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7/30/2005

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"Stealth Corps"
by Howard Cox

Bring out the “Stealth” weapon of the Dallas Cowboys. No it isn’t Jason Witten, he came into the radar last season and everyone knows about him. Right beside him is the second year Running Back Julius Jones. The Offensive Line isn’t going to sneak up on anyone, especially with the signing of OG Marco Rivera. Then it must by QB Drew Bledsoe, or maybe even the other Drew (Henson) coming out from the sidelines. No they are not going to surprise anyone at this point either. By process of elimination that leaves the WR corps of the Dallas Cowboys. When you stop laughing we may continue.

No the team doesn’t possess a game breaker like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss or Marvin Harrison. But what Dallas does have is a solid set of pass receivers who can get the job done, each in their own way. Allow me to present my case before the “fans court”.

First up are the two starters in Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. Both have been in the league for 10 seasons and know how to play the game. Terry Glenn returns from a severe foot injury and should be hungry to play for Parcells. He still possesses enough speed to be able to get behind the secondary, thus putting into motion the deep threat of the corps. Johnson is just the opposite; he isn’t going to run past anyone, unless they get lazy in coverage. What he brings to the table is his size and physical ability to catch the ball in traffic and move the chains. Thus set into motion is the need to move the chains. This is important since you don’t have to score every time the ball goes up, just move the ball another ten yards closer with three chances. The starting pair of receivers compliment each other perfectly with down the field presence and underneath ability at the same time. We won’t add the known Witten factor here, but just knowing it plays big into the defensive coordinators minds make it fun to mention anyway.

On to the next layer for those three and four receiver sets. Quincy Morgan strides into the mix as the third receiver for either the slot position or moving outside to allow match up problems with Johnson against a LB underneath. Fun thinking about that alone, but I digress. Morgan has a better knowledge of the offense for Dallas and gives them experience as the third receiver to make his mark. He isn’t going to put up stellar numbers, but then again he only has to catch a few not take over a game. Put another receiver into the huddle brings up either Patrick Crayton or Terrance Copper. Physically they are almost mirror images of each other. The edge goes to Crayton after he showed he can make pressure receptions (see game winning catch against Washington). Still young but able to contribute, they both give a good option to even going five wide at times to spread the field.

Now comes the less known players, Zuriel Smith returns for another shot at making the squad. He is known for kick returns but not for pass receptions. He has his work cut out for him. Also in that mold is Ahmad Merrit, a four-year vet from Chicago, who also primarily returned kicks and played on special teams. Both of these guys have experience over the others so they have the best shot at making the final 53 man roster, albeit a small one.

Tom Crowder (1 yr vet) and Rookies Jamaica Rector and Reggie Harrell need to hope for making a practice squad unless they shine in preseason.

I like the receiver corps make up that the team has going into the 2005 season. They don’t scare anyone and are not going to blow anyone away for sure. What they do possess is someone that can go deep coupled with a great possession/underneath receiver. Another veteran to add a third threat anywhere on the field and even a solid couple of fourth receivers. Everyone knows about the other facets of the Cowboys offense, just wait until the “stealth” receiver corps hits them.

7/29/2005

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Domination 2005 Begins Now!

Die Hards of the world, the wait is finally over, football is officially on baby! We've been through a great offseason with our die hard coverage, all the way from all our free agency speculation, our mock draft blowout, until right now. Right now is our time. The Dallas Cowboys have made the committment to the club and to the die hard fans of the world - we are back in this. We have the players, coaches, and that hunger of a young dynasty in the making. A dynasty in the making? That's right...is this overspeculation by a die hard to another? possibly, but you cannot deny the direction in which the Cowboys are heading.

We shall see the swarming defense rear is its ugly head again, the doomsdays defenses of yesteryear will be proud and we will be victorious in our goals for 2005. All offseason I've been dubbing this year as 'Domination 2005' This is the year that the defense will manhandle and take over games. In addition, the offense will be a handleful for many defenses in the league, we have the weaponry, the artillery, the commanders, leaders, we are poised to push the Eagirls, and possibly more. Opposing teams will not call us 'losers' will we be a force to be reckoned with.

I'm gonna go with a bold prediction and state that we will be a 11-5 team or better. Fellow Die Hards, today marks a new beginning in Cowboys history - the Tradition of Excellence kicks off today.

God bless the organization, the coaches, our players, fellow die hard fans, and lets have a great camp.

Lets kick some fuckin ass!

7/10/2005

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Parcells Guys Editorial

Things Need To Change At Texas Stadium

Last season while watching the Cowboys vs. Steelers in Week 6 I saw something that immediately turned my stomach. I was in shock thinking this could be happening to the Dallas freaking Cowboys. No, I am not talking about Richie Anderson bumping into Vinny Testaverde and causing that stupid fumble. My sudden illness was brought on by the idea that more noise was being made by the visiting Steeler’s fans and not from the home team Cowboy’s fans. The announcers then politely pointed it out to all of us out there in TV land which was equal to pouring salt on the wounds, thanks guys!

One question. How can one of the most loved and successful teams in all of sports have such lackluster fans at home games? That disgusting incident made me want to pack up the family and get my ass down to Texas. I am a New Yorker by the way and have been to a handful of games out at Giants Stadium to cheer on the Cowboys. If I could afford it I would fly to Texas and be at each Cowboy’s game going nuts on every play, but unless Jerry Jones calls me with an expense paid invite it isn’t happening. I do play lotto every week though, so there is hope!

Make it a point to change this lack of vocal and emotional support this season people. To everyone in Texas that attends the Cowboy’s games I would like the following to happen in 2005.

1. Get some sort of area in the stadium designated as the “BeWare Zone”. I have seen a handful of people on various message boards using this moniker for the rookie pass rusher Demarcus Ware. Get posters, get T-Shirts made up, wear face paint, wear BeWare hats, have everyone get a #94 Ware jersey and most of all get louder than any other section in the stadium when this kid makes a play.

2. The Redskins are coming to Texas Stadium in Week 2. I don’t want them to be able to hear their thoughts again until Week 5. Every time Clinton Portis touches the ball I want to hear a chant of “Earl Sucks”. That’s his middle name. He’s the type of guy who will be affected by this and before you know it he will fumble and Marcus Spears will pick it up and run for a TD.

3. The most vocal guy on the offense is Keyshawn Johnson, he might just be the most vocal guy in the NFL. Repay him for his ability to get the team pumped up. Remember when Daryl Johnston carried the ball the fans would chant “Mooooose”. Well now you have to chant “Keeeeeyyy” when Keyshawn makes a catch. This let’s Keyshawn know you love him, plus it let’s the other team know you hate them because this will lead to Keyshawn talking more than ever. I am sure the opposing defense will love that one.

4. Do you think it’s harder or easier to kick a field goal with 65,000 people screaming at you? As soon as the opposing team’s kicker comes out for a field goal try I want his helmet rattling from all the noise in Texas Stadium. There is no weather factor in Texas, but you can create a noise factor.

5. This last one is very important. When the Cowboys score a TD make it seem like they won the Super Bowl. Don’t just clap and sit down. Start clapping and yelling and cheering and jumping up and down and clapping some more and cheering some more. If all the fans are still cheering when the opposing team comes on the field and are forced into a three and out the Cowboys keep the momentum. These guys are busting their hump all year round. They deserve to know that when they get the job done that it’s appreciated.

We all know about other NFL teams who have these same sort of things happening in their stadiums. The Raiders have the “Black Hole”, the Steelers have brought back the “Terrible Towel” and the Chiefs fans create a sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium. You need to get involved as much, if not more than these other cities do for their home teams.

Coach Parcells will chose 53 guys to trot out there every week to try and win a football game. The offense will have 11 guys working together to score points. The defense will line up 11 guys thirsty for a sack or a turnover. How about the fans out at the game take it upon themselves to add a 12th man to each squad. I know every coach in the NFL would love having that kind of advantage for his team.

Who knows, this extra man may lead to that one win which helps the Cowboys get in the playoffs!

Comments?

7/05/2005

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Ellis’ Comments Revealing
By Brian Aust

What did you mean, Greg? What is it you really said? When you made the Sporting News aware of your displeasure regarding the switch to the 3-4, what were you thinking?

He says he’s a leader. He says he won’t cause problems in the locker room. Then, Ellis tells the national sports media that he’s unhappy about the team’s direction.

