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Scenarios For Improvement - OffSeason Wishlist Part I

Let's delve into some interesting offseason moves that we believe will significantly improve the Cowboys.

The two main positions that need a bigtime upgrades are at QB and RB.
Now, if we decide to keep QC as the starter, then let's give him a big time running back.
If we don't stick with Carter, then we need to upgrade via the draft. Here are some scenarios we came up with - take a look.

(If we stay with Carter)Here's what the Cowboys should do in the offseason.

-Sign DE Grant Wistrom
-Sign WR Dennis Northcutt or WR Darrell Jackson

Now on draft day, Trade Dexter Coakley & our 22nd pick to Atlanta and move up to the #7 pick. (Jim Mora Jr is a defensive guy and would love to add Coakley)
Trade Galloway for a 3rd or 4th Rounder

With the #7 Pick draft the best back this year - Steven Jackson

2. CB Keiwan Ratliff - Florida Gators (address our CB needs)
3. OT Carlos Joseph - Miami (address the OT needs)
4. WR Keary Colbert - USC (add quality depth with a slot possession WR)
5. OG Sean Locklear - N.C. State (future Larry Allen replacement)

(If we decide NOT to stay with QC)Here's what the Cowboys should do in the offseason.

-Sign DE Grant Wistrom
-Sign WR Dennis Northcutt or WR Darrell Jackson

Trade Galloway and 4th Rounder to Bengals for Corey Dillon.
Sign Duce Staley to a 3yr deal.

Now on draft day, Trade Dexter Coakley & our 22nd pick to Atlanta and move up to the #7 pick.(Jim Mora Jr is a defensive guy and would love to add Coakley).

With the #7 pick overall we draft the best QB available probably - Philip Rivers.

2. OT Max Starks - Florida or OT Tony Pape - Mich. (address the OT needs)
3. RB Greg Jones or RB Cedric Cobbs (Parcells 3rd RB gem & future)
4. -traded to Bengals for Dillon- or if we sign Staley then WR Keary Colbert - USC
5. OG Sean Locklear - N.C. State (future Larry Allen replacement)

Historically, Parcells has been known to be very active on Draft day in regards to moving up in the draft or adding picks. The two most likely players to be used for draft trade will probably be Dexter Coakley and Joey Galloway.

It may be somewhat far-fetched, but we should seriously look into moving up somewhere in the draft this year.


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Senior Bowl Favorites - Rivers & Jones Stock Rising

Rest assured the Cowboys scouting team was in full force at this year's Senior Bowl. Some key positions of interest for the Cowboys had some players that played well.

I gotta tell you. The new buzz is going to be N.C. State's QB Philip Rivers and I've liked this guy's play all year long and think he's been severely underrated as a top pick in this years draft. After watching Rivers take command and drive for 3 straight scores I like this QB more. River's stock may have skyrocketed after his leadership and commanding presence on the field.

Some people want to criticize the way he throws the ball, they call it a 3/4 throw. This is the silliest critique I've heard. Shoot, depending on what the Cowboys do in Free Agency, Rivers may have upped his rank on the Cowboys board. This guy will not go past the mid 2nd round.

Another player that showed amazing skills was Florida States RB Greg Jones, did you see this kid run? Jones suffered a knee injury in 2002 and has continued to recover from it, but wow! Jones pulled out all the moves - he ran over people, ran threw tackles with authority, bounced out and made some nice cuts upfield. I guarantee you, Greg Jones' stock has risen considerably. Very Physical runner. I could see Jones high on the Cowboys board, and probably higher now. Even though the Senior Bowl games are designed to showcase the passing game, Greg Jones took full advantage at every touch of the ball.

Other backs that did well all week and somewhat in today's game were Tatum Bell, Bell has a quick burst and can make cuts on the dime; Michael Turner continued to play well all week and in today's game he ran with power and kept his feet moving, it took 2-3 guys to bring him completely down; and Cedric Cobbs was the other back that played well and scored a TD. Jones ruled all in today's game. The only thing that may hurt Jones is the knee recovery factor, but then again, today's game may have dispelled those thoughts. The NFL combine will test Jones' physical endurance and more. The NFL combine may be the last thing to totally assure Jone's capability to play big time football.

