don't want to pass judgment on that," Parcells said, being most politically correct. "It's is what it is. That's what he decided to do."
So the right tackle saga continues, but know that after being in camp 23 days, Parcells still needs to pass judgment on far more than just who will start at right tackle. He's got this center thing going on, volleying back and forth between Al Johnson and Andre Gurode. He must decide if Patrick Crayton, one of the goods of camp, really is his third receiver. He must decide if he's OK with Davis starting at free safety.
And maybe most of all, he must decide - still - how much of this 3-4 defense the Cowboys indeed will play. And here's his problems there. Spears was supposed to anchor the 3-4 at left defensive end. But again, he hasn't practiced since Aug. 5. Jason Ferguson was supposed to anchor the nose. But he's going to miss his second of two preseason games with a high ankle sprain.
Then there's those outside linebackers, none a true 3-4 outside linebacker, and all, other than Al Singleton, lacking experience. And without catalytic outside linebackers, this 3-4 is a disaster waiting to happen.
How much 3-4 the Cowboys play, Parcells said, will not be decided until after Monday night's preseason game. Possibly. Might take him even longer to figure that out.
"One or two of those things can take you down," Parcells said of these headaches he's still processing the final day of training camp practice.
Now the good thing is, the Cowboys don't play a game for keeps until Sept. 11. That's 22 days from now. There still is time, but the clock is ticking. Because between three preseason games, days off and walk-throughs the day before each game, Parcells really only has nine days of practice available before heading to San Diego. Bet there's a two-a-day or two in there.
The other good thing has been the unexpected emergence of some of these young players, so far most notably defensive lineman Chris Canty, running back Tyson Thompson, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and interior linemen Jay Ratliff and Thomas Johnson - and I'm willing to venture few, if any, even knew he was on this camp-opening 84-man roster, myself included.
Also, let's not overlook what seems to be a nicely retooled cornerback corps, with not only the additions of Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn, but also the renewed confidence of Terence Newman and guys such as Jacques Reeves manning what a second-year seventh-round draft choice should be manning, the fourth cornerback spot. That is most unlike last year when the Cowboys were throwing rookie seventh-round draft choices and rookie free agents at the starting right cornerback spot and the nickel spot.
Then there is Mat McBriar. If last Saturday is any indication, this kid could be the real deal punting. Bradie James seems to be playing with more confidence and aggression. Backup inside backers Scott Shanle and Ryan Fowler also have been opening eyes.
But just from what I've seen here in 3½ weeks, if the Cowboys are going to turn the corner, these will be necessities: Julius Jones must stay healthy; Drew Bledsoe must be efficient; either Tony Romo or Drew Henson must be trusted; Demarcus Ware and Kevin Burnett need to make plays; Spears must get healthy; Roy Williams must be Roy Williams; Flozell Adams and Larry Allen must play like Pro Bowlers; and . . . .
The Cowboys must develop, find, steal a capable, oh heaven help me again for having to say this, right tackle.
"We've got a lot of speed," La'Roi Glover said when asked his impressions of this team. "We got a lot of talent, that's for sure. And we've worked hard out here."
No qualms with any of that. But looking big picture? Still kind of blurry to me.
So after three weeks or so, those are my training camp snapshots.
|Give Drew Henson this: He understands the progression he must go through from playing three years of professional baseball to trying to become a starting NFL quarterback in this only his second|
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