Friday, March 30, 2007

Rivera, 34, is expected to announce his retirement

Cowboys G Marco Rivera, 34, is expected to announce his retirement after a second back surgery in January.

Rivera spoke earlier in the offseason about making a comeback, but that apparently won't happen. Packers GM Ted Thompson was vilified two years ago for not paying huge bucks to retain Rivera, but he turned into a major mistake by the Cowboys.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Bad 'Boys no longer at Valley Ranch

By Randy Galloway
With commissioner Roger Goodell as the tough cop, the NFL tells us it will be cracking down on crime.
Those players who find it impossible to live within the law will also have to live without football, and a paycheck.

Any day now, Goodell will unveil a code of conduct that will temporarily, or in extreme Pacman Jones cases, permanently remove bad boys from the league.

Here's a situation where the most powerful sports entity from sea to shining sea is actually admitting publicly it has an image problem.

There must be a hip-pocket connection involved somewhere.

The NFL would publicly flog itself over this issue for one, and only one, reason:

That it's going to cost the league money unless swift action is taken.

At the moment, it is tough to make that hip-pocket connection, since the stadiums remain full and the network TV contracts are outrageously flush.

Plus, the NFL usually gets a free skate from the media, as opposed to the NBA being hammered over thug activity, or Major League Baseball when it comes to steroids. Pro football is just as guilty in both areas, maybe even more guilty, but its media exposure doesn't compare with the other two sports.

So if the NFL didn't necessarily have to come clean, is this simply a case of the commissioner, with full approval from the league owners, doing the right thing?

Nah. Heck no. Whatever the motive, it's not that.

But as a story in this newspaper pointed out the other day, since Jan. 1, 2006, 53 NFL players have been arrested for driving under the influence of something, assault and carrying concealed weapons.

And it's really worse than those raw numbers. Many of those players are repeat-repeat-repeat offenders and have at least been in the general vicinity of shootings, stabbings and even murders.

Have you noticed, however, that one of the cleaner teams in the league calls Valley Ranch home?

A decade ago, the Cowboys were the NFL's most notorious jail-bait club.

Today? By comparison to the mid-'90s, Jerry Jones is running a monastery.

The Cowboys have had one arrest in the last 15 months, and that was early last season after then-coach Bill Parcells took a gamble on veteran safety Marcus Coleman.

Parcells had a worry at the position, plus he knew Coleman from having coached him with the Jets. But Marcus started the season with a four-game suspension from flunking a substance test, then got hit with a DUI. Coleman was quickly released.

This is the team's only rap sheet smudge since the infamous Dwayne Goodrich episode, unless you factor in Eldorado Owens, the team-wrecking time bomb.

"What the commissioner is planning at the moment, we've been implementing for awhile," said Jeff Ireland, the Cowboys' scouting director. "Character issues are one of the things Bill and I really saw eye to eye on. I'm a big proponent of a heavy emphasis being placed on character, be it the draft or free agency."

With Parcells gone, there is a thought Jerry Jones might be willing to start gambling again in this area (as with Eldo -- you don't have to be arrested to be a problem) because he'd like to start winning again.

And if we learned anything from a decade ago, as long as a team is considered a Super Bowl possibility, no one cares about character, including the fans. But once the play declines on the field, then everyone is appalled at the bad conduct off the field.

If, however, Goodell's new code of conduct is tough, as promised, then gambling on character might not be worth the risk.

There is a story from two drafts ago that Parcells wanted to take linebacker Shawne Merriman, but because of character questions, Jones nixed it. The Cowboys instead took DeMarcus Ware, leaving Merriman for the San Diego Chargers.

Ireland would not confirm that Wednesday, but others say there is "some truth" involved. One Valley Ranch voice put it this way:

"Basically, all of us misjudged how good Merriman would be as a linebacker. Character on him came up in the discussions, but we also really liked Ware and still do. Ware is good, but Merriman may be the best defensive player in the league."

Outside of a suspension for steroids, Merriman has not been an off-the-field problem on a Chargers team that has had more than its share of those.

"Personally, I don't plan on changing anything when it comes to character," Ireland said. "The worst drafting mistakes a team makes usually involve character. Risky players like that are also undependable players on the field."

Ireland, of course, has the right idea. And now even the commissioner is agreeing with him.

Jeff Ireland: "My job is to stop draft man-love."

IRVING -- Bill Parcells was a cat guy. He had a big, fat pet cat at his house. And he had his pet cats at Valley Ranch, too. Especially in April.
"Pet cats" is a Parcellsism; they were the prospects whom a coach or scout adored. They are often so fond of such prospects they try to make sure their "pet cat" is drafted, regardless what the scouting consensus is.

And every coach, general manager or scout has a pet cat; 2004 second-round flop Jacob Rogers was a Parcells' pet cat. Former quarterback Quincy Carter was a Jerry Jones pet cat.

Now Jones, the owner, is playing the part of animal control, and is trying to get rid of the felines around Cowboys headquarters.

"There won't be that potential lobbying that you might have gotten that might have influenced that draft board that really you shouldn't do," Jones said. "You should put your highest-rated player by the guys that spend 100 percent of the time out here.

"I think this is going to be the purest scout-evaluation [draft] from the December grade."

With a new coaching staff, expect the Cowboys to stick to what chief scout Jeff Ireland and his staff suggest. Unlike previous years when Parcells was known to lobby for a player, and his voice was hard to ignore, the Cowboys plan to rank and draft according to what the scouts say. Period.

"The only times coaches and scouts don't see eye to eye is around draft time, because coaches start liking players," Ireland said. "You have to fight that. I think we've done a good job of that."

A coach may want a certain type of player -- big linebackers, tall receivers, a player who fits a scheme -- and he might lobby a scout to take a player who fits that role. So much so they "reach" for that player and take him a round or two earlier than he should be selected.

Glancing at those four previous drafts, Parcells' fingerprints are all over -- Bobby Carpenter, Marion Barber, Rob Petitti, Anthony Fasano, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Stephen Peterman to name a few.

"But you can't manufacture these players; they all can't fit the blueprint," Ireland said. "It happens on every staff. You don't want guys falling in love with players or need positions. Those are the traps; people start believing we need a receiver, and a fifth-rounder becomes a third-rounder.

"You have to fight that with the scouts and coaches. That's why it's my job to look at every player and decide."

Parcells would not have accepted the head coaching job if he didn't have some sway in the draft. And under Parcells, the Cowboys had what Jones describes as "middle of the road" success. Not a "C" grade, but right down the middle.

With 10 picks in this draft, Jones said he wants a success rate of 70 percent. He wants seven of the 10 on the 53-man roster and those picked on the first day challenging for starting spots. He'd love to find a fullback, too.

To find those seven players, he plans to rely exclusively on the scouts. And not the phone calls that come from his friends outside Valley Ranch. He plans to rely exclusively on Ireland and on the eyes of longtime scouts Walter Juliff, Tom Ciskowski and the rest.

He wants a "clean board,' a draft board free of agendas or reaches. A board assembled by the people who live on the road in the fall watching college football games and watching scores of tapes.

He wants a board free of pet cats.

Football: The newest Cowboys

San Antonio Express-News The Cowboys didn't make a big splash in free agency, but that doesn't mean the team's talent level wasn't upgraded. A controlled, smart approach by owner Jerry Jones and new coach Wade Phillips brought in three capable veterans, including one former Texas standout. Express-News Cowboys beat writer Tom Orsborn takes a look at each signing and offers his grade on the haul:

The Big One
It's a fitting tag for Leonard Davis, both in terms of his size (6-foot-6, 366 pounds) and contract (seven years for nearly $50 million, including a club-record $16 million signing bonus). Yes, the Cowboys overpaid for the underachieving UT alumnus and former Arizona left tackle. But he's an upgrade over Marco Rivera at right guard, a spot that hides Davis' weaknesses and should allow him to maximize his strengths. Davis also can play left tackle next season if Dallas decides not to re-sign Flozell Adams.

The Old One
Quarterback Brad Johnson bristles at the suggestion the Cowboys gave him a three-year, $7.5 million deal to mentor Tony Romo. The 38-year-old Johnson isn't as sharp as when he guided Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in 2002, but Jones and Phillips are confident he can lead Dallas to the playoffs should Romo go down with an injury or prove to be a one-year wonder. Johnson would relish the chance to prove them right.

The Smart One
The Cowboys signed free safety Ken Hamlin to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million as much for his brains as his brawn. He's a hard hitter who can also cover, a must if Phillips wants Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams to play closer to the line of scrimmage. But Phillips also wants Hamlin to be his coach on the field. It should be an easy task for the Arkansas alumnus, who often required his fellow Seattle defensive backs to work overtime studying film.

The Grade: B
For filling all their major needs without breaking the bank and for re-signing Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode, right tackle Marc Colombo and kicker Martin Gramatica, Jones should take a bow.

What's next?
The Cowboys have 10 picks in the 2007 NFL draft on April 28-29, including three in the top 87. Jones says they'll use the first-round pick, No. 22 overall, on the best player available. Early reports suggest it will be either a defensive back or a receiver.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cowboys have decided to relieve Tony Romo of holding duties in 2007

The Cowboys have decided to relieve Tony Romo of holding duties in 2007.

Enough jokes have been made about Romo's botched snap that cost Dallas a first-round playoff win. The next decision the Cowboys make involving Romo could be in regards to a long-term contract extension.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

DMN: Roy close to being a hit

Williams closer to being a hit
02:55 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Cowboys haven't taken full advantage of Roy Williams' talent since Darren Woodson retired three seasons ago.

That needs to change immediately. Jerry Jones agrees.

Jones signed Ken Hamlin last week for one reason: to help make Williams an impact player again.

If he does, then Hamlin will be worth every bit of the one-year, $2.5 million contract he signed last week, and after the season Jerry will open up his checkbook and give him a long-term deal just like he did with Andre Gurode.

If Hamlin doesn't, it means Jerry will have failed Williams, the franchise, the fans and himself again.

See, Williams isn't supposed to be a good player. He's supposed to be great player, which is why the Cowboys made him the eighth player selected in 2002. And that's why Jerry handed him a $12 million signing bonus last summer and a multi-year deal, essentially making him a Cowboy for life.

But he can't be great playing 20 yards from the line of scrimmage in a conservative scheme that uses a lot of Cover 2 principles that illuminate his weaknesses and none of his strengths. In that scheme, Williams can be good a player.

