Monday, June 30, 2008

DMN Blog: Ranking the Cowboys: Defensive line

by Tim MacMahon

BLOGGER'S NOTE: In an attempt to fill the deadest time of offseason with something resembling meaningful football conversation, we'll run a series debating where each Cowboys positional unit ranks among their league peers.

The Cowboys defensive line lacks star power but is solid. And it should be improved this season.

Odds are DE Chris Canty, who emerged as a disruptive force in Wade Phillips' one-gap scheme last season, will be playing on a one-year deal. That means he ought to be an awfully motivated 6-7, 300-pound man.

Jay Ratliff got his long-term deal last year after proving that he was a legitimate starting nose tackle. His versatility will be of tremendous value this season, as the coaching staff can move him around to create favorable matchups and open up playing time for Tank Johnson.

Johnson wasn't much of a factor after his suspension ended in the middle of the season. He's expected to make a much bigger impact in 2008 after spending the off-season at Valley Ranch instead of in an Illinois jail. He's much more comfortable with the scheme and has been boasting about being a "beast," thanks in large part to strength coach Joe Juraszek's progam.

DE Marcus Spears, to borrow a term from the coach who drafted him in the first round, is what he is. That's a solid two-down DE who led the D-line in tackles for losses last season. DE Jason Hatcher has shown flashes, particularly as a pass rusher.

This unit enters the season as a slightly above-average group. Probably in the 10-12 range among the league's defensive lines. Follow the jump for the top five.

RUMOR: Glenn and Jerry reach contract agreement!

"1460 WSBN is reporting on Glenn

Michael Ricardi is saying that Glenn and JJ have come to a decision and the contract that will be $750 in stead of the $500K that was originally offered. He will sign it on Monday and be ready for camp"

NFL Player Rankings (CBS Sports - Cowboy Players only)

Some interesting rankings here:

QB: Romo #6
RB: Barber III #8 (Westbrook #2, Portis #3??)
WR: Owens #5, Crayton #51, Hurd #57, (Hines Ward #72, Boldin #77, R. Williams #85??)
TE: Witten #2
LB: Ware #37??, James # 43, Burnett #61
DB: Hamlin #49, R. Williams #103, Newman #229, Henry #240 (probably due to injuries)
DL: Canty #48, Hatcher #52, Spears #79, Ratliff #172
Team: Cowboys #2

Vela: A. Jones, CB Rankings and Ken Hamlin’s Best Position: K.C. Joyner Returns, Pt.1

The football scientist K.C. Joyner gave BSR an interview Friday, taking time from finishing Scientific Football 2008 to discuss Adam Jones, the Cowboys incumbent corners, whether Ken Hamlin should be moved to strong safety and other topics. Today, we focus on the defense.

BSR: Adam Jones has finally landed in the Cowboys’ secondary. There’s a lot of discussion on the site about his ability to recover from a year off. I don’t think it’s an issue. He was suspended for being a knucklead. He didn’t miss time for a major injury or behavior that damaged his body, like drug or alcohol abuse. Paul Hornung and Alex Karras missed a full year in ‘63 for gambling. Both played well after they returned and they were both 28 the year they sat. Jones was 24. I think his performance curve can actually improve.

Joyner: I agree. Physiologists and baseball analysts like Bill James say that your physical peak comes around age 27 or 28. Don’t forget that John Riggins also sat out a year and helped win a Super Bowl after he returned.

BSR: I saw a comment from an AFC pro personnel guy who said Jones has talent but was inconsistent while at Tennessee. How much can we expect him to add to the secondary this year?

Joyner: Remember, he’s replacing Jacques Reeves. Reeves had a 7.9 yards per attempt in ‘07. Now, a 7.0 YPA is about league average. Adam Jones had a 5.4 YPA in 2006 (which ranked 8th overall). Jones doesn’t have to equal that to be an improvement. Even if he’s a notch below his ‘06 play he’ll raise the secondary’s play.

As for being inconsistent, you don’t post a 5.4 YPA giving up a lot of big plays. He may have given up a decent throw here and there, but you can’t give up many and post a number like that.

BSR: How did the Cowboys’ regular corners rate?

Joyner: Anthony Henry had a 6.6 YPA. That’s in the top third. Terence Newman had a 6.2 YPA. That’s in the top 20. The Cowboys had a top ten secondary with Reeves starting 13 games. They should be as good or better with Jones.

[Note: Joyner didn't have his rankings handy, but he's on the mark. A 6.2 YPA ranked 15th in both the '05 and '06 CB ratings. A 6.6 YPA ranked 21st and 20th in those years. ]

BSR: There’s been a lot of speculation that the Cowboys will move to Anthony Henry to free safety and Ken Hamlin to strong safety, putting Roy Williams on the bench. Henry hinted at this when Jones got some reps at starting right corner in last week’s mini-camp. But Hamlin was very good at free safety last year. Would Dallas be messing with success to move him?
Joyner: Before Ken Hamlin the Cowboys were awful at free safety. [Note: Keith Davis and Pat Watkins had the worst pass coverage numbers for starting FSs in '05 and '06.]

I think Dallas might be creating one problem by trying to solve another one. I don’t have his stats but Hamlin was very, very good last year. If the Cowboys want to replace Roy Williams at strong safety, they should get another strong safety. Look, I don’t have any problems saying this on the record. I think Roy Williams is just one of those guys, like Randy Moss, who’s going to play his game, the game that he wants to play, no matter what.

BSR: Let’s look at the Dallas secondary in comparison to another top divisional unit. I’ve written a couple of pieces on the NFC and I have the Eagles as my bubble team; I’m putting them outside the playoffs but can see them in if they keep Lito Sheppard. How good can Philly’s secondary be if they keep him?

Joyner: Lito dropped off. He takes chances and has high YPAs but the Eagles put up with it because he made plays and got picks. He’s stopped doing that.

BSR: What did Asante Samuel post last year?

Joyner: He was 7.2. Good, but not great.

I think the Eagles suffered letting nickel back Rod Hood go. He posted a 6.6 YPA for Arizona, which is very respectable. They replaced him with William James, who had a YPA over 11.0 last year, which is one of the worst marks in the league.

– Come back Monday for Part II, where K.C. will discuss Tony Romo’s ‘07, the difficult matchups he faces in ‘08, Patrick Crayton’s value as a number two and whether rumored WR target Joe Horn has anything left.

Written by Rafael Vela

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Newman has proclaimed, "On paper, we're the greatest team in the league

Source: RotoTimes

Terence Newman has proclaimed, "On paper, we're the greatest team in the league," according to the Dallas Morning News. Newman also admitted that the Cowboys were overconfident in their playoff loss to the eventual champion Giants last season.

Our View: There are high expectations set in Dallas this season, and they are a popular choice to make it to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.

Jones considering where Glenn fits


Wide receiver Terry Glenn has rehired agent Jimmy Gould in hopes of coming to terms with the Dallas Cowboys over a $500,000 injury settlement.

But that might not be enough to get him on the field.

According to team owner Jerry Jones, it’s not necessarily about the injury settlement anymore. It’s about what’s best for the Cowboys and whether Glenn can help them win.

"What I should be looking at is how he fits as a player this year," Jones said. "That is what this is about. It’s not about my will against Terry’s will."

Glenn was barred from working out during off-season team activities and minicamp because he refused to sign an injury waiver to protect the team in case he reinjured his surgically repaired right knee. The Cowboys had threatened to cut him if he didn’t sign the waiver, and a defiant Glenn asked for his release earlier this month.

Tensions have eased in recent weeks, with Glenn maintaining that he wants to continue his career with the Cowboys.

Jones said he has had discussions with Gould and has always been fond of Glenn, whose base salary for the upcoming season is $1.74 million. He said that was the main reason the Cowboys gave Glenn a contract extension when Terrell Owens was signed in 2006. Glenn received a $5 million roster bonus last season as part of that deal.

"Terry is someone I have a lot of interest in," Jones said. "We have worked good together. It was part of what Terry Glenn is about when we extended his contract."

Glenn was sidelined for the first 15 games last season after undergoing two arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee.

The Cowboys kept him on the active roster, hoping he might be able to help them in the playoffs.

Glenn played four plays and never made an impact.

Team doctors recommended that Glenn have microfracture knee surgery, but he opted for rehabilitation.

The Cowboys are encouraged by the progress Glenn has made but are concerned about his durability — and possibly his effect on the team.

According to a source, there are those in the organization who think Glenn’s return for the playoffs might have had a negative impact on his replacement, Patrick Crayton. Despite a solid regular season in which he posted career highs with 50 catches for 697 yards and seven touchdowns, Crayton played poorly in the NFC divisional playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jerry Jones: No interest in Horn

Originally posted by Cowboy Junkie from a sports forum:

No interest in Horn.

just gave interview from Desperado game . says reports untrue.
Also said Cowboys had the best team he ever had that did not win superbowl.
said they are even better this year.
dsaid Adam Jones is a great practice guy and takes care of his body and doesnt have a substance problems and those guys usually do well.

Romo could nab Starter endorsement

Dallas Business Journal
by Liz Mullen Sports Business Journal

The Starter brand is close to completing a five-year deal with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo that could pay him as much as $10 million, which would make him the highest-paid athletic footwear and apparel endorser in the NFL.

The news of the Romo negotiations rippled through the sports industry, drawing attention both for the size of the deal and the re-emergence of a buyer in a down endorsement market for athletes. Iconix Brand Group, which bought Starter from Nike last year, has publicly stated a strategy to reinvigorate the brand by signing major sports stars to endorsement deals and building its league and team sponsorship and licensing business.

"Right now we have no comment on that," said Tara Levy, public relations manager for Iconix.

Neal Seideman, who left his job at entertainment and sports marketing firm IMG as senior vice president of licensing late last year to become Iconix vice president of business development, said there was no deal completed between the company and Romo. He would not comment further.

Hungry Jones gets ‘serious’

By Herald wire services

Adam “Pacman” Jones had to wait more than a year to get back on the field. So when the suspended cornerback was finally cleared this month to practice with the Dallas Cowboys, he was ready.

