New To The Silver & Blue: Rob Ryan

I have to admit when I found out  Rob Ryan was being considered for the defensive coordinator spot  I was confronted by a flash of  Buddy Ryan coaching our rivals the Eagles and thoughts of him sounding off on Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys. Now it’s funny when we hear sound bites now and again of the argument but back then I was one mad Cowboy Fan.  However that is the past, and we are now moving on to the future.

I didn’t know anything about the Ryan family when I started researching however I learned some very interesting facts.

Rob was born December 13, 1962 in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  He is the son of former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan and his twin brother Rex is the current head coach of the New York Jets.

Rob’s parents Buddy and Doris divorced in 1966 and the boys moved to Canada with their mother. In 1974 they came back to the states to live with their father.  Rob attended high school in Linconchire, Illinois.

Rob attended college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where our own Kelly Horn graduated, where he played defensive end opposite his brother Rex.

Rob’s resume is a long one. He began his coaching career in 1987.

Here is his coaching resume:

  • 1987 Assistant at Western Kentucky
  • 1988 Ohio State – Linebacker
  • 1989-93  Tennessee State – RB, LB and DL
  • 1994-95  Arizona Cardinals – Defensive Backs
  • 1996     Hutchinson Community College
  • 1997-1999  Oklahoma State – Defensive Coordinator
  • 2000- 03    New England Patriots – Linebacker
  • 2004 – 08   Oakland Raiders – Defensive Coordinator
  • 2009-10  Cleveland Browns – Defensive Coordinator

While that is impressive, I wanted to know how good is he at his job. He was named Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 1997 by the Sporting News for getting  Oklahoma State’s defense ranked among the best in the nation. In 2003 New England’s defense ranked 1st in the NFL in fewest points allowed, along with best scoring defense in 2001.

I was pleased to find out that his players admitted that he is a coach that demands respect but that they loved playing for him. Buddy Ryan said his son gets 100% out of each player.

Rob Ryan has an abundance of experience and unlike his father, his players respect him and he gets the best out of each player. Along with stars like DeMarcus Ware and Jay-Rat, he will also have young talent to work  with. It will be interesting to see if he can turn Mike Jenkins around and what he can turn Bryan McCann into. He has talented veterans to depend on along with the young guns to mold.

I am not a Buddy Ryan fan, but I have to admit his sons seem to have learned something  Buddy himself didn’t – Coaches must  have players respect.

I can’t wait to see what the 2011 season has to offer. With Jason Garrett at the helm and Rob Ryan pumping up the defense we will definitely improve this season. We just need to take it one game at a time.

A Baby Moose Is On The Loose!

When I watch rookie free agent fullback #44 Chris Gronkowski I see a young Moose.

He has his size and build, and he seems to have the same heart and determination that Daryl Johnston had.

Gronkowski seems to be fitting into the offensive unit very nicely. He blocks well and as we saw in his first start against the Chicago Bears he can get open for a touchdown. Actually, that is really amazing – his first NFL start and he gets a touchdown. Not to shabby for a undrafted free agent that had to fight to get onto the 53 man roster.

So how much do the Cowboys love Chris Gronkowski? Well, just before the start of Sunday’s game, the Cowboys released fullback Deon Anderson to make room for tight end Scott Chandler. See ya, Deon…

Rookie Chris Gronkowski in now firmly entrenched into the starting fullback role.

Chris was born in Buffalo, New York December 26, 1986. Chris’s family have football running through their veins. His younger brother Rob and older brother Dan both play tight end for the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos.

Chris played High School football at Williamsville North, where he lettered for three years in football and baseball. Chris then continued playing ball when Maryland recruited him to play fullback, but red-shirted his freshman year. Chris had the eighth highest strength index on the team which was the best among running backs.

In 2007 he transferred to Arizona where he played linebacker. He went back to the starting fullback position in 2008.

Chris did not attend the NFL Scouting Combine in 2010. He declared for the 2010 NFL Draft and was thought to be a high 4th round selection, but instead went undrafted. Chris signed with the Cowboys one day later. He started his first game September 19, 2010 to catch a one yard pass from Tony Romo for his first NFL touchdown.

