Know Your 1992 Dallas Cowboys: How Did History Remember the ’92 Draft?

This post is part of the 1992 Season in Review series, marking the 25th anniversary of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl championship season.

Dallas had two picks in the first round of the 1992 draft.

Not much news about the Cowboys on May 10, 1992.

Here’s a question posed by Fort Worth Star Telegram writer Mike Fisher:

Will history remember the Dallas Cowboys’ 1992 draft list as being anything more than really, really long?

If so – if the Cowboys’ 15-man menagerie of Carson-Newman newcomers and Livingstone College candidates and Pomona-Pitzer prospects – it could be instructive for other National Football League teams. Because the Cowboys will have demonstrated that when it comes to drafting, it matters not only what you know, but who you know.

Answer: Not bad.

The Carson-Newman draft pick was Clayton Holmes, who lasted four seasons through 1995. The Pomona-Pitzer pick was a defensive back named Nate Kirtman, who never played a down in the NFL. Livingstone College’s John Terry, a guard, also never played a down in the league.

Dallas had four picks in the first round, and those four picks produced cornerback Kevin Smith, linebacker Robert Jones, receiver Jimmy Smith, and safety Darren Woodson. That’s three starters, and Woodson became a legend.

Smith also became a legend, only it was with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

***

One of Fisher’s predictions:

A prediction: Dallas’ use of the no-huddle offense will, by September, have blossomed into something more than an experiment. . . .

A don’t recall the Cowboys using the no-huddle offense much at all in 1992.

***

Other news from the NFC East: Randall Cunningham looked healthy after missing most of the 1991 season with an injury. He was the league MVP in 1990, but Philadelphia fell to 10-6 and missed the playoffs in 1991.

Know Your 1992 Dallas Cowboys: Diet Plans of the Dallas Coaching Staff

This post is part of the 1992 Season in Review series, marking the 25th anniversary of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl championship season.

Head coach Jimmy Johnson weighed less than 200 pounds during May 1992 after losing 22.1 pounds in two months.

On or about May 9, 1992…

The Dallas coaching staff decided to focus on their waistlines during the 1992 offseason.

The tally of how much weight each coach lost—

Defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt: 22.4 pounds

Defensive line coach Butch Davis: 22.1 pounds

Head coach Jimmy Johnson: 22.1 pounds

Offensive line coach Tony Wise: 20.8 pounds

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner: 16 pounds.

***

Much of the focus about the Dallas Cowboys 25 years ago centered on the schedule that had just been released.

The team would open the 1992 season against the World Champion Redskins, and the rest of the schedule did not get much easier. The Cowboys would travel to New York for game #2, and Dallas opponents in 1992 had a winning percentage of .570 in 1991.

Here’s how Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News saw the remaining 14 games:

* Sept. 20 — Phoenix at Texas Stadium. Easiest game on the schedule. The Cardinals are at least a year away. They’re always at least a year away.

* Sept. 27 — Bye week. Almost as easy as the Cardinals. Unless the Cowboys suffer some early casualties, a bye several weeks later in the season would be more useful.

* Oct. 5 (Monday) — At Philadelphia. The Cowboys will have two weeks and a day to get ready for this big Monday night game. Against the Eagles, they often need it, although they scored their key victory of 1991 at the Vet last year.

Monday night crowds in Philadelphia tend to be, uh, well-oiled, so the Cowboys can’t afford a slow start in this one.

* Oct. 11 — Seattle at Texas Stadium. A game fans will chalk up as an easy victory but Johnson won’t be able to. Again, Dallas will be working on a short week after returning early Tuesday morning from Philadelphia. The Cowboys haven’t played the Seahawks since 1986, so they are a real unknown quantity for Johnson’s staff.

* Oct. 18 — Kansas City at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys are more familiar with the Chiefs, having played them in 1989 and in pre-season last year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Chiefs are a better team than the Seahawks. Dallas generally has had more problems against pass-oriented teams that spread the field. But assuming Dave Krieg has grown comfortable with the Chiefs’ system by mid-October, this should be a difficult home game.

* Oct. 25 — At Los Angeles Raiders. By this time, the Raiders should know whether Todd Marinovich is their quarterback of the present. The Coliseum is never an easy place to play.

* Nov. 1 — Philadelphia at Texas Stadium. The Eagles come to town following the easiest game on their schedule (Phoenix at home). Is Randall Cunningham still healthy? That will be the key question.

* Nov. 8 — At Detroit. The scene of the crime. Combined 72-16 score in two losses there last year. Maybe the Lions’ addition of a tight end will change the Cowboys’ luck. Anything’s better than covering four wide receivers and Barry Sanders.

