2010 Preseason Schedule Released

As this off-season slowly moves there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of news coming out of Dallas. With the draft still three weeks away I’ll take any news I can get. Today the preseason schedule was released.

Aug 8th. Dallas vs Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame game.

Week 1. Date has not been set.  Oakland at Dallas

Week 2. Date has not been set. Dallas at San Diego

Week 3. Aug 28th. Dallas at Houston

Week 4. Date has not been set. Miami at Dallas

In the next two weeks the entire regular season schedule should be released.

2010 NFL Draft: Is Jerry Jones Tipping His Hand?

With the NFL Draft less than a month away, has Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tipped his hand?

By now most of you are familiar with Dez Bryant, the star wide receiver from Oklahoma State. The Star-Telegram recently wrote that  Bryant may have validated himself as the “best receiver in the NFL Draft” during his most recent workouts.

Bryant is a homegrown talent who hails from Lufkin, Texas. As a senior he was a member of the Texas Football Super Team first-team and was All-state selection after recording 53 receptions for 1,207 yards with 21 touchdowns.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had some glowing remarks,

“He had a solid day.  I don’t know how it will affect him, but he has terrific hands, catching ability, and I really think he looked best running his routes and making plays on the ball.”

KTRE Sports Director, Nick James, said the following:

 “Dez looked explosive. He ran well, he caught the ball well and he looked like he was in shape.”

Jones and the rest of the Cowboys’ top brass will get their first up-close look at Bryant today and Thursday.

Yesterday, it was learned that Jerry Jones also plans to have dinner tonight with Bryant before a visit to Valley Ranch on Thursday.

The thing that interests me is why the sudden interest by the Cowboys in Bryant when everyone expects him to be long gone before the Cowboys select 27th in the draft?

With the emergence of Miles Austin and some great playmaking flashes from Kevin Ogletree, I didn’t see wide receiver as an area of deep concern for the Cowboys.

Although he was expected to be a definite top ten pick,  Bryant could drop a little bit due to questions about his character, but definitely not as low as 27th.  His stock has dropped simply because he was suspended for most of his senior season for lying about his involvement with Deion Sanders, yet another Cowboys connection.

Will the Cowboys make a push to trade up and select him on Draft Day? Who really knows, but it’s something worth keeping our eyes on.

Heck, he already owns an orange Cowboys jersey, how about a silver and blue one too?

True Blue Cowboys Pride

Until recently, I don’t think I truly understood just how many people are proud to be Cowboys fans. I’ve had tons of people request my friendship on Facebook that are fans of the Cowboys and it amazes me to see how loyal they all are! I see wonderful things each and every day from these fans that encourage others even when things may look a bit bleak. They also help keep me informed as to what’s going on with our team. I’m constantly looking things up online and watching for anything on the sports networks and yet I tend to find more info simply from all the awesome fans on FB.

There is one lady in particular that I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with that really stands out in my mind. Her name is Shelby Kelly and she may be little, but she’s one of the biggest Dallas Cowboys fans I’ve ever known! Recently, I asked her if she minded if I asked her a few questions so I could do a story on here and she gladly accepted.

What do you feel are some of the ways you show your Cowboys pride the best?

Year around, I can be found wearing our star but during the season, it’s head to toe silver & blue! I am a season ticket holder so I’m at every home game. My house has Cowboys every where! What started as a one room “man-cave” has grown to take over two rooms and two hallways. I attend as many player events as possible and I invite all my friends to meet me there! It’s a simple way to show your support for the players and the team.

The biggest way I show my Cowboys Pride best is sharing with others. Whether fans meet up with me for the fun or they are waiting online for me to tweet, blog or post pictures; sharing has allowed me the opportunity to meet Cowboys fans from around the world and make friends with people in my area that I may have never met otherwise. These amazing people inspire me and I love them for that!

When the team happens to not be doing so well, how do you keep such a positive attitude?

I’m a positive person! *giggle* I don’t see a value in negatives and pity parties. The trick is to put it behind you quickly and remember what the individuals on the team are capable of doing. If I know they could have done better, I’m sure they know it, too. They are probably beating themselves up over it: which is not where we want our players to be. Learn from it and jam on!

What do you think the team can work on to improve their game?

I would like to see the team work on mental aspects of the game. I think this would help them remain calm before big games and when they find themselves in a situation on the field. Many of our errors were mental. Also, would like to see the fans work with the team better by remaining quiet when our QB is behind the center and screaming our heads off for our “D”.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done as a Cowboys fan?

Well, there are quite a few stories I could share! *chuckle* Like throwing gum at Michael Irvin, doing the robot with Deon and Isaiah or the time I told Dave Campo, “Don’t act like you have some place to be! I’ve been watching D. Ware highlights!”… or standing in a parking lot for hours on a beautiful August afternoon in Texas (aka: 100+ humid degrees) for the opportunity to be on the field for a few minutes before the final open practice Texas Stadium would ever see… I’d do it again! Only I’d get there earlier! My son and I met Walt Garrison later that day! Totally worth it!

When you hear someone talking trash about the Cowboys, what do you do?

*giggles* I don’t have to do much. I smile and ask about their team. Their answer usually explains a lot.

It’s amazing people like Shelby that make me so proud to be a Cowboys fan. She’s an excellent example of how classy and devoted the Dallas Cowboy’s fans truly are. We not only have the best team in the NFL but the best fans as well!!!

Boys Could Look To Add Outside Linebacker Depth Early On In Draft

Outside linebacker play got more consistent for the Cowboys in 2009 with the emergence of Anthony Spencer and the usual All-Pro play from Demarcus Ware. There are questions however with the depth behind the two starting outside linebackers. Contrary to popular belief, I think Victor Butler played well for a raw rookie making the transition to linebacker. And we can’t forget about Brandon Williams, who was sidelined for the year with a torn ACL, and should be ready to compete by the time training camp starts. Still, expect the Cowboys to take a close look at the deep class of ‘tweener type linebackers that fit well into their 3-4 scheme. Here are a few prospects to watch.

Thaddeus Gibson – Ohio State, 6’2″ 243

Many questioned Gibson’s decision to declare for the draft early. But after his performance at Ohio State’s pro day, it looks as though he made the right choice. He has the size that 3-4 defensive coordinators covet, and would project to be an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. Gibson also has the speed to go along with his size, running a 4.58 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s pro day. His 40-time is comparable to Demarcus Ware’s when he performed at the combine in 2005 and ran a 4.56 40. Gibson will probably go in rounds 2 or 3, which may not be too early for the Cowboys to consider an outside linebacker.

Jerry Hughes – Texas Christian, 6’2″ 255

A hometown boy who played his college ball for the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Hughes was a terror on the Frogs defensive line, posting 26 sacks in the past two seasons. Like Gibson, he is a ‘tweener prospect who will play outside linebacker at the next level. He posted a very solid 4.69 40-time at the combine, and has the size comparable to Anthony Spencer. Hughes’s draft stock has been solid throughout pre-draft workouts, and he could go as early as the late 1st round. The Cowboys are not likely interested in drafting an outside linebacker in the first round, so Hughes could be out of reach. If he falls to them in the 2nd round however, they will take a long, hard look at him.

Ricky Sapp – Clemson, 6’4″ 266

Sapp is another athletic defensive end who will transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has fantastic size and speed, both comparable to Demarcus Ware, and had a terrific outing at the combine. Did not really have impressive sack numbers during his collegiate career, but certainly has the intangibles that pro teams look for in a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect. He could go anywhere within rounds 2 through 4, and could get interest from the Cowboys.

