Wednesday, February 28, 2007

RUMOR: Joey Harrington might be a candidate to become Tony Romo's backup

Originally posted by Romomania244 from a sports forum:

Dolphins quarterback Joey Harrington might be a candidate to become Tony Romo's backup in Dallas. It depends on how new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett feels about Harrington after working with him last season.
-- Dallas Morning News

the dolphins are suppose to release harrington some time soon. i guess he would be a good enough back up if jerry jones signed him. with damon huard being resigned by the chiefs and the falcons making sure they hang on to schaub, the qb market is looking very slim.

RUMOR: Julius Jones Being Shopped?

Originally Posted by rcranston from a sports forum:

I know this is something of a heard it from a friend type of thing, but I have a friend who follows the Bucs Pewter report closely. A guy who usually has very solid information stated on their board that the Cowboys were shopping Julius at the combine for a trade, not a draft pick. Has anyone else heard this that can confirm it? Like I said, earlier, the guy on that board is known to be very reliable (on their board they wondered if Jones was a worthwhile pickup.

RUMOR: Aaron Glenn considering returning to Texans

Aaron Glenn return to Texans?

I ran into Aaron Glenn today and was talking about his future. You'll recall he was with the Texans for the first three years of the franchise but then left to play in Dallas with Bill Parcells and the Cowboys. I told him he was going to love playing for new head coach Wade Phillips and I was surprised when he said his options were open right now and Houston could be his final stop. Teams and players can't talk to each other before March 2nd, but he would be willing to listen if the Texans were interested.

He didn't really want to go north in the first place but things just didn't work out here. He has close ties with the current coaching staff starting at the top. Being an Aggie, he has cossed paths with head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. When Kubiak was named the new leader, that peeked Glenn's interest.

We don't know right now what will happen, but Aaron is a tough competitor who is also a great leader and can be used in many different areas. When he was here, he was like a coach on the field. He loved helping a young Dunta Robinson understand the pro game so there is some upside to consider in that area plus he still has his skills although not as sharp as they used to be.

The Texans need players and they need leaders who know how to win. He could fit in nicely by spending his final years in the NFL right here in Houston. We'll keep you posted. What do you think? Should the Texans consider bringing him back?

Posted by Giff Nielsen at February 27, 2007 03:57 PM


After a tough season and big changes, the Cowboys have their priorities firmly in focus

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

1.Make wise decisions in free agency.
Owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys don't really have any major priorities in free agency, which begins Friday. Center Andre Gurode agreed to a contract extension last week, and the Cowboys would like to get something done with right tackle Marc Colombo. They also need to address left guard because of Marco Rivera's uncertainty following back surgery. But the focus will be on finding the best players and best fits for the team rather than breaking the bank to fill a specific need.

2.Get the new coaching staff on the same page.
The Cowboys will not change much on offense from last season, but they have three new coaches, including coordinator Jason Garrett, who will incorporate their own ideas in the system. Defensively, head coach Wade Phillips must teach his version of the 3-4 to the coaches before starting the off-season program. It's one reason it was important to get Brian Stewart on board from San Diego to help with terminology and scheme.

3.Get Terrell Owens ready after surgery.
Jerry Jones has said a number of times that Terrell Owens will be back next season. Until he says something different, then assume that will be the case. The focus for the Cowboys is to make sure Owens is healthy after finger surgery and up to speed on the offense going into training camp. For the Cowboys to be successful, Owens needs to be fully involved starting in training camp.

4.Continue the development of quarterback Tony Romo.
Romo's development was a focal point of the coaching search. He has been a frequent visitor to Wade Phillips' office. He now gets a heavy dose of tutoring from Jason Garrett and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. Romo's play declined late in 2006. The Cowboys want to make sure he continues to progress.

5.Get Greg Ellis healthy and prepared.
Wade Phillips' system is predicated on having quality pass rushers. Ellis, one of the team's two best rushers along with DeMarcus Ware, must come back at 100 percent after surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon. He is set to play the linebacker position in Phillips' defense that Shawne Merriman played in San Diego. That Merriman notched 27 sacks the past two years should be enough motivation for Ellis' return as soon as possible.

6.Develop a scheme to best utilize safety Roy Williams.
Roy Williams is a four-time Pro Bowler at safety who was a liability on defense at times. He simply gave up too many plays. Blame Williams for not developing his coverage skills. Blame the Cowboys for not allowing him to do what he does best. Phillips plans on playing Williams close to the line of scrimmage where he can make plays and limit his deep coverage responsibility. The key is finding a true free safety to play center field.

John Clayton: Cowboys expected to make serious run at Leonard Davis

By Grizz
Posted on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 12:49:43 PM EST

I was reading through a John Clayton article about superfreak-athlete Calvin Johnson. After I got through the legend of the borrowed shoes and the fact that when he did a vertical-jump test last year, he out-jumped the device that was supposed to measure it, which only went to 45 inches, I came across this item.

The Cowboys could emerge as the lead team for Cardinals left tackle Leonard Davis. The Cardinals decided not to franchise Davis and will let him hit the market. The 49ers and Cowboys are expected to be the teams that are the most interested and many feel the Cowboys will be the winner.

Ok, since it's the second time in two days I`ve read about the Cowboys interest in Leonard Davis, I guess I've got to take it somewhat seriously. So what is the Cowboys thinking in this process? There could be a couple of answers. Obviously, if they are having trouble with the demands of Marc Colombo for a new contract, then the possibility of moving Davis to right tackle is there. They could also be considering the effectiveness of Flozell Adams long-term and seeking candidates to possibly replace him down the road. But that could only happen if Davis isn't asking for a ridiculous amount of money because the Cowboys can't lay out starter's money for Davis if they have no plans to start him. So my guess is they are trying to figure out how much Davis wants, and comparing that to how much Colombo wants.

There's a theory about Davis that he might be better suited to right tackle, where he won't face a high caliber pass-rusher - who usually possesses a devastating speed rush - as often. So my guess is they are getting an idea of what kind of money Davis wants, and seeing if that fits into their plans. As for Davis the player, in some ways he's similar to our own Flozell. Both have the physical size and tools to dominate at their position, but are too often inconsistent and people question their motivation. In addition, both can be beaten by the speed rush.

Update [2007-2-26 14:45:34 by Grizz]: Several readers have noted below a possibility I didn't address in the above post - the possibility of moving Davis inside to guard. Maybe so, because of his height and size I tend to think of him as a natural tackle, but maybe inside would hide some of his weaknesses. It's a valid point.

Gurode contract specifics

Cowboys | Gurode contract specifics
Tue, 27 Feb 2007 17:41:03 -0800

Todd Archer, of the Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys C Andre Gurode does not have any roster bonuses built into the six-year, $30 million contract he recently signed with the team. Gurode's contract includes base salaries of $600,000 (2007), $2 million (2008), $2.4 million (2009), $3 million (2010), $5.5 million (2011) and $6.5 million (2012).

Cowboys' free agent targets

February 27, 2007

The great Jean-Jacques Taylor informs the masses in his weekly newsletter that two names top the Cowboys' list of free agent targets: Cardinals OL Leonard "Bigg" Davis and Seahawks FS Ken Hamlin.

Davis, a left tackle in Arizona, could replace Marco Rivera at right guard. He's a home run as far as Texas ties go. Grew up in tiny Wortham, Texas, and starred for the Longhorns.

Hamlin doesn't have Texas ties, but he's one tough hombre. He had his skull fractured when he got hit with a street sign during a fight outside a Seattle nightclub in 2005. He came back last season and stepped right back in as the big-hitting backbone of the Seahawks' secondary. Oh, and he can cover, too.

KFFL: Cowboy possible FA Targets

Cowboys | Babineaux may be a target in free agency
Tue, 27 Feb 2007 14:42:07 -0800

Clarence E. Hill Jr., of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports the Dallas Cowboys may be interested in Seattle Seahawks S Jordan Babineaux, who becomes a restricted free agent March 2. Babineaux is considered one of the best safeties on the market and might be interested in coming back to his home state.

Cowboys | Dielman may be a target in free agency
Tue, 27 Feb 2007 14:26:09 -0800

Clarence E. Hill Jr., of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports the Dallas Cowboys may be interested in San Diego Chargers OG Kris Dielman, who becomes a free agent March 2. Dielman is one the top guards available and the Cowboys are uncertain about the return of OG Marco Rivera.

Davis to Dallas?

By Brett Jensen
Posted Feb 26, 2007

Playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be a dream come true for Texas native Leonard Davis. And come March 2, when the Arizona Cardinal officially becomes a free agent, it could very well happen for the massive offensive lineman. has the latest in this exclusive report!

Davis, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft behind Michael Vick, is “very interested” in playing for the Cowboys, the team he grew up cheering for while living in Wortham, Tex., league sources told Monday.

There are also a handful of other teams interested in the 6-foot-6, 366-pound tackle. However legitimate contact can’t be made until Davis’ contract with the Cardinals officially ends March 2.

Davis’s agent, Ryan Tollner, spent the weekend in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, where he interacted with representatives from several different teams. Dallas was one of those teams, league sources said.

Once the free agent period begins for Davis, the Cowboys, who have let it be known they are interested in Davis, are expected to make a big push to sign him.

Dallas’ offensive line was an area of weakness the last couple of years and needs to be solidified. There’s speculation the Cowboys will draft a defensive back with the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft. The secondary was also a problem last season, too.

With it not being regarded as a very deep draft for offensive linemen, addressing the problem via free agency seems like the logical choice. And the signing of Davis, who played for the Texas Longhorns, would go a long way towards doing that.

Davis, who has started in all 91 games he’s appeared in, has experience playing multiple positions.

Davis played first half of his career primarily at right guard, before being switched to left tackle, which is were he’s played full time since 2004.

Stay tuned to for the latest information on Davis as potential movement could come as early as Friday.

Bledsoe heading out; Strahan sticking around?

Adam Schefter
NFL Analyst

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 26, 2007) -- Futures of tomorrow's stars were shaped at the NFL Scouting Combine last weekend, and the same now will continue with established veterans this week by the time free agency kicks off March 2.

The Cowboys are expected to release veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe, which will free him to sign with another team and save Dallas $5.5 million against the salary cap. Bledsoe is due a $1 million roster bonus March 2, and the Cowboys do not intend to pay that or the $4.5 million in base salary he is scheduled to make in 2007.