“He’s very serious. I think he understands that this is a big step for him this year,” secondary coach Dave Campo said. “He’s hungry. He wants to do good. He wants to play good.”

Really, Jones just wants to play after missing all the 2007 season while serving his NFL suspension that has not yet been completely lifted.

While Jones might have to wait until the week before the Cowboys’ Sept. 7 opener to find out if commissioner Roger Goodell will let him play during the regular season, Jones is already trying to prove himself to the Cowboys, who acquired him from Tennessee in April.

So far, Jones has made a good impression.

“He’s just an instinctive cornerback,” receiver Patrick Crayton said. “He backpedals natural. He doesn’t look nervous. . . . Right now, he’s just trying to get back in the groove.”

In each of his first two practices two weeks ago, Jones had an interception that he returned toward the end zone. He took some snaps with the first-team defense during the team’s only mandatory minicamp this week, which wrapped up Thursday without a practice session.

“Kind of what we thought. He works hard,” coach Wade Phillips said of Jones. “I thought he was a competitor, but he is an extraordinary competitor. He really likes to mix it up out there and make every play.”

Jones had told reporters that he’d talk Thursday after the end of the minicamp. But there was no media access after Phillips canceled the final scheduled practice.

Instead of practice, players, coaches and their families took part in a picnic and other family activities at the Valley Ranch facility. The family lunch was already planned, but players weren’t told about the cancellation of practice until getting to their position meetings Thursday morning.

The three-day minicamp followed four weeks of optional workouts, the first two coming before Jones was cleared to participate. There are no more organized practices for the Cowboys until they report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on July 24.

Jones was suspended in April 2007 following an accumulation of arrests and legal problems, including his connection to a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club. He’s been arrested six times and involved in 12 incidents requiring police intervention since being drafted in the first round by Tennessee in 2005.

“The past is the past. I made some bad decisions and I owned up to all my decisions,” Jones said June 4, after his second workout with the Cowboys and the first open to the media. “Now I worry about the future.”

That was the only extensive interview Jones has done at Valley Ranch since being cleared by Goodell to return to the field for practices and preseason games. He said then he was “in a great position and I’m ready for it.”

Jones was the first player on the field Tuesday for the opening workout of the minicamp. Throughout his three weeks of practice, Jones was aggressive in pass coverage and worked on kick returns.

“He’s a very competitive guy and that’s one thing that rust doesn’t take away,” Campo said. “Not playing for a year, he’s attacking with the idea that he’s got a chance to make a play.”

The Cowboys have worked Jones at both corners, which could give them the flexibility to allow Pro Bowl corner Terence Newman to cover inside slot receivers. Campo said, like Newman, Jones is aggressive, quick and has good feet.

Jones has obviously gotten comfortable again with the physical aspect of the game. But after being banned completely from the NFL for more than a year, he’s still working to assimilate himself into the Cowboys’ system - and working as part of a team again.

“There’s been a lot of guys through injury or whatever that haven’t played during the season and they just kind of pick it back up,” Campo said. “He’s in a little different situation because he wasn’t at the facility.

“He’s got to get in with the team,” Campo said. “And some of those kind of things are probably more important than the actual physical part of it.”

That’s what Jones has been working to do the last three weeks.

Meanwhile, Jones is still leaving a trail of trouble in Tennessee. His former home is being foreclosed.

Jones has defaulted on the terms and conditions of a mortgage with U.S. Bank, according to a notice of foreclosure sale published Thursday in The Tennessean newspaper.

The home and 30 acres, located in a Nashville suburb, will be sold June 27 on the steps of the old Williamson County Courthouse. Tax records show he purchased the property in July 2006 for $1.5 million.

Goodell believes rookie contracts have become "ridiculous" and intends to take action

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell believes rookie contracts at the top of the draft have become "ridiculous" and intends to take action.

"There’s something wrong about the system," he said. "The money should go to people who perform." Goodell said he wants to lower rookie salaries, but give them the option to renegotiate when they prove themselves. The key is getting the NFLPA to agree to something like this, which will be difficult.

Source: Associated Press

Tashard Talks Camp, Tech & Cowboys

By Ryan Bass
Posted Jun 27, 2008

The "Tashard Choice and NFL Friends Skill and Performance Camp" will take place on July 12th at Twelve Oaks Football Stadium (Lovejoy HS, Hampton, GA).

How many kids to you expect to attend the camp?

"I expect for about 100 to 150 kids to show up at the camp."

Is the July 12th camp the only day the camp will be offered this summer or will there be other dates?

"July the 12th will be the only day of the camp - no other dates."

Who else of note will be there helping instruct at the camp?

"I will attend the camp also some teammates from the Cowboys - Alonzo Coleman and Eric Walden. I will have teammates from Georgia Tech attend such as Michael Johnson, Jonathan Dwyer, and Morgan Burnett. More pro players are sure to show up. Also the coaches from my high school will be helping at the camp."

What type of advice would you give a kid who wants to learn how to be a better running back or better overall player in general?

"The type of advice I will give the kids will be things that they can take with them to become a better player and help their skills to become a smarter player. I understand how to play running back but I learn different things each day and the more you work on your talents the better player you will become."


Georgia Tech

How close are you to getting your degree (or do you already have it)?

"I already have my degree from Tech."

How did the decision to transfer to GT affect you and your career & family life?

"The move to Tech has made a big difference for my family because they were able to come see me play and I was able to do things in the community and help out places where I came from."

What's your impression of the new coaching staff at GT?

"From what I've seen about the new staff, they have the players working hard but the season always depends on how well a staff is but I know they will do their best."

Do you think GT can compete annually with the football powers that be in the ACC and here in the Southeast?

"Tech always has a chance to compete with other teams, they've just got to make plays in crucial times in the game."

How much will you help in recruiting in the future?

"I don't know how much I will help in recruiting in the future besides that I enjoyed Tech and it's a great college to attend."



How does mini-camp compare with two-a-days in college?

"Mini camp and two a days are totally different because in mini-camp you don't have pads on but practice is still hard."

Have you kept in touch with any other teammates that are going through the rookie camps? Are they having similar experiences?

"I keep in contact with some players, but everybody is very busy. Everybody's experience is different, but we all have to work hard."

What is your impression of the Dallas Cowboys organization so far?

"The Cowboys organization is very professional and dedicated to winning and working hard."

What have they told you that your role will be this season?

"I don't know my role yet this season, but I will be on special teams and when I get a chance to run the ball, I will be ready to roll."

In the past, I've heard you compared to a poor man's Emmitt Smith. It's ironic now that you're in the same organization he became famous in. In fact you guys even use the same jersey number. Would you say it's fair to compare your style with Emmitt?

"Our styles are similar, but I can't say I'm anything like Emmitt until I play in the league some years and produce like he did his whole career. Our styles are the same on how we use our blockers, run downhill and make cuts at the line of scrimmage and burst through the hole. We are different, but if I can become like Emmitt then I will be ok."

What will be your jersey number?

"I'm wearing number 29 for the Cowboys and I do want to wear 22 but nobody will wear that number if you play for the Cowboys. I don't even want to wear it playing for Dallas."

AccuScore's "week one" Game Predictions

Great website that you may want to TAB:

Bennett is having a difficult time early in his transition to the NFL


Martellus Bennett is having a difficult time early in his transition to the NFL, according to Dallas Morning News reporter Jean Jacques-Taylor.

Our View: Bennett has a lot of talent, and it would greatly help the Cowboys if he could become a key piece of certain packages, allowing Jason Witten to play even more of a receiver role considering Dallas' depth problems at that position.

Carpenter is getting a shot to backup Zach Thomas


Bobby Carpenter is getting a shot to backup Zach Thomas as the Cowboys, but this may be his last chance to make an impact in Dallas, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Our View: It's hard to fathom that the former first round pick could fall from grace so quickly, but that appears to be the case. Carpenter has not been productive in his two seasons with the team, amassing just 37 total tackles in 29 games.

DMN Blog: Will Joe Horn join Valley Ranch circus?

by Tim MacMahon

I was joking when I suggested that Joe Horn could be a great fit for the Cowboys. I assume that the NFL Network's Adam Schefter wrote the following with a straight face.

Atlanta doesn't want to pay Joe Horn's $2.5 million base salary, which has a skill/injury guarantee. But Dallas might. In the event that it cannot reach a compromise deal with wide receiver Terry Glenn, Dallas already is eyeing Horn. He now has become Plan 1A. Should Dallas trade a late-round pick for Horn, he would be the latest big-name acquisition for a Cowboys team that this offseason already has acquired linebacker Zach Thomas, cornerback Adam Jones, running back Felix Jones and cornerback Mike Jenkins. Horn could help the Cowboys on and off the field. On the field, Horn is not the receiver he once was, but he still could contribute to Dallas' high-powered attack. Off it, he could provide an example for the way professionals are supposed to act. Horn is one of the league's more respected players and the Cowboys locker room would be better with him in it. Dallas is debating the merits of trading for Horn; those efforts could be, and will be, ramped up depending on what happens with Glenn.
Jerry talked all off-season about adding a "wow" player to complement T.O. Horn would have fit the bill four years ago, when he had his last 1,000-yard season. Now, the 36-year-old is just a run-of-the-mill receiver who would probably provide some great soundbites for the Hard Knocks crew.

DMN Blog: Training camp schedule released

by Calvin Watkins

The Cowboys released their training camp schedule tonight, through their web site. Oh, in case you forgot camp is in Oxnard, Calif. this year.

Here's the schedule:

Date; Time;

Friday, July 25; 4:15-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 26; 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, July 27; 4:15-6:30 p.m.
Monday, July 28; 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5:15-7 p.m. (Special teams practice)
Tuesday, July 29; 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 30; 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.-7 p.m.
Thursday, July 31; 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Friday, August 1; 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, August 2; 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 3; 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Monday, August 4; 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.-7 p.m.
Tuesday, August 5; 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 6; 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.,-7 p.m.
Thursday, August 7; 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Friday, August 8; 12:45 a.m. walkthrough practice team departs for San Diego
Saturday, August 9; Preseason game at San Diego 9 p.m.
Sunday, August 10; Day off

Monday, August 11; 4:15-6:30 p.m. (special teams practice)
Tuesday, August 12; 12:45 p.m. team breaks camp leaves for Denver

Cowboys' offense is too explosive not to pick it

Scouts Inc. is breaking down each division in a roundtable discussion, with each scout offering his pick for the best offense and defense as well as the most important offseason move in the division. Here's the scouts' look at the NFC East.

