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Bracing For A New Season: Three Up And Three Down

It has been an agonizingly slow news day for the Cowboys… more like a  week… or better yet, a month…

So I took a quick look at the projected roster for the upcoming season and tried to detect some potential concerns or problem areas. I didn’t see any glaring holes or huge problem areas, but there are a few mild concerns as I see it.

Some Concerns

Alan Ball – Ball will be the first choice to fill the shoes of the departing Ken Hamlin at safety. Nobody expects him to duplicate the former Pro Bowler’s presence on the field and in the locker room, but expectations still will be high for a team that need all aspects of it’s game to be firing on all cylinders. Especially, in the secondary. Ball has shown some flashes in his limited playing time so I remain hopeful, but I’m also realistic and realize that until he actually goes out there and impresses, he is still a question mark.

Marion Barber – The “Barbarian” will most likely see a reduced role this season similar to one he enjoyed when Julius Jones was last here. For a big dude, he seems to wear down easily as an every down back, and with Felix Jones making a strong case for increased playing time, Barber may only get touches in short yardage situations and possibly at the goal line. He may not like his reduced status so keep an eye on the situation. By the way, with a nickname like “The Barbarian”, he sure has been very brittle and it don’t take much for him to get removed from a game. He better toughen up before they change his moniker to “Maid Marion”.

Roy Williams – Yeah I know it sounds like I’ve been picking on RW ever since the Cowboys traded for him, but my concerns were justified and time did prove me right. I’m still bugged by the fact he is still here. Yes, I know he has a boatload of cash coming to him, but winning trumps everything including greenbacks. Whereas before my concern was giving RW a superstar mega-deal for what was just a garden variety receiver, now my concern is how do we get Kevin Ogletree and Dez Bryant the playing time they deserve while at the same time keeping RW from back-biting and inciting turmoil in the locker room?

No Worries

Doug Free – I’m not as concerned as others about Doug Free taking over for Flozell Adams. Adams has been on a downward slope for the last two seasons, and our O-Line was getting a little long in the tooth. Free looked fantastic while filling in for Mark Colombo last season, and I believe he will be an upgrade over Flozell this season. His youth will help recharge an aging O-Line.

Tony Romo – I believe Tony Romo is still going to get better even though right now he’s a Top 10 QB. He has a thirst for knowledge and always shows up better prepared for the season than anyone else on the roster. He has great skills, but is also a thinking man’s quarterback and I believe that will ultimately add up to a couple of Super Bowl rings before he is through.

David Buehler – I’m not at all concerned about David Buehler getting the job done as a placekicker. When he was with the Trojans, he was unexpectedly called into service to kick a filed goal due to an injury. He nailed a 49-yard field goal and the Trojans won the game. For USC, it was the longest successful field goal since 1988, a two decade span. Am I worried about Buehler? Nah… The kid’s a grinder…

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…

Weekly Game Balls: Week 4

Sometimes its hard to find anything positive from such a heartbreaking loss, however several players did play well and for that they deserve to be recognized.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Sam Hurd.

Sam Hurd, who has been nearly invisible offensively this year, zig-zagged his way down the field on 4th and 3 to set up a chance for the Cowboys to win last Sunday.

Hurd finished the game with 62 yards on 3 catches. He made up most of those yards his 3rd catch, a 53-yard gain.

Sam was also thrown to twice in the final seconds but could not secure the ball. He was covered by the Pro Bowler Champ Bailey.

We are likely to see more of Sam Hurd with Roy Williams injured this week.

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Bradie James.

Bradie James was a beast out there. He helped give the Cowboys a chance in the game.

With the offense sputtering, the defense was needed to step up and Bradie led the way. With the exception of the Brandon Marshall touchdown (in which they couldn’t tackle), the defense gave Denver quarterback Kyle Orton all kinds of pressure.

James finished the game with 6 tackles with 2 assists. He also had 1 sack and a fumble recovery.

Star50

Congratulations to Sam and Bradie for their outstanding play.

That was a game the Dallas Cowboys should of won. Kansas City is next, hopefully the Cowboys will give us an overwhelming win and that should make it more satisfying to give out game balls next week.

