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6/28/2007

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Marion Barber III and Cowboys News

Some Interesting News Snippets today (Rotoworld)

Marion Barber III can be a restricted free agent after this season.
Barber, a fourth-round pick in 2005, signed a rare "five-year" rookie deal that will void after he plays this year. He could be competing against Julius Jones, an impending unrestricted free agent, for a contract extension.

Looks like both running backs are going to be running their ways to some hefty new contracts this year. We should see some high octane attack from these two stars.

Despite speculation the Cowboys would move second-year OL Pat McQuistan to guard, he has been practicing at tackle this offseason.
McQuistan ran with the first team while Flozell Adams (knee) rehabbed. His roster spot seems safe despite James Marten and Doug Free's additions.

Cowboys claimed C Matt Tarullo off waivers from the Colts.
The Syracuse product is a heady player, but a longshot to make the club.

The Cowboys signed guard/center Steve Franklin.6-2, 320 pounds, spent this spring playing for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europa

Drew Henson is still competing at a high level and wants another chance in Minnesota:

"There are few places in sports you dictate what is going on. I love to compete. It gets back to the reasons why you played when you were younger. You just enjoy the competition."

And some comments from Deion Sanders about Henson's stint in Dallas:

"I don't think the offense was good. I don't think the team was good. He was in a bad situation," Sanders says. "People who know the game of football will say, "Forget Dallas, period. That don't even count.'

"What he went through in Dallas, I wish no quarterback to go through, especially a young quarterback."


Overall, this is a interesting article for those wondering what Henson is up to, you can read the rest here. I definitely wish him well and success in his en devours .





6/26/2007

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Tank Johnson Being Considered in Dallas?

Word is, the Cowboys could be in the hunt for the much troubled Tank Johnson. Now, when you hear all the commotion that Pacman Jones, the Bengals, and Tank Johnson are causing, you wish them good riddance from the NFL. Most of these players are playmakers on-the field; however, the off-the field issues are a huge risk for any team looking at acquiring any of these guys.

The only thing about signing Tank Johnson, is his off-the field record, his on-the field work is pretty solid. But you simply can't count on these players. The Bears, in their embarrassment decided to cut their ties, and determined that Johnson, though talented, could not be reliable for the season.

Before being cut by the Bears, Tank Johnson was to serve a 8-game suspension. So, wherever Johnson lands, he will have to serve that league mandated suspension. Could Jerry Jones take a high risk with Tank Johnson? Sure, you can say Jerry takes risks with players like Terrell Owens, but T.O. does not have criminal off the field problems.

Don't be surprised if Cowboys owner-general manager Jerry Jones is at the head of the line. He believes in taking risks on talented but troubled players (see Charles Haley and T.O.), and I assure you he will be tempted to sign Johnson at some point.

In fact, I just talked to a member of the organization who said Johnson would be a "perfect fit" in head coach Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense. He said the Phillips scheme actually works better with inside players who have flourished in the 4-3, as Johnson has, because it requires them to line up at different spots along the line and use their quickness to make plays.(Mosley)

Tempting, but not worth it to me, I'll pass on Tank Johnson.

6/25/2007

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Terrell Owens a Top 5 Receiver

SI.com has an article to keep us going while we wait for training camp to get here. The author has Terrell Owens at the #5 receiver in the league:

1. Steve Smith - Carolina
2. Chad Johnson - Cincinnati
3. Roy Williams - Detroit
4. Marvin Harrison - Indianapolis
5. Terrell Owens - Dallas

Not, a bad start; however, for arguments sake I would say Owens and Harrison would rank higher that Detroit's Roy Williams. For me, T.O. is a top 3 receiver. He's a big weapon to have, big, strong, and a major playmaker.

Anquan Boldin at #9 and Randy Moss at #10

Overall, not a bad list to start off, but I would think the much underrated Terry Glenn should get in this list somewhere. Reggie Wayne is in here, and Glenn is at the same level if not better than Wayne. They have have Laveranues Coles at #19 and Mark Clayton at #21. C'mon, Glenn is way better than these two jokes.

Check out the article here


More on Wade Wilson

Name: Wade Wilson
Age: 48
Position: Quarterbacks
Coaching Exp.: 6 years
NFL Exp.: 6 years
Coaching Highlights:
Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach (2004-06); Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach (2000-02).


DC.Com has a new article covering the return of QB Coach, Wade Wilson. Wilson gives us some insight to the coaching strategy that Garrett and himself will rollout this year:

"We're banking on his experiences not only here but with different teams and different offenses, and my experiences throughout the league," Wilson said. "We're kind of blending all those experiences we had, and trying to come up with the best of all those organizations."

6/23/2007

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Dallas Cowboys Most Searched NFL Team Online

According to the Yahoo! Buzz Index, Its all about our Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys are the most searched NFL team online, not the Super Bowl Champ Colts, not Da Bears, not the Patriots, but the 'Boys!

Interesting to see the Cowboys are the only NFL team in Yahoo's Buzz Index Top 20 for (323) days and counting, that's almost a year straight. Right now the NFL is ranked at #5, with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champhionship) at #6 at (323) days as well, a very strong showing with Boxing no where in the top 20 list.

Other sports topics strong with (323) days are:
MLB, Nascar, NBA (all very boring if you ask me)

I'll take the Dallas Cowboys and some Mixed Martial Arts with the UFC over the other boring junk out there. Go Cowboys!

Only the NY Yankees score higher with 1034 days in the top 20.

Check out the Yahoo! Buzz Index Top 20.