Which team has the best offense in the NFC East?

Jeremy Green: The Dallas Cowboys have the best offense in the NFC East and even though I am concerned about them not adding a quality No. 2 receiver to go along with Terrell Owens, they did re-sign RB Marion Barber and add a playmaker in rookie RB Felix Jones. QB Tony Romo will be more in tune with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's system and I think he will be more mature and a better leader on the field, despite some signs that point otherwise at times. Keep in mind, even with a somewhat immature Romo, Dallas finished 2007 second in points scored. The Cowboys might not finish second in points scored this coming season, but the overall offense will be more consistent and the best in the NFC East.

Keith Kidd: Outside of the Patriots, the Cowboys have the best offense in the NFL. Garrett has a tremendous supporting cast to put around Romo, who has a strong arm and quick release which allow the Cowboys to strike from anywhere on the field. Owens and TE Jason Witten are a dangerous combination, while Barber will be the feature back this season running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The addition of Jones should make this offense even more dangerous in 2008.

Doug Kretz: The Cowboys by a hair. Dallas owned the second-best offense in 2007 and should be as potent in 2008, if not even more effective. While the Cowboys lost RB Julius Jones to Seattle, they used their first-round pick on Felix Jones. Romo is also really coming into his own and now has a firm grasp on the offense.

Matt Williamson: The Eagles' offense will be improved with a healthy Donovan McNabb, but Dallas is loaded. The Cowboys are very strong at every spot on offense and can score points in bunches. Romo is developing very quickly and the ground game should be better than ever. My only concern here with Dallas is if Owens were to get hurt and miss significant time. Without Owens, this offense is nowhere near as explosive.

Which team has the best defense in the NFC East?

Green: Even though it was a little inconsistent at times when the team needed it to step up, the Cowboys' defense is one of the most versatile in the NFL. Dallas' defense will not only be the best in the NFC East, but among the best in the NFL. Head coach Wade Phillips and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart use an aggressive 3-4 scheme to create pressure up front. That pressure should allow a much-improved Dallas secondary with the additions of Adam Jones (provided he is fully reinstated) and rookie Michael Jenkins to be ball hawks along with veteran CB Terence Newman. However, the biggest change will occur when CB Anthony Henry moves to safety, putting Roy Williams on the bench and eliminating the Cowboys' weakest link versus the pass in the back end.

Gary Horton: Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo did a great job in 2007 by taking a group of players who were not the most talented in the league and putting them in situations where they could flourish. He has a terrific defensive line that applies great pressure out of the 4-3 scheme, but he will also utilize a lot of unorthodox blitzes with mixed coverages to confuse offenses. He is also not afraid to play his defensive backs in man-to-man coverage in an effort to utilize his blitz package.

Ken Moll: The NFC East is known for defense. Even with the loss of LDE Michael Strahan, the Giants' outstanding unit will be mostly intact. The Giants' front office did a nice job of replacing other key positions that were lost in free agency and with an innovative defensive coordinator like Spagnuolo in place, New York should be tough to move the ball against.

Tag Ribary: I expect to see the Cowboys' defense remain strong. They have quality personnel at most starting positions for their scheme combined with good depth in case they suffer an injury. If they solidify the responsibilities of Williams and utilize his strengths, the Cowboys will remain a physical team against the run and can still get after opposing quarterbacks.

Williamson: The Super Bowl champions have this honor in the NFC East, but Dallas and Philadelphia should have top-10 defenses as well. Even with Strahan retiring, I am going to give New York the slight edge over Dallas, but I have to stress the word slight. Mathias Kiwanuka is healthy and gives Spagnuolo another toy to play with. Plus, the Giants' young secondary should be improved from a season ago. This is a tougher decision than many probably realize, but I will go with the guys with the rings on their fingers.

What was the most important offseason move in the NFC East?

Green: The Cincinnati Bengals declining the Washington Redskins' offer of what could have potentially been two first-round picks for WR Chad Johnson. By making this decision, the Redskins didn't get a malcontent in Johnson, who is on the downside of his career, and were able to add three playmakers: two of the top three rookie receivers available in WR Malcolm Kelly and WR Devin Thomas and the best tight end in the draft in Fred Davis. These playmakers along with WR Santana Moss, WR Antwaan Randle El and RB Clinton Portis now give QB Jason Campbell the offensive weapons to compete in the tough NFC East.

Horton: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has opened up his wallet and his Cowboys have made more moves than any other team in the NFL. They are not looking to the future and this team is built to win a championship sooner rather than later. Jones' roster is loaded and his players are well-paid and happy. Jones seems to relish in his role in personnel.

Kidd: Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson relies heavily on his zone-blitz packages to create pressure in both running and passing situations. The addition of CB Asante Samuel allows Johnson the flexibility he so desperately needs on the back end when matching up versus multiple-spread attacks. Samuel has excellent ball skills and a very good knack for baiting quarterbacks into making game-changing mistakes. With the addition of Samuel and the return of starters Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard, the Eagles can place even more pressure on opposing offensive passing attacks.

Kretz: For better or worse the Redskins have a new head coach in Jim Zorn, who brings a new offense with him from Seattle. The speed at which the team improves offensively will depend on how fast the quarterbacks and the receivers learn the West Coast offense. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is not known for his patience, so the players better learn quickly and show promise in Zorn's first year or his could be a short-tenured position.

Moll: Many might assume that the hiring of a new Redskins head coach would be the most important offseason move in the NFC East, but I believe that retaining Spagnuolo in New York was even more important. Losing Spagnuolo would have had a greater impact than the Redskins hiring Zorn. After a rocky start, the Giants' defense transformed into one of the most impressive and aggressive units in the league.

Ribary: It has to be the way Washington went about its head-coaching search. I like Zorn, but if the Redskins were so sold on him, they should have named him the head coach initially and not been flirting with others around the league while he was the coordinator. They took the unusual approach of trying to piece together a staff without a head coach. I have to think that made the job less attractive for others. We'll soon see if the unconventional approach worked.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for

Cowboys believe DeMarcus Ware could have an even bigger season in 2008


The Dallas Cowboys believe DeMarcus Ware could have an even bigger season in 2008 than he did in 2007, reports Ware has worked on redistributing his weight, according to the web site.

Our View: It's hard to believe Ware could have an even better season than last year's 14-sack campaign. On top of the sacks, he amassed 84 tackles and forced four fumbles. Should he improve on those numbers, he'd be a front runner for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award.

Kevin Burnett Blog: I Will Stanback

by Kevin Burnett

Might be the most complete of the 3 young guys. With that being said he is also the most under developed. He has only been and NFL receiver for 10 months or so. Remember last year he didn't come back until late in camp so he has a lot to learn. As we all know the younger brother is the one you have to watch out for.

With Stanback having most of last season to learn from other people's mistake, this should make him very dangerous. This sequence gives him time to develop and not be rushed into things. So now with almost a year under his belt and two of the best to learn from, my guess would be he is the ace in the hole. By the end of the season I would be very shocked if this guy does not have the attention of some defensive backs. I can't forget his is also a heck of a kick returner.

Schefter: Dallas already is eyeing WR Horn

Where some big-name free agents could land
By Adam Schefter | NFL Network

Even now, when the NFL is in the time of year that it rests, storylines do not entirely disappear.

Between now and training camp, some notable players still will make some notable moves.

The roll ...

» Wide receiver Joe Horn: Atlanta doesn’t want to pay Joe Horn’s $2.5 million base salary, which has a skill/injury guarantee. But Dallas might. In the event that it cannot reach a compromise deal with wide receiver Terry Glenn, Dallas already is eyeing Horn. He now has become Plan 1A. Should Dallas trade a late-round pick for Horn, he would be the latest big-name acquisition for a Cowboys team that this offseason already has acquired linebacker Zach Thomas, cornerback Adam Jones, running back Felix Jones and cornerback Mike Jenkins. Horn could help the Cowboys on and off the field. On the field, Horn is not the receiver he once was, but he still could contribute to Dallas’ high-powered attack. Off it, he could provide an example for the way professionals are supposed to act. Horn is one of the league’s more respected players and the Cowboys locker room would be better with him in it. Dallas is debating the merits of trading for Horn; those efforts could be, and will be, ramped up depending on what happens with Glenn.

» Running back Kevin Jones: Returning from anterior cruciate ligament surgery, Jones planned to work out for scouts Saturday in Saline, Mich. But Jones recently opted to cancel the workout due to the fact that he already has visited New England and Tennessee and met with those team officials. Anyone who wants to still see him –- possibly Chicago, maybe Tampa Bay -– can arrange to do it on its time. But Jones believes there’s no need for a public workout when teams that want answers already have them or easily can get them. This summer, Jones might be able to score an incentive-laden contract. But it is unlikely that any team will pay top rate for a running back that has struggled to stay healthy and is not assured of passing a physical today.

» Running back LaMont Jordan: Stuck in Oakland, Jordan and the Raiders are in a standoff. The Raiders do not want to pay Jordan the $4.7 million in base salary that he is scheduled to earn this season, and Jordan will not take any less to remain in Oakland. From now through camp, the Raiders will continue to try to field trade offers for Jordan –- and they might be able to draw interest from teams such as Detroit, New Orleans or Chicago. Those teams know that if they do not trade for Jordan, they might lose out on him if he opts to sign with another team. This is the biggest advantage the Raiders have, the threat that another team will swoop in and sign Jordan. But the overwhelming chances are that Jordan is finished in Oakland. The question is where he surfaces.

» Running back Shaun Alexander: Interest in Alexander has been low, surprising being that it was only two years ago in which the running back was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Alexander has been in contact with New Orleans and Cincinnati, but neither team has rushed to put together any type of deal. If and when a deal rolls in –- and there are no assurances one will -– it will be one for close to the veteran minimum, quite a fall for a running back who collected about $18 million the past two seasons from the Seahawks.

