Daily Archives: June 17th, 2012

HAPPY FATHERS DAY: Best wishes today from The Boys Are Back blog

HAPPY FATHERS DAY: Best wishes today from The Boys Are Back blog

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on dad Ramiro: “It’s really fun to have a dream that no one else sees, except you and one other person. For me, that other person was my Dad. ... There are right choices and there are wrong choices. You won’t always do the right thing or make the right choice, but there are right and wrong choices. Be the kind of person who does the right thing. My dad has been there many times to show me the way to go.”

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on dad Ramiro: “It’s really fun to have a dream that no one else sees, except you and one other person. For me, that other person was my Dad. … There are right choices and there are wrong choices. You won’t always do the right thing or make the right choice, but there are right and wrong choices. Be the kind of person who does the right thing. My dad has been there many times to show me the way to go.”

Cowboys Stephen Jones on his dad Jerry: “I’ve been fortunate to have a fabulous father. We’ve been more than just father/son. We’ve been best friends. He’s obviously molded my life in a positive way. I’m just fortunate to have him around."

Cowboys Stephen Jones on his dad Jerry: “I’ve been fortunate to have a fabulous father. We’ve been more than just father/son. We’ve been best friends. He’s obviously molded my life in a positive way. I’m just fortunate to have him around.”

A special Happy Fathers Day wish to my son, Robert Andrew.

A special Happy Fathers Day wish to my son, Robert Andrew - I couldn’t imagine walking down life’s lonely road without you. I love you. Happy Fathers Day!

I couldn’t imagine walking down life’s lonely road without you.

I love you.

Happy Fathers Day!

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Running Back DeMarco Murray – A Dallas Cowboy rising star

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DeMarco Murray – A Dallas Cowboy rising star - The Boys Are Back blog

DeMarco Murray  Position: Running back  Size: 6-0, 227  Age: 24  College:Oklahoma 

Drafted: Third round, 71st overall in 2011 

Experience: Entering second season

Contract status: Signed a four-year, $2.97 million contract coming out of college. His base salary is a little over $510,000 this season with a cap hit of 675,781.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DeMarco Murray – A Dallas Cowboy rising star - The Boys Are Back blog

2011 review: A hamstring injury delayed Murray’s impact. He missed most of training camp and when the season started found himself behind Felix Jones. Murray had more than six carries only once in his first five games and managed a total of just 73 yards.

All of that changed on October 23 against St. Louis. An injury to Jones opened the door for Murray, and the rookie burst on the scene with the best rushing day in franchise history. Murray ran for 253 yards, the ninth best game in NFL history and the second best by a rookie, and scored on a 91-yard touchdown run.

He was no one-hit wonder. Murray followed that up by rushing for more than 130 yards in two of his next three games. Before an ankle injury ended his season on Dec. 11, Murray had rushed for 897 yards. As a loyal The Boys Are Back blog reader, you remember that it ranks as the fourth best rookie total in Dallas Cowboys history.

There’s more. Murray averaged 5.5 yards a carry. He rushed for 70 or more yards in the first half of four games, something that has been done only two other times in the NFL since 2000. He caught 26 passes for another 183 yards.

A slow start and the inability to finish the season due to injury were the only negatives.

2011 grade: B plus (I’d have to go with an A minus. What’s your grade? Leave a comment)

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DeMarco Murray – A Dallas Cowboy rising star - The Boys Are Back blog

Outlook in 2012: The Cowboys have searched for a lead back since Emmitt Smith’s departure in 2002.

Murray could be it. He consistently showed the ability to turn what appeared to be no gain or two or three yard pickups into six or seven yards. He’s quick, but runs with patience and power. He carried the ball at least 20 times in six of seven games during his most productive stretch. He is someone the Cowboys can, and will, hand the ball to time and time again.

The only question at this stage of his career is durability.

Courtesy: David Moore | Dallas Morning News

COVERING THE FIELD: DeMarcus Ware – New CBs make Dallas ‘D’ more aggressive

COVERING THE FIELD: DeMarcus Ware - New CBs make Dallas 'D' more aggressive - The Boys Are Back blog

Down the stretch last season, there was some confusion over which end of the pass defense was letting the Cowboys down the most.

Was it the fault of the pass rush that quarterbacks had a ton of time to find open receivers, or the secondary’s inability to cover guys long enough for the players up front to get home?

Evidently the Cowboys felt the secondary was the primary issue. They loaded up on the cornerback position this offseason, signing top free agent Brandon Carr, then traded up six spots on draft night to land Morris Claiborne, the top corner in free agency.

The plan is to keep Mike Jenkins in the fold, giving the Cowboys some of the best cornerback depth in the league.

Thanks in large part to having the best pass-rusher in football, DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys did finish seventh in sacks in the first year under Rob Ryan, collecting 42, but that number could be even more this year if receivers aren’t flashing open so quickly.

At the same time, Ryan could try to give Ware more help by sending more blitzers.

