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Jones Was Right: Cowboys Should NOT Focus On Drafting A QB

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Hello fellow Dallas Cowboys fans. Before I begin my first post I would just like to introduce myself. My name is Greg Pomes. I’m a Cowboys fan from New York City. I’ve been a Cowboys fan since I was seven or eight years old. My favorite all time Cowboys are Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. I’m looking forward to communicating with everyone about our favorite football team!

There has been a lot of talk since the Cowboys once again collapsed and missed out on the playoffs. It’s tough being here in New York seeing the city fawn over the New York Giants, the same team that eliminated my beloved Cowboys from the playoffs yet again.  I think we are all in agreement that there needs to be some serious changes if this franchise is ever going to be the proud franchise it once was. There’s no question about it that we need to revamp our defense. The secondary or complete lack of a secondary is the reason why we lost that final game against the Cowboys.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism over Jerry Jones not actively seeking out a quarterback in this year’s upcoming draft. I rarely ever agree with Jerry Jones and that’s for good reason, however on this stance he’s completely right. Jones said:

“”We’ve got a lot of work to do with our personnel. “The good news is that we’re not starting out at quarterback. We’ve got a competitor there and we’ve got a lot of good skill people around him.”

Tony Romo has been a good quarterback. Is he in the same class as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and yes Eli Manning? I don’t think so but not every good quarterback has to be an elite quarterback. Romo this year had better stats than Eli Manning yet Eli is the quarterback going to the Super Bowl while Romo will be watching it. Eli also has a very good defense around him.

Romo became a different player before our very eyes this past season. Gone was the smiling and shrugging when he made a stupid mistake which was rare this season. Gone was that gunslinger mentality that we’ve seen for most of his career. He took a beating this season with those cracked ribs and that bruised hand at the end of the season but he got back up and led this team to victories.

What we need Jerry Jones to focus on in this year’s draft is improving the offensive line, the pass rush and the secondary. The Cowboys need defensive backs that can make tackles, not chase guys into the red zone. The Cowboys need a pass rush that is not going to give the opposing quarterback all day to throw. The offensive line needs improving after using inexperienced guys on the line that caused Romo to be sacked 36 times and resulted in the injuries that I mentioned earlier.

I’m aware that we cannot go into the new season with McGee as Romo’s backup. There are some good free agent quarterback’s on the market that would serve as an adequate backup. I would like Matt Flynn but he would command too much money. Vince Young is too much of a head case and we certainly don’t need any more of those on this team.

I’m sure there will be many things that Jerry Jones will be wrong about in the months to come but this is not one of them.

2011 NFL Draft: What The Cowboys Should Do

(This is my first of hopefully many contributions to this site and I hope you enjoy my posts. Thanks for reading! Go Cowboys!)

Is offensive line the right move to make? Jerry Jones has never selected an offensive linemen in the first round since he has been the Cowboys owner. Even though he played o-line at Arkansas. Seems a bit odd. But even he found offensive line boring and not flashy, I believe it might be the safe and correct pick in this case.

Tyron Smith out of USC is one rumored possibility for the Cowboys along with some other tackles and defensive ends Cameron Jordan and JJ Watt also rumored as options. The running game really struggled last season and Tony Romo (when he played) and then Jon Kitna did not have that long to throw. Certainly you only have so long to make something happen but they were not even given nearly enough time.

Smith would start right away at RT, opposite Doug Free. This selection would spell the end for Marc Colombo of course. Smith can help protect Romo and hopefully improve the running game, especially short yardage situations.

The Cowboys have plenty of needs but when I watched this team in 2010, the main problems that I saw were all in the defensive backfield more than anything. That is why I would consider taking Prince Amukamara with the ninth pick. Terrance Newman is getting up there in age and Michael Jenkins was bad at times last year. Neither Gerald Sensabaugh nor Alan Ball should be trusted to start at safety again and I think the Prince would be the right selection.

Then you can grab an offensive lineman in the second round and go with safety and defensive end/linebacker later. I do believe Dallas is in pretty good shape all around but just have a couple holes to fill, which they can accomplish by drafting well.

So while I would consider improving the secondary, I do believe that offensive tackle is the right, safe pick in this case for the Cowboys mainly because my hope is that an overhaul of the o-line can improve the running game, which can improve the passing game, which can give the Cowboys the lead and hopefully take some pressure off the defense, and the secondary. Everything has a cause and effect and you are supposed to build from the inside out. The Cowboys are a flashy team and Jerry likes to make splashy picks usually but in this particular case, let’s just be safe.

2011 NFL Draft: If James Williamson was in Charge of the Cowboys…

To readers of Lone Star Struck: I’m sorry that I have not been here in a while. I’ve been swamped with school, and I knew that Kelly and the other writers have things covered mostly, so the breaking news pieces aren’t needed from me.

However, I needed to give my thoughts about the draft that is just tomorrow. Here is what I would do.

Everyone has a opinion. Everyone has an idea of what they would do if they were in charge. Many may have similar notions as others, but each one is somehow unique when it comes to detail.

Well, lets assume that I’m in charge of the Cowboys draft for one day. Lets pause momentarily while I laugh maniacally for several seconds.

Okay, now for some serious business.

I’ve been talking to a buddy of mine named J.D. He’s one of the most brilliant sports minds I’ve ever encountered, and we routinely text each other about sports, mainly our favorite football team, the Cowboys. But, we can talk about the draft or other players or even other teams.