The Cowboys have always been good at picking up talented undrafted free agents and making them a big part of the team. I think they have found another jewel in Gronkowski.

Chris loves the game of football and gives 110% every play.  So you see… We really do have another Moose!

On a personal thank you all for all the concern over my health issues. I am feeling much better and LSS readers I am back. Hugs to all of you!

Do Bad Things Happens In Three… Weeks?

Alright I am back. After having watched the very first two weeks of the NFL season. I can’t exactly say I am thrilled. The team seems to have so much inconsistently I am actually starting to think they might be bipolar or have some sort of multiple personality disorder. There is a multitude of things that are morphing what was initially was expected to be a fairy tale season into a greek tragedy. The good thing is that the issues themselves can be fixed. The bad thing is… they have to fix enough of it to get a win this week. Usually I don’t try to put too much in a now or never scenario too early in the season but, after checking the history books of the NFL I have some startling news for my fellow Cowboy fans. No team has ever… I mean EVER!! won the Super Bowl starting the season with an 0-3 record. IN fact there is only four team that have started the season 1-2 and won the Super Bowl. This obviously a very short list that includes the 1981 san Francisco 49ers, the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2007 New York Giants.

Granted there is a some good news about how some of the players have performed but there is also some bad news. The biggest problem is these bad news players are bringing the team as a whole down to a level that none of us fans thought they would be at after two weeks. The defensive backfield and the ability to cover and create turnovers is a big problem. A defense needs to have the ability to create turnovers. We have had this same issue the last couple years espescially when it comes to getting interceptions. We played the Chicgao Bears last week. The same Bears team that has Jay Cutler at the helm on offense. Mr Interception himself! I figured we would at least walk away with two inteceptions. We walked away instead with a big goose egg. This can not happen. In fact the secondary seems to almost look lost when teams start throwing down the field on the them. When I say down the field I mean over ten yards. In fact our two pro bowl cornerbacks from last year seem to be getting burned on a regular basis.

Its one thing to say that the defensive front needs to put pressure on the quarterback in order to help out the secondary. We are getting pressure but it seems that opposing offense has been tearing us apart. The Chicago Bears game I believe we may have blitzed too much. We should have left some of the pressuring the quareterback to the defensive line and the two rush linebackers. We sold out on some of these blitzes and left Greg Olson open for long run after catches. I do believe if we can cause some turnovers though that this will help out our defense and also put our offense in position to score. This week though we are going up against a team that beat the team we lost to in week one. A team known for throwing the ball… ALOT!

Our offense on the other hand seems to be lacking the one thing that we should be excelling at… running the rock. We have what a lot fo people believe to be the best running back trio in the league. So why can’t we seem to create a running game that other teams will fear? Seriously we rank 28th in the league in rushing. Thats out of 32 teams folks. We also seem to hit the 30 yard line of the opponent and Garrett suddenly decides to put a clamp on the offensive play calling. It’s like we hit a wall or something. We move down the field at break neck speed but hit the other teams 30 yard line and then we turn into the Cleveland Browns. The worst part about it happening there is that most teams feel comfortable kicking a field goal from there. Not us our field goal kicker is still finding his rhythm on that aspect of his game.

The good news and yes I said good news is…  We are one game out first place. Thats right the other NFC East teams having been doing a whole lot better. Because of that I believe we are not as far in the whole as a lot fo these NFL “experts” have made us out to be. If we show up and become the team that all of us believe we can be I think  We can cover Andre Johnson and let D-Ware do what he does best… eat a quarterback for lunch. The offense needs to committ to the running game and use it help open up the passing game and drive us beyond that 30 yard line barrier that has become our line in the sand.

Keeping The Faith

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I love the game of football so much. On Friday September 17th, I realized why. That evening, I attended the Emotion Bowl which is a huge rivalry between Idaho Falls High School and Skyline High School. I had attended IFHS for high school so of course, I was cheering for them.

