If there was one thing you could always take for granted with the Dallas Cowboys, it was that they would grab a lot of headlines.
They could be stories about outrageous things done by players or Jerry Jones' latest flight of fancy. There could be predictions of great success, laments about how miserably the team failed to live up to expectations or some combination of the both as the year moves along. Such is life when you play your games in a gargantuan pleasure dome and when you've been calling yourself "America's Team" for the last four decades.
So what the heck is going on this summer?
The Cowboys have disappeared from the top of the buzz list and fallen into the mushy, mostly ignored underbelly of the NFL usually occupied by teams like the Jaguars, Chiefs and Rams. We know they exist and they are up to the same things as all the other teams, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone spending a lot of time talking about life in Big D.
Just look around the NFC East for confirmation. Enough ink has already been spilled on the Eagles and their "Dream Team" that anything less than a perfect season will be spun as a crushing disappointment. The Giants are in a bit of disarray thanks to Osi Umenyiora's holdout and a confusing set of decisions since the start of free agency. No thinks all that highly of the Redskins, but that isn't stopping Rex Grossman from making bold, goofy predictions about the team's chances.
With the Cowboys, you get stories about undrafted free agents who used to work at Texas Stadium, attendance figures from practices and assorted other filler for spaces that used to be occupied by all kinds of juicier stuff.
Some of the silence surely has to do with the way last season played out. After predicting huge things all through the summer of 2010, the team fell flat on its face and never recovered from early humiliations. The team has lost a lot of their bigger personalities from past years as well, although Dez Bryant alone should be enough to keep those 1920's newsboys yelling "Extra! Extra!" in business.
That leaves us with Jason Garrett as the reason why Camp Cowboys was less tabloid friendly than in years past. There's been a very clean and very clear break with the past since Garrett replaced Wade Phillips last season, one that emphasizes hard work and seriousness over the kinds of things that reigned supreme under Uncle Wade.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the entire season, but we know one thing for sure: If the Cowboys are 10-4 come December, you'll be reading a lot about how this team came out of nowhere.