After all, he has been to four consecutive Pro Bowls, but a faction of the league will continue to call him overrated. Consistently place Williams near the line of scrimmage – like Wade Phillips intends to do this season – so he can disrupt running plays with his athleticism and instincts and pressure quarterbacks by blitzing, and he can be an impact player every week.

That didn't happen last year.

Of course, Williams made his share of big plays and occasionally dominated an entire game like he did in a blowout win over Houston, but too many times he didn't tilt the game in the Cowboys' favor.

Now, Williams has never publicly complained about his role. It's not his style. He was taught to do what the coaches asked him to do – even if he doesn't necessarily like it or agree with it – to the best of his ability.

Williams has never been more of a playmaker than he was as a rookie. It's no coincidence that season that he was paired with Woodson, who made sure the rest of the secondary was properly lined up, especially after the offense used shifting or motion to change the formation.

All Williams had to do was make highlight reel plays on a regular basis just like he did as a consensus All-America at Oklahoma.

Enter Hamlin.

Although the Cowboys were 7-2 with Keith Davis starting at free safety, it's clear they don't trust him to handle the job. They really view him as more of a strong safety – run supporter – than free safety. Hamlin can deliver big hits, thus the nickname "Hammer," but he's a free safety who has some run-support capabilities.

There's a subtle difference. Hamlin has only eight interceptions in his first four seasons, but the Cowboys like his range and intelligence, two very important traits for a free safety.

With Hamlin at free safety in the aggressive scheme Phillips and Brian Stewart are implementing, there's no reason Williams shouldn't have the same type of weekly impact as Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu or Baltimore's Ed Reed.

Scheme alone, however, won't make Williams more of a playmaker.

He needs to lose about 10 pounds. You'd be surprised how much quicker that would make him, allowing him to slither past blockers before they lock onto him.

And the Cowboys need to rest him more this season, especially during practice. There's no need for Williams to take every practice repetition this season. Save his legs in practice and he'll be better during games. They neglected to do it last year – former coach Bill Parcells didn't believe in it – and Williams' tendinitis flared up.

The Cowboys also want Williams to be more of a student of the game. It's not a matter of watching more video, but spending the time to understand the nuances of route combinations so he can better anticipate where a receiver is going to run based on down and distance.

Phillips is a master at using stunts and blitzes to enhance his scheme and take advantage of his players' talents. Parcells believed the integrity of the scheme was more important than showcasing the players.

You might say he preferred robots, but he did win two Super Bowls as a head coach. Williams would probably settle for ending the Cowboys 10-year streak – the longest in franchise history – without a playoff win.

Having Hamlin should help him do it.

Columnist Jean Jacques-Taylor's formula shows just how much impact the Cowboys have gotten from Roy Williams:
Yr. Sacks TFL FF FR INT TD Total
'02 2 7 4 3 5 2 23
'03 2 6 2 1 2 0 13
'04 0 5 1 0 2 0 8
'05 2.5 2 3 1 3 1 12.5
'06 0 2 0 2 5 2 9

ESPN: Cowboys On The Clock

Through April 20, "SportsCenter" will put every NFL team "On The Clock." Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering.

There have been some major changes in Dallas since quarterback Tony Romo's botched snap in last year's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. New head coach Wade Phillips replaces the legendary Bill Parcells. Even though the Cowboys didn't accomplish the ultimate goal of winning championships under Parcells, Phillips will inherit a very talented team that has a chance to do some damage in 2007. Owner Jerry Jones has been active this offseason in finding ways to continually upgrade this roster. First-time offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be under the gun as the Cowboys start the season in Year 2 of the Romo era. Can Romo be the franchise quarterback this organization so desperately needs? How will the circus that surrounds wide receiver Terrell Owens be handled by Phillips? Defensively, the Cowboys have a lot of talent but underachieved due to the inconsistencies on the back end in coverage. Phillips was hired to solve these problems on the defensive side of the ball.

Key additions
The Cowboys entered free agency with the idea of addressing two major needs -- the offensive line and the free safety position. They were very aggressive in their pursuit of LT Leonard Davis. In a weak offensive tackle market, Davis was easily the best player available. However, Davis has never reached the elite status that many expected since he was drafted by the Cardinals as the second overall pick in 2001. Another solid addition was the signing of FS Ken Hamlin. Even though Hamlin must play with more consistency, he is a huge upgrade for a Cowboys secondary that finished 24th in pass defense in 2006. Backup quarterback Brad Johnson was another solid addition based on his prior starting experience. He should work well with Romo.

Key losses
The Cowboys have done a solid job of identifying their own key players and signing them to contract extensions (TE Jason Witten, SS Roy Williams, C Andre Gurode and LB Bradie James). As a result, the Cowboys have not suffered any key losses this offseason. Backup quarterback Drew Bledsoe was released, while backup restricted free-agent LB Ryan Fowler signed with the Titans. Starting RG Marco Rivera has yet to be released, but could be a cap casualty due to his age and durability concerns.

Remaining questions
The Cowboys are in a position to take the best available player with the No. 22 pick in the draft. Even though wide receivers Owens and Terry Glenn are still productive, they are starting to show their age. No. 3 receiver Patrick Crayton is a restricted free agent who could be playing under a one-year deal in 2007. Also, the Cowboys will continue to address the offensive line with youth. Defensively, the Cowboys will address their corner situation, add depth to their linebacker corps and try to find another pass rusher off the edge. However, the addition of Phillips should improve a defense that finished 13th in the NFL last season.

DMN: Cowboy blog: Ranking the Parcells Guys

March 27, 2007
Ranking the Parcells Guys

You might have missed the brief buried in the middle of SportsDay about OT Jason Fabini bolting town to sign with the Redskins. I couldn't find it on, so here's what the Washington Post wrote.
We didn't treat Fabini leaving like it was big news, because it's not big news. He didn't do much in Dallas, and the Cowboys didn't try to keep him. But it is significant for one reason: It's another Parcells Guy gone.
For the purpose of this post, a Parcells Guy is a veteran who was drafted by Parcells and/or played for him at a previous NFL stop and came to the Cowboys under the Tuna's watch.

Follow the jump for my rankings of the Parcells Guys (feel free to let me know if I forgot anyone).

WR Terry Glenn – One of the league’s top No. 2 receivers. Other than mistaking a Wendy’s dumpster for a urinal – a mistake many good men have made in the wee hours of the morning – he’s been a model citizen after arriving with a rep as a troublemaker.
WR Keyshawn Johnson – Did everything Cowboys asked for two seasons – made tough catches and was excellent blocker. Cut to make room for T.O.
CB Aaron Glenn – Does good job as nickelback and is great influence on young teammates.
NT Jason Ferguson – Not his fault that he’s overpaid. Doesn’t make a lot of plays, but holds ground against double-teams.
FB Richie Anderson – Versatile guy did a lot of dirty work and was great leader. Will be a good coach if he gets another chance after recent embarrassing arrest.
QB Drew Bledsoe – Had pretty good 2005 season and handled humiliating demotion with class.
QB Vinny Testaverde – Did as well as could be expected after Quincy Carter got the boot.
OT Ryan Young – Arrived in Dallas as damaged goods and didn’t last a season.
OT Jason Fabini – Failed to beat out Marc Colombo and never made significant contribution.
FS Marcus Coleman – League suspended Lake Highlands product for first four games for violating substance abuse policy. Cut after DWI arrest a few weeks after return.

Posted by Tim MacMahon at 11:00 AM (E-mail this entry)

Monday, March 26, 2007

The home "Giants" and the "Jets" games are on the calendar


Prime Time Openers: Saints-Colts, Giants-Cowboys

ESPN will televise the unveiling of the NFL schedule next month (yes, ESPN actually paid the NFL for the rights to the announcement), but Peter King of reports today that the two opening-weekend NBC prime time games will be the New Orleans Saints vs. the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, Sept. 6 and the New York Giants vs. the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. 9.

The Thursday opener usually goes to the defending champions, so it's no surprise that the Colts are hosting. It is a bit of a surprise that the Saints are the opponent, though. Because the Saints are an NFC team, that's a game that would usually go to Fox, and Fox can't be happy that one of its two opportunities to show Peyton Manning has just been given to NBC.

Cowboys-Giants is a good rivalry between two teams coming off playoff seasons, but it's not a huge game in terms of the 2007 expectations for either team. It is, however, a sign of just how marketable the NFL thinks the Manning family is: Although the NFL can't give us another Manning vs. Manning opener, it is giving us both Manning brothers in prime time to start the season.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Don't get caught in the draft

By Jennifer Floyd Engel
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

IRVING -- The Texans have draft problems that make Al Davis and his Raiders look well-managed.

So it seems somewhat gauche to question Owner Jones on any off-season decisions in light of recent developments in Houston. The Texans are the standard bearer of stupidity, passing up on Houston native and national championship-winning Longhorns QB Vince Young in the draft because they were committed to David Carr. Until they cut Carr on Friday, less than 11 months later.

They also passed on Reggie Bush for fear he had baggage, forgetting the NFL is like an airport. Everybody is carrying on something.

What Owner Jones has screwed up, on his worst day, pales in comparison. The Texans have made a strong push in the last year for "Worst NFL Franchise" status.

So whatever you think of Owner Jones hiring Wade Phillips (I liked it) or GM Jerry signing Leonard Davis to a big-money deal (Isn't he supposed to be lazy?), everybody has to be thinking "Better him than those Texans idiots pulling the trigger."

But there is a cautionary tale in what has transpired in Houston.

If the Cowboys can take one thing out of the Texans' mess, it is do not draft based on what you hope you have. Or, to be blunt, do not pass on a receiver in the first round because you have two 35-ish receivers (Terry Glenn and T.O.) who you love.

Older receivers get hurt.

Or fail to learn the playbook.

Or fake it.

Or watch their skills diminish because of old age.

And then do you gamble on Miles Austin and Sam Hurd becoming go-to receivers in this league?

Of course, it sounds like that is exactly what the Cowboys are prepared to do.

"I feel good about our receivers. I feel good about our young receivers and so I'd have to look twice about stacking 'em up there right now," GM Jerry said Friday.

Now, this is the time of year in the NFL where the adage "How do you know if they are lying? Their lips are moving" really applies. Let's hope GM Jerry is not really prepared to pass on Robert Meachem or Dwayne Bowe or even Ted Ginn Jr. because Hurd might be pretty good.

