The Cowboys have the 14th pick in the first round of this month’s draft. Here’s a look at a player under consideration.
Background: A consensus All-American in 2011 and first team conference selection the last two years…Finalist for Outland Trophy…Started every game at right guard the last three years for a Stanford team that averaged more than 207 yards rushing over that span…Gave up one sack during his college career, as a redshirt freshman, in 2009.
Scouting report: Considered by some to be the best interior offensive lineman to enter the draft since Steve Hutchinson in 2001…Is low and quick coming out of his stance…Outstanding in pass protection…He adjusts well to blitzes…He’s quick on his feet, has good balance and rarely overreacts…Dominant when he pulls and gets outside…Gets to that second level quickly…Struggles at times as a one-on-one blocker in the run game…Ran a 5.34 in the 40 and had 34 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press…A perfectionist…A leader.
How he fits: The interior of the offensive line was the Cowboys biggest offensive weakness in 2011…Even though the club signed Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau in free agency, DeCastro would step in from Day One and be the team’s best guard…Could also move to center.
I know we like to talk a lot about the December games as soon as the schedule comes out, especially with the way this team has struggled in the final month of the year.
But the first thing that popped out to me when noticing this schedule that got released on Tuesday was the lack of home games to start the year.
Wow – just three games at Cowboys Stadium in the first 11 weeks of the season? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything close to that before.
Yeah, December matters most of the time. But if you’re a team that struggles on the road like this Cowboys squad has here lately, will the final month even matter? Does it help to have five of your last seven games at home if you’re already on the ropes because you’re not road warriors?
That’s a tough break for the Dallas Cowboys. And it’s not just road games, but tough games.
For the eighth time in nine years, the Cowboys open the season on the road – against the Giants on Sept. 5. Fun! For the second straight year, the first two games are away from home as the Cowboys once again start out the first two weeks with an East Coast/West Coast swing, having to play the Seahawks on Sept. 16. Remember last year it was the Giants then 49ers in the first two games.
After home games against the Bucs and Bears and then a bye week, the Cowboys hit the road for four of the next five weeks, playing at Baltimore and Carolina, then a home game with the Giants before road games at Atlanta and Philly.
That’s a lot of time to be on the road. And it’s not just playing in another stadium and in front of another crowd, but constantly having somewhat short weeks while traveling on Saturdays can take its toll, even early in the year.
Hey, it is what it is. But the schedule doesn’t favor a team trying to get out of the blocks with a hot start.
Former Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Marc Colombo made a surprising appearance in the hallway at Valley Ranch on Friday.
Jokingly, he said he was about to sign “a 10-year contract.”
As it turns out, Colombo basically signing a deal longer than that as he is expected to retire after 10 seasons. But after spending one year in Miami, Colombo will officially retire as a member of the Cowboys, after he officially signs a one-year deal.
The Cowboys are expected to make an official announcement on Monday.
Colombo spent seasons in Dallas, which signed him in the middle of the 2005 campaign after being released by the Bears. Injuries plagued Colombo for the first three years of his career after Chicago drafted him in the first round of 2002.
Colombo was a fixture for the Cowboys at right tackle for five years but released him not long after drafting Tyron Smith in the first round. Colombo, 33, signed with the Dolphins and spent last year in Miami, starting all 16 games.
As expected, the Cowboys have re-signed defensive end Clifton Geathers to a one-year contract on Friday.
Geathers, who only played in five games last year, could factor into the defensive line rotation more in 2012, depending on the Cowboys’ upcoming draft.
The 6-7, 320-pound lineman recorded just two tackles last season.
One of five exclusive rights free agents who was offered a tender contract in March, Geathers three games in December last year, recording all three of his quarterback pressures.
Geathers is expected to be included in a defensive line position along with Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, Kenyon Coleman and Sean Lissemore, and then newly-added end Baraka Atkins.
THE WOICIK FACTOR: Miles Austin, other Cowboys expecting benefits from Dallas’ strength and conditioning program
When Cowboys receiver Miles Austin said during a recent interview that he wasn’t in the best physical shape last season, he didn’t mean to suggest that he didn’t work hard in the off season when he trained primarily in California during the lockout.
Austin said he worked hard but he acknowledges that his preparation is different this off season under the guidance of Cowboys strength coach Mike Woicik. He hopes it leads to better results after missing time in training camp last year and six games during the regular season because hamstrings problems in both legs.
“What I meant to say is that I felt prepared. I felt prepared, but what I’m doing now with Woicik and our team is different than what I was doing,” Austin said. “I’m confident in what we’re doing now. I feel good. I’m working out every day. I mean, I was working out every day before, but now I’m working out with our strength coaches.”
Coach Jason Garrett said earlier this off season that the Cowboys are working with Austin to solve the hamstring issues that not only plagued him last seasons but also in 2009.
Austin didn’t acknowledge whether he thought the hamstring issues might be chronic, only saying “I’m working very hard.”