- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. – With the Cowboys beginning their third day of training camp practice today, there’s no better time than now to break out Five Wonders, the award-winning blog post -- and by award-winning, I mean in the eyes of my two daughters.
On to the Wonders:
The Cowboys say they will keep their search for defensive end help largely inside the building with Tyrone Crawford out for the year with a torn Achilles. While some of you want to go out and sign a John Abraham or even a Richard Seymour, I wonder if the Cowboys might give Jason Hatcher a look at defensive end. It’s a two-for-one move to a degree and that’s never good. You might be taking away a strength at tackle. But Hatcher might have the ability to spell Anthony Spencer from time to time the way Crawford would and Sean Lissemore could play more tackle in pass rushing situations. Hatcher said he would be open to a move if needed.
Is it too early to wonder about playing time in the preseason? Maybe, but I wonder if the Cowboys play their regulars a little bit more than they have in the past because of the change to the 4-3 and the change in offensive playcaller in Bill Callahan. As much as Jason Garrett likes to do situational work in practice for the players, he might want to do it for Callahan too. The coach has to knock some of the rust off his play-calling skills since he hasn’t done it in so long. And there’s this wonder within a wonder: does Tony Romo need more playing time because he did not have an offseason due to the back surgery?
It’s way too early to speculate on this subject since Demetress Bell is not in good enough shape to practice yet, but I wonder if the Cowboys could use their veteran depth as a potential trade bait. Now, this is all provided Bell plays well and a lot better than he did a year ago in Philadelphia. He or Jermey Parnell could be attractive to other teams as a potential need fit because of injuries and both come at decent prices. Parnell counts $1.35 million against the cap. Bell counts $555,000. I think the Bell signing was more to help the Cowboys get through training camp with quality enough backup play to make things a little easier for Kyle Orton, but in the back of my mind there’s a possibility here.
Let’s get back on the subject of Spencer here for a moment. The Cowboys did not really come close to a long-term deal for him before a July 15 deadline, which means he will play this year on the franchise tag ($10.6 million). Teams can’t pay everybody, and Spencer would represent a decent financial commitment with guys like Sean Lee and Bruce Carter coming up into free-agent years. With that in mind, I wonder if we need to look back at Tampa Bay’s defense under Monte Kiffin for how money gets structured. At defensive end, Simeon Rice got paid the big bucks. The other guys – Chidi Ahanotu, Marcus Jones and Greg Spires – were paid OK but not great. With the Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware gets the big bucks. I wonder if there’s just not enough for Spencer.
I wonder when the Cowboys move to their new practice facility in the next few years – and Frisco is believed to be the leader in the clubhouse over Irving and Arlington – if they will hold at least a portion of training camp there. The weather is an obstacle, but Miami manages to deal with the hot and sticky stuff with the option of going indoors if they want every now and again. But there’s a reason why teams are opting to practice at home more. Their facilities have places for fans to watch the show, and don’t think that doesn’t matter. It does. Teams can make some cash on their own through parking and concessions instead of running out to colleges or other spots for practice. That is not an option presently at Valley Ranch. There is no place to put fans. A new facility would undoubtedly have either permanent or portable seating for fans and plenty of parking.