This is a good draft for receivers. And, if questions about Ginn Jr.'s sprained left foot cause him to fall to the Cowboys, he would be a great draft pick for them.

He is a Devin Hester-esque returner with blazing speed, and where he lands on draft day depends a lot on his private workout in April.

About the only way the Cowboys justify passing on one of these receivers is if they trade down for Longhorns offensive lineman Justin Blalock, whom they love, love, love.

What they cannot do is neglect offense in the first round again, right?

"I'd have to say that, if I had any leaning at all, I'd like to help our offense coming in, especially having gotten [safety] Ken [Hamlin] signed," GM Jerry said. "I'd probably be biased toward offense, but not enough to pass up a top defensive pressure player or a top defensive player just to try to go offense."

Go ahead, pass. For once.

Definitely pass on drafting a safety in the first round, and the fact A&M safety Melvin Bullitt is coming to Valley Ranch for a visit and may be a Day One talent available on Day Two suggests they may resist this urge.

Of course, the Cowboys will probably draft a defensive front seven guy. They always do. But I shouldn't complain. It could be worse. The Texans' brain trust could be making the decision.

And the last thing the Cowboys need is this year's Mario Williams.

'Romo Rule' to be voted on at spring meetings

NFL | 'Romo Rule' to be voted on at spring meetings
Fri, 23 Mar 2007 11:16:47 -0700

Charean Williams, of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports the NFL's competition committee is proposing a rule, to be voted on at the league's spring meetings, to increase the amount of time kicking balls are prepared before games. The rule would prevent incidents such as the one that occurred in the Dallas Cowboys loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC playoffs, when Dallas QB Tony Romo infamously bobbled a snap on a late-game field goal, allowing the Seahawks to escape with a win. The ball used on the play appeared to be very slick and unused, making it more difficult to handle.

Injury update: Owens

Cowboys | Injury update: Owens
Sat, 24 Mar 2007 07:19:43 -0700

Rob Phillips, of, reports Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens' (finger) recovery from a second finger surgery is going "very well," according to owner and general manager Jerry Jones. Owens could join the team in Dallas within the next few days. The team will begin their offseason workout program Monday, March 26, but the surgeries on Owens' ring finger could prevent him from catching passes in the minicamps. Jones believes Owens will have the cast removed next week, but doctors will want him Owens to limit his travel once it comes off.

Who Rises and Falls on Defense?

By Rafael Vela

We turn to the defense, to learn which positions are upgraded on draft day and which are overlooked, at least in the first round: (for chart see:


1. There are only three marquee positions on defense — cornerbacks, pass rushers and monster defensive tackles who can stuff the run and rush inside.

2. It stands to reason that if wide receiver is the top offensive position by number, then finding guys who can stop receivers is equally valued. In this day of increasing spread offenses at the pro level, you need three good corners at minimum to stack up.

From the Cowboys’ perspective, corner looks like a real option in the 22nd spot. Anthony Henry is 30 and will turn 31 during the season. Terence Newman is 28 and will turn 29 in September (he was a 25 year old rookie) and Aaron Glenn will be 35 on opening day.

Age is as much a concern here as it is at wide receiver. Keep Darrelle Revis and Aaron Ross at the top of your 1st round options charts.

3. Pass rushers are an even bigger priority for teams, even though the position falls second here. There are six 3-4 outside linebackers — Greg Ellis, Julian Peterson, Demarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, Kamerion Wimbley and Manny Lawson — whose top job is rushing. You could add them to the defensive end category.

4. Free safeties fall. Only four have been drafted in the first round and only Sean Taylor has cracked the top ten the past decade. Laron Landry will likely be the second. This probably explains Reggie Nelson’s sudden fade. Unless you’re seen as something special, as Landry clearly is, teams grade you and draft you in the second round.

5. Nose tackles also get no love. Only four first rounders drafted in the past decade. There’s no Casey Hampton or Vince Wilfork in this year’s draft. Don’t look for nose tackle help this high.

6. Inside linebacker? Not gonna happen. Only TWO 3-4 inside backers have been taken in the first round. James Farrior is one and Bobby Carpenter is rated as the other.

The Cowboys follow these defensive templates to the letter. The team has drafted defense with every first rounder since ‘98. Look at this breakdown:

DE/OLB — Greg Ellis, Ebenezer Ekuban, Demarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Bobby Carpenter (he also plays outside).
CB — Terence Newman,
SS — Roy Williams

Guys who can rush., a guy who can cover and a safety they felt was exceptional at his position.

What does this tell me? That if Dallas looks for defensive help, we should expect the best cover man or the best pass rusher available to be selected.

Phillips focuses on building trust

Coach hopes Cowboys' off-season program promotes team unity
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – When Wade Phillips was named the Cowboys' head coach Feb. 8, he did not have a team meeting the next day.

"That's the strange thing about being a head coach in pro football: You don't get to walk in and say hello to the team," Phillips said. "You're the head coach and there's nobody here, for a few weeks, anyway."

However, the pace has picked up at Valley Ranch as players have begun their off-season workouts. The official off-season program begins Monday, and Phillips wants to see the same participation level achieved by his predecessor, Bill Parcells.

"It's voluntary, but it's keeping up with everybody else, too," Phillips said. "Now is when you get to be with your teammates, see them work, and you realize they're working as hard as you are. That makes for a better team. You trust guys and you're loyal to a guy you work with."

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones became a big fan of the off-season program under Parcells, and Phillips has sent a letter to every player detailing the off-season workouts.

Parcells was omnipresent during the conditioning program, and that helped strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek push the players. It was where Parcells built relationships with the players, prodding and cajoling them.

The work put in there, Parcells believed, was directly correlated to the team's health during the season.

"I'm a hands-on coach, and plus I need to get to know the players," Phillips said. "We won't have a formal team meeting until we have our mandatory minicamp after the draft. I've seen a lot of the players already, but I want to get to know the players [more] from being around them a little bit."

Phillips will have an excused absence the first few days of the program as he attends the owners' meetings. But he expects most – if not all – of the players to be at the voluntary program at some point.

The injured players, like Greg Ellis, who is coming off a torn Achilles' tendon, will continue to rehabilitate. The healthy players will work with Juraszek four days a week, lifting weights and running.

Juraszek put the players through sessions he calls "football similar," and each player will have a tailor-made plan for off-season goals.

The major difference between this off-season and the ones run by Parcells will be the amount of football-specific things the Cowboys do.

Coach Wade Phillips hopes for a large turnout during voluntary workouts, which officially kick off Monday.

"It isn't all lifting, hopping, skipping and running," Phillips said. "Joe does a great job working on their weaknesses and getting them stronger in the right areas and faster, but we can meet with them and have a little time on the field as long as there isn't any team stuff going on."

With changes to the 3-4 scheme the Cowboys used under Parcells, different terminology in the passing game under new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and a new special teams coach in Bruce Read, Phillips wants to implement all the changes before training camp begins in late July in San Antonio.

The Cowboys are going to spend more time on the field before training camp than they did under Parcells.

Phillips is considering holding a second full-scale minicamp and using 14 days for so-called "on-field team activities" – the maximum number allowed in the off-season.

"That's where we'll do a lot of our teaching," Phillips said.

Hamlin signing gives Cowboys potent safety pairing

By Len Pasquarelli

Unrestricted free agent safety Ken Hamlin, who returned in 2006 from a devastating head injury that limited him to just six games with the Seattle Seahawks the previous season, on Friday reached a contract agreement with the Dallas Cowboys.


Hamlin, 26, will sign a one-year, $2.5 million contract. The four-year veteran, who spent his entire career with the Seahawks before going into the free agent market earlier this month, was one of the top unrestricted players remaining.

The former Arkansas standout, who visited earlier this week with Cowboys officials and coaches, was rated as the No. 22 player available in free agency by He was one of only three players among the top 30 free agents still unsigned.

The addition of Hamlin, who will pair with Pro Bowl strong safety Roy Williams, should provide Dallas with one of the top safety tandems in the league. Hamlin will likely play free safety, which will enable Williams to play closer to the line of scrimmage. That will permit the Cowboys to better camouflage Williams' deficiencies in pass coverage.

"Definitely, it will let Roy do his thing," Hamlin said.
Locating a viable free safety, and a solid complement to the physical Williams, has been a problem for the Cowboys. The team began last season with rookie Pat Watkins playing the position, then switched to Keith Davis, who started all 16 games in 2005.

Hamlin isn't a pure ballhawk, but possesses more free safety-type attributes than Williams, and can play the middle of the field, which should improve the Dallas coverage scheme.

A second-round choice in the 2003 draft, Hamlin has 298 tackles, eight interceptions, 22 passes defensed, four sacks, four forced fumbles and one recovery in 54 games. In 2005, he was involved in a fight outside a Seattle night spot and suffered a fractured skull and other head injuries that forced him onto the non-football injury list after just six games. Hamlin returned to start all 16 games in 2006 and recorded a career-best 96 tackles, along with three interceptions, eight passes defensed, and two sacks. In addition to the Cowboys, he was pursued by New Orleans, but clearly wanted to sign with Dallas after visiting there this week.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Irvin picks Jones for Hall presenter

Receiver will be first Cowboys Hall of Famer presented by an owner
11:26 PM CDT on Thursday, March 22, 2007

BARRY HORN / The Dallas Morning News

Michael Irvin and his wife Sandi drove to Valley Ranch earlier this week to ask "a special favor" of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

"Would you..." an emotional Irvin stammered, "could you ... be my Hall of Fame presenter?"
For a moment, Jones was speechless.
"I was taken aback," Jones said Thursday. "When I could get the words out, I finally told him, 'I would be honored.' "

So when the Class of 2007 is enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 4, Jones will join a select group of NFL owners that includes the likes of Al Davis, Art Rooney, George Halas, Paul Brown and Wellington Mara, to be similarly honored by former players.

"This is a real highlight for me in my life," Jones said. "This is a very big deal."

Irvin is the eighth Cowboys player to enter the Hall. He is the first who will be presented by an owner. Coach Tom Landry presented four of his former players – Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett and Mel Renfro. No one else has been invited to present more than one. President Tex Schramm, inducted as an administrator, chose former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle for the honor.
"We made this decision as a family," Irvin said Thursday. "I asked Sandi for some suggestions on who it should be and only one name came out of her mouth. It was the same one that I had been thinking of all the time. Jerry has been a miracle in my life."

