Q & A with former Cowboys QB Danny White

In March of 1980 Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach retired from the Dallas Cowboys. There to step in as the next Cowboys quarterback was Danny White. It was Danny White who served as Staubach’s backup from 1976-1979 and now it was his turn to lead the Cowboys. I’m sure it wasn’t easy following Staubach after the career he had with the Cowboys, but Danny White took full control of the team and became a leader. It was even Coach Landry who said…

“I don’t think anybody could have followed Roger and done as well as Danny”

“Danny is a solid Winner”

Growing up a Cowboys fan in the early 80’s it was Danny White who I looked up to because of the way he played the game and because of the way he became a leader of the Cowboys. He easily became my favorite player during his career and to this day at the age of 43 I still have his jersey hanging in my closet.

Danny White’s career record with the Cowboys was 62-30. He threw for 21,959 yards (3rd on the Cowboys all-time list). He threw 155 touchdowns (2nd on the Cowboys all-time list). He also threw 1,761 completions (2nd on the Cowboys all-time list) to go along with his 59.7 completion percentage. Let’s not forget his 40.2 yard career average as the Cowboys punter from 1976-85.

Numbers aside Danny White was a great player for the Dallas Cowboys. If I had my wish his name would be hanging up there in the Ring of Honor with the other great Cowboys. He simply does not get the credit he deserves for his time with the Cowboys. Whether it was his great 30-27 comeback win against the Falcons in the 1980 playoffs, the 31-30 comeback win against the Redskins in 1983 or even the five touchdown pass performance in beating the Giants 38-20 in 1983. These are only a few of the Danny White highlights that come to mind. There are so many more in his career that I could probably go on writing forever.

Over the years I’ve made it clear how much of a fan I am of Danny White during countless football conversations with people and even in posts here on LoneStarStruck over the last two years. I’ve always wanted to sit down with Danny White and talk football with him, even if it was only for a few minutes. There are just so many questions I’ve wanted to ask him. Well, this week I was lucky enough to get that opportunity and was beyond excited to exchange a few messages with Danny White.  He took some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for me, which I am very thankful for and I’m happy to share his answers with everyone.  

What are some of the things you are involved in currently?

Danny White: “I will be broadcasting all the Cowboys games this fall on their new National Syndicated Radio Broadcasts. Also, I’m building a team of marketers in BodHD (www.globalteam11.bodhd.com)”

Do you ever see yourself involved in coaching in the NFL?

Danny White: “It would be tough to start in the NFL at my age (59) but in the right situation I would love to”

Was there one person, coach or teammate who helped you more than anyone while playing for the Cowboys?

Danny White: “Coach Landry of course. He was a GREAT teacher. Also, Roger was an unbelievable influence on me”

Do you think the 1981 team had the best chance to make the Super Bowl and win it?

Danny White: “I think 80, 81 and 82 would all have won the Super Bowl if we had played the Championship games at home”

Being a starter for the Cowboys for so many years what are your thoughts on Tony Romo as the current Cowboys starter?

Danny White: “I think Tony is a Championship QB. Put the rest of the pieces together and he can get them there”

Watching the 1981 Championship game recently, I’ve always wanted to ask you if you thought your arm was going forward on that last play?

Danny White: “It was. However under the rules at that time I think it was the right call. Today it would definitely be an incomplete pass”

Looking back on your Cowboys career is there one game that stands out as far as being special to you?

Danny White: “There were a number of very special games but the Falcons playoff game in 1980 with Drew making 2 great catches in the last 4 minutes was the first big comeback and was very special”

I want to thank Danny White for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. It was very nice of him to do so and made a dream of mine for a long time come true. Considering how involved Danny White was with the Dallas Cowboys as well as playing alongside so many great players, my questions could have gone on for a long time.  Mr. White, you will always be a true Dallas Cowboy and will always be a part of their history. I thank you once again for you time.

Should the Cowboys say goodbye to Choice and Bennett?

Welcome to the first day of summer 2011. Here we are with no free agency and no OTA’s or any kind of a normal off-season schedule. The good news is that I’m hearing some positive things from the labor meetings as far as progress. I’m hearing that a deal might be done by the 4th of July weekend which would be very nice for everyone. Of course these are all rumors, but at this point I’m willing to grab onto anything in hopes that it’s true.