» Running back Travis Henry: Similar to Alexander, the calls have not exactly poured in to Henry. In the current climate of avoiding playmakers who have been troublemakers, teams have primarily steered clear of Henry. It is going to take the right team in the right situation to sign him. One option that would make some sense is Tennessee, which knows Henry and could better control him.

» Wide receiver Koren Robinson: Same story with Robinson as it is for Henry. Teams are more hesitant than ever to associate with players who have found trouble. Oakland and Kansas City expressed some interest in Robinson, but there isn’t exactly a clamoring for his services. Still, a receiver such as Robinson is too talented to overlook. Any team that needs some depth at the position -– Dallas, Cleveland, -- would consider Robinson.

» Offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley: Close to 10 teams have been tracking Bentley, charting to see his condition and, at this point, his pricetag. Teams that have expressed varying degrees of interest in Bentley include Buffalo, Cincinnati, Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle. Each has a need along the offensive line, but no team’s offensive line needs are any greater than Miami’s and St. Louis’. The Rams efforted to sign former Raiders offensive tackle Barry Sims, but lost him to San Francisco. Early in July, Bentley might be the first player teams target when they return from a July 4 vacation.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dallas football team leads area in pro organization

By Scott Ferrell

The Dallas Cowboys haven't won a football playoff game since 1996, but as organizations go, theirs ranks as the region's best.

The Times' sports staff voted the Cowboys as the best organization in an area divided between Dallas and New Orleans sports loyalties. A reader poll did likewise.

While the playoff drought has been long, the Cowboys' organization rates as highly successful by just about any measure.

n The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls and eight conference championships games.

n They have sold out Texas Stadium for 145 consecutive home games dating back to 1990. The Cowboys have played in front of 46 consecutive sellouts on the road.

n The franchise is valued at $1.5 billion, more than any other professional sports franchise in the United States.

As franchises go, the Cowboys were ahead of the curve in marketing long before Jerry Jones became owner in 1989.

Love them or hate them, their marketing as "America's Team" drew strong reactions from football fans across the country. The term was first coined in 1979 by NFL Films' Bob Ryan, but the Cowboys' front office didn't shy away from the moniker.

On the field, the team reached great heights under the stoic leadership of the legendary Tom Landry. Under Landry, the Cowboys had a streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons (1966-85) that was the third-longest in professional sports history. He also won the franchise's first two Super Bowls.

Jimmy Johnson replaced Landry and won a pair of Super Bowls to match Landry. Barry Switzer followed Johnson and won a Super Bowl following the 1995 season.

Off the field, the Cowboys brought cheerleaders to the sidelines in 1972 and then watched as the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders became a brand in their own right.

Cowboys camp preview: Too many distractions?

By Eric Karabell

Dallas Cowboys fans aren't happy. Not only did the NFC's top seed fail to win a playoff game after starting the season 12-1, but it was a team in the same division that won at their place before upending the unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl. That was supposed to be the Cowboys! As a result, Jerry Jones spent money like he was a sailor on a weekend pass, committing more than $70 million on everyone from Terrell Owens to Zach Thomas to Adam Jones.

The first thing the Cowboys did was blame Julius Jones for all the team's problems. OK, so that might be some exaggeration, but not much. Julius Jones is a Seahawk now, and Arkansas' Felix Jones was the first-round draft pick. The Cowboys feel like that's an instant upgrade. Of course, Marion Barber has seemingly been capable of carrying the offensive load by himself for two years, so it will be interesting to see if this actually happens or not.

This team is always in the news in the first place, but taking on the tantalizing Pacman Jones -- oh, excuse me, he's calling himself Adam now -- has overshadowed the news coming from the wide receiver position, only some of it relevant. Owens signed a new four-year contract, was placed in the NFL's reasonable cause drug program because he missed a drug test and received an excused absence from minicamp to deal with personal matters. All that seemed minor in comparison to fellow starter Terry Glenn, who doesn't want to sign an injury settlement waiver in case his knee is a problem again. And what about Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson, are they or aren't they still an item? I can't keep track. It's like fourth on the list of tabloid-type stories for this team.

Ultimately, the challenge this team faces is thriving not for much of the regular season but down the stretch. In each of the past two seasons, the Cowboys lost two of their final three games and a winnable playoff game. Training camp is going to be a media circus, but it always is. Ultimately it's not likely to affect the fantasy values of too many players.

What to look for in camp

Key position battles: Tony Romo is one of the top four quarterbacks in most fantasy drafts, and his top running back and wide receiver will also be in demand in the first or second round. The Glenn situation will likely play out in camp, and either knee problems or contract issues could make Patrick Crayton a starter and an enticing No. 4 or 5 fantasy receiver. One day Glenn demands his release, the next he wants to stay. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect much either way, as he's trying to return from microfracture surgery and is iffy. It shouldn't affect Owens one bit, though, so no matter who he plays with, except a big season possibly worthy of the No. 2 wide receiver in fantasy, after Randy Moss.

Fitting in: Felix Jones was the third running back drafted, and it might have come as a surprise to Barber, but all the Cowboys expect this Jones to do is help on third downs and maybe return some kicks. Barber should pick up more carries than the past two seasons. Adam Jones, meanwhile, isn't guaranteed to have his suspension lifted, let alone become a fantasy option anytime soon, but keep an eye on this situation. The Dallas defense is one of the better ones for fantasy, and IDP owners will be interested in DeMarcus Ware and Roy Williams, but Adam Jones could be enticing as well -- if NFL commish Roger Goodell reinstates him.

On the line: A solid offensive line should have no trouble protecting Romo or opening holes for Barber, as left tackle Flozell Adams, a free agent brought back for more than $40 million, and right guard Leonard Davis are mammoth veterans and Pro Bowl quality. Center Andre Gurode is underrated. This is a team strength and, unlike others on the squad, stays out of the news.

The bottom line

While Marion Barber would seem deserving of a starting role and most of the carries, it's also possible the Cowboys have other plans, and rookie Felix Jones could play a larger role than even Julius Jones had. Barber has a brand new seven-year deal, so it would seem unlikely. With so much occuring off the field surrounding the Cowboys, this would be the one situation that could play havoc with fantasy owners, so keep an eye out, even if it's a skeptical one.

ESPN: Cowboys' offense is too explosive not to pick it

By Scouts Inc.

Scouts Inc. is breaking down each division in a roundtable discussion, with each scout offering his pick for the best offense and defense as well as the most important offseason move in the division. Here's the scouts' look at the NFC East.

Which team has the best offense in the NFC East?
Jeremy Green: The Dallas Cowboys have the best offense in the NFC East and even though I am concerned about them not adding a quality No. 2 receiver to go along with Terrell Owens, they did re-sign RB Marion Barber and add a playmaker in rookie RB Felix Jones. QB Tony Romo will be more in tune with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's system and I think he will be more mature and a better leader on the field, despite some signs that point otherwise at times. Keep in mind, even with a somewhat immature Romo, Dallas finished 2007 second in points scored. The Cowboys might not finish second in points scored this coming season, but the overall offense will be more consistent and the best in the NFC East.

ESPN: Chat with Dallas Cowboys CB Terence Newman

TIDBIT: Welcome to The Show! On Thursday, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman will be stopping by to chat.

Newman just finished his fifth season in the NFL, all with the Cowboys. Dallas chose the defensive back out of Kansas State with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Newman has already accumulated 16 INTs in his career, returning one for a TD. He has established himself as one of the best CBs in the league, as shown by his selection to the Pro Bowl following the 2007 season, despite having only started in 11 games.

Buzzmaster: Terence will be here shortly! Keep your questions coming!

Terence Newman: Hello! I'm ready for your questions!

Clint (Tyler, Texas): Terrence, is your foot completely healed now? I've never been more excited for a football season in my life. Go Cowboys!

Terence Newman: The foot is completely healed. No effects whatsoever. It's one of those things where it just took time to heal. I gave it plenty of time and now I'm fine.

Two players you won’t see in a Miami uniform

By Anthony Brown

Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn.

In the doldrums before training camp, there’s nothing to write about except rumors and arrests. Columnist Barry Jackson had a little throw-away piece on about Keyshawn Johnson unretiring from the broadcast booth and returning to football.

Wrote Jackson “Keyshawn Johnson said he’s still ‘’seriously” considering a comeback but that never came up when he spoke to Bill Parcells last month.”

Parcells has a practice of recalling favored players to join his new teams. That’s why there’s speculation that receiver Terry Glenn may find his way to Miami if he’s released by Dallas. Johnson had his most productive years working with Parcells at the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is convinced no other team has any real interest in Glenn. If he’s right, Glenn will eventually cave and sign the injury contract waiver offered by Jones, who really should bump that to the league minimum of around $750,000.

Johnson wouldn’t be the first retired player who gets an itch to return to the game. That feeling goes away when it’s time for those grueling practices under a broiling August sun. I can see Keyshawn now, sitting poolside and yelling “just throw me the d***** iced tea.”

Tell me again, how soon before training camp open?

DMN Blog: Tony Romo left out of Top 50

by Albert Breer

Now this is a little bit surprising. But everyone's got an opinion, so ...

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco just put out his list of the Top 50 players in the NFL, and America's Quarterback, Tony Romo, is on the "just missed" list. I'm pretty surprised too, although Prisco list isn't loaded with signal callers. Tom Brady (1), Peyton Manning (2), Carson Palmer (8), Ben Roethlisberger (17) and Drew Brees (35) made the cut.

Just as surprising is the dearth of Cowboys on the list. No Terence Newman. No Flozell Adams. No Marion Barber. No Jason Witten. Here are the two that did make it.

9) DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys: He was given more freedom in Wade Phillips' version of the 3-4 and played better in 2007. Ware is a speed rusher who has his best football still in front of him.
13) Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Forget all the theatrics. He's a star player. He bounced back from his off 2006 season to be one of the best last season. I'd take him on my team any day.

If you want to feel a little better, go here and check out Pro Football Weekly's poll of execs, scouts and coaches, which has five Cowboys in the Top 50.

