Dallas Cowboys: Promising Rookies For 2012-2013

Last season, the Cowboys got a nice rookie present in the form of DeMarco Murray. After injuries to the Cowboys’ backfield, Murray stepped in and took the Cowboys and the NFL by storm. Dallas seemed to have a pretty good draft back in April, and the question is, do they have another Murray lying in their draft selections? Dallas made some moves on draft day, so let’s take a look at the impact rookies for Dallas this season and how they might affect their NFL odds.

Morris Claiborne

This is an easy answer for me, because the Cowboys moved up several spots to get this guy number 6 overall. Claiborne was by far the best cornerback in the draft, and the young LSU prospect has a lot of skill, and is much needed for a secondary that was below average last season.

Claiborne isn’t a big corner, as he is only 5’11 and 188 pounds, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for with speed and ball skills. He had 6 interceptions in his final college season, and he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. He should plug in nicely with the Cowboys.

Cowboys’ steals

The two guys that caught my eye for the Cowboys on draft day were their third and fifth round selections. At 81st overall the Cowboys went defense again, and selected Tyrone Crawford, defensive end out ofBoiseState. Even though his football grades are average, he is very big (6’4 275 lbs.) and very fast (4.89 forty-yard dash). He will fit very nicely in the defensive end rotation and will learn a lot next to DeMarcus Ware.

The other guy that caught my eye is wide receiver Danny Coale. Coale was selected in the 5th round (152nd overall) out of Virginia Tech. Coale is a warrior on the field, and has excellent hands. Even though he is pretty fast, he isn’t a great route runner yet, but he had one of the best 3-cone drills of any receiver in the draft, and when he gets better at separating, he will be a great deep ball threat for the Cowboys.

There’s No Vacation From America’s Team

I have always thought of the Dallas Cowboys as being America’s Team, but as many in Cowboy Nation know there are other NFL teams that want the title.

On my recent trip to Richmond, Virginia I proudly wore my Cowboy gear which I thought would bring up many conversations, you know since we were so close to Redskin Country.  To my surprise I met many Dallas Cowboy fans in many places.  One in particular was our tour guide while in a cavern tour, and another in a diner. I even met an entire family of die hard Cowboy fans.

We had many conversations about how we thought the team would do this season.  What did surprise me was how many men were surprised that at a woman really knew the game of football. During a discussion about the defense and the free agents we picked up one man said, ” Wow you really do know your Cowboys!”

While at the register in a sports shop, the man asked if I was shopping for Father’s Day. I laughed and replied, “No this is for me. I am  a southern girl and we know our sports.” Then he began to quiz me about the teams, college football, basketball and the Texas Rangers. I answered all his questions and he was amazed and replied, “I may have to head that way to find a wife.”  I just shook my head and laughed.

Even during offseason and on vacation, the ‘Boys are on my mind. That’s the life a die-hard Cowboys fan for ya!  

The Cowboys need to consider Donald Driver if he is released by the Packers

Last year the Cowboys went out and signed Laurent Robinson to be their third receiver and the results were 54 receptions for 858 and 11 touchdowns. Some might say that he was the Cowboys offensive MVP as he had an instant connection with Tony Romo. Having trust in your receivers is very important as well as knowing   that they can be counted on at the most important times is priceless. That is what the Cowboys had in Robinson and he will be missed. This off season Robinson earned the right to be a starter in the NFL and decided to sign with the Jaguars. Now the Cowboys look to the young and inexperienced receivers that are currently on the roster. Players like Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Raymond Radway, Andre Holmes and Danny Coale will all be battling for that third receiver spot. Between all five of those players only Ogletree has caught a pass in the NFL.

There are questions about each of the receivers that cannot be ignored. Olgetree has been given every opportunity to take the third receiver spot, but has been unable to produce and hold onto it. Radway is coming back from a broken leg he suffered last preseason that resulted in him missing the 2011 season. Harris had some chances in the return game last season, but not on offense. Holmes seems to be a fan favorite due to his speed and size, but he is still unproven. The same can be said as far as rookie Danny Coale, who is recovering from a broken foot and will miss out on valuable time with the offense.

Do the Cowboys continue to see what these receivers can do as they go into training camp? Will one of them rise above the rest and become the trusted third receiver? I believe it’s asking an awful lot from such a young and inexperienced group of receivers. It’s also asking a lot from Tony Romo on the trust level. Romo needs to know that his receivers are going to be where they need to be and even help him out if he gets into trouble. There is always the option of looking for a veteran receiver like the Cowboys did last year during training camp, to come in and hold down the third receiver spot like Robinson did.

