Trivia and Stats
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In the history of the Dallas Cowboys, many players have, of course, been prone to suffer injuries. Some, however, have never only been able to contribute a small fraction of what they could because of those injuries.
Below is a list of players who fall into that category.
10. Robert Brewster, Tackle (3rd Round, 2009)
We begin with two picks from the dreadful 2009 draft. The team picked tackle Robert Brewster with the 75th overall pick. This was during a time when the team had a decent but aging offensive line.
Brewster tore a pectoral muscle during a workout and did not play as a rookie. He was released during the middle of the 2010 season.
He last played in the Arena Football League in 2012.
9. Brandon Williams, Linebacker (4th round, 2009)
The Cowboys needed linebackers even in 2009 and took Texas Tech defensive end Williams with the goal of converting him to outside linebacker.
He tore his ACL during a preseason game in 2009, though. He played in 10 games in 2010 but was waived before the start of the 2011 season.
He was on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in 2011 and made active roster at the end of the 2011 season. He has not played in the NFL since being waived before the 2012 season by Arizona.
8. Billy Cannon, Linebacker (1st Round, 1984)
If the Cowboys could have picked up the senior Billy Cannon in 1960, he could have been a cornerstone in the new franchise. The senior Billy Cannon won the Heisman Trophy at LSU, and he was a key member of the Dallas Texans’ 1961 AFL Championship Game.
The junior Billy Cannon lasted eight games into his rookie season. He suffered a spinal injury against the Saints and was forced to retire.
7. Tody Smith, Defensive End (1st Round, 1971)
The Cowboys took USC defensive end Tody Smith with the 25th overall selection in 1971. Smith had to deal with an ankle injury as a rookie and played in only seven games. He had knee surgery during the off-season in 1972 but still played in ten games. Perhaps due to the bad knee, he was disappointing in 1972.
The upside of the Smith selection was that the Houston Oilers gave the Cowboys first- and third-round draft picks in 1974 to acquire Smith.
Smith lasted three years in Houston but was waived while injured before the 1976 season.
Meanwhile, Dallas used the picks from the Oilers to take Too Tall Jones and Danny White.
6. Robert Shaw, Center (1st Round, 1979)
Shaw took over as the starting center in 1980 and did an excellent job in three playoff games.
However, he suffered a catastrophic knee injury in 1981 and was never able to play again. Had he remained with the Cowboys, he probably would have anchored a very good offensive line.
Tom Rafferty did a fine job at center, but the Cowboys struggled to replace Rafferty at guard.
5. Jimmy Smith, Wide Receiver (2nd round, 1992)
Smith wound up with more than 12,000 receiving yards while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As a Cowboy, though, he was injured most of the time and even had to undergo an emergency appendectomy.
He never caught a pass with the Cowboys, who released him before the 1994 season. Jacksonville picked him up during the Jaguars’ expansion season, and he spent 11 years there, earning five Pro Bowl berths.
4. Bill Thomas, Running Back (1st round, 1972)
The Cowboys selected Bill Thomas as part of an effort to replace Duane Thomas. However, Bill Thomas never recovered from a shoulder injury suffered during college, and the Cowboys cut him before his second season in 1973.
He played two more seasons for the Oilers and Chiefs.
3. David LaFleur, Tight End (1st Round, 1997)
The Cowboys desperately needed to replace Jay Novacek in 1997 and used the 22nd overall pick to take LaFleur, thanks largely to an endorsement from Troy Aikman.
LaFleur played four seasons in Dallas, but he suffered through chronic back injuries. The team had to cut him before the 2001 season when he could not pass a physical.
He finished with just 729 yards in four seasons.
2. Mike Sherrard, Wide Receiver (1st round, 1986)
Sherrard had a promising rookie season in 1986, with 41 receptions for 744 yards and five touchdowns. He would have been the team’s top receiver in 1987, but he broke his ankle during training camp. He missed the entire season.
One year later, he suffered yet another broken ankle, causing him to miss yet another season.
The 49ers signed Sherrard through Plan B free agency in 1989, so Sherrard never played for the Cowboys after his rookie season in 1986.
Dallas had to use another first-round pick to take a receiver in 1988, but fortunately the team selected Michael Irvin.
Sherrard played for the 49ers, Giants, and Broncos but suffered through several more injuries. Nevertheless, his career lasted until 1996.