So, today I was on the elliptical at the Fitness Zone when I get a text from good ole J.D. Well, I have ten minutes left to burn some calories on the machine, so I finished my workout, then walked over to the treadmill for a small walk and checked the message.

After the usual talking about Ryan Mallett, Blaine Gabbert and even a mention of previous drafts, the Cowboys pick came up, and J.D. and I both agreed that Dallas needs to trade the pick.

We also agreed on what players that he and I liked the most. We are both high on Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson, Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey, and Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castanzo. Despite rumors that Dallas wants University of Southern California offensive tackle, Tyron Smith, J.D. and I are not high on him.

So, as we are texting, and I’m on the treadmill, a lightbulb the size of the sun turns on over my head, and I relay my idea to J.D.

Since the Cowboys have the ninth overall pick, they are in a prime position to draft a quarterback in a quarterback rich draft. And not just quarterback, but also a position for Nebraska defensive back Prince Amakamura and Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones.

Teams with mid-first round draft choices would love to move up and draft a player they believe will not fall to them, so that makes Dallas a prime candidate for a big trade. Dallas does not have a giant need that can be addressed at just the ninth pick, so not only COULD they move back a few spots and get more draft picks in exchange for a trade, but they actually SHOULD do that.

Before I go further, let me give you a key part of  the draft order real quick, so that you can follow along with my points.

9: Dallas Cowboys
10: Washington Redskins
11: Houston Texans
12: Minnesota Vikings
13: Detroit Lions
14: St. Louis Rams
15: Miami Dolphins
16: Jacksonville Jaguars
17: New England Patriots (Originally Oakland Raiders)
18: San Diego Chargers
19: New York Giants

I’m telling J.D. that a lot of quarterbacks like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett or even Blaine Gabbert could/will be there at the ninth pick, and there is something that every football fan needs to know about the draft, so listen up.

Teams that need quarterbacks tend to reach for quarterbacks. By reach, I mean they either draft a quarterback with a too high draft selection or they trade up to grab a quarterback and pay a king’s ransom for the rookie signal caller.

Dallas has one of the premier draft picks, and they also are ahead of the Redskins who have the 10th overall pick. The Redskins are likely to draft a quarterback, so a trade with a quarterback-needy team for the ninth overall pick and maybe some more picks, like a second round pick for 2011 or a first rounder from 2012 is very reasonable.

There are three teams that I would definitely consider trading with. The Minnesota Vikings at 12, the Miami Dolphins at 15, and the Jacksonville Jaguars at 16. Any other team past the Chargers pick at 18 is a no because as you can see the New York Giants possess the 19th pick.

The New York Giants most glaring needs are offensive tackle and offensive guard. The whole point of Dallas trading the ninth pick is to get some more picks while still getting the player they desire, which if I’m running the draft, is either Anthony Castanzo or Mike Pouncey. Those two guys will not last past the Giants at 19, so any team past the Giants is out.

J.D. and I both think the Cowboys should pick up the phones and call the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Vikings and let them know that if they want a guarantee that they’ll get the quarterback they want, and not the guy that the Redskins passed up, they’ll have to pay the right price. I’d definitely secure their 2011 first round pick, 2011 second round pick, and maybe even a 2012 first round pick.

The Minnesota Vikings have a talented team, but have made some bad decisions. They did not draft a quarterback to learn from Brett Favre, so they were expecting to be the champions and worry about the quarterback issue when Favre finally retired.

Well, their lotto scratch-off ticket did not earn them the top prize or any prize. The Vikings now have needs at an aging offensive line, a weak secondary, and a quarterback. They are not as high on Joe Webb as they’d like to be, so now there is a thought of them trading for Donovan McNabb from the Redskins.

However, since they don’t know if they can get McNabb due to the lockout, the Vikings will probably reach for a quarterback, making them prime candidates to trade with Dallas.

I’d definitely squeeze the Vikings like I’d squeeze an orange for juice. They would be more than willing to pay a very high price to get a chance to draft a quarterback before the Redskins.

It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, that’s for certain.

Next, the Miami Dolphins are being coy about wanting Ryan Mallett. Ryan Mallett has character issues building up, but the Dolphins took a chance on Dan Marino in 1983 when there was a huge rumor that he had tested positive for drugs. The test results had been kept hidden from the public, so Marino fell to the Dolphins 27th pick.

I think the Dolphins see themselves as being a legitimate quarterback away from being a real Super Bowl contender, and they are not wrong. The only needs they have are quarterback and running back. Mark Ingram is probably not worth the 15th overall pick, and they can attempt at free agency to secure Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown or replace them.

Also, before any Dolphin faithful announce to the world that Chad Henne is “the guy”, may I remind them that “the guy” is not doing his job right or else they wouldn’t have been 7-9.

Ryan Mallett, however, may not slip past the Washington Redskins or the Minnesota Vikings. I’ve been torn on this kid myself, and I used to think he’d be a bad choice, but recently, I’ve found myself wondering if Dallas should take him. I like how he was honest about making mistakes in the past and is willing to change. That’s a sign of maturity and change.

If he becomes even 1/4th of what Marino was, the Dolphins are in the playoffs.

Lastly, the Jaguars are a team that doesn’t need a quarterback “immediately,” but David Garrard is 34, and why not draft a good quarterback that can replace Garrard in a few years?