Runners-up: The Entire Defense

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….

Tshirt

The Fall Of Owens

Understanding Owens strategy to ruling the receivers position in the National Football League.

By now, every human being is sick at hearing the name Owens. I will make this painless.

Terrell Owens was drafted by the 49ers a first class franchise with five titles. Owens was groomed by the master himself Jerry Rice. With training from Rice, Owens should go on to have a legendary career.

Would Owens be satisfied with the 49ers and Garcia as his QB?

No.

Terrell would demand a trade.

Owens would be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. This franchise has a tremendous history with several playoff and super bowl appearances. Donovan McNabb is the starting qb for the Eagles. McNabb is 5 time pro bowler.

Would Owens be satisfied with the Eagles and McNabb as his QB?

No.

This experiment would end in a disaster. Owens would chastise and harass McNabb for the brief two years stint.

Eagle fans and the franchise would send Owens to the unemployment department.

Terrell would find work. The Dallas Cowboys would sign Owens. The Cowboys are the greatest franchise in Professional Football. The Cowboys have been to more super bowls than any other franchise.

The Cowboys have more fans outside Dallas than in. This is America’s team. I would work as a Janitor for this franchise.

It doesn’t get any better or higher than the Dallas Cowboys. Would Terrell finally be appeased?

Nope. 

Terrell’s antics would force Bill Parcells to quit as the Cowboys Coach. Parcells would never get a chance to rebuild the Cowboys into champions.

After a three year tenure with the Cowboys would be released.

Every avenue and bridge has been torched.

One team decides to take a chance on Owens. The Mighty Buffalo Bills.

The Buffalo Bills are cursed. This teams legacy is tainted. OJ Simpson and the 4 super bowl loses in a row, have left this franchise hopeless.

The only excitement in Buffalo is changing the street lights. This city has a personality of John Doe.

Nobody moves to Buffalo. It’s population decreases each year. Economically it’s a snail.

The only way to revive this franchise is to move it to a first class city like Toronto. 

The Bills starting QB is Trent Edwards. Edwards has zero pro bowls.  Edwards may fall into the J.P. Losman realm. If Owens is not satisfied with Romo, Garcia or McNabb, how long will it take before he condemns Edwards?

Odds makers are reporting the Owens- Buffalo Bills relationship will last 90 days.

The Mighty have fallen…

Robert McGlinchey

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yqoctSy25I

Gerald Sensabaugh: The Jolly Jumper

Gerald Sensabaugh was born on June 13, 1983 in Oakland,California but was raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. Where he attended Dobyns-Bennett High School where he was a standout in football and track. In football, he helped lead his team to two consecutive Class 5A Semifinals, and during his senior year he also played offense recording 42 receptions for 420 yards and 7 touchdowns and was an All-Big Nine Selection. In track he won a state championship in the long jump.

Gerald started his college career at East Tennessee State University but transferred to the University of North Carolina as a senior when ETSU disbanned their football program. He finished his one-year UNC career with four interceptions, five fumble recoveries and three touchdowns. He also tied an NCAA single-game record after blocking three punts in one game.

Gerald recorded a 46″ vertical at the NFL Combine, the highest for an NFL player on record(this is also why I here-by give him the nickname The Jolly Jumper). He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round(157th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Gerald started every game of his rookie season, one of few to do so. After perfoming well on special teams he got a chance to start the remainder of the season at Strong Safety when Pro-Bowler Donovin Darius got injured. In 2006 he continued to play well on special teams and, then halfway through the season, he yet again became a starter when Darius suffered a season ending knee injury. On March 10,2009 the Dallas Cowboys and Gerald Sensabaugh agreed to terms on a one-year contract after he had the best season of his career in 2008 recording 70 tackles 8 pass deflections and 4 interceptions.

Gerald has been invited to be a teacher almost every year at Jason Wittens football camp, which is held in Jasons home town of Elizabethon, Tennessee just a mere 30 minutes from Geralds hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Gerald has had three arrest since 2007. The first being for doing a wheelie on his bike. The second for having a gun with an expired permit in his possesion. The third for driving on a suspended license.