1. Sean Lee (2nd round, 2010).
Lee has the talent and leadership to be one of the franchise’s great linebackers.
He has the body of a porcelain vase and has been injured frequently. In four years, he has missed 18 games.
He will miss another 16 in 2014 while recovering from a torn ACL.
Jerry Jones will make news no matter what he says or does not say. That is just reality.
Today’s quote about the team’s chances in 2014: “Better than 8-8. We can get better than 8-8. We are hell-bent to change that.”
Good. Great. Just do it.
Anyway, for quote trivia today, we look back at a previous dark time during the Jerry Jones era. We will even look at two quotes.
Here’s the first one:
I couldn’t operate and couldn’t make decisions if I got up in the morning and thought that we were going to have a losing record. When I’m making decisions – even though we want to look long-term – I want to make decisions that help us win games this year, as well. I think we can do both, and that’s why I think we’ll win more than half our games.
Question #1: Jerry said this in June of what year?
Question #2: How did the Cowboys end up doing that year?
Jerry predicted a 10-6 record for the Cowboys in the season described above. A linebacker on the team made the following quote:
Actually, I feel like he shortchanged us a couple of games. He says 10-6, but we’ve got to believe we’re a 12-4 team.
Question #3: Who said this?
Herschel Walker made some news last week when he said he could play in the NFL at the age of 52. Here was my Facebook post about it:
The oldest player in NFL history was George Blanda, who played for the Raiders at the age of 48 in 1975.
No Dallas player has played past the age of 43. In the word scramble game below, the answers include the ten players who were at least 38 years of age when they played in Dallas.
As usual, Jerry Jones opens his mouth, leaving fans of the Dallas Cowboys, once again, to figure out his priorities.
The latest controversy has focused on a statement Jerry made where he appears to brag about the Cowboys having high television ratings. This led an ESPN writer to write that Jerry is sending the wrong message by accepting mediocrity. Here is my Facebook post on this subject:
This leads us to today’s quote trivia. Jerry at one time had to deal with a player facing suspension, but Jerry was less than forthcoming about the facts of the player’s case. Jerry made the following statement:
What I have said, very consistently and very firmly over the last two weeks, is that if there was a suspension, I would be the first to know, because that’s the way I have it set up with the league. But me knowing cannot and did not go beyond notification of suspension. Outside of what I read in the papers, I knew nothing about this until late Tuesday afternoon.
(1) Which player was suspended?
(2) During which year was this player initially suspended?
(3) Which area writer called Jerry a liar in print?
In 2014, the Dallas Cowboys must replace a team legend by finding someone to fill DeMarcus Ware’s role. Ware was, of course, the team’s best defensive player for nine seasons.
In 1975, the Cowboys faced a somewhat similar problem, having to replace defensive tackle Bob Lilly, who had retired. Dallas had the second overall pick in the draft and selected Randy White of Maryland.
White accomplished a few things in Dallas, earning Super Bowl MVP honors and becoming a member of the Hall of Fame.
Here’s a trivia question, answered in the photo puzzle below: what number did White wear at Maryland?
* * *
Here’s another picture of White before he joined the Cowboys. He is playing with the College All-Stars against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I took a moment to hide the first number.
It’s old news now that the Cowboys have released receiver Miles Austin. For two seasons, Austin looked like the next coming of Drew Pearson—a free agent receiver with first-round talent. He was a key part of the Cowboys’ playoff season of 2009 following his breakout performance against the Kansas City Chiefs that year.
He was less impressive though still dangerous in 2010. Since that time, he has battled hamstring injuries and has not produced as he did in 2009.
Here are some final stats related to Austin’s time in Dallas:
1. Austin was primarily a kick returner between 2006 and 2008. He averaged 24.1 yards per return on 89 kickoff returns. The biggest moment of his early career occurred in the 2006 playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, when Austin returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to give Dallas a 17-13 lead. It marked the only time that Austin ever scored on a kickoff return.
2. Austin caught his first NFL pass on Thanksgiving Day against the Jets on November 22, 2007. He caught a 17-yard pass on the Cowboys’ opening drive. Dallas later scored on that drive en route to a 34-3 blowout win.
3. His first 100-yard game was against the Green Bay Packers in 2008. He caught passes of 63 and 52 yards to gain 115 yards that night.