Enter 13 year veteran Donald Driver. There are reports that the Packers might release Driver and if that happens I believe the Cowboys should go after him for many different reasons. I understand that his age of 37 might be a concern to some people, but with his track record and proven numbers during his career he just might be a good fit for the Cowboys. Driver brings with him the experience and leadership that can help a player like Dez Bryant who is still trying to establish himself in the league. Not to mention that Driver can really help the younger receivers that end up behind him and work with them to improve their game. He can be that leader on and off the field that will only help the Cowboys as a team. Driver has been a winner in the NFL for many seasons and the one person on the Cowboys staff who knows that is his former receivers coach and current Cowboys receivers coach Jimmy Robinson. Up to this point in his career he has 735 receptions for 10,060 yards and 59 touchdowns to go along with a Championship in Super Bowl XLV. Oddly enough that Super Bowl victory came in Cowboys Stadium.

Driver brings so much to a team in need of a solid third receiver, which brings me to another reason why the Cowboys should seriously consider him. Injuries happen every season and if something should happen to either Miles Austin or Dez Bryant are the coaches confident enough in any of the younger receivers to make them a starter? How comfortable would Romo be if someone like Radway or Harris was starting opposite Austin for a few weeks? If Driver was the third receiver on the Cowboys and an injury happened I don’t think anyone would have any doubt that Driver could step in as a starter and produce.

It’s something the Cowboys really should consider if Donald Driver is released by the Packers. It’s a win win situation for all involved. The Cowboys are looking for a Super Bowl Championship and there is nothing Driver would like more at 37 years old than to get another championship before he walks away from the game.

Flashback: Has it been 20 years already?

Anytime a team wins a Super Bowl it’s special no matter how they get there. The last two Super Bowl Champions didn’t make it into the playoffs until the final game of the season. The Packers got in back in 2010 as the 6th seed and won it all and the Giants got in last season as the 4th seed and won it all. I’m sure the fans of those teams loved every second of the postseason as their teams got hot at the right time. The Giants were 6-6 in 2011 at one point and were left for dead by most experts as well as their fans. The Packers back in 2010 needed to win in the last week of the season along with some help to back into the playoffs. All of the bad things from the regular season were forgotten once these teams won the Super Bowl. It’s rare to have one of those magical seasons from beginning to end, but when it does happen it’s the greatest ride ever.

I realized the other day that it has been 20 years since the Cowboys had one of those magical seasons and went on to win the Super Bowl. Back in 1992 the Cowboys were on a mission from the first game of the season right through the Super Bowl. It seems like just yesterday as I can remember every game they played and how they became more dominant as the season went on. It was Jimmy Johnson’s fourth season as head coach and the Cowboys had ended the 1991 season with a horrible playoff loss to the Lions, 38-6. Some thought the Cowboys were probably still a year or two away from seriously competing for a championship. The Cowboys thought differently.

The Cowboys fielded the youngest team in the NFL in 1992. They also had the top ranked defense in the league, but when it came time for Pro Bowl selections not one player from the Cowboys defense was selected. The defense did not really have house hold names other than Charles Haley, who the Cowboys traded for before the start of the season. Haley was looked at as the final piece the Cowboys needed for their Super Bowl run. Some of the others joining Haley on that top ranked defense were Russell Maryland, Tony Casillas, Jim Jeffcoat, Tony Tolbert, Leon Lett, Ken Norton Jr., Vinson Smith, Robert Jones, Larry Brown, Thomas Everett, Kevin Smith, James Washington and Darren Woodson.

On offense it seemed as though the Cowboys were unstoppable most of the time. It started up front with Erik Williams, John Gesek, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton and Mark Tuinei. From there defenses had to deal with Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Kelvin Martin, Jay Novacek and Daryl Johnston. With Norv Turner running the offense the Cowboys developed a balanced attack that opposing teams had a hard time defending them at times.

The Cowboys finished 1992 with a 13-3 record. There best record since going 12-2 back in 1977 when they went on to win Super Bowl XII. They were 7-1 at Texas Stadium in 1992. Their only loss was to the LA Rams 27-23. On the road they went 6-2 with losses to the Eagles 31-7 and the Redskins 20-17.  They beat out the Eagles for the NFC Eastern Division Championship, but came up short for home field advantage to the 49ers.

Here are a few games that will always stand out from that magical 1992 season.

Week 1: The Cowboys opened the season in Texas Stadium against the Redskins who were defending Champions. Issiac Holt Blocked a punt that went out of the end zone to give the Cowboys an early 2-0 lead and they never looked back. Emmitt Smith rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown and Kelvin Martin added a 79 yard punt return in the third quarter. The Cowboys went on to win 23-10.