Check out NFLDraftCountDown's Draft Review, Scott Wright gives us a (B). I'll take that, as far as talent acquistion potential goes. The truth will be known in 2-3 years, when we can truly gauge what these young bucks will do for our team.

6/21/2007

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Can "Player's Coaches" Succeed?

The 2007 season will see a whole new set of head coaches, and the league has entered an era of the "player's coach," its in vogue right now. A majority, if not all, the new head coaches are thought as being coaches that can relate to players at different levels rather than being the hardcore, stern, disciplinarian type coach.

Wade Phillips (Cowboys), Norv Turner (Chargers), Cam Cameron (Dolphins), Mike Tomlin (Steelers), and Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals) are all coming into favorable situations with teams with alot of upside.

Turner is coming into a team, that by all accounts could have been in the Super Bowl last year with their explosive offense and aggressive defense; however, the question will be can a player's coach like Turner get this team over the hump? Is he the final piece needed to get this team to the Super Bowl, is this the perfect situation for Turner and his players?

Players have said that change can be good, and some players respond better to different coaching styles than others. Could this be the answer in San Diego? We know Turner can get the offense going, but will the lack of being a disciplinarian make the team lose concentration and cause more penalties? We'll see how the team responds from the hardcore coaching style of their previous coach in Marty Schottenheimer compared to Norv Turner.

The Chargers head coaching change and situation mirrors the Cowboys greatly. Wade Phillips is coming into a situation where the team has improved over the year's with the base of talent coming from the draft. The main difference between the Chargers and Cowboys are the coaches. I believe the Cowboys have assembled the better coaching staff, from the Special Teams coach Bruce Read, WRs Coach Ray Sherman, DC Brian Stewart, OC Jason Garrett, to name a few.

The Cowboys have two major strengths on each side of the ball. Wade Phillips is the defensive-guru, and Jason Garrett is the offensive prodigy who comes from a solid offensive minded lineage.

Both Turner and Phillips could be what their teams need in this day and age in the NFL, this could be their perfect opportunity at the right time.

ESPN has a good article that covers this very subject, they talk about how there's a cycle in the NFL; in where, stern coaches get the boot in favor for mild-mannered coaches. Right now, the league has entered the era of the player's coach.

The two teams in the Super Bowl were coached by player's coaches, Tony Dungy (Colts) and Lovie Smith (Bears)

Those players talked about their preference for coaches who don't rely on intimidation, rigid rules or silly mind games to motivate their teams. They liked the idea of being around head coaches who saw themselves more as teachers than drill sergeants, and it's become apparent that the league's decision makers have recognized the value in that as well.

Players like Julius Jones embrace the change:

The Cowboys were so pleased to have a mild-mannered coach that some -- notably running back Julius Jones -- publicly expressed their gratitude for not having to deal with a daily dose of Tuna any longer.
Charger's players are looking forward to a new regime as well:

"I think Norv has been good to have around because the younger players are learning that there's another way to do the job as a head coach. As much as we liked Marty, it's important for some of these guys to know that not every coach has to give a bunch of passionate speeches or be a tough guy to win games."

The interesting part of the article comes from the end:

The question, of course, is whether all these players' coaches -- and the warmer environments they subsequently create -- will produce more victories than their predecessors. Usually, the knock on such men is they can become too soft, and eventually lose their ability to motivate players. That's what killed Turner when he coached the Oakland Raiders, and it's also been a knock on Phillips and Buffalo's Dick Jauron in the past. They were such nice guys in their previous jobs, their teams never became that tough or consistent.

The theory has been that player's coaches have short term success, and players stop responding and inherently need more structure and discipline. This may or may not be true, depending on who you ask. Colts fans would argue that their coach has been very successful over the years, while others would point out the factor that it took Dungy a long time to get his team over the hump because of the way he coaches.

People are so use to seeing the Patriots in the Super Bowl that was the assumed blueprint for success: get a disciplinarian like Belichick and you too can win a Super Bowl. Well, guess what, there may be some truth to this, and this is why we saw coaches like Gibbs, Parcells, and Coughlin return to coaching, they were the desired type of coach at the time.

Look at the past Super Bowl winners (excluding last year):
XL 2006 Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10
XXXIX 2005 New England 24, Philadelphia 21
XXXVIII 2004 New England 32, Carolina 29
XXXVII 2003 Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21
XXXVI 2002 New England 20, St. Louis 17
XXXV 2001 Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7

Did the Colts and Bears set the bar now for their coaching style as being the more effective style or is this just a coincidence? We'll see how the games pan out; however, with the league having more player's coaches there's going to be some canceling out of each other somewhere along the line. I like our chances in the NFC East where players are failing to respond to coaches like Gibbs and Coughlin, who are old school disciplinarians. Andy Reid is probably the only consistent coach in the NFC East the last several years, so I would expect them to be in the hunt as usual, despite their diminishing talent on both sides of the ball.

So to answer the question, I would have to say yes. I think our coach, Wade Phillips will have success. A Super Bowl victory being the ultimate goal. He has the staff and hungry players to make a serious run here in Dallas.
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Canty Get Some Love?

Chris Canty was drafted in the 4th round and considered a steal back then, and even today, Canty seems to be the better DE than 1st rounder Marcus Spears. Canty came from a 3-4 system out of Virginia, and his transition to Parcell's 34 was not bad; however, Canty's upside will truly increase under the aggressive Phillips 34. Canty is a big guy, plays hard, and still plays with something to prove.

Fox Sports has a article on 9 breakout stars for 2007, and Chris Canty makes the list:

Chris Canty: The first few seasons for Canty as a pro ball player have been solid. Canty's upside is spectacular. You have to jog the mental rolodex to Canty's junior year at the University of Virginia to remember how explosive he can be. In talking to the Dallas defensive end, he thinks that this will be his breakout season under Wade Phillips. Everyone's talking about the impact Phillips will have on Marcus Spears, but watch Canty become a major disruption to offenses this season.