DMN Burnett Blog: Sam Hurd is the one to watch

Young Wideouts
12:04 AM Wed, Jun 25, 2008
Kevin Burnett

I see a lot of conversation about this 2nd/ 3rd WR job. Let me add a little light to the conversation.

TG is still a COWBOY needs to be the first thing said. I will say with TG being out right now it is a tight race. It's really too close to call! All of the younger guys have little to no game time experience with very high upside. What I'm going to do is take a vote. If TG is not ready for game one who will be the #3 WR? The guy with the most votes, is who I will talk about in the next blog (Wed. afternoon). The guy with the next highest votes will be discussed tomorrow night. The last guy will be Thursday morning. Get your vote in early so I can get started. If you can listen to ESPN The Ticket around 12:30 - 1pm I will be in studio on air, so it should be interesting.

Comments (71) Leave comment | TrackBack (0) | E-mail entry

Sam I Am
1:52 PM Wed, Jun 25, 2008 | Permalink
Kevin Burnett E-mail News tips

I guess Sam it is guys. In watching Sam play you notice a few things about his game. One of which is his ability to go up and catch the football. Sam is not afraid to lay out, jump over a guy, or come across the middle for the ball. Sam also has the most playing experience of the young guys. Another great trait is the fact that he will get his hands dirty on special teams. He is a pretty good #2 coming off the edge on KO. He makes his presence known when he is in the game be it blocking, tackling, or catching the ball. Hurd seems to know the offense and have a pretty good feel of what to do. When you get the trust of your QB you know your doing something right. Of the young group I would say Sam has the best hands and ball awareness. With his ability to go up and get the football and having played the most Sam may be the front runner for the number 3 job ( if TG does not return).

**Pending TG's return
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Terry Glenn Watch

Wed Jun 25, 2008

Dallas Morning News' Jean-Jacques Taylor believes Cowboys WR Terry Glenn has played his last game for the team and doesn't believe he'll play this season for anyone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


by Juds Pressbox

As training camp nears, I have decided to break each teams regular season outlook down. I will be leaving out the impending injury factor. I am a Redskin fan, so I start with the NFC East. I start with the team I think will win the division: the Dallas Cowboys.


Tony Romo has shown nice progression. He still tends to throw off his back foot when not needing to. This causes lollipop passes that end up in jump balls. That is a sign of youthful exuberance. He forced less passes as last season wore on. This season should be another stepping stone in his career. The Cowboys are expecting another All Pro season from Romo. At the least, he can be a field general whose job is to ensure good field position for the defense. This season may be more telling of his future than ever before. Brad Johnson will be 39 in September. He is a top notch back up, but the grooming of Ron Bartel, or someone else, is imperative.



Marion Barber has been sharing carries since college. His lack of wear came in handy last year when Julius Jones fell out of favor. Barber responded with a Pro Bowl season down the stretch. He does his best work between the tackles and will not outrun many defenders. He will be asked to give them more of the same. My pick for NFC Rookie of the Year has long been Felix Jones. He will line up all over the field. The plan is to bring him along slowly in the rushing attack at first, while passing him the ball in open spaces to utilize his speed and quickness. Felix should be a big part of the game plan by mid season. Tashard Choice is a very interesting draft pick. I can see him getting the ball quite often if he shows he can hang onto it. Alonzo Coleman has decent size for his height, and can help if needed to. Whether the Cowboys carry 3 or 4 Halfbacks will be the question. Ronnie Cruz is a good lead blocker at Fullback, but Deon Anderson has better overall skills. Julius Crosslin will try to make the team. That will be a battle to watch during pre-season. The running game should be solid enough to keep defenses from keying on the pass. Heath is the key factor, as always.



Jason Witten is an All Pro. A decent blocker who is smart and finds the seams with ease. Expect him to continue his quest to be the best tight end in Cowboys history. He may get help from Martellus Bennett. Bennett is a great athlete who was a good basketball player. He may make more impact down the road, but he is a big option to be considered. Tony Curtis has shown to be a decent back up so far. The TE is a big part of the attack, and this season should not be any different.



Terrell Owens is the go-to guy. He is an All Pro, and should have a bust made for Canton made one day. All that is missing from the resume is a Super Bowl ring. He will be 35 in December, but has shown little sign of slowing down. Expect no less than 80 catches from him. The rest of the unit is mixed. Patrick Crayton has shown flashes of being a starter type, but still drops too many balls and rounds off his routes. This season is very important to him, and the team, as far as determining his future place in the scheme. Terry Glenn is nearing the end. He has to show health in camp, and maintain it. His trade value is non-existent. Sam Hurd is nothing more than a #4 type. Isaiah Stanback is still learning the position, but has to show his improvement this year. His size and athleticism would be a much needed influx into this corp. Mike Jefferson and Miles Austin will battle for a roster spot. Danny Amendola is an undrafted rookie who has been turning heads in pre-camp workouts. Daniel Polk is a small school rookie with intriguing skills.



This unit is maybe the most uncertain on the team. Andre Gurode is a fine Center who made the transition from Guard easily. Corey Procter backs him up. Leonard Davis was pretty good at Guard last year. He needs to show consistency, which has been his issue so far in his career. Kyle Kosier is the other starting Guard and is a good run blocker. Flozell Adams is the Left OT. He has battled injuries, but shows skill and toughness. His ability to suit up every game is crucial. Marc Colombo is the Right OT, and is average at best. Pat McQuistan and Doug Free are young guys who are hoping to be the future starting tackles. Cory Lekkerkerker and James Marten add depth at tackle. Adam Stenavich and Joe Berger add depth at Guard. Dallas is hoping this mixed bag can cobble together an acceptable season. If they do not perform, it could end up costing the team in crunch time.



This unit is the key to the teams Super Bowl hopes. They need to control the line of scrimmage weekly. Jay Ratliff was huge last year at NT after Jason Ferguson went down. Tank Johnson was brought in to add depth. With Ferguson now gone, these 2 need to occupy a few blockers every snap. Ratliff is not huge, and will play some DE too. Junior Siavii is an experienced NT who will add depth. Remi Ayodele will try to catch on to add depth. Marcus Spears is solid against the run. Chris Canty has shown flashes, and will expected to provide more solid play. Jason Hatcher and Stephen Brown are big DE's who were decent last year and should be again. Marcus Dixon is a versatile rookie who is adept at rushing the passer. L.P. Ladouceur is the long snapper. Marcus Smith will try to find a roster spot to stick. This unit has versatility and the ability to go to a 4-3 set. Their freeing up the linebacking until is vital.



DeMarcus Ware is their pass rushing specialist. He isn't asked to do much more than that and provide run support. Greg Ellis showed how good he was by easily transitioning to OLB. He is a run support specialist, and can still get to the opposing teams quarterback. Zach Thomas is one concussion away from retiring. If he stays healthy, his run support from the MLB position should be a boon to the defensive scheme. Anthony Spencer showed improvement, for the most part, game to game in his rookie year. He is expected to push Ellis. Bobby Carpenter makes $5,000,000. He needs to justify his salary by finally showing why he was a 1st round draft pick. Justin Rogers was picked up after New England cut him in preseason last season. He is a solid player. Bradie James gives quality veteran depth. Kevin Burnett, Khari Long, Tearrius George and Tyson Smith all will try to stick from special teams. Eric Walden is a pass rush specialist drafted in the 6th round who may tough time making the team. Darrell Robertson is an interesting prospect. A DE in college, he is excellent in run support and pass coverage. In 101 running plays last year, opponents only gained 33 yards and one first down against him. He went undrafted, for some reason, but has a relentless motor and has a chance to stick and develop. This unit, on paper, may be the deepest in the NFL.



The key to the whole season. This could be the best unit in the NFL. Terence Newman is the top CB and is a Pro Bowler. Anthony Henry is experienced, versatile, and solid. Adam Jones has shown that he can shut down opponents. Mike Jenkins is a big CB who will provide quality depth in dime packages and be brought along slowly. Orlando Scandrick has the skills to start, but will need time to learn and mature. Alan Ball, Jerron Wishorn, Evan Oglesby, Justin Phinisee, and Quincy Butler will all try to battle for a roster spot on special teams. Roy Williams is a slow, hard hitting SS. He may be destined to be a 2 down player this season now that the team has better options. Ken Hamlin is versatile and solid at FS. Pat Watkins, Tyler Everett, and Courtney Brown will battle for a back up job. This unit has so many options. They could move Williams to LB, Hamlin to SS, Henry to FS, and put in Jones and Jenkins on obvious passing downs. This unit is expected by many to be amongst the NFL elite.



Nick Folk was solid enough at K that the Cowboys didn't even invite anyone to their camp to compete. Matt McBriar is maybe the best P in the NFL. His net was 41 yards per punt, to go with a 47 yard punt average. The return specialist is an unknown. Adam Jones can do the job on punts, as can Sam Hurd, and Alonzo Coleman on kickoffs. This unsettled issue will be resolved by the end of preseason.



Wade Wilson, like his dad Bum, is a defensive expert. Jason Garrett was a career back up who learned from a few coaches. He is a future head coach somewhere. Hudson Houck has been coaching the OL in the NFL for 26 years. He has taught Hall of Famers and numerous All Pros. Brian Stewart is the Defensive Coordinator. He is a Phillips disciple from their San Diego days. Former Cowboys Head Coach Dave Campo returns to coach the impressive secondary, with long time NFL Safety Brett Maxie working under him. Former Cowboy All Pro MLB Dat Nguyen will work under long time college Defensive Coordinator Reggie Herring with the linebackers. Former Cleveland Browns Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham will coach the defensive line. Bruce Read will coach the special teams after enjoying success at Oregon State. This unit is experienced. They have excellent players to work with too.



The Cowboys should win the NFC East. They are complete, and especially solid on defense. The questions on the OL may come into play sometime during the season, but the defense has the talent to bail out the offense. They spent a lot of money, had a excellent draft, and probably were the best in signing undrafted rookies after wards. They did their homework. Jerry Jones put his all into trying to procure a Super Bowl win this year. Anything less will be a disappointment to him. Injuries may come into play, but they have good depth in most positions. This is not an easy feat in today's NFL with free agency and salary. This depth may be what gets them over the hump this decade.

Cowboys Team Report

Jean-Jacques Taylor
For Sporting News

PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: The Cowboys used their minicamp to test NT Jay Ratliff at DE Marcus Spears' spot. The shift would also get DT Tank Johnson into the lineup. Ratliff began his career as an end. He moved to nose tackle last year after a season-ending injury to Jason Ferguson. Ratliff says he can take advantage of his speed at end. . . .

CB Adam Jones is trying to put his past troubles behind him, and part of the process is dropping the nickname Pacman. His mother gave him the nickname when he was a baby because of his hearty appetite when nursing.

SCOUTING REPORT: At 6-5, Pat Watkins is one of the league's tallest safeties. He doesn't have great speed, but he has tremendous range because of his long strides. He's not a physical tackler, but he has improved at getting runners on the ground. The Cowboys want him to get better at reading routes and route combinations. He's a good special teams player, and the Cowboys think he has the potential to be outstanding. He could reach that level this season if he becomes more physical as a gunner on punt coverage.

WIDE RECEIVER ANALYSIS: Terrell Owens remains one of the best receivers in the NFL. Even at 34 -- he turns 35 in December -- he is one of the best at running after the catch. The Cowboys may lack a deep threat opposite Owens. Terry Glenn probably won't be with the team this season because of a contract dispute. The Cowboys are hopeful Miles Austin, one of the team's fastest players, can be an adequate replacement. Patrick Crayton is an excellent slot receiver who can make tough catches in traffic and in the red zone. He also is a good blocker. Sam Hurd is a capable fourth receiver and a quality special teams player. Grade: B Pro Bowl-caliber players: 1.

Miami thinks are Safeties are better than the Boy

• Some Dolphins officials believe their safeties are better than Dallas'. Among the best battles in camp: Jason Allen (first-team snaps in May/June), Renaldo Hill (expects to be 100 percent after surgery to an anterior cruciate ligament) and former Falcons starter Chris Crocker vying to start opposite Yeremiah Bell. ''Jason has a lot of speed and I like what I see, as much as you can like in shorts and a T-shirt,'' secondary coach Todd Bowles said.

• Tight end Anthony Fasano, limited after shoulder surgery, said Bill Parcells dubbed him ''General Hospital'' and told him ''I should be wearing a hospital gown.'' But Fasano -- who said ''the Dolphins got a great deal'' by giving Dallas a fourth-rounder for him and Akin Ayodele -- expects to be ready by camp, and one veteran starter expects him to emerge over David Martin.

From the Miami Herald

Roy Exum: "Pacman" Means Trouble

by Roy Exum
posted June 25, 2008

Roy Exum
To even the most casual pro football follower, Adam “Pacman” Jones is synonymous with trouble. He can get into trouble in more ways than a magician can do a card trick and just when we think he may have turned life’s corner, he’s back in the stew again.

You may think his latest roar came on Monday when controversial talk-show host Don Imus used bad judgment in a way he now claims sympathized with the turbulent off-field police record of Jones, who is now with the Dallas Cowboys, but in Nashville there is a different story unfolding.

Jones, who formerly played for the Titans, has defaulted on the terms and conditions of his home mortgage with U.S. Bank and, unless a spectacular end-zone grab occurs before this Friday, the 30-acre estate in nearby Franklin will be sold on the steps of the Williamson County courthouse.

Last weekend Jones was speaking to a group of kids when he said he no longer wishes to be called “Pacman” because of what he feels “has a lot of negativity behind it.” Instead he wants to be “Adam or Mr. Jones” because there is now what they jokingly call “the Pacman Posse” in Dallas - a group of individuals dedicated to keeping the spectacular athlete on the straight-and-narrow.

The Dallas effort, led by guys like Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin and the Rev. Rickie Rush, has put a 24/7 blanket over Jones since he wheeled and dealed his way from the Nashville Titans, where he played three years before being sidelined for his behavior last season.

So far the “great experiment” has worked. Jones has not only done well in the Cowboys’ mini-camps and practices, he’s worked hard to present himself admirably wherever he goes in Dallas and, last weekend, when he thrilled youngsters at a sports camp held by Brandon Bass of the Mavericks, he was a delight.

“There is just a lot of negativity behind the nickname…It’s just time for a change, man. I’m doing everything to make sure that I’m alright as a person mentally and emotionally,” he told reporters.

That is why he was as startled as anyone when the zany Imus, who was fired by MSNBC and CBS radio a year or so ago for blatant racial slurs, used poor judgment on Monday in what he later said was done when he tried “to make a sarcastic point.”

Evidently the WABC hosts were talking about whether blacks were being treated unfairly and, when sports announcer Warner Wolf brought up “Pacman,” Imus quickly asked, “What color is he?” When Wolf said Jones was an African-American, Imus retorted, “There you go. Now we know.”

On Tuesday, Jones told The Dallas Morning News in Tuesday editions, “I’m truly upset about the comments," he said. "Obviously Mr. Imus has problems with African-Americans. I'm upset, and I hope the station he works for handles it accordingly. I will pray for him."

But, by then, Imus had back-pedaled faster than an NFL quarterback, saying, “What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason," Imus said Tuesday. "I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times. Maybe he did something once, but everyone does something once."

Imus called his critics “ridiculous” and asked aloud how anyone could think he was being a racist, “"How insane would I have to be? What would I be thinking?"

Just the same, Adam Jones, better identified as “Pacman” in the blaring headlines, was in virtually every newspaper in the country again and, after the latest blitz, he’d have to hire the world’s largest PR firm to rid himself the name people know best.

Conversely, at the proceedings scheduled this Friday at the Williamson County Courthouse, he will be referred to as only “Adam Jones.”

Suppressing egos the key to Dallas Cowboys' season

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Whether the Dallas Cowboys finally end their ridiculously long drought without a playoff win won't have anything to do with talent.

The Cowboys return all of the league-record 13 players they sent to last season's Pro Bowl, and they added two first-round draft picks and one of the league's best young cornerbacks, so talent isn't going to be an issue.

Managing the egos on this team will be the biggest challenge for mild-mannered coach Wade Phillips.

He must keep them focused and disciplined enough to fulfill their potential. It's a difficult task for a collection of players who have never dealt with the expectations and scrutiny they will face this season.

Don't scoff.

Jerry Jones has assembled a roster full of highly paid players who could fill multiple trophy cases with their individual awards, but for the Cowboys to actually win a playoff game for the first time since 1996, several players must subjugate their egos.

That's easy to say, especially when you're winning, but much harder to do, especially when you hit one of those rough spots that are part of every 16-game season.

None of this should come as a surprise if you've paid attention to the quotes coming out of the club's Valley Ranch training complex the last couple of months.

Roy Williams must put his ego aside when he's replaced in passing situations by Anthony Henry. And Henry must do the same when Adam Jones eventually replaces him at right cornerback.

Adam Jones' mission is to keep his ample ego in check so his teammates accept and respect him while they get to know him.

Greg Ellis must understand that Anthony Spencer, a first-round pick last season, should get significant playing time this season. Fewer plays will actually make Ellis a better player at the end of the season, when the Cowboys usually fall apart.

The same goes for Bradie James, who wants badly to be a Pro Bowl player. If so, he's probably going to have to get it done being a two-down player. That's hard to accept for a player who fancies himself versatile enough to play the run or the pass.

Don't overlook Terence Newman, who made his first Pro Bowl last season. He has to accept the praise Adam Jones receives and the inevitable comparisons between the players.

Then there are guys like Chris Canty and Ken Hamlin, who have yet to receive the coveted long-term deals they want. Will they put their personal issues aside for the good of the team, or will they be undisciplined in an attempt to improve their numbers and increase their stock?

If you don't think unchecked egos can hurt a team, then look no further than Terry Glenn.

He didn't participate in any practices this off-season because he didn't want to sign a waiver that would've paid him $500,000 if he re-injured his right knee and was placed on injured reserve. The waiver also prevented him from filing a grievance.

For me, it's easy to see why Glenn is frustrated, but the reality is he has zero leverage in this situation.

He should've signed the waiver, played and earned the $1.7 million he was scheduled to earn. However, his ego wouldn't let him sign the waiver. Now, he's frustrated the organization, and the Cowboys are prepared to move on without him. That's fine, but Sam Hurd and Miles Austin aren't better than Glenn.

When we're discussing ego, you can never overlook the importance of keeping T.O. happy, which can be a full-time job. Jason Garrett did a wonderful job last season, and he'll need to do it again, because an unhappy or frustrated T.O. can be a disaster.

Finally, Garrett, Phillips and Jerry need to keep an eye on Tony Romo to make sure his ego remains in check, because he's already become the celebrity quarterback Bill Parcells never wanted him to become.

Can you name another quarterback who has sent out a press release regarding his girlfriend? I didn't think so.

Even Tom Brady doesn't do that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kevin Burnett Blog: Marion Barber III

by Kevin Burnett

Watching this guy run the makes you glad he is on your team. He runs with such a passion that is indescribable. In the words of our friend INTENSITY. In watching his style, it looks as if he takes a lot of punishment. I mean he lowers his head, knees guys in the face mask, stiff arms guys. It would seem like ice would be his best friend. Not the case, MB has a little bit of cat in him, which makes him very deceptive.

He waits until just the right time to move slightly, so you don't get a square shot on him. You guys may not be able to see it from the TV or in the stands, but people hardly ever get a flush shot on him. He keeps defenders off balance which allows him to set up his moves. A lot of time MB cuts back and throws a stiff arm, right? This is all to set up for the short yardage run. He wears you out with the stiff arms and the slippery running then on 2nd and 1 or 3rd and short he lowers his shoulder for huge gains.

Let's say your in a fight and your getting your head beat in with a left hook. The first thing you're going to do as soon as the guy flinches is, watch for the left hook. What about the right hand? Same thing with Barber, he is a patient runner who does one thing to set up another. If you have ever heard an announcer say he's a smart runner well MB's picture should be up there when that phrase is said.

Minicamp NFC East Tour: Giant problems?