Once a deal is done between the players and the owners free agency should start up soon after that. A lot of talk is focused around how much the Cowboys will be involved in free agency. Will they sign a safety? Will they sign a cornerback? I would like to turn the tables and discuss a few players that the Cowboys should say goodbye too.

The majority of things I’m hearing are that Marion Barber will most likely be released by the Cowboys. I guess I’m in the minority when it comes to Barber because I think the Cowboys should hold onto him now that DeMarco Murray is on the team. If Jason Garrett can put Barber back into the role that he had back in 2006 and 2007 I think it would benefit Barber and the Cowboys. Because of Barber’s running style he needs to stay fresh and be able to come in and get that tough yard in the second half when the defense is tired or be able to slam his way into the end zone just like he did during the ’06 and ’07 seasons when he scored 24 touchdowns. Barber is not a starting running back in the NFL. He needs to do what he does best and punish a defense with his hard running. Of course the Cowboys running game in 2011 all ties into the offensive line. The line must improve for the running game to have success. With the drafting of DeMarco Murray I think he can step in as the change of pace back behind Felix Jones. The Cowboys will then have their one two punch with Jones and Murray with Barber working the short yardage as he once did.

Some of you may be saying, but what about Tashard Choice? It was obvious that Choice was not a big part of the Cowboys’ offense in 2010. I’m not sure about the reasons, but he only carried the ball 66 times. Some say it was because of his fumble during the opening game of 2010 against the Redskins. I’m not too sure about that because if anyone should take the blame it should be Garrett for calling the play in the first place instead of just taking a knee. The reasons aside it seems as though Choice is not a big part of the Cowboys’ offense so why not trade him now since this is his last season under contract. If the Cowboys keep Choice he will most likely look toward free agency after the 2011 season anyway so why not try to get something for him now? Of course this also depends on whether the players get what they want in the new CBA as far as unrestricted free agency after four years of service, which will be where Choice is after 2011. Getting something for Choice now makes more sense for the Cowboys instead of having him sit on the sideline and giving him the ball a few times during this season. I’m sure Choice believes he can be a starter in the league and he has done some good things for the Cowboys, but the situation is what it is. Making Choice trade bait to see if any team would bite would benefit the Cowboys as well as Choice. 

There is another player who is heading towards free agency after the 2011 season that I believe has no future with the Cowboys. That player is Martellus Bennett who is entering his fourth season with the Cowboys. Bennett is averaging 22 receptions a season and 234 yards. He is another player that the Cowboys need to look into trading before he looks towards free agency after the 2011 season. Just like with Choice it might be better to get something for Bennett now instead of him leaving and not getting anything for him. The difference between Choice and Bennett is that Choice has brought something to the team from time to time and Bennett has brought nothing in his four seasons. He has a lot of potential, but has not shown it week in and week out. There is an old saying that goes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. With Bennett I think back to HBO’s Hard Knocks when Bennett would laugh at Coach John Garrett when he was told to do something. That will always be my first impression of Bennett. He is a  guy who just never seems to take the game seriously when he needs too. Of course this is just my opinion from what I’ve seen of Bennett and after four years I believe it’s time for the Cowboys to move on. 

Just ask yourself these two questions…

How much will Choice and Bennett help the Cowboys in 2011?

Will things be any different for either of them in 2011 with the Cowboys?

I believe their roles will remain the same with the Cowboys, so why not try to trade them and get something back? I don’t believe they are the difference between the Cowboys making the Super Bowl and not making it. With DeMarco Murray on the team he can step in and take on that role of backup to Jones. Also, all reports are that John Phillips is recovering from his knee surgery and will be ready when the Cowboys open camp so that he can backup Jason Witten.

These are just a couple of thoughts that have been going through my mind over the last few weeks. I believe it will make the Cowboys better and it will also help Choice and Bennett move on with their careers.

Are You Ready For Some Football???

In our lives things are constantly changing. We may change jobs, make new friends, start a new relationship, move to a different place, and so on. With all the chaos life throws at us, there’s one thing that remains constant. I don’t have the same friends as I did when I was a teenager, I don’t even live in the same state, but one thing has remained the same – I have always been (and always will be) a Dallas Cowboys fan. Every year come summertime I knew I could count on training camp and preseason games to lead us right into the grandest season of all – football season!

