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Rest in Peace, Jerry Tubbs

There was sad news today as former linebacker and assistant coach Jerry Tubbs died at the age of 77.

He played during a time before many of us were around to watch the Cowboys. He was, though, associated with the team for just as long as Tex Schramm and Tom Landry, and more should be familiar with who he was.

He was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cardinals in 1957 but did little to stand out during his first three years in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers left him unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft, and the Dallas Cowboys acquired him.

Tubbs played middle linebacker in Tom Landry‘s 4-3 defense. Anyone who has heard of Sam Huff knows the importance of the MLB in this system.

He was part of the first core group of players for the Cowboys. In 1962, he earned a berth in the Pro Bowl along side Bob Lilly and Don Bishop. That marked the first year that a defensive player for Dallas made the Pro Bowl.

He remained a starter until 1966, when Lee Roy Jordan moved over to the middle. Tubbs suffered a back injury in 1966 and played in only four games.

Tubbs joined the Dallas coaching staff in 1968 and remained as an assistant until the end of the Tom Landry era in 1989.

He was survived by his wife, Marlene.

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Dallas Cowboys Jersey Numbers: Updates for Nos. 36 through 40

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Bryan McCray has been fine on special teams, but he is not a better #40 than Bill Bates.

Sorry for the delay between posts. This is the latest update to the greatest Dallas Cowboys by their jersey numbers. This entry focuses on numbers 36 through 40.

#36

Vince Albritton is not one of the great names in Cowboys history, but few notable players have worn number 36. He received 45% of the vote in 2008. Since then, three players have worn #36, including Michael HamlinMana Silva, and Andrew Sendejo.

#37

James Washington only played in Dallas for five seasons, but he made his mark. That was especially true in Super Bowl XXVIII, when he did enough to earn MVP honors.

Since 2008, only Bryan McCann has worn #37. Though McCann provided highlight moments in 2010, he did not last long in Dallas.

Rookie safety Matt Johnson is scheduled to wear #37 in 2012.

#38

Roy Williams wore #38 during his final season in Dallas in 2008. Nobody has worn the number since then. The player chosen in 2008 as the greatest was kicker/punter Sam Baker.

#39

Although Lousaka Polite edged Derrick Gainer as the greatest to wear #39. Brandon Carr is schedule to wear the number in 2012, and it will not take long for him to become the greatest.

#40

Bill Bates received 99% of the votes on 2008 as the greatest to wear #40. Danny McCray is not going to strip that title from Bates.

 

Here is the entire list:

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Dallas Cowboys Jersey Numbers: Updates for Nos. 31 through 35

Orlando Scandrick at the Dallas Cowboys traini...

Orlando Scandrick isn't a bad nickel corner, but he is not the best player to wear #32.

Here is the latest update to the greatest Dallas Cowboys by their jersey numbers. This entry focuses on numbers 31 through 35.

#31

Roy Williams had perhaps the most dramatic fall from grace of any star in Cowboys history. He made five consecutive Pro Bowls before losing the ability to cover tight ends. Once his coverage ability was gone, he became a liability. He changed numbers from 31 to 38 in 2008 but only played in three games. He played two years in Cincinnati but was out of football after 2010.

Mike Jenkins wore #31 as a rookie but changed to #21 in 2009.

#32

Walt Garrison was voted the best player to wear #32, and Orlando Scandrick is not going to change that.

#33

Duane Thomas has a place in team history, but nobody who wore #33 was better than Tony Dorsett. Nate Jones wore the number until he left after the 2007 season. Although players have worn it in preseason, nobody has worn it in a regular season game since 2007.

#34

I originally voted for Cornell Green at #34, but Hershel Walker received the most votes. Deon Anderson saw some action as a fullback but had trouble overcoming injuries. Philip Tanner wore the number in 2011 but had less than 100 total rushing yards.

#35

Calvin Hill received 90% of the votes in 2008, and only Tra Battle and Lonyae Miller have worn #35 since than.

 

The complete list:

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Is Everson Walls to Blame for “The Catch”?

The 49ers got to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The [@#%$&!!!] Catch” on January 10 this year. I don’t need to remind anyone, but one dynasty began that day while the Cowboys fell into mediocrity in a few short seasons.

