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Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #87

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #87

Thirteen players have worn #87 for the Cowboys. This includes seven wide receivers, four tight ends, and two defensive ends.

Ray Alexander, WR, Florida A&M, 1988-89

Statistics: Alexander caught 55 passes for 804 yards and 6 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Alexander was a standout in the Canadian Football League, but he had only one good year in the NFL. After catching 54 passes for 788 yards in 1988, he was injured for most of the 1989 season and never played again.

Gordon Banks, WR, Stanford, 1985-87

Statistics: Banks caught 35 passes for 220 yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Banks was a former USFL standout who was a backup in Dallas.

Nate Borden, DE, Indiana, 1960-61

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Borden in the 1960 expansion draft from Green Bay. He started for the Cowboys in 1960 and part of 1961 before moving on to Buffalo in 1962.

Billy Davis, WR, Pittsburgh, 1995-98

Statistics: Davis caught 42 passes for 724 yards and three touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Davis was a very good special teams player who became a starter in 1998. He was not a bad receiver, but when Dallas acquired Rocket Ismail in 1999, Davis moved on. After two seasons in Baltimore, he was out of the league.

Ron Howard, TE, Seattle, 1974-75

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Howard played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a former basketball player who played special teams in Dallas for two seasons. He played much more when he moved to Seattle in 1976.

Ken-Yon Rambo, WR, Ohio State, 2001-02

Statistics: Rambo caught 17 passes for 239 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A product of Ohio State, Rambo saw quite a bit of action in 2002. However, that was his final year in the league.

Alfredo Roberts, TE, Miami, Fla., 1991-92

Statistics: Roberts caught 19 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The former teammate of Michael Irvin played two years in Dallas as a blocking tight end.

Jay Saldi, TE, South Carolina, 1976-82

Statistics: Saldi caught 63 passes for 704 yards and seven touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played seven seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Saldi was Billy Joe DuPree’s primary backup from 1976 to 1980. He has some big plays in some important playoff games, including a touchdown catch that was Roger Staubach’s final career touchdown pass.

Zuriel Smith, WR, Hampton, 2003

Statistics: Smith averaged 7.1 yards per punt return and 21.5 yards per kickoff return for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Smith saw action in 2003 but had trouble making the team after that.

Andy Stynchula, DE, Penn State, 1968

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Stynchula played for the Colts, Redskins, and Giants before joining the Cowboys in 1968. He retired after one year in Dallas.

Billy Truax, TE, Louisiana State, 1971-73

Statistics: Truax caught 19 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was one of Roman Gabriel’s favorite targets in Los Angeles, and he backed up Mike Ditka in Dallas. However, injuries slowed him in 1972 and 1973, and he retired after the 1973 season.

Jason Tucker, WR, Texas Christian, 1999-00

Statistics: Tucker caught 36 passes for 565 and two touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Tucker was a product of nearby TCU, and he made the squad as a free agent after being cut by Cincinnati. He caught a 90-yard touchdown pass from Troy Aikman in the season finale in 1999 in a win over the Giants that gave Dallas a playoff berth.

Dedric Ward, WR, Northern Iowa, 2004

Statistics: Ward caught one pass for five yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Ward was another former Jet who joined the Cowboys thanks to Bill Parcells. He saw action in only eight games and played mostly on special teams.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #87.

Greatest #87

  • Jay Saldi (82%, 77 Votes)
  • Alfredo Roberts (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Jason Tucker (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Ray Alexander (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Billy Davis (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Gordon Banks (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Zuriel Smith (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Billy Truax (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Dedric Ward (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Ron Howard (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ken-Yon Rambo (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Nate Borden (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Andy Stynchula (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 94

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My Vote: Saldi

Jay SaldiSaldi had several big plays, including a fumble recovery against Minnesota in the 1977 NFL Championship Game, the touchdown reception against Los Angeles in the 1979 playoffs, and a huge 37-yard reception against the Rams in the 1980 playoffs. Thanks to those and his longevity, he gets my vote.

Saldi’s son, John, tried out for the Cowboys in 2006 and 2007, but John failed to make the team.

Cowboys Announce 53-Man Roster

The Cowboys announced their 53-man roster this afternoon. One mild surprise is that the team only kept five wide receivers, releasing Danny Amendola and Mike Jefferson. This means that Dallas has only two healthy receivers at the moment. You can also bet that Hard Knocks will feature plenty of close-ups of Keon Lattimore and Todd Lowber (here’s to hoping that they are signed to the practice squad).