While Dallas appears to have made its decision with Bledsoe, the Giants still have some of their own matters to address with veteran defensive end Michael Strahan.

Babineaux may be a target in free agency

Cowboys | Babineaux may be a target in free agency
Tue, 27 Feb 2007 14:42:07 -0800

Clarence E. Hill Jr., of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports the Dallas Cowboys may be interested in Seattle Seahawks S Jordan Babineaux, who becomes a restricted free agent March 2. Babineaux is considered one of the best safeties on the market and might be interested in coming back to his home state.

DMN: Rivera's future

Rivera's future

Only a few days after the season ended Marco Rivera had back surgery for the second time in three years on the same disk, and is future is in serious doubt.

Doctors and trainers have told me players can often return from the first disk surgery without much trouble, but the second one always causes problems. Darren Woodson would be a good example. It forced him to retire a year or two too early.

So what happens if Rivera is cut? He is scheduled to count $3.625 million against the salary cap. If the Cowboys cut him, then $4.875 million in signing bonus proration comes forward, which means it would cost the Cowboys about $1.2 million in space in 2007.

They could always count Rivera as a "June 1" casualty and take $1.625 million against the cap this year, saving them $2 million this year, and the remaining $3.2 million next year. If they choose to go that route, I can see them delegating Rivera a "June 1" cut in the not-so distant future.

JJT: Spending spree not expected

Spending spree not expected
Jean-Jacques Taylor

Don't expect Jerry Jones to go on a big-time shopping spree when free agency starts Friday. Expect a much more reserved approach.

That's not necessarily a bad thing.

The Cowboys need some help at a few spots, but they don't have any needs so glaring they need to be a big spender to fill their holes. Besides, guard and free safety, the Cowboys' two biggest needs, aren't positions where teams traditionally spend a lot of money.

So look for the Cowboys to try and strike a deal with former Arizona Cardinals tackle and UT product Leonard Davis, who's probably the third-best tackle in the free-agent market, which means he can be had for a reasonable cost. If the Cowboys can re-sign Marc Colombo, then Dallas would probably have a pretty solid offensive line without having spent a lot of money.

Then the Cowboys can turn their attentions to safety, where Ken Hamlin is a good option, if they can get him for the right price. If not, the Cowboys can wait for a safety to fall in the draft and grab a traditional free safety in the first or second round.

Last year, the Cowboys were pretty active signing players such as linebacker Akin Ayodele and guard Kyle Kosier, who contributed to a playoff season. But they also wasted money on guys such as kicker Mike Vanderjagt, tight end Ryan Hannam, offensive tackle Jason Fabini and linebacker Rocky Boiman.

Jones won't allow that to happen again.

RECAP: Mickey with D&M on The Ticket- 02/28/07

Posted by randy932 from a sports forum:

Apparently SD had second thoughts about letting Stewart interview. I guess they are having third thoughts now and will let him. This deal should get done soonly. Wade needed someone he knew and worked with on defense. Someone that he was familiar with. This looks like a pretty decent staff on paper.
On the offensive side of the ball, he has Sparano and Garrett, plus he brought in some good veteran guys to coach positions. It'a a promising staff. I like the fact that they have some younger guys taking care of the QB. You have Garrett and Wilson. Wilson has played and coached for a while now. Romo isn't a finished product yet and needed some good direction. I think these are good hires.
The next guy the Cowboys focus on will be Columbo. They want to get it done before FA as to not have his price driven up. If he has a good agent he will know his worth and they can get it done if the price is right.
McBriar is probably the next guy they try to get signed. Do you want to give him a long term deal? I think they have to because other teams may make a run at him.
It looks like Dallas has a lot of money, but after re-signing these guys and doing contracts it takes a good bit of what you can do. The Cowboys put themselves on a budget and are managing it well thus far.
I don't think Dallas will go out and make a big splash in FA. They have already made a big splash in some respects. You are always taking a chance when you go sign other teams cast-offs. Dallas also got burned on a couple recently, namely Vanderjagt. There are good players that are out there for other reasons, like Adalius Thomas, but most are out there because they aren't worth the contract they are demanding.

Cowboys may not move Anthony Henry to safety, after all

The Cowboys may not move Anthony Henry to safety, after all.

It sounds like it would only happen if Dallas adds top tier talent at cornerback via the draft or free agency. "His cornerback skills are very good, and it's not a given at all that that move is there," Jerry Jones said.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cowboys have begun contract talks with free agent T Marc Colombo

The Cowboys have begun contract talks with free agent T Marc Colombo.

Dallas has also begun discussions with restricted free agent punter Mat McBriar, a Pro Bowler, and is expected to release Drew Bledsoe shortly.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Update: Stewart headed to Cowboys!!!

Chargers defensive backs coach Brian Stewart has been released from his contract and will become the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator.

Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips was the Chargers defensive coordinator from 2004-06. He has been trying to hire Stewart since he left.

The Chargers had initially balked at letting Stewart out of his contract but relented Saturday.

Stewart joined the Chargers in 2004.

The team on Wednesday hired Bill Bradley to coach the secondary with Stewart. The team plans on hiring a replacement for Stewart.

Chargers Stewart likely headed to Cowboys

Chargers | Stewart likely headed to Cowboys
Sun, 25 Feb 2007 06:41:31 -0800

Updating a previous item, Kevin Acee, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, reports San Diego Chargers secondary coach Brian Stewart will likely be leaving to become the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. According to sources, head coach Norv Turner informed Stewart Saturday, Feb. 24, he would be released from his contract

Garrett, Sparano huddling to talk offense

By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

Tony Sparano (left) is the only coach remaining from the 2006 offensive staff, when Dallas averaged 26.6 points per game.

INDIANAPOLIS – In the mid-1990s, when Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback with the Cowboys and Tony Sparano was head coach at the University of New Haven, both men, now the new brain trust of the Cowboys' offense, spent several summers together.

Jason's father, Jim, a former Cowboys scout, ran a football camp at Shippensburg (Pa.) State, and Garrett and Sparano served as coaches. The two share mutual friends throughout the coaching fraternity and needed no introduction when Garrett came on board.

"I think it's important he and I speak the same language," Sparano said. "We've been together before, and our paths have crossed."

For the last month, Garrett and Sparano have been locked in their offices at Valley Ranch, mapping out their vision for the offense.

So far, so good.

"One of the things my son [offensive quality control coach] Wesley said was, 'It looks like those guys have been working together for a long time, listening to them and talking to them about what they want to do and how they want to do it,'" coach Wade Phillips said. "That's the way you want it."

Sparano remains the assistant head coach after getting a three-year contract extension. He called the plays last season when he was the running game coordinator and offensive line coach.

His role on game day may change with Garrett as the offensive coordinator, but the Cowboys' running game is expected to remain the same. The passing game will be tweaked by Garrett, who is more familiar with the schemes used by coordinators he played under, like Norv Turner, Sean Payton and Jon Gruden.

"I think like a lot of teams, you spend this time evaluating what the team had done the year before and invigorate the offense or defense with new ideas," said Garrett, who spent the previous two seasons as the Miami Dolphins' quarterbacks coach.

"Obviously, with a new staff coming together, there's different thoughts about ways to do things. Tony's been great. He's been fun to work with and talk offensive football with."

Right now, the two are in the rudimentary stage of putting an offense together, which includes deciding what to call the formations and packages and studying the offensive players on the roster.

"Part of the goal is to keep the stuff consistent as we can for the players," Sparano said. "Sometimes it's good the coaches learn and don't have to put all the learning on the players. There's going to be change anytime there's staff movement like that, and it's got to be comfortable for Jay and comfortable for myself."

Last year's offense was among the best in Cowboys' history, but Sparano is the only leftover from the offensive staff. The Cowboys averaged 26.6 points per game (fourth best in the league) and averaged 360.8 yards (fifth best).

"There's been some great Cowboys teams, and our numbers compare to those teams or were better," Sparano said. "That says an awful lot, in my opinion. It's a credit to the coaches, but more importantly, it's a credit to the players. We have good players."

For the second time in team history, the Cowboys had a 1,000-yard rusher (Julius Jones) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Owens, Terry Glenn). Tony Romo threw 16 touchdown passes in 10 starts and was named to the Pro Bowl. Owens led the NFL with 13 touchdown catches, and Marion Barber ran for 14 touchdowns.

"I'm excited about it," Garrett said. "I'm excited about the team they have on offense and defense and everything they've been putting together in Dallas.

"We're going to evaluate the things they did last year and try to keep those constants and then add some other things and continue and try and grow."

Phillips Discusses Owens, Staff In Combine Interviews Report
February 24, 2007 6:08 PM

Wade Phillips is hoping Terrell Owens will be ready to practice before the start of training camp.
INDIANAPOLIS - While the scouting combine in Indianapolis is nothing new for Wade Phillips, he certainly finds himself garnering more attention this year, still less than three weeks after being named the Cowboys' new head coach.

Phillips arrived in Indy on Thursday and has been a popular media request, even on the national level.

The Cowboys head coach had a brief press conference Saturday afternoon and discussed several topics, including wide receiver Terrell Owens, who for now, appears to be in the Cowboys' plans for the 2007 season.

While Phillips didn't discuss Owens' contract, which calls for a $3 million roster bonus on June 1, he did mention his conversations with the wide receiver, and his agent Drew Rosenhaus. Phillips said he is aware Owens is scheduled to have another surgery on his hand on March 1, but is hoping the receiver can return to the practice field before the start of training camp in late July, as was reported earlier this week.

Phillips said he has had just one conversation with Owens, but has met with several other players, including quarterback Tony Romo, who Phillips said is in his office "all the time."

But here is a transcript from Phillips' media briefing Saturday afternoon on various other topics from his evaluations of players at the combine to his relationship with former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells.

So how have things gone so far since you took the job?

Phillips:We've got started with the staff. We almost put the staff together. We're working on the same things (Falcons head coach) Bobby Petrino and all the new coaches are working on, getting those things done, putting notebooks together, coaching the coaches on offense and defense, getting to where we need to be. And then we've jumped into the draft by coming to the combine and also free agency. We're looking at free agents. Part of it is just catching up.

What are your thoughts on Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson?