It hasn’t ever helped Everson Walls that the Sports Illustrated cover featuring the play also prominently shows Walls. Here it is:

Everson Walls, The Catch
Everson Walls on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

In a brief discussion on Dallas Cowboy Fans United about the greatest player to wear #24, a question arose about whether Walls was actually to blame for the play.

I’ve always thought the entire defense was to blame for the entire drive. However, I have also thought that Walls had Clark in man coverage. The Wikipedia entry for Walls notes, without attribution, that Walls thinks The Catch “tarnished his otherwise outstanding pro career.”

Others disagree that the play was actually Walls’ fault, and that may very well be the case. Safety Michael Downs was playing in the middle of the field, and it appears that Walls briefly released Clark to Downs on the play. Here is the replay:

Still, in a recent interview, Walls does not provide much insight about who is to blame, and we might just need to leave good enough (or bad enough) alone.

Here is the interview:

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Dallas Cowboys Jersey Numbers: Updates for Nos. 26 through 30

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Running back DeMar...
DeMarco Murray may already be the greatest player to wear #29 for the Dallas Cowboys.

This is another update to the greatest Dallas Cowboys by their jersey numbers. This entry focuses on numbers 26 through 30.

#26

Cornerback Kevin Smith was the greatest player to wear #26 according to the 2008 poll. Nobody has come along to take that title from him.

Abram Elam changed from #24 to #26 before the start of last season. He had also worn #37 during his first stop in Dallas in 2006.

#27

Ron Fellows remains the greatest to wear #27. Cornerback Cletis Gordon wore the number when he played in one game in 2009. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah wore #27 when he played in 2010. He played briefly for Jacksonville before returning to Dallas in 2011 and wore #11. He is listed as #26 for 2012, assuming he makes the team.

#28

Darren Woodson received 99% of the votes as the greatest #28. Running back Felix Jones has worn the number since 2008, but he is most certainly not better than Woodson.

#29

In just one season, DeMarco Murray became the toast of the town by rushing for 897 yards. Kenneth Gant received the most votes in 2008, but Murray could overtake Gant with another solid performance in 2012.

#30

The only player to wear #30 since 2008 was backup running back Chauncey Washington. He will not overtake Dan Reeves for this jersey number.

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Dallas Cowboys Jersey Numbers: Updates for Nos. 21 through 25

HONOLULU (Feb. 10, 2008) Dallas Cowboys runnin...

Running back Marion Barber wore #24 while playing in six seasons in Dallas.

Here is another update to the greatest Dallas Cowboys by their jersey numbers. This entry focuses on numbers 21 through 25.

#21

Nobody is going to overtake Deion Sanders as the greatest player to wear #21. Since 2008, both Pacman Jones and Mike Jenkins have worn the number. Jenkins made the Pro Bowl in 2009 but has been disappointing since then. Pacman lasted one season in Dallas before moving on.

#22

It’s highly unlikely that any player wears #22 again for the Cowboys. Two Hall-of -Famers is enough.

#23

The Cowboys took Tashard Choice in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. He rushed for 1,139 yards in four seasons with the Cowboys, but the team let him go after six games in 2011. He played briefly for the Redskins before signing with the Bills. His playing days may be over.

It is possible that Choice is the greatest player to wear #23, given that the top player in 2008 was former defensive back Robert Williams. Thoughts?

#24

Marion Barber played for Dallas from 2005 to 2010 and gained 4,358 rushing yards. Dallas released him, and he played one more season in Chicago before retiring.

Two players wore #24 in 2011. Abram Elam started with the number but then changed to #26. Fullback Tony Fiammetta later wore the number when he played in 10 games for the team.

It turns out I missed Elam when I summarized #37 in 2008. He wore that number when he played for Dallas in 2006.

#25

Pat Watkins wore #25 from 2006 through 2009. Cornerback Frank Walker wore it in 2011.

 

Below is a complete list of players who have worn numbers 21 through 25.

 

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Cowboys Ranked #14 in Future Power Rankings

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ESPN is not overly impressed with Jason Garrett's rebuilding job. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cowboys have had a couple of solid drafts, and the team has managed to get younger very quickly under head coach Jason Garrett.

Many fans would think that these moves, as well as free agent signings, would mean that things are looking up for the Cowboys in the near future. However, a recent article on ESPN ranked the Cowboys at #14 in terms of the team’s outlook for 2015.

