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A Very Good Video Featuring DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones

There has been some recent chatter about the Cowboys trading Felix Jones as part of a package to move up in the draft. Most, however, do not believe this will happen.

That’s been the extent of the news lately. Fortunately, we always have YouTube.

Here is a very good video that features highlights of Jones as well as DeMarco Murray.

Kyle Kosier Never Played in Larry Allen’s Shadow

Most expect the Cowboys to release guard Kyle Kosier.

With the Cowboys signing guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, the writing is on the wall for Kyle Kosier. The Cowboys will release him this week.

He leaves Dallas after not having played in a single Pro Bowl. Once upon a time, the Cowboys signed Kosier to replace a lineman who had made 10 Pro Bowls as a Cowboy.

Fortunately, the guard position is nothing like the quarterback position. Nobody asked Kosier to live up to what Allen did, and though he may not have had a high profile, he did his job well for six seasons. He missed a large part of the 2008 season, but he otherwise started every game during his time in Dallas.

Kosier entered the league as a member of the 49ers, playing both guard and tackle in three years in San Francisco. He played one year in Detroit before signing with Dallas.

In 2006, the Cowboys needed to release Allen to avoid a big salary-cap hit. At that point, Allen was not the guard he had been five years earlier, and his Pro Bowl appearances were based more on his name than on his play. Dallas signed Kosier with five-year, $15 million contract along with a $5 million roster bonus.

Less Than Commemorative Endings for Williams and Newman

The Cowboys released Terence Newman on Tuesday.

The Dallas Cowboys began their rebuilding process in the early 2000s with high first-round draft picks in 2002 and 2003.  In both drafts, the Cowboys stuck with the Big XII Conference, taking safety Roy Williams of Oklahoma in 2002 and cornerback Terence Newman of Kansas State in 2003.

Williams was an immediate hit, making five consecutive Pro  Bowls. He was a hard-hitting machine who would make receivers think twice about coming over the middle.

It took Newman longer to catch on. He recorded a total of 32 career interceptions but never had more than five in a season. He made two Pro Bowl appearances in 2007 and 2009.

Williams’ fall from grace occurred rather abruptly. The league proscribed the horse-collar tackle largely because of Williams, and he continued to commit the penalty. Around the same time, he also lost the ability to cover. Tight ends and slot receivers would run right in front of him, and Williams would often fail to react. He had a subpar 2007 season (making the Pro Bowl on his name more than anything) before suffering through an injury-plagued campaign in 2008.

Newman was often compared with Deion Sanders, but the comparison was neither fair nor close to accurate. Newman had speed, but he never showed the coverage skills of a top-flight cornerback. He was a good corner, but never better than a good corner.

He had his moments in 2011, but his performances near the end of the season sealed his fate. He often played 12 to 15 yards off the ball, and receivers would eat him alive on shorter routes. He had a chance for a pick-6 against the Giants in December but dropped the ball. He was so dreadful against New York in the rematch in week 17 that most would rather see any of the backups, including Alan Ball.

The poll question below asks whether Terence Newman underachieved as a member of the Cowboys.

How Much Salary Cap Space Will the Dallas Cowboys Have Now?

The NFL has announced a salary cap of $120.6 million for the 2012 season. The news throughout the offseason is that the Cowboys would have space to be players in NFL free agency.

Dallas ate into its cap space last week by putting the franchise tag on the almost achieving linebacker Anthony Spencer, who will make about $8.856 million next year. Although not unexpected, nobody seems to have an argument that supports this move.

News today is that the Cowboys have been penalized for front-loading contracts to take advantage of the uncapped 2010 season.

ESPN is reporting that the Cowboys can free up space by reworking some contracts. There might be enough money to keep Laurent Robinson and sign a new backup quarterback, starting cornerback, and starting guard.

The team does not, however, have enough space to overcome more bone-headed front office moves that have utterly failed to move the team forward.

Franchise Tag for Almost Anthony?

The Cowboys Might Franchise Anthony Spencer
The Cowboys Might Franchise Anthony Spencer

Several probably saw this already, but the Cowboys might put the franchise tag on Almost Anthony Spencer.

That would be worth a one-year deal for $8.8 million.

Granted, he plays in DeMarcus Ware’s shadow. Granted, he was fourth on the team in tackles with 51 solos and 15 assists. And granted, he has been durable for the past three years.

But he has yet to record more than 6.0 sacks in a single season. And consider this: that is the same number of sacks that Shante Carver recorded in 1997 during his final year with the Cowboys.