Phillips: I probably won't comment on a lot of players here until I get a good look at all of them. I looked at kickers yesterday, which was different for me. I looked at offensive line and tight ends today. We're going to have quite a few interviews tonight. We're just getting started on the draft as far as what we're looking at and who the good players are and there seems to be a lot of them.

Can you talk about another chance to be a head coach?

Phillips: Well, I had a good record at Buffalo. I think you remember that. So I thought that I would and I thought it would come a lot quicker than this, but that's how it worked out so ...

What are your thoughts on re-signing center Andre Gurode this past week?

Phillips: Gurode was a real key. It's not baseball but I've said if you're strong up the middle with the quarterback, running back and the center, that can really help your team. So putting a guy in the middle, he didn't make many mistakes. He's a good player obviously he was in the Pro Bowl. It was important for us not only to bring him back but to get him to a long-term contract with him solidifying the middle.

How important is to establish your own draft philosophy?

Phillips:Well most of my philosophy is just 'get me some good players and we'll fit them in.' If we can get some top players, good athletes, smart, good character people, that's what we're looking for. We'll fit them into whatever system we have. We'll change our system if we have to, to get good players and utilize them. It's not that complicated since they've been running the 3-4 and running a lot of the same offense. It'll be similar type people they're looking for, so I think that will help.

How have your meetings been with director of pro and college scouting Jeff Ireland?

Phillips: We haven't gone completely through it, but I have sat with Jeff and Jerry Jones and I have talked quite about quite a few things. Again our coaches are here to help with the interviews, to get to know the players, do everything we can to support our scouting staff. That's what we're doing right now. Again we spent the whole season coaching and then with the transition we've got to catch up as far as all the players are concerned.

How is the relationship going with Jerry Jones and Jeff Ireland?

Phillips: It's going well. All of us work well with people. All of us are people. So that should work well.

What do you like about linebacker Bobby Carpenter?

Phillips: We liked Bobby coming out at San Diego. He is a really good athlete. He played some at the end of the year and played well when he played after Greg Ellis got hurt. I am looking forward to working with Bobby. Beyond that I can't predict anything. I did predict he was going to be a good player when he came out. So I think he will be in this league.

How much does T.O. possibly not being ready until training camp going to set you back?

Phillips: I will have to talk to our doctors and his doctors how long he is going to be out and when he will be coming back. Drew Rosenhaus, who I talked to already, said he will be back sooner than what you said. So we will have to see what the doctors say.

How many conversations have you had with Terrell?

Phillips: Just the one and the one I had with Drew. A lot of the players I have had at least a conversation with and/or they come into my office. Except for Romo, he has been in there all the time. I think he is my best friend now. But anyway they are excited. The players I talked to are excited about starting new.

When you talked to T.O, did he call you?

Phillips: Yes he called me right after I got the job. He said congratulations which I really appreciated. I have had my coaches contact all the players. When you walk in as an NFL head coach its not like high school or college where you say, 'hey guys, I am here and this is our program. They are not there. There are few guys working out. But the off-season program hasn't started yet. I have had the coaches contact all the players and make contact that way. Some of them that are there walk in. They come into my office. So I can get to know the players. That is part of the process.

What was the nature of the talk with Terrell?

Phillips: I won't go into the all the details. But it's like a lot of guys who said I am looking forward to working with each other. It was all the right things.

Do you worry about working with T.O.?

Phillips: I am going to treat people the way they treat me and go by the golden rule. All my players are part of my family so that is the way I am going to approach it right now.

Will you use Bill Parcells as a resource?

Phillips: Bill Parcells told me to utilize him at any time. To give him a call if I needed anything. If something came up I wouldn't hesitate to do it. He obviously did a lot for our program. He set the time on the right track. We are going to continue where he started.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Owens isn't expected to begin catching passes until training camp in July

Terrell Owens isn't expected to begin catching passes until training camp in July.

As we posted a few weeks back, Owens will undergo a second surgery on March 1. Owens is due a $3 million roster bonus on June 1, which gives Dallas time to change their mind on T.O. if they stocked the position with other talent. Since Owens should be able to work out despite his finger, the injury may not be a huge problem.

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cowboys express interest in draft prospect WR Aundrae Allison

Cowboys | Interested in Allison
Fri, 23 Feb 2007 09:54:24 -0800

The Dallas Cowboys have expressed interest in NFL draft prospect WR Aundrae Allison (South Carolina).

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 202 | 40-Time: 4.50

Official Bio

A smooth athlete...Ball skills, balance and body control are superb...Has excellent hands and makes both the routine and tough catches...Speed is good, albeit not great, but he plays faster than he times and has a burst...Very elusive and runs well after the catch...A deep threat who can stretch the field vertically...Will work across the middle and in traffic...Very productive...Has potential as a return man.

Not a great route runner and needs to pay more attention to detail...Not much of a blocker and isn't very physical or aggressive...Takes plays off and work ethic is a question...He only has two years of DI experience...Has some durability concerns.

Prefers to go by "Drae"...Considered coming out after his junior season...A JUCO All-American at Georgia Military Academy who officially enrolled at East Carolina in Jan. of '05...Might not project to be a true #1 receiver at the pro level but can be an excellent #2 option...Doesn't get a lot of attention but he has quietly emerged as a top pro prospect and how high he goes may surprise most casual observers.

FWST Blog: Jason Garrett likes QB coach

Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is excited about the decision to bring aboard Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach.

Garrett is familiar with Wilson from their days together with the Cowboys as backup quarterbacks for Troy Aikman. He said he long admired and respected Wilson as a player, coach and person.

“Its going to work out great,” Garrett said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He was always someone who was a great resource for me when I was playing. He is such an experienced guy. He knew so much about football and the quarterback position.

"He was somebody I relied on a lot when I was here as a player. That has continued through the years. I think it’s a great fit for us philosophically. We are similar how we think about the quarterback positon and how we think about offensive football.”

-Clarence E. Hill Jr.

Phillips busy tweaking away at Dallas' D

By Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- It's no wonder Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips loves to play Texas hold 'em.

The man changes expressions once a decade, although that's based on circumstantial evidence.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes in Phillips' Valley Ranch office talking about his plans for the team and his passion for chess.

The original plan was to find out what Phillips was like away from the field, and within minutes, he was opening up about his "one-gap" defense.

He's not promising the 61 sacks his defense had in San Diego last season, but he believes the Cowboys can be a lot more effective in that area. You may have heard that Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman had 17 sacks last season even though he missed four games to suspension.

But you probably hadn't heard that Phillips lived on Merriman St. when he was growing up in Port Neches, Texas.

Anyway, Phillips said that he has excellent "edge guys" in linebackers Greg Ellis and DeMarcus Ware, who led the team with 11½ sacks last season.

Phillips also talked about how he planned to utilize Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams, saying that he wouldn't use the Tampa 2 coverage that he's used some in the past because it exposes Williams' weaknesses.

"You have to get him to attack the line of scrimmage," said Phillips, who pointed to how he used Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith in Denver. "We'll blitz him from the outside and blitz him some up the middle. You'll see a lot more zone blitzes."

When not hiring former Cowboys and their siblings, Phillips has been breaking down film of last year's defense. He said the Cowboys were solid against the run, but their inability to pressure the quarterback led to a late-season slide.

"That's what I do well," he said of the pass rush. "And we won't make a lot of mental mistakes."

In talking to some of Phillips' former assistants, the one point they continue to drive home is that he puts players in position to succeed. He won't ask a defensive end like Marcus Spears to constantly try to win one-on-one battles.

Instead, he'll use a lot more slants to try and confuse opposing linemen.

On the other side of the ball, Phillips sounds convinced that former Cowboys quarterback Jason Garrett is ready to run the offense. Of course, it's not like he had any say in the matter since Garrett was hired before him.

Asked how difficult it would be for someone with only two years' coaching experience to run an offense and still have time to tutor quarterback Tony Romo at the same time, Phillips said, "I don't think he's going to have a problem at all."

Garrett inherits the fifth-ranked offense in the league and assistant head coach Tony Sparano, last year's play caller, will serve as his insurance policy.

When Romo's fundamentals started to break down in December, Bill Parcells was desperate for answers. One of his theories was that too many coaches had Romo's ear.

But on Thursday, Jerry Jones hired yet another blast from the past, Wade Wilson, who was banished from Valley Ranch when Parcells arrived in 2003.

Wilson has been the Bears' quarterbacks coach since 2004.

By my count, Romo has now been instructed by Sean Payton, David Lee, Chris Palmer and Mr. Belding. He'll be an attentive student to Garrett and Wilson, but when he has a problem, he'll give Lee a call at the University of Arkansas.

Don't ask me how it happened, but we somehow transitioned from Garrett to Phillips' love of chess.

He taught himself how to play in eighth grade, but the only person he could find to play against was his legendary father, Bum.

"I think he stalemated me one time," Phillips said. "And he didn't even know it."

He eventually started playing computer chess and still manages to sneak in an occasional game.

But just when I was about to ask whether he felt like one of Jones' pawns, the Cowboys' public relations chief chased me out of Phillips' office.

Phillips talks about using Roy Williams

By Grizz
Posted on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 12:43:21 PM EST

Matt Mosley may be at now, but he can't give up the Cowboys completely. His new column covers some time he spent Wednesday in Wade Phillips' office talking defense, offense and chess. I'll skip the chess part, but they did discuss the one-gap scheme favored by Phillips. No longer will the Cowboys front three play a read-and-react 2-gap scheme where they must take on the block, hold position and then move laterally along the line covering their gaps and fighting off the block. The Phillips 34 is all about attacking a gap and getting into the opponents backfield. Combing through the Phillips playbook I noticed that the line still has to read the ball carrier and adjust to the correct gap based on which way the offense is running, but they no longer have to protect two gaps which limits their movement upfield. The backside players have to cover two-gaps in some defensive sets, but a lot of that has to do with protecting against cut-back runs by the ball carrier.

They also like to use slants where they send the front three lineman through gaps towards one side of the offense. The LB's are then required to fill in the gaps that may be left open. Now, with all this talk about using the one-gap scheme, the natural tendency is to wonder why Parcells didn't use that scheme. I mean, if something seems to be more effective in getting pressure on a QB, why not use it. One problem is that if you're shooting your linemen through gaps you could be susceptible to the running game. Quick-hitters in the running game, properly blocked trap plays, draws and screens could all be effective in defeating a defense that is aggressive in jumping in to the gaps. But somehow, Phillips has done a good job of not letting that happen, and the credit goes to athletic LB's who are filling in against the run, and powerful but quick ends that have the ability to disrupt runs before they get started. Also, having a massive NT that can collpase a pocket in the middle helps. We can only hope that works here in Big D.

