SAN ANTONIO - AUGUST 06: Members of the media during Dallas Cowboys training camp at the Alamodome on August 6, 2009 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
By all accounts, camp cupcake is a thing of the past.
Wade Phillips' ill-gotten reputation as a softie has taken a blow with this camp, as players have endured the toughest three-weeks of preseason in recent memory, and certainly since the Tuna set sail for Miami.
"I can't speak for [Wade]," said a sweat-drenched Bradie James after morning practice on Tuesday. "But this camp has been like two of the other camps put together, you know what I mean? And I haven't heard anyone call this one 'cupcake.'"
Sullied somewhat by an ugly loss to Oakland in the preseason opener, is the fact that this has been, from the outside, anyway, the most promising, football-centric preseason since Phillips was hired. Phillips, for his part, seems well aware that he is strapped into the hot seat, which, along with the bitter ugliness and embarassment of 2008, might explain why Phillips is working his team so hard.
"This is the most practices we've ever had," James continued. "With thirty-something practices, I don't know how many two-a-days we've had...That was the challenge. And we're still out here, kicking. The best thing about it is I'm glad we didn't have any injuries. Guys are fatigued now, but we got good work done and so that was a challenge."
This 'challenge' was ushered in without the severe degree of pomp and circumstance of last year's camp, which James says is an incontrovertible positive.