Other players among the list are: QB Matt Schaub (Texans), LB Chad Greenway (Minnesota), and WR Reggie Brown (Eagles)

6/20/2007

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Should the Cowboys Draft CB Paul Oliver?

Considering what the Cowboys have done in this year's draft I would say probably not. I doubt the Cowboys draft Georgia's CB Paul Oliver on July 13th during the NFL Supplemental Draft. Oliver is probably the lone player with a chance at actually getting drafted. Over the last couple of months his draft stock has plummeted and its now looking like Oliver could be drafted in the 3rd at the very highest and more likely between the 5th and 7th round.

Oliver basically quit going to school after the football season ended and didn't have any ambitions of going to class in the spring. So, with Oliver being academically ineligible he'll roll the dice by going into the Supplemental Draft.

Oliver just held his pro-day, and he put in some mediocre numbers. Oliver was clocked between 4.50-to-4.58 seconds in the 40 and his vertical jump was 33.5 inches. The RanchReport is reporting that 27 teams were on hand at the workout as both league scouts and directors of college scouting lined the field.

So, with the apparent lack of self motivation, and his mediocre numbers, you have to wonder if this is even a prospect you'd want on your team. If he can't put in the time for class and stay eligible for the thing he supposedly loves to do, then you could assume this work ethic would not bode well at the NFL level, its a red flag.

Some other reports on Oliver:

Oliver left school before the spring semester, and just as his absence was a big blow to Georgia's defense, his presence in the supplemental draft is getting NFL general managers excited. NFL Network's Adam Schefter has reported that Oliver is expected to be a third- or fourth-round pick in the July 12 supplemental draft.

He might go even higher than that. Matched up with Calvin Johnson when Georgia played Georgia Tech last season, Oliver had an outstanding game, as Johnson finished with just two catches for 13 yards. Johnson was the second pick in the April draft, and if Oliver puts on a show when he works out for NFL scouts on Wednesday, a whole lot of NFL teams will have an interest in the guy who shut Johnson down (NFL Fanhouse)

Oliver measured at 6'0'' 208lbs.




6/18/2007

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Spencer's Job to Lose?

Anthony Spencer was the Cowboys target all along, and even after the Cowboys traded out of the first round, then traded back into the first to draft Anthony Spencer. That has to show how much they think of Spencer's talent.

With Greg Ellis still recovering from his achilles injury, Spencer has been deep in study, absorbing everything around him in order to make the transition from college to NFL as smooth as possible. Spencer's been running with the first team in OTAs and in Mini Camps, so, right now you would have to say this is Spencer's job to lose.

In addition, you have to wonder if Ellis will infact be the same player before the injury. Seahawks OLB Julian Peterson had the same injury and he was never a big impact as he was before his achilles injury. So, we'll see where he's at when camp and preseason roll out.

As a fan, Spencer is doing everything right on the field, and looks to be the part. He seems to be up to the task, and has a great attitude (from DC.com):

"I think everyone wants to start," Spencer said. "You want to play and go out there and make things happen. That's what I hope, too. But if I end up starting or playing in other packages, that's fine, too. Right now, I just want to get better."

Despite how some media outlets are reporting the "Ellis Situation" Spencer explains that Ellis has been helpful and offers him tips on the field:

"Greg has really helped me," Spencer said. "He gives me a lot of good tips on what to do in certain situations. He knows where I'm coming from and the things I need to do to get better. He's probably the person I talk to the most because I sit right behind him in meetings. So whenever I have a question about what happened out on the field, I go to him and he's always telling me what I'm doing right or wrong."

So, with Parcells retired, looks like Spencer has escaped water boy duties.....or has he?

"I'm sure it's going to come up in training camp," Spencer said. "I've heard about it. I'm sure they'll come up with something for me to do."

NFL.Com has a small writeup on 15 players with something to prove, and the article cites QB Tony Romo and RB Julius Jones:

Julius Jones, RB, Dallas: Jones is in the midst of a six-year contract but the final two years can be voided based on certain incentives, so he can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season. While his backfield mate, Marion Barber, will be the more attractive choice in most drafts due to his nose for the end zone, Jones seems to be much more comfortable with Wade Phillips at the helm and will look to produce well for his own professional (and financial) reasons.

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas: There has been much talk about an extension for Romo after the Cowboys showed faith in his skills and decided to pass on Brady Quinn in the NFL Draft, but at this time he is still without a long-term deal. Considered the heir apparent to Troy Aikman, Romo threw an impressive 17 touchdown passes in 10 starts last season and should be motivated to prove his success was no fluke. He'll no doubt be a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy quarterback in all formats.

6/17/2007

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Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the Die Hard Cowboys Dad's out there today. Continue to raise your kids as Cowboys fans!

Not much news today. Here's an interesting article about The Cal Poly Curse and Courtney Brown.

And a very good write up on our own 2nd year player, Jason Hatcher: "Hatcher camp teaches work ethic, positive attitude"

6/16/2007

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The Phillips 34 and How it Helps Romo

Wade Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers from 2004-2006 and he put together some solid defense in his tenure there. The big difference we'll see are points allowed under the Phillips 34. Let's look at the rankings with points allowed:

San Diego Year/Rank | Cowboys Year/Rank
2006: #7 | 2006: #20
2005: #13 | 2005: #12
2004: #11 | 2004: #27

Correlation with team's season record:

2006: San Diego (14-2) Cowboys (9-7)
2005: San Diego (9-7) Cowboys (9-7)
2004: San Diego (12-4) Cowboys (6-10)

I expect the Cowboys to have much better numbers with points allowed, and hope the Cowboys could put together a 12-4 season or better, with a Super Bowl as the ultimate goal.