* Nov. 15 — Los Angeles Rams at Texas Stadium. On paper, it has the appearance of a blowout. Are the Rams on their way back at this point after a 3-13 disaster? Not unless their defense performs miracles.

* Nov. 22 — At Phoenix. Dallas has lost games that it should have won at Sun Devil Stadium, but catching the Cards at home late in the season should be a break. By then, Phoenix will be long gone from the NFC East race.

* Nov. 26 — New York Giants at Texas Stadium. As good as the Giants can be, at least they’re one of the easier clubs to prepare for on short notice. The Cowboys know what they like to do.

* Dec. 6 — At Denver. How does Norv Turner’s offense function in snow flurries? Will Chad Hennings’ Air Force experience give him an edge with the altitude? Tough game by any definition. The Broncos have a great home record.

* Dec. 13 — At Washington. An open press box in December; this game may be tougher on the writers than the players. At least Washington will be coming off a likely physical battle with the Giants.

* Dec. 21 (Monday) — At Atlanta. Final Monday night appearance for the Cowboys. In the Georgia Dome, the Falcons’ speed at receiver — Michael Haynes, Andre Rison, Drew Hill and Mike Pritchard — should be an awesome weapon.

* Dec. 27 — Chicago at Texas Stadium. Is the Cowboys’ playoff fate sealed by now, or does this become the biggest game of the season? How Dallas handles its final short week of 1992 could determine whether the Cowboys keep playing right on into 1993.

***

Kicker Ken Willis nearly lost the 1991 playoff game at Chicago by missing two field goals. The Cowboys brought in two kickers to compete for the job—former Giant Brad Duluiso and free agent Lin Elliott.

Said Jimmy Johnson, “Daluiso I think is going to be a fine kicker. When you look at Brad, he just hasn’t kicked a lot in past years. So he just needs the coaching. I think we’ll be stronger in field goals than in the past, and it will be nice to know occasionally we can kick off into the end zone and get a touchback.

“I think Lin Elliott, too, looked good during mini-camp. I don’t see bringing another kicker in. Unless something unforeseen happens, it will be a battle between those two.”

***

Know Your 1992 Dallas Cowboys (May 6): Ken Norton Irks Jimmy Johnson

A quarter century ago today…Ken Norton made Jimmy Johnson angry.

This post is part of the 1992 Season in Review series, marking the 25th anniversary of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl championship season.

On May 6, 1992…

The Dallas Cowboys were in the middle of their “quarterback school,” which was supposed to involve all players. However, 12 of the Cowboys remained unsigned and refused to participate in the quarterback school. One of those players was linebacker Ken Norton.

One year earlier, veterans Jack Del Rio, Alonzo Highsmith, Daniel Stubbs, and Dean Hamel held out of the school, but none of those players were still on the team as of May 6.

Head coach Jimmy Johnson said, “”He’s not even attending the meetings. I really don’t think it’s very sound judgment by his agent. His agent’s costing him money.”

Norton claimed that he had an infection in his hand. Johnson wasn’t buying it.

***

The Cowboys took 15 players in the 1992 draft, including two first-round picks—cornerback Kevin Smith of Texas A&M and linebacker Robert Jones of East Carolina. Jones was fighting for a starting spot, and Johnson even suggested that Jones, Dixon Edwards, Godfrey Myles, or Reggie Cooper could unseat Norton as the starting outside linebacker.

***

A player who was turning heads was a free agent center named Frank Cornish, whom the Cowboys had signed from San Diego.

Johnson commented, “He’s a 295-pounder who moves extremely well and can play either center or guard. And, of course, he has started in this league at center.”

Did you know?

In addition to Smith and Jones, two other first-round picks in 1992 eventually played for the Cowboys.

The second overall pick, Quentin Coryatt (Indianapolis), played in four games for Dallas in 1999. He recorded a total of one tackle.

Defensive end Alonzo Spellman, the 22nd overall pick by Chicago, played with the Cowboys in 1999 and 2000.

Other Memories…

You can watch highlights of the December 29, 1991 playoff game between the Cowboys and Bears on YouTube.

Del Rio was a starter on the 1991 playoff team and was one of four players in the 1991 game who would eventually become a head coach in the NFL.

The others? Jim Harbaugh, Mike Singletary, and Ron Rivera.

Several other players in that game have also been assistant coaches, and Ray Horton may eventually became a head coach.

Anyway, my most lasting memory of the Chicago game?

Would SOMEONE PLEASE COVER TOM WADDLE?!?!?!

What did I not remember about the Chicago game?

That kicker Ken Willis looked terrible, missing two field goals that could have cost Dallas the game. No wonder the Cowboys had a new kicker in 1992.