Another possible interest for the Cowboys may be Darnell Dockett, but after this weeks monster dominating play and big time plays in today's game, he may not be available at the 22nd pick if that's what the Cowboys decide to do. Dockett's stock will surely up him in the draft boards of many teams. Dockett will be an immediate impact starter, you can guarantee it.

Some receivers that we liked in today's game where Ohio's WR Michael Jenkins. Jenkins played very well and showed big time clutch catch abilities. Impressive play.

Same thing for VTech's WR Ernest Wilford - great size and speed and sure hands will make Wilford a great addition for any team in need of a WR, including the Cowboys.

LSU's WR Devery Henderson, also has great size and runs his routes well. The Rivers to Henderson hookups were amazing plays, they were clicking on all cylinders.

USC's WR Keary Colbert known to be a smart and very physical player found his way into the endzone as well. Colbert's great ability to gain yardage after the catch will be a great asset to teams looking to upgrade the Slot position.

This year's draft is going to be very exciting, and I'm sure Parcells will make some draft moves to get the guys he wants. Is it possible that Parcells may be interested in drafting Rivers? I bet he moved up significantly on his board, the question is, will he be there at the 22nd pick. The draft hype has surrounded our immediate need to fill the RB or DE position, but what if QB Philip Rivers is available - do we draft him? I know we're going to see a lot of board activity surrounding Rivers as a possible pickup. I would feel good about picking him up - this kid has leadership presence all over him. It's going to be interesting.
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Free Agent Rumors Continue

You see them everywhere, any fan that goes into any Cowboys Message Board will likely come across topics like "Dillon a Cowboy?" - "Duce a Cowboy?" - "Sign Kearse!" - "Bring In Brunell" - and so on and so on..

Let's look into the latest rumors and the chances of landing any of those names floating around.

Let's start with the most talked about rumor - "Dillon a Cowboy?"
First, lets be smart about this rumor. Dillon is coming off his worst season ever, and had nagging injuries all year long. In addition, Dillon will be 30 by the regular season. We ALL know what happens when a workhorse RB hits 30, its just a fact of life - the productivity declines drastically. If we are looking for a short term solution, then sure, lets take a look at making a deal with Dillon....but one thing that will stop the presses comes from NFL team executives stating that Dillon will go to the highest bidder. The teams in the running are the Buccaneers, Cowboys and Redskins. So wait, are we talking about a bidding war for a 30 y/o Dillon? Yes, so if this is going to be the case, forget it, Dillon will not be coming to Dallas. Jones is not in the market to have a bidding war on an aging player. Those hoping Dillon will just be released can count that out too. The Bengals will juice this out as best as possible. Dillon will count more than $3 million against the cap next season.

Next we have Duce Staley - "Duce a Cowboy?"
If anything, Duce would be the most realistic pick up. Duce is a true Free Agent, so its his decision to where he wants to sign. If he's looking to bait teams into a bidding war, then he too will not be a Cowboy. BUT if he wants to win and wants a chance to advance in the playoffs then he could strike a deal with the Cowboys. Staley will be 29.

On the Defensive side, we have Jevon Kearse - "Sign Kearse!"
C'mon guys this is a no brainer, do you want to throw money at another aging player that wears a tshirt on the sideline every other week or more? Sure Kearse is awesome when he's healthy, and we emphasize when he's healthy. We need everydown production. Plus, the latest news as of today states that If the Titans are going to use the franchise tag, they must apply it by Feb. 24. There's also the possibility, of course, that the Titans choose not to re-sign Kearse. The Titans have begun talks and would like to resign Kearse asap.

''We have some work to do, but it's pretty simple: either we get it done before he becomes a free agent or they elect to franchise him,'' Rosenhaus said. ''That's where we're at. We're working on it.''

