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Ranking Greg Ellis with the Best Defensive Ends in Team History

Greg EllisWord on the street is that outside linebacker (and former defensive end) Greg Ellis is mulling whether to retire. While this would cause some problems on the team’s current roster, our issue for today is how Ellis ranks among the best defensive end in team history.

I think it is only fair to compare Ellis with defensive ends playing in the 4-3 defense, which Dallas ran in different forms from 1960 to 2004. According to my figures, a majority of the 22 players who were full-time starters during those years only started a year or two, so other than mentioning them below, I did not consider them as candidates for this list. I also excluded Bob Lilly, who started at defensive end from 1961 to 1963, because he was so much better as a defensive tackle.

Another problem is that defensive ends are often ranked by sacks, but that statistic was not available officially until the 1982 season. Thus, we do not have complete statistics for four of these players.

Here they are, in reverse order:

8. [tag]Larry Cole[/tag]: Full-time starter at DE from 1968 to 1974; 176 total games; four career interceptions.

Cole was a solid defensive end for several years, though he was overshadowed by Lilly and George Andrie early in his career, and then by Randy White, Harvey Martin, and Ed Jones later in his career.

7. [tag]Greg Ellis[/tag]: Full-time starter at DE from 1998 to 2005 (Dallas ran the 3-4 in 2005); 124 total games at DE; 52 sacks at DE (4.5 as OLB).

Ellis never recorded as many as 10 sacks in a season and has never been named to a Pro Bowl. He showed great athletic ability over the years, but he was not always consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback.

6. [tag]Tony Tolbert[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1991 to 1997; 144 total games; 59.0 career sacks.

A fourth-round pick in 1989, Tolbert was named to one Pro Bowl in his career. As a left defensive end, he was more responsible for run defense than to provide pass pressure, but he was certainly a presence no matter what his role was.

5. [tag]Jim Jeffcoat[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1984 to 1991; 227 total games; 102.5 career sacks.

Jeffcoat was in a position similar to Ellis when the former was drafted in the first round in 1983. He came along as the team started to experience its decline in the 1980s, and he was forced to play much of his career for bad Dallas teams. Although he recorded double-digits in sacks five different times, Jeffcoat never made the Pro Bowl.

4. [tag]George Andrie[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1964 to 1971; 141 total games.

Andrie was part of the original Doomsday defense in the 1960s, and he made the Pro Bowl five times during his career. A sixth-round pick in 1962, he was a starter on two Super Bowl teams, including the Cowboys’ win in Super Bowl VI.

3. [tag]Too Tall Jones[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1975 to 1978 and 1980 to 1989; 224 total games; 57.5 official sacks (1982-1989 only).

A first-round pick in 1974, Jones was an important part of the dominant Cowboys defense of the late 1970s. His stock as an all-time great would probably be better if the NFL had kept official stats in two categories: (1) sacks, which were not tallied officially until 1982; and (2) passes knocked down. With respect to the first category, Jones had 57.5 sacks later in his career, including 13 in 1985. In the latter category, few in NFL history have been more effective at knocking passes down, though few ends have been 6’9, either.

2. [tag]Charles Haley[/tag]: Cowboys’ full-time starter from 1992 to 1995 (and part of 1996); 63 total games; 34 sacks.

Haley is the only player on this list who was not originally picked by the Cowboys in the draft. However, he still deserves to be ranked this high, for the Cowboys may not have had three Super Bowl titles in the early 1990s without him. Haley made two Pro Bowls in his five seasons with the team.

1. [tag]Harvey Martin[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1975 to 1983; 158 total games.

Martin was another player who would have benefited from official stats for sacks. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, the defensive player of the year in 1977, a Super Bowl co-MVP in 1977, and was a member of the All-Decade team for the 1970s. How he is not in either the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the Ring of Honor is a travesty.

Other Full-Time Starters at Defensive End (with years as starters): Nate Borden (1960-61), John Gonzaga (1960), Bob Lilly (1961-63), Larry Stephens (1964), Maury Youmans (1965), Willie Townes (1966-67), Pat Toomay (1972-74), Daniel Stubbs (1990), Shante Carver (1996-97), Kavika Pittman (1998-99), Alonzo Spellman (2000), Peppi Zellner (2001), Ebenezer Ekuban (2002-03), Marcellus Wiley (2004).

Instant Trivia: Cowboys-Colts

Here is a new feature I am going to try out this year: Instant Trivia. In this feature we will explore the most recent games with 10 questions. This debut focuses on the Cowboys’ 23-10 win over Indianapolis on Thursday night.


