FROM HOME, Texas – And a great day to do some shots from outdoors on the patio, for sure.
Especially with steps toward resuming football being made, however baby-sized they might be.
Good sign with Cowboys news head coach Mike McCarthy hooking up with the local media from his home in Green Bay, where he says he's been since the shutdown of NFL facilities took place roughly two months ago.
McCarthy says the virtual meetings with his players have transitioned from individual position groups to a meeting Wednesday with the entire offense.
Still taking up some of his time planning for a full training camp, originally scheduled to commence around July 22, but where located still undetermined, so McCarthy says he continues to make plans for that start to camp either in Oxnard, Calif., or out at The Star in Frisco.
Says he's impressed with newly-signed backup quarterback Andy Dalton's "knowledge base," and claims the 10th-year veteran "asks good questions."
Doesn't seem to be too concerned with, well, guessing what we can now call Dak Prescott's protracted contract negotiations, saying he has "full confidence he'll be ready to go, and there has been communication. This is the way these business decisions go sometimes."
Defensive end Aldon Smith has been reinstated by the NFL, cleared to begin participating in the streamed teaching sessions this very week, a big step in his attempt to resume a career interrupted by an indefinite suspension, last playing in a game on Nov. 15, 2015.
And as you can imagine, for a lifelong coach not having coached for an entire season after Green Bay let him go with four games remaining in the 2018 season, along with now still not having met face to face with his new team – the NFL still keeping team facilities closed to players and coaches, probably for at least a couple of more weeks – the guy can't wait to get back.
"I'm anxious to get back," he said, followed by a little laughter when pointing out, "frankly, my family probably is anxious for me to get back. They're not used to having me around this much.
"You maybe used to be able to have 60 days to get the job done; everybody in our league is going to probably have more like 30 days."
Us too, Coach.
- Another Sign: The NFL owners are scheduled to vote on two significant proposals when they gather virtually on Thursday: Whether to give teams the option of attempting a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line following a score to retain possession of the football, and if the NFL will institute a Sky Judge to assist the officiating crew if an obvious call has been missed on the field. All for this one, and this is what the NFL head coaches were pounding the table for this time last year, including former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett when giving that impassioned speech last year. As for the fourth-and-15 alternative to an onside kick, sure would put some excitement into the game since only 10.4 percent of onside kicks have been recovered over the past two years since the kickoff rules were altered – and an in 2018 an all-time low 7.7 percent since tracked in 1992. And, from 2001 to 2017, onside kicks had been recovered at a 19.5 percent rate. But wondering if this proposal might be too tricked up for a minimum of 24 owners to approve – even on a temporary basis.
- Austin City Limits: While the Cowboys decided back the first week in December 1989 to move training camp from Thousand Oaks, Calif., after 27 years, to the Texas state capital city of Austin, it will be 30 years ago this Saturday that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, accompanied by quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Babe Laufenberg, held a rally in Austin to promote the camp. Said Jerry, knowing the team just came off a 1-15 season after a 3-13 season, "One goal the Dallas Cowboys have, and you know what it is, it's called the Super Bowl. And we do know where it begins. It begins right here in Austin, Texas." Three seasons later, Jones and the Cowboys made good on that pronouncement.
- Drive By: When researching that date, ran across this item printed April 27, 1990, in the Dallas Times Herald from Helen Bryant's Names & Faces about-town column, with the headline Dallas does Donald. Yep, that Donald, Donald Trump. Seems a group of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders flew to New York to appear on a show modeling swimsuits. In their spare time, they wandered over to Trump Tower, asking the guard if they could get a peek at the Trump Penthouse. Of course, they were denied, but as luck would have it, up pulls Trump in his limo, and let the group of eight into his private entrance and posed for pictures with the DCC members. They gave him a DCC calendar and he told them to say hi to his good friends Jimmy Johnson and Herschel Walker. Who knew 30 years ago?
- One More: Thirty years ago May 31, the Cowboys announced single-game tickets going on sale June 1. Price? Well, a robust $25 and $19 (guessing second level of Texas Stadium) across the board, no matter section or row. Seriously.
- No-Name Defense?: OK, I lied. One more. In 1992, the Dallas Cowboys took the NFL by surprise – storm, too – going 13-3, setting the franchise record for most wins in a season. Won the NFC East for the first time since 1985. Won the NFC for the first time since 1978. Won the Super Bowl in a rout for the first time since 1977. They had six players that year named to the Pro Bowl. All on offense. Yet, they had the NFL's No. 1 defense. Big oops. Gave up 3,933 total yards. A franchise 16-game season-record low, and third fewest all-time.
- Sawed-Off: The Cowboys had two former players listed in the top 11 of the most successful NFL players coming from the service academies. Of course, Roger Staubach of Navy was No. 1. And coming in sixth was Chad Hennings of Air Force … Father, Father, for your penance. Providence, R.I., bishop Thomas Tobin, a renowned Steelers fans, Tweets this out after learning Patriots owner Robert Kraft raised $1 million for the COVID-19 fund-raising cause by auctioning off one of his Super Bowl Rings, "Bob Kraft is auctioning a Super Bowl ring for charity. Very admirable indeed. But is it true that Tom Brady bid on it because he knows it's the only way he'll get another ring?" … McCarthy might have surprised some on Wednesday when mentioning he has a veteran team, but you know what, the Cowboys have 34 of their 90 roster players going into at least their fourth season, and 29 of them with a legit chance to make the final 55-man roster … And as for a return to football, Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, cautioned against anyone suggesting the league knows when the NFL will return, saying, "We are not putting dates on the calendar at this point."
And finally RIP friend and former Dallas Times Herald colleague Marty McNeal, who passed away this week at age 64. We played many a tennis match against each other during his years here, before going on in 1990 to the Sacramento Bee, covering the Kings for some 25 years. And so respected, Kings general manager Vlade Divac had these kind words to say about Marty: "He had a magnetic personality, fiercely loved the game and was a legendary writer that inspired and entertained readers of all ages. He was also a beloved mentor and loyal friend to many, as well as a loving husband and father who will be greatly missed." Amen.