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Early Odds Have the Cowboys at 20/1 to Win Super Bowl

Back of Dallas Cowboys helmet
The Cowboys have 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl next season. Wikipedia)

Offseason personnel moves seem to have helped the Cowboys as far as their odds for winning Super Bowl XLVII. Odds-makers have the Cowboys as 20/1 favorites to win it all in 2012. That ranks about 11th among the NFL teams.

The Packers are the favorites at this point at 13/2, while the Patriots are at 8/1.

Here is a list:

Green Bay – 13/2

New England – 8/1

San Francisco 49ers – 10/1

Denver Broncos – 12/1

Houston Texans – 12/1

Philadelphia Eagles – 14/1

Baltimore Ravens – 16/1

New Orleans Saints – 16/1

New York Giants – 16/1

Chicago Bears – 20/1

Dallas Cowboys – 20/1

Pittsburgh Steelers – 20/1

 

Dallas is already an underdog for week 1 according to Betfirms.com, which currently lists the Cowboys as a 3.5-point underdog when Dallas faces the New York Giants on September 1.

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Jason Witten: “We’re playing great”

Jason Witten
A realist probably knows the Cowboys haven’t played great lately.

I am going to criticize Jason Witten in this short post, and some may not forgive me for it. However, I think that Jerry Jones‘ nonsense has rubbed off on his veteran tight end, and I just want to point this out.

The analysts at NFL.com debated whether time was running out on the Cowboys’ playoff window, with the story headline “Now or never.”  The story itself mentions that there is a closing window for the Cowboys to win it all. Here is Witten’s quote that appears as part of that story:

You try not to think about the window. But obviously, we’re realists. We understand where it’s at. I feel great and we’re playing great. But it’s about now. I think that’s how this whole organization thinks, from owner to head coach to veteran players.

Here’s my problem: How do you use the term “realists” followed two sentences later with “we’re playing great?”

This is a team that has gone 6-10 and 8-8 in two seasons. Witten has only played in five playoff games during ten years. The last time the Cowboys were in a solid position to do anything in the playoffs was 2007, and the team blew it against the Giants at home.

The point that the analysts addressed was whether the window is closing for veteran Cowboys. That would include Witten and Tony Romo. The rest of the team’s core is rather young, though, so it is tough to say who else is watching the window shut.

When the season starts, DeMarcus Ware will be 30 and Jay Ratliff will be 31. It’s hard to believe they don’t have at least four more years left in them. Miles Austin will be 28, and all of the running backs along with Dez Bryant are younger than that.

On defense, things are looking better with younger players like Sean Lee and the revamped secondary.

It looks more like a window could start opening if the team could get more solid play from its 32-year-old quarterback. Using great to describe anything about this franchise, though, is just pushing it.

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Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: The 1989 Season

Back to the Dallas Cowboys history in quote series. Today’s quote focus on the 1989 Cowboys, who went 1-15 in Jimmy Johnson‘s first season as head coach.

Before the quotes, take a look at a “highlight” videos about that team.

Oh, there’s more, including Part 2 and Part 3.

On to the quotes—

“‘K mart’ didn’t try to fall down. That’s just football. You’ve got to accept it.”

Troy Aikman after a 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys led 21-10 at halftime but could not score in the second half. Aikman was referring to receiver Kelvin Martin, who fell down on a route late in the game, leading to an Aikman interception.

“The rocky days are not over for the Cowboys. But I’m happy to get the win. We’re going to have a lot of wins over the next so-many years in Dallas, and it’s good to get it started.”

Jimmy Johnson after the Cowboys picked up their first and only win of the 1989 season against the Washington Redskins.

“Winning and losing concerns me, but what concerns me more is when you take away from the integrity of the game. It was confirmed last night by an Eagles coach and two Eagles’ players that there was a $200 bounty on Luis Zendejas and a $500 bounty on Troy Aikman. That’s not the way the game is supposed to be played.”

Johnson about bounties that Philadelphia coach Buddy Ryan placed on several Cowboys’ heads. Dallas lost to the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day, 27-0.

Did You Know?

When the Cowboys lost to the Falcons, it marked the first time since 1963 that Dallas had started a season 0-2.