4. Other than the Green Bay game in 2008, he did not surpass 45 receiving yards in a game until he started against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 2009. The reason he started was an injury suffered by Roy Williams against the Broncos the week before.
5. His 250 receiving yards against the Chiefs in 2009 are the most in franchise history. He broke Bob Hayes’ record of 246 set in 1966.
6. He had less than 45 receiving yards in only eight games between October 11, 2009 and the end of the 2010 season. He had nine games in which he had more than 100 receiving yards.
7. Austin’s success was critical for the Cowboys in 2009. Dallas had released receiver Terrell Owens and needed a playmaker to emerge. Despite starting only nine games, Austin caught as many passes (81) as Owens had in 15 games in 2007, which was Owens’ most productive season in Dallas. Austin finished with 1320 yards and 11 TDs in 2009. Owens had 1355 yards and 15 TDs in 2007.
8. Between 2011 and 2013, Austin had only three 100-yard receiving games.
9. In the three season finales against the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles in 2011, 2012, and 2013, Austin caught a combined total of four receptions for 42 yards.
10. Austin’s last 100-yard game with the Cowboys came on October 28, 2012, when he caught nine passes for 133 yards.
11. His last touchdown reception as a Cowboy occurred on December 23, 2012 against the New Orleans Saints.
12. Austin caught his last pass as a Cowboy in the fourth quarter of the season finale against the Eagles. The 16-yard pass from Kyle Orton to Austin gave the Cowboys a first down at the Philadelphia 49 with the Cowboys training 17-16. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs, however.
13. Austin finishes his career in Dallas ranked ninth in receptions. Thanks to his two receptions against the Eagles in his final game as a Cowboy, he surpassed former tight end Doug Cosbie on the team’s reception list (301 for Austin, 300 for Cosbie).
14. Austin ranks seventh in receiving yards but is just 377 yards ahead of Dez Bryant.
15. Austin ranks tenth in TD receptions with 34. Bryant already has 40.
The news today is that DeMarcus Ware signed a three-year contract with the Denver Broncos. Ware thus joins a fairly short list of Dallas players who have eventually migrated to Denver.
Some relevant trivia:
- The first noteworthy Dallas player to join the Broncos was Craig Morton, who led Denver to the Super Bowl after joining the team in 1977.
- Of course, former Cowboy running back Dan Reeves became the Broncos’ head coach in 1981, and two of his assistants—Wade Phillips and Chan Gailey—later became head coaches in Dallas.
- Former Dallas defensive back Charlie Waters was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator under Phillips in 1993 and 1994.
- Ware is the highest-profile Dallas player to become a member of the Broncos via either trade or free agency since Tony Dorsett’s trade to Denver in 1988.
- And for trivia that is beside the point—What did the Cowboys get for Dorsett? A conditional fifth-round pick. The selection? Defensive tackle Jeff Roth of Florida. He never played a game in the NFL.
- As for Ware, he was scheduled to make $12.25 million with Dallas but will now make $13 million in Denver. Makes sense.
Now some trivia questions:
Two defensive linemen for the Cowboys during the 1990s joined the Broncos as free agents in the early 2000s. Who were they?
The scratch-off card below reveals the answer.
Orkut Scrap Toys
I am perhaps overdoing it with the puzzles, but they have prevented me from being too sarcastic about the Cowboys this offseason.
Anyway, most mock drafts have the Cowboys taking a defensive tackle in the 2014 Draft. This would mark the first time since 1991 that the Cowboys have selected a DT in the first round.
In their history, the Cowboys have taken eight DTs in the first round. The results are quite mixed, with two of the players making the Hall of Fame, two never playing a down with the Cowboys, and the others falling somewhere in between.
Here is a crossword puzzle featuring these former first-round picks. The puzzle should vary, and not all eight players will show up in every puzzle.
Below are all eight hints:
- 1991, Miami (FL)
- 1991, Mississippi
- 1987, Nebraska
- 1985, Michigan
- 1978, Michigan State
- 1975, Maryland
- 1964, Texas
- 1961, TCU
The Dallas Cowboys had four solid seasons to close out the 1960s. However, the team did not have the star power that franchises such as Green Bay and Baltimore (Colts) had.
Only two players who played for the Cowboys during the 1960s appeared on the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade team. One of those players was defensive tackle Bob Lilly.
Who was the other?
One hint: the player isn’t even in the Ring of Honor.
Second hint: complete the puzzle below: