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Another Day In Cowboy Land

For the Dallas Cowboys and their fans the crack of pads, the ear splitting screech of whistles followed by the hollering of instructions usually signifies the approaching end to summer and the beginning of a new season. We are well into training camp with one pre-season game under our belts (shhh lets pretend that didn’t happen).

Roy WilliamsAs is expected and normal across most camps, the Cowboys have had their share of bumps and bruises but (knock on wood) nothing serious. We all held our breaths with the news of Roy Williams’s wrist injury, but the sprain only kept him out of practice for a day. His status for Friday night’s second pre-season game is unknown right now, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t get in for a drive or two.

The secondary got stronger as well with Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins back in practice. Jenkins missed about a week with a sprained right ankle.

Sporting News Today is reporting that backup quarterback Jon Kitna and center Cory Procter have been having trouble with the snap through out camp and it actually carried over to the game against the Raiders which resulted in a 16 yard loss on one play, and a missed field goal on the drive. Obviously it is still early and is something they will continue to work on. Let’s cross our fingers and hope Kitna wont be needed this season anyway.

Bradie James is looking to become a nice compliment to DeMarcus Ware and help take some pressure of him when they attack the quarterback. The Dallas Morning News reports that James had two sacks against the number two offensive line and showed some speed in doing so.

With the dismissal of Terrell Owens the offense is looking to use a two tight end set as another weapon this season. We all know what Jason Witten can do, and now with second year man Martellus Bennett as the second tight end these two make it very hard for opposing defenses to cover. Bennett is a big strong target with good hands and knows how to block as well. This duo is going to be hard to stop, watch out!!

Let’s see how things fare for the Boys on Friday night in their new stadium against the Titans. It will bring us one step closer to the regular season and the hopes and dreams of the Super Bowl.

Cowboys Swagger

Do you think the Cowboys have swagger this year? I know the games haven’t been played yet, but I have confidence in this team. At first I didn’t think addition by subtraction was good. The Cowboys have now convinced me. The most optimal word is IF this year. The defense will be just as good or even better. Teams will not know where Ware will be coming from. I see DeMarcus getting the sack record this year.

Roy Williams (safety) is gone, but he was never a really good cover man anyway. He was always getting beat on 1 on 1 situations. The two sophomore players, Jenkins and Scandrick, will step up and be a force in the secondary this season. Brookings has played in Phillips’ scheme before. That should be a smooth transition for him. The Cowboys defense will be top 5, at least.

As for the offense, it is Tony’s team. Williams is good at routes and has sure hands. Witten is probably if not the best tight end the Cowboys ever had. Crayton runs great routes too. I have seen in games past that some WRs give up on their routes. You know who I am talking about. The 3-headed monster of Barber, Jones, and Choice will give defensive players fits. Austin will come into his own, if injuries don’t plague him this year. Tony needs to cut down on mental mistakes. He has shown flashes of what a great Quarterback should be.  This is his year to shine. Time for the Cowboys to be Romo-friendly. Whatever that means….

My prediction for this coming season at 10-6 If everything happens the way it should. Like I said IF. I know injuries happen throughout the season. But, I am excited for the upcoming season. I see a Cowboys Swagger about them this year.

How ’bout them Cowboys!

Chiefs Sign Former Cowboys TE Tony Curtis

As reported by dallascowboys.com, The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Tony Curtis to fill in a roster spot left open when they traded Tony Gonzales to Atlanta.

The Kansas City Chiefs announced the signing of former Cowboys tight end Tony Curtis today. Curtis was one of five restricted free agents for the Cowboys this season, but the team did not submit a tender offer for the former undrafted free agent.

Curtis came to the Cowboys after the 2005 draft and spent more than a year on the team’s practice squad. He had a short stint on the active roster in 2006, then went to NFL Europe in 2007.

A 6-5, 251-pound project out of Portland State, Curtis may best be remembered for his three catches in 2007, all of which went for touchdowns. He proved versatile as a blocker this season, filling in for injured fullback Deon Anderson against Green Bay in Week 3.

It was Curtis who blew his assignment on the blocked punt against Arizona that not only cost the Cowboys the game, but put Mat McBriar out for the season. He began the season as the usual No. 2 tight end, but eventually saw his playing time decreased as rookie Martellus Bennett matured in the offense.