SportingNews has a good article on the difference we'll see between a Phillips 34 and Parcells 34. The main difference being a one-gap vs a two-gap:

It is a one-gap scheme, which distinguishes it from other 3-4 defenses. Movement, pressure and unpredictability are some of the ingredients. The system also has built-in versatility to accommodate the personnel.

"Everybody thinks it's the X's and O's, but it's the Moes and Joes," says Phillips, who turns 60 next week and has been a 3-4 guru since he joined the Houston Oilers as an assistant coach in 1976.

Supports more of what we're learning about the Phillips 34. No more read and reacting, but rather, more attacking with playmakers. I can't wait to see it in live action with the players we have.

The secondary play is where we're hoping to see some improvement. The 3-4 was suppose to allow the defense to pressure the QB and allow for more plays downfield from our secondary. Unfortunately, the front seven didn't pressure the QB much at all, and the offense's meal ticket was directed at Anthony Henry and Roy Williams.

Bill's way: The lack of a pass rush up front put more pressure on these guys. Cornerbacks Terence Newman and Anthony Henry played a lot of press coverage and the safeties split the deep half of the field.

Wade's world: Don't expect to see much cover 2. Strong safety Roy Williams had five picks in '06, but shadowing receivers isn't his forte. He'll line up closer to the line more often and sometimes will be like another linebacker. Phillips still must determine how much zone the corners will play.

X-factor: Free safety Ken Hamlin. In Seattle, he sometimes jumped shallow crossing routes and got beat from behind. But Phillips likes Hamlin's range and thinks he'll be a good center fielder and quarterback in the secondary.

Fanball.com has a small sneak peak at training camp, and they point out more of what I've thought; where, there won't be a position battle per-se at the RB spot between Jones and Barber:

Fantasy owners are probably hoping to read about a wide-open competition between Jones and Marion Barber, but the new staff has given no indication of such a struggle. Garrett will change which types of running plays are used, but Phillips has insinuated that the Cowboys will continue to use a committee approach. Will Barber start over Jones? Will the touches be more equal? Possibly, but don't expect one back to emerge as a clear carry leader

Another position battle of interest from the article is Pat McQuistan. McQuistan is quietly creeping up the ladder, and could be a legitimate starter this year:

We're not quite ready to call it a "battle," but the offensive line could still see some changes on the left side. Second-year man Pat McQuistan has earned a lot of praise during his time with the club, and he spent the summer filling in for Flozell Adams (minor knee surgery) at left tackle. Assuming Adams returns and looks fine, McQuistan could take one step to the right and challenge Kyle Kosier for the starting left guard job.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for McQuistan to battle it out. May the best player win!

And of course more talk about Romo and his contract, but more interestingly is the talk about Garrett's role in Romo's success this year.


Romo is in the final year of his deal, and the Texans upped the price tag by inking Matt Schaub to an absurb, desperate, six-year, $48 million contract. The money is only half of the story with Romo, though. We're also interested to see how he looks in Garrett's new, vertical-oriented passing attack. Romo got off to a hot start in 2006, but he cooled down the stretch. Just how good is he?

I guess this is the benchmark set for Romo, this is what everyone else is writing about too. Those aren't bad numbers. Question is, does Romo and his agent Tom Condon think he's worth more? I'm sure this topic will stick around until camp starts.

Garrett's new offensive scheme is what Phillips new scheme to the defense will be: DYNAMIC. We're going to see both units excel and the playmakers are going to carry the load. We're going to spread the offense around, and be attacking.

This topic of Romo "cooling down the stretch" or "falling apart" is becoming tiring to me. This is a team effort and the effects of everyone will effect the QB play, that's just a fact. The interesting thing about this whole "falling apart down the stretch" subject can be pin-pointed as to when this supposedly started.

I'm going out on a limb by saying the defensive woes came to the forefront once we lost Greg Ellis. And with the defensive woes came the offensive woes, and with the offensive woes comes this whole "Romo cooling down" crap. You can say what you want about Ellis, but he had a big impact on this team last year. Ellis went down in week 8 against the Cardinals, the following two weeks we had home game victories against the Colts, and the Bucs on Thanksgiving, after that, forget about it, the defense fell apart, and the offensive play calling stayed the same without change, teams figured out where to hit us on offense and defense.

With Ellis out, teams down the stretch tore us up by targeting Bradie James, Roy Williams and the whole secondary, the Saints really exposed the weak spots bigtime.

This is why we drafted Anthony Spencer this year, and not a OT or WR. If Ellis is not 100% at camp or during the season, Spencer will be that pressure guy we need in his spot. If not, expect that chink in the armor to get exposed, its a domino effect. What about Carpenter? Don't worry about Carpenter, this guy is smart and dynamic, he'll be out on the field more than you think. He'll be right there pushing for a MLB spot too.

So, with all that being said, this Phillips 34 will help the team as a whole, and with defensive success comes offensive success, they will feed off each other's fortunes.