Irvin, a wide receiver from the University of Miami, came to the Bum Bright-owned Cowboys as the 11th player selected in the 1988 draft. A year later, Jones bought the team and brought with him Jimmy Johnson, Irvin's coach at the University of Miami, to replace Landry.

"Had Jerry not bought the Cowboys and made the bold moves he made, and had all the players he brought in not made the moves we made, we wouldn't be talking about me and the Hall of Fame," Irvin said. "I was surrounded by greatness at all levels."

When a neck injury forced Irvin to retire after the 1999 season, he had 750 career receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns. The Cowboys teams he played on won three Super Bowl championships.

"I love Jerry to death," Irvin said of the owner he affectionately refers to as "bossman."
"He's been great to me not only through my playing days and my bad times, but since I retired as well. I haven't caught a pass for him in seven years, and he's always there for me to talk to. We'll always be together."

Jones stood steadfastly beside Irvin through a series of off-field incidents that stained Irvin's reputation after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXX, their third NFL championship of the 1990s.
Jones said no player in his ownership tenure worked harder on the field or had a greater desire to win.

His challenge now, Jones said, is to pare hundreds of his favorite Irvin stories into a select few so he doesn't overextend his welcome as a Hall of Fame presenter.
"I feel a responsibility for everyone who has been associated with Michael," Jones said. "He is a favorite of all of the players and coaches who worked with him. Narrowing the stories down will be a long, hard process."

While most of Jones' stories will detail Irvin's desire to win and willingness to "outwork everybody," the owner said one memory will always stand out. It happened away from the game and has never received near the attention of Irvin's famous off-field escapades.
When the Cowboys visited Oklahoma City after the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, someone was needed to act as a team spokesman to talk to anxious relatives waiting for word on their loved ones.

While others in the Cowboys traveling party shuffled aimlessly or stared silently into the distance, Irvin volunteered.

"Michael raised his hand and said he would do it," Jones said. "The words he delivered were a thing of beauty. He touched everyone. When he was finished, a lady said, 'Michael is just people.' I've heard that description of him time and time again. That really is the best way to describe him."

COWBOYS' HOF PRESENTERS The Cowboys have 10 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are their presenters: Inductee Presented by Michael Irvin (2007) Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner Troy Aikman (2006) Norv Turner, Cowboys offensive coordinator Rayfield Wright(2006) Stan Lomax, college coach at Fort Valley State Mel Renfro (1996) Tom Landry, Cowboys coach Tony Dorsett (1994) Tom Landry, Cowboys coach Randy White (1994) Ernie Stautner, Cowboys defensive coordinator Tex Schramm (1991) Pete Rozelle, NFL commissioner Tom Landry (1990) Roger Staubach, Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (1985) Tom Landry, Cowboys coach Bob Lilly (1980) Tom Landry, Cowboys coach

Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, Aug. 4, Canton, Ohio.

Cowboys sign safety Hamlin

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Free-agent safety Ken Hamlin could be an upgrade in the Cowboys secondary after playing four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. IRVING -- The Cowboys signed free agent safety Ken Hamlin Friday afternoon.

Hamlin, who played the past four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, has 298 tackles and eight career interceptions. In 2005, Hamlin started the first six games of the season before being placed on reserve/non-football injury list because of life-threatening head injuries suffered in a fight outside a club. He returned in 2006 and made 96 tackles with three interceptions.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Hamlin was originally a second-round (42nd overall) pick of the Seahawks in 2003. He left Arkansas after his junior season after being touted as the school’s best defensive player since Steve Atwater (1985-88).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

RUMOR: Dwayne Jarrett to visit Valley Ranch?

Cowboys Will Visit with First Round WR

A lot of people are down on this guy, but all I saw was him make plays throughout his college career... i would not be totally against it, although i believe there are other ways to go.

alot of people were specualting and the name jarrett came out and bits of the article came out, and some posts were deleted. lol anybody with the ranch;s insider confirm its jarrett?

this would make me very happy if jarrett is on the cowboys radar. while meacham and bowe might have more speed or whatever, better combines. non of them had the career jarrett had. they were 1 yr wonders. while jarrett had his best season without leinart, bush and white

Cowboys sign CFL WR

According to the NFL's Adam Schefter on their website, the Boys have signed Jamel Richardson, a 6' 3", 220 lb WR. Anyone know anything about him?

Quote = The Dallas Cowboys signed four-year CFL veteran wide receiver, Jamel Richardson, who has racked up 118 career catches for 1,501 yards for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Richardson attended Victor Valley Community College before entering the Canadian Football League.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Archer: Cowboys Sign Jim Molinaro OT

By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News IRVING – Throughout the off-season, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones expressed confidence in what Dallas had at free safety, but the team will meet with free agent Ken Hamlin today.

Hamlin missed the final 10 games of the 2005 season because of serious head injuries suffered in an incident outside a Seattle nightclub. But he started every game for the Seahawks last season and had 96 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions.

A second-round pick in 2003 out of Arkansas, Hamlin, 6-2, 209 pounds, has eight career interceptions.

Pat Watkins (nine starts) and Keith Davis (six) split the free safety job with the Cowboys last season. Watkins tied for second on the team with three interceptions. He had 49 tackles.

Cowboys bolster offensive line: The Cowboys made the second addition to their offensive line through free agency by agreeing to a one-year deal with tackle Jim Molinaro on Tuesday.

Molinaro played in only 15 games in three seasons with Washington, but is a possibility as a backup at left and right tackle with Dallas.
A fifth-round pick by Washington in 2004, Molinaro, 6-6, 310 pounds, was not tendered a contract by the Redskins, allowing him to sign with any team without compensation.

Molinaro was one of three players the Cowboys worked out Tuesday.

Quarterback Brock Berlin, the biggest name to work out, has a history with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Berlin spent the previous two summers in the Miami Dolphins' training camp.

Berlin spent two years at the University of Florida before transferring to Miami. He was not drafted in 2005 and spent last spring playing in NFL Europe for the Hamburg Sea Devils.
In the 2006 preseason with the Dolphins, he completed six of 12 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Wide receiver Jamel Richardson, a four-year veteran of the CFL's Saskatchewan Rough Riders, also worked out.

S Ken Hamlin to Visit Boys Wednesday

Adam Schefter just reported that Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin will be visiting the Cowboys on Wednesday morning. He says it's a very logical match with Ken Hamlin and Roy Williams in the Cowboys secondary at safety.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Drafting for a 3-4 defense

By Grizz

Pat Kirwan over at has a nice article on drafting for a 3-4 defense. He categorizes NFL 3-4 defenses into two camps, the Chargers 3-4 (re-named the Phillips 34 on this blog) and the Patriots 3-4 (which is what we ran under Bill Parcells). The basic difference being the one-gap, overly aggressive scheme vs. the two-gap, moderate-blitzing scheme.

Now, that news shouldn't be surprising to anybody who reads the blog regularly, because I did the exact same thing over two months ago. I covered this in a post I wrote in January that was a film review of the Chargers vs. the Patriots playoff game. You can review that post here if so inclined.

What Kirwan also did was get some NFL insiders to help him create a draft board of players the fit a 3-4 defense. One of his arguments in the article is that because up to seven teams now run the 3-4 defense as their base, it's harder to get the hybrid-type players that perform well in the 3-4.

Previously, when only a couple of teams ran the 3-4, it was easier to pick up these players in later rounds. Now, you have to jump on them when you can, you can't delay until later rounds hoping that the 4-3 teams will all pass on the player, because other 3-4 teams will snatch them up.

Below are the players who are on his 3-4 draft board.

ALAN BRANCH, MICHIGAN (Round 1) -- He could play in any front, but at 6-foot-5, 324 pounds and 33 bench presses, he could force that double team the coaches desperately want from the nose, and he can run.

TANK TYLER, N.C. STATE (Round 2) -- Not the same size as Branch (6-2, 306) but with 42 reps on the bench, he has the power to do the job.

PAUL SOLARI, UTAH (Round 3) -- A 6-foot-4 344-pound space eater who should force that all-important extra blocker to move him, and that frees up an inside backer.

ADAM CARRIKER, NEBRASKA (Round 1) -- A big player (6-6, 296) who can control the line of scrimmage with his long arms and that all-important height like Seymour.

JUSTIN HARRELL, TENNESSEE (Round 2) -- He has medical issues but did well at the Combine and could be a factor (6-4, 300) at any of the three defensive-line spots.

RYAN McBEAN, OKLAHOMA STATE (Round 3) -- He can move for a big man (6-4, 286) and showed the quickness at the Senior Bowl to play in the Charger style of 3-4.

DAVID HARRIS, MICHIGAN (Round 2) -- Big and thick (6-2, 243) to take on a guard, and at the Combine, he ran the 40 in 4.62, but more important -- a 4.29 short shuttle, which suggests he can change direction and get off blocks.

ANTHONY WATERS, CLEMSON (Round 4) -- Medical questions but a late workout could resolve the issue. As one scout said, "Go back and look at his junior game against N.C. State. This guy (6-2, 245) is ideal for the strong inside backer spot."

DESMOND BISHOP, CALIFORNIA (Round 5) -- A few years ago, this is the kind of guy (6-2, 239) a 3-4 team would pick up in Round 7 or as an undrafted free agent. One coach said, "Today, he could go a little higher with the 3-4 teams all looking."

ANTHONY SPENCER, PURDUE (Round 1) -- A defensive end (6-3, 261) who can run 4.7 and a 4.4 short shuttle with 27 tackles for a loss last season and 21 career sacks is a prime candidate.

LAMAR WOODLEY, MICHIGAN (Round 2) -- He's short for a defensive end (6-1, 266) but 52½ tackles for a loss and 24 sacks in his career make him a prime OLB candidate.

TIM SHAW, PENN STATE (Round 4) -- Shaw has played defensive end and linebacker (6-1, 236) and if you study the Belichick package, he loves guys who did both in college. Tedy Bruschi, Rosevelt Colvin and Mike Vrabel all had those kind of backgrounds.

ZAK DeOSSIE, BROWN (Round 4) -- I don't care that Zak played in the Ivy League; he is perfect for the 3-4 OLB spot. He runs 4.6 in the 40 and an outstanding 4.2 in the short shuttle. He's strong (6-4, 250) and productive. He has long-snapping skills like his father Steve (former NFL player) and he knows the game.