There are a ton of blitz calls in the Phillips 34 playbook, and they come from all angles and combinations. Phillips isn't scared to blitz and one guy he's determined to get involved in putting pressure on the QB is Roy Williams.

Phillips also talked about how he planned to utilize Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams, saying that he wouldn't use the Tampa 2 coverage that he's used some in the past because it exposes Williams' weaknesses.

"You have to get him to attack the line of scrimmage," said Phillips, who pointed to how he used Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith in Denver. "We'll blitz him from the outside and blitz him some up the middle. You'll see a lot more zone blitzes."

Interesting stuff. But if we are going to use Roy more at the line of scrimmage then that puts even more pressure on the FS to be an excellent coverage back. If Roy is blitzing or stacking at the line of scrimmage then we could be playing a lot of Cover 1 and we need a ball-hawking FS to do that effectively. The big question - is Pat Watkins that guy or do they need to go get help immediately. There's always the Anthony Henry option but that open a huge hole at CB that would need to be filled.

I love when the experts make predictions about what a team needs, and yet seem so clueless about the team. Take this Scouts, Inc. review of the Cowboys needs at ESPN.

They need to find some [defensive] ends better suited to play the two-gap technique. Dallas needs to find an end who can rush the passer; the defensive front was near the bottom of the league in sacks in 2006.

Hello! Anybody paying attention to the Cowboys now know that we won't be running the 2-gap technique in the 3-4 any longer. Wade Phillips has made that clear on several occasions. But, for the record, we could use some improvement from our defensive ends in terms of getting a decent pass rush.

Here's another quote from the same article.

The Cowboys need to upgrade both tackle positions to give Romo a chance to get depth on his pass drops. Tackles Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo had their share of troubles last year with speed rushers, so look for the Cowboys to find more athletic tackles to give the quarterback more time in the pocket.

Hmm...considering the Cowboys are working hard to re-sign Marc Colombo and his year wasn't nearly as bad as the article sounds; I would have to conclude they are off the mark. And Flozell isn't going anywhere. Finally, they make it seem so easy. Just call 1-800-NEW-TACKLE and you can be the proud owner of two new tackles that are definite upgrades. If it were only so.

Chargers holding up DC deal for Dallas

By Grizz
Posted on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 01:30:16 AM EST

The Cowboys are holding tight, waiting for the Chargers to break.

Secondary coach Todd Bowles remains a possibility although the team is still trying to pry Brian Stewart away from San Diego to be the defensive coordinator.

The Cowboys have been denied permission to speak with Stewart, who is the Chargers secondary coach. And although the Chargers have stated that they plan to keep Stewart on staff, the recent of hiring of former Baylor defensive coordinator Bill Bradley as secondary coach has the Cowboys hopeful that their patience in waiting for Stewart might pay off.

I guess this gives you an idea of how strongly Wade Phillips feels about Stewart. Then again, he does have Todd Bowles to fall back on. But having a defensive coordinator on board who understands exactly what Phillips wants out of a defense would be a nice advantage. Getting the Phillips 34 instituted quickly at training camp is a priority. I wonder what's going on with the Chargers. They hired another secondary coach so why aren't they letting Stewart go? They know Stewart wants to leave, they have someone to cover his position as secondary coach and it's a guy who has worked with Ted Cottrell previously. What gives Norv - or should I say A.J. Smith? Let's get it done.

ESPN got out their calendar and circled late July for the start of the T.O. Show, the Second Season.

According to team trainers, Owens probably won't start catching passes until training camp in July.

That should be fun. The first time Owens can participate is at training camp. Ed Werder, start your engines, John Clayton, start you whining. Let the "finger watch" begin. Next, on ESPN - is T.O.'s finger causing the end of the Cowboys franchise, or is he just flipping us the bird. Tune in to SportsCenter for this story and more.

Greg Ellis should be happy

Wade Phillips said he spoke with linebacker Greg Ellis Thursday and the veteran's rehab from a torn Achilles' tendon is coming along nicely. What should make Ellis feel better is how Phillips will use the veteran once he gets healthy.

Yes, he will continue to play outside linebacker, which he was not completely thrilled with before the season. And Phillips has offered some motivation.

“I told him it’s the same position that Rickey Jackson, Bryce Paup and Shawne Merriman played,” Phillips said. “I think most of them led the league in sacks.”

Posted by Todd Archer at 6:40 PM (E-mail this entry) | Comments (0)

Gary Kubiak on Wade Phillips

Houston's head coach was in Denver when Phillips coached the Broncos. Here's what he had to say about the Cowboys new head coach:

"I think what makes Wade successful is the way he gets them to play. They aren't very complicated (defensively) When I played, Wade was the defensive coordinator in Denver for many, many years. It's really a simple 3-4 defense. They get after you. His players play hard for him. When they take the field, they are going to give you everything they've got. He's known as a players' coach. They give it up for him. And I think that's just a lot of credit to Wade and the way he gets them to go about their
job. As far as doing anything crazy with their 3-4, they don't. They just play extremely
hard and do a good job."

Posted by Todd Archer at 6:52 PM (E-mail this entry) | Comments (0)

Phillips has lost his anonymity


INDIANAPOLIS - Every day Cowboys coach Wade Phillips gets a new lesson on how his life has changed.

Going from being the fairly anonymous but respected defensive coordinator in San Diego to the head coach of the Cowboys has brought about a stream of well wishes and congratulations from fellow coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine.

It also has brought a deluge of autograph seekers. Phillips can barely walk through the Indiana Convention Center because of the crush of pens, footballs and photo ops from fans and autograph brokers.

"It's a lot different," Phillips said. "I forget how many people I know. A lot of guys are happy for me. I paid my dues."

Phillips said it's a different work environment as well, considering he has to pay attention to all the players rather than just the guys on defense.

"I am just trying to get an overall picture of guys," Phillips said.

"I interview offensive and defensive guys. I am watching kickers. I didn't do that before. I just don't specialize in one area."

Ellis and Merriman

The natural assumption upon Phillips' hiring was that, in the Cowboys' 3-4 defense, linebacker DeMarcus Ware would play a role like that of Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman.

Merriman had 27 sacks the past two years under Phillips with San Diego.

According to Phillips, however, Greg Ellis will play Merriman's position, with Ware playing the linebacker spot on the opposite side.

"Both of those positions are pretty important to our defense," Phillips said. "If you get good guys there, it makes it tough on the offense. They don't know which way to slide the line."

The key for Ellis is rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon that sidelined him for the last seven games last season. Phillips said he talked to Ellis on Thursday and was told that things were going well with rehab.

Of course, being mindful of Merriman's 17 sacks in 12 games in 2006 might help Ellis get healthy a little faster.

Coordinator search

That Wade Phillips is not talking about his search for a defensive coordinator and is seemingly unconcerned about not having one at this time is saying a lot.

One thing is certain: Phillips will be the one running the defense.

What also seems clear is that he is holding out hope that he will finally be able to hire Chargers secondary coach Brian Stewart. Earlier requests to interview Stewart have been turned down by San Diego.

Yet with the Chargers hiring Bill Bradley away from Baylor to be their secondary coach, the Cowboys' wait soon might be rewarded.

If the Cowboys don't get Stewart, look for them to name secondary coach Todd Bowles defensive coordinator.

Cowboys' Phillips still getting attaboys

By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

INDIANAPOLIS – Wade Phillips' anonymity is gone.

As the Cowboys' head coach walked through the halls of the Indianapolis Convention Center Friday he stopped to pose for pictures, sign autographs and shake hands of strangers, some from a gymnastics competition unaware the NFL Scouting Combine was even in town.

"Quite a bit different," Phillips said in an empty walkway above Maryland Street, leading to the Marriott hotel the Cowboys are calling home this week. "A lot of people saying hello, wanting to talk. I think a lot of them had Dallas Cowboys' helmets and all kinds of stuff."

Phillips wasn't just stopped by those strangers, but also by assistant coaches, scouts and general managers from other teams who wished him well. Even a Redskins assistant coach patted Phillips on the back as he walked by.

"I forgot how many people I know," Phillips said. "There's been a lot of football kind of people happy for me because I've been around. I've been an assistant coach for a good amount of time. I think they see that I've gotten an opportunity and one day they might, too."

Since being named the Cowboys coach, Phillips biggest task has been putting together a coaching staff. He is one or two assistants away from completing that process. He also has been studying the Cowboys' personnel, mostly defense. The Combine represents the first chance for Phillips to see and talk with potential prospects.

"I watched the kickers [Friday], I didn't do that before [as a defensive coordinator]," Phillips joked. "I'm trying to get an overall picture of the guys out there."

Phillips said he and his assistants have talked to most of the Cowboys in the last few weeks, and a number of players have stopped by the team's Valley Ranch facility to talk to him.

He has yet to finalize the Cowboys' off-season schedule, but he said the team would be on the field more than it was under coach Bill Parcells, who ran just one veteran minicamp.

With changes to the offense and defense, Phillips wants his team to get a feel for the schemes before training camp starts in San Antonio in July.

What the players will see from Phillips, according to former players and coaches, will be different than Parcells, but that does not mean Phillips will be easier.

"He's able to reach the players," said San Diego defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who held the same job under Phillips in Buffalo. "He works on their self-motivation, getting those guys to do it themselves without a lot of yelling and screaming all the time. He's one of the guys when he does yell and scream you know it's for a darn good reason, so you don't want to get on the wrong side of him."

In Buffalo, Phillips coached Pro Bowlers and Super Bowl veterans such as Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed. In Dallas, he will have high-profile players such as Terrell Owens and Roy Williams.

"If the man is a good teacher and players say they're learning from him, I think they like that," said Buffalo general manager Marv Levy, whom Phillips replaced as head coach. "There's not a bunch of catch-word phrases. He's himself. He coaches within his own personality."

Which is why he can walk through the halls of the Indiana Convention Center as the everyman, posing for pictures, signing footballs and getting patted on the back.