6/15/2007

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Training Camp Dates Set & Other Notes

Training Camp Schedule
(dates & times subject to change)

Tuesday, July 24 6:00-9:00PM (Kick-Off Event)
Wednesday, July 25 2:30-4:30PM
Thursday, July 26 9:00-11:00AM and 3:30-5:00PM
Friday, July 27 2:30-4:30PM
Saturday, July 28 9:00-11:00AM and 3:30-5:00PM
Sunday, July 29 2:30-4:30PM
Monday, July 30 9:00-11:00AM and 3:30-5:00PM
Tuesday, July 31 2:30-4:30PM
Wednesday, August 1 9:00-11:00AM and 3:30-5:00PM
Thursday, August 2 2:30-4:30PM
Friday, August 3 2:30-4:30PM
Saturday, August 4 9:00-11:00AM and 3:30-5:00PM
Sunday, August 5 2:30-4:30PM
Monday, August 6 9:00-11:00AM and 2:30-4:30PM
Tuesday, August 7 2:30-4:30PM
Wednesday, August 8 2:30-4:30PM (Break Camp)

SI.com has an article on 10 veteran players on the decline, and our very own Flozell Adams makes the dubious list.

Despite earning his third Pro Bowl nomination in 2006, Adams fell below his previous playing level. Still recovering from a torn ACL, he lacked the quickness and agility to handle speed rushers. Considering Adams massive size, it's not surprising he struggled with finesse rushers, but in the past he did a better job of overwhelming them with his power.

Drafted in 1998, Flozell has been in the league for 9yrs, and some wear & tear is beginning to show up. So, while Flozell may have some recent nagging injuries, and is he on the decline? Maybe. Adams is still one of the top left tackles in the game.

Lenny P. at ESPN.com expects Romo to get an extension soon.

If the Cowboys were to grab one of the top quarterback prospects in next spring's draft -- like Louisville's Brian Brohm, Michigan's Chad Henne, Kentucky's Andre Woodson or Hawaii's Colt Brennan -- Jones would be forced to lay out huge money for an unproven player at the game's most unpredictable position. (Dallas has Cleveland's No. 1 pick as well as its own in the 2008 draft.)

The Dallas owner would have a hard time reconciling that.

So the question for the Cowboys isn't whether to sign Romo to an extension, but rather, for how much? And that is the primary challenge to hammering out an accord that meets the needs of both sides.
To answer Lenny's question, I would pay Romo a 6yr deal for $40-50 million. Jerry will take care of his QB, Romo is the new face of the Cowboys. I don't buy the whole notion of Romo "slipping" towards the end of the season, you really have to enter other key variables into the equation. For Instance, the play calling, the shoddy defensive play, and bad field position. Your gameplan changes when you can't or won't do certain things on offense or the defense. Let's face the facts, the offensive calls came from Parcells - way too conservative, not enough down the field passing, predictable run calls when Barber entered the game, and you know what I'm talking about.

Towards the end of the year, the running attack slowed down, it wasn't just Jones, but it was Barber too. When Barber came in, the defense knew it was going to be Barber running the ball, no disguises, it became very predictable.Three straight runs in a row to Barber, does that play calling sound familiar? I expect Garrett to change this up quite a bit. Jones and Barber will catch more screens in the flats. Romo is good now, but will be great this year with Garrett at his side. Garrett will be to Romo what Norv was to Aikman, get ready!

6/14/2007

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From Rookie to Franchise Player

Cowboys news is slow right now, so let's go back in time to 2003 and look at our draft classes up through 2007. In 2003, Bill Parcells took over a franchise that had been successful in securing (3) consecutive 5-11 season, just horrible.

Only four players remain on the team before Parcells took over in 2003:
2002 - Roy Williams (Campo)
2002 - Andre Gurode (Campo)
1998 - Greg Ellis (Gailey)
1998 - Flozell Adams (Gailey)

The team we have now began its turnaround in 2003. Let's go down memory lane and look back at these recent draft classes and see if we managed to draft some franchise players.

2003
(round)
(1) Terence Newman CB Kansas St.
(2) Al Johnson C Wisconsin
(3) Jason Witten* TE Tennessee
(4) Bradie James OLB LSU
(6) B.J. Tucker CB Wisconsin
(6) Zuriel Smith WR Hampton
(7) Justin Bates OT Colorado

Analysis: 3/7 players remain on team, Newman and Witten are clearly the franchise players from this draft. James needs to show more to stay onboard as the starting MLB.

2004
(round)
(2) Julius Jones RB Notre Dame
(2) Jacob Rogers OT Southern Cal
(3) Stephen Peterman OG LSU
(4) Bruce Thornton CB Georgia
(5) Sean Ryan TE Boston Coll.

(7) Nathan Jones CB Rutgers
(7) Patrick Crayton WR NW Oklahoma St.
(7) Jacques Reeves CB Purdue

Analysis: 4/8 players remain on the team, Julius Jones and Patrick Crayton remain the best of this class.

2005
(round)
(1) Demarcus Ware OLB Troy
(1) Marcus Spears DE LSU
(2) Kevin Burnett OLB Tennessee
(4) Marion Barber HB Minnesota
(4) Chris Canty DE Virginia
(6) Justin Beriault S Ball St.
(6) Rob Petitti OT Pittsburgh

(7) Jay Ratliff DE Auburn

Analysis: 6/8 players remain on the team, Demarcus Ware and Marion Barber III are franchise players in this draft. Spears has not lived up to most people's expectations, Burnett has been hampered with injuries, Canty still looks like a steal in the 4th round and Ratliff has been a true steal with the last pick, he's a solid player.

2006
(round)
(1) Bobby Carpenter OLB Ohio State
(2) Anthony Fasano TE Notre Dame
(3) Jason Hatcher DE Grambling State
(4) Skyler Green WR Louisiana State
(5) Pat Watkins S Florida State
(6) Montavious Stanley DT Louisville
(7) Pat McQuistan T Weber State
(7) E.J. Whitley T Texas Tech

Analysis: 6/8 players remain on the team, of these 2nd year players, I expect Carpenter to have a great year, and so will Jason Hatcher. Fasano should be good in run support, Watkins will be in the mix at FS this year, and will get solid playing time in different packages. Stanley was cut last year after training camp, be re-signed this offseason, we'll see if he can help out at the NT backup spot. Pat McQuistan continues to show great potential, and its just a matter of time before he starts at guard or tackle, a steal in the 7th round.