Make your own Quiz!

[tags]Dallas Cowboys trivia[/tags]

10 Minutes of Amusement, Perhaps

Here is a site worth ten or twenty minutes of your time: Gizmoz. Or perhaps I am just easily amused. Either way, here is my creation of the day:

(Update– Had to do this over again, so hopefully it is working now)

I’ve now learned that I will never be able to do a Jerry Jones impression. Hence, you get text-to-speech…

Game Notes: Dallas 23, Indianapolis 10

The Cowboys had a solid effort in a 23-10 win over Indianapolis during their first preseason game this evening. Below are some notes about the game.

First Half

Dallas had two long drives in the first half, both resulting a field goals. [tag]Tony Romo[/tag] went 9 of 10 for 91 yards during those drives. [tag]Brad Johnson[/tag] led the Cowboys on a drive near the end of the first half, but the drive stalled after Johnson lost 13 yards on a botched play. Dallas led 6-3 at halftime.

Second Half

Keith Davis made a nice pick off of a tipped Jim Sorgi pass, returning it 41 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Rookie quarterback Matt Moore completed his first three passes of the preseason for 58 yards. Each of those passes were to second-year tight end [tag]Tony Curtis[/tag]. [tag]Tyson Thompson[/tag] had a two-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give Dallas a 20-3 lead.

Cornerback [tag]Joey Thomas[/tag], who has been mentioned as solid player in training camp, made a nice pick in the end zone on a long pass by quarterback Josh Betts.

Misc. Notes

* Offensive coordinator [tag]Jason Garrett[/tag] was on the sideline instead of the pressbox. Maybe that means nothing, but it was good to see how he interacted with Romo prior to the game.

* Also good to see [tag]Tyson Thompson[/tag] returning kickoffs after he missed much of last season.

* The starters at tackle were rookie [tag]Doug Free[/tag] and [tag]Pat McQuistan[/tag].

* Most of the regulars touched the ball in the first two drives, including [tag]Julius Jones[/tag], [tag]Terrell Owens[/tag], [tag]Patrick Crayton[/tag], [tag]Sam Hurd[/tag], [tag]Jason Witten[/tag], [tag]Marion Barber[/tag], and [tag]Anthony Fasano[/tag].

* Leonard Davis looked versatile, getting off the ball while pulling on at least one of the plays.

* Fasano had three nice catches in the second Dallas drive that ran into the second quarter. He later dropped a pass that he shouldn’t have, trying to make a sliding catch at the end of the second quarter

* Romo continues to show good field vision.

* The defense showed different looks, but did not produce that much pressure.

* The secondary looked a bit shaky on a few plays. However, [tag]Anthony Henry[/tag] made a nice play near the goalline on the Colts’ first drive.

* The defense, led by Bradie James, had a nice play to stop the Colts on a fourth-and-one in the second quarter.

* Personally, I thought Jones looked a little better than Barber, at least at the start of the game. Jones got off the ball very well on several runs in the opening drive. Barber looked good on the last drive of the first half, but it was against backups for the most part.

* Minor point, but Akin Ayodele wore #51, which was Al Singleton’s number for the past several years. Ayodele’s website still shows #50, though.

Three items that had me scratching my head:

* Gatorade ran the commercial with Bill Parcells in a toll booth, asking whether Gatorade is in you. Wasn’t that great when Parcells was still the coach, and even worse since he isn’t.

* Although Leonard Davis looked pretty good, [tag]Troy Aikman[/tag] had no business comparing him to [tag]Larry Allen[/tag].

* Mat McBriar holds the ball with his left hand, even with a right-footed kicker

Noteworthy Stats:

Romo: 10-11, 93 yards, 0 TD, 0 Int.
Moore: 7-9, 88 yards, 0 TD, 0 Int.

Barber: 12 att., 48 yards.
Thompson: 11 att., 34 yards, 1 TD.
Jones: 6 att., 22 yards.

Fasano: 3 rec., 43 yards.
Owens: 1 rec., 8 yards.
Curtis: 3 rec., 58 yards.

Preseason Game 1: Cowboys-Colts Preview

Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys
7 p.m. CDT
Texas Stadium
Television: Fox
Radio: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network (click here to find a station)
Spread: Dallas favored by 4 1/2
Over/Under: 34

Key players out for Dallas: S Ken Hamlin, WR Terry Glenn, T Flozell Adams, T Marc Columbo.

Key players out for Indianapolis: S Bob Sanders, LB Keith O’Neil, DB Brannon Condren, and DE Bo Schobel.