The Chiefs had previously met with Cowboys unrestricted free agent safety Keith Davis this off-season, but the special teams captain left without an offer.

Finding That Blue And Silver Lining

There are times, in life, when things aren’t going exactly as you would hope. In those times it is difficult to remain positive. Focusing on the negative just seems so much more natural. I know it sure is true in my case. I can’t speak for you of course. We all handle things in our own way. Some manage to look on the bright side no matter what. I, for one, could learn a lot from these people.

The one thing that 99.9% of visitors to this site have in common is obvious. Our love for the Dallas Cowboys.

Being the cynic that I am I tend to look at negative things in life and take for granted all the good things going on. Looking back on the 2008 season I’ve focused on lack of discipline, lack of leadership and a general sense of discord with the Cowboys organization as a whole. But there were some amazing moments this year. New faces emerged and old reliables continued to amaze us.

Felix Jones

How many of us saw this guy coming? His incredible burst and open-field speed left friend and foe alike wide-eyed with mouths hanging open in amazement. Not to mention you would be hard pressed to ever see him without a smile on his face. This young man has a very bright future ahead of him and I know we all look forward to watching him grow into the elite running back he obviously has the potential to be. I have no doubt that had he not gotten injured and subsequently put on injured reserve he would be the 2008 NFL Rookie of the Year.

DeMarcus Ware

Just when you think this guy couldn’t get any better what does he do? He gets better. His athleticism and sheer determination are something to behold. This man is a game changer. A difference maker. One of the greatest linebackers I’ve ever seen play the position and I’ve seen plenty. My personal choice for Defensive Player of the Year. I have no doubt he will be a Hall of Famer. First ballot. Bank on it. And he’s a Dallas Cowboy baby!

Jason Witten

Can you have a more solid teammate than Jason Witten? The greatest tight end in the game today, bar none. He’s always willing to give a little extra. Even with injuries that would have sidelined most players, Witten never relented, always stayed focused on the task at hand and never let anyone down. A warrior.

Tashard Choice

If you haven’t seen it yet check out the Georgia Tech locker room speech video of Choice posted on youtube. This video alone makes you well up with pride that he wears the blue and silver. His running style and ability to find the hole and to get extra yards where most players wouldn’t reminds me so much of Emmitt Smith. This guy is a legend in the making.

Bradie James

James is emerging as a true leader on the defensive unit. This diamond in the rough is only going to get better. I mean.. 116 tackles and 8 sacks at inside linebacker. Are you freaking kidding me? Should be a Pro Bowler. I have the upmost respect for Bradie James. He’s a great interview and has no problem telling it like it is.

These are just a few of what was arguably the largest collection of talent on any team in the NFL. Yeah, as a whole this team underachieved. But they will be alright. They will right the ship. Nothing comes easy in the NFL. Chalk 2008 up as a learning experience. What’s done is done. Time to move on.

On this day on January 28, 1996 the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Number 5. They were not and are not done. Not by a long shot.

The destiny of the Dallas Cowboys is the same as it has always been. Greatness. Some things never change, my friend. I’ll never stop believing in this team. Many, many great men have donned the blue and silver. More have arrived and more will follow. No team does greatness-knows greatness-like the Dallas Cowboys. Glorious battles and future gold are just over the horizon. All we have to do now is wait for the clouds to break and follow the stars.

I LOVE HATERS

As the new season arrives each year, we as fans are inundated with previews and predictions from every and any sports magazine that is imaginable. When I was younger I would be waiting for them like I would wait for Santa Claus on Christmas. These days, with the internet and ESPNEWS and the overall coverage of pro football, I am usually nauseated by this experts predictions and that pundits crystal ball halfway through training camp. At the end of the day, who picked the Giants to win the Super Bowl last year? Not many, if anyone. That being said, there is one preview that I look forward to reading and that is Sports Illustrated’s NFL PREVIEW. For those of you in the same boat, be warned: do not read this if you want to read about it in the magazine for yourself. This year’s issue, with Tony Romo on the cover, does not seem to find the Cowboys in as favorable as light as some of us fans might expect.

For starters, let’s look at The King 50. This is the top 50 players regardless of position ranked by veteran SI writer Peter King. The Cowboys ranked 4 players among the top 50. The top ranked Cowboy is DeMarcus Ware (#15), ranked one spot ahead of Shawn Merriman, who was drafted by the Chargers ahead of Ware. D-Ware is the top ranked Linebacker and 4th highest ranked defensive player overall. This seems very accurate and fair, but then it get’s ugly for the Cowboys. Next for the Cowboys is Romo (#19), but he is the sixth ranked Quarterback behind Tom Brady (#1), Peyton Manning (#2), Drew Brees (#6), Carson Palmer (#7) and Ben Roethlisberger (#18). To me, this is a joke. I think Romo should be ranked higher overall, as well as ahead of Brees, Palmer and Big Ben. I would put him somewhere at #10, as the third ranked QB. Then you have to go all the way towards the bottom of the list to find the final 2 Cowboys. Jason Witten (#41) is ranked behind players such as Aaron Kampman (#32), Phillip Rivers (#31) and tight end Antonio Gates (#35). That is a joke. But you want funny? Just look at the hate that Terrell Owens is getting! T.O. (#43) is ranked behind receivers Randy Moss (#4), Larry Fitzgerald (#33), Reggie Wayne (#36), Braylon Edwards (#39) and yes, get this…..Wes Welker (#40)! We all know T.O. though, fuel to his fire. He probably already has the list posted in his locker!

Then we get to the magazine’s predictions. Following a 13-3 season and a division title as well as all of our starters returning, you would think it would be an easy selection to pick the Cowboys to defend the division crown, but instead SI has us finishing 10-6, and second to….the EAGLES! I about threw the magazine away at this point. And to add insult to injury they forecast us losing to the Eagles in the 2nd round of the playoffs, as Philadelphia advances to the NFC Championship and then to the Superbowl, where they are predicted to lose to the Patriots.

There is also a feature story about the Cowboys offensive line and the meltdown in the the 4th quarter of the playoff loss to the giants, as well as the team preview which includes a small story, with absoloutely no breaking news, about Pac Man.

One small highlight is Felix Jones ranked as the #3 player with breakout potential and says he enters the NFL as “one of the best cutback runners in the game.”

So, overall, it is not a very good read for Cowboys fans, but at least something to get fired up about. The preseason is over, and now it is time to go defend our division title and get that playoff win that we have been searching for, and when we do, I am going to be reading a new Sports Illustrated talking about how great we are, and that is when we will get the last laugh!

 

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD  


Cowboy Bill’s Draft Rant

I’m sure this blog will be frowned on by some but I have to be honest. I was disappointed with this years draft class. I’m not saying these players aren’t talented by any means. I just feel Jerry Jones squandered the two picks he had in the first round.

This what I was hoping Jones would’ve done:

1. Trade up in order to be in position to draft Leodis McKelvin from Troy. He’s the best CB coming out this year. Plus he’s a good kick returner. Plus, he’s from Troy!

How would they manage to trade up you ask? Give up 22nd or 28th pick and maybe the 3rd round pick in order to get high enough to grab McKelvin. Simple. I’m also not putting down Michael Jenkins. Everyone had him ranked in the top 3 if not the top 2 corners coming out.

2. With the 22nd overall pick you’re still in position to grab Felix Jones IF you want him. Nothing against Jones but I think Chris Johnson from ECU would be a better fit. I know he played at Conference USA and is a bit small but he’s blazing fast and is another option as a kick returner.

Now of the first 2 picks that we got I think anyone would agree they’re both solid, "safe" picks. I’m of the belief that safe doesn’t always bring home the bacon. Think about it. Wouldn’t we all be a little more excited if the first 2 picks were McKelvin and Johnson? I know I would.

The 2nd round pick of a tight end that nobody outside the state of Texas has even heard of is beyond me. I read it was a move to replace Fasano. Well, Fasano should have never been traded to begin with. He was a solid backup tight end and was worth a 4th round pick all by himself. Adding Akin Ayodele to the trade made it ludicrous. Back to Martellus Bennett. Who knows. He has good size and is apparently athletic considering he played basketball. I have a theory though. Bare with me here. What if this kid is some kind of project? He played defensive end on a few occasions. Maybe he could be molded into a Julius Peppers kind of player? Maybe my theory is a bit of a stretch plus who gives up a 2nd round pick for a project? Anyway, I don’t honestly know enough about the guy to give an honest opinion.