Carver went down as a first-round bust, never playing a down in the NFL after 1997. Spencer is going to make $8.8 million?

Anyway, here are his stats from P-F-R:

Def Interceptions Fumbles Tackles
Year Age Tm Pos G GS Sk Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Tkl Ast AV
2007 23 DAL llb 16 6 3.0 2 0 0 28 8 4
2008 24 DAL 12 0 1.5 0 0 1 17 12 2
2009 25 DAL LOLB 16 16 6.0 1 -3 0 -3 7 2 0 2 50 17 10
2010 26 DAL LOLB 16 16 5.0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 1 52 11 7
2011 27 DAL LB 16 15 6.0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 51 15 7
Career 76 53 21.5 1 -3 0 0 10 10 0 4 198 63 30
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/15/2012.

Poll

What do you think?

Should the Cowboys use their franchise tag on Anthony Spencer?

View Results

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Cowboys News: Romo and Tiger Fall Short, While Terrell Owens Is Somehow Still Relevant

The news on Saturday night about Tiger Woods was that his late push had put him in position to challenge for the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He fell far short, shooting a three-over 75 to finish 11 shots behind the winner, Phil Mickelson.

The Cowboys’ angle for this story was that Woods teamed up with amateur golfer and Dallas QB Tony Romo. There was some chatter about Woods and Romo being in the hunt early. However, the two could only manage to finish tied for 17th among the pairs.

One of Romo’s comments was oddly funny to me:

I had no strategy today.

An immediate comeback: that’s what we thought you’d say after the Giants game that ended the season.

No, not fair at all.

* * *

It has to be the offseason. That’s the only explanation for a story about the newest member of the Allen Wranglers, Terrell Owens.

One of his comments about the Cowboys:

I definitely thought that I probably would have retired a Cowboy but that didn’t happen, and you know, things happen in life and you just got to move on.

I just can’ t recall anything negative he did that would cause the Cowboys to move on without him. I’m sure it will come to me with more time.

I do hope for the Wranglers’ sake that Owens can bring a few more people to the games. Take a look at the empty seats in this highlight reel:

Trade Felix Jones for a 5th Rounder?

Recall, please, that when the Cowboys drafted Felix with the 22nd overall pick in 2008, they were taking a player who was not a full-time starter in college.

Apparently, the off-season discussion of whether Jerry Jones should step down as general manager has died down a bit. The fact that the Cowboys could have and should have beaten and eliminated from playoff contention the team that won Super Bowl XLVI probably cements in his mind that he really knows what he’s doing (even with 50 concussions or so).

To remind ourselves of how bad it’s been in terms of personnel decisions, we could just look at the 2009 draft.

Oh, that’s too easy.

Let’s instead again consider the 2008 draft. I’ve already written that it may go down as a bust, but an idea presented on ESPN Dallas makes matters worse.

A piece written by Calvin Watkins features the opinion of former scout Bryan Broaddus. According to the article, the Cowboys should consider trading Felix Jones. Here’s the quote:

The Cowboys should explore whether a fourth-or fifth-round pick is available for the former first-round pick. The team doesn’t trust Jones to become a 20-down back in the NFL.

Recall, please, that when the Cowboys drafted Felix with the 22nd overall pick in 2008, they were taking a player who was not a full-time starter in college. I realize that the team brought him here to complement Marion Barber, but I would think results would be far more important than vague notions of potential by a franchise that traded away its first-round pick the following year.

If you need a reminder, which other running backs were available after Felix Jones in 2008?

Rashard Mendendall (23rd overall by the Steelers)

Chris Johnson (24th overall by the Titans)

Matt Forte (44th overall by the Bears)

Ray Rice (55th overall by the Ravens)

Jamaal Charles (73rd overall by the Chiefs)

 

Meanwhile, Dallas has a running back who might become trade bait for 5th-round pick.

* * *

By the way– I know, I know, I know. Dallas made up for it by taking DeMarco Murray in 2011. I think Broadus is probably right about the direction the Cowboys should head, but it just illustrates how bad those decisions in 2008 turned out to be.

DeMarcus Ware Makes the All-Any-Era Team

Know Your Dallas CowboysHard to believe that Jason Witten won’t show up on this list.

ESPN is running a poll featuring players who would excel during any NFL era. The Cowboys weren’t left out.

Coming in at #12 is OLB DeMarcus Ware. He joins James Harrison, Patrick Willis, and Brian Urlacher as the other linebackers announced so far.