Thanks to the Dallas Morning News, here is the roster:

QB (2) – Tony Romo, Brad Johnson

RB (4) – Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Deon Anderson

WR (5) – Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd, Miles Austin, Isaiah Stanback

TE (3) – Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, Tony Curtis

OL (11) – LT Flozell Adams, LG Kyle Kosier, C Andre Gurode, RG Leonard Davis, RT Marc Colombo, G Montrae Holland, T Pat McQuistan, G Joe Berger, C Cory Procter, OG James Marten, OT Doug Free

DL (6) – Chris Canty, Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Tank Johnson, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen

LB (8) – Greg Ellis, Bradie James, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Kevin Burnett, Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Spencer, Justin Rogers

DB (11) – CB Terence Newman, CB Anthony Henry, S Roy Williams, S Ken Hamlin, CB Adam Jones, CB Mike Jenkins, CB Orlando Scandrick, S Pat Watkins, S Courtney Brown, CB Alan Ball, CB Evan Oglesby

Sp (3) – P Mat McBriar, K Nick Folk, LS L.P. Ladouceur

Players who were cut include the following:

Danny Amendola
Drew Atchison
Remi Ayodele
Richard Bartel
Mark Bradford
Alonzo Coleman
Julius Crosslin
Dowayne Davis
Marcus Dixon
Tearrius George
Ryan Gibbons
Rodney Hannah
Mike Jefferson
Keon Lattimore
Todd Lowber
Darrell Robertson
Junior Siavii
Marcus Smith
Tyson Smith
Erik Walden
Cory Lekkerkerker (injury settlement)

In addition, Larry Allen was placed on the reserve/retired list after formally signing with the team this week to retire.

2008 Cowboys-Related Odds

A benefit, I suppose, for having several online betting services as a sponsor is that I receive information about oddsmaking related to the Cowboys. Thanks to Bodog, below are as many odds as you will probably need for the Cowboys… at least for now.

Odds to win the 2009 Super Bowl XLIII
Dallas Cowboys 6/1

Odds to win the 2008 NFC Championship
Dallas Cowboys 9/5

Odds to win the NFC East Division
Dallas Cowboys 4/5

Win Totals
Dallas Cowboys Regular Season Wins
Over 10.5 -135
Under 10.5 +105

Dallas Cowboys Regular Season Home Wins
Over 6 -130
Under 6 Even

Dallas Cowboys Regular Season Away Wins
Over 4.5 -140
Under 4.5 +110

Miscellaneous Odds
Will Wade Phillips be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for week 1 of the 2009 NFL season?
Yes -115
No -115

Player Performance Odds

Tony Romo Passing Yards
Over/Under 4000

Tony Romo Passing Touchdowns
Over/Under 30.5

Marion Barber Rushing Yards
Over/Under 1150

Marion Barber Total Touchdowns
Over/Under 12.5

Felix Jones Rushing Yards
Over/Under 460

Felix Jones Total Touchdowns
Over/Under 4

Terrell Owens Receiving Yards
Over/Under 1220

Terrell Owens Touchdowns
Over/Under 13

Terrell Owens Receptions
Over/Under 85

Patrick Crayton Receiving Yards
Over/Under 760

Patrick Crayton Touchdowns
Over/Under 6.5

Jason Witten Receiving Yards
Over/Under 1000

Jason Witten Touchdowns
Over/Under 6.5

Jason Witten Receptions
Over/Under 85

DeMarcus Ware Sacks
Over/Under 12.5

Greg Ellis Sacks
Over/Under 8

Adam Jones Interceptions
Over 3 Even
Under 3 -130

Outstanding Promo Video (Now the Preseason Is Over)

Now that preseason is officially over, here is an outstanding promo video put together by silverandblue:

The only real significant story in the Cowboys’ 16-10 win over Minnesota last evening was that Sam Hurd injured his ankle. This is from the team’s official site:

The looming task of finalizing the 53-man roster just got a little tougher for Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips thanks to a “downer” in Thursday night’s preseason finale.

The Cowboys edged Minnesota, 16-10, on a night reserved largely for the reserves at Texas Stadium. Twenty-eight players sat, including all but one projected starter (fullback Deon Anderson), enabling the coaching staff to evaluate nearly every fringe player on the roster before Saturday’s cuts.

But now Phillips must decide how to replenish a near-barren receiving corps further hindered by the loss of third-year veteran Sam Hurd, who suffered an apparent high ankle sprain on a 35-yard reverse play in the first quarter and left the stadium in a protective boot.

“That’s a real concern, certainly,” Phillips said. “We were only going to play him for a series and he made a big play. That was the downer of the game.”

Hurd, who will have an MRI exam on Friday, seemed confident he could return in time for the Sept. 7 season opener in Cleveland with proper rest and treatment. But team doctors project that he’ll be doubtful for the game due to the lingering nature of a high ankle sprain, which involves the ligaments connecting the tibia and fibia on the lower leg. Generally that type of injury requires a week of evaluation before an accurate timetable can be set.

On the flip side of this story, the real pleasant surprise last night was the play of Tearrius George, who had two sacks and some other pressures in the second half of the game.