Moving to Plan B

By Rafael Vela

The Cowboys may have another small move on their free agent radar. The East Valley News (Arizona) claims Dallas is among four teams interested in restricted free agent FB Vonta Leach.

Leach is a central casting fullback, at 6′2″, 250 lbs. The undrafted free agent played for Green Bay in ‘04 and ‘05 and was rated by some a better blocker than regular William Henderson, whom the Packers cut a few days ago.

Leach was cut before the season and claimed by New Orleans who lost both their fullbacks to injuries in the season opener. The Saints later released Leach and he was claimed by the Texans. He was reunited with former Packers HC Mike Sherman, who runs the Texans o-line. Sherman has stockpiled old Packers; Leach joined RB Sam Gado, C Mike Flanagan and TE Ben Steele in Houston. Sherman obviously had a hand in luring Ahman Green to Houston as well.

Leach already has a “nice offer” from the Giants, according to his agent. He’s also visited Arizona and Cleveland, so Dallas may decide to stick with converted LB Oliver Hoyte, if that nice offer proves too rich for its blood.

Galloway: It's hard to keep up with Joneses

Posted on Sun, Mar. 18, 2007

By Randy Galloway
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

In North Arlington, construction cranes hang high over Collins Street, as the finest football stadium known to mankind is on the way up, up, up.
But a mere 20 miles to the east, the mood is down. Way down.

There's a blame game going on. And nothing makes politicians more nervous than the blame game.

"Who Lost the Cowboys for Dallas?" blared a headline last week in that city's newspaper.

Of course, the Cotton Bowl game is also coming to Arlington, and now the worry is about that jewel known as Texas-OU. Will that game be the next to call Arlington home?

What the city of Dallas couldn't or wouldn't do, the city of Arlington did.
Jerry Jones, of course, is the lightning rod in the middle. It's his new stadium, with Arlington as his minority partner, the city investing about a third of what now figures to be close to a billion-dollar project.

The politicians over there spent two years haggling with Jerry about a stadium deal that never got off the table.

Arlington city leaders got it done in two weeks.

In Dallas, they blame Jones for their failure. Lord knows, I understand the sentiment. I've made a decent living over the years by blaming Jones for all things Cowboy.

But four decades ago, different city leaders in Dallas and a different owner of the Cowboys also disagreed over a new stadium issue. The late Clint Murchison heard laughs when he said he'd move the team out of the city.

There was no laughing in 1971. That's when Texas Stadium opened in Irving.

But now it's a CYB mentality in Dallas. Cover Your Butt. Blame Jones. And blame Arlington city leaders for caving in to Jones. Right, Laura Miller?

That's why this week was a good time to check in with my favorite "Dallas Guy."

Former mayor Ron Kirk knows his sports and knows his politics.
So, Ron, is this new stadium a good deal for Arlington?

"Absolutely," he said. "If the voters approved it, it's a good deal."
OK, that's the political answer of convenience, but Kirk also gave his explanation on the role of a mayor and other elected city officials.

"You were voted into that job to provide vision and leadership for your city. But with something like this stadium deal, your vision and leadership has to be approved. The voters will tell you if you are wrong. That's why what Arlington did was right."

Kirk, of course, knows the situation. He came under heavy political fire for being the mayor who pushed for the new arena in downtown Dallas. The voters gave him narrow approval, but the political doubts remained, until...
Kirk is now hailed for "vision and leadership." The arena, and the construction around the arena, has given Dallas a new and different, first-class downtown area.

And if Kirk had still been the Dallas mayor?

"I would have done what Arlington did," he said. "I would have pushed hard for this Cowboys stadium. And there are now, of course, a lot of doubts about us not doing it.

"Yes, it would have been a hard deal to do. Jerry Jones is a smart businessman. But in kind of working on the outside to get it done in Dallas, there was never a conversation I had with Jerry, which didn't lead me to believe that Dallas was his first choice, be it a downtown site, or even Fair Park.

"In any negotiation I ever heard of, if both sides want to make a deal, then you should be able to reach an agreement. Unfortunately, that didn't happen."
Kirk said he also admired Arlington leaders for creating an "identity" for the city:

"When you are halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, that's a difficult process. But to have that new ballpark for the Rangers, and now the Cowboys' stadium, Arlington has accomplished it."
Mention, however, the Texas-OU game, and Kirk digs in. He says he's ready to fight for Dallas.

"The worst thing possible for us is to have a negative reflex after losing the Cotton Bowl game. There are now those saying we shouldn't go ahead and pay the money to totally upgrade the Cotton Bowl.

"We cannot give in to Arlington. The Texas-OU game during the State Fair, that's important history for the city. If we upgrade the Cotton Bowl, we could still lose the game. But if we don't, we will definitely lose the game. We have to take the gamble."

Arlington did gamble, and those construction cranes now loom large on the north side of town, while in Dallas, the politicians scramble for excuses.
For the moment anyway, that's the best answer available on which city was right.

Randy Galloway's Galloway & Co. can be heard weekdays 3-6 p.m. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones, Cowboys' unofficial mascot, dies

WFAA-TV Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones, who entertained Cowboys fans for decades in his chaps and white boots as the team's unofficial mascot, died at home Saturday.

Neighbors told WFAA that Mr. Jones suffered a heart attack about two weeks ago.
He had congestive heart failure and had been in hospice care since then.

He died at 11:30 a.m.

Rest in Peace Crazy Ray, and thank you.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Restricted Free-Agent FB Vonta LeachLeach may visit

Cowboys | Leach may visit
Fri, 16 Mar 2007 14:29:24 -0700

Darren Urban, of the East Valley Tribune, reports the Dallas Cowboys may meet with restricted free-agent FB Vonta Leach (Texans).

Cowboys Insider: Team could be held 'hostage' by free-safety position

Tom Orsborn
Express-News Staff Writer

At various times during the Bill Parcells era, the old coach complained the team was being “held hostage” by the center and cornerback positions.
It’s doubtful Parcells’ successor will use the same phrase, but don’t be surprised if Wade Phillips offers a few complaints about free safety should either Pat Watkins or Keith Davis man the spot next season.

Jerry Jones indicated this week he’s unlikely to sign a veteran free safety in free agency, so Phillips could have to make do with what he’s got.

“I’m comfortable at safety …” Jones said. “I’m comfortable with the players we have in-house.”

That should be a scary thought for Phillips and strong safety Roy Williams, whose wish to play closer to the line of scrimmage will be unfulfilled until the Cowboys employ a center-fielder type free safety.

Jones passed at the chance to sign Kevin Kaesviharn, the only true free safety left among a thinning pool of free-agent safeties that includes Ken Hamlin and Mike Doss.

Kaesviharn, 30, received a four-year, $10 million deal from New Orleans after toiling last season as Cincinnati’s third safety and nickel back. At 6-foot-1, 196 pounds, he can also play strong safety and cornerback.

The Bengals tried to keep him, but he chose the Saints after also hearing pitches from Arizona and Cleveland. Sean Payton probably made the former Augustana (S.D.) standout a target after watching film of his one-interception, 11-tackle, 1.5-sack performance in the Bengals’ 31-16 victory over the Saints.

Hamlin and Doss haven’t drawn much interest, but it’s probably because teams are waiting until they can get them at a bargain price.

The Cowboys also could be waiting until the draft to add a defensive back. If they use their first-round pick (No. 22 overall) to select Texas cornerback Aaron Ross, Phillips would have the option of sliding Anthony Henry over to free safety should Watkins or Davis struggle.

Watkins, a fifth-round draft choice from Florida State, showed flashes as a rookie last season. But more often then not, he struggled to gain confidence.

Davis, who is also a special-teams ace, also had his ups and downs.
An improved pass rush will make all of the Cowboys’ defensive backs better, but the team would be better off with another option at free safety. Otherwise, expect Parcells to tell his ESPN viewers the Cowboys are having another hostage crisis.

Tentative training camp dates set: According to officials with the Cowboys and the city, practices at the Alamodome are tentatively scheduled to begin July 28 and run through August 12, with the final week of camp taking place in Irving. A Cowboys official said camp could start earlier if the team plays five rather than four exhibition games. One thing is certain: The team must be out of the Alamodome by Aug. 15 because the San Antonio Boat Show takes over the next day, according to a dome official. The Cowboys are scheduled to start moving equipment into the dome July 18.

Cowboys smart to keep Julius

Todd Archer makes a good case for the Cowboys holding on to RB Julius Jones, barring a team making a too-good-to-refuse trade offer.

To be clear, the Cowboys aren't shopping Jones, but they will listen to offers. Kind of like I'm not looking to get rid of my trusty Honda Accord, but I'll swap it for a BMW if a car dealer is dumb enough to do it.

The standards for tailbacks here is Hall of Fame-caliber because of Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.

Jones is not anywhere near the level of those Cowboys legends, but he's good enough to be the lead guy in a Super Bowl champs' RB committee. He's arguably as good or better than the lead RBs on the last six Super Bowl winners.

Posted by Tim MacMahon at 5:37 PM (E-mail this entry) | Comments (0

Jerry Jones: Owens Knew His Plays


And finally, it seems Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is spending a lot of time defending Terrell Owens, reiterating for the umpteenth time he plans to fund the $3 million roster bonus come June 1 to retain his rights. And when asked about participating in the team's off-season workouts, Jones said basically that will depend on where he is "in his recouping" - meaning how far along he is rehabbing. But when that was taken out of context, and it was suggested that he was saying there is a chance Owens wouldn't be around, Jones said succinctly, "No I didn't say that. I didn't say that at all. This is like I read he didn't know his plays. It's crazy. We ought to look at the coaching if he didn't know his plays. That's who I'd blame for that. And I don't blame the coaches. He knew his plays."

Cowboys looking ahead to NFL draft

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

IRVING -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is undoubtedly pleased with the work his team has done so far in free agency.

So much so that he says the Cowboys have no obvious needs going into the draft and are poised to take advantage of whatever comes “our way” in the first round.

With the addition of former Texas star Leonard Davis and the re-signing of right tackle Marc Colombo, Jones said the Cowboys are in the best shape on the offensive line in 10 years.

He said he is very comfortable with where the Cowboys are at with the safety position, although Florida safety Reggie Nelson and Texas safety Mike Griffin are considered possible targets in the first and second round respectively. Other options could be Texas guard Justin Blalock and LSU receiver Dwayne Bowe.

