It’s probably a mistake to look outside of Cowboys circles for feedback on how the team has done or is doing, but a few stories have popped up lately that aren’t quite as optimistic as what we are hearing from the Cowboys’ faithful.
This is from the Washington Times, noting that the Cowboys did not draft for needs:
Dallas and Green Bay dominated the NFC from 1992 to 1997, winning five conference titles and four Super Bowls during that stretch. But since then there have been as many seasons without the Cowboys or Packers in the playoffs (two) as there have been postseason victories.
And though each team still owns its state’s heart, their first-round picks in last month’s draft weren’t greeted with hosannas.
Not only did the Cowboys pass on popular Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, further tying their destiny to second-year starter Tony Romo, they didn’t land a young receiver although starting wideouts Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn will both be 33 this season. Instead, Dallas took Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer, its fourth front seven first-rounder in three years.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the Dallas braintrust had only 21 players rated as worthy of being first-rounders, which is why the Cowboys traded down from No. 22 and picked up Cleveland’s first-rounder in 2008. Said new coach Wade Phillips: “We did not have to draft because of need.”
They just need to win a playoff game for the first time since 1996, let alone Jones’ fourth Super Bowl.
Peter Schrager from Fox says this of the Cowboys’ offseason:
There’s a new regime in Dallas, as the Wade Phillips era starts in 2007. Whether this is a positive or a negative is yet to be seen. At the very least, there’s new blood in the locker room. Roster-wise, the Cowboys picked up a lot of new talent in the off-season. Ken Hamlin will join Roy Williams for a pretty lethal starting safety combo, and offensive tackle Leonard Davis — a former top pick of the Arizona Cardinals — comes to Dallas with a lot to prove. Brad Johnson joins the Cowboys as a reliable backup quarterback who will help guide Tony Romo’s growth as well. In the draft, Dallas scooped up the guy they wanted all along in Anthony Spencer, while picking up the Browns 2008 first round pick in the process. Cowboys fans chanted “Jerry Jones! Jerry Jones! Jerry Jones!” after the Brady Quinn trade. The Dallas faithful has reason to be happy.
Biggest gain: Leonard Davis, OL
Biggest loss: Jason Fabini, OL
Are they in better shape than they were in January? It depends. As horribly as the season ended for Dallas, they did make the playoffs and came a bad snap and some luck short of a shot at the Bears. They play seven games in primetime next year — we’ll have plenty of opportunities to determine whether they’re better than the ’06 version.
And here is a somewhat disheartening piece about former third-round draft pick Stephen Peterman, now the starting right guard for the Detroit Lions:
A third-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys three years ago, Peterman never got settled in Texas and was released by them last season.
He was signed to Detroit’s practice squad and played in the final three games, starting two. Peterman was so impressive that the Lions told him from the first day of off-season workouts this year that he would be practicing with the starters.
Peterman was in the mix for a starting job in Dallas during his rookie season but tore a ligament in his right knee in the final preseason game. He was never in the plans of head coach Bill Parcells after that.
“I don’t know, man, it was weird. It was a weird deal,” Peterman said. “I went through a lot of frustrations there and they kind of turned their back on me. I think he felt that once I got hurt, I wasn’t ever going to come back so his plans went to other places. Coach Marinelli gave me a shot here and everything’s been great since I left there.”
Peterman believes a minor injury at the start of camp in Dallas might have put him on the wrong path with Parcells.
“I broke a finger on the first day of camp and Parcells said I wouldn’t miss practice and I casted it up,” Peterman said. “Then I tore my knee up and I think he thought I was injury prone or something and I just had some bad luck there. Things have changed here and I’ll never forget that game, going back there and winning.”
Peterman had an outstanding game as the Lions stunned the Cowboys 38-31 in last season’s final game. It also turned out to be the final regular-season game for Parcells in Dallas, as he left the team after they were eliminated in the playoffs.
“I remember after the game him saying it was his lowest low of being Dallas Cowboys head coach,” Peterman said. “For guys like (former Cowboys) Dan (Campbell) and Aveion (Cason), guys they kicked out of there and said `We don’t want you anymore’ — to finish his last regular-season game like that, it was pretty good.”
Not that Peterman has bad memories of everybody in Dallas. It was strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek who helped Peterman bounce back after his knee injury.
“I still talk to him once a day because he told me that if I trusted him, he’d get me back on the field. He said `Just listen to me. It’s going to take a while, but I’ll get you back on the field,’ ” Peterman said. “For about two years, I lived in the weight room doing rehab and he brought me back as a better player than I was coming out of college.”