Minicamp Tour: Giant problems?
by Gregg Rosenthal
Offseason Low Down

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Forget the personal drama surrounding Jeremy Shockey. The bigger question is how healthy he will be at the start the season. Shockey broke his leg near his ankle last December and still isn't fully ready to practice with the team. At the time of the injury, the Giants said that the ankle issue wasn't serious, but Shockey is a player who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He's a bigger injury risk than usual after missing so much work this offseason. There's little reason to think he'll finally elevate from good to great in 2008.

Editor's Note: Shockey is ranked eleventh in Rotoworld's online draft guide. For access to all the cheat sheets, tiers, articles and stats, click here.

NFC East

New York Giants: Plaxico Burress' contract situation isn't a huge concern for fantasy leaguers. It would be a shocker if he's not practicing by mid-August, if not earlier. … It's uncertain why exactly Ahmad Bradshaw is in jail, but I suspect it doesn't matter. He played too well last season for the Giants to cut him. That's just how the league works. If Bradshaw develops, he could get almost equal touches with Brandon Jacobs. … Eli Manning is getting a modest post-Super Bowl bump in Average Draft Position, rankings up to the QB10 spot. We have him ranked thirteenth at the position, although 10-13 is very closely bunched. … Sinorice Moss hasn't done anything to indicate that he's ready to contribute. Steve Smith is more likely to be New York's third receiver.

Dallas Cowboys: I wrote at length about this in the blog, but the Cowboys need for a number two receiver is overrated. They already have one in Jason Witten, and Patrick Crayton is a fine number three. Miles Austin and Sam Hurd are battling to get snaps on the outside, which will allow Crayton to work from the slot. I don't see the winner of Hurd vs. Austin being a great sleeper because he will be the fifth option most plays, behind the three receivers mentioned and Dallas' running back. … Terry Glenn wasn't mentioned above because I don't expect him to make an impact this season. The Cowboys probably don't either. … It was interesting to hear Jason Garrett mention Sean Payton's use of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush as a template for Marion Barber and Felix Jones, with Jones in Bush's role. Garrett and Payton are from the same coaching tree and spent three years together in New York while Garrett was a player. While Barber will undoubtedly be the lead back, Jones' role may be bigger than MBIII owners hope.

Minicamp Tour: AFC West and South

Minicamp Tour: AFC East and North

Philadelphia Eagles: One player to watch in Eagles training camp is Lorenzo Booker. If he continues to impress, the Eagles can be more cautious with Brian Westbrook's workload, especially early in the season. It seems unlikely that Westbrook will get 368 touches again this year. It may be tough to pick a true handcuff for Westbrook, because Booker and Correll Buckhalter could split time if Booker is out. … I'm not worried about Donovan McNabb's shoulder. He is on a pitch count, like many quarterbacks. McNabb will always be an injury risk, but expect a much-improved season when he's on the field. … The Eagles spread the ball around too much for fantasy leaguers to worry about who wins their third receiver job. Rookie DeSean Jackson hasn't impressed thus far. Tight end L.J. Smith is a better candidate for value as a cheap TE2.

Washington Redskins: Washington is a huge mystery team until the season starts. Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, and Jason Campbell aren't natural fits for a West Coast offense, so the transition to Jim Zorn's offense could be rough. Moss is great at deep routes, but now will be asked to catch shorter passes as a flanker and make yards-after-the-catch. Campbell has a great arm, but timing hasn't been his strength. One good sign for Portis is that he enjoyed a rare healthy offseason, and his work ethic is reportedly improving.

Early indications are that Devin Thomas is well ahead of Malcolm Kelly at receiver, which isn't a surprise. If Thomas can push into the starting lineup, with Antwaan Randle El going to the slot, he can be the best rookie wideout in the NFL. That's not saying much. … Randle El had knee surgery and missed the last five weeks of OTAs, but should be ready for camp. His role could be diminished this season. … Chris Cooley owners could also worry about losing production, if only because the old system was so tight end friendly.

DMN Blog: Ranking the Cowboys

by Calvin Watkins

We continue our offseason series on ranking the Cowboys against the rest of the NFL. (I think this is the title of our series. I need to ask Timmy).
So, today we look at the running backs.

Beat writers note: It's the offseason and yes, we're trying to find some stuff to make you look.

The top running attacks in the NFL:

1. Jacksonville. What can we say? We love the Jags running attack of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. The run game averaged 149.4 yards per game, second in the league. It's a great 1-2 punch and takes pressure off quarterback David Garrard.

2. Minnesota. The best running game in the league last season, 164.6 per game, is next. The Vikes have Mr. Adrian Peterson, yeah, it's like that. He gets a Mr. next to his name because he's that good. Chester Taylor is a strong third-down back but could be on the downside.

3. Pittsburgh. The Steelers live on the run game. Ever since Chuck Noll was running things. Willie Parker returns from his broken leg and if rookie Rashard Mendenhall becomes a complementary back, the Steelers might average more than 135.5 per game.

4. San Diego. When you have LT. That's enough said.

5. New England. The Patriots throw so much we sometimes forget they have a strong run attack with Laurence Maroney. Teams might try to shutdown the passing attack this season and if that happens, look out for Maroney.

Which QB is better, Tony Romo or Eli Manning?

The No. 1 debate this spring on my radio show "Moving the Chains" on Sirius NFL Radio has been which QB is better, Tony Romo or Eli Manning?

Cowboys fans contend the argument isn't close, Romo by a landslide. The Giants fans feel the Super Bowl victory ends the debate. Cowboys fans are quick to remind Giants fans that most of the Big Blue faithful were trying to run Eli Manning out of town halfway through the 2007 season. The Giants fans keep asking how can the Cowboys fans be so loyal to a guy who has never won a playoff game? The raging debate has been spirited, to say the least, as fans get emotional. I thought it would be a good time to tag the argument with some facts and figures.

Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning
How the two QBs measured up in the 2007 regular season:

Tony Romo
Att: 520
Comp: 335
Yards: 4,211
TD/INT: 36/19
Rating: 97.4

Eli Manning
Att: 529
Comp: 297
Yards: 3,336
TD/INT: 23/20
Rating: 73.9

Eli Manning and Tony Romo have both played enough in the past two seasons to compare their production. While Romo has been in the NFL longer, Eli Manning has been on the field longer. Some categories can be compared head-to-head while others will be discussed by percentages. My intent is not to direct you to decide which man is the best player, but to help you decide which guy you like more and at least have some facts to back up the opinion in case you run into a Cowboys/Giants argument over the summer.

Let's start at the top and work backward.

The playoff comparison
Eli Manning is now 4-2 in playoff games, including a victory in Super Bowl XLII. Romo is 0-2 in playoff games. Eli Manning has completed 59.7 percent of his passes; Romo has connected on 53.8 percent. Eli Manning has thrown a touchdown pass 1:20.5 pass attempts, Romo has hit pay dirt 1:32.5 attempts. Manning has been sacked 1:13 attempts in the playoffs; Romo has only gone to the turf 1:17 throws. Eli Manning averages 6.8 yards per pass attempt and 11.5 yards per completion. Romo averages 6.0 yards per attempt and 11.1 per completion. Advantage: Manning

Regular season comparison
Over the past two seasons Eli Manning has thrown 1,051 passes to Romo's 857 so there is enough similarity to weigh the results. Eli Manning connected on 57 percent of his passes with 47 touchdown passes and 38 interceptions; he was sacked 52 times. Tony Romo completed 65 percent of his passes with 55 touchdowns and 32 interceptions; he was sacked 45 sacks. Advantage: Romo

Division play
There's not a coach alive who doesn't say your team has to be built to win the division. Since Eli Manning took over as the QB, the Giants have gone 14-10 in the division, winning 58.3% of their games. Romo has gone 6-5 in the division, winning 54.5% of their games. Romo is closing in on Eli Manning but the Giants QB has never had a losing division record in four years, while Romo went 1-3 his first year. Advantage: Manning

Personal stats (last two seasons)
Eli Manning has connected on 69 passes over 20 yards. Romo has done it 73 times in 194 less attempts. As for 300-yard passing games, Eli Manning has just six in his career and three over the past two years, recording a 2-1 record in those games. Romo has hit the 300 mark 10 times in the past two seasons and boasts a 9-1 record in those games. Advantage: Romo

So after this breakdown it is a split decision, but if you like playoff football and division play Eli Manning is the winner. If you like regular season and personal achievements then Romo is the winner.

Tune into my radio show this week and weigh in with your opinion. Maybe a non-Cowboys or Giants fan can bring their opinion to the most heated debate this spring.

Kevin Burnett: NFL Players who will be stars in 2008

by Kevin Burnett

With a lot of big name hanging it up a few guys are going to step in 2008. With Ogden done look for Jason Peters to catch a lot more eyes and credit as one of the best. Brett leaving opens the door from Rodgers who came in a played like a champion against us last year. He should turn a few heads this year he has some good weapons on offense which should take some pressure off of him. Sapp not being on Raider Land leaves big shoes to fill at the tackle position. If he can stay out of trouble Albert Haynesworth is one of the best in the business. He also reminds me of Sapp with some of his actions.

In looking a A. Samuels I believe he was the best corner in the NFL last year. With him signing with birds he should have another good year because of what the birds do on defense. He comes from a similar system with both teams having run an over dose of cover 3. Look for him the be among the league tops again and maybe go across the water.

To maintain weight without exercise simply cut the sugar out of your diet after 1pm. Nothing white (bread, rice, milk, potatoes, etc.) in color after 2pm and you should stay right where you are. Of course there is always the Stairmaster.

No trivia today. Check for MBIII running style later on today.

Hatcher looking to take Spears' job

by Albert Breer

A few weeks back, Timmy Tabloid taggedJason Hatcher as "This Year's Jay Ratliff" or, in other words, the guy mostly likely to emerge from relative obscurity to become a key piece of the team. (I had Courtney Brown, if you're keeping score.)

Anyway, Hatcher, it seems, has similar goals and expressed those to the News-Star in Louisiana.

"I'm looking to have more playing time -- if not start," Hatcher said. "Hopefully, I'll be starting."

Hatcher is going to have to beat out former first-round pick Marcus Spears to do that. But -- and here's the primary difference between Spears and Hatcher -- it's not like he's coming out of nowhere the way Ratliff did as a seventh-round pick. Hatcher was a third-rounder and, truth be told, guys selected there are expected to develop into starters.

