MINNEAPOLIS - AUGUST 30: Miles Austin #19 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against Heath Farwell #59 of the Minnesota Vikings on August 30, 2007 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings won 23-14. (Photo by David Sherman/Getty Images)
The turnover was a cruel mistress for Dallas in 2008.
Their eight interceptions and -11 turnover differential earned them 30th in the league for each category. This is a caveat that has been met head-on by Wade Phillips and co. On defense, added speed and a possibly (if healthy, of course) deeper secondary could aid the paltry interception total; on offense, the word throughout camp has been ball security, a term used with the reverence and consistency of the Obama campaign's use of the words 'hope' and 'change.'
"Offensive-wise we work on ball security, tucking the ball," said Sam Hurd. "You know, you get into trouble if they can see the ball from the back. So instead of being in the meetings getting yelled at or talked about, because you don't want to get yelled at for the same thing over and over so, instead of doing it, you try to do it right."
"You're running back and they're still trying to hit the balls and, we do, we get in trouble, we can't let the ball come out of our hands even walking back," Hurd continued. "The play could be dead and over and they still have a chance to hit it out of our hands and make us get in trouble, and they know that, so they're trying to do it."
(Is there any chance they got this idea from the film The Program?)
The emphasis on ball security has also pervaded the financial lives of the receivers, since a new system of fines, overseen by "commissioner" Roy Williams, was put in place.
"The receivers we have, like, fines, where if you have like a mental error, a missed assignment, we call it an MA, so say if I'm supposed to convert on a route or, you know, block one guy but I block the wrong guy, it's a fine and they just keep adding up," said Miles Austin.
Williams, apparently, would make a deft loan shark, as well.
"Roy is the commissioner of the wideout fines, and I had a little problem with him, because if you were late paying your fine, he said your fine doubled, which I thought was unfair," Austin continued. "We have a bunch of money now, so we'll have a nice dinner when we come back to Dallas."