2007
(round)
(1) Anthony Spencer DE Purdue University
(3) James Marten T Boston College
(4) Isaiah Stanback QB Washington
(4) Doug Free T Northern Illinois
(6) Nicholas Folk PK Arizona
(6) Deon Anderson FB Connecticut
(7) Courtney Brown CB Cal Poly
(7) Alan Ball CB Illinois


Analysis: I'm projecting at least 6/8 players make this team this year; however, its very possible that all make the team. Anthony Spencer, will be worked into the starting lineup, and will get alot of time at OLB, the rest of the guys will be playing for backup spots for this year; however, their longterm outlook could be very promising. Stanback is a project the Cowboys hope will be a threat in the return game.

The Numbers:
19/53 (~36%) man roster have come from the draft since 2003, this number could rise to 27/53 (~51%) with the addition of the 2007 draft class. The other 64% come from players acquired from trade, free agency, four drafted players from 2002 & 1998, and undrafted rookie free agents, respectively.

BEST DRAFT: 2005
WORST DRAFT: 2004, this class may be gone all together after this season
BEST PICK: Demarcus Ware - 2005, 1st round, #11 overall
WORST PICK: Jacob Rogers - 2004, 2nd round, #52 overall

The Draft is hit and miss, its not an exact science, so we can only hope that the Cowboys can continue to add some franchise type players to the roster under new Coach, Wade Phillips.

6/11/2007

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How Much is Romo Worth?

I'm revisiting an article I wrote-up back in February, which discussed recent quarterback contracts in relation to what we could expect in a new deal for Romo, which could be right around the corner. The DMN has a new article quoting Romo in regards to this subject:

"I'd definitely like it before the season began, but you never know how these things go," he said. "I know the Jones family. They know me. We'll come to a conclusion."

Last August, Romo signed a 1 Year, $3.9 million contract extension, which pays out $900,000 for ‘06, $1 million for ‘07 and a $2 million signing bonus. This locks him up through the 2007 season, but what happens after that? Let's not get to that point, there's already talk that getting Romo a new contract is in the works, and rightfully so. I would believe the consensus of Cowboys Nation is that we have our QB for the present and future, he has the often mentioned "IT" factor. The Cowboys will get Romo a new contract, but the question is how much cash will he get?


This year it will cost clubs about $12,615,000 to slap a franchise tag on a QB and this will rise again for the 2008 season, so this is definitely not the route the Cowboys would want to go, nor would they want to let Romo test free agency next year which would, in turn probably mean a bidding war to re-sign him.

So, when you ask yourself how much is Romo worth, or how much and how long would you sign him for there are several factors you must add into the equation.

Let's take a look at some recent contract extensions of "upper echelon" QBs:

In 2002, Donovan McNabb signed a 12yr contract extension in September of 2002, netting him $115 million dollars

In 2004, Mike Vick signed a mega contract of 10yrs for $130 million dollars, there will be many that have an opinion on that, but at the end of the day he got paid huge.

In 2004, Peyton Manning signed a 7yr extension for $98 million dollars which includes the biggest signing bonus to date at $34.5 million dollars

In 2005, Tom Brady signed a contract 6yr deal for $60 million dollars, depending on how the money is spead out that's roughly $10 million yearly, pretty good for a damn good QB

Let's also look at some recent rookie QB contacts:

In 2004, Eli Manning signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $54million dollars, lot of money for minimal production thus far

In 2004, Philip Rivers signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $40.5 millions dollars

In 2004, Ben Roethlisberger signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $22.26 million dollars

In 2005, Alex Smith signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $50 million dollars

In 2006, Vince Young signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $54 million dollars

In 2006, Matt Leinart signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $50.8 million dollars

So, these are the payouts for Veteran QBs that have been extended with new contracts, and some recent Rookie QB contracts being paid out lately.

6yr deals appear to be the preferred length for both Veteran and Rookie contracts, with the exception of a very few.

So what's it gonna be for Tony Romo, a star on the rise for the most covered team in sports, the Dallas Cowboys? Did he prove enough for you, the fan, to deserve a big payout like the QBs mentioned in this piece. For me, I've seen enough to know Romo is the real deal.

Romo is a 4yr Veteran, who has been on the bench behind Quincy Carter('03), Vinny Testaverde('04), and Drew Bledsoe('05 & some '06), so in 2006 he played his first games as a starter, pretty much as a rookie quarterback. Romo was 6-4 as a starter, threw for 2904 yrds with 19TDs and 13INTs, compiling a QB rating of 95.1, not bad at all. Yes, he had a few hiccups here and there, but you're gonna get that from "rookie" QB in Romo, he'll recover and learn from his previous mistakes.

On a side note,What really impressed me was before the Pro Bowl, Sean Payton told Romo he was going to hold on FG/XPs, and he would get more playing time. This is first class all the way from Payton - he got Romo back in the saddle and that's what great coaches do for young players, and even though Payton is no longer with us, he still helped Romo get back and face something that is still fresh in Romo's head. Thank You Payton.


Romo has been blessed to have been mentored and groomed to be the next QB of the Cowboys. Bill Parcells and Sean Payton were instrumental in his progression, and Jerry Jones knows his continued development is needed, and this is why he brought in another of the leagues young rising offensive minds in the game, Jason Garrett.