Dallas has just the third highest ranking in the NFC East and ninth overall ranking in the NFC. The team trails both the Eagles and the Giants and even comes in behind the Panthers and Falcons.

The article broke down the rankings into five categories, including roster, quarterback, draft, front office, and coaching. Here is a complete description of the ranking.

Dallas wasn’t bad in terms of QB or coaching, but the team took a hit for its front office and draft. The summary is as follows:

Roster: Age is a concern. And unless they do a good job in free agency and the draft, the talent level will drop off in the next couple of years. They should remain fairly young at WR and RB, and they seem to be rebuilding their offensive line. Defensively, they are not very young and their best playmaker of the future will be rookie CB Morris Claiborne, but a lot of replacements are needed.

Quarterback: Tony Romo is perhaps the NFL’s most underrated QB. Given protection, he’ll put up big numbers, period. Romo can play hurt, but adding Kyle Orton to the roster gives Dallas one of the NFL’s best QB situations.

Draft: The Jerry Jones-led war room has an unpredictable streak, but the Cowboys’ great need picks — in T Tyron Smith and Claiborne in back-to-back years — tells me they may have toned it down. The 2009 draft was bad, but they’ve had good results since.

Front office: Jones may be the most involved owner in the NFL, in terms of player personnel, and every decision goes through him. Although his son, Stephen, continues to take a bigger role in day to day operations. Scouting director Tom Ciskowski is a blue-collar, well-respected guy. They will do whatever it takes to attract players in free agency and aggressively upgrade their roster.

Coaching: Not always a real patient organization under Jones, the Cowboys’ expectations are so high that if success isn’t immediate there can be turnover. However, because this is such a high-profile team with a chance to win every year, they also attract the top coaches in the business and you get the feeling that things have stabilized now that coach Jason Garrett is more comfortable and he has two big-time coordinators, Bill Callahan (offense) and Rob Ryan (defense). The group in Dallas may stay together for a while … if they succeed in the present.

Most of these are fair assessments. Two good drafts do not erase several bad drafts, so the team will have to continue to improve in that area. It would be nice if Jerry would get out of the way, but nobody really believes that will happen.

One gripe about this piece is the suggestion that the roster is old. The Cowboys had three starters over the age of 30 in 2012 (Romo, Kyle Kosier, and Montrae Holland). Two of those three (both guards) are gone. Jason Witten has turned 30, but the other players are also quite young.

On defense, the best players are DeMarcus Ware (turns 30 in July), Jay Ratliff (turns 31 in August), and Sean Lee (25). Terence Newman and Abram Elam are gone, and the team will have entire secondary of players who are under 30. The team will need to replace its safeties and some of its defensive linemen, but that is because those positions require upgrades and not so much because of age.

By 2015, there will be concerns about some of these ages, but the future of the team will likely hinge on the development of Lee, Dez Bryant, Mo Claiborne, and so forth.

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Jerry Jones Should “Urgently” Get Out of the Way

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jerry needs to learn the difference between “moving in the right direction” and “urgently need to win right now.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a team talks about a window of opportunity, it is usually in the context of a team that has fallen short in the playoffs. For instance, the Baltimore Ravens might talk about their window of opportunity after reaching the AFC title game in two of the last four seasons and coming within a dropped pass of going to the Super Bowl last year.

When a team has done what the Cowboys have done, there isn’t much of a basis to say that a window has been open, let alone to say that it has begun to close.

Let’s put it this way: would anyone dare say that the Cincinnati Bengals have recently had a window of opportunity to win a title? No. What have the Bengals done recently? They have had two winning seasons in the last three years, and two playoff appearances in the past seven.

The Cowboys? They have won one more game than the Bengals in the past two years and have not had a winning record since 2009. Dallas has been to the playoffs three times in the past eight years.

With this as background, Jerry Jones‘ recent statements about how urgent it is for the Cowboys to win it all right now is somewhere between sad and laughable. The quote from ESPN was this:

Well, my window is getting shorter. Time goes by. I do feel real pressure because we do have players not only in Tony Romo, but Jason Witten (and) DeMarcus Ware, to leave out several that are (also) in the prime of their career. And we need to strike and strike soon with those guys.

