Pro Bowl Profiles 2011

The 2011 Official Pro Bowl Program is a beautifully designed magazine that contains articles and player profiles. The program is available  for online viewing as well as download.

Below are the profiles for the five Cowboys originally elected to the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl. (Miles Austin was selected as an alternate therefore doesn’t have a profile in the program.)

The game between the NFC and the AFC will take place tonight at 6 p.m. CT at Aloha Stadium.

Your 2011 Pro Bowl Cowboys

Miles Austin was added to the Pro Bowl roster in place of the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson. That brings the total of Dallas Cowboys playing in tomorrow’s game to six.

Austin joins Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Andre Gurode and Mat McBriar.

Now if you can explain how a team that went 6-10 has a 6-pack of players in the Pro Bowl…

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.

We Will Be Back

I am a very analytical ‘stats’ kind of fan.  I like to learn from the past to predict where we may go in the future, so please bear with me as I ramble on in my blogs.  I ended my last blog wanting to talk about the offensive line and the defensive secondary – and that I will.

2010 will mark 15 years since the Cowboys last hoisted the Lombardi trophy.  Let’s analyze then and now:


1995 produced four Pro Bowl offensive linemen (arguably it could have been five).  Names like Erik Williams, Larry Allen, Ray Donaldson, Nate Newton, and Mark Tuinei should bring a smile to any die-hard Dallas fan!  1995 also produced a line that gave up only 14 sacks for the entire season for a drop-back, pocket passer that would only scramble if there was a single, female country singer within his view (yes, I will give credit where credit is due to the slant route and to Emmitt).


2009 produced two Pro Bowl offensive linemen, Gurode and Davis; however, this line allowed 34 sacks for a scrambling quarterback that could give Houdini a run for his money.  Yet, this line produced 4.8 yards-per-carry for arguably one of the best three-headed running attacks in the league.  Hmm?


Arguably one of the best shut-down cornerbacks of all time basically cut the field in half (Deion Sanders) allowing Larry Brown, Darren Woodson, and Brock Marion to flourish; with Woodson having a Pro Bowl year.


2009 produced two Pro Bowl corners in Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins; but the safety positions remain in question.

So my first question – with names like Kosier, Gurode (Pro Bowl ’09), Davis (Pro Bowl ’09), Free, Colombo, Barron (who by all accounts is just another Flozell), and 7th round pick Young, can they keep Romo healthy enough (and calm enough in the pocket) to hit our targets?  We know they can run block, but can they protect the QB?

My second question – do you feel that the defensive line and the linebacker core are strong enough (which by all indications they are) to be left alone, or will they end up, more times than not, leaving Newman and/or Jenkins alone in space as they keep a safety in the box?  What are their names?  Ball, Church, Hamlin, McCray, Owusu-Ansah, and Sensabaugh.  You be the coach, what lineup do you go with?

In this writer’s opinion, the offensive line (particularly the left tackle) and the safety positions will determine the fate of this upcoming season.

Ratliff Excited After Testing His Elbows

Nobody could argue that Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff had a tremendous season last year as one of the stars on the Cowboys defensive line, but what makes last season all the more impressive is that according to Ratliff, both of his elbows were ailing for most of the year.

It makes you wonder just how more impactful he could have been had he been healthy and pain-free.

Ratliff said that his pain was so bad at time that he was unable to bench press, and finally did so yesterday for the first time in over a year.

Ratliff had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from both elbows and said he now feels great and better than ever.

“It was kept quiet because I never talked to anybody about it. When I told the trainers, nobody knew how serious it was until I asked them to do an X-ray and they saw the bone spurs. … Today was the first day that I benched press in two years, and it felt good. No pain at all. So I am excited about that.”

I’m excited too… Just imagine how much more dominating he will be playing with two healthy elbows.. Memo to opposing quarterbacks… Run for cover.

Flozell and Hamlin to Be Released

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that veterans Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin will be released by the Cowboys today.

Flozell Adams has been with the Cowboys since he was taken in the second round of the draft in 1998. The 6 ft. 7 in. offensive tackle is a five-time Pro Bowler. At the age of 34 it’s hard to say what’s in store for Big Flo now.

Ken Hamlin was signed by the Cowboys in 2007 to a one-year contract. He made a great run in 2007 and was elected to his first and only Pro Bowl. In 2008 the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Hamlin and later that summer signed him to a six-year deal. Since signing the deal Hamlin has had only one interception.

