Cowboys Cavalry On Its Way
FRISCO – The Cowboys made a vow on the very first day of the 2016 training camp in Oxnard to not take the approach that eventually a Calvary full of healthy stars would ride in to rescue them, a mistake the front office believes led to a 4-12 record in 2015. But having said all of that … the Calvary is riding in now … but not to “rescue’’ Dallas’’ — rather to fortify a 5-1 team that looks as good as anybody in the NFC.
The Cowboys used the bye week in as many different ways as there are personalities on this team. Last Monday, a 60-man team party was held at Nick and Sam’s. On Wednesday, Tony Romo held a guys-only house party at his new manse. Dak Prescott went home to Louisiana to visit granny and go fishing. Barry Church stayed in town because his wife had scheduled them to appear at a couple of baby showers. Cole Beasley stayed in DFW, too, to celebrate his young son’s birthday.
But on Monday they all come together back at The Star in Frisco for a 10:40 practice and a continuation of their attack on the NFL — and by the time they play host to Philly on Sunday night or travel to Cleveland in Week 9, they should be more healthy and more wealthy with talent.
The headliner will be QB Tony Romo, though it’s unclear exactly when he’ll return and exactly what his role will be when he does. As owner Jerry Jones told me, “We’ll just see what cards are played,’’ and that’s an honest and smart way to approach the coming “Romo vs. Dak’’ decision.
Fourth-round pick Prescott has been a sensation. So has his buddy, first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott, the running back. Sixth-round pick Anthony Brown has been playing the nickel corner in place of Orlando Scandrick, and youngsters like tackle Chaz Green, tight end Geoff Swaim, receiver Brice Butler and defensive lineman David Irving have all helped Dallas thrive while Romo (back) and Dez Bryant (knee)— who told me he plans to start this weekend — and others heal up.
“These young players have gotten plenty of opportunities, both in the preseason and the early part of this season to play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think you have seen them get better day by day, week by week, and that’s an ongoing process. That’s our objective each and every day is to be better than we were yesterday. That’s what we try to put in front of our players, and they’ve responded well so far.”
The bye week was also good for Tank Lawrence (who had a good report on the Monday MRI on his shoulder), Dan Bailey (back) and Morris Claiborne (concussion). … and if you combine their improved health with the wave of fresh legs about to join workouts … yes, Dallas didn’t “wait’’ on the Calvary but it is coming nevertheless. “We just want to keep this thing going forward,’’ Jones said, “knowing in the NFL that the wheels could come off at any minute. So don’t want to get smug about this thing …’’
Dez and Jason Witten have both commented that while this group has a chance to be special (is there any other team in the NFC that seems unbeatable?), the Cowboys aren’t good enough to get too full of themselves. So the attitude it right. The record is great. And the Calvary is coming.