When Are Legends Born?

 When Emmitt Smith was drafted in 1990, the first thing I said was “Who is this guy and what the hell is he wearing??”.  All reports said he was too small and too slow to be a feature back in the NFL. Then we all watched him evolve from this kid in the ugly jumpsuit into a Pro Bowler, then an All Pro, a Super Bowl MVP, NFL’s All Time Leading Rusher and in 2010, a Hall Of Famer.

Ever stop to think when is that pivotal moment when a player becomes a legend? Is it after they retire? Is it a particular game that elevates them to the next level?

It seems to happen without us knowing it. Sorta like how your kids grow up right in front of you. They seem to go from playing tee-ball one day to graduating high school the next. Of course you watched it happen, yet it’s all a flash to you now. Or is it just me?

Troy Aikman looked like a fish out of water his rookie year. I personally saw him as a draft bust after that miserable 1-15 season.  I knew this guy couldn’t take Dallas to the Promised Land. He seemed to have all the tools but I wasn’t confident at all in his ability to run a team. Then we all watched him evolve into a Pro Bowler, an All Pro, a true leader, a field general, a Super Bowl MVP,  the winningest QB in a single decade (90 wins in the 90s) and a Hall Of Famer.

Obviously Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith are once in a generation players.  But so were Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett. All is not lost when the legends retire from the game. Shoes have to be filled. History in Dallas has proven it is not a matter of if they will be filled but when they will be filled.

Today’s Cowboys are no different than the ones of Cowboys’ past. We will watch in disgust and dismay as they make their own mistakes and pay their own dues. We will watch these young men and not even realize that they’re evolving right before our eyes. When the rookies become stars and the stars become legends.

Watching these kids become men and these men become legends is a gift one will learn to appreciate more as the years go by. I know I have.

Flozell Will Finish His Career a Cowboy

A few more hours and his fate could have been much different, but now Flozell Adams’ career is set in place. Adams signed a 6-year deal worth around $42 million on the last day before free agency signing began. The new contract includes $15 million in guaranteed money and about $13 million in signing bonus.

Flozell Adams was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1998 Draft. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler and also selected All-Pro second team in 2007.

Adams told the press that he was happy to be in Dallas and never thought of leaving. He will turn 33 in May, so this deal ensures he will finish his career as a Dallas Cowboy, exactly where it began.

My Cowboys

After Sunday’s game to the Giants all I could do was sit there and cry. I wasn’t crying because they lost. I was crying because I already knew what was coming. The media would have a field day with bashing the Cowboys and Tony Romo once again. They would blame Jessica Simpson and the weekend getaway to Mexico for the loss instead of blaming the team as a whole.

Marion Barber did an awesome of job of moving the ball around to allow T.O to score the first touchdown, but we cannot forget the catch that Crayton failed to catch that would have earned the Cowboys a touchdown. Needless to say my tears were shed for the disrespect that the Cowboys will continue to endure after this disheartening loss. Once again those Cowboy haters will do nothing but talk about how Romo has been hyped up by many as being one of the best quarterbacks around the league, but he has not yet won a playoff game as his record stands at 0-2.

I moved to Michigan 7 years ago but my heart will always be in Texas and with the Dallas Cowboys. After all, I was born and raised in that beautiful state that everyone calls “the friendly state” and everything is bigger in Texas, including the fans. Ya know ya can’t mess with Cowboys fans, like ya can’t mess with Texas. After moving to Michigan, many thought that my team would change and pretty soon I would be cheering for the Detroit Lions, but that has not been the case. I have been made fun of, laughed at, and even mocked for supporting my team. Never before in my life had I come across so many Dallas Cowboys haters.