Well, he’s not exactly making problems disappear.

It’s the biggest story of the off season. The club spent big bucks in free agency to allow for it. The draft was devoted to it. The Cowboys were making the switch to the 3-4, and Greg Ellis lets it be known that he doesn’t like the idea.

His seemingly negative comments, especially during the period of change, fuel those who still may not be convinced by the move to the 3-4. Doubters like me. Doubters including fans who haven’t seen a different defensive scheme their entire life. And, perhaps most damaging, doubters including players who look up to Ellis.

After reading Ellis’ contradictory comments, that word came to mind. That word devoted to people who say one thing then do another. That word no one likes associated with their name. That word die-hards might feel guilty using to describe one of the Cowboys supposed leaders.

After digesting Ellis’ remarks, however, that word worked its way out of my Ellis-adjective kit.

Minna Antrim, an often-quoted American scribe, pointed out the difference between a saint and a hypocrite is that one lies for his religion, the other by it.

In this case, by revealing the truth about his feelings on the 3-4, Ellis may turn himself into a liar. His comments, as they certainly have the power to do, could disrupt things down at the Ranch.

Should Ellis’ concerns become contagious, an argument could be made that Ellis went from leader to deconstructionist seemingly over night. I won’t make that argument, though.

Ellis’ comments fit Antrim’s definition of saint more so than hypocrite. Ellis is a minister of the Dallas defense, and when his comments contradict his rhetoric, he’s doing it for the sake of his religion.

With so many people rushing into the fruited fields of the 3-4, Ellis needed to remind everyone that the Cowboys defense, despite the organization's obvious commitment to make people think otherwise, is still led by players suited for the 4-3.

LeRoi Glover, Dat Nguyen and Greg Ellis are players carrying the torch for the Doomsday Defense who suddenly don’t have the full benefit of their illustrious careers. They are leaders who find themselves learning a new scheme alongside a group of hired guns and young hopefuls, and the three veterans no longer have experience to lean on.

Glover has played in the 3-4 before. Ellis and Nguyen should be good enough to work within the framework of the 3-4. Despite their potential, Ellis feels the situation isn’t ideal. And he’s right.

Most of us are caught up with what’s possible and seem to be forgetting what would be optimal. It’s obvious what Ellis thinks. And he’s speaking out because he’s a leader, not in spite of it. He wants to remind everyone of who leads this group onto the field.

Ferguson, Ware, Spears, Canty, Bunett and Henry – their transition to the 4-3 seems more natural than plugging Ellis, Glover and Nguyen into the 3-4. Who would you rather focus your defense around – perennial staples or versatile newbies?

The 3-4 is coming, that’s for certain. Whether we see more 3-4 than 4-3… well, it seems Ellis has given us our first clue. Unfortunately, his hint only gets at what he thinks should be done – not at what will be done.

So, we’re stuck playing the wait-and-see game. Who will get his way – the optimist or the idealist?

7/02/2005

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He can still play, Canty
by H. Cox

The draft has passed us by and everyone knows which team selected whom. That done and over with the spotlight moved to reviewing all the players and their possible aid to their respective teams. Most of the fanfare is given to the first round and maybe even second round picks. After that most of the other players are considered good chances of making the team but not starting. So being selected in the fourth round, a player isn’t likely to make a large impression on a team. That does happen occasionally but the odds are against that occurrence. Well the odds have shifted and this year it is going to happen for the Dallas Cowboys. Announcing the arrival of DE Chris Canty from the University of Virginia!

“Hello, my name is Chris Canty, and this is my resume.”

He is 6’7” and 280 lbs. He led the ACC defensive linemen in tackles as a sophomore and a junior. He was also leading the conference again, as a senior, before injuring his knee to miss the rest of the season. He knows how to get to the ball carrier from the down linemen position. The system he played in mirrors what Dallas is going to be playing this season. Parcells wishes to implement the 3-4 defense and Canty thrived in the same scheme under a former Parcells assistant, Al Groh. So learning the techniques won’t be as difficult as coming into a completely new style of defense. Yes there are some differences, but knowing is half the battle, so he has a jump on that end of the scale.

