Last Mock Off Season Of January 2012

I have been busy with my off season addiction of researching free agents and draft hopefuls again. Right now I am knee deep in mock drafts and have completed a few complete off seasons as well. I am also currently finishing up my defensive analysis, which I will post in a couple days before leaving for Florida to work for a bit. Here is the last off season mock I made and posted on my Facebook page a couple days ago. Keep in mind this is just fantasy, but I try to be as realistic as possible, keeping in mind salary CAP and position needs as well as player availability both in free agency and each round of the draft. I do this for fun and hopefully you all will have some fun reading this and coming up with your own ideas as well. It’s a long off season and we have to keep busy some how. Enjoy…
I want to preface this one by acknowledging the fact that there is no way to make everyone happy. The moves (or non-moves) in this one that people will complain about is not resigning Laurent Robinson and Tony Fiammetta. Also, not having better depth behind Victor Butler and Bruce Carter, so this one is a gamble. Then again, aren’t they all? Let me explain my thoughts before getting into free agents signed and the draft.

In this scenario, Laurent Robinson finds a much higher payday than Dallas is willing to shell out for it’s 4th option on offense, and decides it’s a much better idea to fortify other positions with that money. As for Fiammetta, his health concerns cause Jerry to wait until camp to see if he is an absolute need. There is no doubt, his blocking skills were directly related to Murray’s rookie success, so this one will be closely monitored. For now, the money is used to backup Romo, with the economical choice of Brady Quinn. Anthony Spencer finds a Chris Canty-like deal that is too rich for the Cowboys blood and Ryan decides he can roll with Victor Butler and a new young player from the draft. This decision also indirectly influences the first round pick in the draft.

Free Agents Signed:

Carl Nicks OG 7 years $57 million with $15 million signing bonus (contract comparable to former Saint’s teammate Jahri Evans)

This is the big move of the year. Nicks will pair with Tyron Smith to protect Romo’s blindside, giving him the time needed to make the critical reads.

Richard Marshall CB 6 years $28 million with $10 million guaranteed (contract similar to Scandrick’s)

Marshall was named defense MVP by Arizona Cardinal’s DC Ray Horton.He is a solid cover corner and tackles well. He was also used at safety last year when FS Kerry Rhodes was sidelined with a foot injury. Richard will come in and compete with Orlando Scandrick for a starting spot.

Thomas DeCoud FS 6 years $25 million with $8 million guaranteed (contract similar to Sensebaugh’s)

DeCoud became a solid starter in Atlanta, but became a CAP casualty with so many other priorities and William Moore as a fallback option. This is an upgrade for the Dallas secondary compared to resigning Elam to play SS and Sensebugh to stay at FS.

Brady Quinn QB 3 years $8 million with $4 million guaranteed

There are quite a few options here at this price, but Quinn is my flavor of the week. I could also see Chad Henne getting a look here.


2012 Dallas Cowboys Draft:

1. Devon Still DT/DE Penn State

Still is currently the 10th rated player and top rated DT in this years draft. I could also see Quinton Coples or Michael Brockers going here. The idea behind this pick is that I believe Courtney Upshaw will be gone by the 14th pick (probably to Buffalo at 10) and the dline has been ignored for years. If you watch today’s NFL QB’s against a 3-4 defense, most are aware of the edge rushers (OLB’s) and step up into the pocket to avoid pressure. If the pressure is also coming from the inside, it’s a different ballgame. Ratliff at NT and Hatcher and Still at DE, combined with Butler and Ware on the outside could be the upgrade in pressure that we’ve been lacking since the switch to a 3-4.

2. Ben Jones C/G Georgia

Jones is the second rated center in this year’s draft, but the perfect fir for Garrett’s offense. Ben is versatile, smart and strong. When asked what his greatest asset was at the senior bowl, his response was “My intelligence, I’m a smart guy. I can get the whole offensive line on the same page and I’m tough as hell.” One of our oline weaknesses for years was that the center doesn’t make the line adjustments. Kosier has been that guy and with age and injuries catching up to Kyle, Jones would be the perfect choice for the future at center.

3. Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina

Norman caught the attention of scouts at the senior bowl. Although a small school player, his height, (6’2”) physicality, smoothness and great hands make him an intriguing prospect and worth the 3rd round grade he is currently receiving from most draft sights. Josh could be the steal of the draft and everyone knows Jerry likes to gamble on players with high upside to make him look like a genius.

4. T.Y. Hilton WR/PR Florida International

Hilton is another small school athlete with tremendous upside. He could potentially replace Laurent Robinson’s void as the 4th offensive option as well as provide a legitimate weapon on punt returns, finally keeping starting WR Dez Bryant off special teams. Although small in stature, (5’10” 185lbs.) T.Y.’s straight line speed, hands and elusiveness make him a weapon defenses must account for at all times.

4. (comp pick for Stephen Bowen) Tank Carder ILB TCU

Depth is needed on the inside after losing former starters Keith Brooking and Bradie James. Tank is a tough, physical player with great tackling technique. Carder was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year in 2011.

5. Jack Crawford DE/OLB Penn State

Crawford is the second Penn State player taken in this draft and would be the third Nitny Lion on the 2012 defense joining starter Sean Lee and first round pick Devon Still. I really like his size for the position. (6’5” 270 lbs.) Crawford has tremendous work-ethic and energy and could be counted on for significant contributions during his rookie season rotating with Victor Butler on the strong side.

6. Beau Reliford TE Florida State

If Jerry doesn’t get caught up in the en-vogue two-tight end receiver option, Beau could be the cheaper solid blocking tight end needed after losing head-case Martellus Bennett to free agency. Reliford is a former basketball all-star and has the size (6’5” 260 lbs.) and athletic ability (like Bennett) to excel in Garrett’s offense.

7. Emil Igwenagu FB Massachusetts

Choosing not to resign Fiammetta right away and the slow progress of last year’s draft pick, Sean Chapas, leaves a void in the lead blocking department, which is essential to the health of the running game in Garrett’s 90’s style offense. With few teams looking for traditional fullbacks in this new era of passing prominence, Igwenagu has the receiving skills to do damage on the perimeter when not blasting holes in the running game. He was also voted team captain in 2011, something JG holds to a high regard.


Shining Stars: Terence Newman

Terence Newman

Personal information
Date of birth: September 4, 1978 (age 32)
Place of birth: Salina, Kansas
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)

Career information
College: Kansas State
NFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Debuted in 2003 for the Dallas Cowboys

Career history
Dallas Cowboys (2003-present)

Career highlights and awards
Jim Thorpe Award (2002)
Co-All Iron Award (2007)
2× Pro Bowl selection (2007, 2009)

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.

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

Cowboys Extra Points: Rockstars and Superstars

The Cowboys announced that Daughtry will be performing during the halftime show at the Thanksgiving Day game. The game will be Thursday, Nov. 26 against the Oakland Raiders. Daughtry is a rock band from North Carolina lead by frontman Chris Daughtry.


Felix Jones will return to kickoff returns this weekend as Allen Rossum has been sidelined for two to four weeks with a hamstring injury. Rossum injured his leg last week in his Cowboys debut.

Patrick Crayton will take on punt return duties once again.


Former Cowboy Julius Jones is excited to return to Dallas to face his old teammates.

“It’s always good for me to see some of the guys that I played with down there. Bradie James, (Terence) Newman, Jason Witten, it’ll be good to see them before the game. And then beat them up during the game and then talk to them afterwards.”

Yeah, good luck with that Julius!


DeMarcus Ware is being compared to hall of famer Lawrenece Taylor by none other than Bill Belichick.

I can’t imagine DeMarcus Ware hindering any team’s defense,” Belichick said during his daily press conference with New England reporters. “The guy’s one of the best players in the league. It’s like when we had Lawrence Taylor with the Giants. That guy was a force on every play. The offense had to account for him on every play. I think he helped our team defense probably as much as any player I ever coached.”


Patrick Crayton has commented about his demotion as starting wide receiver. He had this to say yesterday (Thursday):

“I’ve still got (the chip),” Crayton said Thursday, glancing at his left shoulder. “It just got a little bigger last week. It’s going to stay there. It’s a permanent fixture there.”

Crayton referring to his punt return for a touchdown last Sunday:

“However they come my way, I’ve got to maximize them. I’ve got to squeeze 100 percent of the juice out of it.”