Week 2: The Cowboys traveled to New Jersey to take on the Giants. It seemed to be no contest as the Cowboys jumped out to a 34-0 third quarter lead. The Giants scored twice before the end of the third quarter to make the score 34-14. What I remember most is that the scoreboard operator changed the score to show that the Giants had won the game 35-34 during the fourth quarter. The Giants did make it interesting, but the Cowboys held on for a 34-28 victory.

Week 9: Just a few weeks earlier the Cowboys were crushed by the Eagles 31-7 in Philadelphia. In the rematch the Cowboys defense took a stand and dominated as they only allowed 190 yards to the Eagles offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards as the Cowboys won 20-10 and improved to 7-1.

Week 10: The Cowboys ended the 1991 season with a 38-6 loss in the playoffs to the Lions. In 1992 the Cowboys made a return trip to Detroit, but this time it would end much different. Emmitt Smith scored three touchdowns and Michael Irvin had 114 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Cowboys defense only allowed 201 yards to the Lions offense as they cruised to a 37-3 victory.

Week 13: It was Thanksgiving at Texas Stadium and the Giants were coming for a visit. Unlike the first match-up with the Giants this time it would not be close. The Cowboys defense once again dominated as they collected four sacks and only allowed 207 yards to the Giants offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 120 yards and scored twice, which included a 68 yard score in the third quarter. The Cowboys improved to 10-2 with a 30-3 victory.

Week 16: The Cowboys traveled to Atlanta for a Monday Night game looking to lock up the NFC East title. The game included one of the most incredible runs in Emmitt Smith’s career. He seemed to get stopped by a wall of Falcon defenders, but then he bounced away and broke free down the right sideline as he beat Deion Sanders to the end zone for a 29 yard touchdown run. Smith added another 29 yard score and rushed for 174 yards. Troy Aikman completed 18 of 21 passes and threw three touchdown passes. The Cowboys won their first NFC East title since 1985 as they beat the Falcons 41-17.

Divisional Playoffs: For the third time in 1992 the Cowboys would be playing the Eagles and for the second time at Texas Stadium. It was also the first playoff game at Texas Stadium since 1983. Once again the Cowboys dominated the Eagles and won 34-10. The Cowboys defense only allowed 178 yards to the Eagles offense and sacked Randall Cunningham five times. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a score.

NFC Championship: Leading up to this game there seemed to be two stories. One was the last time the Cowboys played in San Francisco for the NFC Championship back in 1981, which ended with “The Catch” by Dwight Clark. The other was the muddy field conditions after a week of soaking rains. None of that mattered to this Cowboys team as they showed no fear against the 14-2 49ers led by Steve Young and Jerry Rice. What always comes to mind was early in the game Kevin Smith left the field for a play with a shoulder injury. On the next play Young connected with Rice on a long touchdown as he beat Issiac Holt who replaced Smith. But the 49ers were called for holding and the touchdown was called back. It seemed as though from that point on the Cowboys had the upper hand. The Cowboys defense controlled the 49ers offense and the Cowboys offense was able to move the ball and control the clock as they built a 24-13 fourth quarter lead. Young was able to bring the 49ers to within 24-20 late in the fourth quarter and most thought that Jimmy Johnson would try to get a few first downs and run out the clock. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff Troy Aikman connected with Alvin Harper across the middle as the defender fell down. Harper broke free and was finally taken down at the 49ers ten yard line after a 70 yard gain. From there Aikman sealed the game with a short touchdown pass to Kelvin Martin. The Cowboys beat the 49ers 30-20 to advance to Super Bowl XXVII. It was the first Super Bowl for the Cowboys since 1978. It was also the game that will be known for Jimmy Johnson yelling in the locker room “How bout them Cowboys!!”

http://youtu.be/6EL55yXzqVM

 

Super Bowl XXVII: My first ever Cowboys game was Super Bowl XII against the Broncos back in 1977. I can’t really say I knew what was happening, but I remembered the star on the helmet. Now 15 years later I was enjoying every second of the Super Bowl including all the pregame leading up to it. I couldn’t wait to see the Cowboys name in the end zone as well as watching the player introductions. I took it all in and remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember the Cowboys being down 7-0 to the Bills after getting a punt blocked, which led to a Thurman Thomas touchdown. From that point on it was all Cowboys as they outscored the Bills 52-10. The Cowboys defense recovered five fumbles and collected four interceptions for a record nine turnovers in the game. The defense also scored two touchdowns by Jimmie Jones and Ken Norton Jr. It could have been three touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 59 points, but we all know what happened when Leon Lett celebrated too soon on his fumble return. Troy Aikman earned the game’s MVP as he competed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a touchdown and Michael Irvin added two touchdowns. All the great numbers aside, what really meant the most was the incredible journey from that 1992 season and then seeing the team holding the Lombardi Trophy and celebrating. It was a feeling unlike any feeling I have ever felt as fan.

It’s just so hard to believe that it has been 20 years since that magical season of 1992. The players have long been gone, but will never be forgotten. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin have all entered the Hall of Fame. Watching Jimmy Johnson every Sunday on Fox always brings back great memories. Charles Haley has been helping out the Cowboys defensive linemen recently as well as waiting for his own name to be called for the Hall of Fame. We also remember Mark Tuinei who passed away too soon back in 1999.

The 1992 Cowboys will always be remembered as one of the great Cowboys teams of all time as well as one of the great NFL teams of all time. Their magical season will never be forgotten.

“How bout them Cowboys!!”

 

 

Cowboys vs. Giants: Early Odds Picks

It’s never too early to start taking a look at the Week 1 in NFL, as several sportsbooks have already released odds for the first week of the NFL regular season. Is it smart to go ahead and put some cash on NFL games that won’t start for over 3 months? It might be, if you can find the right NFL odds.

For this piece, I am going to take a look at some of the VERY early odds coming out of this game, the first of the NFL regular season.

Wednesday Night Football should be a great contest, between the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, and a hungry Cowboys. NFL Odds Makers have opened up the lines in favor of the home Giants at -3, with a total of 47 points.

Now, a lot of things can happen in between now and September 5th, but these two teams do hold early value. Their rosters are mostly set, and I don’t expect much more free agent action out of either of them. Plus, there is a lot of trending data between these two divisional foes.

The Giants beat the Cowboys twice last season in embarrassing fashion. The Cowboys lost both games late in the season, which eventually lost them their playoff spot, and let the Giants take advantage of it. The G-Men did just that as they won the Super Bowl.

If I had to pick a side right now, I would lay the points with the Giants. Even though the Cowboys will be hungry to get some revenge for last season, New York’s defense and offense are still superior to Dallas’, and the Giants still have one of the better offenses in the NFL. I also like the OVER. Last season, the Giants’ side of the offense would have almost covered OVER 47 points in both games, and as we saw last season in the first game of the season, offense will be plentiful in this one.

My Pick: Giants -3 and OVER 47

So many questions and concerns when it comes to the Cowboys offensive line

One of the biggest concerns after the 2011 season was the state of the Cowboys offensive line. On many occasions last season it seemed as though opposing teams were in the Cowboys backfield more than the Cowboys were. Without a solid offensive line the running game suffers which then leads to problems with the passing game. Even with all the moves the Cowboys have made with the line this off season there are still so many questions and concerns about whether or not the line will be improved in 2012. The Cowboys announced that Tyron Smith and Doug Free will be switching sides at tackle and then they went out and signed guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings through free agency. There is also a question about the center position as well and if Phil Costa, who struggled at times in 2011 will hold onto the job. Should Cowboys fans really expect improvement in 2012 with all these questions still out there or should it be considered a work in progress? With so many changes coming there has to be a level of concern.

Let’s start with the tackles. Tyron Smith had a solid rookie season playing on the right side and now the Cowboys believe he is ready to move to the left side to protect Tony Romo’s blind side. That means Doug Free who struggled at times in 2011 will move back to the right side where he played in 2010. Can Smith, who is only 21 years old be expected to adapt quickly to the left side after being in the NFL for only one season? Will Free get back to how he played back in 2010 on the right side? Even though the tackles are set for the Cowboys offensive line there are still questions that can’t be ignored.

At the guard positions the Cowboys had players like Kyle Kosier, Montrae Holland, Bill Nagy and Derrick Dockery playing in 2011. All are gone from the team except for Nagy. With the contracts that Bernadeau and Livings signed one would think they would be stepping right in at the tackle positions. But hold on a minute, it was just announced that Bernadeau just had hip surgery that will keep him out until the middle of August if not longer. He is going to miss important time with the rest of the offensive linemen in the  OTAs and training camp. Although Bernadeau is a four year veteran how can he not fall behind the others and once he gets back on the field how fast will he be able to catch up? Livings is a four year veteran just like Bernadeau and will most likely start at the left guard position. Behind Bernadeau and Livings are players just waiting to show they can start for the Cowboys. There will be competition throughout camp between Bill Nagy, who only played in four games in 2011 before getting injured, David Arkin who was inactive all of 2011 and undrafted rookie free agent Ronald Leary. There is so much inexperience between those three players that it has to be a concern for the Cowboys.

Phil Costa started all of 2011 at center and looks to keep his job in 2012. But Jason Garrett has let it be known that the competition will be open. That means players like David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski will be given every opportunity to win the job the job at center. There was also reports that Bernadeau and Nagy were going to be tested at center, but now with Bernadeau’s injury that may not happen. As with the tackles and guards there are questions at center as well.

With this group of players who are either new to the team, inexperienced, playing different positions and not having played together, it’s going to be very interesting to see how things shape up for the Cowboys offensive line. For an offensive line to become solid they need to play together so that they can get to know each other and their tendencies. Whichever players become the starting five it’s going to take time for them to jell together. Time will tell if the Cowboys have made the right decisions heading into the 2012 season. New offensive line coach Bill Callahan has his work cut out for him as he tries to shape a line that will hopefully get the Cowboys to the next level. The Cowboys have a mix of players with experience like Free, Costa, Livings and Bernadeau and others who are young and inexperienced like Smith, Nagy, Arkin and Leary. Now it’s a matter of getting the right combination together to form the starting five. Hopes may be high with this group of players, but with so many questions and so much uncertainty it’s hard not to be concerned as the Cowboys move closer to the 2012 season.

Dallas Cowboys: Top 5 Defensive Players

Last week I did an offseason feature on the Dallas Cowboys, and their top five offensive threats. Now we are changing sides of the ball, and discussing Dallas’ top five defensive players. DeMarco Murray got my number one slot on the offensive end, who will grab those honors on defense? SBRForum.com continues with this series of articles covering Dallas Cowboys, their different angles and the 2012 NFL Odds.

5. Gerald Sensabaugh, Safety

The 28 year-old from Oakland, CA had another good season for the Cowboys, and he gets my nod for number five. Sensabaugh had 75 tackles last season, good for second on the team. He also had two forced and recovered fumbles, along with two interceptions. With the exception of his 5-interception season in 2010, it was his best season as a pro.

The Cowboys drafted Matt Johnson, a safety out of Eastern Washington in the fourth round of the draft. They also moved up to draft Morris Claiborne with the 6th overall pick. Claiborne is of course a corner from LSU. With Sensabaugh and the new additions, the Cowboys should improve from their 23rd ranked pass defense from 2011.

4. Anthony Spencer, Linebacker

Spencer is one of three Dallas linebackers to make my list for the offseason, and Spencer did everything he could to get on my list! Spencer had 66 tackles last season, good for third on the team, but he really made his money last season rushing the passer. Spencer had 6 sacks and four forced fumbles last season.

Along with the other two linebackers I’m about to mention in this article, the Cowboys’ future is bright among their front seven, considering that every guy in the top four of this article play linebacker or defensive line.

3. Sean Lee, Middle Linebacker

The sophomore just continued to improve from his rookie season; Lee played in 15 games last season and led the team in tackles with 105 (71 solo). Although he didn’t have any sacks, he recovered two fumbles and had four interceptions and a touchdown. The Penn State prodigy didn’t have the best statistical season on this list, but his impact and upside lands him third on the list.

This guy is key for the Cowboys in stopping the run. He also has to match up against opposing teams tight ends on occasion, and he does well with it. He utilizes his 6’2 245 pound frame well, and when he reaches his ceiling, he could be a Pro Bowl caliber player (that is if they keep the Pro Bowl).

 2. Jay Ratliff, Defensive Tackle

What else can be said about this guy, other then he is one of the best d-tackles in the league. In 2009, he was a 1st Team All Pro, and he is a four-time Pro Bowler. Last season, Ratliff didn’t have his best statistical season in 2011, but he did end the season with 2 sacks and one fumble recovery.

It’s hard for guys on the Cowboys to get sacks, but we’ll get into that with number one. Ratliff is a double-team demanding machine, and a run stopping giant. Between he and Lee, these two are key for the Cowboys defending opposing running backs.

1. DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker

This one should come at no surprise, as Ware had one of the greatest season a Cowboy has ever had last season. He finished with 19.5 sacks; good for second in the NFL last season. Ware also had 58 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery for Dallas’ defense.

2012 should be no different for Ware, and I expect him to have another stellar season giving quarterbacks nightmares. The Cowboys added five defensive players with their seven draft picks, and their first four selections were on defense. Ware’s sack numbers might go down, but everything else is going to stay the same or go up.

Mike Jenkins needs to be a big part of the Cowboys secondary in 2012

When the Cowboys signed free agent cornerback Brandon Carr, many spoke about how improved the secondary would be as long as Mike Jenkins came back healthy in 2012. Now with the Cowboys trading up eight spots in the first round of the draft to select Morris Claiborne, some believe that Jenkins is the odd man out. There are even reports that the Cowboys have been looking to trade Jenkins in hopes of getting something for him since he becomes a free agent at the end of 2012. I think it would be a mistake to trade Jenkins at this point. He may choose to leave next off season, but for 2012 I believe he needs to be an important part of the Cowboys secondary.

When he is healthy, Jenkins is one of the top corners in the league. I understand that he has had some injuries recently, but those injuries occur because of how many times he gives up his body to make a play. Jenkins adds important depth and experience to the Cowboys secondary, which is needed for the long NFL season. He needs to be on the field helping the Cowboys. But how is that possible with the additions of Carr and Claiborne?

My question is can Jenkins play the slot position for the Cowboys? Will the Cowboys even consider that if he is not traded? I ask these questions because I believe that Orlando Scandrick is the weak link in the Cowboys secondary. From what I’ve seen over the last few seasons is that Scandrick is constantly getting beat by opposing receivers. And other times he is called for penalties because he is beaten on the play.  I think it was a mistake to sign Scandrick to such a long contract extension last season. And now with Carr and Claiborne on the team it magnifies that contract mistake even more because it might come at the expense of Jenkins leaving. Jenkins can help the Cowboys defense get to the next level, but he can’t do anything if he is sitting on the bench. With his talent he can’t be the odd man out.

The Cowboys secondary can be completely transformed in 2012 and become a force in the NFC East with Carr and Claiborne starting, Jenkins in the slot and Scandrick and Mario Butler as backups. I don’t know if the Cowboys would even consider trying Jenkins in the slot, but that is how I envision the secondary for 2012 being the most effective. Jenkins is just too good to be traded and also too good to be sitting on the bench. With the NFL being a pass happy league teams need at least three quality corners that can make plays. I guess the Cowboys could have worse problems than dealing with a bunch of cornerbacks that they believe should be on the field making a difference for the team.

Dallas Cowboys Top 5 Offensive Players

When I was asked to write this, I was a bit concerned. Dallas has tons of offensive weapons and guys who would be deserving of this list. However, my list got a little easier to produce, when I found out Laurent Robinson is now a Jacksonville Jaguar. He would have thrown a wrench in the entire situation. It still isn’t easy, but here are my top five players on the Cowboys’ offense. Let’s take a look at the top 5 Dallas Cowboys players and see how they can affect, according to SBRForum.com, their 2012 NFL odds.

5. Jason Witten

I know it’s probably a crime that I have Witten this low. The guy is a 7-time pro bowler, and a two-time First-team all pro. The guy has averaged 1014 yards per season over the last five seasons, and in those five seasons, he has 27 touchdowns.

Last season, Witten saw a huge dip in production. He went from 94 receptions in 2010, to only 79 receptions in 2011. He had nine touchdowns in 2010, but only five in 2011. Witten is now 30 years old, and might be seeing a dip in production after playing nine seasons.

However, he still is a very important, and almost critical member of the Dallas offense. When it’s 3rd and 7, and you need a first down to keep a drive alive, you go to Jason Witten. The guy is still 6’6 and 265 pounds.

4. Tony Romo

For all of you Romo haters out there, all I have to say is why? Why do you not like this guy so much? Are you really still holding onto that fumbled hold in the 2007 playoffs? They weren’t going to beat either the Bears or Colts that season even if they made it that far. Are you so quick to forget that Romo is the only reason you made the playoffs that season!

Ok, I’m sorry, but Romo should be higher on this list, but he settles into the 4th spot for one reason, the lack of playoff wins. If he had a Super Bowl and a better playoff record, he would be in the top three. Although no one in the top three of this list has those things, Romo is held to a higher standard because he is the quarterback.

Romo is a three-time pro bowler, and throughout his career, has put up stellar numbers. Last season, Romo had his third 4000 + passing yard season of his career. Oh, and he only tacked on 31 touchdowns to that number. Only in that 2007 season did he have more, when he had 36 touchdowns. Sufficed to say, if Romo gets the Boys to a Super Bowl this season, he will shoot up the next list.

3. Miles Austin

Much like Romo’s lack of playoff success is keeping him from the top three, Austin’s health problems have kept him out of the top two. Austin was hurt for most of last season, and he got rushed back from injury and got hurt again. He only played in ten games last season, and was only effective in five of them.