I think the Jaguars will be hesitant to make the deal because they’ll probably want a guy that will fall to them, but if Jerry can use his Texas charm on them and make them see that Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett is an amazing prospect, then they may take the bait.

From there, the Cowboys simply just make the teams sweat a little bit and keep the auction going. Whoever gives up the most gets the ninth overall draft choice, and the quarterback they want.

As I was working that through my mind on the treadmill, another thought, well actually it was a text from J.D., hit me. Not only do teams want quarterbacks, but the ninth pick also could secure other skill players, namely Prince Amakamura and Julio Jones should they fall.

After discussing with J.D., we came to the conclusion that there are four other teams that might want to trade up for the ninth overall pick should either Julio Jones or Prince Amakamura fall. Beside Minnesota, the Detroit Lions also have a need for a cornerback like Amakamura, and there is no way that Amakamura falls past the Houston Texans at 12. The Texans had the worst pass defense to possibly ever grace a football field. You can guarantee that Amakamura is not dropping past them.

The Detroit Lions are definitely a team that is on the verge of actually contending, and Amakamura could definitely help out there. So, if Detroit is willing to fork over enough, they can get the ninth pick and a possible shutdown corner. They definitely need one after ranking 16th in passing yards allowed.

Now, the likelihood of that happening is small because teams don’t generally reach for cornerbacks, but quarterbacks and wide receivers? Much more likely.

Which brings us to the idea that if Julio Jones falls to the Cowboys, the Redskins are also a prime target for him to go to with their best receiver, Santana Moss, hitting free agency whenever free agency occurs. Julio Jones is a very highly touted receiver, so teams that want that big wideout will definitely want to trade up to secure him.

The teams that need a receiver are: the St. Louis Rams at 14, the New England Patriots at 17, and the San Diego Chargers at 18.

The Rams have the biggest need for receiver out of them all. Their two top receivers had season-ending injuries last year, and Sam Bradford needs a real legitimate target to have besides Danny Amendola. The Rams may be willing to exchange a great deal for Julio Jones.

The Patriots are the ideal trading mate. They have so many draft picks that it is ridiculous. They have the 17th and 28th overall picks, and they have the 33rd overall pick, which is the top pick of the second round. If you want an ideal partner, it is them. I’d love to have those three picks. However, the Patriots have those picks because they are shrewd rather than stupid.

J.D. believes that Belichick would want a chance to draft a big play wideout in Julio Jones because they traded Randy Moss and nobody else stretches the field like him.

J.D., I have to disagree man. I just don’t believe that Belichick will want to trade all that or even part of that for Julio Jones. I wish he would, but I doubt the Patriots trade up when they’ve tried to trade down.

However, I’d still give Belichick a call and see if I don’t get a “No thank you” from him. Getting the 17th, 28th, and 33rd picks would be a huge acquisition. Heck, even getting the 17th and 33rd would be huge for Dallas.

Lastly, the San Diego Chargers are a team that had special teams mishaps cost them the playoffs. The 2010 Chargers are a perfect example forever of how special teams impacts the game. They were second in scoring offense and 10th in scoring defense. With numbers like that, they should’ve made the playoffs and maybe even the Super Bowl, but they lost at least three or four games due to horrible special teams.

Instead of being 12-4 or 13-3, they were a 9-7 failure.

Now, the Chargers do need a real receiver for Philip Rivers. Vincent Jackson is still franchised, but he may hold out again, and A.J. Smith is like a bulldog with a bone in his mouth. He is not going to sway from his stance. Jackson will either not play or he’ll play on Smith’s terms.

That’s part of the reason why I highly doubt Dallas will squeeze the Chargers of anything. Not only are they already an elite team without a top wideout and since A.J. Smith is one of the most stubborn people you would meet in any walk of life, I have doubts as to the abilities of not just Jerry Jones, but anyone, to get that guy to budge.

He’s the guy who drafted Eli Manning when Eli Manning did not want to play for San Diego, and he held Manning in his grasp until the New York Giants traded Philip Rivers, a 2005 first round pick that became Shawn Merriman, a 2004 third round pick that was used to get Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding, and a 2004 fifth round pick that eventually was traded to Tampa Bay for Roman Oben who was a very good left tackle for the Chargers for about two years.

So, if Smith can gut the Giants when he was in a lose-type of a situation by drafting somebody who had publicly said that he did not want to play for the Chargers, then I don’t think even Jerry Jones could get that guy in a bad deal.

That’s what the Cowboys would do if I were in charge. Will they do it? It is possible, but is it probable? That remains to be seen.

Why should Dallas do this though? Can’t they just draft whomever they want at the ninth overall spot and not worry themselves with trades?

They could do that, but it would not be prudent. They need more picks people. It is the sixth rounders at the end of the day who put you over the top. They could get a few more picks for more players and more talent and still come out with the player that they want in the end.

Also, there is one more side. Rookie players are paid on a ratio to where they are drafted. If Dallas drafts a top 10 player, he’ll want top 10 player money, but if he’s draft 15th or 16th overall, he can only ask for top 20 player money.

Not only can Dallas get more talent, but they can save themselves money by trading down.

I won’t guarantee Dallas does trade, but I will say that I’ll be surprised if the commissioner announces Dallas’s pick at the number nine spot.