Projected to become a certain first round pick he was headed for big money in the NFL. Then the injury bug hit when a teammate rolled over on his knee in the fourth game of his senior year. On top of that he was hit with a bottle in the left eye, forcing him to undergo surgery to repair damage. Now he was dropped to the second day of the draft and seemed to be forgotten. Dallas’ staff had not forgotten him and formulated a plan to move into a position to pick him up. They worked out a trade with the Eagles to move up in the fourth round. Without much publicity, Canty joined the Dallas Cowboys for the 2005 season.

Up to this point noone has been able to see what he can do because of surgeries on his knee and eye. He isn’t allowed to suit up for contact until the beginning of training camp later this month. You can bet there are going to be some surprised individuals once that happens. He isn’t going to move into the starting lineup but he is just under that ability and will become a solid force up front for Mike Zimmer’s defensive line. When opposing offensive linemen see either Ellis or Glover head to the sidelines they will give a sigh of relief. That is until they get to “meet” Mr. Canty on the next play. We have got a real gem here and he will show he is still first round material in a fourth round selection slot. The future is looking really bright and everyone needs to get ready for football.

7/01/2005

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Parcells Guys Editorial


Playing Right Tackle For The Cowboys In 2005

You can talk about Torrin Tucker, Jacob Rogers, Rob Petitti and even Larry Allen playing Right Tackle for the Dallas Cowboys in 2005, but none of that is going to happen. When September 11th rolls around you will see me out there lined up next to Marco Rivera. I am Kurt Vollers.

Vollers came to the Cowboys looking for a chance to make the team, whether it was on the 53-man roster or the practice squad made no difference. Just a chance to become a better football player was the task at hand. Jump ahead to Week 15 of the 2004 NFL season and Vollers found himself starting at Right Tackle for the Cowboys.

Coming out of Notre Dame in 2001 there weren’t many coaches calling for Vollers to join their team. He eventually went to training camp with Colts as a free agent. He wound up on the practice squad after being released by the Colts just before the beginning of the 2002 season. The Cowboys grabbed him off the Colts practice squad on Oct 22, 2002 after they were depleted by injuries on the offensive line.

After checking into some stats about Vollers 2003 season you would be thinking this guy is a career back up if anything. He was behind Ryan Young and Torrin Tucker on the depth chart and it did not look promising for Vollers. But in the NFL injuries are considered an open door for anyone looking for a chance. Young went down with a bum knee, this resulted in Vollers and Tucker battling it out for the Right Tackle spot all season. Vollers did start 8 games and did a decent job by all accounts.

When the 2004 season started Coach Parcells chose Tucker as his starting Right Tackle. This may have been a mistake from the beginning. Tucker was having problems with blocking assignments and just plain playing bad football. Coach Parcells waited until he could stand it no longer and inserted Vollers into the starting line-up in Week 15 against the Eagles in Philly. Talk about getting thrown into the fire, thanks Coach for giving me a chance to show you what I can do with Jevon Kearse across from me.

In a highly competitive loss to the Eagles, 12-7, the stats for Kearse were pretty mild. No sacks and 1 tackle. Pretty good for a back up who got thrown into the mix because the first choice was playing like a bum. Vollers kept the job for the last two games of the season and again played admirably. This was becoming a trend for Vollers and the Cowboys. Coach Parcells picks the “other” guy to start and then Vollers winds up in the starting lineup at some point after watching the other guy fail to do the job.

Remember that playoff game against the Panthers; Vollers was the Right Tackle in that game. Guess whom he was blocking? Julius Peppers. Guess the stats for one of the best young Defensive Ends in the NFL? 1 tackle, no sacks. The only play I can remember Peppers being involved in was that silly interception Quincy threw right to him. So in both games against arguably two of the best young Defensive Ends in the game Vollers held his ground and allowed 2 tackles. Here’s the best stat about Vollers in those two games, no penalties. Even against the best of the best Vollers kept his cool under pressure.

Coach Parcells has two strikes on him when talking about Kurt Vollers. This is not a guy who strikes out very often people. This season we are going to see a bigger, more seasoned and much improved Kurt Vollers come into training camp. He won’t give Coach Parcells the opportunity to do anything other than hit a home run when determining who starts the season at Right Tackle.

Agree? Disagree?