Rob Phillips of DallasCowboys.com ran a piece about what to look for in Thursday’s preseason game between Dallas and Indianapolis.  These include:

(1) The battle for the kicking job between Martin Gramatica and rookie Nick Folk;
(2) The battle for playing time at running back between Julius Jones and Marion Barber;
(3) The performances of backups at both right and left tackle;
(4) The performances of backups at wide receiver;
(5) The performances of backups at nose tackle;
(6) The unveiling of Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme.

See also: Cowboys’ New Coach To Debut vs. Super Bowl Champs in Preseason Game (Yahoo)

DallasCowboys.com GameDay

————

Know Your Opponent

For more on the Colts, check out:

Notes on the Colts’ Offense (Stampede Blue)

Notes on the Colts’ Defense (Stampede Blue)

Colts Couch Crew (MVN)

The Hail Mary, as You Probably Haven’t Seen It Before

This clip involves the question of who threw a whiskey bottle at a referee at the old Metropolitan Stadium in during the 1975 playoffs in a game between the Vikings and Cowboys. You might remember that game– some quarterback named Staubach threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to a receiver named Pearson.

This clip shows not only the debate among tailgaters, but also shows the original broadcast clip. Great stuff.

SportProjections.com: NFC East Preview

SportProjections.com, which provides previews of the seasons for each of the major sports, has published its preview of the NFC East, including posts on each of the four teams. Various independent bloggers served as writers, including one who has this thing for trivia that interests almost nobody…

Three of the four writers (including your’s truly) have the teams finishing in this order:

1. Philadelphia (preview by the blogger at Inside the Iggles)
2. Dallas (preview by that blogger at Know Your Dallas Cowboys)
3. Washington (previewed by the blogger at Hogs Haven)
4. N.Y. Giants (previewed by the blogger at MVN-Giants).

The Giants’ writer had the G-Men winning the division, of course. As for my prediction, here is why I would not put Dallas on top:

2007 Projected Record: 10-6

2007 Season Projection Summary:

Although Dallas has enough talent on paper to do better than 10 wins, the team has had trouble with underachievement in the past several years. No Dallas team has won more than 10 games since the Cowboys’ last Super Bowl team in 1995. Although this should be a team on the rise, and even though Dallas has a favorable schedule, the Cowboys will probably split games with division rivals. Dallas plays two of its first three on the road, including visits to Miami and Chicago. Home games against St. Louis and New England will probably be tough, as may another home game against Minnesota. Around Thanksgiving, Dallas plays three straight home games, which could be very beneficial. However, the Cowboys close the season with three of four on the road, including games at Carolina and Washington.

Although Romo shouldered some of the blame for the team’s performance down the stretch in 2006, he continually showed why he is the team’s future at quarterback. In the playoff loss to Seattle, he put his team in position to win (at least playing quarterback and not as a kick holder), and that is the best you can expect from a young quarterback in a pressure situation. The running game with both Jones and Barber is solid, and the offensive line should be in better shape than it has been in years. The receiving corps is talented, but having receivers in their mid-30s, with no other proven performers backing them up, is a bit of a gamble. Tight end Jason Witten is one of the best in the NFC, and the team’s second tight end, Anthony Fasano, has shown improvement.

Phillips is probably on a short leash, with the team expecting him to revive the defense. He has been a solid head coach in the past but has never won more than 11 games in a season and never won a playoff game in his stops at Denver and Buffalo. Much of his success may depend on how first-year offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, a former Dallas quarterback, runs the offense.

I am also trying to avoid getting burned as I did last season, when I was dead certain that Dallas would go 11-5 and make it to the NFC Championship game. I will say, though, that I think a playoff win is very possible. Or perhaps I am just hoping…?

Romo to Play One Quarter This Week, Sans Top Receivers and Tackles

Here’s the word on the street:

— Tony Romo will play one quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, though he will be without starting tackles Flozell Adams and Marc Columbo as well as receivers Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens. (Dallas Morning News).
— Owens had an MRI on his back, but it came back negative. He is listed as day-to-day. (Yahoo).
–Glenn will miss at least two weeks of practice after undergoing an MRI on his knee. (Sports Network).
–Priest Holmes has expressed interest in playing for the Cowboys if the Chiefs don’t want him. (Yahoo)

Video: Michael Irvin’s Hall of Fame Induction

Here is a video clip of Michael Irvin’s induction into the Hall of Fame, including Jerry Jones’ introduction and Irvin’s speech itself.


Michael Irvin HOF Ceremony

[tags]Michael Irvin, video, Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones[/tags]

You Want Evidence of an Anti-Cowboy Bias?