This lockout is on a path to destroy that constant. I think deep down inside we all believed the powers that be, will work out a deal and get us back on track and everything will be touchdowns and field goals. On the surface we also know that there’s an equal chance those powers will screw everything up and the unbelievable could happen – a late season, a partial season or (God forbid) no football season!

I’ve been very quiet this offseason. Of course there’s been no action or rumors to speak of regarding free agency, trades, releases, etc. There’s been no mini camps, no rookie camps, no mouthy veterans demanding trades or bigger contracts. But I think I’d blame my silence more on the anger and depression of the lockout.

It must be so awful to have to argue over millions even billions of dollars. The greed of this entire ordeal just makes me sick to my stomach. The sad thing is that in the end the people this mess is going to hurt the most are the fans and the industry that works for these greedy gazillionaires.

It’s probably okay for Jerry Jones and Tony Romo to miss one season, they’ve got plenty of money in the bank. What about the concession stand workers or the guy who paints the lines on the field? What about the parking attendants and the ticket vendors?

You can say football is just a game, but it means a lot more when you really break it down. Okay, so maybe this isn’t my day job – but I certainly miss having blogs to publish or graphics to design. I miss having something to discuss with my buddies. I miss our LSS chats and debating topics in the comments. Yeah, there’s plenty of history to go through and probably things we could come up with to discuss – but it’s just not the same when we have this lockout looming in our minds.

I’m sure eventually everything will work itself out and we can look back at the Lockout of 2011 and shake our heads. However I’m not confident that it will be in time  to put together productive, contending teams without altering the current schedules and deadlines.

Life will go on for us regular folks, with our without football. We may not like it, but it’s completely out of our hands. I hope to post some good news for the fans in the next couple of weeks. Usually we’d be counting down the days until the season opener, 81 days by the way… But at this point all we can do is HOPE.

…Hope that the team that we devote so much passion and time towards returns the favor and first of all has a football season and second of all gives us great reasons to scream that phrase we all love to scream – HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!

NFL Labor Talks Almost Blow Up

I hope everyone enjoyed their Fathers Day weekend. Here is something that some of you may have missed.

After what seemed like some significant progress regarding negotiations to end the NFL lockout, word has it that they came very close to blowing up again.

Two weeks ago, as I reported here on LSS, there were some secret meetings taken place, reportedly without any lawyers present – just the player representatives and owners.

The Washington Post reported that a framework to an agreement was being laid out and that the lockout could come to an end within two to three weeks.

Unfortunately, on Saturday reports began to filter in that not only were the rumors as positive as had been projected, but that all talks almost broke down after lawyers were invited back to the bargaining table.

Adam Schefter of ESPN explains,

At a time when many are waiting for and anticipating a deal between owners and the NFL Players Association, there was a point Tuesday when talks clearly regressed.

One person close to the talks even went so far as to say, “This almost blew up yesterday.”

How close it did is a matter of opinion. Fact is, the moment came shortly after lawyers from both sides were brought back into the process at an undisclosed location in the Washington, D.C., area. As tensions rose and anger grew, two sources said NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith instructed his lawyers to “stand down.”

With the lawyers removed from the direct negotiations, the process was said to get back on track and to a good spot. The scenario is an example of just how tenuous these talks can be and how quickly they can be derailed.

Multiple sources familiar with the talks said progress is being made, but they cautioned there’s “a lot of drama and a lot of room for mistakes left.” 

To say this is going to be done in two weeks, one source said, “is borderline insane.”

Terrelle Pryor: Well worth the risk

What happens next month during the NFL Supplemental Draft if Terrelle Pryor has not been selected and the Cowboys are sitting there in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th round with a decision to make. Is he worth giving up a pick in the 2012 draft?

I don’t follow college football like I follow the NFL. I can only go by watching highlights of players and listening to certain people who report on college football.  I also go by my gut feeling about players. With Terrelle Pryor something is telling me that he is well worth giving up a pick in next year’s draft. I understand the stories about him driving a car that he shouldn’t have been driving and with a suspended license and selling autographed memorabilia, but the upside to this player is too high to ignore. I’m not saying he can be a franchise quarterback. Maybe he can after a few seasons. What he can do right now is add something to the Cowboys to make them more dangerous.