ESPN will announce the final four players on Friday.

The story about Ware included quotes from former stars Darrell Green, John Randle, and James Lofton. Here is Randle’s quote:

There are some guys, linebackers and defensive ends, in today’s game who can run, but they can’t dip their shoulder or maneuver around those corners using their hands, but DeMarcus is a great linebacker, but he’s also a great pass-rusher. And he’s a great defensive lineman because he has the speed and the ability to take on blocks and to take on double teams.

It’s hard to believe that TE Jason Witten won’t show up on this list. We’ll find out tomorrow.

Immediate Future of the Cowboys: Dallas Morning News vs. ESPN Dallas

If you picked up the Dallas Morning News today, you might have ended up feeling a bit better about our Dallas Cowboys.

Rick Gosselin’s take is that nobody expected more than an 8-8 record from the Cowboys, so we shouldn’t consider them to be underachievers.

Know Your Dallas CowboysFor the optimists with a subscription to the DMN, here is Rick Gosselin’s take. “Garrett took an average team into the season, and despite that horrific finish — four losses in the last five games — there are arrows pointing up for 2012.”

Here’s his point:

[T]he Cowboys didn’t overachieve. Nor did they underachieve. Philadelphia underachieved given the expectations. So did San Diego and Tampa Bay. But not the Cowboys.

Garrett took an average team into the season, and despite that horrific finish — four losses in the last five games — there are arrows pointing up for 2012.

First off, the Cowboys needed to get younger. And they did. With an average age of 26.21, this was the youngest roster the Cowboys fielded since 2007 and the youngest starting lineup (26.90) since the mid-1990s. In a salary-cap world, youth is a good thing.

Second, Cowboys director of college and pro scouting Tom Ciskowski was a finalist this off-season for the Indianapolis general manager position. As unappreciated as Ciskowski and his staff may be locally, there is respect around the league for what they have done lately in the area of player procurement.

In the last two drafts, the Cowboys have added Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray , Sean Lee and Dez Bryant — four potential blue-chip pieces in a championship equation. The Jimmy Johnson Cowboys taught us in the early 1990s you win in this league with blue-chippers.

Ciskowski’s staff also culled the undrafted masses last April and discovered Bailey and center Kevin Kowalski, then this fall claimed fullback Tony Fiammetta off the waiver wire and signed wide receiver Laurent Robinson off the streets. All are keepers, and all will be a year older and a year better in 2012.

Third, the rebuilding started on offense last season. An aging, underachieving, overpaid blocking front that badly needed to be overhauled was. Smith will flip from right tackle to left this fall, and the Cowboys should be set at the blocking edge positions for the next five years.

On the same day, Jean-Jacques Taylor attacked some of the very same points that Gosselin made.

Know Your Dallas CowboysFor the pessimists, I present JJT’s take on the Cowboys. “The NFL conference title games showed us the Dallas Cowboys aren’t close to being a championship-caliber team.”

JJT isn’t always my favorite columnist, but when I feel like complaining, I more typically agree with him. Here is his main point:

The NFL conference title games showed us the Dallas Cowboys aren’t close to being a championship-caliber team.

Of course that wouldn’t be so bad if you had confidence the Cowboys could draft the right players, sign the proper free agents or properly evaluate their own talent, considering they signed Gerald Sensabaugh to a five-year deal in December.

All of this means you have no idea when the Cowboys’ era of mediocrity will end since we’re at 15 years and counting.

* * *

Meanwhile, another columnist that I don’t always like, Randy Galloway, wrote a piece that I found compelling. This one focuses on Jerry’s practice of revising history, at least according to Galloway.

Jerry repeatedly counters the critics by saying his same iron hand has been in place for 23 seasons, meaning he was calling the football shots as the Dynasty Days team was built and the Super Bowls followed.

This is not true. Any of us, media-wise, who have covered the Cowboys since 1989, know it was not true. So does anyone who worked for the Cowboys in those days.

There is a lengthy thread at CowboysZone covering Galloway’s piece.

Dallas Cowboys News: Jason Garrett’s Play-Calling Duties and Swapping Tackles

The Cowboys generated a few news items worth noting this week.

With the hiring of Bill Callahan as offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett suggested that he might delegate play-calling duties. However, he has waffled on this point, and nobody is sure what will happen.

In other news, the Cowboys returned to babysitting duties with Dez Bryant. When they weren’t doing that, they were considering whether to allow Doug Free to move back to right tackle and switch Tyron Smith to left tackle.

Here is the story line: