Tinkering with Romo? P.M. Notebook

SAN ANTONIO – Tony Romo is equal parts "rock star'' and "gym rat.'' And while it's true that the Cowboys asked him to curtail some of his off-the-field gossip-magazine behavior, it is not exactly true that they asked him to change anything mechanical.

Coach Wade Phillips said something on the first day of camp about the QB possessing some "mechanical difficulties we didn't like.'' That sounded like a red flag to me, so I requested a private X's-and-O's session with O-coordinator Jason Garrett.

"Well, that's not exactly right, because that makes it sound like we tinkered with the guy's throwing motion or something,'' Garrett told me. "And I don't believe in that.''

(It is notable here to point out that Jason mentored Kerry Collins when both were with the Giants, and Collins' weird sidewinder motion still got New York to a Super Bowl.)

"I believe in building on what a guy already has,'' Garrett continued. "Tony's a mobile guy and a creative guy. So we build on that.

"At the same time, there are some footwork issues we've worked on. Footwork, getting your feet set, that sort of thing. Really, just fundamentals, fundamentals and fundamentals. The best thing about Tony is, he's a worker.''

Of course, he's also a bit of a "playa.'' As far as the off-the-field antics, I've been told by a number of Cowboys people that Jerry Jones got personally involved, telling Tony that the attention is "part of us being America's team but can still be a burden.'' And of course, Garrett lived through that for eight years as Troy Aikman's caddie.

" Troy had to learn the same thing,'' Garrett said. "Part of it is being a nice guy but also learning to say no.''

So there is still some "rock star'' in there? "All I see is the gym rat,'' said Garrett. "Four days after I was hired, he was busy getting ready to go to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii . But he still found time to immediate get down to Valley Ranch and start throwing with me. He's a gym rat.''

WHO'S HOT: Finally, one of the two candidates for the kicking job got a leg up. … and it was the sixth-round rookie Nick Folk. Dallas anticipated he'd show a stronger leg than incumbent Martin Gramatica, and on Saturday afternoon he did. Once outside of 40 yards, the vet couldn't hang with the kid, who looked solid from 50-plus.

WHO'S NOT: Wade Phillips and staff aren't much for singling out guys who struggle, but defensive lineman Stephen Bowen has been the subject of Wade's gentle wrath.

OFFBEAT BEAT: Winning three Super Bowls makes for strange bedfellows. Which is why Jay Novacek's Friday night dinner partner was none other than. … James Washington?

"Why does that surprise you?'' Novacek teased. "We talked all the time. When it was time to go against (tight end) Keith Jackson, James would come to me for advice. He's a good man.''

Yeah, but. … Novacek played at Wyoming . Washington hails from Watts . Two worlds apart, you know.

"That part of it is good for me,'' Jay told me, "because it makes me feel blessed to have grown up the way I did.''

QUOTABLE: "This idea that you have to be an a-hole to be a football coach? It's just bull----. I've been around football for 50 years, and it always has been bull---.'' – Larry Lacewell, exclusively to TheRanchReport.com.

FISHELLANEOUS: A number of offensive skill-position players followed Terry Glenn's sartorial lead Saturday afternoon and broke out the white shorts, including Romo and Owens. … Aaron Glenn practiced sparingly due to a mild knee problem. … Tyson Thompson has improved dramatically as a runner who is adding some elusiveness to his speedy north-south style. It's showing up on kickoff returns especially. … As per our pre-camp scouting report, Bobby Carpenter continues to struggle to get off blocks. Leonard Davis is particular seems a great challenge to the former top pick. … Hard to tell if third-round O-lineman James Marten is a player yet. But he's already a a favorite of coaches and teammates because of his gritty persona. … As if Jerry Jones isn't busy enough: He's spending a great deal of him, in tandem with PR director Rich Dalrymple, composing the speech Jones will give to guide Michael Irvin into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend. … A DFW newspaper asked the question, "Doesn't Greg Ellis Deserve Some Loyalty?'' In short, no. What Ellis deserves is his $2.5 million salary, as his existing contract calls for.

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