Don't get me wrong, if Kearse was a healthy horse, then sure - definitely, let's give it a shot.

Another Hot rumor is Mark Brunell - "Bring in Brunell!"
As of right now, this rumor is probably as hot as it is in Tampa and Miami. Miami has some interest in bringing in Brunell. Marino, the new VP of the Dolphins does not see Fielder or Griese as the future for the Dolphins. And then you have the rumblings in Tampa. Gruden wants to bring in Brunell, which would lead the door open for the Bucs to cut Brad Johnson. Now this opens another can of rumors - if Brunell is brought into Tampa, then Johnson would probably be cut, so this could be someone we would bring in to challenge QC for the starting job.

This has been one of the most interesting NFL seasons in years, so I'm sure the 2004 offseason will be full of surprises. Let's see what happens.


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Raiders Head Coach Position Still Vacant!

As you should know by now. Sean Payton interviewed (3) times with Al Davis, and had basically accepted the job. In fact, an official team press conference to introduce Payton was supposedly to have happened sometime Thursday.... Davis offered Payton the job, and in a weird chain of events, Payton has now turned down the position after all. After much thought and inside recommendations from Jerry Jones and Parcells, Payton will remain the QB coach with the goals to complete a mission that he is dedicated to finishing.

With all the news of Zimmer, Carthon, and Payton interviewing for various coaching positions we seem to be overlooking the strong determination of Owner Jerry Jones' commitment to keeping his staff together for another strong run in 2004 and beyond. Jones knows what its going to take to get back to the big game and he has shown steadfast dedication to excellence, anything less would be inexcusable.


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Parcells Upgrades Coaching Staff

Parcells wasted no time in upgrading his coaching staff by firing WR Coach, John McNulty. Parcells quickly hired former Jets/Bears assistant Todd Haley. Haley is a Parcells guy, and worked under Parcells while with the Jets. Haley helped mold Keyshawn Johnson into a pro bowler. In addition, Haley has been an integral part of his former teams wide receivers success.

The Cowboys are hoping to improve their wr's catching abilities. The talent is there, but the current WR core had a dismal season this year. 2nd year WR Antonio Bryant was the most visible disappointment with all his dropped balls and lack of concentration. Haley should be able to make Bryant harness his potential and improve his game next year.

Bringing on Haley should be a move in the right direction for our wide receivers.


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Possible Draft Picks

Let't take a deeper look at some of the Rookie Prospects of interest at TheDallasCowboys.Net WarRoom.

The 1st round pick is going to be interesting. I believe what we do in free agency will sway what we pick up at the 22nd pick.

RB Michael Turner - Northern Illinois: While it would be nice to get a Steven Jackson or Kevin Jones, its highly unlikely they will be there at 22. So this brings us to what may be the secret gem for the Cowboys - The Portis type steal. Size, strength and speed will make Turner a great addition to the Cowboys offense. Turner has the burst speed to take it outside on a sweep, or sprint up the middle with power. Turner is also dangerous coming out of the backfield, he is very fluid and elusive, and can make people miss. It takes more than an arm tackle to bring this guy down.

1Round Alternate
DE Antwan Odom - Alabama: If available, Odom would be just the guy to bolster up our shallow DE position. Odom is ready to take it to the next level. This junior prospect has the size at 6'-5'' 280 to bring down the quarter back or bust up plays in the backfield. Bringing on Odom would add another weapon to our already strong defense, but it would also allow double teams to be ineffective - O lines would not be able to doubleup our defenders. Odom has an amazing burst off the line and quick feet to change directions to make a run down tackle.

If we go Offense with the 1st pick then the 2nd rounder would be defense-

2nd Round
DE Nathaniel Adibi - Virginia Tech: Adibi in the 2 round would be an exceptional pick up here. Adibi has a lot of playing time under his belt by playing all his games since he was a freshman. Adibi is slightly faster than Odom, and can come off the Line with some amazing speed, and could come around the corner to make the big hit sacks, and cause fumbles.