Four members of the 1970s version of the St. Louis Cardinals were named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1970s. Certainly a talented bunch for their time– just never mind the fact that St. Louis only managed four winning seasons and two playoff appearances in the decade. With the induction of Roger Wehrli to the Hall of Fame this weekend, three of those four players are now in the Hall of Fame. The other player was kicker Jim Bakken.

How ’bout them Cowboys? This team had ten winning seasons, nine playoff appearances, five Super Bowl appearances, and two Super Bowl wins in the 1970s. Six members of the team were named to the All-Decade team. Only three have made it into the Hall of Fame. Here is a list of the All-Decade team of the 1970s, with the team(s) on which each player was a member and an indication of whether the player has made the Hall of Fame:


Offense
Quarterbacks
Terry Bradshaw Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Ken Stabler Oakland Raiders No
Roger Staubach Dallas Cowboys Yes
Running Backs
Earl Campbell Houston Oilers Yes
Franco Harris Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Walter Payton Chicago Bears Yes
O.J. Simpson Buffalo Bills Yes
Wide Receivers
Harold Carmichael Philadelphia Eagles No
Drew Pearson Dallas Cowboys No
Lynn Swann Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Paul Warfield Miami Dolphins Yes
Tight Ends
Dave Casper Oakland Raiders Yes
Charlie Sanders Detroit Lions Yes
Tackles
Dan Dierdorf St. Louis Cardinals Yes
Art Shell Oakland Raiders Yes
Rayfield Wright Dallas Cowboys Yes
Ron Yary Minnesota Vikings Yes
Guards
Joe DeLamielleure Buffalo Bills Yes
John Hannah New England Patriots Yes
Larry Little Miami Dolphins Yes
Gene Upshaw Oakland Raiders Yes
Centers
Jim Langer Miami Dolphins Yes
Mike Webster Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Defense
Defensive Ends
Carl Eller Minnesota Vikings Yes
Seattle Seahawks  
L.C. Greenwood Pittsburgh Steelers No
Harvey Martin Dallas Cowboys No
Jack Youngblood Los Angeles Rams Yes
Defensive Tackles
Joe Greene Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Bob Lilly Dallas Cowboys Yes
Merlin Olsen Los Angeles Rams Yes
Alan Page Minnesota Vikings Yes
Linebackers
Bobby Bell Kansas City Chiefs Yes
Robert Brazile Houston Oilers No
Dick Butkus Chicago Bears Yes
Jack Ham Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Ted Hendricks Baltimore Colts Yes
Green Bay Packers
Oakland Raiders
Jack Lambert Pittsburgh Steelers Yes
Cornerbacks
Willie Brown Oakland Raiders Yes
Jimmy Johnson San Francisco 49ers Yes
Roger Wehrli St. Louis Cardinals Yes
Louis Wright Denver Broncos No
Safeties
Dick Anderson Miami Dolphins Yes
Cliff Harris Dallas Cowboys No
Ken Houston Houston Oilers Yes
Washington Redskins
Larry Wilson St. Louis Cardinals Yes
Special Teams
Kickers    
Jim Bakken St. Louis Cardinals No
Garo Yepremian Miami Dolphins No
Punter
Ray Guy Oakland Raiders No

 

Here is another table showing the percentage of All-Decade members who are also in the Hall of Fame, organized by team:

Team 70s Team Hall of Famers Pct.
Baltimore Colts 1 1 100.00%
Buffalo Bills 2 2 100.00%
Chicago Bears 2 2 100.00%
Detroit Lions 1 1 100.00%
Green Bay Packers 1 1 100.00%
Kansas City Chiefs 1 1 100.00%
Los Angeles Rams 2 2 100.00%
Minnesota Vikings 3 3 100.00%
New England Patriots 1 1 100.00%
San Francisco 49ers 1 1 100.00%
Seattle Seahawks 1 1 100.00%
Washington Redskins 1 1 100.00%
Pittsburgh Steelers 8 7 87.50%
Miami Dolphins 5 4 80.00%
St. Louis Cardinals 4 3 75.00%
Oakland Raiders 7 5 71.42%
Houston Oilers 3 2 66.67%
Dallas Cowboys 6 3 50.00%
Denver Broncos 1 0 0.00%
Philadelphia Eagles 1 0 0.00%

 

I am more than a little bit happy that Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Rayfield Wright made it into the Hall of Fame, but those other three deserve to be there. Unfortunately, the voters’ love for those losers that were the Cardinals may give Bakken a better chance than the three who should be there. Shameful.

[tags]Dallas Cowboys, Hall of Fame[/tags]