With all this being said, I think Jerry knows he finally has a franchise QB, one that he hasn't had since Troy Aikman, and Jerry will take care of his guy. Many NFL clubs spend lots of money on early draft picks and free agents that never pan out, and the Cowboys may have missed on a few QB acquisitions, but they have an ultra-steal in Tony Romo. I expect Jerry to pay Romo a pretty good contract, we'll just wait and see how much.

6/10/2007

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On My Count, Attack!

What's the common theme you keep hearing over and over again? Attack. Unlike our units from previous years, this team will be attacking on both sides of the ball. No more read and reacting on every single down. We're going to be in people's faces on defense and on offense. What a concept, its music to my ears.

On Defense, the defensive line will not just be big bodies occupying space, but rather, lineman on the attack as well. The linebackers will be attacking from different positions; stuff like 2-4 LBs blitzing at any given moment, with any different player combination: one MLB and one OLB blitzing, coupled with a safety or corner blitz. Obviously, blitzing full time is not what we're going to be doing, but it will be in more frequency and more effective with the Phillips 34.

Several players are looking forward to being in attack mode. Phillips wants to get his playermakers involved early and often. Players like Ware and Williams.

Williams talks about how Phillips has designed some plays around him that could lead him to making more plays at the line (from DMN):

"I get to be more involved," Williams said Saturday, the last day of minicamp for the Cowboys. "I like to be closer to the ball, and Coach Phillips installed some plays for me. I'm looking forward to it. I don't know about blitzing, but shoot, at least I'm closer to the line; that's half the battle."

This is probably something we'll see in Nickel and Dime formations, with Hamlin and Watkins in support in the secondary. Again, more attacking, and what better person than Williams. Williams strengths are to hit someone and hit them hard.

Demarcus Ware is another playmaker on defense that is excited about this attacking defense, and he gives us some insight as to what he likes about this version of the 3-4(from DMN):

"You can create," Ware said. "We can be a lot more aggressive instead of being a passive defense. This year, we'll call our own plays before the offense breaks the huddle so we can be ready."

I think Ware is right. Last year we were way too passive. I didn't feel our version of the 3-4 was doing disruptive things like the Patriots and Chargers were doing. Those squads were aggressive, attacking, and keeping quarterbacks guessing. When our defense is on the field, I want that feeling inside that we will force fumbles, get ints, get sacks, bust people up, and maybe even score some TDs on defense as a result.

The Offense will be in attack mode as well. When you think about the Cowboys and the times they were attacking people and taking over games, you think about the Cowboys of the '90s. And that's what Garrett sees this year's offense looking like(
from DMN):

"I think the base for this offense is a lot like what we had in Dallas in the '90s. We did things that worked for Emmitt Smith and worked for Jay Novacek and obviously worked for the quarterback, and those are the things you try to do as a coordinator."

More music to my ears. We definitely have the players at those key positions with Julius Jones, Marion Barber, Witten, and Tony Romo to name a few.

I already did a small write up on "Garrett Bringin' Witten Back" and we're talking about Garrett utilizing Witten alot more in the passing game. Witten excels in the passing game. Last year he scored just (1) TD!, I expect more scoring potential under Garrett's watch. Witten is ready for the new system (from DMN):

"I think we're all anxious to see what kind of a play-caller he's going to be," Witten said. "I know he feels like the running game is important, but I think he's going to be a down-the-field guy."

We're already hearing that Witten is getting more involved in the passing game from reports from the OTAs, and this past weekend's mini camp reports.

This is a good time to be a die hard fan. We have a truly genuine chance at making a serious run this year. Games should not come down to final drive FGs as they have in the past. We're going to have offenses and defenses on their heals until they submit to our high powered weapons. This is Cowboys Football.

6/08/2007

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Would Losing Ellis & Adams Be Detrimental?

Over the past week the main focus of news seemed to be centralized around two key players; OLB Greg Ellis and LT Flozell Adams

I discussed the potential for Flozell Adams this upcoming season, thinking this would be another one of his breakout season's, well now comes the news that his knee is flaring up again. In fact, Adams just had some minor arthroscopic surgery which will sideline him until training camp.

So, just when we thought Adams would be fully recovered from his knee injuries, it would appear that he may not be 100% at training camp, and his reliability for the regular season is not guaranteed unfortunately. We're talking about a player that has had some recent nagging knee injuries, and you have to consider the wear and tear on Flo's tires - the guy is 6-7 340, that's a lot mass for his battered knees. Would losing Adams be detrimental to the team's offensive success this year? Right now, you would have to say yes. Who would start at LT? Are we talking starting Pat McQuistan at LT, who would be a virtual rookie since he has no game time experience or moving Davis back to LT, which would in-turn leave a hole at RG. This is not going to happen. The Cowboys just released Rivera, and Davis was brought in for RG all along anyway. Davis feels his more comfortable at RG too:

"I feel like I'm better at guard," said Davis, who played both guard and tackle in six seasons with Arizona. "At tackle in the pass set you might have a guy three to five yards outside you, but at guard you've still got to be quick because the guys right there in front of me. I'm really using my size and strength at either position."(DMN)

It would appear that McQuistan (6-6, 315) would be the answer at LT should something happen to Adams. McQuistan played LT during OTAs in place of the sidelined Adams, and we'll probably see McQuistan start this weekend's mini camp at LT. McQuistan has shown a great deal of versatility on the line, and some believe he is poised to challenge Kosier for the LG spot this year. Whether its this year or next year, McQuistan will be a starter sooner or later, its not a matter of if, but rather when. You just never know, and Pat could end up having the better career than his twin brother Paul would was drafted in the 3rd round by the Raiders.

