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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
5 Wonders: Tyrone Crawford is a player

By Todd Archer

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys have their second off day of training camp today, so I’m wondering where I’ll spend the day. But I did not forget about Five Wonders.

Here we go:

PODCAST
Cowboys LB Sean Lee joins Coop and Nate from training camp to discuss his role on the defense, being a leader for this team and more.

Listen Listen
** The play of rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford has me wondering if the Cowboys haven’t stolen a player with their third-round pick. He has added 15 pounds since the draft. He has the feet of a normal 4-3 end and the power you want from a 3-4 end. When the Cowboys selected him, the move was met by the general fan with a shrug (and a, "Who?"). The football people really liked the pick. Crawford is showing up almost every day and has made plays in the base and nickel packages. One member of the organization wondered whether Crawford could not start a few games this season.

** I wonder if Jason Garrett did not tip his hand on what the Cowboys want in their No. 3 receiver when discussing Miles Austin’s ability to play inside and outside. Garrett said the Cowboys could have the best of both worlds in their No. 3 search because of Austin. Putting him in the slot, however, gives him more of an edge against sub corners. Not many teams put their outside corners in the slot in passing situations. To me, that gives Kevin Ogletree and Andre Holmes an edge over Dwayne Harris or some of the others in the mix. Ogletree and Holmes are more outside receivers with their size. It’s what the Cowboys did last year with Laurent Robinson. Harris can play outside, but his quickness opens him up to be more of a slot receiver.

** I wonder how much the Cowboys like their young interior offensive linemen. They signed Derrick Dockery and Daniel Loper and had Montrae Holland in for a workout not just to be camp bodies. They envision roles for these guys as backups. The injuries suffered by Kevin Kowalski (ankle) and Bill Nagy (ankle) might have long-term consequences for both guys. Maybe David Arkin will be better in the games than in practice, but he is also struggling. The thought was that the Cowboys were about to turn over their line group these last two years, but it’s quite possible they could carry Pat McQuistan, Dockery and/or Loper on the 53-man roster. Jermey Parnell is a Jerry Jones favorite, so he’s the swing tackle again in 2012. Ronald Leary also makes the team and has shown ability.

** I wonder just how much worry there should be over the health of nose tackle Jay Ratliff. He has yet to practice in pads in camp. He did not take any snaps in the offseason, be it in the organized team activities or minicamp. Plantar fascia can be a debilitating injury and one that flares up constantly, but this has been about three months. When will it be OK? Ratliff is an undersized nose tackle for a 3-4 and relies on leverage to make plays, which makes the condition of his feet an issue. If he doesn’t have the strength to hold up, then he just can’t fire off the ball. There’s not a person in the organization worried about it, but it shouldn’t be swept under the rug. Here’s one interesting note regarding Ratliff, too: Last year, he showed up to camp weighing 285 pounds and didn’t like the attention to the weight loss. This year? He is listed at 303 pounds. I think he dropped too much last year.

** I wonder why people believe the team’s decision to cut Brodney Pool was some sort of stern message made by Jason Garrett. It wasn’t. It was actually an easy decision. Pool might have been a starter for most of his career, but he showed little in his time with the Cowboys, and the team’s expectations for him entering camp were not that high either. After all, he received a $100,000 signing bonus. The move was made because as Rob Ryan said, “he wasn’t the same guy,” and that’s coming from a coach who calls Pool a friend. Maybe this works out best for Pool because he could have a chance to hook on with another team.