"I think up front we’re going to be even more aggressive when it comes to the rush," Ware said. "At the end of the day we’ve got a lot of confidence in the guys in the back to play man-to-man, to play whatever zone coverage, whatever they’re doing, and letting the guys up front get to the quarterback."

Pass defense is often a chicken-or-egg proposition, and Ware believes the Cowboys’ front end and back end can work well in tandem.

"He’s not going to have his first-step read," Ware said of opposing quarterbacks. "He’s going to have to go to the second and third guy, and that’s going to add a little more time for us to get pressure on the quarterback."

SPREADING THE FIELD: Diamond Dez should become a No. 1 this year

SPREADING THE FIELD - Diamond Dez should become a No. 1 this year - The Boys Are Back blog

Especially since Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) began four weeks ago, much attention has been paid to Diamond Dez Bryant and the possibility that he might be ready to fully live up to his otherworldly physical skills.

At the same time, almost nothing has been said by or about the Cowboys’ other top receiver, Miles Austin, himself a two-time Pro Bowler. If Austin is brought up, it’s in the context of him needing to stay healthy a year removed from chronic hamstring injuries.

The Cowboys know how good Austin is, but they’re most excited about how good Bryant can be, and team Vice-President Stephen Jones isn’t making much of a secret of that.

"I think (Bryant) needs to be a No. 1 receiver," Jones told KESN-FM in Dallas this week. "Not to take anything away from Miles, but I would submit to you that when we line up out there that the guy that they’re most worried about is Dez.

"And he’s got to be that guy, and even when they do try to stop him, the great ones still make a lot of plays. Tony (Romo) has got to be able to count on him, he’s got to run the right routes at the right depths and be a precise route runner. Those are things he’s got to improve on."

If Bryant is playing to his potential, of course, it could mean even more opportunities for Austin. The basic premise of Jason Garrett’s offense is to take what the defense gives.

But if Bryant can put it all together, he’s a tough cover even for two defensive backs.

RELATED: Conditioning may spur Dez Bryant’s breakthrough season

Conditioning may spur Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant's breakthrough season - The Boys Are Back blog

When discussing Dez Bryant a couple weeks back, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones mentioned his injuries and conditioning as possible reasons he has yet to totally live up to his potential.

Now that Jones has elaborated on that opinion, it would seem less likely he was trying to take a shot at Bryant’s off-the-field work ethic. It’s not necessarily that Bryant was out of shape in 2011, but that he has made major, major strides in the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason program this spring and summer.

When asked what gives him hope Bryant will have a breakthrough in 2012, Jones didn’t hesitate.

"His conditioning," Jerry Jones said. "If we can have him better conditioned, then we’ve got a chance to see him focused in the latter part of games as opposed to the first part of games. There’s no question in my mind that our coaching staff, Jason (Garrett) and Dez are going to work out the ways to best use him in the route tree."

Bryant has also cited his physical improvements as a reason to believe this is the year for his big leap forward.

It’s also just a matter of course that Bryant will continue to progress with more experience.

"He’s going into his third year with Tony (Romo)," Jones said. "Our coaches have a good feel for the things that he does best. I think all of that will come into play. If we can keep him healthy – I think he’s going to be in better condition – then we could have the player here that we had thought we might get when we drafted him."

This offseason, Bryant has said he is at just 3.1 percent body fat. He intends to play at less than 215 pounds this year, down from his listed weight of 225 pounds last season.

On Wednesday, Garrett was asked about another receiver losing weight this offseason, second-year pro Dwayne Harris, and explained why it’s important for players at that position to be as light as possible.

"Oftentimes receivers come into the league and they don’t realize how much running they do in the NFL," Garrett said. "Sometimes these guys are a little bit bigger, thinking that’s an important thing to be, ‘I need to be bigger and stronger.’ But my experience has been most of the receivers who play great in this league are as lean as they can be, and hopefully they’re naturally strong to handle the physical nature of the position.

But you need to be able to run, and run over and over and over again, and all day long."

The sky would seem to be the limit for Bryant if he can raise his stamina, master the offense and stay healthy.

Evidently the 23-year-old has already turned the corner on his Madden game, as he revealed via a Twitpic of his statline in a single game against his brother this week.

Courtesy: Josh Ellis contributed to this post | Dallas Cowboys

MONDAY MORNING COACH: NFL gives fans and media get a treat

Monday Morning Quarterback - Review Coaches Film - The Boys Are Back blog

It spread like crazy on Twitter.

The NFL, finally, after years and years of keeping it a deep dark secret, will release coaches film to fans — for a price, of course.

If you subscribe to Game Rewind’s Season Plus package you get full replays of every 2012 regular season and postseason game, in addition to coaches film. You can go to NFL.com to get more info on this.

So what is coaches film?

It’s different angles of every play in a game and it’s used by NFL teams to grade individual players and plays.

It allows fans to watch a player on every play from different angles, such as behind the quarterback and behind the defense. Special team plays are also available.

The access gives fans a unique way to watch the game other than from the typical television views.

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