It’s usually around this time of the year before training camp begins that we get our fill of Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones making all of his wild predictions about his team being Super-Bowl bound.

His optimism generally borders on the ridiculous. However, this year someone must have stuffed a sock in his mouth, because he’s been quiet as a mouse. But some of his actions are speaking volumes.

The first thing he did almost before the echo of the final gun that ended the 2012 season subsided was to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who was almost as big a joke as Jethro, a nickname members of the press tagged on Jerry Jones. And there weren’t too many tears shed by the long-time Dallas Cowboys fans, either.

Of course not everyone is sold on Ryan’s replacement—73-year old Monte Kiffin—who hasn’t run an NFL defense since 2008. Kiffin believes in the Cover 2 scheme he helped popularize with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kiffin spent the last four years coaching defense in college, alongside his head coach son, Lane, at both Tennessee and Southern Cal and even praised Rob Ryan, who was accused of having an overly complicated defensive playbook.

“I don’t think it’s 4-3 or 3-4,” Kiffin was quoted in a recent edition of the USA Today Sports Weekly when explaining the scheme switch the Cowboys will make defensively for the 2013 NFL season. “It goes back to your philosophy and how you teach it, especially when you get turnovers and tackle well.”

Not long after hiring Kiffin as the Pokes’ new defensive coordinator, Jerry Jones began paring his defensive roster, getting rid of some low-performing, high-salary cap players and not re-signing some others.

When the dust settled, Jones had released veteran defensive end Marcus Spears, linebacker Dan Connor and safety Gerald Sensabaugh and made free agents out of defensive end Kenyon Coleman, cornerback Mike Jenkins and even little-used wide receiver Kevin Ogletree.

This freed up enough salary cap money to hit the free agent marketplace and sign safety Will Allen from the Pittsburgh Steelers and linebacker Justin Durant from the Detroit Lions.

Kiffin immediately summoned his longtime sidekick Rod Marinelli to serve as his defensive line coach. Marinelli is a former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator and coached with Kiffin at Tampa Bay.

And we have to pat Ol’ Jethro on the back for making another major move that is sure to produce more offensive punch, by relieving Head Coach Jason Garrett of the play-calling duties and handing that task to assistant coach Bill Callahan, who has had that job during most of his long NFL coaching career.

Garrett, who was a quarterback during his playing days and as a head coach is 21-19 with no post-season experience, must have used an old Arena Football League playbook during the last couple of years with the Cowboys, because quarterback Tony Romo was slinging the football all over the stadium after realizing the running game was virtually nonexistent.

Callahan should bring a more balanced offense to the Cowboys this season which should lower Romo’s interception total significantly from the 19 that were picked off last season.

But we’re not blaming Romo for most of those interceptions because they were caused by an inept defense that allowed the score to get lop-sided early and an offensive line that blocked so poorly Romo was running for his life most of the time and making bad decisions with the football that led to interceptions and fumbles.

Last week on, football analyst/scout Bryan Broaddus wrote an article predicting the number of games the Cowboys would win during the 2013 NFL season after two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs.

Broaddus stated that the Cowboys would win 11 games this season based on the belief on what he thought would be the overall health of the team and also the type of players that are on both sides of the football.

Broaddus also factored in the changes in regard to the defensive scheme, offensive play caller and the growth and maturity of some of the key players. “But the one thing that has remained consistent has been the quarterback and that is really the bottom line why this team can win 11 games,” Broaddus wrote.

“As critical as we all tend to be towards Romo, I just couldn’t imagine what this team would be like if he wasn’t under center. Without him in the lineup, I have a strong feeling that this team would be facing a situation where you had no hope of having any success, like we did under Dave Campo, which is a terrible, helpless feeling,” he continued.

Broaddus dug up career statistics that showed when Romo threw one or no interceptions, his record is 51-24, while if he throws more than one pick in a game his record is 4-14.

“I believe these interception numbers will come down for a couple of reasons,” Broaddus wrote. “There were too many games where the team was behind and Romo had to put the ball in the air to try and come back.

“I think the defense will do a much better job of not allowing games to get away and that Bill Callahan will be more willing to try and stick with the running game and establish more balance to the offense, which if successful, will take pressure off Romo from having to attempt so many passes.

“But make no mistake, this team will win 11 games because of this quarterback,” Broaddus concluded.

For some reason, this Korner feels better reading this kind of prediction from a long-time scout and football analyst than from a motor-mouthed owner that glorifies everything about the Dallas Cowboys.

KWICKIES…Orange’s ageless marathon man Ken Ruane got the Fourth of July started on the right foot by winning the 70-and older age division in the Four on the Fourth Race held in Lake Charles last Thursday morning. Ken finished 38th out of some 340 participants in the four-mile run with a time of 29:40. “It was getting pretty hot and my legs felt real tired, but I’m happy with my time,” he said.

I enjoyed watching one of the few Houston Astros baseball games that are available on TV in our area when they came back twice to beat the red-hot Texas Rangers 9-5 Saturday night by playing long ball and smashing three home runs. But things got back to normal real fast Sunday when the Rangers edged the Stroes 5-4.

And while on the topic of the Astros, catcher Jason Castro is the ONLY member of the Houston team to be selected as a 2013 All-Star. Castro has thrown out nearly one-quarter of the would-be base-stealers so far this year and he also is on his way to becoming the best home-run hitting catcher for a single season in Astros history. Castro has 12 round-trippers going into Tuesday’s action and the club record is 17 set by John Bateman way back in 1966.

Jonas Blixt rallied from four strokes down going into Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic at Sulphur Springs, W.Va. to shoot a 3-under-par 67 and win the rain-delayed event by two strokes. In addition to receiving a nifty check for $1.1 million, the Swede also gets a spot in the upcoming British Open and next year’s Masters Tournament.

Representatives from the Houston Rockets and the City of Houston did a fantastic job of convincing free agent superstar Dwight Howard to select their team over the likes of the LA Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors during the Fourth of July Weekend. “It’s a fresh start,” Howard was quoted in Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle. “I look forward to giving people a lot of joy, a lot of smiles and a lot of wins.” Howard follows in the footsteps of former Rockets superstars Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming and certainly made owner Leslie Alexander, general manager Daryl Morey and Head Coach Kevin McHale very happy, not to mention the diehard Houston Rockets fans who are longing for another run at an NBA world championship.

JUST BETWEEN US…It appears to this Korner that the New England Patriots’ organization apologized last Saturday to their fans for exposing them to the criminal element by offering any patron who spent their hard-earned money on a jersey with Aaron Hernandez’ name and number on it to turn it in at the ProShop adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. and receive a new jersey. The Patriots disassociated themselves from Hernandez by releasing him from his multi-million dollar contract shortly after he was recently arrested on murder and gun charges. A steady stream of fans took advantage of the offer and by the end of the day approximately 1,200 Hernandez jerseys were traded.