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This article was originally posted an NFLtouchdown.com here

Final Mock Draft of 2011

This version of The 2011 Cowboys Mock Draft has Jerry wheelin’ and dealin’ as usual, only this time, he comes out smelling like roses. Yeah, I know. Completely unrealistic already. Well, read it anyway and see what ya think. I used my usual rankings at: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings however, this time I looked around to see what other teams could be doing as opposed to going strictly by the rankings. Trade values are standard and can be checked here: http://walterfootball.com/draftchart.php

Remember this is just for fun and maybe we can all learn a little about some of the athletes entering the league.

*Note* The first number represents the round of the draft and the number after the decimal represents the overall number of the pick.

Now on to the draft!
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  • 1.9 **TRADE TO ST. LOUIS** St. Louis selects Julio Jones WR Alabama
    St. Louis sees AJ Green go too early to make a realistic move. Trading up to #9, where their second choice, Jones, is still available makes perfect sense for a young team in need of a play-making wide receiver. Dallas makes it interesting by trading picks 1.9, 3.71 and 6.176 for The Ram’s 1.14, 2.47, 4.112 and 7.216. St. Louis now owns picks 1.9, 3.71, 3.78, 5.145 and 6.176.

 

  • 1.14 **TRADE TO SAN DIEGO!!!** San Diego selects Cameron Jordan DE Cal OR JJ Watt DE Wisconsin.
    Both New England and San Diego inquired about pick #9 but both decided it to be too costly. Again, at 14, Dallas fields offers and San Diego comes out on top, while still having picks in the first three rounds. Dallas trades 1.14 for The Charger’s 1.18, 3.82 and 6.183. San Diego now owns picks 1.14, 2.50, 2.61, 3.89, 6.201 and 7.234.

 

  • 1.18 Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College
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    Castonzo and/or Tyron Smith could be gone by pick 18 with a handful of teams considering taking an OT higher than they should. I’m betting on Smith being the first one taken, despite worries that he might not be ready to start right away. Dallas scouts watched Castonzo’s career religiously at Boston College. He, like Smith, is believed to be able to play either right or left tackle in the NFL. Having that versatility is a good thing on a line that is in rebuilding mode in Dallas. Gabe Carimi has been my favorite of this class to play right tackle, however he hasn’t been invited to the ranch and there is shockingly no buzz about him to Dallas what so ever. I would also consider Mike Pouncey C/OG Florida with this pick if both tackles are gone.

 

  • 2.40 Rahim Moore FS UCLA
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    Some believe he will be gone by our pick at 40. I don’t think he is a high second rounder in any other draft year other than a year like this where the crop is extremely underwhelming in talent. Moore had a breakout year in ’09 where he picked off a whopping 10 passes, then went back to a pedestrian 1 in ’10. A safety should not be judged on interceptions alone, but we are in the market for a play maker. I hope we get the ’09 version or more of the same could be in our future. I am not a fan of this year’s safety class, but drafting one can not be ignored yet again.

 

  • 2.47 Stefen Wisniewski C/OG Penn State
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    If I didn’t make a mock with the “WIZ”, my mock draft buddies would kill me. He is a fan favorite of Dallas mockers world-wide. Like Owen Marecic (whom we will talk about shortly) , Stefen represents everything you would want from a football player and just so happens to be a strong need at both guard positions as well as center, where the majority of experts project him to excel at the NFL level. With Davis’ skills rapidly declining, Kosier still unsigned and Gurode’s degenerative knee problems, this is a perfect pick to upgrade the o-line. Like I said earlier with the first pick, if Smith and Castonzo are gone at pick 18 and Dallas selects OG Mike Pouncey, this pick could be an OT such as Marcus Cannon from TCU.

 

  • 3.82 Marcus Gilchrist CB/KR/PR Clemson
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    Dallas’ secondary problems are well documented and help is needed across the board. Gilchrist is a versatile corner who also excels at kick and punt returning. Marcus has 207 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, 19 pass breakups, three caused fumbles, two recovered fumbles, 722 yards on 27 kickoff returns, and 261 yards on 27 punt returns in 52 games (27 starts) in his career at Clemson. At the very least, he should assume Alan Ball’s #4 corner spot behind Orlando Scandrick, (who is in a contract year) helping us with youth and CAP relief during his first year in Dallas.

 

  • 4.110 Ian Williams DT Notre Dame
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    I traded up for Ian in my last mock to pick #127 and I believe with a premium at NT in this draft, he could go even higher. Ian had a pre-combine visit with Dallas and is a prime candidate to rotate with Josh Price-Brent, allowing Ratliff to make his long awaited move to Igor Olshansy’s position at RDE. (freeing Igor’s $3.335 million salary) I know Rob Ryan said Ratliff is and will be a DT, but he didn’t say in what packages. Ratliff could be a DE in the base 3-4 package and a DT in others. I think Ryan is smart enough to put his best players on the field and having options is nice.

 

  • 4.112 Kelvin Sheppard ILB LSU
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    Bradie James will love this pick. Although he will be Bradie’s eventual replacement, Sheppard is an LSU alum as is James. The similarities don’t stop there. Bradie was taken in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. The joke would be that Bradie will always be 9 players better than Kelvin. (Bradie at 103, Kelvin at 112) I’ll be happy if he’s just a solid contributor. His speed and reliable open-field tackling also made the former high-school track star a standout on special teams.

 

  • 5.143 Owen Marecic FB Stanford
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    Only because this is such a strong FB class do I believe it is possible to still get Marecic at pick 143. The emergence of Charles Clay, Stanley Havili and Henry Hynoski should let one drop to Dallas here and improve at a very weak position. Marecic is exactly the type of player I want on this roster. He puts his head down and works hard. This is the extreme value pick of this draft. To boot, anyone opposed to taking a FB should look at the undrafted player responsible for ending the seasons, because of missed blocks, for both Romo and Bryant in 2010.