Before last week’s game, after learning of his demotion:

“I had a dropped pass and a muffed punt,” he said. “And the other guy had 250 yards.”

About the notion that he should start ahead of Roy Williams:

“When you give up a first, a third and a sixth and pay a guy that much, he has to play.”

Well, what do you expect him to say? He got demoted, the younger, faster guy got the job. As long as he gives 100% on the field, I don’t really care what he says to the media.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 3

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Tashard Choice.

The quickness and toughness he showed against the Panthers defense made him an easy “Choice”. On any other team Choice would easily be an every down back. The Cowboy’s depth in the backfield was on full display Monday night.

It’s really fun to watch his signature “T.C.” every time he scores a touchdown.

Choice had 82 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown, he also had a 2 point conversion. He also hauled in a remarkable 8 catches for another 36 yards.

Although the injuries to Marion and Felix sadden me, we don’t miss a beat when Tashard Choice is on the field, and that truly shows the remarkable depth we have at running back.


This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Terence Newman.

T-New sealed the game for us with his interception returned 27 yards for a touchdown. Terence finished the night with only 3 tackles but he did cause a fumble. This one was close with Victor Butler who also forced a fumble and recorded two sacks.

Despite missing several tackles in a shaky first half, Newman bounced back and kept the Panthers’ top receiver Steve Smith in check.

“Before the game we talked about how our defensive line and linebackers did their job last week and how we didn’t do our job,” Newman said. “So I told them ‘Hey it’s on us. We’ve got to shut these guys down.’ We let this team down last week and we have to make up for it this week.”


Congratulations to Tashard and Terence for their outstanding play.

Runners-up: Victor Butler, Patrick Crayton

Cowboys Bounce Back, Beat Panthers 21-7

The Cowboys rebounded from a tough loss against the Giants and beat the Carolina Panthers 21-7 on Monday night in front of another packed house in their new stadium.

Tony Romo rebounded from a lackluster performance last week when he threw three interceptions, and completed 22 of 33 passes for 255 yards, but most importantly he had no turnovers.

With Marion Barber out with an injury, Felix Jones started and finished with 94 yards on just eight carries. However, Jones would later come out of the game when he suffered a left knee strain on a 40-yard run in the third quarter. The Cowboys turned to Tashard Choice, who stepped in and pounded the ball on the ground finishing with 82 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown in the third quarter that put the Cowboys ahead 10-7. Choice also scored on a two-point conversion run.

Give plenty of credit to the defense who finally flexed their muscle and sacked Jake Delhomme three times, two of those coming from rookie Victor Butler who showed off his pass rushing skills, and the other came from nose tackle Jay Ratliff who delivered another spectacular performance.

Dallas held Carolina to just 271 yards and held down the fort until the offense finally took the lead and held it. They only allowed 73 rushing yards. It was great to see them bounce back after they coughed up 430 yards to the Giants last week.

The highlight for the defense was when Terence Newman returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to ice the game and seal the victory.

Special teams have really stepped up their performance of late, and they continue to show some occasional flashes of brilliance.

I’m not going to get too crazy over this win…

Let’s face it – this was the Carolina Panthers who are now 0-3. We all know that Romo and company can beat bad teams like this. The problem for Tony Romo is overcoming the stigma that he is not a big game quarterback. He had a chance to debunk that growing concern last week, but instead he only strengthened his critic’s argument. Romo must somehow figure out how to keep from cracking under the pressure of a big game, especially against a division rival like the Giants or Eagles. Until we can beat those teams consistently, it’s going to be just another up and down season that could keep us out of the playoffs again.

Nevertheless, the Cowboys needed to deliver a win for the new stadium, and that’s exactly what they did. With the 21-7 victory, the Cowboys have now beaten the Panthers for the eighth consecutive time and haven’t lost to them since 1997. I applaud them for their strong effort and look forward to an even stronger effort next week against the very tough Denver Broncos who are undefeated at 3-0.

Let’s Go Cowboys!

Run Baby Run

Tashard ChoiceThe Cowboys offense did something last night that has not been done since 1979, they ran for at least 200 yards in two consecutive games.