2nd Round Alternate
CB Will Poole - USC : The Cowboys will likely draft a CB somewhere in the draft, and Will Poole would be a good selection here. Poole has played early in college and this has paid big dividends. Poole is big, fast, and physical. He can shut you down, tackle RBs, and make some hits. A well rounded CB, Poole would probably crack into the starting rotation.

3rd Round
OT Carlos Joseph - Miami (FL.): Joseph may not be here at the 3rd round, but if his name is still on the board, this would be a pretty good selection. Joseph is a big, strong intimidating Tackle at 6'-6' 340lbs. Joseph is a scrapper and will knock you down on a regular basis. Joseph registered 41 pancakes his senior year. Equal abilities to Run Block and Pass Block.

3rd Round Alternate
WR B.J. Johnson - Texas: Not to be overshadowed by his team mate Roy Williams, a probable high 1st rounder, Johnson has made many clutch plays throughtout his career at Texas. This is a big time playmaker and if untaken by the 3rd round here, we need to pick him up. The Cowboys will need to upgrade the WR position somewhere in this years draft and Johnson would be a absolute steal pick here. Johnson could shore up the WR core with solid reliable hands. Something the Cowboys are missing. Johnson runs his routes and is known to be a great student of the game as well. Johnson's gameplan study has enabled him to make some big time plays and find spots to get the ball. Johnson is also physical and will take the big hits in the middle.

4th Round
DT Dwan Edwards - Oregon State: Edwards could be another hidden gem in this years draft. Edwards will probably be drafted anywhere from the 2-4 round. Edwards has a powerful lower body and is difficult to block out against the run. Edwards is a big time run stopper and is able to sniff out the run. Edwards could make strong competion to be in the starting rotation along side Glover, or at least in the DT rotation. Bring him in on run plays and the running game will be completely shutdown.

4th Round Alternate
OT Rodney Reed - LSU: Part of that viscious O-line at LSU, Reed is a well rounded Tackle. With great technique and feet/hand skills Reed could be a good addition at the OT position. At 6'-4'' 292 Reed could probably even be moved over to an OG position if needed. Reed is known for his greeat on & off the field leadrship. An all around smart player that could add some valued leadership and depth on the O-line.

5th Round
OLB Pasha Jackson - Oklahoma: This years OLB crop is not the best this year, but Jackson has played in a lot of big time games, and has game experience which could be molded in the NFL. Jackson can make some big hits, and may be considered for special teams play or backup to one of our OLB's.

5th Round Alternate:
CB Jabari Greer - Tennesse: I wouldn't be surprised if Parcells takes 2 CBs somewhere in the draft and with the Cowboys last pick in the 5th round, Greer could be another good pickup. Greer is a speedster, and even a track star for Tennesse's track & field team. Greer could also add some needed depth at CB, and could compete for a nickel/dime position.

Finally, let's look at some "sleeper picks" that could go anywhere from the 2nd-7th rounds.

OG Monrenko Crittenden - Auburn: Why Crittenden? Well, its possible that the Cowboys may want to look ahead for a solid replacement for Larry Allen. Allen has maybe 1-2yrs max left in him. Crittenden is a big OG at 6'-5'' 350lbs and will blow defenders off the line. Crittenden specializes in Run Blocking, but can also pass block as well. Crittenden has been a favorite blocker for their running backs Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams, so some of their success can be attributed to Crittenden.

OG Lamar Bryant - Maryland: Another OG possibility is Lamar Bryant. Bryant could be a strong choice in the 3rd Round. Another future replacement for Larry Allen. Bryant is a mauler off the line and has well rounded skills in run blocking and pass blocking. Very athlectic and nasty mean streak in the trenches make Bryant a sought after OG, that will be a starter.

SS Arnold Parker - Utah: Woodson does not have many years left in him, so looking to the future could land Parker as a selection by the Cowboys. Parker may be drafted anywhere from late 3rd- 5th round. Parker has good size, great closing speed, and Parker will lay the wood on you.