Linebacker Tyson Smith also had a good game, recording an interception and five total tackles.

The Hall of Fame Case of Bob Hayes, Revisited

The Seniors Committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has, for a second time, nominated Bob Hayes for the Hall of Fame. He is one of several players that Cowboys fans have argued for years should be inducted. In fact, the video below produced for NFL Network puts Hayes among the ten deserving players who have not been inducted.

Here is more from the press release issued today:

Wide receiver Bob Hayes and defensive end Claude Humphrey have been selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee as finalists for election into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2009.

Hayes and Humphrey will join 15 still-to-be-named modern-era candidates on the list of finalists from which the Class of 2009 will be selected. The Hall of Fame selection meeting will be held on January 31, 2009, the day before Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida. To be elected, Hayes and Humphrey must each receive the same 80 percent voting support that is required of all finalists. The Hall’s Board of Selectors can elect a maximum of two senior candidates and five modern-era candidates for a class no smaller than four or larger than seven during next January’s meeting.

Both of the senior nominees have been finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the past. Hayes was the seniors committee’s candidate in 2004 while Humphrey was a modern-era finalist three times (2003, 2005 and 2006).

Hayes, who earned the label “World’s Fastest Human” during his gold medal-winning performances in track during the 1964 Summer Olympics, took the NFL by storm upon joining the Dallas Cowboys a year later. As a rookie, Hayes led the NFL in 1965 with a 21.8 yards per catch average and scored a league-best 12 touchdown receptions. He recorded 1,000-yard seasons in both of his first two years in the NFL.

A three-time All-NFL pick, Hayes amassed 371 career receptions for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns during his 11-season career with the Cowboys (1965-1974) and the San Francisco 49ers (1975). He also returned 104 punts for 1,158 yards and three touchdowns; and had 23 kickoff returns for 581 yards.

Hayes, who passed away on September 18, 2002, played in six NFL/NFC championship games and started in two Super Bowls.

Of 26 players in the Hall of Fame who played (or are listed as) wide receiver, flanker, or end, nine were contemporaries of Hayes. These include the following players, listed with their years of service and their career stats:

Charlie Joiner (1969-1986): 750 rec., 12146 yards, 16.2 ave., 65 TDs
Fred Biletnikoff (1965-1978): 589 rec., 8974 yards, 15.2 ave., 76 TDs
Charley Taylor (1964-1977): 649 rec., 9110 yards, 14.0 ave., 79 TDs
Paul Warfield (1964-1977): 427 rec., 8565 yards, 20.1 ave., 85 TDs
Tommy McDonald (1957-1968): 495 rec., 8410 yards, 17.0 ave., 84 TDs
Bobby Mitchell (1958-1968): 521 rec., 7954 yards, 15.3 ave., 65 TDs
Lance Alworth (1962-1972): 542 rec., 10266 yards, 18.9 ave., 85 TDs
Don Maynard (1958-1973): 633 rec., 11834 yards, 18.7 ave., 88 TDs
Raymond Berry (1955-1967): 631 rec., 9275 yards, 14.7 ave., 68 TDs

Here are Hayes’ numbers:

1965-1975: 371 rec., 7414 yards, 20.0 ave., 71 TDs.

As this list shows, only one of the current Hall of Famers can match Hayes’ career average-per-catch total of 20.0 (Paul Warfield). Moreover, though most have more total touchdowns that Hayes, only Warfield (19.9%) caught a higher percentage of touchdowns based on their receptions. In Hayes’ case, he 19.1% of his receptions were touchdowns.

If Hayes falls noticeably short, it is due to his career totals in receptions and yards. However, his numbers are considerably better than a recent inductee in Lynn Swann, who finished with 336 receptions, 5462 yards, and 51 TDs. And similar to Swann, the best reason for Hayes’ induction is based on more than numbers. It is instead based on how he changed the game thanks to his speed and playmaking ability.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #86

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #86

Fifteen players have worn #86 for the Cowboys. This includes nine wide receivers, three tight ends, a linebacker, a punter, and a defensive end.

Eric Bjornson, TE, Washington, 1995-99

Statistics: Bjornson caught 127 passes for 1232 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas hoped that Bjornson could step into the role vacated by Jay Novacek, but Bjornson had neither the hands nor the instincts that Novacek had.

Dan Campbell, TE, Texas A&M, 2003-05

Statistics: Campbell caught 25 passes for 235 yards and 2 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Campbell was known for his leadership and blocking ability. He was injured for most of the 2005 season and then left via free agency after that season.

Ralph Coleman, LB, North Carolina A&T, 1972

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Coleman was an eighth-round pick in 1972 who saw almost no action with the Cowboys.