However, this season, if he is healthy, Austin should be ready to prove why he is still one of the best receivers in the game. In 2009 and 2010, Austin had 18 touchdowns and 2361 yards combined. He also played in all 16 games both seasons. If that hamstring is ready, Austin will be ready for another 1000-yard season.

2. Dez Bryant

I’ll give you another minute to harp on me for having Bryant this high. But, let’s be honest, he is the best athlete on the Cowboys, and possibly in the league. This guys runs a 4.52 40-yard dash, and has a 40-inch vertical leap.

Last season was a disappointment for Bryant. He is as much of a liability as he is a producer, and last season he was the former. He did have 928 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and I could make the case that he could have done a lot more than that.

For the Cowboys, if Bryant doesn’t make a big splash this season, his days in Dallas might be numbered. This is a first round draft pick, and even though he showed improvement in his second season, he will need to keep making strides on the field, and make strides to improve his behavior and conduct off of it. He is an all or nothing player, but he still has the second-highest upside of any of the Cowboys. He needs to be the undisputed number-one option for Tony Romo. However, he is only 23 years old.

1. DeMarco Murray

Speaking of upside, this kid gets my number one spot for just that reason. Murray exploded upon the NFL scene this past season. As a rookie, Murray ran for 897 yards and had two touchdowns. However, he only played in 13 games due to injury, and only started eight games. So, basically, if you multiply those numbers to account for a whole season of starting and taking snaps, Murray would have had well over 1600 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving.

Now, am I saying he will go for 2000 all-purpose yards this season? This is probably not the case. However, this kid is dynamic and will be great in the Cowboys’ offense for a full season. Murray did fall back down to earth after his 253 yard starting debut against the Rams, but he still averaged 91 yards per game as a starter, even without that monster of a game.

I’m predicting a 1800-yard all-purpose season for Murray. Even though I don’t think his touchdowns will be plentiful, he still has breakaway speed, so that will account for at least four or five end zone dances for the sophomore. As long as his knee is heeled, which it seems to be.

Cowboys News: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah Is Back, DeMarco Murray Is Ready To Go!

According to a report in the The Dallas Morning News, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is back with the Cowboys.

The 24-year-old safety, who was most recently a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, was claimed off waivers Tuesday along with former Tampa Bay punter Jake Rogers during a flurry of activity that included the release of undrafted rookie cornerback Troy Woolfolk.

Owusu-Ansah was selected by the Cowboys in the fourth round in 2010 and was cut last November after the team moved him from defensive back to wide receiver.

Although he started two games for the Jaguars, he never played a defensive snap during the regular season for the Cowboys and was used exclusively on special teams, where he served primarily as a returner during his rookie campaign that was cut short by an ankle injury.

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray says he’s 100% and ready to go.

“I’m back 100 percent,” the running back said Sunday at Cowboys Fan Fest, an event the club’s marketing department organized to help make up for the team moving its training camp from San Antonio to Oxnard, Calif.

Murray’s record-setting rookie season was cut short last year when he fractured his right ankle in the first quarter of a 37-34 loss to the New York Giants on Dec. 11. He had surgery the next day and missed the final three games.

Before the injury, the Oklahoma alum was on track to eclipse Tony Dorsett’s club rookie record of 1,007 rushing yards. Murray finished with a team-high 897 yards, including a franchise-record 253 on 25 carries in a 34-7 romp over St. Louis in Week 7.

Now that’s what I call awesomeness!

Ratliff Staying Put At Nose Tackle

According to a report on ESPN, Cowboys defensive line coach Brian Baker revealed that the team has no plans on moving Jay Ratliff from nose tackle to end.

Ratliff wore down as the season progressed because of a rib muscle strain. Baker said Ratliff played the fewest snaps percentage wise in 2011 since he’s been a starter.

“Jay got hurt,” Baker said. “Jay was busted up that’s why we had to get him through it.”

Baker said to keep Ratliff fresh, taking him off the field on some first and second downs might work because the team has confidence in the abilities of Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore to play some nose tackle.

“He will take all the third downs unless somebody proves they’re a better pass rusher inside,” Baker said. “Until that happens, if he’s getting a little worn [down] we’ll save him for third down.”

Another point that was mentioned was the constant double teams Ratliff and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware endured last season.

The sticking point there of course being why Anthony Spencer was so underwhelming in those instances and why he couldn’t have made more of an impact on the opposing offense.

 

Can The Dallas Cowboys Win the Super Bowl?

Can Dallas Cowboys Win the Super Bowl?

The question that Jerry Jones and most of Texas are asking is “Can the Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl in 2012-2013? Let’s take an in depth look at “America’s Team”, how do their NFL odds look like and what are their chances in general.