These 2 teams have to share a stadium so there is even more of a rivalry than most cross-town teams. The winner of the Emotion Bowl gets to paint the goalposts their school colors! At one point, IFHS was down 20-6 and things were looking pretty bleak. As I sat there watching those kids playing their hearts out down after down and never once giving up, I realized why I love the game. A Skyline player got injured and was down on the field. Even though he was on the opposing team, all the players on the Tigers team took a knee as a sign of respect. Once the injured player was finally able to get up, the Tigers stood up and cheered as he was taken off the field. It’s not about scoring touchdowns, field goals, and winning (although many will argue this with me). It’s about being part of a team, working together, and most importantly……HAVING FUN. Winning is just an added bonus.  Which, IFHS did manage to come back and do 26-23.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what any of this has to do with the Dallas Cowboys. As I’m sure you all know, the last couple weeks have been less than stellar for the Cowboys with back to back disappointing losses to teams that we should have walked all over. That has caused alot of fans to question their faith in our team, myself included. I know we have the talent to get the job done but for some reason, they’re just not doing it. Anyhow, all this uncertainty had me questioning why I love the game so much. Then I got thinking about that game I attended for my old high school. It’s been 20 years since I went to that school (yes, I know I’m old) and yet I was still there cheering for them. I almost left when they were down 20-6 but I told myself “You’re not a true fan if you leave just because they’re down”. I kept the faith, they pulled it together, and managed to win the game. I know the Dallas Cowboys may not be doing so well right now, but they can…..and WILL improve their game and start kicking ass like we all know they can. If we give up on them, they’ll give up on themselves. Just gotta keep the faith…….

Three Things That Were Most Responsible For The Dallas Loss

I’ve cooled down, and I have not created a giant poster of Alex Barron’s image to throw darts at.

Now it is time for the fan to soothe his emotions and for James Williamson to tell you what went wrong.

Well, there are three things that made that opening game a horrendous nightmare for Cowboy fans and ruined my weekend.


I’m disappointed in David Buehler. He has to make those field goals when we need them bad. We were down by three, needed three to tie it up, and he misses it from 34 yards? That happened in the first quarter.

If he makes that field goal, Dallas can kick a second field goal and we go to overtime instead of having to force a touchdown. That’s mistake number one. If Buehler doesn’t get it together, we might need to pick up another kicker and limit Buehler to just kickoffs.


In the 1999 playoffs, the Tennessee Titans lateraled a kickoff in the final seconds and beat the Buffalo Bills to win a playoff game and eventually to the Super Bowl. The play was called the Music City Miracle because it was in Nashville, and you just could not believe it.

Well, Dallas had the polar opposite. Four seconds left, and Romo finally pitches it to Tashard Choice, the running back, and he has the ball stripped and taken in for the touchdown.

Now, we can blame Tony Romo for not taking a knee, we can blame Jason Garrett for calling a play (even though I would’ve done the same thing), and we can blame Wade Phillips because he is the head coach.

However, in my eyes, the blame is not on one person, but the lion’s share goes to Tashard Choice.

I don’t care if the play was worthless. Romo wanted to try to make something happen, and a lot of times he has made incredible highlights with those kind of plays. This is on Choice because once you get the ball, your job as a tailback is to what is it?….


He didn’t hold onto it. He allowed himself to get stripped and it is his fault that they got six points. People don’t blame Tashard because the common fan is uninformed and only knows the quarterback.

The quarterback is like the president and the supporting cast are members of congress. You don’t see people calling out the Senator of Alaska, but they do call out President Barack Obama.

I’m not blaming the quarterback for that travesty. That belongs to Choice really.


Five penalties, three holds, one that nullifies the winning touchdown pass to Roy Williams. Roy Williams makes a clutch play to help people realize that he’s not that bad, and Romo shows how clutch he can be.

And what happens? An idiot decides to practice his chokehold technique on Brian Orakpo. The flag was for holding, and it was the right call. If that had been Marc Columbo instead of Alex Barron, Dallas wins that game. I have no doubt about it.

It stinks worse than a males’ restroom in the desert, but it happened. We have to move on and keep the faith.

We do that by wearing our jerseys on  Mondays after we lose. We do that by refusing to be ashamed of our Cowboys because we love them, and we are proud of our team and our logo even if we lose.

I was in class (college student here), and I was wearing my hat proudly. People heckled me about Dallas, but I told them that I’m not embarrassed. I love my Cowboys, and I stand by what I told Jesse Holley at training camp this past year.

