2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Romo has big contract, Cowboys want big results

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-18 16:12

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Tony Romo is rested and ready. He has a big new contract and big new responsibilities.

Now the Dallas Cowboys head to training camp trying to break out of a cycle of mediocrity that dates back to 1997. They're .500 since the start of that season, including a pair of 8-8 records in Jason Garrett's first two full seasons as coach.

Dallas hasn't been to the playoffs since 2009, with each of the past two years ending in a loss to an NFC East rival with a playoff berth on the line.

Even though they were that close to the postseason, the Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and replaced him with Monte Kiffin. They made several other changes to the defensive staff and a couple on the offensive side.

Garrett is giving up play-calling duties for the first time since owner Jerry Jones hired him as offensive coordinator in 2007.

There won't be many changes in personnel, though. All the key players are back, first-round pick Travis Frederick looks like the only rookie with a chance to have an impact.

Five things to know as the Cowboys prepare to open training camp with their first practice Sunday in Oxnard, Calif.

---

1. ROMO'S READY: Romo missed all the offseason practices after a procedure to have a cyst removed from his back. He is ready to go for the start of training camp, so Sunday's workout will be his first since signing the richest contract in franchise history. The six-year, $108 million deal has $55 million guaranteed, or about $3 million more than Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco got from Baltimore. Some of the national reaction was less than flattering, considering Romo's 1-6 record in elimination games and a penchant for critical mistakes like a late interception against Washington with a chance to rally and make the playoffs. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it clear the day Romo signed that the nine-year veteran would go into his seventh full season as a starter with a much stronger voice behind the scenes.

2. LET THE JASON GARRETT WATCH BEGIN: If an overhaul of a coaching staff doesn't work, the head coach is usually next. That's part of why this is viewed as a make-or-break season for Garrett. Plus, the perception is he was desperate to keep the job because the hiring of Kiffin and the switching of play-calling duties to Bill Callahan were seen as moves orchestrated by Jones. Garrett disagrees with those views, of course. The only way to show that he hasn't become a Jones puppet in the mold of Barry Switzer, Dave Campo and Wade Phillips is to win big.

3. THE SECOND (AND THIRD) OPTIONS AT SKILL POSITIONS: Miles Austin is paid like a No. 1 receiver, but he's essentially lost that designation because of his troubled hamstrings and Dez Bryant's breakout season in 2012. If Austin stays healthy, it's possible the Cowboys could have a ``1'' and ``1A'' with a pair of receivers who have proven they can produce. Now it's time to find out where rookie Terrance Williams of Baylor fits in after the Cowboys drafted him in the third round with the extra pick they got from trading down in the first. There's no established backup for injury-prone running back DeMarco Murray, but the Cowboys think they found the answer in the fifth round of the draft with Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle. Thumb surgery sidelined him during the offseason.

4. SAME PLAYERS, NEW DEFENSE: With a switch to the 4-3, all the leaders are holdovers getting used to new roles. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are ends instead of outside linebackers, and they now don't have to worry about much besides getting to the quarterback. Sean Lee and Bruce Carter shared the inside at linebacker last year, but now Lee will likely be in the middle and Carter will be at a weakside spot that basically means he will rely on his speed to make plays. Cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne will be closer to the line of scrimmage most of the time.

5. IT ALL STARTS UP FRONT: Tyron Smith starting at left tackle is the only certainty for the offensive line after one of the worst rushing seasons in franchise history and spotty protection for Romo. If offseason workouts are any indication, rookie Frederick is going to start at center, but he can play guard. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings came in as starting guards through free agency last year, but their jobs aren't secure. Doug Free had a rough year at right tackle and ended up sharing the spot with Jermey Parnell, but then Parnell sat out most of offseason workouts with injuries. Since Jones is intent on finding ``that extra half-second for Romo,'' the offensive line will be a big priority.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tyler EifertJul 30 03:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said he is 100% healthy for the first time since the beginning of last offseason.

LeGarrette BlountJul 30 01:22p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was placed on the Non-Football Injury list because he was not able to complete the conditioning test at the start of training camp. [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 30 01:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) said his hamstrings are fine and that he is 100% healthy entering training camp.

Terrance WestJul 30 12:52p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West worked with the first-team offense during team drills Thursday, July 30. Head coach Mike Pettine said several running backs will see time with the starters during training camp.

Trent RichardsonJul 30 10:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson is rumored to being unimpressive with his new team.

Tom BradyJul 30 10:12a

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's lawsuit was transferred to Manhattan, N.Y., by a Minnesota judge Friday, July 30.

Tom BradyJul 30 09:52a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking a Minnesota federal court for penalties against Brady to be vacated. The suit alleges that [ More ]

Jake LongJul 30 09:42a

Free-agent OT Jake Long (Rams) left his visit with the New York Giants Wednesday, July 29, without a deal. It was his second visit with the team without a [ More ]

Joseph RandleJul 29 08:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle received strong praise from team owner and general manager Jerry Jones Wednesday July 29. 'We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential [ More ]

Joique BellJul 29 07:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (undisclosed) was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, July 29, as he recovers from offseason surgery. It is unclear what the [ More ]

James WrightJul 29 06:43p

Free-agent WR James Wright (Bengals) was placed on Reserve/Injured Wednesday, July 29.

Jordan ReedJul 29 05:43p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (knee) has been cleared for full participation in training camp, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Chase CoffmanJul 29 04:53p

Free-agent TE Chase Coffman (Titans) re-signed with the Tennessee Titans Wednesday, July 29, according to a source.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) can be placed on the Non-Football Injury list if/when he signs his franchise tender. Owner John Mara said the team would like [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:23p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) is receiving his own medical treatment and rehabilitation at his home. There is currently no timetable for his return. Pierre-Paul, however, could [ More ]

Roddy WhiteJul 29 03:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) had his left knee drained before minicamp, and he could have it drained again before the season ends. White isn't concerned about it, [ More ]

Ryan KerriganJul 29 01:43p

Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday, July 29, worth $11.5 million per season, according to a source. The deal includes a $16 million signing bonus.

Cyrus GrayJul 29 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray was released Wednesday, July 29.

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group