George Selvie – South Florida, 6’3″ 252

Selvie is a prospect who really fell off the map after posting 14 sacks in the 2007 season. His drop-off in production was partly due to nagging injuries. The emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul on the Bulls’s defensive line also took alot of eyes off of Selvie. Regardless of his recent drop-off, Selvie has intriguing size and upside that will draw the interest of any defensive coordinator looking to add athleticism to his defense. I could see Selvie going in the late 3rd round to 4th round range, which is certainly within the range that Dallas would likely pull the trigger on an outside linebacker project.

Koa Misi – Utah, 6’3″ 251

Misi is one more intriguing ‘tweener prospect amongst a very deep class of pass rushing athletes in this year’s draft. He showed his athleticism at the combine in the vertical jump and the 3-cone drill. Like Selvie, Misi did not accumulate impressive sack numbers in 2009, but was plenty active and racked up plenty of tackles. Also like all the other prospects named in this article, Misi possesses the intangibles to be a force at the 3-4 outside linebacker position. He is projected to go anywhere within rounds 2 or 3. Like the other prospects, look for the Cowboys to consider him if he is on the board after round 1.

Cowboys Still Quiet in Free Agency

I hate free agency after the big players are signed. After Julius Peppers and LaDainian Tomlinson went to other teams, I got bored.

Dallas is a big part of that boredom because they haven’t done anything. They haven’t pursued anybody that may have need of.

Part of that is Jerry Jones’ fault; part of it is the fact that Dallas is such a great team that it doesn’t have a need for many players to improve the team.

Also throw in the fact that since Dallas was one of the final eight teams as in teams that went beyond the wild-card round of the playoffs, they have limits to what they can do in free agency in order to prevent a team from becoming the Yankees in baseball, who just buy themselves all the talent they want.

Dallas has done nothing. No one noteworthy has left Dallas either. Dallas does need a new kicker and Matt Stover has stated that since he was a native of Dallas, he would like to come back and play.

Jerry could be planning on drafting a kicker instead, but I really believe Stover is the way to go. We do have David Buehler, but he’s a kickoff specialist, and I’m not sure on his range from 45 yards plus.

Now before anyone goes off on tangents that we need a receiver or we need a new safety or about how a certain player really is struggling, I’m telling you right here that I’ve read no indication that Jerry intends to get rid of anybody.

The thing about Jerry is not only is he a businessman, but he knows football too, and he knows what a player can do, and he knows that players sometimes can have off years.

Take Ken Hamlin who had five interceptions in 2007, but has had only one the previous two. I can guarantee that Jerry is not happy with that, but he’s not impatient. He’s a guy who is going to give his experiments TIME before he terminates the project.

Ken Hamlin, in my opinion, probably has one more year to prove himself before Jerry starts to seriously consider trading or releasing him.

Same goes with Roy Williams. Roy Williams had a bad year this year. I cannot and will not dispute that in the slightest. However, I’ve seen Roy Williams play at really high level. I remember the Buccaneers game where he just split the coverage and went 66 yards for the touchdown.

I’ve seen Roy contort his body in the air and make some ridiculous catches. Yeah, he hasn’t been as productive as Miles Austin, but not everyone is Miles Austin.

View the rest here at: http://www.nfltouchdown.com/cowboys-still-quiet-in-free-agency/

End Of March Mock Draft

I should preface this mock by saying it was composed with the assumption that Jerry signs O.J. Atogwe away from the Rams, releases Ken Hamlin and is counting on one of the youngsters such as Marquis Floyd, Jesse Holley etc. making the team as a versatile return man.

27. Markise Pouncey G/C Florida
Pouncey is a strong and versitile lineman that brings youth and depth to the aging O-Line. Markise will compete with Kosier for the left guard spot and provide solid depth at center should Gurode go down.

59.  Brandon Ghee CB Wake Forest
Brandon ran an impressive 4.37 40 yd. dash at the Combine and completely shut down receiver Demaryius Thomas earlier in the year. With Newman getting up there in age, more solid depth is needed in the secondary and the 6 ft. 200 lb. speedster is a great addition.