“Super Bowl or no Super Bowl, we love you.”

I love you my Dallas Cowboys.

Do you love them?

First Team Offense And Dez Bryant Not Playing Against Miami In Preseason Finale

I don’t know if there has been larger pressure on any Dallas rookie than there is on Dez Bryant. Over the last several years television and NFL coverage has expanded which has put every NFL team under a microscope.

Combine that with the fact that Dez Bryant was suspended by the NCAA for lying about corresponding with Deion Sanders, and also the fact that he’s such an amazing talent with a team that many believe will go to the Super Bowl where their own stadium is hosting, and you get a kid who’s got a mountain on top of him.

Well, he’s going to have to wait a little longer to show what he can do because Jerry Jones has announced to the press that Dez Bryant will NOT be playing this Thursday in preseason.

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to see Dez Bryant at the first training camp, and while I do not have a degree in psychology, I believe I can give you an insight as to his character.

I think Jerry Jones wants to ease Dez Bryant into the league, but Dez has a chip on his shoulder and wants to show the world why he’s going to be the next great receiver.

He was the first player on the field at camp. He was practicing before everyone else, and he actually looked like he worked harder than everyone else. I saw him jumping for balls, diving to make catches, getting on his knees, and one-handed catches.

He refused to carry Roy Williams pads not because he wants to break tradition, but because he is so focused on coming into the National Football League and proving himself. I think he has the same attitude as Randy Moss did when he entered. He was spurned by many NFL teams, and he wants to say, “Look at what you passed up on. Choke on this.”

Dez Bryant suffered a high ankle sprain, probably from over-exerting himself, and Jerry Jones has stated that he felt the Cowboys organization was rushing Dez. Well, I think Dez disagrees because he has spoken many times about how he wants to play in the preseason finale.

Well, Jerry Jones is going to intervene, and I think Dez will be upset, but he’ll keep it to himself. I can empathize with his desire to help the team. He has a huge heart, and he wants to help his teammates.

He was the first guy in the top round to sign with his perspective team. His agent was the guy who orchestrated the holdout for Michael Crabtree, the receiver that the 49ers drafted, and yet, despite being in a situation where Eugene Parker, the said agent, could have milked the Cowboys for as much as possible; Dez Bryant is signed before anyone.

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Book Review – The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football

Last week, I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the soon to be released “Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football” by Sports Illustrated.

Now I’ve read my fair share of books on the Dallas Cowboys over the years, but this is the first one that I immediately cherished as a collectors item. Believe me when I tell you, that once you get this fine book in your hands, you’ll find it very difficult to put down, and I’m not kidding you either.

The book is loaded with some of the most sensational anecdotes and articles about the Cowboys as brought to you be the some of the best sports writers in the country.

The photography is stunning and the book is loaded with a  vast collection of unforgettable shots that capture the entire history of this historic franchise.

Here is some additional information from the publisher:

Sports Illustrated will release ‘The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football’ on August 24th.

The rich heritage of the Cowboys is captured in this extraordinary collection of stories by the finest sports writers in the world, including Peter King, Tim Layden and Dan Jenkins, a spectacular selection of images from the best photo archive in sports, and a mind-boggling array of stats, anecdotes and memorabilia. It is the ultimate celebration of the Dallas Cowboys.

Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football gives fans an insider look from Sports Illustrated senior writer, Peter King, whose in depth access to “America’s Team” includes a three-city scouting trip with Jimmy Johnson to a training camp sit down interview with Tony Romo to discuss his personal life in the off-season.

From the teams humble beginnings to emerging in to a franchise for which winning, and winning it all was expected. Eight Super Bowl appearances, five Super Bowl victories and the glory and the glamour that has surrounded this team. Sports Illustrated The Dallas Cowboys: 50 Years Of Football revisits the names that leap out of NFL history: Dandy Don Meredith, Bullet Bob Hayes, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, the lineage of head coaches is a Who’s Who list – Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Bill Parcells and the Hall of Famers who could fill their own wing – from Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman to Michael Irvin.

As you can see, this is an incredible book that any Cowboys fan would be proud to own.

Hopefully, all of you have already registered for our contest as we are giving away 25 free copies of these stunning hard covered books. You can still register by going here.