Ellis to stay at linebacker: Phillips said he spoke Thursday with Greg Ellis, who is in the early stages of recovery from a torn Achilles' tendon, and he will continue to play Ellis at outside linebacker.

Ellis reluctantly made the move last year and in nine games he had 34 tackles and 4 ½ sacks before suffering the injury Nov. 12 at Arizona.

Ellis should be happy with how Phillips will use him in 2007.

"I told him it's the same position that Rickey Jackson, Bryce Paup and Shawne Merriman played," Phillips said. "I think most of them led the league in sacks."

In market for backup QB: The Cowboys are expected to cut quarterback Drew Bledsoe before he is due a $1 million roster bonus, and coach Wade Phillips said the team could be in the market for a veteran backup behind Tony Romo.

"Sometimes that can change, but I could think somebody with experience certainly would be a guy we'd talk to," Phillips said.

Briefly: The Cowboys' defensive coaches arrived in Indianapolis Friday afternoon and owner and general manager Jerry Jones was scheduled to arrive Friday night. Executive vice president Stephen Jones is scheduled to arrive today. ... University of Texas offensive lineman Justin Blalock, who is from Plano, helped himself Friday by lifting 225 pounds 40 times, among the highest for a linemen

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bradie James, LB — Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys need James to be more of a playmaker. Too many times, he tackled opponents five yards downfield. He also had some issues in pass coverage, especially covering the deep middle. He does play with power and he's an explosive tackler, but look for him to be a two-down player next year and give up his role in the nickel to keep him fresher on traditional running downs. The Cowboys thought he wore down near the end of last season and that made him ineffective. Cutting his plays, they hope, will bring back the stud they had in 2005. (Jean-Jacques Taylor for SN)

Football: Wilson to coach Cowboys QBs

Associated Press

IRVING — The Dallas Cowboys on Thursday hired Wade Wilson to coach quarterbacks and Bruce Read to run special teams on Wade Phillips' staff.
Wilson spent the last three seasons coaching the Chicago's quarterbacks, including the embattled Rex Grossman during the Bears' recent Super Bowl run. He was a quarterbacks coach for the Cowboys from 2000-02.

Wilson, who played college football at East Texas State (now Texas A&M-Commerce), spent 19 seasons as an NFL quarterback, including three with the Cowboys.

Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he expects Wilson and new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, another former Cowboys quarterback, to be the tutors of promising young signal-caller Tony Romo.

"We think that this is the best possible scenario for Tony," Jones said.

Read spent the past three years as special teams coach at Oregon State. The Cowboys are his third NFL stop. He also coached special teams at San Diego from 1999-2001 and for the New York Giants in 2002-03. He replaces Bruce DeHaven, who left after last season to coach special teams for Seattle.

Dallas ranked second in kickoff coverage last season and had a Pro Bowl punter in Mat McBriar. But the Cowboys' most notorious special teams moment came during a 21-20 loss to the Seahawks in the NFC playoffs, when Romo mishandled the snap on a 19-yard field goal that might have won the game.

Dallas is not expected to "open the vault" for free agent T Marc Colombo

Dallas is not expected to "open the vault" for free agent T Marc Colombo.

Colombo had a solid 2006 but it's believed teams will be willing to overpay if he makes it to free agency. Dallas isn't expected to compete.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cowboys turn attention to Colombo

Cowboys | Team turns attention to Colombo
Tue, 20 Feb 2007 14:32:31 -0800

Todd Archer, of the Dallas Morning News, reports the Dallas Cowboys will look to extend the contract of OT Marc Colombo before free agency begins on March 2.

Phillips still pursuing San Diego coaches

By Grizz
Posted on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 11:39:08 PM EST

From Calvin Watkins at the DMN:
Phillips is attempting to hire San Diego Chargers secondary coach Brian Stewart and assistant linebackers and quality control coach John Pagano. Phillips was denied permission to officially interview Stewart and Pagano two weeks ago. After Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer was fired on Feb. 12, Phillips decided to make another run them.

New Chargers coach Norv Turner said he wants to retain all the current assistant coaches, but Pagano and Stewart are trying to get released from their contracts.
If Stewart is allowed out of his contract, Phillips would hire him as the defensive coordinator in Dallas.
Phillips said he likes Cowboys' secondary coach Todd Bowles, who could become the defensive coordinator. But Stewart's familiarly with Phillips' 3-4 defense allows the Cowboys to make a smooth transition from the way ex-Cowboys coach Bill Parcells ran his defense.

OK, I get Brian Stewart for the DC, but what are they going to do with John Pagano? We already have an assistant LB's coach and quality control coach - Dat Nguyen. Is he going to be the special teams coach?

Cowboys extended the contract of assistant head coach/OL coach Tony Sparano

The Cowboys extended the contract of assistant head coach/OL coach Tony Sparano through 2009.

Sparano was the play-caller for the fifth-ranked Cowboys offense last season and oversaw Tony Romo's rise. He probably won't get to call the plays with Jason Garrett arriving, so Dallas did well to retain the highly regarded coaching talent.

Cowboys named Jason Garrett offensive coordinator

Cowboys named Jason Garrett offensive coordinator Tuesday.

The former Dolphins QB coach is thought of as one of the brightest young minds in the league. He was largely hired to work with Tony Romo. It's uncertain if Garrett or Tony Sparano will call plays, but we'd imagine it will be Garrett.

Free agent ILB Randall Godfrey to Dallas?

Free agent ILB Randall Godfrey plans to play football again in 2007.

Godfrey, who turns 34 in April, says he's "approaching it like (he's) playing two more years." He said he'd like to return to San Diego or possibly follow former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to Dallas.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Will Emmitt Smith Replace Irvin at ESPN?

Posted Feb 19th 2007 2:23AM by Sportz Assassin is speculating that former Cowboy Emmitt Smith may replace Michael Irvin, his former Cowboys teammate, as an analyst for ESPN's NFL Countdown . Irvin worked with Smith as he was auditioning for a gig at ESPN, and may be the kind of soft spoken wordsmith that the network would want with Chris Berman, Steve Young and Tom Jackson. Smith's mainstream popularity blew up on ABC's Dancing With The Stars. ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney.
"Irvin said he prepped former Cowboys teammate Emmitt Smith for a recent audition with ESPN. Smith, basking in the glory of his Dancing with the Stars success on ABC, is a candidate to replace Irvin on ESPN."
The website also states that while recently retired Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is joining ESPN, he isn't taking Irvin's job.

Smith would be a great choice for ESPN. He's a very smart cat who is respected by football people and fans [even Redskins fans can't totally despise him]. Plus his Stars experience makes him more of a known entity to the casual fan. Smith did some analyst work for Fox during their BCS Championship game coverage.

Cowboys are expected to make re-signing placekicker Martin Gramatica, right tackle Marc Colombo, and punter Mat McBriar

With C Andre Gurode under contract long term, the Cowboys are expected to make re-signing placekicker Martin Gramatica, right tackle Marc Colombo, and punter Mat McBriar their top priorities.

McBriar is a restricted free agent, the others are unrestricted. McBriar could get the second-round tender. Even if he's re-signed, it would be a surprise to see Gramatica not presented with competition in 2007.

Source: Dallas Morning News

Cowboys sign Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode's to a six-year contract

Cowboys Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode's six-year contract is believed to be worth roughly $5 million-per-season and $30 million total.

It also is believed to include $10 million in guarantees. The deal would make Gurode the NFL's highest-paid center, surpassing Matt Birk.

Source: Dallas Morning News

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Evolution of the Endzone Dance

The Evolution of the Endzone Dance

from finkle is einhorn's SportingBlog

With the advent of the latest celebrations of props, from Owens' Sharpie to Joe Horn's cell phone, the league has cracked down on the endzone celebration, where leaving one's feet or using a prop results in an automatic 15 yd penalty, and the possibility of a fine and suspension. Many have decried this as being part and parcel of the "No Fun League - NFL" while others from the "act like you've been there before school" are hailing attempts to cut down on a lack of sportsmanship and the snowball effect as players try to outdo each other.

Here is a short history of the endzone celebration, it is by no means exhaustive, or even accurate for that matter, but it should be fun to look at the hubub that has been caused by too much joi de vive.

Every movement has its father, and it looks in this case that the George Washington of endzone celebrations is the Houston Oiler's Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, doing his famous "Funky Chicken" based on a song by Rufus Thomas. Anyone who has seen any clips of NFL past has most likely seen the crazy knee flapping that consitutes this dance. I have always been a fan of the classics, and this dance is celebrated b/c it meets certain guidelines that did not tick off the NFL. It:

a) was short;
b) was done in fun, not taunting or showing up the other team;
c) it involved only one player; and
d) Johnson was one of the few players to do a celebration (this was shortly to change)

In this vein, we are going to classify the good from the bad celebrations with these thoughts in mind.


California Quake - Butch Johnson - Dallas Cowboys, quick and fun, akin to an epileptic fit followed by six shooters.

Ickey Shuffle - Ickey Woods - Cinncinati Bengals, everyone remembers Ickey's first season and the dance he made famous. Showing that dancing is a lot like sex, in that you don't have to be very good at it to enjoy it.

Charger Coconut - Alfred Pupunu - San Diego Chargers, perhaps my favorite of all the endzone celebrations. Most people haven't seen it, not only b/c the Chargers weren't always on prime time, but also b/c Pupunu wasn't exactly a scoring machine. It involved him holding the football at arms length, mock ripping the top of the football off and chugging the "coconut" milk inside. Freaking hilarious.

Lambeau Leap - LeRoy Butler - Green Bay Packers, is another great celebration, as players jump from the field into the waiting arms of the fans on the rails. Pure celebration and giving back to the fans. Class move.

Mile High Salute - Terrell Davis - Denver Broncos, fun, short, for the fans, and oddly patriotic, Davis made a habit of facing the stadium, standing at attention and giving a quick salute to the fans.

Steve Smith gets his own slot here, b/c he had some good ones that were on the fringe, but were always in good fun and pretty darn funny. Whether it was cradling the football like a baby and changing its diaper, posing like a supermodel, or making the snow angel, Smith was a true student of Professor White Shoes.

Honorable Mention - Kelley Washington, Bengals - "The Squirrel"; Johnny Morton, Lions- "The Worm"; Kevin Smith, Dallas Cowboys - "The Shark", Tony Gonzalez (Chiefs)/Alvin Harper (Cowboys) - Goal Post Dunk.