“I don’t think we’re locked in at any position to come out with,” Jones said. “I can see us going secondary, offensive line, whole gamut and maybe even a young quarterback.”

Jones made it clear that any interest the Cowboys had at quarterback would be from the third round on. And it has no bearing on starter Tony Romo’s standing with the team. He said Romo is the team’s primary focus at quarterback, but the Cowboys would like to develop a young quarterback for the future.

“We know it takes some years to get them ready to play for the most part, and I think (the draft) a good way to go if we get the opportunity,” Jones said.

Fowler on hold

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys have not decided on whether they will match the four-year offer sheet that restricted free agent linebacker Ryan Fowler signed with the Tennessee Titans.

The contract calls for Fowler to get $5 million in guaranteed money and an opportunity to start at inside linebacker. The Cowboys have seven days to match the offer, though the money seems rich for a backup linebacker and special teams player in Dallas.

“We are still looking at it,” Jones said. “But we will get to it pretty quick here.”

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Football: Cowboys owner says team not shopping running back

by Tom Orsborn

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Wednesday dismissed reports that running back Julius Jones is on the trading block.
Jerry Jones said he liked the way the team used the former Notre Dame star and Marion Barber last season. The owner also said he's hopeful Tyson Thompson can return from the season-ending ankle injury he suffered in October.

Julius Jones is a fourth-year player in the final year of his contract. He rushed for a career-high 1,084 yards and four touchdowns last season on 267 attempts. Barber gained 654 yards and scored 14 TDs on 135 carries.

"I don't see it happening," Jones told reporters in Dallas, where he announced Ford Motor Company will be the title sponsor for the team's training camp in San Antonio this summer.
"We have got a team that's going to need some great plays from (the running back) position, and I like what we've done there with (Julius Jones) and Barber," Jerry Jones added. "More than likely, unless we have an opportunity in the draft to do something, we'll be going with the running back group we ended the season with."

The Philadelphia Daily News and an analyst for reported this week the Cowboys are eager to entertain trade offers for Julius Jones. Teams likely interested in discussing a swap include Green Bay, Tennessee, Buffalo and Indianapolis.

Jerry Jones declined to say whether he has received calls about Julius Jones' availability.

The owner also discussed the team's plans for the NFL draft set for April 28-29. The Cowboys have 10 picks, including No. 22 overall. Jerry Jones said the team isn't focused on strengthening any one position, although he said it could select a quarterback in the later rounds.
If that happens, the owner said it shouldn't be perceived as a sign the team lacks confidence in starter Tony Romo or 38-year-old backup Brad Johnson.

"We know it takes some years to get (a quarterback) really ready to play for the most part, and I think it's a good way to go if we get the opportunity," Jerry Jones said.

The Cowboys will enter the draft looking for the best player available in the first round after using free agency to fill needs at backup quarterback and offensive line. He said signing more free agents is a possibility, although he was quick to add he's pleased with his current roster.

"I'm comfortable at safety, for instance," Jerry Jones said. "I'm comfortable with the players we have in-house. We've gotten comfortable in the offensive line, so I'm counting on the draft to make a significant contribution to the people we're going to be playing with this year."

The owner also reiterated that receiver Terrell Owens is included in the team's plans for next season. Owens is due a $3 million roster bonus on June 1.

RECAP: Mickey with BaD Radio on The Ticket - 03/15/07...

Originally Posted by trickblue from a sports forum:

Jerry says "No Dice". They are not shopping Julius Jones and he is in no way on the market. Some site mentions it and it goes national. I've yet to see anyone with a credible source.

I don't see any way you give Barber 250-300 carries. This thing worked pretty well last year plus you have Julius on a pretty nice contract. Granted he is in his las year of his contract, but you will have to pay to go get someone else. I guarantee you Barber won't get that kind of load.

In my opinion, no one on this team is untouchable outside of Newman and Ware. For the right price anyone is tradable. If someone comes in with a sweetheart deal Dallas would trade Julius, but I just don't see that happening. Remember, with Barber, he would have to carry the ball from the twenty sometimes too. You can't make every carry from the two.

Jones a keeper for Cowboys

by Todd Archer

IRVING – The Cowboys are not trying to trade Julius Jones. This may be a battle of semantics, but they would listen to offers for their starting running back. They would listen to offers on just about anybody on the roster.

The untouchables would be tight end Jason Witten, quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Terence Newman and safety Roy Williams. Add a few more if you want, but you get the picture.

Julius' brother, Thomas, has been traded from Chicago to the New York Jets. Willis McGahee went from Buffalo to Baltimore. Buffalo needs a runner. Green Bay needs a runner. That led to reports that the Cowboys have made Jones available, which owner and general manager Jerry Jones refuted on Wednesday.
Unless the Cowboys have their socks blown off by a team looking for a running back (say, second- and fifth-round picks this year), they should keep Jones.

It's a gamble because Jones is entering the final year of his contract. It's a gamble because while Jones has shown many flashes of greatness, he has not sustained it long enough to convince everybody he is the next great Cowboys running back.

But Jones is coming off his first 1,000-yard season (1,084 yards) and owns two of the top four rushing games in team history. If Jones has a better 2007 season, that helps his bargaining position entering free agency, but it also helps the Cowboys.

In three less-than-full seasons, Jones has 2,896 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, but he remains something of a mystery.
Last year, he had four 100-yard games, but only one after Oct. 15. In six of the first eight games, he had at least 20 carries. That happened just once in the final eight games.

Bill Parcells kept saying he wanted Jones fresh for the stretch run, but he never used Jones down the stretch. Maybe because he felt Marion Barber's ability to close games was too great to see on the sideline. Maybe because he felt Jones couldn't handle the job. Maybe Parcells made a mistake.
Jones was peeved at the lack of work but did a decent job hiding his frustration publicly.

Is he the next one to follow Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith? Maybe not those heights, but he's not exactly Troy Hambrick either.
In 2004, the Cowboys passed on the chance to take Kevin Jones (he was going to be their first-round pick, not Steven Jackson) when Buffalo offered up its No. 1 in 2005 and then-offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon said he did not see a difference between the Joneses and Jackson.
So the Cowboys took Julius and he went nuts in the final eight games of the season. Think Seattle. Think Carolina. An ankle injury slowed him in 2005, but he had a decent '06.

Can he be better in '07? Yes. He's proven he can handle a 16-game season. He continues to have breakaway ability. He's gotten better at picking up the tough yards. He is entering a contract year.
Jones does a better job of reading holes, according to those who break down the film, while Barber can make 4 yards when the play is blocked for 2 yards. The difference is Barber will sometimes take a 2-yard run and turn it into no gain. Jones did a good job of eliminating bad runs.
If the Cowboys do trade Jones, do they know Barber can be the every-down back? Can Tyson Thompson take on a bigger role? Would they want to dip into the early part of the draft for a runner?

With Jones and Barber, the Cowboys have one of the better tandems in the league.
Why mess up a good thing?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Johnson gives Cowboys a backup plan

09:07 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Brad Johnson is going to be a good fit in Dallas as a backup, whether he's ready to admit it publicly or not.

Johnson, ruffled a bit when asked if he was here to be Tony Romo's mentor, knows his days as a starter are over. Otherwise, he would've chosen another team. Romo is the starter here for the next several years.

But Johnson gives the Cowboys a player who's still good enough to challenge Romo a little bit in training camp. More important, if the Cowboys were to lose Romo to injury for a couple of weeks, they would feel perfectly comfortable starting Johnson.

The veteran is an intelligent player who makes few mental mistakes. He doesn't move well, and his arm strength is limited, but he makes up for it by making good decisions. He also protects the ball and throws few interceptions, though he's been criticized for throwing too much to his check-down receivers.

Dallas hasn't used its backup quarterback much over the last few seasons, but now the team is good enough that the Cowboys don't want the season ruined because of an injury. Johnson gives them insurance.

It's a policy the Cowboys hope they don't have to cash.


Q: There's been nothing in the news about Drew Bledsoe, and I am curious if he will play next year. If so, what opportunities does he have?

TAYLOR: Drew has made it pretty clear that he has no interest in being a backup – and I can't really blame him. The former No. 1 pick overall has been an above-average quarterback for his entire career. Don't forget, the Cowboys averaged about 28 points per game with him as a starter before his lack of mobility and penchant for ill-timed interceptions put him on the bench. If some team loses a starter in training camp, then I can see Bledsoe getting a call to come save the day. Other than that, I think his career is over. And it was a good one.


Q: Flozell Adams, Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo have all gotten some publicity this off-season, but what about Kyle Kosier? What kind of player is he?

TAYLOR: Kosier had a solid season as the Cowboys' left guard. He struggled in some pass-blocking situations, but was a dependable run-blocker who did a nice job of consistently getting to the second level and getting to linebackers after making his initial block.


Q: Is Marc Colombo really the answer at right tackle? I appreciate his size and street fighter attitude, but isn't he still fairly limited in terms of mobility? Or did he really turn a corner in his comeback this year and it takes a more expert eye to recognize that?

TAYLOR: What you have to understand is that every player on the team isn't going to be great. You have to have some average players, in part, so you can afford to pay your really good players. Colombo is an average player, and there's nothing wrong with that. He plays hard, makes few mental mistakes and will compete to the end of every game. There's something to like about that.


Q: I've haven't watched the Cardinals much, what is the knock on Davis, exactly?

TAYLOR: When you're the second player selected in the draft, people expect you to be great – not good. Davis has been solid, but he hasn't been knocking people on their butt every play. I think he can be an outstanding guard because it maximizes his strengths and hides his weaknesses.


Q: Jerry's projected starting offensive line for 2007 looks awesome. But why not flip-flop Columbo and Davis?

TAYLOR: For one, Colombo has never been a guard. Davis has been a guard-tackle all of his career. Davis is OK at tackle, but like I said, he has the potential to be a much better guard.


Q: What would the Cowboys have to give up to get Lance Briggs from Chicago? Would a draft pick and Marcus Spears be enough?

TAYLOR: I would suspect the Bears would want at least a No.1 pick and maybe a No. 3. Of course, I've been way off this off-season on what I thought it would take to get certain guys. I don't think Dallas would spend the combination of draft picks and money that it would take to get Briggs. He's a special player, and the cost is high to get players of his ilk.