James Dixon, WR/RB, Houston, 1989-91

Statistics: Dixon averaged 22.9 yards per kickoff return with Dallas. He also caught 26 passes for 503 yards and 2 TDs.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dixon saw quite a bit of action as a kick returner and third receiver in 1989, but his playing time decreased rapidly as the team brought in more talent. He was out of the league after 1991.

Kenny Duckett, WR, Wake Forest, 1985

Statistics: Duckett averaged 19.2 yards on nine kickoff returns.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than a full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas signed Duckett at the end of the 1985 season. He returned a few kickoffs but was out of the league after that season.

Duriel Harris, WR, New Mexico State, 1984

Statistics: Harris caught one pass for nine yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played less than one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Harris had been a good receiver with the Dolphins, and the Cowboys picked him up off of waivers from Cleveland in 1984. He did next to nothing with the Cowboys.

Bill Houston, WR, Jackson State, 1974

Statistics: Houston caugth six passes for 72 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Houston made the team as a free agent in 1974, but he saw limited action.

Butch Johnson, WR, Calf.-Riverside, 1976-83

Statistics: Johnson caught 132 passes for 2124 yards and 19 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played eight seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Johnson was a dependable third receiver for the Cowboys but is better known for his outrageous personality. He invented the famous (or infamous, perhaps) California Quake, and he caught one of the most famous passes in team history in Super Bowl XII.

Mike Lucky, TE, Arizona, 1999, 2001-02

Statistics: Lucky caught 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Lucky was primarily a blocking tight end who saw action in goalline situations.

Garry Porterfield, DE, Tulsa, 1965

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than a full season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Porterfield looked great in the 1965 preseason but did next to nothing once the regular season began. He was released midway through the 1965 season.

Dave Sherer, P, Southern Methodist, 1960

Statistics: Sherer averaged 42.5 yards per punt with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Baltimore took Sherer with its second pick in the 1959 draft, and Dallas acquired him in the 1960 expansion draft. Dallas let him go in 1961 because the team wanted a kicker who could handle both kicking and punting duties.

Mike Sherrard, WR, UCLA, 1986

Statistics: Sherrard caught 41 passes for 744 yards and 5 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He saw action during only one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: If anyone needed proof that luck was not on the Cowboys’ side during the 1980s, Sherrard provided that proof. After showing great promise during his rookie season, he suffered a series of leg injuries that caused him to miss the 1987 and 1988 seasons. He was cut and signed with San Francisco. Although never a standout player, he had a lengthy career with the 49ers, Giants, and Broncos.

Waddell Smith, WR, Kansas, 1984

Statistics: Smith caught one pass for seven yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He made the team as a free agent and played mostly on special teams.

Isaiah Stanback, WR, Washington, 2007-present

Statistics: Stanback averaged 26.0 yards on three kickoff returns in 2007.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He will enter his second season in 2008.

Intangibles: Like Eric Bjornson, Stanback played quarterback at Washington before being drafted by Dallas and converted to another position. Stanback has shown progress as a receiver, but injuries may set him back early this season.

Tyrone Williams, WR, Western Ontario, 1993

Statistics: Williams caught one pass for 25 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Not to be confused with the Tyrone Williams who played defensive back in 2004 (and who wore #37), this Tyrone Williams was a reserve receiver who caught one big 25-yard pass in a 38-3 win over Washington in 1993.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #86.

Greatest #86

  • Butch Johnson (91%, 167 Votes)
  • Dan Campbell (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Eric Bjornson (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Mike Sherrard (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Garry Porterfield (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Kenny Duckett (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Isaiah Stanback (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Bill Houston (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Waddell Smith (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dave Sherer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • James Dixon (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mike Lucky (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ralph Coleman (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Duriel Harris (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Tyrone Williams (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 184

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My Vote: Johnson

Butch JohnsonJohnson was one of the most memorable players in team history. Nobody can forget the sight of him laying out to catch Roger Staubach’s pass in Super Bowl XII, barely hanging on with his fingertips and then rolling into the end zone (whether it should have been a legal reception really doesn’t matter . . . ). And his California Quake ranks with Billy “White Shoes” Johnson’s dance as one of the most famous individual celebrations in league history.

Bjornson was not a bust, but he could not live up to the expectation that he could replace Novacek. The others were role players, backups, and/or simply not with the team long enough to accomplish anything close to what Johnson did in Dallas.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #85

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #85

Twelve players have worn #85 for the Cowboys. This includes six wide receivers, a defensive lineman, a linebacker, and four tight ends.

Note: This list does not include Mike Jefferson, who was on the practice squad in 2007. He is currently wearing #85.

Chris Brazzell, WR, Angelo State, 1999-00

Statistics: Brazzell caught seven passes for 126 yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a reserve receiver who saw a little bit of action in two seasons in Dallas.