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Two Former Dallas Cowboys Make List of Overpaid Players

Roy Williams (wide receiver) - Dallas Cowboys

Roy Williams: One of the worst players who made the most money (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerry Jones and staff have made some bad personnel moves. I think we could all accept that statement as fact. However, it might be more difficult to come to an agreement about players to whom the Cowboys have paid too much money.

A writer for Bleacher Report has a couple of ideas. Amber Lee has compiled a list of the 50 Worst Players Who Made the Most Money, and two Cowboys made the list.

First, there’s kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who was ranked 49th.

Leave it to the Dallas Cowboys to overpay for the original “idiot kicker.” Seriously, this dude put the “Jag” in “Vanderjagt.”

When the Cowboys signed Mike Vanderjagt, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, in early 2006, they assumed their woes in the kicking game were behind them–they were wrong.

Over the first three months of the season, Vanderjagt’s kicking percentage was just 72 percent—the lowest of his nine-year career. He was released before the end of the season on November 27, 2006.

The average salary of a kicker in the NFL is approximately $850,000; Vanderjagt was signed to a three-year deal worth $5.4 million. Despite being cut less than a season into his contract, Vanderjagt walked out of Dallas with almost $4 million.

Second, there is receiver Roy Williams, who was ranked 6th.

Roy Williams is one of the most overrated, under-producing wide receivers in NFL history. After a promising start to his career in Detroit, Williams was traded to the Cowboys for a first, third and sixth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

After his arrival in Big D, Williams agreed to a six-year, $54 million contract, with $26 million guaranteed.

Williams called his experience in Dallas “a nightmare,” and the feeling was mutual—he was released in July 2011. That’s right, in the world of Roy Williams, raking in $26 million dollar as a useless fourth receiver is a “nightmare.”

Williams went on to disappoint in Chicago. Wonder who will overpay Williams to consume oxygen in 2012…

Fair enough, but there is another player who belongs on this list. No, it’s not T.O.

You might recall that Dallas not only wasted two first-round picks on Joey Galloway in 2000, but the team also signed him to a seven-year, $42 million contract. That came at a time when the Cowboys were in salary-cap hell. He played in 48 games with Dallas and had a total of 2,341 receiving yards.

Are there others?

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Cowboys Grab Boise State DE Tyrone Crawford in the 3rd

Instead of taking a defensive tackle with the #14 pick on Thursday, the Cowboys traded up to grab a corner in Morris Claiborne. Several thought the Cowboys would find a way to get back into the second round by trading cornerback Mike Jenkins, but it didn’t happen.

Instead, the Cowboys stayed put at #81 and took Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford. It was hardly a pick that grabbed headlines, but it also did not draw anything negative. None of the commentary I’ve seen has said that this was a bad pick.

Here is a video showing a few “highlights” from a couple Boise State games. Crawford (#40) had a few good plays, but nothing overwhelming.

NFL.com had Crawford rated at 77.5, while ESPN rated him at 75. He is above average overall only average in terms of pass rush according to ESPN.

Two defensive tackles were available after Crawford, including Brandon Thompson of Clemson.

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The Most Miserable First-Round Cowboys Bust Was David LaFleur?

It was often a challenge to find Bobby Carpenter on the screen while watching him play for the Cowboys. Fortunately, we have arrows.

Yahoo ran a post about “sad, miserable first-round flops for all 32 teams.” The results were largely predictable, but I don’t think the selection for the worst Dallas Cowboys draft pick was the best (or, um, worst):

Dallas Cowboys: David LaFleur, 22nd overall, 1997. In a four-year career, LaFleur averaged fewer than 200 yards receiving per season. That’s about 12 yards per game, which isn’t what you’re looking for out of a first-round tight end. The other tight end taken in the first round that year fared slightly better.

Honorable Mention: Bobby Carpenter

I can’t defend LaFleur, but he was a bust because of injuries as much as anything else. He showed improvement during his first three years in the league and caught seven touchdown passes in 1999, when he played in all 16 games. However, his back was a mess, forcing him to retire after the 2000 season. If the Cowboys had taken LaFleur with a top 10 pick, that would have been one thing. However, Dallas took him with #22 pick, nine picks after the Chiefs took Tony Gonzalez. If the Cowboys really wanted a bust in the first round of the 1997 draft, they could have taken DE Jon Harris (#25 by the Eagles), Jim Druckenmiller (#26 by the 49ers), or Rae Carruth (#27 by the Panthers).

