as some of you may already know, the dallas cowboys NFL franchise conducts its preseason training camp in oxnard california. it's the first time i've ever witnessed a professional team sports franchise first hand and it was pretty interesting. here's what i learned yesterday.
1) the crowd for the most part was pretty mild. a little goofy, but for the most part, a docile group of people. for example, the defense was running a quasi 7 on 7 drill where the secondary and the linebackers would line up aganist other defensive players. the non-linebackers and the non-secondary would run a fake play at about half speed and the defense have to defend a passing play. anyways, during one snap, dat nguyen made an interception and someone in the crowd yelled out "good play dat!" as if somehow dat would be encouraged by what some flunkee's evaluation of his effort during a freakin' practice.
the only time the crowd got semi-rowdy was at the end of practice as the players were walking off the field and people were trying to get autographs. as you can imagine, there were a bunch of kids all yelling out the names of players. for the most part, it seemed like a good number of players stopped to sign, including julius jones, roy williams, and a bunch of people i didn't recognize. keyshawn johnson didn't even break stride on the way to the locker room. bill parcells signed only one autograph, and then basically told everyone else to kiss his black ass. while c and i were watching the players walked off, we heard one lady scream in an extremely annoying voice, "that's not fair bill, if you sign one you have to sign them all." at that moment, i could only feel pity for whoever mom that was. anyways, like i said, bill didn't even acknowledge. it was pretty funny.
2) drew henson really really sucks. i made it a point to watch him all day, and during any drill that involved defenders, seriously, he was about as a good of a professional football player as me. during one sequence, he played three snaps during a scrimmage, 0-3, 1 INT. his throws were wobbly and erratic the whole day. he has the look of a kid that is losing all confidence in his ability. which is a shame, because i was really hoping that he might pan out as a decent enough quarterback to drive the bus for cowboys playoff teams in the future. but from what i can see, he has no future as a pro football player.
3) drew bledsoe is not that much better. his throws looked ok, but he as immobile as everyone says he is. his fortunes this year depend on the offensive line having to give him all day to throw and that's just not going to happen.
4) julius jones looked really good. i don't know if it because it is practice and they're not really supposed to tackle the skill players, but he seemed to be biting off 5-6 yards at a time, with several 10+ yd runs.
5) i don't know about the secondary. i got the closest look at this unit because they were practicing right near where i was standing. terence newman didn't look all that great and during scrimmage, he got burned a few times. i'm really not worried about roy williams, and the rest of the dudes were getting burned repeatedly by the cowboys receivers.
6) the cowboys are not going to be very good this year. i'll unveil a prediction about their record this season in a later posting, but just know that .500 will be a long proposition.
7) football players are freakin' huge. you know that they're big from the numbers, but it really is something else to see these guys in person. roy williams was completely buffed out and add in the pads and the fact that they're all pure muscle, it ends up making them look even bigger. jason witten is gigantic, as is flozell adams and larry allen. i know that basketball players are tall and that baseball sluggers are pretty big too, but of all professional sports, football is the one that i could least picture myself playing. the idea of one of these dudes running full speed to knock me on my ass is more scary than anything that could happen in other sports.
8) offensive lineman are extremely lazy. at the end of practice, the players were running sprints in groups. the groups were divided by position and the offensive lineman almost always didn't touch the line. during one sprint, larry allen stopped a full fifteen feet before reaching the line and turned around a jogged half speed back.
sure the boys are going to be bad this year, but how many of these does your team have?