Know Your 1992 Dallas Cowboys: A New Series

Hard to believe, but this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Dallas Cowboys’ Super Bowl season in 1992. The 2016 season was exciting, and 2017 season looks promising, but this blog is really about the history of the Cowboys.

So this post starts a new series– remembering the 1992 Cowboys. (It certainly helps that highlights of every game from the 1992 season are available on YouTube.)

We’ll begin with the news from the week of May 4, 1992:

May 4, 1992

  • Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones was appointed to the NFL’s competition committee. According to Dallas Morning News columnist Randy Galloway, “In the NFL, that’s the same as saying, “You’re in . . . you’ve arrived.’ And most of all, “you’re respected by your peers.'”
  • (Also on May 4, 1992 – North Korea agreed to provide a list of its nuclear sites. Some things don’t change…)

May 5, 1992

  • The Cowboys announced that Air Force fighter pilot Chad Hennings would join the team later in the month. Dallas had selected Hennings with a 11th-round pick in 1988, but he had to serve four years in the Air Force. (Fort Worth Star Telegram)
  • It appeared the Cowboys would have a rough December schedule according to the new NFL schedule. Dallas would have to travel to Denver, Washington, and Atlanta in the final month of the year. (FWST)
  • The Cowboys would open the season with the Washington Redskins, marking the fifth time since 1980 that the teams would play during week 1. The Cowboys were scheduled to play three Monday Night Football games, the most since 1987. (DMN)

Five Things to Know About the 2017 NFL Draft for the Cowboys

I found five things about the 2017 draft class worth noting, but before presenting those five things, we cannot get enough of Drew Pearson:

Anyway, here are the five things:

(1) Before 2017, the Cowboys had drafted only eight players from Colorado. They took two–CB Chidobe Awuzie and DT Jordan Carrell–in 2017. Three of the previous players drafted from

Dallas took Chidobe Awuzie in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Colorado never played in the NFL. The only starter was Andre Gurode, a 2002 pick who became a Pro Bowl center.

(2) The Cowboys took four defensive backs with eight picks. The last time Dallas took as many as four defensive backs in one draft was 2009, when the Cowboys took DeAngelo Smith, Michael Hamlin, Stephen Hodge, and Mike Mickens. Those four combined to play nine games for the Cowboys.

(3) The last defensive back drafted by the Cowboys to make a Pro Bowl was Mike Jenkins in 2009.

(4) Xavier Woods is the first player from Louisiana Tech to be drafted by Dallas. The school has had 85 players in the NFL; the only one to play in Dallas was kicker Chris Boniol.

(5) A total of 229 players have been drafted from North Carolina, but only 12 of them before 2017 were wide receivers. Add 4th round pick Ryan Switzer to the mix. The best-known of the North Carolina receivers has been Hakeem Nicks, who has played for the Giants and Colts.

Five Things to Know About the Taco Charlton Selection

The Dallas Cowboys used to be a team filled with great nicknames—Doomsday Defense, Too Tall, the Manster, Hollywood, and so on.

(The Tony Romo nicknames never quite caught on, at least not in a good way.)

Well, the Cowboys took a player with a great nickname of Taco. Plenty of people wanted Dallas to take T.J. Watt (who ended up going to Pittsburgh), but others are happy the Cowboys have Taco Charlton.

Here are a few trivial matters about the pick:

  1. Dallas has not taken a player from Michigan since selecting running back Tony Boles in the 11th round in 1991. And Boles never played a down of football in the NFL.
  2. The only player from Michigan ever selected by the Cowboys in the first round was defensive tackle Kevin Brooks in 1985. Brooks spent three years as a starter but never really developed into a quality player along the defensive line.
  3. The first player ever taken from Michigan by the Cowboys was a running back named Ken Tureaud in 1962 (8th round). Like Boles, Tureaud never played in the NFL.
  4. The last time the Cowboys took a defensive end in the first round was 2007 when the selected Anthony Spencer from Purdue. Of course, the Cowboys played in the 3-4 at the time and converted Spencer to an outside linebacker.
  5. The last time the Cowboys took a defensive end to fit a 4-3 scheme was 1999 when Dallas selected Ebenezer Ekuban. One year earlier, Dallas had taken Greg Ellis.

Anyway, some highlights featuring Charlton:

 

When the Cowboys Used to Visit St. Louis

I became a fan of the Dallas Cowboys in 1977 when I was six years old and living in the St. Louis area. Following the St. Louis Cardinals then was a bit much for a six-year-old to handle, so I decided not to handle it.