July '06: "McQuistan played college ball with his brother Paul, a Raiders third-rounder recently dubbed a rookie starter, at Weber State. Pat might have a tougher time securing a roster spot." (USA Today)

Fast forward, and McQuistan is looking to be the steal we had hoped and there's absolutely no worry that he'll make the roster this year and beyond.

So, what about Greg Ellis? This is becoming a yearly event with Ellis, with all the makings of a weekly soap opera, this is just getting ridiculous.

I like the player Ellis, and I can understand where he is coming from, so its one of these things that fans either agree or disagree with. I would believe that last year fans tolerated this subject more than this year. Fans, that backed up Ellis last year, have all but abandoned ship. Looking at his stats, Ellis is averaging 6.27 sacks a season.

Personally, I want Ellis back on this team. He's a solid player, and has valuable experience considering how young we've gotten in the front seven.

However, Ellis is feeling slighted by Jerry Jones. After Thursday's OTA Jerry said (from DC.Com):

"I don't have any plans to meet with anyone who is under contract"

to which Greg Ellis said:

"That pretty much answers all your questions right there," Ellis told a large group of reporters huddled around his locker. "A player that you're serious about keeping, and you don't meet with them? In any kind of job, if you want to keep them around, if that employee has some concern, you meet.

"I was told by Jerry we were going to have a meeting. I didn't even ask for a meeting. He walked up to me and said, 'Greg we're going to have a sit-down.' And then to tell you guys we aren't going to do that, that's fine with me. But by him saying that, that pretty much answers all the questions. I didn't answer them, I think Jerry answered them."

Right now, this impasse is all business. Ellis wants to be smart about his career and his future, but he probably feels stuck with his current contract. He wants it reworked.

Ellis' teammates want him there, Spencer wants Ellis to return, and Spears spoke out on the subject (Watkins):

In team meetings, Ellis sits behind Spencer, telling him what to do as they watch film.

Defensive end Marcus Spears said when his college roommate, New England Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill, died recently, Ellis was one of the first people to call him.

"I know we need him around, that's all that I'm concerned with," Spears said. "Me and G are real close. I want him to be happy and I think whatever it takes to do that, he's proven himself. He's not a selfish guy, and I think they need to find some common ground."

We all saw the drop off on defense last year when Ellis went down with an injury. The defense steadily went downhill and the wheels fell off towards the end. Yes, we have Spencer, and Carpenter, but Ellis still provides solid pass rush and much needed leadership on that young front seven. Spencer is unproven right now, albeit, he "looks" to be ready, and Ware has even said he thinks Spencer is ahead of him when he came in as a rookie 2yrs ago. So, there's some positive things to think about.

Anyway you cut it, its not a good thing to lose a solid player, especially in this aggressive Phillips 34 defense. You can NEVER have enough good solid players at LB. Losing Ellis would be detrimental. Too many unknowns right now, and potential doesn't cut it in this league. Not to say Spencer or Carpenter are not going to be good players, I think they are definitely the future, if not this year, definitely full-on next year. These two LBs are too good to be anything else than starters.

We'll see how this plays out over mini camp. Keep an eye on McQuistan.
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Training Camp, Here We Come

Its official, CowboysBlog.Net will be at Training Camp this year, and we'll have the latest reviews, and analysis on the new crop of rookies as well as the veterans. Keep it here for the latest news.

6/06/2007

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Mini Camp This Weekend

OTA – Thursday, June 7th

11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Practice (open to the media)

12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. Locker room open to the media

Minicamp -- Friday, June 8th

10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Practice (open to the media)

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Locker room open to the media

1:30 p.m. Wade Phillips press conference

3:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Practice (open to the media)

Minicamp -- Saturday, June 9th

10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Practice (open to the media)

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Locker room open to the media

3:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Practice (open to the media)

4:45 p.m. Wade Phillips press conference

6/05/2007

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Courtney Brown Ready to Rejoin Cowboys

Cowboys Rookie CB Courtney Brown has missed all the OTAs since he is still in school at Cal Poly. Despite missing the OTAs, Brown has been working hard to stay in shape by following a workout regimen given to him by Coach Jurasek. Brown is ready to rejoin the team and make a name for himself:

“You don’t know how eager I am to get back there,” Brown said last week. “I kind of feel like I’ve been missing out on a lot, so I want to get back there as soon as possible. I’ve been working out by myself and stuff, trying to stay in shape, but it’s different when you have a coach there telling you what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing well.”(TheTribune)

Brown should be able to give us some solid depth at CB, and could be a steal.

6/02/2007

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Media Infatuation With TO Continues

To no surprise, the Cowboys paid Terrell Owens his $3million roster bonus, meaning he will be a Cowboy for the 2007 season, which we already knew. Something else we already knew is that the media was going to be all over this and had to throw their little jabs at Terrell and the Cowboys as an organization.

How many article catch lines have you seen floating on the web? Crap like:
"Owen's Gets $3million Bonus Without Practicing"
or
"Owens not practicing but earns $3 million"
or
"TO is a no-show, but gets his raise"
and from ESPN of course
"Despite practice absence, T.O. to get $3M bonus"

Ok, we get it. Not a big deal in my opinion. Terrell isn't the only Cowboy missing the Voluntary practices either JJT at DMN has a good article and some valid points on missing OTAs.

I think its funny how the media had to ride this into their corney little catch lines...lame. Let the man, get his money, and be done with it, get off his jock.

Terrell is going to be here, he's going to be a major force in our new offense, and he'll likely be here again next year.