 

  • 6.183 Stevan Ridley RB LSU
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    Ridley recently visited the ranch and it looks like the brass are ready to move on from MBIII and his lopsided contract. The growing belief throughout the league is that you can find good running backs in the later rounds and a high pick on one isn’t a necessity anymore. A bruising back to compliment Felix and Tashard should be relatively easy to achieve with this pick and it’s funny how Stevan is currently rated #183 overall and here we are at that exact pick. Fate? We’ll see…

 

  • 7.216 Justin Boren OG Ohio State
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    “Not since World War II has a football player done what Justin Boren did in 2008. After two seasons at Michigan, Boren transferred to Ohio State, crossing enemy lines in the Big Ten’s most storied rivalry. Displeased with new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez’s attitude and, in his words, “lack of values” and seemed to have difficulty adjusting to the physical demands of Rodriguez’s new no-huddle spread offense. Boren has been known to play with the nasty demeanor offensive line coaches like and was a welcome addition to an OSU line having some protection problems prior to his arrival. But while his decision to transfer alone does not raise character concerns, he must still answer questions about the way he handled himself after making that decision. He is a likely late-round pick for a team that appreciates his strength and competitive attitude.” – CBS Sports.com overview

 

  • 7.220 Willie Smith OT East Carolina
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    The Cowboys need depth at LT and Willie should make a smooth transition having played the position the past two years in East Carolina. Like most late round prospects, he first needs to make the team. Next he needs to develop into an NFL caliber player with our elite coaches, (oline and strength and conditioning) and finally most college scouts don’t believe it would be unreasonable to think Smith could be a starter in 2-3 years. He could be a late round steal much like Jay Ratliff, who was selected 224th overall in the 2005 draft.

 

  • 7.252 Bruce Miller OLB UCF
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    Brandon Williams needs to prove he’s not just another 2009 draft bust. Bruce Miller could be the competition he needs to finally get over the hump. Demarcus Ware believes in him, we just haven’t seen anything yet. Competition at spots such as OLB will be the key to our future strength.

 

  • Free Agency:
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One of these days, a CBA will be hammered out, the owners and players will kiss and make up and free agency will happen. When that day comes, the priority should be resigning our own players first, especially if the restricted tenders don’t stick. Free, Kosier, Bowen and Hatcher should be top priority. While this is being hammered out, word should get to Dawan Landry’s agent that Dallas isn’t committed to Gerald Sensebaugh and are looking to upgrade the position. A feeler is all it should take to get Baltimore to make their modest offer.

“Citing the Ravens’ history at strong safety, the Baltimore Sun does not expect free agent Dawan Landry to be re-signed this year. The Ravens have twice let the starter opposite Ed Reed walk (Will Demps, Jim Leonhard), turning the position over to in-house replacements. If Landry gets to the bidding-war stage, the team will have no qualms about pushing Tom Zbikowski or Haruki Nakamura into the starting lineup.”

Dallas could realistically sign Landry to a 3 year $12 million contract with 8 million guaranteed and steal him away from the Ravens. IMO totally worth it and much more cost effective than previously drafting the top strong safety to start and signing a free agent free safety that would want a very large contract. (Huff, Weddle) We recently went that route with a questionable player (Ken Hamlin) and it didn’t work out so well. Hopefully, Jerry plays this smart and learns his lesson.

 

See you all on the annual draft day chat right here on Lone Star Struck, where we are all sure to to laugh, cry and thoroughly debate personnel decisions in the comfort of our own “War Rooms”…Happy Draft Day Everyone!!! It’s almost here!

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.

Please go here to read the rest of this article.

Leave It To The Media To Rain On Emmitt’s Parade

By now most of you have heard the latest controversy about Emmitt Smith’s big snub during Saturday night’s Hall of Fame induction speech.

Apparently, the media  is trumpeting the fact that Emmitt failed to thank or acknowledge his Alma Mater, the University of Florida.

The way I see it, Hall of Famers earn the right to thank whoever they damn well please when they give their induction speech. It’s one of many rights they earned by being a Hall of Famer.

One thing that is hardly mentioned, is the glaring fact that this was an NFL Hall Of Fame speech, and Emmitt went ahead and thanked all those who made his NFL Hall of Fame career possible.

Upon being drafted by the Cowboys and beginning his NFL career, I don’t believe that anyone from the University of Florida had a hand in shaping the next 15 years of his life. However, his family did… And Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson did… And of course Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin did… And as America now knows, Daryl Johnston did too.

Those were the people who helped get Emmitt Smith to the Hall of Fame, and all of them received plenty of heartfelt recognition on Saturday. 

When Emmitt was drafted in 1990 by the Cowboys with pick number 17, he thanked the University of Florida for getting him to that point in his life. His college journey was over, and new and more glorious journey was about to begin.

To hell with all the haters.

Cowboys Haters In Full Effect Already, So What’s New?

When you are the most popular, most storied, most winning sports franchise in pro football history it comes with the territory that you have people who despise you. Call it jealousy, call it envy but its strong and its everywhere we turn.

The latest rants include Cowboys Number One Draft Pick Dez Bryant and the young tight end Martellus Bennett.

