Offensive Impressions

Quick offensive personnel thoughts on a quick first week in Camp Cowboys. (Why extra concern about offensive personnel? If you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention.)

DREW BLEDSOE: Emotionally, he has complete control of this football team. ... Much-respected by teammates (including, hopefully, T.O.). ... Critics note that he's 34, and that 34-year-old QBs go down. But he doesn't seem any more likely to get sacked or get hurt than he ever did. ... Could put up huge numbers if Bill Parcells (in Dallas seemingly fond of 16-10 victories) allows it.

FLOZELL ADAMS: A Saint Bernard? His coach compared him to a Saint Bernard?

ROB PETITTI: Petitti was a regular on my radio show in his rookie year, so don't think I don't like the guy, or the way he's re-made his body. I'm simply concerned that he was becoming an important cog in an O-line that, for the first week, did not look cohesive -- and is now being yo-yo'ed away from that position. ... Tattoos swirling up and down his arms add to the intimidation factor. ... Meet him, and you root for him. Nice kid. Looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand. That kind of guy. ... But either Petitti isn't improving, or Marc Colombo is something special. ...

TONY ROMO: Believe me, I want him to experience incredible preseason success and to prove me wrong. But I don't see it. I don't see how he's gone from a guy Dallas was scared to play to a guy Dallas is now relying on. ... He certainly hasn't gotten any taller. But he is a stand-up guy (pun intended). So if this doesn't work -- Romo as the No. 2, Romo as the future Drew Brees of Dallas -- he'll at least admit it. ... And I'm just saying, where the Cowboys coaches see Drew Brees, I see Clint Stoerner.

JULIUS JONES: More bad news here -- at least if you're a Fantasy Football fan of JJ's: Parcells spent the week talking as if he favors running the ball by committee. So there, in theory, goes Jones' dreams of 1,800 yards and Pro Bowls. ... He's clearly worked on his body in the offseason, trying to build himself that "suit of armor,'' but even if he proves himself durable, the presence of Marion Barber cuts into his carries, and even more, cuts into his TDs. Take note, Fantasy Footballer.

TERRELL OWENS: T.O. is, even when he's at his best, a strange bird. He's a complex bundle of cockiness and insecurity, and when he misses three days due to a hammy, a Cowboys fan has the right to be skeptical. But. ... I have not heard one Cowboy coach or player say a discouraging word about Owens' behavior -- and certainly not about his performance. It's almost a waste of time to mention that his production tailed off in the last couple of days (he'd been spectacular in the early going) because you know he will excel once the games really begin. ... I think if the Cowboys cater to him a bit, ala Allen Iverson in Philly -- a risky proposition, but in these days not uncommon -- he might just take seriously the responsibility of this being largely "his team.'' ... One more thing regarding production: During all of Parcells' seasons as head coach, he's only had six 1,000-yard receivers. Surely Parcells lets T.O. buck that trend. Right?

JASON WITTEN: Parcells was going down the list of things he likes about the tight end. He said he can run, block, catch. Said he "loves the game, loves it.'' And said, "He's fun to be around.'' Combine all of that with Witten's status now as an elite NFL player, and don't you just have to root for him? ... No way the new contract makes Witten fat and sassy. No way. ... A smart bet: T.O.'s presence means numbers for Witten -- including touches inside the 20. ... Has a nice habit in practice of turning everything hard upfield.

SKYLER GREEN, JAMAICA RECTOR, SAM HURD: How to separate these kids from another? Green is the one who was told he was a little chubby, so he came to camp in great shape. Rector is the one who kills in the weight room and earned the Gary Clark comparison. Hurd is the one who actually makes all the plays. ... Topping off the confusion caused in part by the Cowboys PR machine insisting that each of these guys is something special is the camp visit by Freddie Mitchell. Owens AND Freddie Mitchell? Why not phone Harold Carmichael and call it a day?

ANTHONY FASANO: Very old-school. All business. Has the advantage of playing the exact same role, with mostly the exact same terminology, he was in at Notre Dame. That will pay off early.

AL JOHNSON: If only you could attach Al Johnson's head onto Andre Gurode's body. Of course, Rosey Grier and Ray Miland tried that in "The Man With Two Heads,'' and it didn't work out too well.

LOUSAKA POLITE: The Cowboys' original plans did not include Polite, whose fullback position was being phased out. But Polite -- a fast learner and a bright guy -- has made himself vital again. Fullback, H-back, tailback, special teams. He's sticking.

TYSON THOMPSON: Last year, the unheralded rookie demonstrated an extra gear in practice, and he got Cowboys fans up on their feet to watch even the most mundane play. Thompson -- despite his terrific speed -- hasn't shown that same burst yet. ... He's getting pushed as a kick returner, and getting crowded out of meaningful snaps from the backfield, and even getting pushed by Keylon Kincade for the third spot. ... The hope: That Tyson, with so little experience, will really come into his own this season. The concern: That Tyson has gotten a bit too comfortable with being a "veteran.''

ANDRE GURODE: Another Parcells comparison: He referred to Gurode as being half of "Sister Sledge.'' Which might be worse than being compared to a Saint Bernard. ... My understanding is that Gurode is out-playing Johnson, and that Parcells' words are intended to prod Gurode into keeping it up.

MIKE VANDERJAGT: He missed his last kick as a Colt. He missed his first kick as a (training camp) Cowboy. And he has experienced some real problems getting in a groove in Oxnard. But there is no reason to think the "Idiot Kicker'' will be anything but the most accurate FG man in NFL history. An interesting question: If Parcells plays it conservatively, does Vanderjagt get even more attempts than he did with the high-flying Colts?


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