Q: Has everyone forgotten about Kevin Burnett?

TAYLOR: It's time for Burnett to make some plays. He's frustrated with his lack of playing time, but it's up to him to force his way into the lineup. One way to do that is by excelling on special teams, which is what Ryan Fowler did and why Tennessee just paid him $10 million over four years.


Q: It seems to me that the problem at both safety positions the last couple of years has been the lack of quality competition for starting jobs. I'm curious how Roy Williams would handle competition for his job since he's never really had any. Would he get selfish and indignant or would he step up?

TAYLOR: I like your thought process, but let's be serious. When you give a player $12 million, there is no competition for his starting job. This is more about the Cowboys putting Williams in better position to make big plays and finding a true ballhawk – perhaps Florida's Reggie Nelson – to play free safety.


Q: I keep reading about how they are thinking about shifting Anthony Henry to free safety and then drafting or signing a second corner. What do you think?

TAYLOR: Moving Henry to safety isn't going to happen. He has a hard enough time staying healthy at cornerback, which isn't nearly the physical position that safety is. Besides, the Cowboys don't want to use a guy they gave a $10 million signing bonus to at free safety.


Q: What will be the status of Tyson Thompson? Will he go back to special teams or backup tailback?

TAYLOR: He is fully recovered from everything I've heard and will compete for a backup running back job as well as kick returner with Miles Austin. He made really good strides as a kick returner, but Austin seemed to be more natural. It will be a good competition.


Q: Every time I have watched Troy Aikman do a Dallas game on Fox, I am left thinking that he has a burr under his saddle for the Cowboys. He always seems very critical of what they do on the field, good or bad. When commenting on other teams, he rationalizes their shortcomings almost to a fault. What gives?

TAYLOR: I think you're reading too much into his comments. I've always thought he was pretty fair and unbiased. His job, these days, is not to root for the Cowboys. It's to give you an accurate assessment of the game.

SEC Lineman Visiting Dallas

By Roy Philpott
Posted Mar 14, 2007

One of the top offensive linemen available in the 2007 NFL Draft will visit with the Dallas Cowboys during the first week in April. has the latest in another pre-draft update.

The Dallas Cowboys are planning a visit with Auburn offensive lineman Ben Grubbs, has learned. The Cowboys were also one of a handful of teams that scouted Grubbs during Auburn's Pro Day earlier this week.

Grubbs, the current No. 1 ranked offensive guard prospect in the nation according to, will also visit with the Washington Redskins.

As a former defensive linemen, Grubbs told at the NFL Combine he has an advantage because he knows what to expect on most plays.

"Sometimes, even before the defensive linemen are about to do their moves, I know what they’re going to do,” he said. “You’re kind of in that defensive mentality, even if you’re a guard.”

On making the move to offense, Grubbs said the guard position was more a natural move than anything else.

“I just continued eating,” Grubbs said. “I kept getting bigger. They tried me at offensive guard and coach told me the spot was mine if I earned it.”

For his career, he started 37 consecutive games and as a senior was the only player named SEC Lineman of the Week two times. He was also named All-SEC and second-team All-America by the Associated Press. His combination of quick feet and power endears him to teams such as the Steelers, who utilize their guards in space. And Grubbs says he’s still growing.

“I love to get out in space and pull, pick on those little guys like the cornerbacks and safeties,” he said. “I really think that’s where I have the advantage of being quick. I can get around the corner and make the blocks that a lot of players can’t make.”

He’s also practiced at center, in case it becomes an issue further on down the road.

“I’m not comfortable enough to play in a game right now,” he said. “I am pretty versatile. I think that’s one of the advantages I have.”

Grubbs only enhanced his value during Auburn's Pro Day. Measuring in at 6-2 ½, 314, Grubbs ran a time on several watches below 5.0 in the 40-yard dash to easily improve his time from the combine. He also added a 29-inch vertical and an impressive 35 reps on the bench press of 225 pounds to solidify his reputation as one of the top offensive linemen available in the draft. Grubbs said that was his reasoning for deciding to work out again at home.

”I just wanted to do everything once to see if I could improve on my numbers,” Grubbs says. “I still worked hard and was still out there busting my butt during training and I wanted to see if anything improved. I think I did well in everything. I improved everything but my pro agility. In everything else my numbers improved.”

Stay tuned to in the coming days and weeks for more information on the Dallas Cowboys and their 2007 pre-draft visits.



Posted Mar 14, 2007


1. Wide receiver: In Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn, the Cowboys believe they have one of the top receiving tandems in the league. Both topped 1,000 yards last season. But they will be 34 and 33 next season, respectively, meaning the Cowboys need to start developing a lead receiver for the future. This will be a point of emphasis in the draft.

2. Free safety: Patrick Watkins was a typical rookie starter last year at free safety. He had his moments but he also was victimized for big plays. The Cowboys like his potential and think he has the chance to develop into a solid player. However, it's important that the Cowboys improve the position immediately because of the desire to take strong safety Roy Williams out of coverage and use him close to the line of scrimmage.

3. Defensive tackle: The Cowboys like nose tackle Jason Ferguson but they have no depth behind him. They need help here.

Daydreaming: Leonard Davis' Mind Was Not on The Cardinals

Posted Mar 14th 2007
9:05AM by Dan Benton

Have you ever found yourself watching a game and wondering "what in the world is that guy thinking?" Well, if you had ever asked yourself that about Leonard Davis, I now have the answer for you. He was thinking about playing for the Cowboys. That's right folks, while in uniform with the Arizona Cardinals on the field during a game; "Big" was daydreaming about playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

I suppose that could explain why he played at an average at best level for his entire career. At least up until the final eight games of last season which had suddenly made him a top free agent. Either way, as a Cardinals fan I say good riddance. Outside of those eight games he had never played up to the money he commanded; even on his previous contract. It's the very reason the Cardinals didn't re-sign him last season and the reason they let him walk in free agency.

I know Cowboys fans are thrilled with this addition but it will only take a few times of Tony Romo getting his head taken off before they realize just what they got. He's your problem now,Dallas. Have fun and pray he doesn't revert back to his old ways.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cowboys have until next Monday to match Fowler offer

Ryan Fowler will be the "heavy favorite to start" at middle linebacker if Dallas fails to match Tennessee's four-year, $11.5 million offer sheet.

The Cowboys have until next Monday to match. Productive 2006 fourth-round pick Stephen Tulloch would be Fowler's competition inside.
Source: Nashville Tennessean
Related: Stephen Tulloch, Titans

'Boys to visit with safety prospect... Melvin Bullitt

Cowboys | Team to visit with Bullitt
Tue, 13 Mar 2007 05:45:33 -0800
John Murphy, of Yahoo! Sports, reports the Dallas Cowboys have scheduled a private visit with Texas A&M S Melvin Bullitt, according to league sources.

NFL | Bullitt works out at Pro Day
Sun, 4 Mar 2007 12:02:28 -0800
Gil Brandt, of, reports Texas A&M S Melvin Bullitt measured a height of 6-1 1/4 and a weight of 201 pounds at his Pro Day March 3. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds and 4.48 seconds. He finished the short shuttle in 3.97 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.90 seconds. He measured a 40 1/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-5 broad jump and completed 15 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sporting News: JJT: Team Report

By Jean-Jacques Taylor
For Sporting News
March 11, 2007

The Cowboys solidified their offensive line, an important offseason project, by signing RT Marc Colombo to a two-year deal worth $7 million, including a $4 million signing bonus. Bringing Colombo back means the Cowboys will start Leonard Davis, who signed last week, at right guard. Since the end of the season, Dallas has re-signed Colombo and C Andre Gurode and added Davis. The Cowboys like Colombo because he's a hard-working tough guy who did a solid job for them last season. He makes few mental mistakes and competes hard the entire game. He struggles in space but did a solid job against the best pass rushers he faced. The signing of Colombo probably means Marco Rivera's time in Dallas is up. He struggled the past two seasons primarily because of back ailments that limited the power and explosion that once made him one of the NFL's top guards. He had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back for the second time in three years and can't pass a physical right now if he had to. Rivera, a noted worker, is trying to rehab his back and there's a chance he could return this season in a backup role, but he's trying to recover from the same injury -- and play at a collision position -- that drove former safety Darren Woodson into retirement. . . .

Dallas also added backup QB Brad Johnson, who gives them a viable option if starter Tony Romo gets injured. Johnson made it clear he intends to compete for the starting position, but the Cowboys signed him, in part, because they wanted a veteran whom Romo wouldn't feel threatened by but could still help the team if called upon. They also needed a player who understood his role and would willingly accept it. Brad Johnson doesn't have a lot of mobility or arm strength at this point in his career, but he's smart and makes good decisions. He willingly throws to running backs -- almost to a fault -- if he doesn't have an open receiver on his first or second read. Because he's cautious with the ball, Johnson throws few turnovers.

SCOUTING REPORT: TE Jason Witten continues to emerge as one of the game's best tight ends, and if he gets a few more balls thrown his direction -- which is tough with WRs Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn on the roster -- then his numbers could rival those of Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. Witten has excellent hands and catches the ball well in traffic. He has the speed to outrun linebackers and get down the middle of the field to exploit cover 2, and he has too much size for safeties to handle. He doesn't give you much run-after-the-catch ability because he doesn't make many defenders miss, but he can be difficult for one man to tackle because he's 6-5 and 265 pounds.

DRAFT: 'Boys Check on Top Safety

By Roy Philpott
Posted Mar 12, 2007

Considering the Cowboys have selected a defensive player every year since 1997 with their first round pick, it stands to reason there will be a good chance it could happen again this year.

And leading the way, in terms of who could help the Cowboys the most, is Florida safety Reggie Nelson.

The Cowboys were one of many teams onhand for Florida's Pro Day last week and certainly they came away impressed.

After disappointing results at the combine, Nelson lit it up Wednesday, running almost two-tenths faster in his 40, clocking in the low 4.3-second range. He also looked spectacular in drills and will now battle to be the second safety chosen in April.

For the Cowboys, Nelson appears to be a perfect fit.

With decent size, excellent speed and terrific cover skills, the former Florida Gator would be ideal in complimenting the hard-hitting Roy Williams at strong safety.

Dallas has been burned in the downfield passing game in recent years due to Williams playing close to the line of scrimmage, not to mention poor coverage from the free safety position.

