IRVING, Texas - Sitting here looking at the bright sunshine engulfing The Ranch sans 90-degree temperatures and wondering, since the Cowboys just completed a mini-camp and have a second planned June 8-10, if there is any such thing as a maxi-camp?
Or would that just be plan ol' training camp, which by the way, is only 68 days away? Oh my.
OK, my guess is we already are up to here with another round of Greg Ellis frustration, talk of Terrell practicing and Terrell's finger, and don't know about you guys, but me, these incessant Wade Phillips-Bill Parcells comparisons and contrasts, and to think it's only May.
So here, allow me to page through my notebook to salvage a few items which seemingly fell through the cracks over the past week, you know, overshadowed, or for one day, simply crushed by pictures of Tony Romo posing with Carrie Underwood out in Vegas. Football? Who cares about football when your quarterback is squiring around such an American idol? By the way, what's with Cowboys quarterbacks and these country singers?
OK, enough, let's go:
- The two-back system: Everyone wants to know if Phillips is an advocate of the two-back system employed the past two year by Parcells, meaning divvying up the carries between Julius Jones and Marion Barber. Seems to be a hot topic for some reason, although, if you add up their numbers from last year, Julius Barber carried the ball 402 times, for 1,738 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns. But for some reason, folks have problems with that. Just got to be one or the other. As for Phillips, when asked which he prefers, the new head coach said, "Whatever works and fits your personnel, and (sharing) seemed to fit here. I think we'll continue to do that here." Oh, by the way, if you put the combined numbers of Julius Barber up against the rest of the league, only two guys rushed for more yards, San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (1,815) and Kansas City's Larry Johnson (1,789), each with more carries, too. And only Tomlinson, of course, had more touchdowns (28). Again, be careful what you ask for, because in your attempt to get more, you might end up getting less.
- Chris Canty: This just sort of spilled out at the end on Monday, but when talking about his defense, and at times comparing to what he had in San Diego, Phillips said of Canty, the third-year defensive end, without provocation, "He disrupts a lot of stuff. He's really coming on." Take note, and remember, when the Cowboys went to their four-man line on the nickel during the mini-camp, Canty was being used as one of the inside rushers - next to Jay Ratliff and inside of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.
- The Cowboys might be able to field a pretty fair basketball team, with a starting five going 6-7, 6-5, 6-4, 6-6 and 6-8. That would be your starting offensive line of Flozell Adams, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo. And just think if Pat McQuistan should be able to overtake Kosier. He'd add an inch at 6-6. "I think they will maul people once they put the pads on, they are so big and strong - and athletic, too," Phillips said.
- Stay with the offensive line and go right to the middle, to Gurode, who received a $10 million signing bonus when inking his extension in February. Remember, he's the guy who regained a starting job last year after falling by the wayside in 2005. "That's all to his credit," offensive line coach Tony Sparano says. "He changed his body, changed his work ethic - I can't say enough about what he's done."
- One more here, Davis, the guy who pocketed a $16 million signing bonus and is moving from left tackle to right guard. Man, you should have seen him, at like 363-365, pulling on a screen. Might have to rename the play "eclipse." Now I previously was told he has trouble