Okay maybe I will give them Dez, thats a valid complaint. He got his money and hasn’t even played in one pro game and already thinks he’s better than the veterans. Not cool Dez. So they are calling him “another Diva Cowboy”. Well the guy just scored nearly 12 million dollars, has been given the coveted number 88 and has already been deemed the super star wide receiver for America’s Team fresh out of college. To say expectations for Dez Bryant are high is an understatement.

You can blame Dez, blame Jerry Jones, or blame the media but I got money that says he produces and blows everyone away this season.

So, rumor is Marty B had a bad break-up and his ex posted nude pictures of him online. Who cares? What in the world does that have to do with football? Absolutely nothing. I have my own issues with Martellus’ off-the-field shenanigans but in reality he’s a backup tight end, a backup to one of the best in the league. Is he the future? Only time will tell. But he’s still young, immature and seems to crave a lot of attention. A professional athlete who wants all eyes on him – well thats totally unheard of, what in the world is he thinking?!

Like it or not all of these ridiculous stories sell, whether true or fabricated. People love to hate the Dallas Cowboys. Why do you think ESPN constantly disses the Cowboys? That’s easy, because hating on Dallas sells. It’s stirs up Cowboy followers and it revs up the haters. Personally, I very rarely watch ESPN for that very reason.

It doesn’t matter that there are players who have violated the league drug law or committed felonies. Hell, there have been times men have been suspected in rapes and murders, but if Tony Romo wants to play golf in the offseason or Miles Austin was in Las Vegas gambling and having a few drinks – well thats front page news! How dare they do something without a football in their hands.

Listen, like I said before it comes with the territory. I spent years defending Terrell Owens, because that’s what we do as Cowboys fans. I will admit I have a limit though, I never defended Pacman Jones. He truly was an embarrassment.

Earlier I went to visit my mom and she started talking about an article she read about Dez not carrying Roy’s pads on Yahoo!, and I immediately went into defense mode. It’s like a parent who’s child can do no wrong.

So when I go into work this morning and my boss who loves sports gossip starts telling me the latest, instead of defending Bryant and Bennett maybe I will turn the conversation around and talk about how great Romo and Austin are projected to be this season. Maybe I will tell him how excellent David Buehler is looking, how he’s blowing the experts away with his kicking talent. How about the fact that the Cowboys have a shot to be the first team in history to go to the Super Bowl in their own stadium and win!

When a hater comes straight up to me trashing my team I will defend them to the end. Call me a cheerleader, call me bias… no, you know what, just call me a Cowboys fan and damn proud of it.

Back In The Saddle Again – Training Camp Notes

Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips are all smiles at the start of Cowboys Training Camp

I skimmed through all the different beat writer reports from today’s Cowboys Training Camp, and summarized all of the information for you.

Training Camp Player Valuations – In terms of talking about players after practice, Phillips doesn’t like to do it. He feels he needs to see some practice tape before talking about how well a player did or how bad a player did. Phillips said it gives him a chance to give better answers to questions.

“You may see a player do something real good in practice and the rest of the plays didn’t play well,” Phillips said. “Like a guy in a game, you think he played well, and he didn’t play well at all.”

Ain’t That A Kick In The Pants – The coach made a note that David Buehler isn’t the only placekicker on the roster. Delbert Alvarado is also a kicker but hardly gets mentioned because after the team released Connor Hughes, it was assumed Buehler had no competition. Even Buehler said he’s competing against himself.

“Alvarado did well, and that’s why we kept him in the spring,” Phillips said.

Safety First – Does Pat Watkins have a shot to become the starting free safety over Alan Ball? Phillips said he does and that there is competition at almost every position. However, Phillips would like to see Watkins, who is a strong special teams player, be more consistent on defense. Watkins did have a nice breakup of a long pass Saturday.

He Ain’t All That – *Dez Bryant, the rookie wide receiver, was impressive in his first practice. Phillips said it’s not the best debut he ever saw.

“I don’t know if he looked any better than Steve Largent when he came in,” Phillips said. “Cris Carter when he came in, I’ve seen some pretty good ones.”

Not To Be Nosy, But – *Marcus Spears is still the starting defensive end, but he will get some snaps at nose tackle during training camp. The Cowboys did some of this last year with him. Phillips doesn’t believe it’s the start of something long term for Spears.

“I would be comfortable with him playing there,” Phillips said of Spears at the nose. “He’s a smart player and he’s a good run player already, and normally nose guard is a run-player position. [Jay] Ratliff has taken it to a different level; you don’t see nose guards getting six and eight and ten sacks. But I think Spears can fill that role as a run player and I think he’ll do a good job there.”

We Kneed You Man – *Linebacker Keith Brooking might miss the second practice Sunday. He’s fine, but Cowboys want to bring him along slowly because he had minor knee surgery in the offseason. Brooking looked pretty good Saturday knocking down a pass and moving around pretty good.

MartyB TV Off The Air – Wade Phillips said he does not expect Martellus Bennett to miss much practice time in training camp with the sprained left ankle he suffered last week while working out. The Cowboys placed Bennett on the non-football injury list because he did not suffer the injury while under the Cowboys’ care.

AP: Cowboys Offseason Recap, Super Bowl Chances

Interesting read by the Associated Press on the Cowboys and their chances for another title.

Since the end of last season, and even before that, Jerry Jones has constantly reminded his Cowboys that Super Bowl XLV will be played at their own stadium in February.

