Now you might also say the Cowboys aren't in the same boat this year at tackle. Oh, really?
Granted they signed veteran Jason Fabini, an eight-year veteran who had started the first 114 consecutive games he played in the NFL until tearing a pectoral muscle last year in Game 9. And granted he has four years of experience starting at left tackle.
But what if he beats out Petitti for the starting right tackle job? Petitti filling in at left tackle? I don't think so. The apple cart would have to be reversed then, Fabini moving to the left side and Petitti coming back to the right. And even at that, it doesn't say anywhere Fabini has been a Pro Bowl tackle.
That's how important Adams is, not only that he stays healthy all year this year, but that he returns as good as new, which never is a guarantee coming back from reconstructive knee surgery.
"Critical," Sparano says, underscoring the importance of Flo being Flo once again. "He's got to get back to where he was before the injury. Played in six games, and those were the best football (games) he's played. He was passionate, physical, played smart, and you only realize all that when he's not there."
That's why he must be there this season, the whole season. And at this point, all systems seem go. Adams fully participated in the three-day mini-camp and four-day OTA session the first of this month. To this somewhat trained eye, he seemed to be moving well, especially knowing the season opener still was a good three months away.
"He looks just as we expect right now," Sparano said. "Powerful and not really favoring the leg right now."
But there is something else to rejoice.
"He's hungry," Sparano said.
That, evidently, is not just coach-speak. It's the truth. Now you probably won't hear that from Flo since he doesn't much talk to the media anymore for some reason, which he has never bothered to voice.
But guarantee you when he went down on Oct. 16, red flags went up all over The Ranch. Flo was always considered a guy who would do what he had to do, but never more. At times, you wondered if he really liked ball. Always seemed first one off the field, first one out of the locker room. Never really hung out with the guys much it seemed.
So there were worries how hard he'd work to overcome the injury; to do the excruciating rehab work required to recover from a torn ACL, especially for a guy weighing 335 pounds.
His dedication has shocked some people, almost as if he's on a mission to prove something.
His rehab attendance has been perfect. Done everything he's been asked to do, and willfully. His 335 pounds seems to be better distributed. And we keep hearing, slap my mouth, he seems to miss playing football.
What more can you ask for than your two-time Pro Bowl tackle (2003-04) weighing in at his game weight of 335, moving well with three months before the opener and, as Sparano said, "hungry"?
Well, OK, maybe telling us that.
But this is desperately what the Cowboys need, Flo being Flo once again. And in my books, they desperately need him to, at the very least, double his six games of last year. We understand how critical he is to the Cowboys' success this year. Maybe now he does, too.
So there, that's that:
Flozell Adams, my 2006 Mr. Indispensable.
| The Cowboys were one of the 20-some teams to attend the workout of disposed Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks, figuring to be the only player worth spending a 2007 draft choice on during the July 13 NFL supplemental draft. There hasn't been much discussion on the guy around The Ranch, but since he's a big linebacker (6-3, 260) and has played in a 3-4 defense for former Parcells aide Al Groh, chances are there will be. But remember, there are red flags all over this guy, dismissed by Groh for a series of undisclosed infractions even his agent admits revolved around drug-use issues. He also had been arrested in 2003 on a marijuana possession charge. The
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