Darrin Chiaverini, WR, Colorado, 2001

Statistics: Chiaverini caught 10 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He had been a part-time starter in Cleveland in 1999 and played in every game for Dallas in 2001. His career ended after one season in Atlanta in 2002.

Fred Cornwell, TE, Southern California, 1984-85

Statistics: Cornwell caught 8 passes for 100 yards and 2 TDs

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Cornwell was primarily a blocking tight end who backed Doug Cosbie for two seasons.

Gene Cronin, LB, Pacific, 1960

Statistics: Cronin recorded one interception with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Cronin from Detroit in the 1960 expansion draft, but he was injured for much of the 1960 season.

Steve Folsom, TE, Utah, 1987-90

Statistics: Folsom caught 37 passes for 349 yards and 4 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was mostly a backup, but he saw quite a bit of action in 1988 when Doug Cosbie was injured.

Tim Hendrix, TE, Tennessee, 1987

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Dennis McKinnon, WR, Florida State, 1990

Statistics: McKinnon caught 14 passes for 172 yards and 1 TD with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: McKinnon was a speedster known for his punt returning in Chicago (three career touchdowns). He joined the Cowboys for a season in 1990 in a backup role.

Ernie Mills, WR, Florida, 1998-99

Statistics: Mills caught 58 passes for 804 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Mills came to Dallas with Chan Gailey in 1998 and was a pretty good slot receiver. He suffered through several injuries in both seasons in Dallas and was out of football after 1999.

Jeff Robinson, TE, Idaho, 2002-05

Statistics: Robinson caught four passes for 10 yards and four touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Robinson was signed to be a long-snapper, but he also played tight end in goalline situations.

Darnay Scott, WR, San Diego State, 2002

Statistics: Scott caught 22 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Scott averaged more than 55 receptions per year in seven seasons with Cincinnati, but he was not as productive with Dallas.

Tody Smith, DL, Southern California, 1971-72

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Smith is the brother of Baltimore lineman Bubba Smith. Dallas used a first-round pick on Tody in 1971, but he held out in training camp and spent half of his first season on the taxi squad. After his second season in 1972, he was traded to Houston.

Kevin Williams, WR, Miami, Fla., 1993-96

Statistics: Williams caught 98 passes for 1268 yards and 5 TDs. He also averaged 9.9 yards per punt return, averaged 23.7 yards per kickoff return, and scored four touchdowns off of returns during his career in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Williams was initially drafted in 1993 to replace Kelvin Martin as the slot receiver and primary punt returner, and he filled both roles very well. In 1995, he became a starter when Alvin Harper defected to Tampa Bay. Williams struggled to some extent during the 1995 season, but he helped to spark the team in the final game of the season by catching nine passes for 203 yards, representing nearly a third of his total receiving yards in 1995. He left via free agency in 1997 and finished his career by playing with Arizona, Buffalo, and San Francisco.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #85.

Greatest #85

  • Kevin Williams (92%, 127 Votes)
  • Jeff Robinson (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Darnay Scott (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Chris Brazzell (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Steve Folsom (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tim Hendrix (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Ernie Mills (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tody Smith (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Gene Cronin (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fred Cornwell (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Darrin Chiaverini (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dennis McKinnon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 138

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My Vote: Williams

Kevin Williams, Dallas CowboysThis is not a great list from which to choose. Williams had some memorable plays, and he was important to the Cowboys’ championship run in 1995. None of the others really had that much impact (maybe Robinson, but only as a deep-snapper), so I had to go with Williams.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #84

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #84

Nine players have worn #84 for the Cowboys. This includes six tight ends and three wide receivers.

Rich Borresen, TE, Northwestern, 1987

Statistics: Borresen had one kickoff return for five yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in the three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Doug Cosbie, TE, Santa Clara, 1979-88

Statistics: Cosbie caught 300 passes for 3728 yards and 30 TDs with the Cowboys. He ranks ninth in franchise history in receptions.

Accolades: Cosbie was named to three Pro Bowls.

Longevity: He played ten seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Cosbie made people forget about Billy Joe DuPree, and before Novacek and Witten came along, Cosbie had a good argument for being the best tight end in team history. He caught the touchdown pass that gave Dallas a 27-21 lead in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.

Patrick Crayton, WR, NW Okla State, 2004-present

Statistics: Crayton has caugth 120 receptions for 1716 yards and 14 TDs

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He enters his fifth season in 2008.

Intangibles: Crayton was quite a find in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. He converted from college quarterback to receiver and became a solid second receiver in 2007. However, a huge drop and a mix-up in route-running cost the Cowboys in their playoff loss to the Giants last season.

Jean Fugett, TE, Amherst, 1972-75

Statistics: Fugett caught 58 passes for 810 yards and 7 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made the Pro Bowl with Washington.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A few weeks ago, posted this video showing Fugett giving interviews before Super Bowl X. He was mostly a backup for Billy Joe DuPree in Dallas before signing with Washington in 1976.