(Coach) Jason Garrett feels exactly the same way about it and understands how urgent it is. Candidly, you’re wearing Chemion and looking through rose-colored glasses if we all don’t realize that now is the time to compete on the field.

This is a team that has taken steps in the right direction. It has become younger overall and has some exciting young talent. That is reason for optimism.

But this is also a team with a bunch of holes, including question marks on the offensive line, wide receiver, and safety. And as good as Romo, Witten, and Ware have been, they have not helped this team win more than a single playoff game, let alone three or four in a row in the same season. Realistically, this team looks like it could be a solid contender as early as 2013, but there are too many question marks to expect too much in 2012.

Fox’s Matt Mosley wrote:

Other than Wade Phillips’ 2007 campaign with a lot of Bill Parcells carryovers, it’s been years since the Cowboys could reasonably expect to make noise in the playoffs. Now, Jones is forced to roll out the tired rally cry of how the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants were able to win Super Bowls after 9-7 records in the regular season. Of course, those teams actually built momentum down the stretch and remained hot in the postseason. The Cowboys seem to peak in October and then slump when the stakes become higher.

Exactly. And my point here is not that this team doesn’t have potential or even that I am unhappy with the moves made this offseason. However, “moving in the right direction” and “urgently need to win right now” don’t seem to be very comparable.

As for Jerry, this seems to be just more proof that he is a bigger part of the problem than he is a key to any solution.

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Dallas Cowboys Jersey Numbers: Updates for Nos. 16 through 20

More updates to the series on greatest Dallas Cowboys by their jersey numbers. This entry focuses on numbers 16 through 20.

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Miles Austin #19...
Is Miles Austin the greatest player to wear #19? (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Not many notable players have worn #16. Vinny Testaverde received the most votes in 2008, and he remains the best player to wear that number.

There is only one player who has worn the number since that time: wide receiver Jesse Holley. He won Michael Irvin‘s reality show, 4th and Long, which gave Holley the chance to make the Cowboys roster. In two seasons, he has seven receptions, including an important catch in overtime in the Cowboys’ win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.

Sam Hurd was the last player to wear #17. He played in Dallas until 2010 and joined the Chicago Bears in 2011. However, he was arrested on federal drug charges, and his future does not look bright.

Dallas spent a draft pick on kicker David Buehler in 2009. Wearing #18, he was a very good kickoff specialist as a rookie. However, when he became the full-time kicker in 2010, his kickoff suffered. When the league moved kickoffs back to the 35, his value sank. Dallas released him after the 2011 season.

At the time of the original series, Miles Austin had not yet emerged, and Lance Rentzel was the greatest #19 in team history. Austin had a breakout season in 2009, though, recording 1,320 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns. He also gained 1,000 yards in 2010 but struggled in 2011 due to injuries.

Rentzel only gained 35% of the vote and barely beat Keyshawn Johnson and Lance Alworth. Here is a new poll that features Austin:

Who is the greatest player to wear #19?

View Results

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Lastly, Alan Ball continues to wear #20. He moved from corner to safety in 2010 but bombed miserably. He returned to play corner in 2011.

Update (6/3/2012): Ball has reportedly signed with the Houston Texans, where he will be reunited with former Dallas head coach Wade Phillips.

Here is a list of all the players to wear numbers between 16 and 20:

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Dallas Cowboys Jersey Numbers: Updates for Nos. 11 through 15

Roy Williams (wide receiver) - Dallas Cowboys
Roy Williams was most certainly not the greatest player to wear #11 for the Cowboys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this update to the series on greatest Dallas Cowboys by their jersey numbers, we focus on numbers 11 through 15.

The most noteworthy update involves #11, worn by wide receiver Roy Williams from 2008 to 2010. The Cowboys gave up a first-round pick in 2009 to acquire Williams, who was supposed to complement Terrell Owens. However, Williams simply could not hold on to the ball consistently and was quickly labeled as a bust.

Danny White received 96% of the votes as the greatest player to wear #11, and Williams did nothing to garner any votes.

(Defensive back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah also wore #11 during the 2011 season, but he played a few more games in 2010 wearing #27.)

#14: Receiver Dwayne Harris joined the Cowboys in 2011 and played in seven games wearing #14. He was used primarily as a returner.

#15: Manual Johnson saw action in two games in 2010, catching one pass for two yards in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here is a complete list of players who have worn numbers 11 through 15:

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