Guys taken in the seventh round, like Ratliff and Brown, aren't. So while Hatcher remains the underdog, I don't think his beating out Spears would qualify as a shocker.

Canty Siavii Hatcher

Works for me, especially if Hatcher has shored up his containment skills so our run defense doesn't lose anything.

Giants, not Cowboys, favorites in NFC East

Source: Dallas Morning News

Things are so good with the Dallas Cowboys that minicamp gets canceled so the players can have a picnic. Things are so bad with the New York Giants that tight end Jeremy Shockey and general manager Jerry Reese scream at each other during a workout in which Shockey is boycotting.

Things are so good with the Cowboys that Terrell Owens is all smiles, a happy camper with a new, $34 million deal. Things are so bad with the Giants that wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends off-season workouts but refuses to participate because he's upset at making less than half of what Owens is getting. Things are so good with the Cowboys that Adam Jones is a new man, his troubled "Pacman" persona a thing of the past. Things are so bad with the Giants that they don't know who will start in place of their retired longtime Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan.

Things are so good with the Cowboys that coach Wade Phillips thinks young wide receivers Miles Austin and Sam Hurd can fill the void if the team can't come to terms with Terry Glenn. Things are so bad with the Giants that one Super Bowl running back (Brandon Jacobs) wants a new contract while the other one (Ahmad Bradshaw) sits in a Virginia jail cell.

Can all of this really be true? Have the Cowboys honestly replaced the Super Bowl champions as NFC favorites? Well, it's true that much has happened this off-season to favor Dallas. The Giants did not add a player with the capacity to be as much of a playmaker as Jones, who can do it both at cornerback and as a punt returner when he can avoid his off-the-field problems. And New York is suffering the Super Bowl hangover that can infect a team sometimes for an entire season. It can happen anywhere, but when a team from New York wins something, there is a tendency to overdo it.

But the reality is that if the Giants have taken full advantage of the New York media market to capitalize on their Super Bowl, the status of their troubles is much exaggerated, too. And that's why they still go into the 2008 season as the favored team. Not the Cowboys according to Dallas Morning New columnist Tim Cowlishaw.

Q&A with George Teague

by Brian Sandalow
The Monitor

ALAMO - Former Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins safety George Teague is scheduled to appear at the 4th Annual Pro Players Football Camp at PSJA Memorial High School in Alamo. The camp, which runs Wednesday and Thursday and costs $60, will also feature Byron Williams of the New York Giants and Scooter McGruder of the New England Patriots. For more information, call (956) 483-6387.

Over the weekend, The Monitor caught up with Teague, currently the head football coach and athletic director at Carrollton Christian Academy, and talked with him about coaching, Brett Favre and Terrell Owens.

Q: How does coaching compare to playing?

A: I think the gratification is still good. It's a little different but it's still good because I'm able to take all of my football knowledge and my sports knowledge and shape and mold young men and women. Although it's not the same as standing in front of 60, 70 or 80,000 fans on a weekend, I still get the same kind of gratification. It's just a different purpose; I'm trying to help others now.

Q: What are some things coaches have taught you that you're teaching your kids?

A: Pretty much that it's going to take hard work to reach your goals. You've got to be committed to work toward your dream to be able to make it. You can't ever quit. Often times, we want things, dream about things but we don't want to take the necessary steps. It doesn't matter if you want to play professional football or be a doctor, you can't have somebody who quit.

Q: You got to play for the University of Alabama, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. Did you ever think about how lucky you were to play for such well-known teams?

A: Yeah. I'm actually very grateful. One, because of the places that I played for but also the people that I played for. I got to play for coach Gene Stallings at Alabama, Mike Holmgren, Barry Switzer and some others. It's been tremendous the amount of knowledge I've been able to gather about coaching and also the things you learn about how to become a man.

It was awesome, man. Going from Alabama to Green Bay was... it was sweet because everybody has a rich tradition and the loyalty that comes with the Cowboys is the same thing. Call it luck or whatever, it's a good feeling.

Q: Which is the most football-crazy: Alabama, Green Bay or Dallas?

A: You almost have to put Green Bay at the top. I say that because it's pretty much the only thing they've got. Not that any of the other ones are weak. Green Bay's got 90,000 people living there with a pro stadium right in the middle. It's kind of crazy, there's no other basketball team or anything in that little city. So, I had a lot of fun playing there. It wasn't my best playing days, my best were with the Dallas Cowboys. I also won a national championship with Alabama.

Q: Speaking of the Packers, do you think Brett Favre is really retired, or is he coming back?

A: I don't know, I think he got most of the jitterbugs out of there last year when he was really contemplating it. I think he'll still be influential. I think he'll still have a lot to do with the team. I don't know, and I don't think that he'll play.

Q: How often are you asked about hitting Terrell Owens off the star at Texas Stadium during the 2000 season?

A: There probably isn't a day that goes by when I'm in Texas that somebody doesn't ask me about it. That was an event, a play, whatever you call it, that put a little stamp on my history with the Dallas Cowboys. It's a great talking piece. Terrell and I haven't talked much since then. But it is a great topic of conversation at all the tables I sit at.

Q: Ever get sick of being asked about that?

A: No, I don't. When you're an athlete, a lot of things come across your plate, and I'm happy to be known for something of that nature instead of something negative that could be detrimental to me.

Q: Are you surprised T.O. has become as popular as he is?

A: I'm happy, actually. I'm very happy. When he first came, I wasn't sure how it was going to pan out but I'm glad it's been a very positive experience for him and for the team.

NFC East team reports rundown

Sporting News correspondents

Each week, Sporting News correspondents provide insight and analysis on every NFL team. Here's a sample of what you'll find in the latest NFC [East] team reports.


DALLAS COWBOYS: Because of uncertainty involving Terry Glenn (knee), the team is counting on third-year pro Miles Austin to add speed at wide receiver. Austin (6-3, 215) has good size and has improved his route running and catching technique.

NEW YORK GIANTS: After his strong work in the offseason program, third-year LB Gerris Wilkinson is in solid shape to replace Kawika Mitchell on the weak side. The club hopes Wilkinson (6-2, 231), a slender athlete who can run and hit, has the instincts to be a consistent player.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Exceptional vision is what makes RB Brian Westbrook one of the NFL's best. He has become a master at judging tackling angles and finding ways to avoid head-on collisions, especially in the open field and in the passing game.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Rocky McIntosh has made good progress from major knee surgery in '07 and is working hard to return in time for camp. When healthy, he has excellent speed for an outside linebacker. The team needs his playmaking ability.

Ryan Gibbons has signed with the Cowboys, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Source: RotoTimes

Our View: The 6-6 320 pound offensive lineman has been a member of Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Jacksonville, but is yet to actually play in an NFL game. The Cowboys liked him when he was a prospect out of Northeastern in 2006, and he will compete for a reserve role.

Witten Will Play More Snaps As A WR..

Jason Witten will play more snaps as a wide receiver this season, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Someone needs to get the local rag a memo that Witten already saw a huge percentage of his targets lined up as a wideout. While Witten isn't quite as effective out wide, he's ultimately their No. 2 receiver and should see more pass targets than ever.

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Dallas Cowboys' Bennett steps back to move forward

The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – The Gatorade is on Jason Witten's desk before every meeting. Martellus Bennett makes sure of that. And it has to be Frost. No other flavor will do.

It's part of the learning process for Bennett, a second-round pick, as he makes the transition from Texas A&M to the Cowboys.

So far, the tight end's progress has been very rookie-like – a tight catch in traffic on one play, a drop on the next; the right footwork on a pass block, a misstep while run blocking.
He is also going through another change.

For the first time in his athletic life, Bennett is not the focal point.

At Alief Taylor High School, Bennett was a first-team Class 5A all-state pick and thought so highly of his basketball skills that he put his name in for the NBA draft. At A&M, he caught a pass in a school-record 29 straight games and led the Aggies in 2007 with 49 catches for 587 yards and four touchdowns.

All of it made him good enough to be a second-round pick. Now he is fetching Gatorades and watching more than he ever has while Witten takes the first-team reps.

"I tell him, 'Make those times when you're behind the huddle productive by getting a mental rep,' " tight ends coach John Garrett said. "I constantly remind him because he's going to get this play in six plays, and he better know what he's doing. You've got to decide, 'Am I going to use every opportunity to improve myself, or am I going to fly by night and hopefully get it right?' "

Witten was in the same position as a rookie in 2003. He got Gatorade for Dan Campbell. He had his position coach then, Tony Sparano, demanding he know everything.

"Dan was good because he let me know we're competing, but at the same time he didn't want to give me too much and understand there's a lot of responsibility on myself," Witten said. "I saw how he worked, saw how he prepared and saw how he was as a team."

Now, Witten is among the NFL's best tight ends with four straight Pro Bowl appearances. The Cowboys hope Bennett learns the how-to by watching Witten not just in games but during camps.

"He's a technician," Bennett said. "A lot of the stuff, he tries to be perfect with everything he does. That's one thing I've noticed about how he practices and his approach to practice and the tempo he goes at every day. It's amazing. He's a hard worker. It's fun to work with a guy like that."

Except for the quarterback, a tight end in the Cowboys' offense has the most to learn.

They have to pass protect. They have to line up in the backfield. They have to block on the strong and weak sides. They line up on the line, in the slot or out wide. They have to go in motion.

"College football is a whole lot easier," Bennett said. "Less thinking, less knowledge of the game – you really just go out there and play every weekend. Now, you've got to go out there and read everything. Man, this is like college times 20."

Before the first minicamp in May, Garrett sent Bennett a practice script so he could be familiar with the offense. When he arrived, Bennett had taped the plays to a notebook with questions about his responsibilities. When he left the first camp he asked Garrett if he could take home one of the teaching tapes that had mostly Witten's catches and blocks, something Bennett said he looks at almost every day.

During the organized team activities, he handed Garrett eight pages of diagrammed plays, sort of like a homework assignment.

"The want-to is there," Garrett said. "He's smart. He's capable. He's strong. He's got a chance to be a good player."