In Texas all you saw were Dallas Cowboys fans, but this wasn’t the only reason I grew up loving the Cowboys. It was because they stood for something and they were not afraid to show it. A good example is Bill Bates who joined the Dallas Cowboys as a undrafted free agent and spent his 15 NFL Pro-football career there. He was a one-time Pro Bowler in 1984 as a special teams player, a spot that was basically created for him and he was also elected All-Pro that season. While with the Cowboys, he played in Super Bowls XXVIII and XXX. Who can forget that he was injured when the Cowboys played in Super Bowl XXVII. His autobiography entitled Shoot for the Star is a very inspiring and motivating story that proves that anything is possible. He had one dream and one dream only…to play for the Dallas Cowboys. He could have chosen any other team, but he chose the Cowboys. I recommend this book to all of you. Once you start reading it you won’t want to put it down.

Needless to say, I’ve been a Cowboy fan for as long as I can remember and I will continue to be, win or lose. When you are a true fan, you stick behind your team no matter what. All the negative and disrespectful comments I hear only fuel my fire for the Cowboys even more. Are we forgetting what an incredible season they had? Apparently so, because all everyone talks about is the Cowboys losses but not their wins. I am waiting patiently for the day that the Cowboys are ready to head to the Super bowl and win. I believe things happen for a reason and I do think that the Cowboys could have made their way to the Super bowl, but they were just not ready. In due time though they will be and then only then will they regain the respect they so truly deserve. After all aren’t they the only team worthy to be called “America’s Team?”

When I saw T.O. crying in his interview I cried right along with him. He proved that a grown man can cry to stand up for what he believes in, “his team.” He not only defended Tony Romo but he also defended the team. T.O. I think you’ve found your team. No other team has had this type of impact on it’s players. There’s just something about being a Dallas Cowboy.

Many ask what can be credited to the transformation of T.O? One simple answer…he is now a Dallas Cowboy. You take everything that comes with it…the love, the hate, the pride, but most of all the fans. We are the reason that the Cowboys are who they are. No other team has fans like the Dallas Cowboys. We are an elite group of people and I am so proud to be a part of it. For all those who are not Cowboys fans, it’s a shame that they cannot experince and will never have the priviledge of being a part of such an awesome group. We are all over the world supporting our team and this makes us all a part of such a wonderful family. Even though some of us will never meet, we know what lies deep in each others hearts…..Dallas Cowboys!!!

After all the crying was done I took a few moments to look back at the accomplishments that the Cowboys had this season. I was able to witness the victory over the Lions in Detroit that proved to me that they were capable of winning a game when it came down to the last seconds and play of the game. It was a close call but the Cowboys were victorious in the end. Now why couldn’t they do that Sunday against the Giants so they could advance for the rematch against the Packers?

My heart goes out to all those Cowboys fans who felt this tremendous loss. This will only make us stronger because when you are a Cowboys fan you don’t stray away from your team just because they lost. You feel their loss and it affects you emotionally also, but you pick yourself up and continue on to the next challenge. We have plenty to be thankful for and I can say that the Boys will be back next season ready to play football once again. As for me I will be where I’ve always been…cheering for my Dallas Cowboys, loud and proud. Go Cowboys!!!!!

Contributed by Mayra Amaro

 

Legends of the Star – Lee Roy Jordan

 Lee Roy Jordan began his amazing football career playing linebacker for the University of Alabama from 1960-1962. While he was there he led his team to winning seasons each year, including a perfect season that culminated in a National Championship in his sophomore year. During his senior year, he was a first team All-American and had his most memorable game in the Orange Bowl when he made 30 tackles in one game against the University of Oklahoma. He is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
 
In 1963, he was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the NFL Draft and was the sixth overall pick. He became one of the key members of the Cowboys’ famed "Doomsday Defense." He was an excellent defender against the run and the pass, and had great instincts that made him one of the best linebackers of his era. He also had a great nose for the ball and is currently second all-time in fumble recoveries for the Dallas Cowboys.
 
He played 14 seasons for the Cowboys and during that time, Jordan became a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler while playing in three Super Bowls and five NFC Championship games.
 
Jordan also holds the Cowboys record for career solo tackles with 743 and is second in career assisted tackles with 493. His combined tackles of 1,236 is still a franchise best! His leadership and competitiveness was legendary and in 1989 he became the seventh member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
 
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.