90. Major Wright FS Florida
After signing O.J.Atogwe away from the Rams and releasing 2009 starter Ken Hamlin, depth is needed at the safety position and Major comes from a long line of impressive Florida safeties. Major has good size, speed and instincts making this a solid choice in the third round.

125. Tony Washington OT Abilene Christian
Jerry said the biggest focus of this draft was to get younger on the O-Line and with the selections of Pouncey and Washington, he does just that. Washington is a 6ft. 6in., 311 lb. Tackle with 35.5in. arms. Free is projected to be the successor on the left side, so an upgrade will be needed on the right. Washington will be an upgrade over McQuistan who never developed into a quality tackle.

196.  John Connor FB/H-Back Kentucky
The Cowboys select a versatile FB in the sixth round after releasing Deon “Crickett” Anderson. Connor will be asked to block for the three-headed monster, catch passes out of the back-field and play special teams.

234. Brett Swenson K Michigan State
Jerry takes a late round flier on a kicker. Swenson will compete with Connor Hughes and David Buehler for placekicking duties. BTW, who’s going to hold this year?

More from Tashard Choice

Since this off-season has been very quiet so far for the Cowboys, other then the resigning of Cory Procter. I thought a few videos would put a smile on our faces.

This video is from Tashard Choices Georgia Tech days. Watching it makes those who have mentioned trading him not want to anymore. A lot of passion in his voice. Give this man the ball more. Also makes you wish the season opened today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1A0NjohCxI

This video is from the Cowboys locker room. Not exactly sure when it was taken, but it’s something new that Tashard Choice just put on his page a week ago. Love watching these videos because I love how much fun they have and I can’t help but laugh as I hear them all laughing at each other.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL-ALDE3sXw

Cowboys Re-Sign Cory Proctor

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that backup offensive lineman Cory Procter became the first of the Cowboys’ 11 restricted free agents to sign his restricted free agent tender on Friday.

Procter will earn $1.759 million in 2010 after the team placed the second-round tender on him. He was active for every game in 2009 but saw only limited action as a backup at center and guard.

In 2008, he started 11 of 16 games after Kyle Kosier was lost for the year with a foot injury.

The Cowboys have 10 remaining restricted free agents: Miles Austin, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, Sam Hurd, Pat McQuistan, Duke Preston, Gerald Sensabaugh, Junior Siavii, Marcus Spears and Pat Watkins.

I expect that Proctor will earn more playing time this season as we look to keep an aging O-Line fresher.

Overtime Rule Changed Starting with the 2010 Post-Season

The NFL announced today that they will be changing the current overtime rule for the post- season starting this coming season. The new rule passed by a 28-4 count. The owners also agreed to speak about the new overtime rule for the regular season at next years meetings. The four teams voting against the new rule were Buffalo, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Baltimore. This is the first time the overtime rule has been changed since 1974.

As for the new rule? It may be an improvement from the old rule, but I’m still not sold that it’s the answer. I still like the idea of putting eight to ten minutes on the clock in the overtime period and let the teams play until there is 0:00 on the clock. If it’s still tied after the overtime period ends then the game is a tie.

Here is the new overtime rule from ESPN.com

Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner.

• If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

• If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if [the overtime period’s] initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue until a score is made, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

Some other important details were brought up about the new rule on ProFootballTalk.com

What happens if a team attempts an on-side kick?

“A kickoff is the opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its opportunity.”

This is also true if the receiving team fumbles a kickoff.

It is also my understanding that if the offense surrenders a safety on their initial possession that the game would end.

I’m sure we all have our own opinions on the new rule.  My opinion is that if Brett Favre didn’t throw the interception late in the NFC Championship game or if Favre was able to get a chance in overtime, this rule would have never been discussed at the owners meetings. Should this be the Favre rule?

