Brad Sham's Big 4

Brad Sham is one of those intellectual wonks. You know the type: He smokes a pipe. He deeply appreciates soccer. He can use the phrase "Heaven forefend" in a sentence.

But he's also a "football guy," a "Cowboys guy," with insight. So when, on the eve of training camp, Sham speaks to The Ranch Report on the Fourpack of Stories That May Define Camp Cowboys, we listen.

Here the legendary radio voice of the Cowboys holds court with us on the subjects of 1) Greg Ellis vs. Bill Parcells, 2) the options at right tackle, 3) the void at free safety and 4) believing in Drew Bledsoe:

1) Sham on Ellis-Parcells: "I put in a call to Ellis and asked him to tell me what happened. Other than the actual exchange betwen them being significant, the other thing that is significant is that it happened two months ago. ... The public thinks we're going to camp with these two just having had a fight. It was two months ago!

"But Ellis says to me, 'When we were finished, we were fine. But not about football stuff. Ellis is concerned that he'll be the smallest guy in the league trying to pay an end in the 3-4, and he just watched Bill not renew a 3-time Pro Bowl linebacker because he was too small, and he watched it happened at a time, to a guy in Dexter Coakley, who was (then prevented from) collecting half-a-million dollars in a roster bonus. Ellis has the same bonus next year, so he has the same concerns. ... But according to Ellis, when that converation two months ago had ended, they were back on the same page and were fine -- even though Ellis still has the football concerns.''

Will this mushroom into a continuing problem between the two? No, said Sham.

"What Parcells will do now that that story has become public might be a different matter, but I see nothing to indicate he won't play Greg Ellis. Greg might be a 4-3 end, a nickel end, an end or tackle in nickel. ... he may have gone from the brink of being a Pro Bowl guy to being a rotation guy. But that doesn't mean for a moment Bill's not going to play him. Ellis is not a troublemaker, not a bad attitude guy, and he is one of his better players. ... You have to know Ellis to know he still will give it everything he's got. ... And you have to know this is a coach who doesn't really like guys who come in to talk about their role. That's not Bill's favorite thing -- even if the guy is completely right."

2) Sham on right tackle: "I wouldn't rule Larry Allen out. Not as the first choice, but I do think the presence of Peterman, who seems all ready to go play guard and is a guy they really like. ... well, they kinda want to find a way to get him on the field. We know they officially unofficially at Larry in closed minicamp in May at right takcle, so my guess is, unless they didn't like they saw, they're going to spend some time look Vollers, Tucker, Noll, Petitti. ... they might go two weeks into camp getting into preseason games and if something doesn't look pretty good, then Allen goes out to tackle and they roll Peterman in at left guard. I could see how they'd be thinking that way.''

3) Sham on free safety: "Hmm. I have no clue. No idea. I don't think it'll be Keith Davis. Maybe Justin Beriault? Maybe it won't matter as much with solid cornerback play and a pass ruish. Maybe, if they get those things, it can be Lynn Scott and it won't be the end of the world."

4) Sham on Bledsoe: "I don't know if it's a major upgrade, but it's a potential upgrade. I do like the chip on Bledsoe's shoulder. I do think if they upgrade in other areas -- control the ball, get Julius some help, fix right tackle -- they can be fine. Especially if they play defense. Heaven forefend if they take the ball away now and again, to create an occasional short field for the offense.''

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