Selecting Bobby Carpenter with the #18 pick never made sense. Taking Shante Carver with the #23 pick never made sense. Reaching for Rod Hill from Kentucky State never made sense.

Just for good measure, let’s throw in Tody Smith (1971), Bill Thomas (1972), Charley Young (1974), Larry Bethea (1978), Billy Cannon, Jr. (1984), and Kevin Brooks (1985).

And I’d like to mention Bobby Carpenter one more time, just because I can.

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Mel Kiper’s “A” Draft Has Dallas Taking a Safety, Linebacker, and Corner

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  David Detz #19 ...
Mark Barron (#4) remains Mel Kiper’s choice as the Cowboys’ first-round pick.

Alabama safety Mark Barron has been the Cowboys’ first-round selection on Mel Kiper‘s board for quite some time.

In Kiper’s latest post, he lists what he considers to be an “A” draft for each team, listing the picks for the top three rounds. He still has Barron at the top of the list, but he no longer has Dallas taking an offensive lineman in the second round. Instead, he predicts that Dallas will take Clemson OLB Andre Branch.

Here is his post:

Top needs: G/C, CB, OLB, SS, DE, TE

Rd. 1 (14) S Mark Barron, Alabama
Rd. 2 (45) OLB Andre Branch, Clemson
Rd. 3 (81) CB Justin Bethel, Presbyterian

Analysis: The Cowboys need to shore up their coverage and get a lot of help here in the secondary and with an added piece in the pass rush. Barron makes too much sense. He has a good chance to be there at No. 14, and in this simulation he was. He provides an immediate upgrade. Branch is a guy scouts disagree on, but only on whether he’s got the talent of a late-first-round grade. Midway through Round 2, Dallas can’t go wrong, and he’ll provide depth on the edge. You can’t have too many pass-rushers. Bethel could be one of the sleepers of the draft. A star at Presbyterian, he has plenty of physical talent, and Dallas isn’t out of the woods in the secondary because of the addition of Brandon Carr.

 

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Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: Terrell Owens

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens at ...
Review a series of quotes about former Dallas WR Terrell Owens, shown here during the 2008 preseason. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terrell Owens still manages to make news in Dallas, even though he hasn’t played for the Cowboys since 2008.

His latest shots came a couple of days ago in an interview where he blamed Tony Romo for his release. No surprises there. In light of this “news,” and a part of the Dallas Cowboys history in quotes series, here are some quotes featuring the former Dallas receiver.

“Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive.”

Kim Etheredge, Owens’ publicist, about reports that T.O. tried to kill himself in 2006.

Source: ESPN, Sept. 28, 2006

“It’s very unfortunate for the reports to go from an allergic reaction to a definite suicide attempt.”

Owens, who later said he was depressed because of his former fiancee.

Source: ESPN, Sept. 28, 2006

“Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite — in this locker room or in Texas Stadium.”

Owens, after Simpson attended a game on Dec. 16, 2007. Dallas lost to the Philadelphia Eagles while she watched.

Source: Fox News, Dec. 19, 2007

“If you do that, that’s really unfair. Really unfair. That’s my teammate. That’s my quarterback. We lost as a team. We lost as a team, man.”

Owens, after Dallas lost 21-17 to the New York Giants in the 2007 playoffs.

Source: New York Times, January 14, 2008

“You hear all the speculation, and you talk to the owner of the team, and he reassures you, you’re not going anywhere and then, out of left-field … you get blindsided.”

Owens, after Dallas cut him following the 2008 season.

Source: ESPN, March 29, 2009

Did You Know?

Despite playing in only 47 games in Dallas, Owens ranks 14th in career receptions (235), 8th in career receiving yards (3587), and 8th in career touchdown receptions (38) in team history.

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Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: First-Round Busts

One quote today focuses on former first-round bust Bobby Carpenter.

News today is that the New England Patriots signed former Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter. He was a first-round pick in 2006 but never did much of anything in Dallas.

In honor of Bobby, and as part of the Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes series, here are three quotes about former first-round busts.

“[He] is vitally important to the future of the club. This year he would have helped us, or will if he comes back.”

Tom Landry about Tody Smith, the team’s first-round pick in the 1971 draft. Landry made this statement in August 1972 after Smith walked out of camp. Smith returned and played in ten games in 1972. Dallas traded him to Houston in 1973. Thanks to that trade, the Cowboys had the first overall pick in the 1974 Draft and used it to take Ed “Too Tall” Jones.

