America, you dodged another one, but barely, as Glaze Across America is winding down.
Each year we unleash our NFL Insider/Senior Writer Jay Glazer upon the country to take our fans along for a ride hitting training camp upon training camp. Our only advice is: sheriffs, townspeople, authorities, be on the lookout for a demented, loud, aggressive — did we say demented? — reporter. Now in its 10th year, his Glaze Across America is designed to give fans the sights and smells of NFL training camps, a first-hand look at teams Glazer visits and observations as the NFL ramps up for yet another exciting season.
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Along the way, however, Glazer also brings a flavor of life on the road, a slice of our nation through the eyes of a guy who just somehow always seems to stumble upon things that simply aren’t normal. Whether it’s staying at an Inn in middle America that just “happened” to have a library of Nazi books in Glazer’s room, to the motel with the blood-splattered wall to the very, very un-politically correct joke he played on Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez a few years ago, Glazer is far from your normal insider.
During this year’s trip he has desecrated Chris Mortenson’s bus, terrorized a bunch of old ladies at a bingo hall and got a picture of a drunken trucker who took a 15-minute nap . . . on the can!
Glazer has, for the most part, twittered his thoughts and escapades @Jay_Glazer, but every once in a while he sends over a full Glaze Across America column. In this edition Glazer hits The Big D.
DALLAS — The circus has left town.
That’s the vibe I got in The Big D. With T.O. and his never-ending show now on the road in Buffalo, Pacman helping us make headlines in “Pros Vs. Joes” instead of the Cowboys locker room, Jessica and the drama gone, the soap opera in Dallas appears to have been canceled.
In talking to the players while I was there, they love the new atmosphere. They love the fact that football is now the focus instead of locker room friction, fights in bathrooms, looming suspensions, etc. Wow, what a novel idea. Football.
Obviously this now puts even more pressure on Tony Romo to lead this team to at least a playoff victory. But here’s the one thing about Romo I think often gets lost. He’s a heck of a young quarterback. It gets lost because he plays in Dallas on a team that is expected to win it all each year like they did with Jimmy.
If Romo was in Seattle, Cleveland, Cincy, Miami, heck, anywhere but Dallas or New York, he’d be hailed as a solid, solid Pro Bowl QB. He’s certainly as effective as Matt Hasselback or Carson Palmer. Fans love those guys. But Romo? He’s got a big target on him because he plays for the Jones Boys and because he dated Jessica Simpson. This was a down-the-line college QB who has far, far, far exceeded expectations.
But still, now is the time for Romo to step up and take over this Cowboys locker room. Now is the time for him to take over the huddle and be the voice that puts the chips into the center of the table. He has what it takes, the ability to impose his will on his opponent.
Most of the focus this offseason was on how Dallas tried to add by subtraction. But two actual additions who were huge for this franchise in the off-season were backup QB Jon Kitna and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. As for the former, he’s a great locker room guy but also a very capable backup QB, something Dallas showed they sorely needed a year ago.
In DeCamillis, the team gets one of the best, if not the best, at his position in the entire league. He’s long been hailed by his peers for his aggressiveness and how well-coached his guys are. His coverage teams come from all over the place rather than with the predictability shown by others.
Yes, it’s true, I tried to hit the scoreboard with a potato. Four of them to be exact. Sadly, this attempt of bravery, courage and sheer strength fell short, literally. The way I looked at it, if I couldn’t hit the damn thing with a potato, then they should leave the damn thing where it is. Which is exactly what the league decided. I’m sure my potato measuring stick was the crucial factor in Roger Goodell’s decision. I mean, how could it not be?
I don’t really know what prompted me to throw a potato at it. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
By the way, that scoreboard is the most amazing technological piece of visual entertainment I have ever seen. I don’t know why any of the fans there would actually watch the field. It’s as if the action is happening right in front of you and the high-def quality really is a sight to behold.
GLAZE KIND OF PLAYER: I always look for my kind of guys during these trips. Guys who are a bit demented, tough, have a wild or off-beat story. Ya know, the kind of players who would reach his camera phone over a stall to snap a photo of a dude passed out on the can. The kind of player who’d scare the daylights out of someone else walking down a dark alley. The type of guy who is either a lunatic (in a good way) or just out of his mind.
I found a total Glaze guy in kicker David Buehler. That’s right, a kicker. At 6-2, 227 pounds the dude’s built like a linebacker and faster than a safety. In fact, while he’ll be the Cowboys’ kickoff specialist this year, he’ll actually be used on punt teams as well. Can you imagined that? A kicker used as a special teams ace in other units? Cowboys love the fact that after he kicks off he will often be the guy downfield first making a tackle.
Oh, and to top it off, the vets made him grow a porn ‘stache that I think he’s secretly grown to like. Love Chrebet-esque guys like this.