Tony Romo -Is he good or isn’t he?

Unless you’re the Baltimore Ravens of 2000 in order to win a Super Bowl a team must have a good quarterback.

Remember, success is based on wins, losses, and post season play, not NFL odds. If statistics were a barometer for success then Tony Romo would be considered one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL with a solid chance to take his team to the Super Bowl. Thus far Romo has put up the numbers but has had very little success in big games and the post season.

Last season Romo ranked 4th in quarterback rating at 102.5. He threw for 4184 yards with 31 TD and just 10 INT. Most teams would give anything for a quarterback that could put up numbers like that but the fact is the Cowboys went just 8-8 last season and in a game where they had the Giants beaten, they choked.

I think that overall Tony Romo isn’t a big game player but if given the right support on the field he could lead a team to the Super Bowl.

The Pittsburgh Steelers totally focused on protecting Ben Roethlisberger in the NFL Draft and that’s why they’ve been a successful team in the past. They see a weakness and a priority and they fill it.

Jerry Jones

The one thing that will keep the Dallas Cowboys a contender is having an aggressive owner such as Jerry Jones. Let’s face it; a guy that can give a legendary coach like Tom Landry his walking papers has guts. It resulted in three Super Bowl titles.

Jones hasn’t been happy with the direction that his franchise has taken and has been super-aggressive this year. He’s already signed 21 free agents after not picking up an offensive lineman in the draft and he made the biggest trade of the draft by picking up Morris Claiborne from LSU. Dallas traded two NFL draft picks to the St. Louis Rams and moved up to the 6th spot to get Claiborne. Jones claims that Claiborne is the second coming of Deion Sanders.

From watching Claiborne in college, Dallas has a gem in Morris Claiborne but it will certainly take him more than a year to reach full potential. Nevertheless, having an owner that will do anything to win is certainly in the Cowboys favor.

“Beware of Ware”

In my opinion, the Cowboys have the best defensive player in the game in linebacker DeMarcus Ware. It’s just speculation but if Claiborne matured immediately, the Cowboys could possibly have two of the best defensive talents in the game on the same team.

For Ware, it’s a “win now” situation as he’ll turn 30 years old this year. Last season Ware had 58 tackles, 19.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. I remember watching the Jets vs. Cowboys in game 1 of last season and it seemed like Ware was in on every play and it reminded me of a college football game in the late 80’s where Alabama’s Derrick Thomas had over 20 tackles. To sum it up, Ware was in Sanchez’s face all night.

This is a player that needs to be coveted and the Cowboys made great strides in giving assistance to Ware and the defense by drafting outside linebacker Kyle Wilber and defensive end Tyrone Crawford.

The Cowboys will be a much improved team defensively this year.

Playmakers

This team is known for having playmakers and have so many that the loss of Laurent Robinson (11 TD’s) won’t hurt as much as it would your average NFL team.

DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones have built a strong foundation at the running back position, leaving the element of surprise there for the defense regarding a pass or run play. Murray really came on towards the middle of the season and one can expect a productive season from him. The one knock on the Cowboys backs are their inability to get in the end zone.

Jason Witten

Until Rob Gronkowski came along, Jason Witten was considered the best tight end in the game and is still one of the top 3 in the NFL. Witten is another “win now” veteran player as he’s accrued three 1000 yard seasons in his career. He’s a future hall of famer and is Tony Romo’s go to guy in clutch situations. Along with DeMarcus Ware, these guys deserve to have a Super Bowl Ring on their finger.

Untapped potential

Wide receiver Dez Bryant has the ability to be the best wide receiver in the game with his ability to catch the ball, strength, and agility. Sorry Dominique but he’s a “human highlight reel”. The problem is his lack of maturity.

Hall of famer Deion Sanders looked to mentor Bryant but was unable to. If “Neon Deion” has a problem, you know that Bryant is a head case. Bryant has had legal issues at a local mall; this is pure immaturity. If Dez Bryant can stay healthy and get his head screwed on right, it’s conceivable that the Cowboys could have three of the best players in the game in Ware, Claiborne, and Bryant but the clock is ticking.

What to expect?

Anything is possible, if the Giants can win a Super Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys can win one also. A lot of things need to happen and I feel that owner Jerry Jones has finally got the ball rolling in the right direction. A lot will depend on the play of Tony Romo. If Romo gets the much needed support, he’ll deliver. Is he as clutch as Eli Manning? I doubt it, but he’s just as talented, if not more. This should be a very exciting season if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan. This team can go very far into the post season.