Assorted notes from a week in Oxnard... So Washington coach Joe Gibbs pulls a funny by saying "Dallas people. ... are the ugliest people in the world."
That's a knee-slapper, Coach Gibbs! Hey, I don't know if, as the record suggests, the game has passed Joe Gibbs by. But comedy certainly has. Hey Henny Youngman, go beat the Cowboys once or twice, and then pop off.
Whenever the subject of Romo-vs.-Henson is broached, InfalliBill keeps saying its "only been a day (or week or month).'' Well, in fact, it's been a year. And if the Cowboys can't yet figure out who is superior between Henson and Romo, a logical conclusion is that NEITHER of them is superior.
One can't help but notice the bonds that are being built here. Flozell Adams, for instance, is supporting Larry Allen by joining him in a verbal shutdown. (Larry, as you know, has never understood that the human mouth can be used for more than just fuel intake.) On the other side, Marco Rivera is willing to mentor anyone who will listen. And it's not a coincidence that the new right-tackle leader after the first turn is Jacob Rogers -- Rivera's most attentive student.
A neat story from Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News on how the eight rookies got together on their own to work out. Also noteworthy is how linebacker Kevin Burnett emerged as a character-guy leader of the group. What's even more encouraging: I wouldn't have been surprised to hear that the character-guy leader was Demarcus Ware or Rob Petitti or Justin Beriault or Marcus Spears or Marion Barber. Point being, if this draft class fails, it won't be because they're busy doing their imitations of D-Hambrick or Derek Ross.
Once upon a time, NFL teams conducted their training camps in out-of-the-way hamlets where the only trouble athletes could get into was whether the town had hot-and-cold running water. In the early '90's, Jerry Jones flipped the script by moving camp to the partyin' city of Austin, a money-making, publicity-seeking move that featured. ... well, hot-and-cold-running EVERYTHING.
Oxnard is the best of both worlds. The Cowboys' "campus,'' if you will, is lovely and convenient and practical. But Oxnard is hardly a resort town, so there's not much trouble to step into. To paraphrase Clevon Little in "Blazing Saddles,'' "Where all the white women at?''
What a strange quote from Parcells to end the week: "I would rather play the right way and not win than just be a sloppy team with not much going for it and win a few games and get lulled into thinking that you are any good." Is he talking about that 10-6 season? I say that if you win 10 games, you ARE good. I'd rather "lull'' my way to 10 wins than look "sharp'' and "precise'' and "right-way'' my way to six wins. How about you?
So now Dallas HOF rep Rick Gosselin writes a Dallas Morning News story headlined "Aikman's efficiency could hurt Hall hopes.'' Good Lord, who's side is this guy on? Seriously, I'm starting to think so-called "sure-bet'' Cowboys candidates might be better served on that Super Bowl Saturday Decision Day if their seemingly reluctant campaign manager Goose calls in sick.
Steve Young, for whom the Cowboys were such an early-90's nemesis, remains among the classiest NFL'ers ever. During his Hall of Fame process, he continues to thank such "role models'' as Roger Staubach and Joe Montana. Neat thing to do, point out what a Cowboy, Staubach, did as a player to inspire him. Neater still, to claim that Joe was a great help to Steve in his career. Guys, I covered the 49ers in 1988 and 1989. And I can tell you what nobody has the balls to say: Joe Montana was no such thing to Steve Young. Montana created the most prickly and potentially divisive rivalry I've ever seen. It should be Montana thanking Young, not the other way around.
Parcells mentioned the other day how rookies can't make the team if they're hurt. And here we go again, a flashback to last summer, when Parcells' toughen-'em-up chiding of rookies Julius Jones and Stephen Peterman resulted quite possibly in them playing hurt when they shouldn't have. This time around, the coach is needling Marcus Spears, but believe me, Chris Canty and Justin Beriault and Rob Petitti, all nursing injuries, too, are listening. I say this: Marcus Spears shouldn't have to be told to "rub some dirt on it'' or "tape an aspirin to it'' or "know the difference between pain and injury'' or "be aware you can't make the club from the tub.'' If a guy doesn't get that -- and was planning to spend the summer milking an injury aboard an exercise bike -- he shouldn't have been a high draft pick in the first place.
If this team allows Tyson Thompson to return some kickoffs against real preseason competition, he will end up on the active roster sometime in 2005. And meanwhile, Woody Danzler will be somewhere wondering why this coaching staff needed to screw him up in order to eventually get Thompson right.
Don't be offended by Rafael Palmiero lying. He's just one man. Be offended by the entire institution of Major League Baseball lying. That steroid test Palmiero failed was from two months ago. ... and with steroids in his system, baseball knowingly allowed him to continue playing. Why? Because he was chasing 3,000 hits, and baseball wanted you to keep paying to see him until the truth prevented them from squeezing more bucks from your wallet. I hear people say the NFL simply "covers it up better.'' But it can't be covered up any more devlishly than it was in the case of Palmiero, who baseball intentionally sculpted into a false god for the purpose of revenue.
I don't know if Bill Parcells is especially clever at assigning nicknames, but even if he doesn't get points for quality, he scores high in quantity. If you're overweight, you're "Fats Domino.'' Or "Chubby Checker.'' (Bill gets 'em confused). A QB can be a "bus driver.'' A bullish tight end, in this this Dan Campbell, is nicknamed "Milk Truck.'' And if your last name is Johnson and you play defense, like Dallas unknown Thomas Johnson, you get called "Pepper."
None of which is all that funny. ... unless you compare it to the collected works of noted humorist Joe Gibbs.
Mike Fisher is the editor of www.DallasBasketball.com and hosts a daily sports-talk show, "Fish For Lunch,'' noon-to-3 on 990 Texas Talk Radio (990am in North Texas, and www.990texastalkradio.com on the web.) Contact him at Fish@DallasBasketball.com.