Joey Galloway, WR, Ohio State, 2000-03

Statistics: Galloway caught 151 passes for 2341 yards and 12 TDs.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas made the worst trade in franchise history when it gave up two first-round picks in 2000 to acquire Galloway. He was injured for all but one quarter of the 2000 season, and though he showed occasional flashes over the next three years, he was never worth what Dallas gave up to get him. He revitalized his career when he left for Tampa Bay.

Keith Jennings, TE, Clemson, 1989

Statistics: Jennings caught six passes for 47 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a backup in Dallas but went on to become a starter with the Bears.

Pettis Norman, TE, J.C. Smith, 1962-70

Statistics: Norman caught 124 passes for 1672 yards and 14 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played nine seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Norman was not a great receiver, but he was one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. He was part of the trade with San Diego that sent Lance Alworth to Dallas.

Jay Novacek, TE, Wyoming, 1990-95

Statistics: Novacek caught 339 passes for 3576 yards and 22 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He made five Pro Bowls and one All Pro team with the Cowboys.

Longevity: He played six seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Novacek via Plan B free agency in 1990, and he become one of the most important pieces of the Super Bowl teams of the 1990s. It is no coincidence that Troy Aikman’s effectiveness dropped significantly after the 1995 season when injuries forced Novacek to retire. His 339 career receptions rank eight on the team’s all-time list.

Gary Wisener, WR, Baylor, 1960

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Wisener was a wide receiver with Dallas. He converted to defensive back in 1961 with the Oilers, but that was his last season in pro football.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #85.

Greatest #84

  • Jay Novacek (90%, 200 Votes)
  • Doug Cosbie (6%, 14 Votes)
  • Patrick Crayton (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Jean Fugett (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Rich Borresen (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Joey Galloway (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Keith Jennings (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Pettis Norman (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Gary Wisener (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 222

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My Vote: Novacek

Jay Novacek

Although I very recently acknowledged that Jason Witten is the greatest tight end in team history, Novacek is the best of this group. He was Troy Aikman’s security blanket, and until Witten came alone, Dallas spent years trying to replace Novacek.

Here is a video clip of the former decathlete:

Cosbie was pretty close to Novacek in terms of his skills. Norman was more of a blocker, so he does not tend to get the credit he deserves for what he brought to the field during the 1960s. Crayton has some making-up to do this year.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #83

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #83

Fourteen players have worn #83 for the Cowboys. This includes eight wide receivers, two kickers, and four tight ends.

Mike Clark, K, Texas A&M, 1968-71, 1973

Statistics: Clark made 69 field goals out of 119 attempts.

Accolades: None with the Cowboys. He made the Pro Bowl with the Steelers.

Longevity: Clark played five seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: He made some clutch kicks during his career in Dallas, but he was also very erratic. Making 58% of his field goal attempt did not endear him to Cowboy fans.

Hayward Clay, TE, Texas A&M, 1998-99

Statistics: Clay caught one pass for 27 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than one full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Clay saw some action towards the end of the 1998 season. He was on the roster in 1999 but never played.

Harold Deters, K, North Carolina State, 1967

Statistics: Deters made one of four field goal attempts with Dallas.

Accolades: None, other than being part of the infamous Kicking Karavan in 1967.

Longevity: He played in three games with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Deters filled in for Danny Villanueva in 1967 but tanked by making just 25% of his four field goal attempts.

Doug Donley, WR, Ohio State, 1981-84

Statistics: Donley caught 55 passes for 898 yards and 4 TDs

Accolades:None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Donley was at one point the fastest receiver on the Cowboys, and he opened the 1984 season as the starter. However, injuries slowed him down, and he lost his job to Mike Renfro. The 1984 season was Donley’s last.

Jim Doran, WR, Iowa State, 1960-61

Statistics: Doran caught 44 passes for 707 yards and 5 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He was the team’s first Pro Bowl player.

Longevity: Doran played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Doran was a standout defensive end in Detroit who converted to offense. After nine seasons with the Lions, he was left unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft, and Dallas picked him up. He was a star in the team’s first game ever, catching touchdown passes of 75 and 54 yards.

Lee Folkins, TE, Washington, 1962-64

Statistics: Folkins caught 75 passes for 984 yards and 10 TDs.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl once as a Cowboy.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Folkins in 1962 in a trade with Green Bay. He started for two seasons but lost his starting job in 1964. Dallas traded him to Pittsburgh in 1965.

Terry Glenn, WR, Ohio State, 2003-07

Statistics: Glenn caught 208 passes for 3337 yards and 20 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Glenn resurrected his career in Dallas when he joined the club in 2003. In 2005 and 2006, he was a 1,000-yard receiver. However, he missed most of the 2007 season due to injury, and he was cut during preseason in 2008. He is not likely to return.

