ARLINGTON -- As the Dallas Cowboys practiced Sunday at their spacious home in Arlington, several of the few hundred fans that watched the three-hour event seemed optimistic about the start of a new season.
A new year usually brings hope in the NFL and the Cowboys faithful have their reasons to believe 2011 will end better than 2010.
Optimism begins with a couple of significant changes from last year at this time. The Cowboys have a new head coach, Jason Garrett , and a new defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, leading the way.
While the two men have considerably different personalities, the fan base seems to be pleased that both are in their current positions.
“[The Cowboys] are going to do better than last year, no doubt,” Andy Blaha, 34, of La Grange said. “They got the right head coach.”
George Unangst, a 25-year-old from Arlington, agreed with Blaha, noting that Garrett did well in his debut last year, taking over for Wade Phillips midway through the regular season. Garrett led the Cowboys to a 5-3 record after they started 1-7.
The departure of Phillips also meant the Cowboys would likely go a different direction on defense. Ryan, who also runs a 3-4 scheme, had success during stops in Oakland and Cleveland, making him an attractive candidate for the job. However, Ryan’s cocky style is different from the laid-back Phillips.
“(Ryan) isn’t somebody like Wade Phillips, who was kind of relaxed and let everybody do what they had to do,” Unangst said. “Ryan will actually get on their rear and tell them the way it’s got to be done in his system.”
Ryan also isn’t somebody that’s scared to speak his mind, and his mouth has already produced bulletin board material for one of the Cowboys’ division rivals. Following a practice on Aug. 1, Ryan referred to the Philadelphia Eagles as the all-hype team and added, “We're going to beat their [butt] when we play them.”
A little trash talk doesn’t bother 31-year-old Jessica Armendariz of El Paso.
“He’s going to do some great things for us this year,” she said. “He speaks his mind and says whatever he wants to say, so I think that kind of rubs people the wrong way. But at the same time, if you’re confident that he knows what he’s doing than you don’t mind some of the things that come out of his mouth.”
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones attempted to sign the gem of the free agency class, Nnamdi Asomugha, on July 29, however, the All-Pro cornerback decided to ink a five-year, $60 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, instead.
Aside from adding Asomugha, the Eagles went on a free agency shopping spree. Defensive linemen Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins combined with wide receiver Steve Smith , quarterback Vince Young and running back Ronnie Brown to form one of the most skilled free agency classes in recent history. Philly also traded backup quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
According to the experts, those moves have made the Eagles the favorite to win the NFC East.
But those experts weren’t among the folks interviewed Sunday.
Dwight Taylor, 12, of Oak Cliff said the team that he was watching practice is loaded, too.
“The Cowboys have a squad this year, so they might beat the Eagles,” he said.
Nakia Gibbs, 37, of Dallas sees the Philadelphia additions as just names on paper. He said chemistry is what wins on Sundays and the Eagles won’t know if they have that until they play together on the field.
“You can’t just throw names out there and say that we’re going to win,” said Gibbs, who like the majority interviewed Sunday, predicted the Cowboys would win 10 games this season. “You got to go out there and work for it. Look at the Miami Heat. You have to have guys that enjoy playing together.”
Having Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back from season-ending injuries also brought optimism from Cowboys supporters. If the tandem can make it through a full season together, some fans believe the two could repeat the success Romo had when Terrell Owens was in Dallas. Owens had three 1,000-yard seasons and caught 38 touchdowns playing with the Cowboys.
“I see Dez Bryant as one of those T.O. type players, and Romo had great seasons with T.O.,” Gibbs said. “If (Romo) and Bryant can have that type of season, than the sky’s the limit for the Cowboys.”
---------- Post added August-16th-2011 at 07:13 PM ----------
So, basically this just reinforces my view that the puke fanbase is the most 'clueless' in the entire NFL.
Texas needs to restore some budget for the schools down there.