Last night they rushed for 214 yards and that was without Marion Barber. Felix Jones was also hurt in the third quarter, but Tashard Choice kept the ball running and RUN he did.

The Cowboys’ offense was still lacking in the receiving area. Jason Witten caught the majority of passes.

I believe the Cowboys have found the running game and some say they should have kept running last week and maybe they would have beaten the Giants.

They did great despite not being able to convert twice inside the 2 yard line. The defense came up big in this game, recording 3 sacks, 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Terence Newman took one back for six in the middle of the 4th quarter.

Now the Cowboys are 2-1 and maybe they have found their mojo.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Yes ESPN, we fans realize the Cowboys just won against the struggling (now 0-3) Panthers. Carolina played a lot better than anyone expected, mostly in the first half.

Several guys stepped up in this game, so I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

I’m talking specifically about Patrick Crayton and Tashard Choice on offense. Crayton made several very crucial plays, and kept his head in the game, playing smart football all night long.

Choice, who I believe should have started the game, came away with 82 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown plus a 2-point conversion. If not for a bone-headed move by the rookie 3rd tight end, John Phillips, Choice probably would have had another TD. In addition, after the game he had a very impressive interview on the field with the ESPN analysts.

Defensively, Keith Brooking, Jay Ratliff and Terence Newman really excelled tonight. In the beginning Newman didn’t look so hot, missing tackles and looking foolish and aged. However, his interception for a 27-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter reminded us why we love him.

I must admit I am falling head over heels for Mr. Ratliff. Who would expect our nose tackle to get the first sack of the year? Why not when its the beast who is known as JRAT.

As for Brooking, what a wonderful acquisition for the Cowboys. Brooking, a strong, solid veteran linebacker, led the team in tackles tonight with five. It seemed like every time the defense came in, I found myself cheering his name.

Special teams also deserves some props. It’s been way too long since we could say that. Well done Coach Joe DeCamillis, well done sir.

I just wanted to rant about ESPN for a minute, and say that despite the opponent – I am proud of this team and what they did tonight. I believe it was a well-deserved win and they worked hard to earn that “W”.

Then again, I am just an optimistic, biased Cowboys fan. 😉

Good But Not Great

Cowboys fans, like one of my fellow writers on this site, I am not going to spit stat after stat to you right now because I could do that and make a very good point for Mr. Romo, instead I am going to tell you exactly how how I feel about a few things here in Cowboy land.

First of all for all, you people who blame Tony Romo for losing the game, your dog getting ran over and global warming… he is just one man, he is not Superman. There is a reason he was an undrafted free agent. Tony Romo is not Troy Aikman or Rodger the Dodger, or Dandy Don. Tony is Tony nothing more nothing less.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying he is perfect by any means at all. I am saying that Romo is not great. Very talented? Yes. But not great…. yet.

Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter, Jason Garrett, just to name a few quarterbacks in the post-Aikman era, all lead our Cowboys on the field. None of them while in Dallas has done the things our undrafted free agent has done. Romo has had to deal with many distractions since taking over for Dallas and he is growing up before our eyes, but we must be patient. Everything that goes wrong in this world is not his fault.

I know I said I would not spit out stats, but here is one for everybody, 353. That is the number of yards Eli Manning threw in the grand opening game. Are you going to tell me it is also Romo’s fault that the secondary gave up 353 passing yards? That is ridiculous, simply ridiculous and a bit idiotic.

Yes the man had a bad game but so did the secondary. Those recievers were churning our prize corner Terence Newman, but who is calling for his head? D-Ware did not get a sack, for that matter our entire defense did not get a sack. Do they deserve the ax also?

I am not trying to pile on the defense, I am trying to make the point that there are probably 10-15 teams (Miami, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, San Fransisco, Houston, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Carolina, St. Louis, Denver, Buffalo) who would kill to have Romo at their helm.

Last year everybody called for Romo’s head. Then our very talented QB got hurt and everybody was a little bit excited on the inside. The mistake-filled Tony Romo was now on the sidelines where he belonged. Then we traveled to play the Rams and got destroyed, and by a team that only won 2 games. Brad Johnson had failed. At halftime in NY against the Giants, we called for Brooks Bollinger and he also failed. I am telling you, we have a precious commodity here. We have a stable QB. Now we need to set our pride aside and realize what we have, before it is gone.