We’ve Got A New Attitude To Go With Our New Look!

So what do you guys think of the new digs? Last week I made the decision that I wanted a change. I felt I needed to put focus back on the reason I began this website back in 2006. When “Star Struck” was born it was all about Cowboys graphics. I used my graphic design talent to make visual art representing the team I have loved all my life.  I was finally giving back. It felt good, it was exciting. But somehow over the years this website became more of a traditional blog and while that’s great, it’s not me.

I’m a creative and visual artist. I get an urge to write when something sparks my attention and I feel passionate about it, but for the most part I could just create graphics all day long – that’s my passion.

I want to get back to creating “Cowboys Graphic Delights” for my friends, my fans and all of the followers of Lone Star Struck. Back when MySpace was booming, I could pump out dozens of new graphics a week. Then as MySpace fell, I let myself fall. Well I’m back and standing tall and proud. I am committing to posting a new visual delight daily.

We will still continue to have Cowboys posts as well as other new features that we will introduce in the coming days. The Dallas Cowboys have a rich history in its 50 years of existence and we will have a full section of history and flashbacks for your pleasure. We will also feature LSS Exclusives such as book reviews, interviews, giveaways and contests. In addition, we are inviting you to be a part of our community here. Our new photo galleries and Fan Shots section will allow you to share your experiences with other fans across the nation.

As you can tell we are very excited about the new changes here at The future is bright. And if I may, how great do our Cowboys look for this season?! It’s the perfect time to get a new outlook.

For my first Graphic Delight, I present our first ever Lone Star Struck wallpaper. Dedicated to the Dallas Cowboys 50 years of football. Enjoy and I will see you back here tomorrow with a new daily dose of Cowboys fun!




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Legends of the Star: Mr. Cowboy, Bob Lilly

Many great players have worn the Dallas Cowboys uniform with pride and distinction during the teams glorious 50 year history. None however, can lay claim to the ultimate team nickname, “Mr. Cowboy” save one, the great Bob Lilly.

Though there are many current and former Cowboys who deserve their due recognition for helping the Dallas Cowboys become and maintain the title of “America’s Team”. However, a strong case can be made that if not for Bob Lilly, it may have never happened.

Many of the newer and younger Cowboy fans have all heard of the great  Bob Lilly at one time or another. They may have even heard that he is considered by most to be the best Defensive Tackle in Cowboy history. A fact that cannot be disputed.

That said, it’s only a small part of Lilly’s amazing legacy and the impact he made on a young franchise that would soon become one of the juggernauts of the NFL.

Bob Lilly was born in 1939 and went to Texas Christian University where he became a star defensive end and was named to the All-America team. As part of this honor he received a camera as one of his awards, a gift that would surely impact the rest of his life.

In 1961 Bob was drafted with first overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, thus becoming the first ever draft pick in franchise history. He would not disappoint.

Though he was originally drafted as a defensive end, in his third year with the Cowboys, coach Tom Landry switched his position to defensive tackle where he would become one of the best at his position in the NFL for many years to come.

Lilly was a punishing defender and his tough demeanor and sheer determination made him the undisputed leader of the Cowboys famous “Doomsday Defense’. Lilly was so unstoppable, that he was regularly double and triple teamed for the majority of his career.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl a then record 11 times between 1962 and 1973, and Lilly was also a seven time first team All Pro selection.

During his long 14 year Hall of Fame career he was as durable as they came missing only one game to a leg injury.

Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the All Century Team and in 1999 was ranked number 10 on the “100 Greatest Football Players” by the Sporting News. Sports Illustrated calls him the greatest Defensive Tackle in NFL history.

In addition to being the Cowboys’ first ever draft pick, when all was said and done, “Mr. Cowboy” would also become the first player ever to be inducted into the “Ring of Honor”. He is the only Dallas Cowboy to wear the #74, and is the only number unofficially retired by the team.

Aside from football, Bob Lilly went on to become a noted photographer, a career that stemmed back to the day he began using the camera he won as an All-American. His interests included photographs of magnificent sunsets, majestic mountain ranges and scenic landscapes that captured all the natural beauty of the Midwest. He has launched a successful business where people can buy some of his most famous photographs.