“Our owner lets us know the game is at Cowboys Stadium and he would love his team to play in it,” Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. “We are doing everything we can get to get there.”

But long before the possibility of being the first host team ever in a Super Bowl, or even playing a 2010 regular season game, the defending NFC East champion Cowboys have quite a summer trip.

Training camp begins Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. That begins a five-week stretch in which the Cowboys will travel more than 6,500 miles, practice in three different cities and play preseason games in four stadiums.

“We’re America’s team, everybody wants to see us,” receiver Roy Williams said.

Dallas will be the first full squad to begin camp, but Cleveland rookies report Friday. Rookies for New England and San Diego report Sunday, and every NFL team will be in camp by Aug. 1.

For the third time in four years, 17 of the 32 teams will conduct training camp at home. Just nine years ago, only five of 31 teams stayed home for preseason workouts.

Super Bowl champion New Orleans opens camp at home July 29. But before the Saints won the title last year, the previous three Super Bowl winners — Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and the New York Giants — had all held camp away from home.

For the Cowboys, the climate-controlled Alamodome will be their base for two weeks before going to Canton, Ohio, to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. A few days at home and a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium follows that.

Then comes two weeks in Oxnard, Calif., a strech that includes a game at San Diego. They break their West Coast camp and head to Houston for a game before finally getting to settle in at their Valley Ranch facility to prepare for the home preseason finale and the start of the regular season.

“I’ve had some pretty strange years, but not moving like that,” said 13-year veteran Keith Brooking, going into his second season with Dallas. “I played in the Tokyo Bowl, 16-hour flight or whatever it was two weeks into training camp and still having four preseason games to play. But never two weeks at camp, then moving.”

“Nobody cares where we practice. People care about whether we win,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Jones raised the Lombardi Trophy three times in a four-year stretch in the mid-1990s. But the five-time champions have gone 14 seasons without winning a title and didn’t even win another playoff game until last January.

The 20-year owner could think of no better way to end the championship drought than by winning a Super Bowl at his $1.2 billion stadium that opened last season.

“They have the potential to get there,” said NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith, the three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month. “Hopefully those guys have taken this offseason and said next year should be our time.”

With lofty expectations and their longest training camp in more than a decade ahead of them, it’s good for the Cowboys there are few issues and little drama. Just plenty of motivation.

“I really do feel that we’ve got top talent on the team, but this same talent, the majority of it, saw us fall short last year,” Jones said. “And that keeps anybody from getting too caught up in what this looks like. We’ve got a lot of work to do when we get to training camp.”

Here are some of the top storylines for the Cowboys so far:

• Doug Free gets the first chance to replace left tackle Flozell Adams, the expensive 35-year-old five-time Pro Bowler cut last spring. Free, going into his fourth season, started seven games at right tackle for injured Marc Colombo last year.

The Cowboys also acquired tackle Alex Barron, sending Bobby Carpenter to St. Louis in a trade of underachieving former first-round picks.

• After receiver Miles Austin went from relative unknown to Pro Bowl player and Dez Bryant was drafted in the first round, Patrick Crayton asked for a trade and skipped most voluntary offseason workouts. But Crayton, who could still end up playing for somebody this season, showed up for the final week of workouts and the minicamp, working like he always had.

• Safety Ken Hamlin, a 2007 Pro Bowler who like Adams had a contract through 2013, was also cut. Alan Ball, primarily a cornerback his first two seasons, is the likely replacement opposite Gerald Sensabaugh.

• Hamlin’s departure is the only significant change for coach Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, which allowed the fewest points in the NFC last season and ended the regular season with consecutive shutouts for the first time in the team’s 50-year history.

With Jason Garrett calling plays for Tony Romo and a record-setting offense, and Phillips settling into the dual role as the NFL’s only head coach-defensive coordinator, Jones is excited about the continuity of the coaching staff. He believes that is good for Phillips, who is 33-15 after three seasons in Dallas and finally has a playoff victory as a head coach.

“You can just sense it when you’re talking to him, he’s so comfortable in himself around this team,” Jones said. “I’m not talking about he’s laid back or taking things too easy. He’s just gotten very comfortable, exudes to me when I’m with him, the feel, that feeling he feels about his team.”

You’re Damn Right I Take Offense To That

Can you imagine living the life of a football star? How about a football star who plays for the Dallas Cowboys? That would be like living a dream. Getting paid millions of dollars to play the game you love for the best team in the nation, yeah I would say that is definitely living the dream.

However, with the good comes the bad. Tabloid reporters, paparazzi stalkers and obsessed fans, oh my!

Honestly I could care less who Tony Romo is dating. I don’t care if Miles Austin was seen on a yacht with a famous reality star. Some call it a jinx, and now some are saying maybe a good luck charm. If they do their job and stay focused, does it really matter?

On the other hand, there are some things you just don’t do in public when you are a professional football player.

Our class clown, if you will, Martellus Bennett has made a horrible fool out of himself once again. In a video that has since been removed, Bennett dressed in a long beard at a tattoo parlor on Independence Day impersonates terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

“Y’all been looking for me? I’m making bombs!”

It’s not funny, and definitely offends me as an American especially on the day we celebrate our freedom. While thousands of men and women fight for us overseas, Mr. football player thinks its funny to disrespect them on a day he should be honoring the very thing they are fighting for.