The Fun Bunch - Washington Redskins - In the spirit of taking things to far, the Redskins used to pretty much take a team picture after each score. As more and more teammates got involved, it took longer and longer to clear the field. Mocked pretty in a rather amusing fashion in the movie "Baseketball" in which the teams lined up in a "River Dance" type performance.

The Bob and Weave - St. Louis Rams - a distant cousin of the fun bunch, again ran afoul of time constraints as it involved too many people, too much time, and a choreographer. See also "The Dirty Bird"

The Diamond - Larry Johson, Chiefs - not long, not taunting, but gets this portion of the list just b/c its stupid. Has to do with Johnson's affiliation with Roc-A-Fella records.

Then we have the prop celebrations.....

Joe Horn - cell phone, hopefully he was calling his banker to have them wire $10,000 to the NFL disciplinary board.

Terrell Owens - Dancing on the Dallas Star, the Sharpie, the Pom-Poms, the Salvation Army Kettle. Pick which one makes you want to throw up more.

Ocho Cinco - Holding up the sign to the NFL or proposing to the cheerleader with a bleach blond mohawk, gold grill shining in the light, you could almost see the caption which says, "FOOL."

Randy Moss - Mooning the crowd. A holes doing what a holes do.


As much as I liked the team, I would have to say that the worst celebration belongs solely to the Chicago Bears, in that they took it upon themselves, in the dawn of video, to make their own music video with the "Superbowl Shuffle." They should show this over and over at Guantanamo to wrangle confessions out of terrorists, Heck, the guards may even start to confessing if they have to watch this. Bad song, bad dancing, bad video, what more could you ask.

I know I left a lot out, so throw your favorites in at your leisure.
for more updates visit

Fullback could play a bigger role in 2007

Cowboys | Fullback could play a bigger role in 2007
Sun, 18 Feb 2007 08:27:58 -0800

Charean Williams, of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, reports the Dallas Cowboys could use the fullback position more if the team is able to find a capable player. Former head coach Bill Parcells challenged his scouts in 2006 to find a good blocking fullback.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Jones on the draft from

Best Available

With the NFL Draft still months away, most owners, general managers and coaches will be rather vague in terms of answering whatplayer they might select.

Jerry Jones was no different Thursday night when asked to discuss the team's draft needs.

The Cowboys have the 21st overall pick following last year's 9-7 record.

Jones acknowledged the Cowboys have not drafted an offensive player in the first round since taking tight end David LaFleur in 1997,but said he expects the Cowboys to fall behind the popular draft cliché of "taking the best player off the board" once again this year.

"As all teams, we've got a long ways to go," Jones said. "This will be the classic 'the best one up there' at any position in the draft."

Cowboys' Romo ready for another ride

Adam Schein / Special to
Posted: 1 hour ago

To say Tony Romo had a wild ride in 2006 would be an understatement.

He went from seemingly innocuous backup to Cowboys starting quarterback to Pro Bowl quarterback. One second, he was largely unknown outside of Texas. The next there were rumors he was dating gorgeous female singers. And the roller coaster ride ended with his dropping a snap on a game winning field goal attempt in the playoffs.

That's a lot to take.

We caught up with Romo this week to see how he was handling it all.

Romo sounded energized and enthused about being the Cowboys starting quarterback for a long time and especially about taking Dallas deeper into the playoffs this upcoming year.

We asked the quarterback how he dealt with that emotional roller coaster in 2006.

"I just assumed that all quarterbacks go through this all the time," Romo said with a laugh. "Anyone who played this position knows you are going to have your ups and downs. And a lot of it is out of your control. Sometimes guys make great plays for you and make you look better than you actually are. Other times they make you look bad with other stuff going on. I try to never, ever look at what's going on with me. I just live in the day and the moment and try not to look back too much and get better and improve."

And you just have to know that he will take all of experiences and build on them for 2007 and be an even better quarterback. He's that type of competitor.

Romo also had to deal with Bill Parcells' retirement. He loved playing for Parcells and always will consider himself a "Parcells guy."

Was Romo surprised his mentor left?

"Surprise is probably the wrong word," Romo said. "I had a meeting with him the week before he made the announcement and at the end I had a feeling he might retire. I still felt he would come back, but it shifted from 90-10 to 60-40 after our conversation. I think he needed to figure out if he had enough energy to go at this job like his does for 12 months a year and I think he just wanted a break."

Romo continued, "I told Bill 'thank you' during the season. It really takes a lot of guts to make a move like he did and I am very grateful. I will be forever indebted to him. You never know how something like that will turn out until after the fact. And Coach had faith in me that it would turn out for the best. I loved my time with Bill. He made me a much better football player and taught me more than I could've learned with anyone else."

Romo says he can't wait for workouts to start for 2007. And he likes the direction the Cowboys are going in following the Parcells announcement.

"We are excited," Romo said. "If I don't drop the snap, who knows how far we go in the playoffs the rest of the way? We are on the cusp of something special. We have a really good squad. We are coming back excited. We can improve by two or three or four wins. We really have the team to do it. It's tough when you lose Bill, but I love what we did bringing in Jason Garrett and Wade Phillips. It means we can achieve these goals."
But what about Romo's contract? It's due to expire at the end of next season and you'd think he needs to get paid like a Pro Bowler.

"I think we are working on something this off-season," Romo said. "It's still early in the game there. I talked to Jerry Jones about it. I want to be in Dallas for a long time. That's the plan. I am playing for one of the greatest, if not the absolute greatest, franchise in all of sports. That would make anyone excited."

Romo has always maintained with me, whether he has been the starter or backup, that he genuinely likes having Terrell Owens on the team.

And Romo did just that again when we spoke.

"I tell people all the time that I can only deal with what I see," Romo said. "I cannot judge people by what they did before I met them or the media's perception of them. Obviously people are going to get on him for certain things. He is a charismatic guy who says what he thinks. That will get him in trouble every once in a while. But from a teammate's perspective, I love him. He works hard every day. He wants to get better. He wants to win. And he feels as though getting the ball helps us win. And I understand why you get on him a bit but I like the guy and I like him on our team."

Oh yeah. Romo reports that he is happily single. No Jessica Simpson or Carrie Underwood by his side.

And Cowboys fans should know that his single focus is delivering a championship to Dallas.

Romo-mania wasn't a flash in the pan.

He's going to be a really good player in this league for a long time, and will win a lot of games for the Cowboys.

It's now about making improvements and winning it all.

Darilek signed to two-year contract

Sat, 17 Feb 2007 17:29:33 -0800

Todd Archer, of The Dallas Morning News, reports the Dallas Cowboys have signed free agent OG Trey Darilek (Dolphins) to a two-year contract.

Cowboys has decision to make on T. Glenn

Fri, 16 Feb 2007 17:23:44 -0800

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys will have a decision to make this offseason on WR Terry Glenn. He is due a $5 million roster bonus March 2, but the team could prorate the bonus over the length of his contract.

Fullback search could meet stumbling block

By Charean Williams
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

The question directed at Jerry Jones -- do you expect your offense to change? -- was easily answered.

"No. No!" Jones said quickly.

Why would Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett change what's worked? The Cowboys had the fifth-best offense in the NFL last season, and their 5,772 total yards were the fifth-best in team history. Even more impressive, only once -- in 1995 -- did a Triplet-led Cowboys' offense gain more yards than Dallas did last season.

"We did well offensively last year," Jones agreed.

The Cowboys will have some different terminology, Jones said, and the fullback could play a bigger role if the Cowboys can find a capable one.

Last season, Bill Parcells challenged his scouts to find him a good blocking fullback. But would-be fullbacks now are choosing to play linebacker. It is a recent trend, which began when high schools and colleges turned to passing offenses devoid of a fullback.

In the past seven NFL Drafts, only 35 fullbacks were drafted, including four each of the past three years. William Floyd was the last fullback selected in the first round, going 28th overall to the 49ers in 1994.

Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard is the top-rated player at his position this year.

"We have to see, personnel-wise, but if we could get it, we could have that fullback involved more," Jones said, "which was always kind of a, not a dilemma, but a choice. How do you get more tight ends in the game and two fullbacks, plus get the complementary running backs back there? How do you get all that done? But I think you could see that. It's the kind of thing that Jason and Tony [Sparano] might want to do -- to involve [the fullback] more. But it's real early in this thing."

Carr on block

The Texans finally admitted what's been reported for a while now: David Carr is on the trading block. Houston is hoping to get a third-round pick for Carr that could escalate to a second-rounder.

Carr, a former No. 1 overall pick, is only 27. He has a strong arm, good mobility and durability. He's a five-year starter.

But he needs a change of scenery. With a 23-53 record in games he has played, Carr has been blamed for all of the Texans' ills.

Houston, though, could have a hard time unloading Carr. He has two years left on a contract that pays him $5.5 million this year and $6 million next year.

Regardless, Jake Plummer could be the Texans' starting quarterback next season. Plummer had the best three years of his career with Gary Kubiak as his offensive coordinator in Denver, going 32-11 as a starter under Kubiak.

Big mistake?

The Cardinals issued a statement saying they won't use the franchise or transition tag on left tackle Leonard Davis, making him a likely free agent. The former Texas standout has never lived up to his draft status as the No. 2 overall draft choice in 2001 and would cost the Cardinals $11 million to franchise him.

Arizona, though, doesn't have any viable options of replacing Davis, and it appears Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas will be drafted before the Cardinals pick at No. 5.

Vick can change calls

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will be allowed to audible at the line of scrimmage. Previously, Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp forbid Vick from altering a run play to a pass or a pass play to a run.

"Our expectation is our quarterback is the extension of us, and he's the guy running the show," new Falcons offensive coordinator Hue Jackson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He should get it all, and he should be able to handle that. We expect our quarterback to do more than anybody on this team.... He's going to hit the right calls. He has to hit the right calls."

Vick became the first QB in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (1,039). But he hit only 52.6 percent of his passes for 2,474 yards with 20 TDs and 13 interceptions.


1 Bill Parcells, who has moved back to Saratoga, N.Y., is expected to end up back at ESPN.

2 The Bills will lose linebacker London Fletcher and cornerback Nate Clements in free agency. The Redskins are expected to pursue both, and the Lions reportedly have interest in Fletcher.