Our secondary continues to get burned all around. Now Newman is getting beat by recievers that a shutdown corner should not get beat by. It was not a big deal last week because we won, but we were even getting beat in Tampa. Nobody paid attention because of the big day ROMO had.

Our corners continue to play 7-12 yards off of the recievers. That is a quick way to get beat in the short passing game when we are tackling the way we are (or should I say the way we aren’t). They will need to play better along with Romo if we ever want to win any meaningful games.

Our stadium will be open next Monday night for the first MNF game in it’s short history when the Carolina Panther come to town. We must win this game. Looking at the schedule our next three games: vs. Carolina, at Denver and at Kansas City, we have a chance to be 4-1 going into the bye week, followed by a showdown in Atlanta.

This season is far from over. As long as we learn from our mistakes and make adjustments we still have the potential for a nice run.

What are your thoughts?

Secondary- What Is Wrong?

Wide receiver Steve Smith dives in for a fourth-quarter touchdown as the Giants spoil the opener of the Cowboys's new stadium.

After watching the first two games of season I have to admit, I am not sure that our secondary is taking this seriously. I understand that Gerald Sensabaugh is new to the team, and that Jenkins and Scandrick are now rotating starts, and Terence Newman has had some injury issues, but come on. We gave up 300 plus passing yards to Tampa Bay and another 300 plus to the Giants.

Something is wrong with this picture. I watched both games and I’ve seen things such as playing 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage. That allows the receiver to come out and makes an easy catch. Sometimes the corners are playing as if they have safety help, but the help never shows up.

According to head coach Wade Phillips we are playing more man coverage, yet how do we let receivers made easy catches time after time? If the D-line and linebackers do not get pressure on the QB the secondary cannot cover all day, but a lot of the yards are not due to this. Yes it may take some time for the secondary to gel and understand what their responsibilities are, I just hope it does not take until late in the season otherwise we will be again sitting at home for the playoffs.

We have good corners and Sensabaugh is supposed to be a coverage safety, so lets hope that they get it together soon.

Breaking Camp And Ready For Some Football

The Boys have left the Alamodome and are now preparing for some football in their new home. The consensus among the players is that this years camp was much tougher, and more focused than years passed, especially after last years circus.

Gone are the likes of Terrell Owens, and Adam “Pacman” Jones who always brought their own distractions wherever they went. And lets not forget about Jessica Simpson … or actually maybe we should. With her around it was clear to every fan that Romo’s head was never truly in the game. Hopefully this year he has his priorities straight, and his focus on the Lombardi Trophy. Oh yea and I almost forgot that other distraction that followed the entire team around last year, the HBO show “Hard Knocks”. It was fun to watch as a fan but if you think what it must of been like for the players being followed around all the time and every detail filmed. “It was a drama-free three weeks in San Antonio” reports, which is what we like to hear.

“This camp has been like two of the other camps put together. I haven’t heard anyone call this one cupcake,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Coach Wade Phillips wanted to push the team a bit more this camp, making sure they stay focused and to help them get stronger as a team.

“I am trying to do what helps this team. It’s a long season and the mental toughness is part of it,” Phillips said. “I say the mental part of it. When you get tired, that’s when the mental process comes in. I thought it was good for our guys. I think they have come through it well.

Phillips will have even more on his plate this season as he is also the teams defensive coordinator.

With camp ended the Cowboys stayed fairly healthy. They will be without Fullback Deon Anderson for some time after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week. But both corners Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman who have been a little banged up returned to practice and are set to go. Roy Williams wrist is improving and barring any set backs he should be fine as well.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have a three headed monster in Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice to get the ball to. The idea is that Barber with use his brute strength to soften and beat down the defense, then have Felix use his speed to fly by and around them. Choice will get a few carries a game as well to give Barber and Jones a break. Garrett is looking to get the ball to Felix 12-15 times a game and doesn’t care if its by air in the passing attack or handing it to the speedster.

With so many weapons, and as long as everyone can stay healthy, the tougher camp and the time spent together could push the Cowboys back into the elusive playoffs, then watch out!!

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