I recall the games where Dallas visited St. Louis pretty well. They were often close, and the Cardinals usually made the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys, which I hated. My dad was never able to afford tickets to take me to a game, but that was probably a good thing. I do not know if I could have taken the Cowboys losing at St. Louis.

Several videos have been uploaded to YouTube showing the games (either highlights or the entire game) from 1977 to 1980. Most of these games were even closer than I remember.

1977 (highlights available here): This game featured a 77-yard touchdown run by rookie Tony Dorsett, but Dallas trailed 24-16 heading into the fourth quarter. However, a Dorsett run followed by a touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to Golden Richard sealed the win for the Cowboys.

1978 (full game): The Cardinals took this game into overtime, but Dallas pulled it out thanks to a Rafael Septien field goal.

1979 (highlights): The Cowboys could not shut down O.J. Anderson, who rushed for 193 yards. Dallas was also without Dorsett, who had injured his foot in a strange accident. However, Robert Newhouse managed to gain 108 rushing yards, and a Rafael Septien field goal gave Dallas the 22-21 win.

1980 (see below): I remember the 1980 game more clearly. I think it was the first game I watched where Roger Staubach served as a color commentator. He was not good. Thankfully, though, new Dallas QB Danny White was good, throwing for a touchdown pass to Tony Hill with less than two minutes remaining to give Dallas a 27-24 win.

Here is the full video:

Remembering the Romo-Bledsoe Debate

I launched this blog in 2006, which was the year when Drew Bledsoe started six games before losing his job to Tony Romo. Bledsoe had led Dallas to a 9-7 record in 2005, barely missing the playoffs.

By game 6 of the season, Dallas was 3-2. The Cowboys dominated the Houston Texans in week 5, and Romo saw his first action. He completed a pass to Sam Hurd, followed by a touchdown pass to Terrell Owens.

The highlights:

Fans, of course, wanted to see more. Bledsoe was a decent quarterback when he had protection. The Dallas offensive line in 2006, though, was not well known for providing protection, so Bledsoe often looked like a statue.

For the record, I did not think Parcells should have started Romo. And how wrong I was.

Here was a comment I made in October 2006:

I think Parcells takes a huge risk by putting Romo in right now. Remember the debate regarding Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson in 2002? Carter wasn’t a great choice at quarterback by any means, but the team started 3-4 with him that year. Enter Hutchinson and the Cowboys finish 2-7. Not all of it was Hutchinson’s fault, but I have always thought that the move was premature and put Dallas in a worse position to win.

With Bledsoe, Dallas is 11-9. Does Dallas win more than 55% of its games with Romo at quarterback? Maybe, but odds are probably against it. Do we know how Romo would handle the blitz against the Eagles? We would like to think so, perhaps, but that is based largely on watching him play preseason games where defenses are not going full speed for 60 minutes. I think that keeping Bledsoe in there is the smart move, even if the Dallas offense may lapse again and again because of Bledsoe’s various habits.

When the Cowboys fell behind at halftime on a Monday night game against the Giants, Bledsoe left the game and never played another down in the NFL. Romo did not have a great game, but he provided a spark.

Tony Romo during his first NFL start vs. the Carolina Panthers in 2006.

Romo started against the Panthers on October 29, 2006, and he led the Cowboys to a 6-4 mark for the remainder of the year.

(For purposes of this article, I will only mentioned a failed field goal attempt parenthetically.)

It appears that 11 years later, Romo’s career has ended.

Crossword Puzzle: 1980 Dallas Cowboys

A short crossword puzzle featuring questions about the 1980 Dallas Cowboys.

1980 Dallas Cowboys » make crossword puzzle

Rank Receiving Performances (That Not Everyone Remembers)

This is the third entry in a short series about underappreciated or forgotten performances in team history. Previous entries covered underappreciated quarterbacks and running backs with largely forgotten performances.

Today’s entry covers receiving performances that not everyone remembers. Excluded from this list were performances by the likes of Michael Irvin, Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Dez Bryant, and Terrell Owens.

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Dallas Cowboys: Good Receiving Performances Nobody Remembers

The Dallas Cowboys have had plenty of great performances by their famous receivers, including Michael Irvin, Drew Pearson, Dez Bryant, Bob Hayes, and others.

Not all great receiving performances have involved the most famous receivers. This list focuses on ten good receiving performances that not everyone remembers.

1

Lance Rentzel, November 19, 1967

Mar 04, 2017
Lance Rentzel, November 19, 1967

Lance Rentzel had some big games during the late 1960s. None of his performances was bigger than his game against the Washington Redskins on November 19, 1967. He caught 13 passes for 223 yards with a touchdown in a 27-20 loss.

(Pictures is not from the same game.)