CB Ahmad "Batman" Carroll - Arkansas: Another possible prospect that me be on the Cowboys board. Carroll may be picked up in the late 2nd-late 3rd round. Carroll would be another great pickup. Carroll has blistering speed runs the 40 in 4.35. Great man on man coverage and valuable recovery speed when needed. Great vision and speed make him a possible pick up.

WR Keary Colbert - USC: Colbert could be a spark plug receiver that makes big plays, and after the catch yards by dishing out hits rather than receive them. Colbert is very physical with the TE/FB agressiveness. You won't see Colbert run out of bands that much. His sure hand and agressive nature could land him in Valley Ranch. Take your choice - we need Colbert or B.J. Johnson in our offensive schemes.

RB Jarrett Payton - Miami (FL.): Possibly one of the most underrated RBs in this years draft. Should be drafted anywhere from the 4th-5th Round. No negative off field baggage - Payton has size, strength, and heart to be a pretty good back in the NFL. Payton's high competiveness may have him competing for a RB rotation position. Depending on what the Cowboy's do in the offseason at RB, Payton could be a huge steal in this years draft.


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The Free Agent Break Down 2004

We'll be taking a look at some possible free agents of interest that may help add depth to the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously, this is not Fantasy Football and the Cowboys aren't going to be throwing out tons of cash, but look at the Cowboys to talk and possibly sign a few of these players. We'll list some key Unrestricted Free Agents and a few Restricted Free Agents.

The Cowboys are in need of a quality RB, and free agency 2004 has a few names out there that the Cowboys may want to look into-

Running Backs:
1. Duce Staley - Eagles
2. Rudi Johnson - Bengals (Restricted FA)
3. Kevan Barlow - 49ers (Restricted FA)

Another position the Cowboys could add some depth is at Defensive End-

Defensive Ends:
1. Grant Wistrom - Rams
2. Lamar King - Seahawks
3. Jevon Kearse - Titans
4. Rob Burnett - Miami

Next, we have to look into signing a CB. Like Parcells said, "You can never have enough DB's" Here are a few names out there-

1. Chris McAlister - Ravens
2. Fernando Bryant - Jaguars
3. Bobby Taylor - Eagles
4. Shawn Springs - Seahawks
5. Charles Woodson - Raiders
6. Champ Bailey - Redskins

Depending on what the Cowboys do about Joey Galloway in the offseason, the Cowboys may want to add a Wide Receiver as well-

Wide Receivers:
1. Dennis Northcutt - Browns
2. Darrell Jackson - Seahawks
3. Terrell Owens - 49ers
4. Steve Smith - Panthers (Restricted FA)
5. Marcus Robinson - Ravens

Defensive Tackle is another area where depth could be added-

Defensive Tackles:
1. Ted Washington - Patriots
2. Paul Grasmanis - Eagles
3. Keith Traylor - Bears
4. Warren Sapp - Bucs

Free Agency Begins Feb. 29th. Look for the Cowboys to be very active in Free Agency. The Cowboys will have around $8 million to play with.

Key Dates To Remember-
Collegiate Players must declare eligible for Draft Jan. 15, 2004

Franchise Tagging Begins Feb. 6 - Feb. 20, 2004

Free Agency Officially Begins Feb. 29 - July 15, 2004 (day before training camps begin)

Restricted Free Agency Begins Feb. 29 - Ends April 18, 2004

NFL ROOKIE DRAFT Begins April 24 - April 25, 2004 in New York

What if a team signs a Free Agent designated with the "Franchise Tag"?
A: The Franchise Tag is a tool that NFL teams can use for 1 player per team. This means the previous team has exclusive rights to negotiate a contract. Now, if a team were agressive enough and were to sign a "tagged" player anyway, then the acquiring team would need to compensate (2) First Round Draft Picks.