I think Pryor can add another dimension to the Cowboys offense. He adds excitement and is an added threat. If the Cowboys also continue with their Wild Cat offense Pryor would be perfect. He brings a strong arm to the offense as well as speed and toughness. Why not take a chance on a player like Pryor? The Cowboys need a shot in the arm in my opinion. They have been doing the same things on offense for years. They need to go out there and take a chance on an exciting player like Pryor.

There is no question that Tony Romo is the Cowboys quarterback, but he’s also 31 years old and on the back end of his career. John Kitna is a solid backup and did a good job as Romo’s replacement in 2010, but he is 38 years old and maybe the Cowboys need to start looking at getting younger. Stephen McGee is only 25  years old, but my feeling is that he is not the Cowboys future.

I believe the Cowboys need to seriously consider getting Terrelle Pryor because of his upside and what he brings to the game. Maybe Pryor can become a franchise quarterback in a few years learning under Romo. No one can really say for sure. They can just state their opinions. In my opinion if the Cowboys have the opportunity to select Terrelle Pryor next month in the supplemental draft they need to take full advantage of it and grab him before another team does.

Jason Witten Ranked #36 In NFL Network Top 100

The NFL Network continues to run down the Top 100 Players in the NFL and checking in at #36 was none other than Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

The Top 100 is voted on by the players so this just shows how highly regarded Witten is among his peers. Antonio Gates has not been ranked yet, but it’s assumed he will be the top ranked tight end with Witten a solid second.

With Witten being announced today at No. 36, he joins teammates Jay Ratliff No. 75, Tony Romo No. 72, Miles Austin No. 70 and Andre Gurode No. 57  who were already picked earlier.

The NFL has said that there is one more Cowboy who has yet to be announced, and there is no doubt that it will be linebacker DeMarcus Ware who should easily slide into the Top 10, or maybe even the Top 5. Of course we will let you know when the announcement comes.

Witten is one of the NFL’s top pass-catching tight ends and in my opinion he has some of the best and surest hands in the game. He also has a nose for the end zone as Cowboys fans have seen and enjoyed over the last few seasons.

We at LSS, congratulate Jason Witten and all the other Cowboys who have made the cut and we look forward to seeing DeMarcus Ware crack the Top 10 of this prestigious list.

Okay, now I’m ready for some football!

Not So Secret Meeting Brings Players and Owners Back To Bargaining Table

Roger GoodellIt’s been a difficult offseason for Cowboys fans this year, mostly because of the ongoing lockout. The Cowboys news has been so sparse that most blogs will post just about anything including Felix Jones’ favorite Ninja Turtle (Donatello), Tony Romo’s choice of cake for his wedding, J-Rat’s new diamond studded toothbrush, Dez and his attempted jewel heist, and the world’s largest scoreboard getting a tune-up.

Well – maybe the days of rehashing the same old and tired rants or posting about silly non-football stuff will soon be coming to an end. Maybe, in a week or so, we can start posting about real Cowboys news again… Real Cowboys trade talk based on sourced information and not speculation… Real Cowboys news that we’ve been craving for nearly four months now…

There’s some news floating around that the owners and the players are talking again, in what might be the most unsecretive, secret meeting since FDR, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin got together at Yalta.

Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones was among five NFL owners that met secretly with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the head of now decertified NFL Players Association (NFLPA), in Chicago on Wednesday according to several reports.

Federal mediator Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan was in attendance and he canceled scheduled mediated sessions next week so the players and owners can continue to “negotiate in secret”.

The secret meeting is so secret that both sides released a joint statement (in secret of course) regarding their progress.

“The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.”

One source said any potential deal still was a ways away; however, the hope would be that the two sides could reach an agreement sooner rather than later, potentially even later this month.

The key words there being “sooner rather than later” and “later this month”.

This sounds like a ground breaking achievement considering all the rancor that we’ve seen from both sides thus far. Any negotiation can only come from both sides getting together to discuss the issues, and it looks like both sides were willing to do just that, albeit in secret (not really).

Of course, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is knee deep in all of this and while everybody else involved refused to comment, Jones as always had something to say,  “We’re trying. I think the fact that we’re meeting is good.”

One unidentified player added, “That was the point of the meeting. No lawyers.”

We can only hope that some substantial progress comes out of this and that this black cloud hovering over the 2011 NFL season is finally lifted and we can start talking and blogging about real football again soon.

Stay tuned…