Leon Gonzalez, WR, Bethune-Cookman, 1985

Statistics: Gonzalez averaged 3.9 yards on 15 punt returns for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Nicknamed “Speedy,” he was a fast player who made the team in 1985 primarily as a punt returner. He suffered a foot injury towards the end of the 1985 season, which was his last in Dallas.

Kelvin Martin, WR, Boston College, 1987-92, 1996

Statistics: Martin caught 237 passes for 3083 yards and 9 TDs with the Cowboys. He also returned three punts for touchdowns in his career.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played a total of seven seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: “K-Mart” had some solid seasons early in his career, and he transitioned into a great slot receiver for the 1992 squad that won the Super Bowl. He caught the game-clinching touchdown after Alvin Harper’s 70-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. Martin left for Seattle via free agency in 1993, but he returned in 1996.

Wane McGarity, WR, Texas, 1999-01

Statistics: McGarity averaged 11.8 yards per punt return with the Cowboys and had two punt returns for touchdowns in 2000.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than three full seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: McGarity looked as if he were developing into a solid slot receiver, but the team released him after three games in 2001. He spent the rest of the season with New Orleans, but 2001 was his last year in the NFL.

Joey Mickey, TE, Oklahoma, 1993

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Mickey was a backup tight end who seldom saw action.

Anthony Miller, WR, Tennessee, 1997

Statistics: Miller caught 46 passes for 645 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made five Pro Bowls with San Diego and Denver.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Miller was one of many disappointments in 1997. He was brought in to complement Michael Irvin, but he had lost speed and playmaking ability by the time he arrived in Dallas.

Golden Richards, WR, Hawaii, 1973-78

Statistics: Richard caught 90 passes for 1650 yards and 16 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Richards had some huge plays in Dallas as both a receiver and a punt returner. After catching 26 passes for 467 yards in 1974, though, his numbers steadily declined. He was often injured, and after losing his starting job to Tony Hill in 1978, he was sent to Chicago.

Kendell Watkins, TE, Mississippi State, 1995

Statistics: Watkins caught one pass for eight yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Watkins was a blocking tight end on the 1995 championship squad.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #83.

Greatest #83

  • Terry Glenn (41%, 54 Votes)
  • Golden Richards (33%, 44 Votes)
  • Kelvin Martin (23%, 31 Votes)
  • Mike Clark (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Doug Donley (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Wane McGarity (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Anthony Miller (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Joey Mickey (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Leon Gonzalez (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Lee Folkins (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jim Doran (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Harold Deters (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Hayward Clay (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kendell Watkins (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 133

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My Vote: Glenn

According to a poll that I ran about a month ago, Glenn ranks among such receivers as Tony Hill and Frank Clarke. When healthy, he was a great playmaker who never lost a step.

Here is a great highlight clip put together by Carl of The Blue and Silver:

There were several other high quality players, including Pro Bowlers like Doran and Folkins and role players such as Richards and Martin. My vote for Glenn is based largely on productivity.

Preseason Game #3: Cowboys 23, Texans 22

Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans

The Cowboys overcame two costly turnovers and some poor kickoff coverage to beat the Houston Texans 23-22 on Friday night. Houston nearly took the lead after scoring with just over two minutes left in the game, but Dallas broke up Houston’s two-point conversion.

Dallas played its offensive starters for the entire first half, and for the most part, the team looked sharp. Tony Romo completed 15 of 19 passes for 166 yards. He had a touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton to finish of the first offensive drive of the game, but he threw an interception on a 3rd-and-goal play from the Houston one-yard-line early in the second quarter with the Cowboys leading 10-3.

Marion Barber had a very strong outing, rushing 13 times for 75 yards. He scored a touchdown near the end of the first half. Here’s a shot of it:

Marion Barber

The defense had some very good moments. Houston had trouble moving the ball at all in the first quarter, but the Texans gained some momentum after the Romo interception. Marcus Spears had a solid game. The Cowboys, though, missed several tackles. Roy Williams was pushed to the ground by Steve Slaton, allowing the Houston running back to gain 13 yards inside the red zone.

Here are my game notes, in the form of mini-headlines:

Cowboys vs. Texas: Mini-Headlines

First Quarter

Where’s the Kickoff Coverage?

On the opening kickoff, Houston’s Andre Davis ran right up the middle of the field for 68 yards. The hole appeared to be 10 yards wide. The Dallas defense was able to hold, however, and the Texans settled for a field goal.

Picking on Jacques Reeves

On the Cowboys’ first possession, Dallas picked on former teammate Jacques Reeves. Romo hit Patrick Crayton for a six-yard touchdown pass right in front of Reeves, giving Dallas a 7-3 lead.