Good, Bad, and Ugly All Evident In First Preseason Game

Coaches and fans got their first look at the 2010 Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night against a highly touted Cincinnati Bengals club that many are predicting to be a Super Bowl contender this season. The Boys had an impressive showing for a preseason game, not allowing Cincinnati to score until the late 4th quarter. However, there were also some loose ends the Cowboys need to tie up before they take the field against Washington in the season opener. Let’s play a game of “Who’s hot, who’s not” to summarize the first preseason game.

Who’s Hot

*Tight end John Phillips. He took advantage of the absence of Martellus Bennett and showed great all-around ability throughout the night. He had a couple of superb catches, and also showed his blocking ability on several occasions. With Bennett’s problems of late, I would not be at all surprised to see Phillips get more playing time than Bennett when the season starts.

*Defensive end Stephen Bowen. He also took advantage of the absence of a fellow teammate (Marcus Spears), and was a force along the defensive line all night. He was constantly in the backfield and recorded a sack before his night came to an end. With Bowen, Spears, and Jason Hatcher all playing on one-year tenders, I expect the competition to continue between the three.

*Offensive tackle Doug Free. Though he only played one series, Free looked very comfortable at left tackle, and had his way with Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom in both passing and running situations. Free definitely looks to have a leg up on Alex Barron in securing the starting left tackle spot. It will be interesting to see how he performs the rest of the preseason against pass rushers like Shawne Merriman and Mario Williams.

*Backup linebackers. A solid night on defense was topped off by the impressive play of players like Brandon Williams, Victor Butler, Jason Williams, Steve Octavien, and Brandon Sharpe. Jason Williams, Butler, and Octavien all showed their ability to get to the quarterback with a sack each. Brandon Williams and Sharpe showed their abilities in coverage with an interception each, Sharpe’s going for the only touchdown of the evening for the Cowboys. The Williams boys and Butler are showing flashes of the abilities the Cowboys saw in each of them when they drafted all three last year. Keep an eye on the ‘backers again in the next preseason game, as Sean Lee should step on the field for the first time and show his skills, too.

Who’s Not

*Offensive lineman Robert Brewster. He looked simply horrendous playing both tackle spots, and gave Stephen McGee no time to throw the ball all night. It is safe to say the intent of the Cowboys to develop Brewster as a tackle has run horribly amok. His footwork is below average and his ability to get out of his stance is poor. If the Cowboys want to avoid missing on yet another offensive line draft pick, they should consider moving Brewster to guard, where his slow feet will be less noticeable.

*Backup running backs. In a virtually impossible battle for a roster spot at running back, Herb Donaldson and Lonyae Miller did nothing to prove they are even worthy of a spot on the practice squad. Donaldson fumbled the ball early, and Miller had less than one yard per carry. With Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice all locks to make the team, Donaldson and Miller will be nothing more than camp bodies for the duration of training camp.

*Return specialists. The return game for the Cowboys was non-existent the entire night, with Titus Ryan, Jamar Wall, Bryan McCann, and Cletis Gordon sharing the duties. Ryan had a decent return to start the game, but left early with a broken thumb. Wall, McCann, and Gordon shared the punt return duties, but none of the three did more than fair catch and flirt with potential disaster when a return was possible. Gordon and McCann were also creamed on one of their returns, McCann’s coming on a terrible non-call in which he clearly called a fair catch.

Are You Ready for the “Kam-Akwasi” Cowboy?

We find ourselves meandering through the practice notes and news each day as we lead up to the Hall of Fame game today between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cincinnati Bengals. Lots of questions from the past season are on every fans mind as we get to have a look see at some of the young players the Cowboys are prepping to make the final roster to head into our 50th season and hopefully our 6th Lombardi Trophy and NFL Championship. Since I already focused on the main position that most people are focusing on this year, left tackle, I thought I would delve into the other main question that has been dogging us since Woody left with us a big hole in the secondary when he walked off into his final sunset as a player.

