IRVING, Texas -- Maybe more than any other player on the roster, the Dallas Cowboys need Doug Free to be the best version of himself, to borrow one of head coach Jason Garrett's coachspeak catchphrases. That version is a good tackle and veteran leader on an offensive line that is expected to be one of the league's best. The other version of Free is a weak link. Which Free will the Cowboys get this season? The answer should play a major part in determining the potency of a Dallas offense that has the potential to be as explosive as any in the NFC.
IRVING, Texas -- Terry McAulay will be the official in Sunday’s regular-season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. In two preseason games, McAulay’s crew had 44 accepted penalties for 366 yards with 15 defensive holding, illegal contact or illegal use of hands penalties in keeping with the league’s offseason emphasis. McAulay’s crew worked two Cowboys’ games last season, which were losses. They worked the 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos, in which they were penalized nine times for 81 yards.
IRVING, Texas -- You see Dez Bryant, and there's a football in his hands. Maybe he's twirling it in his palm. Perhaps he's tossing it high above his head and catching it again and again. Or just cradling it gently like a newborn. You see Bryant on the practice field, and he's catching a football. Sometimes, quarterback Tony Romo is throwing it, or coach Jason Garrett is throwing it. Then again, he might have persuaded one of the equipment guys to play catch.