Pacman Chews Up Return Yards

After Dallas stopped Houston on three downs, Adam Jones found a gap and returned a punt 18 yards.

Romo Overthrows T.O.

After the Pacman return, Dallas drove to the Houston 35. Romo had Owens wide open along the left sideline but overthrew him. Dallas had to settle for a field goal to take a 10-3 lead.

Second Quarter

Romo’s Pick

Dallas moved the ball very efficiently during the first quarter. After moving the ball to the Houston one-yard-line, Romo rolled out to his right, trying to hit Tony Curtis. He instead found linebacker Zach Diles, who picked off the pass before running out of bounds in the end zone.

Stat Note

After the Romo interception, Dallas had run 21 plays for 146 yards. Houston had run 13 plays for 10 yards. Between the Texans’ opening drive and the beginning of Houston’s first drive of the second quarter, Schaub had seven consecutive incompletions.

Dallas Defense Turns Soft

Houston responded to the interception by moving the ball 80 yards on 12 plays in 6:17 to tie the game at 10-10. Tight end Owen Daniels caught a 19-yard pass, and running back Steve Slanton broke a 20-yard run during the drive.

The Dallas Offense Responds

Dallas got the ball at its own 32 with 7:47 remaining in the half and moved the ball effectively into the red zone. Romo hit Crayton for a 22-yard gain, and Dallas converted a 3rd-and-2 when Romo hit Deon Anderson for a 12-yard completion. Marion Barber’s one-yard touchdown gave Dallas a 17-10 lead.

Defense Holds During Two Minute Drill

The Texans moved from their own 20 to the Dallas 42 inside the two-minute warning. DeMarcus Ware got pressure on Matt Schaub on a 3rd-and-3 play to break it up.

Two-Minute Offense Nets Field Goal

Dallas moved the ball 52 yards in the final 30 seconds of the first half to get into field goal range. Folk’s second field gave Dallas a 20-10 halftime lead.

Stat Note

Dallas had only two possessions in the second quarter but gained 120 yards on 16 plays. In the first half, Dallas had 266 yards on 37 plays (7.2 yards per play). Houston gained 128 yards on 32 plays (4.0 yards per play).

Third Quarter

Stanback Fumbles

Isaiah Stanback fumbled the second half kickoff, giving Houston the ball in Dallas territory.

Slaton Runs Over Roy Williams

After the fumble, Slaton ran the ball around the right corner. Roy Williams had the angle, but Slaton pushed Williams off like a bug. The Texans moved the ball to the Dallas 5 but could not punch it in. A Houston field goal cut the Dallas lead to 20-13.

Felix Jones Fumbles

The Cowboys drove the ball well after the Houston field goal, thanks in no small part to a 29-yard catch-and-run by tight end Martellus Bennett. However, Dallas suffered it second turnover inside the Houston 10-yard line when rookie Felix Jones fumbled the ball on a first down play from the Houston eight. Mario Williams stripped the ball.

Fourth Quarter

More Soft Defense

Houston moved the ball from its own 6 to the Dallas 11, but the drive stalled there. Another Kris Brown field goal cut the Dallas lead to 20-16.

Defense Holds

After the Houston field goal, Dallas was unable to move the ball. Houston got the ball at its own 11 and moved the ball to the Houston 42. The drive stalled from there.

Big Catches by Amendola and Jefferson

Mike Jefferson had a tough stretch in the fourth quarter. Brad Johnson tried to get the ball to Jefferson on three occasions, but Jefferson dropped one and two others were broken up. With 7:26 left, Johnson found Amendola down the middle of the field for a 35-yard gain to get Dallas into Houston territory. On the next play, Jefferson made a very impressive catch on a fade route. The two plays helped Dallas get into position for a field goal that gave the Cowboys a 23-16 lead.

Another Breakdown in Kickoff Coverage

After the Dallas field goal, Jacoby Jones returned the Dallas kickoff 52 yards to the Dallas 44. Houston moved the ball into Dallas territory, thanks in part to a pass interference call on Pat Watkins.

Dallas Can’t Contain Sage Rosenfels

Houston backup Sage Rosenfels isn’t know for his scrambling, but on a 3rd-and-goal from the Dallas 8, he ran a QB draw to the left side of the line. With nobody in the middle to contain him, Rosenfels dove into the end zone for a touchdown.

Two Point Conversion Failed

Trailing 23-22, Houston went for two points. Rosenfels tried to hit Jones, but Jones was unable to make the catch.

Defensive Holding Call Lets Dallas Close Out the Game

Dallas got the ball back at the two minute warning, and Houston had all three of its time outs. On a 3rd-and-11 play with 1:54 left, Brad Johnson appeared to be sacked by Anthony Maddox, but Derrick Roberson was called for defensive holding. Dallas was able to kill the clock, giving the Cowboys their first win of the 2008 preseason.