3 The Titans would like to have Kerry Collins back as Vince Young's backup.

4 Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, benched for the AFC Championship Game after struggling against the run, could end up in San Francisco.

5 An MRI on the left knee of Bears running back Cedric Benson was negative. The former Longhorns star sprained his knee in the first quarter of the Super Bowl, limiting the Bears' game plan.

6 The Dolphins have told the agent for quarterback Cleo Lemon that they want the free agent back to compete for playing time with Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington.

7 The Broncos are expected to target Falcons defensive end Patrick Kerney in free agency. Kerney, who missed the final seven games of last season because of a torn chest muscle, wants to reunite with his position coach in Atlanta, Bill Johnson, who now is with Denver.

8 Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson, the top-rated player on most draft boards, is training at Disney with renowned speed coach Tom Shaw. Johnson ran a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash last week.

9 Eagles president Joe Banner insists Andy Reid will be back on the job in mid-March. Reid took a leave of absence to deal with his sons' legal problems.

10 Arkansas tackle Tony Ugoh had a tough Senior Bowl, perhaps costing him on draft day. Ugoh, who is 6-5, 301 pounds, could fall out of the first round.


Adam Carriker, above: The Nebraska defensive end was the standout at the Senior Bowl and is now projected as a top-20 pick. The 6-foot-6, 292-pounder is versatile enough to play defensive end in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.


Marty Schottenheimer: His best Super Bowl chance may have passed him by, and the Chargers fired him so late that he has no opportunity for another head coaching job this season.


327 Draft-eligible players invited to this year's NFL Scouting Combine, which starts this week in Indianapolis. The breakdown: defensive backs (55), defensive linemen (50), linebackers (36), offensive linemen (51), quarterbacks (21), running backs/fullbacks (32), tight ends (16), wide receivers (49), kickers/punters (14), special teams (3). That is a total of 141 defensive players, 169 offensive players and 17 specialists.


The NFL Scouting Combine begins next week, and free agency follows March 2. The top players, by position, available through free agency -- if they aren't tagged -- or in the draft:

Pos. Free agency Team Draft School
QB Jeff Garcia Eagles Brady Quinn Notre Dame
RB Dominic Rhodes Colts Adrian Peterson Oklahoma
OT Leonard Davis Cardinals Joe Thomas Wisconsin
OG Kris Dielman Chargers Ben Grubbs Auburn
C Andre Gurode Cowboys Ryan Kalil USC
TE Daniel Graham Patriots Greg Olsen Miami
WR Donté Stallworth Eagles Calvin Johnson Ga. Tech
DE Dwight Freeney Colts Jamaal Anderson Arkansas
DT Vonnie Holliday Dolphins Alan Branch Michigan
LB Cato June Colts Lawrence Timmons Florida St.
CB Nate Clements Bills Leon Hall Michigan
S Ken Hamlin Seahawks LaRon Landry LSU

ESPN's Irvin decision wrong

By Jennifer Floyd Engel
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Michael Irvin said, "There are a lot of opportunities to explore" after four years with ESPN.

Full disclosure: I receive a paycheck from the Worldwide Leader for radio duties. So I hope my ESPN brethren can handle a little constructive criticism from a family member.

Mickey, you screwed up this Michael Irvin decision.

ESPN and Irvin confirmed Saturday that he would not be with the network next season. Both were doing a good job of painting this as an amicable parting of ways. Irvin had a one-year deal with an option for three more.

ESPN opted out. It is their right. I just think they are wrong.

Irvin was a big reason why Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday night NFL Countdown were must-see TV. He was funny and biased and controversial and, most of all, dialed in. He was just about everything a football fan wants from a pregame show.

Is he biased toward particular players? Obviously.

Does Irvin say crazy, non-PC stuff? Of course.

Did he go too far with his comments about Tony Romo and his great-great grandmother's dating habits? Most definitely.

But admit it, you tuned in. I definitely did. And I guarantee I am not the only one who TiVo-ed ESPN before church so as not to miss whatever crazy debate Irvin and Tom Jackson might engage in and to see Irvin try to look good in purple velour.

Half the time, I thought he was wrong. The percentage jumped to 85 when the subject was T.O. What Irvin did best was taking average fans into players' brains, how they talk and what they feel and why they do what they do.

ESPN will be fine, of course. Word is former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is taking Irvin's place with Chris Berman and Co., thus preventing my TiVo from taking Sundays off.

Of course, Parcells taking Irvin's job, when Irvin and his little buddy T.O. were at least partially responsible for Parcells being available, is proof the karma train eventually reaches every station.

Not that Irvin will be unemployed for long. He was not simply sunshine-pumping when he told S-T beat man Clarence E. Hill Jr. on Saturday that "these are exciting times for me and my family. There are a lot of opportunities to explore."

If CBS is smart, a spot in its very "ish" pregame show will be one of the offers Irvin is contemplating. And it will be an offer teeming with zeros and virtually impossible to refuse.

Because, of the four big NFL shows, CBS is seventh. Behind even the p.r. machine that is The NFL Network.

To say Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino and James Brown lack chemistry and fire is a gross understatement. They are Must-Not-See TV. They are flip-between-Fox-or-ESPN-and-switch-just-in-time-for-the-game boring. They underwhelmed during the Super Bowl, but...

Whoever is running the show at CBS took a step toward watchability by bringing former Steelers coach Bill Cowher and his jaw in for Sunday brunch. Adding Irvin would be another giant leap toward changing viewing habits.

What CBS has to ask itself is, "Do we want the Charles Barkley of the NFL and all that implies?"

Because there will be days when The Playmaker drives you crazy, days when he makes you wish you had brought in somebody who followed the script, days when he says something so shocking that everybody buzzes about him. And you. And not necessarily in a good way.

ESPN decided it did not need the headache.

Full disclosure again: I enjoy working for the Worldwide Leader. So I usually agree with every wonderful thing Brother Mickey does. But in regard to Irvin, I think he went Goofy.

Free agency: long list, little value

11:09 PM CST on Saturday, February 17, 2007
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – Free agency begins March 2, and the Cowboys will have all the salary cap room they need to fill needs at offensive line, safety or any other position.

The Cowboys have roughly $20 million of room under the $109 million salary cap and will create more room if they cut ties with quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who is not expected back.
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But the Cowboys aren't the only team with a ton of cap room. Just about every team has room to do what it wants, which is good news for free agents.

The bad news for teams is that this year's free-agent class is not strong. The Cowboys did their part in reducing the inventory by re-signing tight end Jason Witten, safety Roy Williams and linebacker Bradie James last summer before they could hit the open market. The club has been in talks with the agents for center Andre Gurode and right tackle Marc Colombo about multi-year deals.

But free agency has not been the cure-all. Last year, the Cowboys gave kicker Mike Vanderjagt a $2.5 million signing bonus, and he didn't last the season. Linebacker Rocky Boiman received $1 million to sign and didn't make the team. Tight end Ryan Hannam ($1.1 million) and tackle Jason Fabini ($1.8 million) contributed little.

The misses caused owner and general manager Jerry Jones to wonder if the team's approach to free agency was the right one.

Even with the available money, Jones might choose to be more prudent with his spending.


Offensive line

Top three:

1. Eric Steinbach, Cincinnati: Highly unlikely Bengals allow him to leave.

2. Andre Gurode, Cowboys: Played in his first Pro Bowl after being called up as alternate.

3. Kris Dielman, San Diego: More solid than gifted but figures to get paid.

In 2005, the Cowboys gave Marco Rivera an $8 million signing bonus to shore up the right side of the offensive line. In 2006, the Cowboys gave Kyle Kosier a $5 million signing bonus to replace Larry Allen.
Potential free agents (left to right) Jeff Garcia, Drew Bennett and Dwight Freeney would be courted by the Cowboys.
File photos
Potential free agents (left to right) Jeff Garcia, Drew Bennett and Dwight Freeney would be courted by the Cowboys.

Can they dip into the high-priced offensive line market again?

Rivera was limited his first year because of back surgery, and his future is in doubt because of a second surgery on the same disk. Kosier did a serviceable job in starting every game in 2006.

Now the Cowboys have to deal with the possibility of losing two starters (Andre Gurode and Marc Colombo) and top backup (Al Johnson) should they not re-sign. San Diego's Kris Dielman is the top prize at guard, and former No. 2 overall pick Leonard Davis, after some unspectacular years at Arizona, also is available.


Top three:

1. Ken Hamlin, Seattle: Teams might shy away because of head injury suffered in '05.

2. Kevin Kaesviharn, Cincinnati: Finds himself around the ball a lot.

3. Michael Lewis, Philadelphia: Bumped from starting lineup in '06 and could use fresh start.

Keith Davis and Pat Watkins split the job last year, but neither created much confidence. Watkins has an upside to be a true free safety because of his range, and Davis is the team's best special teams player.

With strong safety Roy Williams expected to be used closer to the line of scrimmage instead of in coverage, the Cowboys need a center fielder-type player. The best prospects are restricted free agents Jordan Babineaux (Seattle) and Gibril Wilson (New York Giants).

Among unrestricted free agents, Cincinnati's Kevin Kaesviharn had six interceptions. Philadelphia's Michael Lewis has the best pedigree.

The draft is loaded with safety prospects, so the Cowboys might look for help there.


Top three:

1. Jeff Garcia, Philadelphia: Helped himself tremendously by getting Eagles to the playoffs, but he's getting old.

2. Damon Huard, Kansas City: Proved last year he can win games when called upon.

3. Matt Schaub, Atlanta: Restricted free agent will cost for Falcons to let him go.

Tony Romo is the no-doubt starter for 2007, and the team would like to sign him to an extension, but with Drew Bledsoe expected to be cut, only practice-squadder Matt Baker remains.

Cincinnati's Anthony Wright, who played for the Cowboys, is available, but the best option is Kansas City's Damon Huard, who did a solid job in replacing Trent Green in 2006. Huard, however, might have played too well and could earn a bigger contract than the Cowboys want to commit to a backup.

Wide receiver

Top three:

1. Drew Bennett, Tennessee: Solid No. 2 receiver but never going to be the top guy.

2. Bobby Engram, Seattle: Dependable and can play many spots, but he's not special.

3. Kevin Curtis, St. Louis: Like the rest, not a lead receiver but can make plays.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones continues to say Terrell Owens, who is due a $3 million bonus in June, will be back. Terry Glenn is due $5 million next month and is expected back.