This morning Hamlin announced his release via Twitter stating:

“I would like to say to all of my fans that I appreciate all the love that you have showed me in Dallas. It was a good run….. Thanks”


I think the draft may just get interesting now…

Your 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys

Sadly, the 2009 season ended for the Dallas Cowboys a couple of weeks ago, but this weekend when the Pro Bowl kicks off you might reconsider tuning in. In addition to the six Cowboys elected and Terence Newman who was added last week, two more will join the Cowboys coaching staff on the NFC roster. Andre Gurode will not be playing because of knee surgery.

Tony Romo and Mike Jenkins will play in the game due to injury of the elected starters. Romo was chosen to replace Brett Favre (ankle injury). Jenkins will replace Antoine Winfield (foot injury).

That makes a total of nine Cowboys attending this year’s Pro Bowl in Miami. Philadelphia is tied with Dallas for having the most players at the game. It is also the sixth most selections in franchise history.

StarStruck GraphicsYour 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys:

Miles Austin, wide receiver

Leonard Davis, guard

Andre Gurode, center (injured)

Mike Jenkins, cornerback

Terence Newman, cornerback

Jay Ratliff, interior lineman

Tony Romo, quarterback

DeMarcus Ware, outside linebacker

Jason Witten, tight end

Head Coach Wade Phillips and his staff

A Folk’d Up Kicking Situation

After missing five field goals in the last four games, the Cowboys are starting to worry about their kicking situation. Nick Folk was automatic his rookie year making the pro bowl in 2007 and continued to shine in 2008. He had hip surgery in the offseason and didn’t resume kicking until training camp. This season Folk has missed 8 of 24 attempts.

It’s possible he’s just having an off year and after missing his normal offseason training and routine because of surgery it certainly explains why he’s struggling.

But its also possible that the misses aren’t completely Folk’s fault. As stated by the coaches, it could be a combination of things. Folk automatically gets the blame because he’s the kicker but there is also the long snapper and the holder in the mix.

“The hold, the snap, the kick, the coach,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said, including himself in the equation. “We’ve got to get it squared away.”

“I’m worried that it’s a combination of confidence more than anything,” Wade Phillips said. “They work all the time on it. Those guys spend a lot of practice time snapping and holding, snapping and holding. That’s what they do and kicking. I would feel like we would have more confidence than we’ve had. Whether it’s working into the kicker or the holder or whoever, we’ve got to determine what we need to do there and go forward.”

“I’m not losing any faith in Nick at all,” DeCamillis said. “I’ve been around this thing for 22 years, and I’ve seen them miss ’em and I’ve seen them make ’em. They go through stretches just like any other player. Unfortunately for him, it’s right out in the open for everybody to see.”

Both Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis are confident in Nick Folk’s ability so it doesn’t seem like any big changes are coming, but they will be working on some of the details and smaller aspects of the field goal unit.

Rookie kicker David Buehler is excellent on kickoffs but not as accurate or consistent when it comes to field goals.

Don’t expect to see any noticeable changes any time soon. It’s likely they will just practice more and try to correct the problem.

Hopefully the crowd can get back to cheering “FOLK YEAH!” very soon.

Miles Makes It All Good

Miles AustinOn Thanksgiving day the Cowboys showed us that they can be a team to be reckoned with and that WR Miles Austin can very well be the playmaker the team has been searching for over the last season and a half.

Against the Raiders last Thursday, Austin caught seven passes for 145 yards and hauled in another touchdown after being denied one minutes earlier in the game.

Austin had a field day against the Raiders’ tight man to man coverage, and ironically he could have had a few more catches had he simply held on to them.

All in all he, Austin showed us that he is back on track after experiencing some down time in the two games prior. Most importantly, he delivered a big game against a Raider secondary that ranks in the upper half of the league, and features two of the league’s best man to man coverage cornerbacks. Take a bow Miles!

Additionally, even Roy Williams hauled in a touchdown of his own, while Jason Witten made a couple of long grabs en route to yet another 100+ yard day for the Pro Bowl tightend.

It was a great game to watch as the Cowboys seemingly had everything working for them, and not just in the air but on the ground as well.

Felix Jones finally showed the explosiveness that had been lacking since his knee injury, and dazzled the crowd with an electrifying run for touchdown, and Tashard Choice made a nifty run of his own out of the Razorback formation.