The Cowboys drafted Florida State's Patrick Watkins in the fifth round of last year's draft, but Watkins was largely inconsistent and may be best suited for a reserve role. In addition, one time starter Keith Davis is more in the mold of Williams as opposed to a free safety with coverage skills.

The Cowboys are also considering moving Anthony Henry from cornerback to free safety if no help is added either in the draft or free agency.

Aside from the Cowboys, New England and Jacksonville have also shown considerable interest in Nelson.

Nelson finished his junior season with the Gators by recording 51 total tackles, including two for loss, six interceptions and two blocked kicks. currently ranks Nelson as the No. 2 safety and the No. 19 overall

Ex-Cowboys great Smith joins ESPN as NFL analyst

Ex-Cowboys great Smith joins ESPN as NFL analyst news services

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Emmitt Smith is the latest former member of the Cowboys orgaznization to join ESPN.

The former Dallas Cowboys running back has been hired by ESPN as a studio analyst for its NFL pregame coverage. Earlier this month, former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells also joined ESPN.

Smith, the National Football League's all-time leading rusher, will appear on the network's NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown shows. He will also appear as an analyst on ESPN Radio and

"I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and insight of football with the fans of the NFL," Smith said in a statement. "I am excited to be joining the ESPN family, particularly the highly respected Countdown crews."

Smith will join Chris Berman, analysts Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Ron Jaworski, and reporter Chris Mortensen on NFL countdown. He, Berman, Jackson, Mortensen and analyst Steve Young will do the Monday Night Countdown show each week from the site of the Monday Night Football game.

Parcells also will be part of the Monday night broadcast and will appear on other programs, contribute weekly columns to and co-host a radio show with Mortensen on Friday evenings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rivera wants to play again

Cowboys | Rivera wants to play again
Sun, 11 Mar 2007 12:55:12 -0800

Rick Herrin, of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, reports Dallas Cowboys OG Marco Rivera(back) said he would like to play football again. Rivera, who iscurrently going through rehabilitation after having back surgery, said,"It's going to take time. My goal is to be there for the first game ofthe season."

Julius Jones can be had for the right price

The Cowboys have told teams that Julius Jones can be had for the right price, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The new coaching staff may be poised to let Marion Barber III, who scored 16 TDs last season, get his chance at the beginning of games. Jones was inconsistent but averaged 4.1 yards-per-carry in 2006 and is only 25, so he should bring back a third-round pick, if not more.
Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Related: Marion Barber

Titans signed LB Ryan Fowler to a multi-year offer sheet Monday

Despite an Eagles press release saying that Philadelphia had signed him to an offer sheet, the Titans signed LB Ryan Fowler to a multi-year offer sheet Monday.

That's a first. reports that the Eagles aren't upset because of a miscommunication between Fowler and Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt over the weekend. Fowler could push Stephen Tulloch to start in Tennessee.
Related: Stephen Tulloch, Eagles, Titans

Sunday, March 11, 2007

SCANDAL! Owens didn't know entire playbook..LOL!

Cowboys | Owens didn't know entire playbook
Sun, 11 Mar 2007 07:50:41 -0800

Jean-Jacques Taylor, of the Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens did not know the team's entire playbook last season. Members of the organization knew Owens was not familiar with the playbook. On occasion, QB Tony Romo and others would have to tell him plays during practice.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

KFFL on T.O. and Colombo

Cowboys | Cowboys want more production out of Owens
Fri, 9 Mar 2007 02:16:03 -0800
Jean-Jacques Taylor, of the Dallas Morning News, reporting for the Sporting News, reports the Dallas Cowboys want more production from WR Terrell Owens. One way they will try this in 2007 is by getting him more involved in crossing routes that will give him the ability to run after the catch. That's the skill that makes Owens special, and the Cowboys didn't get him the ball on the move quite enough last season.

Jets | Colombo on wish list
Fri, 9 Mar 2007 02:15:57 -0800
Mike Garafolo, of the Star-Ledger, reports unrestricted free-agent OT Marc Colombo (Cowboys) is on the New York Jets' wish list, but they'll likely wait to see what develops in the coming weeks. Right tackle is a position the Jets need to fill.

Cowboys | Team unsure of position for Davis
Fri, 9 Mar 2007 02:10:55 -0800
Jean-Jacques Taylor, of the Dallas Morning News, reporting for the Sporting News, reports the Dallas Cowboys have yet to decide whether OL Leonard Davis, who just signed a seven-year deal worth $49.5 million, will play right guard or right tackle. Some of that will depend on whether the Cowboys re-sign unrestricted free-agent OT Marc Colombo. The Cowboys would probably prefer Colombo at right tackle, where his great strength and size becomes a much bigger factor.

Cowboys | Jones says he will keep Owens
Fri, 9 Mar 2007 02:10:53 -0800
Jean-Jacques Taylor, of the Dallas Morning News, reporting for the Sporting News, reports Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to insist that he will pay WR Terrell Owens a $3 million roster bonus that will keep him on the team this year.

Cowboys | Garrett likely to call plays
Fri, 9 Mar 2007 02:10:51 -0800
Jean-Jacques Taylor, of the Dallas Morning News, reporting for the Sporting News, reports despite being an NFL assistant for only two seasons, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will probably call the plays in 2007.

Jerry Jones on the Cowboys

DMN blog: Calvin Watkins

Jerry Jones spoke to the media on Friday afternoon by conference call and addressed a few issues.

He's happy the team re-signed starting right tackle Marc Colombo.
Jones said the signing gives the team some flexibility with Leonard Davis, who can play right tackle and right guard.

Most likely, Davis will play right guard because there's a feeling that Marco Rivera is outta here.
He's undergone his second back surgery in the last three seasons and though he is working out slowly, it’s doubtful he can return.

Jones on Rivera: “It’s something we will look at down the road. There’s no move to make. He can’t pass a physical right now and we’re not under any cap pressure here to make a decision.”
Rivera is scheduled to make a base salary of $2 million in 2007.

Will the Cowboys make a trade this offseason? Jones said the team will keep its options open.
The team is also not done in free agency.

"I wouldn't speculate that we're done," Jones said.

What about wide receiver?

Dallas picked up the $5 million roster bonus of Terry Glenn earlier this month. And what about Terrell Owens and his $3 million roster bonus due in June?

"I think that’s one of the strengths of our team is wide receiver," Jones said. "That's certainly not paramount. I couldn’t answer your question that way. It's one of the strengths of our team."

T.O. stays for 2007 unless Dallas finds a wideout in free agency or it believes it drafts one in the first round.

Should Dallas draft a free safety in the draft next month?

Jones didn't say no, but he voiced some confidence in Patrick Watkins, that's Todd Archer's cousin, who was the primary starter last year.

Keith Davis, a run stopper, who plays free safety, will also get a look in training camp.
Watkins seemed to be more of a ball-hawk than Davis. But Davis is a better tackler.

"I like what we can do from within," Jones said of the free safety spot.

Cowboys released tackle Jason Fabini

Cowboys released tackle Jason Fabini.

Fabini, 33 in August, signed a three-year, $6 million last year to battle to start and ended as a blocker on special teams. Pat McQuistan is Dallas' swing tackle for now and Leonard Davis also can play the position.
Related: Leonard Davis, Pat McQuistan

Cowboys re-signed RT Marc Colombo to a two-year, $7 million contract

Cowboys re-signed RT Marc Colombo to a two-year, $7 million contract.

Colombo received $4 million to sign, according to ESPN's John Clayton. Leonard Davis should now be allowed to play his natural guard position, and, at nearly 370 pounds is a more-natural fit there. Mar. 9 - 4:38 pm et

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wilson is a man on a Mission

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

IRVING -- Wade Wilson jumped at the chance for a Cowboys reunion.

He's back at Valley Ranch and actually surprised he's here. He's back with old buddy and former fellow backup Jason Garrett, and now in charge of a Pro Bowler.

"I was always hopeful to get back here, but I didn't know it would happen this quickly," said Wilson, who played 19 seasons in the league and in Dallas from 1995-1997. "It's not like you're coming back to a rebuilding situation. There are so many positives about being back here."

Wilson, the Cowboys' new quarterbacks coach, returned to Dallas for the third time, second as an assistant, after surprisingly getting out of his contract with Chicago. While he was once a backup for Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, he is now in charge of putting his fingerprints on the development of Tony Romo. It's a process that will determine whether Romo is the franchise's quarterback of the future.

"You see a guy with a ton of potential and a ton of upside," Wilson said of Romo.

Wilson, 48, spent the past three seasons as quarterbacks coach with the Bears. But Wilson didn't hesitate leaving behind a Super Bowl team for his home state, where he starred at Commerce High School and later his hometown East Texas State.

"Things worked out for the best for me," Wilson said.

Wilson goes from working with much-maligned quarterback Rex Grossman to Dallas' newest golden child.

"He has all the traits you would like to coach in a quarterback," Wilson said of Romo, who is 6-4 as a starter in the regular season. "You would just like to go out and try to hone those skills."

New Cowboys coach Wade Phillips sought Wilson, whom he didn't know well, partly because of his past with the franchise.

"I wanted guys that had some link to the past here, too, because I think the past is really important here -- the winning tradition and Super Bowls, those kinds of things," Phillips said. "I like to link to that as much as I can, also as long as the guy is a really good coach, which he is."

In his first stint with the Cowboys from 2000-2002, Wilson worked with a slew of quarterback failures in Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Clint Stoerner and Ryan Leaf. With Romo, he sees something different.

Romo said he heard plenty of good things about Wilson before the coach left for Chicago.

"I met Wade about four to five years ago when I first got in because he hadn't yet left here," Romo said.

"He was a good guy. From everybody that I talk to, they say he is as good a person as you can find."

Wilson said he expects Garrett to be very hands-on in working with the quarterbacks, including veteran Brad Johnson.

While Wilson and Garrett have never worked together, they played together in Dallas and talked often over the years.

"He played quarterback so long and knew so much about the position while he played it," Phillips said of Wilson. "Some guys turn into really good coaches that have played the position and I think he's one of those guys."

Wilson can provide perspective to Romo after serving as Aikman's backup, and knows the culture of being around the quarterback of America's Team.

"You have to teach a young guy, and I went through it with Rex last year a little bit," Wilson said.

"There are ups and downs throughout the course of the season and throughout the course of the game. It's how you handle all those situations and continue to be confident and play within yourself."