But they are on the north side of 30. The Cowboys like younger prospects Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd. If they choose to cut Owens or Glenn for cap purposes, then they would need help.

The receiver market, however, is filled with No. 2-type receivers, not lead receivers. Philadelphia's Donte Stallworth could opt out of his contract to make himself a free agent, and Tennessee's Drew Bennett is a move-the-chains receiver. An early-round selection in the draft, however, might be the best option.

Pass rusher

Top three:

1. Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis: The Colts finally have to spend big-time money on defense to keep sack specialist.

2. Cory Redding, Detroit: Picked the right time to have his best season with eight sacks.

3. Juqua Thomas, Philadelphia: Can be a hybrid between end and outside LB.

Of the Chargers' league-high 61 sacks last year, 42.5 came from linebackers. The Cowboys got 20.5 sacks from their linebackers in 2006.

DeMarcus Ware had 11.5 sacks in 2006 and made his first Pro Bowl. Under Wade Phillips, Ware will be put in more positions to rush the passer, just as San Diego's Shawne Merriman was. Greg Ellis is coming off Achilles' tendon surgery and remains the team's next best pass rush threat.

Having spent big money on linebackers and defensive line in the draft and free agency, the Cowboys might be reluctant to go after a top-end rusher such as Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney, preferring to hope for improvement from within.


Running backs

Cowboys need: Maybe they look for a fullback, but even that's iffy.

1. Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis: Shined in the playoffs but not an every-down back.

2. Correll Buckhalter, Philadelphia: Injuries will always be a concern.

3. Ahman Green, Green Bay: Six 1,000-yard seasons.

Tight ends

Cowboys need: With Jason Witten and Anthony Fasano, they only need depth.

1. Daniel Graham, New England: First-round pick has all the tools.

2. Reggie Kelly, Cincinnati: Solid two-way player.

3. Eric Johnson, San Francisco: Dependable receiver but does not bring much to run game.
Defensive tackle

Cowboys need: Jason Ferguson is aging but remains effective. Depth, however, is an issue.

1. Ian Scott, Chicago: Became starter after Tank Johnson's league issues and did well.

2. Robaire Smith, Tennessee: Helped his cause in return to Titans but flopped as free agent pickup in Houston.

3. Alphonso Boone, Chicago: Missed four games but still had 35 tackles and two sacks

Cowboys need: They spent megabucks here the last two years. Would be hard-pressed to spend there again.

1. Adalius Thomas, Baltimore: Can play defensive end, but most important, can rush the quarterback.

2. London Fletcher-Baker, Buffalo: Had 157 tackles and four interceptions last year and is a solid leader.

3. Cato June, Indianapolis: He needs the right system to succeed.

Cowboys need: If they move Anthony Henry to safety, they would need help but could go after that in the draft.

1. Nate Clements, Buffalo: A complete package with ability to cover and help defend the run.

2. Travis Fisher, St. Louis: Has never played a full season, so injuries are a concern.

3. Tory James, Cincinnati: Has played 11 seasons but has 21 interceptions in his last four.


Cowboys need: Kicker Martin Gramatica acquitted himself nicely, and the Cowboys will not spend huge money on the position again.

1. Mat McBriar, Cowboys: Punter is a restricted free agent but depending on his qualifying offer, teams could make a run for him.

2. Josh Brown, Seattle: One of the best clutch kickers, but Seahawks will do what they can to keep him.

3. Todd Sauerbrun, New England: A steroid suspension might scare teams, but punter has a powerful leg.

Cowboys sign ex-UTEP offensive lineman

01:13 AM CST on Saturday, February 17, 2007
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys signed guard Trey Darilek to a two-year deal on Friday. A fourth-round pick out of UT-El Paso by Philadelphia in 2004, Darilek, 6-5, 310 pounds, has played in 18 games in three years with no starts. After getting cut by the Eagles, he spent time with Miami last season did not play a game. He worked out for the Cowboys late last season.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tony Romo: 'T.O. Is a Pretty Good Teammate'

Posted Feb 14th 2007 11:33AM by Ryan Wilson
Filed under: Bills, Cowboys, NFL Fans, NFL Gossip

According to, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was on the "Best Damn Sports Show" and had some good things say about teammate Terrell Owens:

"After the snap against the Seahawks, he called or texted me for seven or eight days in a row, just to see how I was doing. Not a lot of people did that."

You know, this might sound crazy, but I can see Owens doing this. He's not a bad guy in the Rae Carruth sense of the word. He's just the worst co-worker on the planet who's probably also manic-depressive. He won't try and kill you, he'll just occasionally be so disruptive that everybody around him is miserable. Owens' emotions just get ahead of his brain and before he knows it he's sabotaged another team.

During the same show, Romo was asked about the hit Sean Taylor put on Brian Moorman at the Pro Bowl (the one the NFL doesn't want you to see on the YouTubes):

"In person, that was as big a hit as I've ever seen on a football field. That was bad."

Moorman's one of the league's best punters but you know what? This is what he'll be remembered for. To his credit, after the hit, Moorman popped up like he's used to getting slapped around on a regular basis.

Jones `plans' for Owens to return with Cowboys

February 15, 2007

WACO, Texas (AP) -- While Jerry Jones expects Terrell Owens to still be with the Dallas Cowboys next season, the team owner stopped short of guaranteeing that Thursday night.

Jones said he was enthusiastic about Owens' phone call to Wade Phillips, the new coach who made a point last week during his introductory news conference to refer to the receiver by name.

"I am, of course I am," Jones said. "We've got some decisions to make, but still, I'm enthusiastic about it."

Owens is due a $3 million roster bonus in June, then a $5 million salary this season. Cutting him before then would save a lot of money.

Jones, speaking before his induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, was asked to clarify if there was still a decision to be made about Owens returning.

"He's part of our team, that's what I'm saying," Jones said. "I don't want the play on the words to look one way or another. We are evaluating everybody, but still, my plans are for him to be back."

Owens was the Cowboys' leading receiver last season, with 85 catches for 1,180 yards and a league-best 13 touchdowns. But T.O. is known as much for off-the-field distractions, and former coach Bill Parcells often referred to him as "the player" instead of by name.

Phillips has said he makes a point of getting the most out of his best players. His background is in defense, but he proudly notes that tight end Shannon Sharpe and wide receiver Eric Moulds flourished when he was their head coach.

Jones believes that could be the case with the Dallas receivers as well.

"We've got a chance to take players like Terry Glenn, who (new receivers coach Ray) Sherman coached, take a player like Terrell Owens, and really work to maximize their individual skills," Jones said. "I know that's Wade's philosophy in general about players, don't let the scheme keep you from using the player and let him do what he does the best.

"There's no question that last year, by having Terrell come in and having been with San Francisco and then with Philadelphia, in those West Coast-type offenses, we changed the game up for him a little bit."

Jones said that Phillips and Owens haven't had a chance to meet in person, and didn't know about any plans yet to do that.

"Terrell has not been in town. They did talk, Terrell searched him out," Jones said. "He got his phone number, so he was pretty resourceful to run him down on the road."

Induction, hiring both bring congratulations

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

WACO -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wasn't quite sure exactly why he was getting all the handshakes and the pats on the back Thursday. Was it because he was being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame? Or was it because he hired native Texan Wade Phillips as his head coach last week?

"If we were just getting voted in rather than being inducted tonight, I would think I got voted in because I hired Wade Phillips," Jones said. "... Wade is a part of the Cowboys in no small part because of his great Texas tradition. He's in no small part a part of the Cowboys because of his heritage [as the son of former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips]."

Jones, a native of Arkansas who played for the Razorbacks, is an adopted Texan. He became one in 1989 when he purchased the Cowboys and turned them back into "America's Team."

On Thursday, he was honored for the three Super Bowl titles the Cowboys have won on his watch. Former WNBA star Cynthia Cooper, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, former Olympian Rafer Johnson, former UT running back Roosevelt Leaks, former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon, former Cowboys running back Don Perkins and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims completed the Class of 2006.

"I'm honored. I'm humbled," Jones told the Ferrell Center crowd.

Since Jones became the team's president and general manager, the Cowboys have drafted 20 players who have appeared in 68 Pro Bowls and signed seven free agents who made 16 Pro Bowls.

Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Tom Landry Theater at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame is filled with jerseys, helmets and other memorabilia honoring the Cowboys. Jones' family spent several minutes touring the room Thursday before the induction banquet.

"There are Cowboys all over the place," Moon told Jones.

Just outside the Tom Landry Theater are displays in the foyer honoring the inductees. Jones' display contains three replicas of the Vince Lombardi trophies won by his teams after the 1992, '93 and '95 seasons, as well as replicas of the championship rings and glass-enclosed tickets from those games.

"I was just taken aback by the display. I was just taken aback," Jones said. "... I'm here because of the Dallas Cowboys. I'm riding that great franchise in here. Coach Landry, Tex Schramm, Gil Brandt and all the great players -- Bob Lilly, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith -- those are the coattails that I ride in here tonight. We all know that's what makes sports so special, because you have to have the team to do it."

Jones' teams have 12 playoff victories, though none since 1996. In Bill Parcells' four seasons, the Cowboys had two playoff berths and no playoff victories.

Jones hopes Phillips, a native son, can change that.

"I bet I've had more pats on the back about hiring Wade Phillips than I have congratulations about being inducted," Jones said. "... I'm glad I've got Wade."

Jones reiterated that he expects Terrell Owens to return to the Cowboys next season. Owens is due a $3 million roster bonus in June and $5 million in salary for 2007.

"He's part of our team. That's what I'm saying," Jones said. "I don't want the play on the words to look one way or another. We are evaluating everybody, but still, my plans are for him to be back."

Owens called Phillips on Saturday, and the two had a nice chat, Jones said. Owens caught 85 passes for 1,180 yards and a league-best 13 touchdowns, but he dropped 18 passes.

"There's no question that last year, by having Terrell come in and having been with San Francisco and then with Philadelphia, in those West Coast-type offenses, we changed the game up for him a little bit," Jones said.


Class of 2006

Six players and two administrators were inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday:

Cynthia Cooper

DeLoss Dodds

Rafer Johnson

Jerry Jones

Roosevelt Leaks

Warren Moon

Don Perkins

Billy Sims