For years, we have talked about the dreaded Turk, the member of the staff that informs players to grab their playbook and report to the head coach. They dreaded this sign that they were about to be released. Well, nowadays the playbook is a digital tablet or iPad, and it turns out that our terminology needs updating as well.
Sometimes, the youngsters have a point. The Turk was always a strange term. Most of us don't really know where it came from (there does not seem to be an authoritative account of its origins), and it is not something that just automatically creates a sense of dread.
But "The Reaper"? Yeah. That sends a shiver of fear down your spine. No explanation needed.
The Reaper paid another visit to the Dallas Cowboys as they completed the cutdown to 75 players.
No real shocks, but how can you not be sad at the loss of the Unicorn?
Cutting players is a harsh thing that could be very heartless if not handled well. The Cowboys are one team that tries to remember that these are young men who are going through a potentially crushing moment.
"It's probably the hardest thing that we have to do," Garrett said Tuesday. "We really take a tremendous amount of pride in doing it the right way. I will talk to every player, have a personal meeting with them. The coordinators will talk to each player. The position coaches will talk to the player.
"Typically, what we do is thank them for their effort and putting it all out there. We try to be instructive, ‘This is what we saw. This is how we think you can get better. It's one person's opinion or one organization's opinion.' And then encourage them."
There are lots of spots where the staff is not satisfied with the options on the roster. Look for the team to sign players who were cut elsewhere to try to improve. How many? Stephen Jones says they will get as many as it takes.
"We'll make five moves if we think five guys are better. I don't think that part bothers us. We'll make seven. Usually that's not the case. Usually when you get down to the bottom, they're pretty close. ... Anytime we can improve our roster, we're up for it."
The two tiered system of cuts may serve no real purpose anymore. Jones thinks it may be time for a change to allow teams to keep as many available bodies as they can for the final preseason game. He said the idea has been broached with the league's competition committee.
"There's a lot of mechanics involved in it, and they're legitimate," Jones said. "I don't want to say it's not legitimate but at the end of the day I would be on the side that you ought to cut them at one time. And I think we can work through all the logistics, the physicals and everything that goes with it."
One of the roster spots is going to Anthony Spencer, who is a lot closer to being ready to play than just about anyone imagined he would be.
Owner Jerry Jones believes that defensive end Anthony Spencer, who he says will not be placed on PUP, could be ready by week 2.
"As close as we are to week one, he won't be ready," said Jones with Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan. "He will be on our active 53-man roster. We wouldn't be doing that if we weren't planning on him being on the field immediately."
The team is still waiting for word on what kind of suspension the league will mete out. Many have asked why Roger Goodell has taken so long with this, and the answer appears to be a little media manipulation by the commissioner and the league.
If Goodell's ruling on Brent had come down two weeks ago there would have been a round of stories on Brent's tragic case and the commissioner's response, many of them negative. They would have lingered with Brent's presence in camp. He would leave to serve his suspension and then the stories would resurface again upon his return.
Goodell and the league will still take a hit this week, but the news cycle will quickly turn to what teams are doing to get ready for the start of the regular season.
The headline covers the important details.
While it seems likely that B.W. Webb will retain a roster spot for at least the duration of Orlando Scandrick's suspension, he better be paying attention to what happened when he was out for the Miami Dolphins game.
It should be pointed out that undrafted rookie free agent Tyler Patmon had two interceptions and forced a fumble during Webb's absence Saturday.
After drawing a penalty that falls pretty much in the "foolish" category against the Dolphins, there have been some questions raised about whether Dixon is going to be able to adjust to the way the game has to be played in the NFL. He seems reluctant to accept that he has to acknowledge the mistakes he is making.
"In this league, you have to play the ball of how they're cracking down on everything and all these penalties," Dixon said. "Breaking a lot of habits. I wouldn't even call them bad habits, but breaking a lot of habits that were formed over a lifetime period of playing ball."
The Cowboys are really depending on Henry Melton to give the team something resembling a pass rush. As with the star quarterback, they have been very careful with him, and the decision has still not been made as to whether Melton will see any action in the preseason finale.
"It doesn't matter to me," Melton said. "I'm feeling good. Sitting out a week let my knee heal a little bit more, but it did set back my conditioning. One day of pads, I might need more reps before game time. But we will see."
When some players are unhappy with their contracts, they threaten to hold out. Dez Bryant, who is looking to follow Tyron Smith into the $100 million club or thereabouts with a new contract, is taking a somewhat different approach.
Bryant will not allow the business side to bleed over into the game he loves. He refuses to let finances blur his focus on football.
The determination to avoid any potential distractions is why Bryant has set a deadline of sorts on his contract discussions with the Cowboys. If Jerry Jones hasn't made Bryant one of the richest receivers in NFL history by the beginning of the regular season, Bryant will put the negotiations on ice until next offseason.
Although both sides have stated there is no real deadline on the negotiations, Jerry Jones thinks it would be better to get it done soon. He does appreciate the approach Bryant is taking.
"He's got a good sense of it," Jones said of the negotiations. "Obviously he feels in the right circumstances, he's got to get something done. And we do, too. That can be good."
As for Bryant saying he'd rather not do a deal in the middle of the season, Jones didn't sound too concerned.
"That's not uncommon - that makes all the sense in the world," Jones said. "I know Dez well. Obviously he wants to be responsible. It's a pleasure to have someone that their only focus to him and his family is playing football for the Dallas Cowboys. That's a plus for everyone."
From fellow players to the owner, it seem everyone in the Dallas organization looks up to the man known as the Senator. Jason Witten is the player all the rest wish they could be.
New teammates look at him reverentially and almost fearfully; they know they need to earn his trust to gain acceptance. Older teammates look to him for guidance on or off the field. Opponents respect him for his talent and professionalism.
For the front office and coaches, Witten's combination of determination, dedication and hard work almost make him a cliché. He has set a standard that few can match with nine Pro Bowls. Only Hall of Famers Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro and Larry Allen have played in more Pro Bowls as Cowboys than Witten. With 21 catches this season, he would join Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 900 receptions.
The team may have had to make a hard business decision and let the future Hall of Famer go, but there are no hard feelings on the executive vice president's part.
"He's like family," Jones said. "Obviously in our mind he's a shoo-in to the Hall of Fame and he spilled his bucket here for us and it's difficult but that's part of the business. At the same time, we're happy for him because of what he was able to do in terms of his business with the Broncos, and it sure is a good situation for him.
"I've said it from Day 1, he's one of my all-time favorites and I wish him nothing but the best."
The following two posts just seem to go together.
When Jerry Jones first bought the Cowboys, he had thoughts about going country with the team image. He got a quick education in what the Dallas Cowboys were.
"Tex Schramm immediately straightened me out," said Jones. "He said, ‘Let Houston be the checkered table cloth and the sawdust floor. The Dallas Cowboys are glitz and glamour. We're about beautiful office buildings, the city lights. Keep that in mind as you think of the style or how you project what is now the brand.'"
The partnership has seen Hublot come together with the Cowboys, with input from the Jones family, to create three luxury timepieces that reflect the Cowboys' status in American sports. Each timepiece will utilize the team's famous silver and blue, as well as the iconic star at five o'clock - for five Super Bowl wins.
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