I, of course, speak of the Offensive Line. Which was so offensive last year that Drew Bledsoe was sacked 49 times; 25 in the last 5 weeks! 25 in the last 5 weeks makes it very clear how the Cowboys lost 4 of their last 6 games. It was also so offensive that Julius Jones in his 13 games ran for 100+ yards in only one game. They did not run block well, nor did they pass block. Ouch.
Flozell Adams blew out his knee in week 6. Larry Allen played so inconsistently that the Boys could not justify keeping him around. Marco Rivera never came close to justifying that huge signing bonus. Al Johnson was overpowered at Center. Marco Rivera never came close to justifying that huge signing bonus. And then there was Right Tackle. Wow. Let’s just say that Right Tackle would not be known as a position of strength. In fact, it was brutal all year.
So, what did the Cowboys do to address the most important weakness of their 2005 squad? They signed Kyle Kosier to a $15 million deal to play Left Guard. Period. Otherwise, it is all back just like we remember it:
Adams – Kosier – Johnson – Rivera – Petitti
So, with minimal changes to the players, I cannot imagine why there should be changes in my opinion on their ability to protect their Quarterback or to open up lanes for the ball carrier.
And when the first few days of camp feature a dominating effort from the defense, where DeMarcus Ware is in Bledsoe’s face routinely, the ill wind begins to blow.
How can you utilize Terrell Owens, Jason Witten, Terry Glenn, and Julius Jones without proper protection from the big boys up front? You can’t.
There is talk of Andre Gurode replacing Al Johnson to provide a bigger, stronger option at center, but in Gurode’s 4 seasons we have seen that bigger and stronger does not mean smarter.
There is discussion of Petitti being improved, while the options behind him (Marc Colombo) are touted. Also, rumblings of old Lincoln Kennedy coming to town are being felt. Yawn.
I even read this morning that Marco Rivera looks like a new man. I saw with my own eyes that Kyle Kosier appears to be a solid option, albeit smaller and less dominating, at Left Guard.
Here is the bottom line. It doesn’t matter how improved your personnel is elsewhere. Your Wide Receiver, your kicker, your linebackers. They are all better. But if you don’t square away your offensive line, you will not win important games late in the season, and you also may not keep your QB or RB healthy.
And as optimistic as I am about the Cowboys overall, The first few practices I have seen are not improving my pessimism about the O-Line.
Julius Jones on the hot seat …
Jones is in his third year as a Dallas Cowboy, and when you're playing for Bill Parcells, that means it's time to either put up or shut up.
Or, more likely, hit the road, Jack.
Jones, who even heard his name whispered in trade rumors this past off-season, would rather not do that.
"It's a big year for me," Jones admitted after a recent practice session at Cowboys camp. "Parcells likes to see what a player can do in their third year.
"He gives you three years to prove something. I still have something to prove."
Julius can rest assured that he has Parcells' full attention in that endeavor.
"I just hope I see an improved player, a guy who has a little better sense of timing and what we're doing," Parcells said.
The thing Big Bill didn't add to that observation -- the "or else" -- is understood.
This needs to be Julius Jones' year.
What does he have to prove?
"Everything," Jones replied. "That I can stay on the field. That I can be an all-down back. I've got to prove that every year."
After Parcells said as much yesterday, Tony Romo is now the man to watch in camp …
All Tony Romo has ever wanted is an opportunity, which can be hard to come by for an undrafted free-agent quarterback from a Division I-AA school.
Apparently, that's about to change.
Coach Bill Parcells said he's going to give Romo an opportunity to prove his worth to the organization this preseason.
"I've got to decide where he is," Parcells said. "Our plans are to play him a lot. I've been around him for three years now. I see a guy that's pretty smart. It looks like in practice, he's making fewer and fewer mistakes.
"Had we just thrown him to the wolves two years ago or something, it probably would have ruined his career. But now he's got enough background and enough knowledge and enough training and enough understanding that it's time to go forward."
Is this the stretch run we were all waiting on? Twins 15, Rangers 2 …The fans are losing faith in the Rangers again…Wow. It’s August 1st, and the Rangers are fading!
Padilla grabs a DWI …
I know you’re not going to believe this, but Brett Favre threw a bunch of INTs in camp yesterday ….
Several times during the Mike Sherman era there would be occasions later on during training camp when offensive coordinator Tom Rossley and quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell would remark on how few interceptions Brett Favre had thrown in camp.
The new Green Bay Packers coaching staff won't be doing that this summer after Favre fired an incredible five interceptions Monday afternoon in practice.
Just as he does after almost every play, coach Mike McCarthy spoke with Favre immediately after the interceptions.
"What do you want me to say?" offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said. "No, that's not acceptable. And let me tell you. We're going to get it corrected."
Ultimate Fighting coming to our town? …
UFC is headed to Texas.
As part of an aggressive campaign to expand the flagship brand of mixed martial arts, Ultimate Fighting Championship likely will stage its first event in the Lone Star State early next year.
"We have plans for either Houston or Dallas in early 2007," said Marc Ratner, the former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission who joined UFC in May to spearhead regulatory efforts. "Texas is a hotbed for mixed martial arts. We have to find the right time for it, but we are definitely going to bring a show to Texas."
Bad News: Manchester United may grab the great Vieira …Hate to see that, because he would make them much better, and we don't need that.
Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has hinted he could join old rivals Manchester United as he desperately attempts to escape Italy's Serie B.
Vieira has yet to leave Juventus in the wake of their demotion for match-fixing
despite four of his team-mates jumping ship almost immediately.
The 30-year-old, whose move to Inter Milan last week appears to have stalled, said: 'Every player wants to play for a club like Manchester United at the highest level.
Ty Walker presents: You’re with Me, Leather shirts …
Z Zidane animation comedy …I admit a bit outdated…
The Grand Prairie McDonalds punch …what the heck is that?
Will Ferrell at the Espys …
I swear, I get asked for this two or three times a week, so let me re-link it: My Essay on how I picked Liverpool to be my English Football Club back in 1998 …Here it is again…and don’t forget, they crank up for real on August 19th…
Go Sooners – Go Raiders
BaD Radio, I'm a converted ESPN Radio listener and I enjoy your show. I wanted to let you guys know of some DFW college students who are about to embark on an amazing journey worthy of your attention. Two high school classmates of mine, Daniel Henscheid and John Britton started their own charity last year in honor of John's sister Jennifer Ann. Jennifer has been diagnosed with autism and in order to help raise awareness they started "Ride for a Dream" where these two will ride their bikes from El Paso across the length of the great state of Texas to the Louisiana border. They completed this expedition last year and are going for round two. This year is slightly different. They have gotten the "OK" from Austim Society to take donations, they even have a website with all the information on it (www.RideForADream.org). These guys are serious about it and since Daniel and my late brother were long time listeners who converted me I felt it would be just if I informed you of this. The ride is set place to being on August 12th and last until the 18th. Five days to bike across, one day to return home. We may even have a distance runner from Ohio State run 10% of the ride each day. If you could give them a drop on the air or just spread the word around the office, we'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you and by the way, I'm calling Ohio State 2007 National Champions
Best of luck on the ride!