I believe when players are given the honor calling themselves Dallas Cowboys they need to realize they represent something bigger than their oversized egos. Just like what Jerry Jones told Terrell Owens before releasing him, this is about something bigger than both of us, this is about the team.

How about you start thinking before you embarrass the organization? You are not a racy comedian who makes money by causing controversy, you are a professional football player. I think its time you start acting like one.

Cowboys Apparently Not Interested In Safety O.J. Atogwe

When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones is one of the best, if not the best, owners in the National Football League.

As a general manager, he’s one of the biggest riverboat gamblers on either side of the Mississippi River.

A lot of times he’s been right, and a lot of times he’s been wrong.

Having enough faith in our backup receivers to cut Terrell Owens and subsequently, Miles Austin emerged. Good.

Trading two first round draft picks for Joey Galloway. Bad

Well, Jerry Jones is on the craps table and is rolling the dice again. This time with the safety position of the Cowboys.

Gerald Sensabaugh, our strong safety, signed his one-year tender with the Cowboys, and Jerry Jones may extend him, but the free safety position is still a concern because Alan Ball, the replacement for Ken Hamlin, who we cut, is… the best word would be unproven.

I’ve seen Ball in preseason games, and he’s good, but when Jerry Jones passes up a shot to get Darren Sharper, a beast of a safety, in free agency, you wonder if Jerry is taking too large a risk with the team.

Well, now the Cowboys aren’t going to make an effort to sign free agent, O.J. Atogwe, a safety who last played for the St. Louis Rams.

Atogwe is a pretty good safety. I know he’s an upgrade from Ken Hamlin, but not on the Ed Reed/Darren Sharper level. I was hoping to possibly see him with the Cowboys and give me more assurance than Alan Ball has.

However, Jerry Jones disagrees. He replied to the question, “I’m ready to go to our season with the safeties we have. That might answer your question.” According to the Cowboys official website.

Jerry Jones feels comfortable with new draft picks like Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, a fourth rounder from IUP, or Jamar Wall, a cornerback who might convert to safety from Texas Tech.

Add in Michael Hamlin (no relation to Ken Hamlin), who missed most of last year due to a wrist injury, and the incumbent, Alan Ball, to the mix and Dallas has a strong depth at the position.

There is even some undrafted players that can work out as safeties.

Jerry Jones apparently has faith in these players, so Dallas fans are going to have to trust them. Who knows? Maybe a Miles Austin will emerge.

We can only hope, but for right now, it is for-sure that Jerry Jones isn’t rummaging for his checkbook to give Atogwe a contract.

This article was originally published here.

Analyzing Alex Barron Trade; Keith Brooking Surgery Update

In the past few weeks, there has been a good deal of activity involving the Dallas Cowboys.

The first item of business is that Dallas traded inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter to the St. Louis Rams for offensive tackle Alex Barron.

Now, Bobby Carpenter is the only high draft pick made in the Bill Parcells era that truly was disappointing. He was a highly admired linebacker out of Ohio State, which is one of the premier college football programs.

Yet, in the four years he was here, he never was good enough for the coaches to give him the starting job. Some fans might say that Dallas never gave him a chance, but I disagree. You don’t draft a guy in the first round and not give him a chance. He had plenty of chances in preseason, in training camp, or in games where he had playing time.

There were questions about him being aggressive enough when playing. I can’t explain why he didn’t turn out to be a great player, but things like that happen.

I knew he was on his way out when Dallas drafted Penn State linebacker Sean Lee in the second round of the 2010 draft this past April.

Carpenter will get a chance to revive his career in St. Louis, while Dallas gets key offensive line depth.

I have every confidence in our offensive line, but the fact remains that if you don’t have a backup plan in the NFL, you are risking your team’s future.

The Dallas starters from left to right are: Doug Free at left tackle, Kyle Kosier at left guard, Andre Gurode at center, Leonard Davis at right guard, and Marc Columbo at right tackle.

However, our backups in Cory Proctor, Pat McQuistan, and Robert Brewster are either weak replacements or in Brewster’s case, unproven.

Dallas cut Flozell Adams this offseason due to his age, and the impact his salary would have this year. They have given Doug Free the chance to start at left tackle, but Jerry Jones, while he is a gambler at times, isn’t stupid.

Jones drafted offensive tackle Sam Young in the sixth round this past draft from Notre Dame, and completed the Carpenter trade for Alex Barron.

Barron was a first round draft pick for the Rams in 2005, one spot before Dallas’ Marcus Spears as a matter of fact, and he’s been solid. He has started in 74 out of 76 games he’s played in, and hasn’t been injured.

He’s 6-7, around 320, and tough. The problem he had last year was he was worse than our own Flozell Adams at false start penalties. He’s had 43 false start penalties in the pros. That is 215 total yards lost because this guy is moving before the ball is snapped.

Now, there may be some instances where a defensive lineman actually encroaches and Barron is wrongfully flagged, but not 43 times.

Still, Dallas is giving him a chance, and Barron has promised to stop the false starts. I don’t know if he’ll start. I doubt it unless he really shows up to training camp and just dominates the line of scrimmage because Free has earned his shot really, and I think Jerry Jones just wants to address depth.

In the end, I think the trade is a win for Dallas because even with his mistakes, I’d rather have Barron than the depth we have now starting in case a lineman gets hurt, and Bobby Carpenter was just going to waste away here.

Jerry Jones made a good trade here for the team.

Brooking’s Surgery

To view the lstest update on Keith Brooking’s knee surgery, please go here.

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