Free Safety is the one main position that we over look every year. Mainly because we have a couple of guys who tend to just kind of get by and barely get the job done. We were spoiled for a long time because we had Darren Woodson back there to hold down the fort and once he left we got to see just how special he really was. This year though going into the off season Jerry decided he has had enough and gave Ken Hamlin his walking papers and went out and drafted someone that everyone thought we were looking at as a cornerback but some scouts believe that he could turn into a very good free safety. I bring you Akwasi Owusu-Ansah from a small little division II school out of western Pennsylvania.  He has a lot of the same attributes that Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie had when he came out of a Division II school, DRC has a bit more speed then him but Akwasi may be a more versatile player and be able to impact the game in a couple other ways then playing in the secondary.

Akwasi was a running back n high school and was switched to cornerback when he got to college. You can see this high school background when he is returning the ball, whether it is on an interception return, a kickoff or punt return. He has those knees just pumping away and doesn’t stop those legs churning until he is brought down.  Usually not on the first attempt at tackling him either. I have watched a couple of the highlight reels of him returning kicks and seen a couple where it took five to six attempts to finally knock him on his keester..    and some he didn’t find his knee on the ground until he was striking paydirt. With his 6 foot, 200 lb frame he is that tweener between a corner and safety when it comes to size but his 4.4 range 40 yd dash time will make you forget about that quickly especially because that speed translates on the field as well.

Now I know everyone will be questioning his ability to transition from division II to the NFL in the secondary but, that is not a worry because of his talents in the return game. Returning a football on kicks in college no matter the level the same talents are needed in the NFL. Awareness and the ability to turn on a dime and also make people miss. That is something he excelled at in college. He will have time to work on his secondary skills while returning punts and he has already gotten some praise form Brett Maxie because of his ability to learn the defensive sets while recovering from shoulder surgery in the off season. He will obviously have to learn run support to play safety as he was a cornerback in college but he has long arms and great closing speed to stop plays dead, whether its wrapping the ball carrier to tackle him or using those arms to deflect balls. His closing speed though allows him to jump routes on receivers.

All in all I think that his ability to help create turnovers, which the Cowboys need a huge shot in the arm in and also his return ability coudl help us have one of the best return games in the NFL. How would you luck to be the coach or kicker trying to decide which person to kickoff to…  Akwasi or Felix. Talk about trying to pick the lesser of two evils!

Emmitt Smith’s place in Canton is now complete

Class…It’s the one word that has always described Emmitt Smith on the field as well as off the field.

Emmitt Smith stood at the podium as the crowd gave him a long standing ovation. Then Emmitt Smith did what he had done his entire career. He showed class as he thanked everyone that got him to the Hall of Fame. It wasn’t about him at all on his night. He thanked the Cowboys organization, his coaches, his teammates, his family and the fans all around the world.

It’s been a long five years since Emmitt Smith retired from the NFL. Watching Emmitt Smith on that stage was one of my greatest moments since becoming a Dallas Cowboys fan. He made us fans proud when he played the game and he continued to make us proud as he gave his speech. Including the fans in his speech was a fantastic thing to hear from him. The smile on my face was from ear to ear. 

When Emmitt Smith broke the All-Time rushing record in 2002 the thing that always stood out to me was the special moment that he shared with Daryl Johnston. It was a touching moment as Emmitt Smith broke down and thanked Daryl Johnston for everything he had done for him. Then tonight as Emmitt Smith was thanking Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin the crowd started to chant “Moose”. Then once again like in 2002 the tears started to flow on the face of Emmitt Smith. He asked Daryl Johnston to stand and thanked him from the bottom of his heart for everything he had done for him. It brought tears to my eyes in 2002 and it brought tears to my eyes tonight.

2002 video with Daryl Johnston

Hall of Fame speech with Daryl Johnston

Emmitt Smith is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Right  where he belongs because of the kind of player he was and also because of the kind of person he is. He made the night about everyone around him and not about himself. I am so  proud to be able to say that I watched his entire career and loved every minute of it. I’m also proud to say that I had the pleasure of meeting Emmitt Smith back in 1993 and 1994. He signed my Emmitt Smith jersey not once, but twice for me and it will always be my most prized possession. Congratulations Emmitt Smith and thank you for being such a class act. You are most deserving of your place in Canton.

Emmitt Smith’s Hall of Fame Speech transcript from