Smith was the brother of Bubba Smith of the Baltimore Colts. Tody Smith played through the 1976 season.

Source: Milwaukee Journal, August 4, 1972

“If we wanted to be sure we were right we would have chosen somebody else. There were other more solid picks. We were impressed with his movement during a tryout camp we had down here.”

Landry about Rod Hill, whom the Cowboys took with the 25th overall pick in 1982. Landry’s rather strange comment was in response to concerns about Hill’s ankle, which cost Hill three games at Kentucky State the previous year. Dallas liked Hill’s upside.

Hill returned a total of 34 punts and 14 kickoffs in two seasons. He also had two interceptions in 1983, his final year in Dallas. He played with the Bills, Lions, and Raiders between 1984 and 1987.

Source: The Bonham Daily Favorite, April 28, 1982

“I can bring a lot of different things to the table.”

Bobby Carpenter after the Cowboys drafted him with the 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft. Carpenter never developed as a starter and only lasted four seasons in Dallas.

Source: DallasCowboys.com, May 6, 2006

Did You Know?

The Cowboys did not miss out on much in the 1982 draft. The players who went after Hill were Glen Collins (Cincinnati) and Lester Williams (New England), neither of whom had solid careers. The best player taken in the second round that year was linebacker Andre Tippett, who became a Hall of Famer in New England.

The Cowboys really could have used players available in 1971 and 2006, though.

Players available in 1971 after the Cowboys took Smith in the first round: linebacker Jack Ham (Pittsburgh) and tackle Dan Dierdorf (St. Louis). The Patriots also picked up Julius Adams, who was a 12-year starter.

As for the players taken after Carpenter in 2006? Antonio Cromartie, Tamba Hali, Laurence Maroney, Manny Lawson, Davin Joseph, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Nick Mangold, Joseph Addai, and Mathias Kiwanuka. There were plenty of others available later, including Maurice Jones-Drew, Devin Hester, and Jahri Evans.

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Dallas Cowboys History in Quotes: The Bill Parcells Era

Sean Payton’s Saints dominated Bill Parcells’ Cowboys in 2006.

It is very possible that the New Orleans Saints will hire Bill Parcells to serve as the team’s interim head coach in 2012 while Sean Payton serves a suspension. It has been six years since Parcells coached the Cowboys, so this is not exactly a Cowboys story. On the other hand, Payton was an assistant under Parcells in Dallas, so there is at least a connection there.

As part of the Dallas Cowboys history in quotes series, here are some quotes from and about Parcells during his time in Dallas.

“Bill Parcells fits his assistants for muzzles.”

Headline of the Dallas Morning News after the Cowboys hired Parcells, who was notorius for not letting his assistants talk to the press.

Source: Dallas Morning News, 2003.

“I have a much more relaxed atmosphere with the scouts. They know me a lot better. They know my personality a lot better, so the dialogue back and forth, it has a tendency to be a little more argumentative, which is what you want. You don’t want them to tell you what you want to hear. And you don’t want to act like a dictator, either.”

Parcells about his second year helping with the Cowboys draft. Dallas took running back Julius Jones in 2004.

Source: Dallas Cowboys Weekly, May 1, 2004

“We looked like we couldn’t handle it.”

Parcells about the Cowboys’ 35-7 loss at Washington on December 18, 2005. The loss was a big reason why Dallas missed the 2005 playoffs while the Redskins advanced. Washington coach Joe Gibbs replied, “We played the game of our life. I feel very humble just to be a part of it.”

Source: Washington Post, December 19, 2005

“He doesn’t allow Tony any satisfaction. He doesn’t give him any room to breathe as far as, ‘You are doing a good job.’ I think Tony appreciates that, because everybody on the outside allows him to get this big head. Bill’s just here to humble him, and he does a good job of it.”

Jason Witten about Parcells’ needling of quarterback Tony Romo, who took over as starter seven games into the 2006 season. That was Parcells final season as head coach in Dallas.

Source: USA Today, December 1, 2006

Parcells went 34-30 in four seasons with Dallas. His replacement, Wade Phillips, also won 34 games but went 34-22 in three and a half seasons.

Did You Know?

Parcells went 34-30 in four seasons as the Cowboys head coach. His replacement, Wade Phillips, also won 34 games but went 34-22 in three and a half years.

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