I would say we should’ve gone after a receiver in the 2nd but by the time our pick came up, all the obvious options at receiver were gone.

Tashard Choice is one to keep an eye on in my opinion. He could be a sleeper at 4th round. He sure looks pretty good on film anyway. It does add depth at RB which is never a bad thing.

The rest of the draft is a crap shoot and I won’t pretend to know anything about these guys. I think what soured me the most was the week leading to the draft. I didn’t like the Pacman deal and I was furious over the trade with Miami. That being said, I didn’t go into draft day in the best of spirits anyway.

Fortunately the Cowboys didn’t really need that much going into the draft and I personally think this team could win the Super Bowl this year even without a single pick.

My grade for this year’s draft.
C

Looking at Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents (6)

  • LT Flozell Adams
  • S Ken Hamlin
  • RB Julius Jones
  • S Keith Davis
  • CB Jacques Reeves
  • CB Nate Jones

Restricted Free Agents (5)

  • RB Marion Barber
  • DE Chris Canty
  • LS L.P. Ladouceur
  • RB Tyson Thompson
  • OL Joe Berger

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (4)

  • DE Stephen Bowen
  • OL Cory Procter
  • CB Evan Oglesby
  • TE Tony Curtis

In my opinion the Cowboys must keep Marion Barber, Chris Canty, Ken Hamlin and Tony Curtis. I believe all of those players will help the future of this team. Some might add Flozell in with those names, but he just has too many penalties, and we all know when it comes down to it, penalties can make or break a game. Free agency signing period begins February 29th.

Cowboys fans have fallen in love with Marion Barber. With his rough style that earned him 10 touchdowns and 975 yards as the back-up running back to Julius Jones, its clear why they love him.

 

 

Chris Canty started to shine this year. The 25-year old defensive end had 3.5 sacks and 43 tackles. He is a restricted free agent, but is expected to sign a deal similiar to Jay Ratliff’s 5 year-20 million.

 

 

Ken Hamlin, who signed a one year deal last year, has had a successful year. He had 5 interceptions, 62 tackles (45 solo) and will start in the Pro Bowl next month. That’s more than enough reasons why the Cowboys should give him a contract.

 

 

Tony Curtis, the third string tight end, showed great potential earning 3 touchdowns from only 3 receptions in 2007. He also looked really good in pre-season. Being an exclusive rights free agent, he really has no say in the matter, but I’m sure he will be a Cowboy in 2008.

 

 

Eleven Cowboys Headed to the Pro Bowl

What a magical year for the Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team will be sending 11 of its top players to Hawaii to be honored at the Pro Bowl. This will tie the franchise record which was set back during the 90s dynasty years.

STARTERS

Flozell Adams, offensive tackle

Leonard Davis, guard

Andre Gurode, center

Jason Witten, tight end

Terrell Owens, wide receiver

DeMarcus Ware, linebacker

Nick Folk, kicker 

BACKUPS

Tony Romo, quarterback

Marion Barber, running back

Ken Hamlin, safety

Terence Newman, cornerback

 

Legends of the Star – Jay Novacek

Jay Novacek first made a name for himself playing tight end for the University of Wyoming. He was selected to the All-American football team in 1984 after setting an NCAA record for receiving yards per receptions by a tight end. He had a team record 83 career receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns during his college career. Novacek also competed in track and field and earned All-American in the decathlon and pole vault.
 
He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, and but later joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1990. Some thought he was hired gun and for a while the name stuck. He was known for his hard-nosed style of play and his athleticism. He was a hard hitter and a great blocker, but it was his pass catching ability that fans will remember most.
 
He was one of the best tight ends ever to wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform, and was one of the key players on a Cowboys team that went on to win three Super Bowls in 1992, 1993 and 1995. In those three games alone, he posted a combined total of 17 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
 
Jay Novacek’s remarkable pass catching and route running abilities gave him a total of 422 receptions for 4,620 yards and 30 touchdowns during his NFL career. He was selected to five pro bowls. Although he may not have had a long career with the Cowboys, he made each of his 6 seasons count, and was one of the best tight ends in the league throughout his Cowboys career.

 
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.