Next week we go to New York for a rematch against the Giants. It’s a game that we need to win so that we can finally take control of the division, and put the NFC East race to bed.


Edited by Joe D.

Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 3

Introducing a new feature at Lone Star Struck – Weekly Games Balls. Every week we will choose an offensive and defensive star of the game.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Felix Jones.

Felix JonesOne of the most exciting things to come out of Dallas in recent years is the young and talented Mr. Felix Jones. Every time Jones takes the field it’s like a whole new ball game and what’s intriguing is he’s not even the starting running back. Some have dubbed Felix “The Cat” because of his speed. Once he breaks into the open field he revs it up, leaving the competition in the dust. While he’s still new and fresh, he gives the Cowboys faithful something to believe in and hopes that it will last for years to come.

In last week’s preseason game against the 49ers Felix Jones was the only Cowboy to reach the endzone. Jones appeared in only two quarters of the game had five carries for a total of 23 yards averaging 4.6 yards per carry. While those are low numbers keep in mind it’s preseason. Jones’ longest gain was a 13 yard run that in turn lead to the lone touchdown of the night eight minutes later.

We expect great things from Felix Jones this season after being cheated out of his ‘rookie of the year’ title last season due to injury.


This week’s defensive game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

Jay RatliffJay Ratliff has to be one of the most underrated defensive players in the game. The Cowboys’ nose tackle had a career high 7.5 sacks last season earning himself his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ratliff became the starter in 2007 when Jason Ferguson went down with injury. Ferguson was later traded, Ratliff permanently took over and the Cowboys never looked back.

Jay “The Rat” Ratliff is coming off his best season to date and there is no doubt that he is looking to return with the same aggresive attitude. At only 28 years old and a contract through 2012, expect to celebrate many more tackles and incredible sacks by The Rat, as he slams his fist to the ground and howls at the moon.

In his appearance in last week’s game Ratliff completed two tackles, both solo, and a sack, only a taste of what is to come this season.


Congratulations to The Cat and The Rat for their great play. There is no doubt we will have these two superstars featured again this season.

Only In Dallas Does A Video Board Get So Much Attention

Almost every Cowboys fan knew when it happened that it would become the hot topic of the week. As soon as the ball thumped the very bottom of the video board I told my friend, “oh no, here we go! The media is going to go crazy over this.” That’s fine. It’s better than previous topics, I suppose.

The team is now working with the league trying to establish the height of the video board and I’m sure they will get it all worked out before the season officially begins.

Here’s an interesting take on the topic though, the Cowboys’ very own Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar had this to say:

“Our game plan is to kick to the sidelines. So for myself it’s not in my mind. I know it’s there, obviously. But it’s not something that catches my eye as much as guys who are kicking straight down the field.”

McBriar said there is no reason to make any changes or raise the video boards because one punt in one game hit them.

McBriar, a 2006 Pro Bowler, said he could boot punts into the video boards “probably 50 percent of the time” if that was what he was trying to do.

I don’t know guys, I think if anyone would know it would be Mat.

Some reporters and analysts are blaming Jerry Jones’ pride on not raising the boards (that includes my boss who called me Monday morning about the issue). I didn’t think that was the case until I read on the team’s official site that they plan to disconnect and raise the board temporarily for the U2 concert in September.

While Jerry Jones’ and Stephen Jones’ are declining to comment on the situation, I’m sure if the league orders them to raise the video boards they will do it without question. But why should they do it voluntarily? What if that rookie was aiming to hit the board intentionally?

Does it even matter, since the league’s regulation is 85 feet and the board actually hangs 90 feet above the field?

Of course opposing teams are going to complain and disagree. So you make it a rule to redo the kick in the rare occasions that the punt hits the board. It may put a damper on the situation if there’s a nice punt return but a rule is a rule.

I just have one more thing to say….


Bears Acquire Jay Cutler

Well the Jay Cutler saga is over in Denver now as reported by the Bears and Broncos have both confirmed that Cutler was traded to Chicago.

To acquire Cutler, the Bears had to give up quarterback Kyle Orton and first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, a source said.

To complete the trade, the Broncos had to give back an undisclosed draft choice in a later round.

The Bears beat out the Redskins, Buccaneers, Lions, Titans and other teams to get land the 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback.

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