What if a team signs a Restricted Free Agent?
A: In Brief, this is similar to the above. Basically, if another team were to successfully sign a RFA, then compensation would have to be given up, usually draft picks - anywhere upto a 7th rounder

Next: Possible Draft Picks


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New Head Coaches In NFC East

The Giants signed Tom Coughlin as their new head coach and the Redskins re-signed Joe Gibbs. Gibbs has spent his most recent career in NASCAR racing. Looks like Parcell's & Co. will be playing in some fierce games next year in the NFC East. Could the NFC East be a powerhouse division again? It is quite possible, if anything the games will be interesting. Everyone in our division will have something to prove.

The Parcells/Gibbs rivalry will be back. And Remember, Coughlin was once a coach under Parcells.

Get ready for some great games.


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WR Tim Brown Coming To Dallas? Corey..

That's right, Tim Brown has been making the notion of finishing his career as a Dallas Cowboy. Brown first made such possibilities on the Fox Pre-Game Show on Wild Card Weekend, stating he "could contribute to the (Cowboys) offense". No we hear about it again in an interview on with Rich Eisen.

When Eisen asked Tim Brown of any teams he would want to play for he stated, "At this particular point, you know, Rich, to be honest, Year 17 I'm not trying to uproot my family and go to New England or some place like that. I make my home in Dallas and my father would love to see me wearing that star on my helmet. That probably would be the only team I would play for. If I couldn't play for the Cowboys, I probably would look at retiring."

Sure Brown is old, but who knows maybe this future hall of famer could do well in his last years, maybe help the Cowboys get to the "Big Show"

I think Brown feels that he is going to be released, so his letting it be known that he would like to finish out his career in Dallas. Lets see what happens.

The offseason promises to be a very exciting time for the Dallas Cowboys and the fans. Yeah, we got blown away in our return to the playoffs, but you know what? The Cowboys are on the rise.

There is more speculation on the status of Bengals RB Corey Dillon. Dillon has been very outspoken, and even stated he wanted out of Cincy, and traded to Dallas. Corey still has 2 yrs left on his contract, so the Bengals have several options - release Dillon and take the cap hit, Trade Dillon, or keep him. The latter seems unlikely, most of his teamates are fed up with his desire to leave the Bengals, they want him gone too.

"If you don't want to be here, if you don't want to pay the price this man (coach Marvin Lewis) is demanding you pay, get 'em out of here, man," said offensive tackle Willie Anderson, who blocked for Dillon and took his comments personally. "Bye. Good riddance."

We probably won't hear much until Cincy's other RB, Restricted Free Agent Rudi Johnson is re-signed, once this is done, look for the Bengals to make a move.

If we're talking about a trade, the Cowboys would have to look at the pros/cons to a trade. The most probable player to be traded would probably be WR Joey Galloway. The Bengals would improve their WR even more, and remember, Galloway came out of Ohio State. The main thing is what kind out cap hit would we be trading for, how much is Dillon getting paid - could we restructure it? They are many questions, but I'm sure as the offseason progresses we will know soon enough.


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Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over

Well, most people predicated the Cowboys to win against the Panthers including myself. I guess we were all brought back down to earth. Although we had a relatively successful season this year at 10-6 we still have major issues to address in the offseason.

Some state that this was a make or break game for Quincy Carter. I think he made some bad plays, that aided in the loss, but he was not the only one. It seems like no one showed up to play.

So, will QC's playoff loss guarentee the Cowboys will bring in a free agent QB. That would be a logical assumption, but that will probably be determined with what the Cowboys do with the RB situation. If the Cowboys are able to land a quality RB, then this maaaay allow QC to stay as the starting QB.

On the other hand, what if the Cowboys get a quality QB in the offseason AND a quality rookie RB?

Peyton Manning is the biggest name out there. Mark Brunell will probably be in the market, as well as Kurt Warner. ANd rumors are swirling that Drew Bledsoe will be released by the Bills.

YES, the offseason is going to be very interesting and exciting. The Cowboys can only improve on what was already a great turnaround year.