45-Day NFL Warning: Assessing the Obviousness of Training Camp’s Opening-Weekend Headlines
What’s that? You were wondering exactly how many days until the start of the NFL season? Well, you’re in luck! We here at the Triangle are set to spend the next month and a half providing a daily reason to get excited about pro football’s return.
Training camp! It’s here!
This past weekend, the 2013 Hall of Fame Game participants (the Cowboys and Dolphins, but you knew that, obviously) kicked off camp on opposite coasts. Our enthusiasm here is partly a product of knowing that the start of training camp means the season is fast approaching (seriously, guys, only 45 days; we’ve got this), but it also stems from the warm, familiar embrace of early-camp sound bites. Now is the time for boundless hope and absurd overreaction. So pretty much the best time.
In celebration of said time, we decided to take a look at where each of the big Dolphin- and Cowboy-centric headlines falls in its obviousness. It’s on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 1 being news that Tim Tebow has beat out Tom Brady and a 10 being that Tim Tebow is showing a willingness to learn from Tom Brady.
Tony Romo has let himself go a little
Here’s a quick blueprint for getting an entire fan base to resent you:
- Come to the NFL’s most popular franchise as an undrafted free agent from a small school in the Midwest.
- Emerge as the new, young, exciting alternative to an aging, statuesque quarterback struggling for a middling team.
- Supplant said quarterback, score 35 points in your first start, go 6-4 for the rest of the season, and lead America’s most popular team back to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
- Horribly botch a simple play at a crucial moment during your first playoff game, one that will be replayed 736 times over the course of your career; start narrative about lack of ability to perform in postseason.
- Continue to put up borderline elite stats while missing the playoffs/getting bounced early in the playoffs, thus ensuring that the franchise must commit to you long-term, despite the fan base’s growing unrest.
- Receive $108 million contract as result of franchise’s long-term commitment.
- Have back surgery weeks after receiving $108 million contract.
- Arrive at training camp reportedly overweight, causing speculation as to how much of that weight gain is due to back surgery and how much is due to that massive contract.
- Deny that you are overweight.
This is the point along that ride at which Tony Romo currently sits. I guess someone could argue that the first few steps aren’t necessary, but I think we all know that the purest hatred is a product of betrayal.
Romo apparently weighed in at 236 over the weekend — six pounds more than the highest reported figure during his Cowboy days. Romo disputed that number, obviously, but what Romo actually weighs doesn’t really matter. If Romo struggles, the starting point of any post-contract narrative is already there. This should be a really fun year in Dallas.
Obviousness score: Fat report, 7; Rebuffing of fat report, 10
Jerry Jones doesn’t care what y’all say; Jason Garrett is not coaching for his job
If the Cowboys miss the playoffs this year, the four-year drought will officially be the longest of Jerry’s tenure. He’s not sweating it, though. Jones said that Garrett’s work with Romo and his response to the “unsatisfactory times” in which the Cowboys find themselves have created an encouraging future. I’m sure the outlook will be similar if Dallas starts 2-4.
Obviousness score: 9
Mike Pouncey is focused on football, not headwear
Mike Pouncey: "I'm here to talk about football." Asked when he'd address wearing cap that read "Free Hernandez," Pouncey: "After football."
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) July 21, 2013
Obviousness score: 10
The Dolphins are optimistic
Miami was the clear winner of the Most Insane Things Said During OTAs title, and it looks like they’re serious about defending that crown during training camp.
— Brandon Lewis Gibson (@Bgibson04) July 19, 2013
Brandon Gibson is the lesser of the Dolphins’ two wide receiver signings, but it seems like he’s gotten the message. Brian Hartline knows the drill, too: “We do have higher expectations going into the season. You hear it every year, how every team is optimistic. I think we have reasons to be.”
As enjoyable as it is to poke fun at this annual drill, Hartline isn’t wrong. There’s plenty to be concerned about in New England, the Jets are sure to be an epic disaster, and Buffalo is starting over at each of the three major roles in an organization (GM, head coach, quarterback). The Dolphins went 7-9 a year ago, and there actually are some reasons to think Miami might be better. Ryan Tannehill probably will be better in his second year, Mike Wallace is an upgrade at wide receiver (although a severely overpaid one), and Lamar Miller is at least an intriguing option in the backfield.
Miami is looking at a lot of turnover in two critical areas — offensive line and the secondary — but Tyson Clabo is a very capable option at right tackle, and if Brent Grimes can come close to what he was in 2011, he’ll go a long way in helping fill the Dolphins’ void at cornerback. The Dolphins have their share of question marks, but so do the rest of the teams in the AFC East. The difference is that one of those teams also has …
Obviousness score: 9
Mike Wallace, new Dolphin, kisses Tom Brady’s ring
… Tom Brady. Mike Wallace doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to public comments, but he deserves some credit here for not making the same mistake so many of us seem to make over and over. “You never want to say, ‘Oh, this happened and that happened,’ because as soon as you say that, they come back at 12-4, 13-3,” Wallace said. “You learn just to accept the Patriots for who they are.”
Obviousness score: 11