates"?

    Never heard of 'em!

    :laugh2:
  4. JMead

    JMead New Member

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    I am trying to figure out who Bill Coates is... :laugh2:
  5. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    Pasquerelli's observations of the Eagles was a 100 times better. Because he actually wrote about things he saw of the players on the field. Who was dominating, who got dominated. Selected improvements. I mean, it was just an overall in depth piece.

    Clayton didn't do anything near that. Shoot, w/enuff quotes, I could've wrote what he did.
  6. speedkilz88

    speedkilz88 Well-Known Member

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    And whats Rocky Boiman doing at ILB?
  7. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    I think Boiman is going to be the jack of all trades back up although I think you'll see him outside more than inside.
  8. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal Insulin Beware

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    I don't want him to be a jack of all trades. I want him to be a ST player. Only.
  9. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

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    The Parcells quote is classic!
  10. davidyee

    davidyee Maple Leaf

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    ...Owens is only an effective decoy if we show opposing teams we can get the ball to him anytime, anyway, anyhow.

    He hasn't seen the field in some time so everyone is wondering what he will showcase in Dallas. People are spending alot of time talking about Owens, but the real topic of this camp is going to be how the o-line handles their job.

    Funny how the kicker is not an issue all of a sudden. Even with a kicker who pooched the AFC Championship game winning kick.
  11. parchy

    parchy New Member

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    ...No.
  12. Billy Bullocks

    Billy Bullocks Active Member

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    Terrell Owens is going to open up the running game? News to me.
    The left side of the line heavily depends on Flozell Adams returning to form? Really?

    Give me a job at ESPN please. I think I could pump this type of **** out too.

    "Washington adds weapons and new offensive coordinator"
    "Darren Howard will help beef up a depleted defensive front for Philly"

    Please, if you are going to call them camp observations, at least observe something htat happened in camp.
  13. sago1

    sago1 Active Member

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    Noticed reference to where Boiman is playing as a LB. Boiman played all LB positions in the 4-3 & given his size Parcells obviously believes he's versitile enough to do the same thing in the 3-4. He's a smart, savvy young vet whose also an excellent ST player. In fact several teams were interested in him as a starting LB; his own team wanted resign him but cap wouldn't allow it.

    How we signed him was kind of weird. Media reported he was visiting the Bengals but next day (w/o any media coverage reporting his visit to VR) Cowboys signed him totally out of the blue.

    Anyway, no way is Boiman just a ST player; he's a legit quality backup whose versitility (we know how Parcells likes that) will ensure we've got good depth behind Ware/Ayodele/James/Singleton-Carpenter along with Burnett & whoever becomes #2 opposite Ware. The remaining LBs, like Shanle & Fowler along with the undrafted rookies like Parham, etc., are competing for that remaining last LB slot.
  14. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    You nailed it, this piece could have been written without any camp attendance whatsoever. It is not a bad article for the general public, but nothing new for those of us who follow the Cowboys. WG would've written it better indeed.

    Pasquerelli definitely trumped this.
  15. Cogan

    Cogan Active Member

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    I'm sorry, but how can you really give a guy that looks like Clayton any serious consideration? It would be different if he didn't look like he got beat up by every girl on the 4-H Club......or if every time he played backyard football he would end up throwing the ball up in the air & squealing every time someone got close enough to tackle him, running away with his arms & hands flailing.
    What a sissy. Man, why don't they have him covering tournament chess, or something he would look like he half way belongs in??
  16. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal Insulin Beware

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    What a remarkably classless post. I fail to see how the physical appearance of a man should have bearing on his ability to report news or analyze a game.

    I don't always care for Clayton's news, but he has his job for a reason, and I have little doubt that he is a very respected football journalist.
  17. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Clayton = geek.
  18. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal Insulin Beware

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    ...

    You haver over 10K posts on a fan forum for a football team.:laugh2:
  19. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    What are you trying to say? :laugh1:
  20. proline

    proline Active Member

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    Useless article. Other than the press conference quotes, there is not new information here, and certainly no observations that were based on Saturday's practices.

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