Cowboys To Split Training Camp And Return To Oxnard

According to the Dallas Morning News,  Stephen Jones confirmed an earlier report that the Dallas Cowboys are seriously pursuing a plan to split training camp this year between Oxnard, California and the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Speaking about the yet to be finalized deal that will allow the Cowboys to train in Oxnard for two weeks, the Cowboys Vice President said,

“There’s a good chance we’re there. We’re getting everything put to bed. We get a lot out of it. We get great coverage. I think it gives the players a nice little getaway … I think it will spice things up, getting outside in that cool, fresh air. Obviously we’re not at a point to announce the deal is done, but we’re fired up about it.”

A couple of weeks ago, team owner Jerry Jones was very enthusiastic about splitting training camp and was hoping that the NFL would accommodate the team and schedule a pre-season game on the West Coast to tie in with the move.

“It’s got a good chance of happening,” Jones said. “There are several logistical things to weigh, but I’m optimistic about it.”

According to another report on ESPN.com by Matt Mosley, Jerry Jones believes the Cowboys can help fill the void of Los Angeles not having an NFL team and that it would also represent a very good marketing opportunity for America’s Team.

The plan would be to open training camp in San Antonio around July 24 because of the team’s inclusion in the August 8th Hall of Fame Game, and then travel to Oxnard for two weeks. A final decision will be made when the preseason opponents are announced.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Cowboys return to Oxnard which I prefer to the closed in atmosphere at the Alamodome, and I do agree with Stephen Jones in that it’s a nice getaway for the players.

DeMarcus Ware Finishes Second In Top Linebacker Honors

Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware finished second to San Francisco’s Patrick Willis in voting for the Dick Butkus Award, which is awarded each offseason to the NFL’s best linebacker.

Ware won the award last year and narrowly missed repeating after tallying 39 votes and falling short to Willis who had 50.

The Butkus Award has was always been awarded to college and high school football players, but at the suggestion of Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, the NFL began  honoring pro football players as of last year when Ware became the first recipient.

Willis had 154 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions for the Niners last season.

Ware finished with 57 tackles, eleven sacks, five forced fumbled and six pass deflections for the Cowboys.

Even in a season when Ware’s numbers were down across the board, he still ranks with the best of them and as far as outside linebackers go, nobody is better.

By the way, we want to wish all of our friends and readers a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  They say that every year on this day, everybody is Irish including the always magical Jason McWitten and Patrick O’Crayton. Go grab yourselves a fine cold Irish brew and have a wonderful day.

Morning Radio and the Joy of a Quiet Offseason

Driving into work this morning I was flipping between Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio on XM. Most of the talk was about baseball and March Madness, but for a few minutes I heard some ranting regarding the new Jets/Giants stadium and their dilemma about who will open the season in the new home. After a coin toss by the commissioner it was decided that the Giants will open the stadium on Sunday September 12th and the Jets will open on the following Monday night to the huge MNF crowd.

First of all, can you imagine your team sharing a stadium with another team, even if they were in the other conference? I still find it ridiculous that they aren’t even in the state of New York. I guess some could argue that the Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas but Arlington is a hell of a lot closer than say Louisiana or Oklahoma.

Another topic discussed on my morning drive radio programming also featured the Jets and their newly acquired running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The poor guy has gone from being the best in the biz to being a 3rd string back that fans hope they never see on the field. I’ve always liked LT, and I find it really sad how the world of sports works sometimes.

It seems the Jets really are trying to make some noise this offseason, but none of their moves have impressed me yet. In case you missed it they grabbed former Cowboy Nick Folk to a one year deal back in February. Their veteran kicker Jay Feely isn’t worried at all and expects a new deal despite the signing.

As for the Cowboys, everything is really quiet right now. Next month comes the draft and the release of the 2010 schedule.

StarStruck Graphics

For now you can relax and enjoy Spring Break, only five or so months until Preseason football… 😉