Daily Archives: September 13th, 2012

BROTHERLY LOVE: Kevin Ogletree’s brother called him after the Giants game, ‘stoked’

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85) scores on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo - The Boys Are Back blog

Kevin Ogletree got to visit his brother last week before the New York Giants game, but he also got to talk to him afterward, once he had turned in his two-touchdown performance in the Cowboys’ 24-17 victory on national television.

“Oh yeah, he was happy. He called me, you know, stoked,” Ogletree said, talking to reporters Thursday at Valley Ranch. “Asking me about the interviews, if you guys asked about me. His memory’s not great. I told him everything that goes on.”

Ogletree’s brother, Calvin, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head suffered in January. Kevin said it wasn’t hard to feel the emotion on the other side of the line.

“He was happy,” Ogletree said. “It put a smile on his face.”

Calvin Ogletree’s company, Calli Exotic Car Rental, had just opened last July.

It specializes in both affordable and luxury rentals in Queen’s St Albans neighborhood.

While his younger brother Kevin, is now a professional football player in Texas, the two brothers grew up in Queens while attending high school.

Kevin earned the Daily News’ Newsday Player of the Year before attending the University of Virginia. In 2009 he was the only rookie free agent to make the cut for the Dallas Cowboys’ active roster.

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RELATED POST ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG FROM 01/09/2012:

Calvin Ogletree was reportedly shot in the head outside his car rental shop in Queens - The Boys Are Back blog

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Brother of Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree shot in Queens

SIGNED AND SEALED: Dallas Cowboys DE Sean Lissemore contract extended through 2016

SIGNED AND SEALED - Dallas Cowboys DE Sean Lissemore contract extended through 2016 - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have reached a three-year extension with defensive end Sean Lissemore.

Lissemore’s deal has $3.1 million guaranteed and includes a $2 million signing bonus.

"The Cowboys like him and Sean likes being there," Lissemore’s agent Wes Bridges said. "Quite frankly, Sean had a decision to make and see if he wanted to wait it out and go to next year, but he didn’t want it to be a distraction and wanted to just play ball. He wanted to get a deal done and get it done this year."

Sean Lissemore has yet to start a game in his NFL career. Obviously, the Cowboys are figuring he will at some point.

Lissemore has become one of their top substitutes and the coaches view him as a future starter. He was credited with two tackles in the season-opening win at the New York Giants, playing end and nose tackle.

He played in every game last year and had 39 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.

That’s why they are making sure he stays in the fold for a while. Lissemore’s original four-year deal went through the 2013 season, but the Cowboys obviously want him in the mix much longer than that.

Lissemore is currently a backup on the defensive line, but his versatility to play both end and tackle is valuable in the 3-4 scheme.

The Cowboys have some aging veterans on the defensive line in Kenyon Coleman (33), Marcus Spears (29) and Jay Ratliff (31). Lissemore just turned 25 on Tuesday.

Drafted in the seventh round out of William & Mary, Lissemore played in just two games as a rookie before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. But last year, Lissemore played in all 16 games, finishing 12th on the defense with 39 tackles. He had two sacks, equaling Jay Ratliff’s total despite playing about 400 less snaps.

In fact, defensive line coach Brian Baker called Lissemore his most productive player “per snap” in 2011 and said he would get more snaps this season.

And apparently, a few more after this one as well.

QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED: Jerry Wipes are on the market with proceeds going to the Salvation Army

Jerry Wipes - Proceeds go to the Salvation Army - The Boys Are Back blog

Jerry Jones has always had one philosophy about publicity: good publicity, bad publicity _ just spell my name right.

So in keeping with that the philosophy of any kind of attention is better than no attention at all, the Cowboys have turned what started as a silly internet insult that went viral into a money making venture.

The only difference is they are donating all the money for charity.

The product is Jerry Wipes, born out of the national media seemingly making fun of Jones’ son-in-law Shy Anderson for cleaning his glasses during the 24-17 season kickoff victory against the Giants last Wednesday.

Anderson was initially labeled Jones’ butler until he was properly identified. Instead of feeling laughed at, Anderson, Jones and the Cowboys are hoping to laugh all the way to bank in hopes of earning money for the Salvation Army.

They are selling cleaning wipes for glasses on www.shopcowboys.com for $2.99.

SPORTSWRITERS ROUNDTABLE: Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times discussion with Dallas’ Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas — Danny O’Neil covers the Seahawks for the Seattle Times and he brings you this week’s version of The Other Side.

Archer: How did Russell Wilson win the job in camp? People expected some rookie starters at QB this year, but I don’t know if too many had him as one of the guys.

O’Neil: When the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round, many assumed he would spend the year developing on the back-burner as the No. 3 quarterback. The Seahawks had signed Matt Flynn and still had Tarvaris Jackson, and they figured to be the two dueling for playing time. Well, it figured that way to everyone but coach Pete Carroll.

No sooner had the rookie minicamp finished than Carroll announced Wilson would be part of the competition, and from that moment forward, Wilson simply put together the best body of work. He had a bad day in practice during training camp, but that was one day. Singular. He was picked off three times, and showed an ability to correct it. He has a bigger arm than Flynn, more mobility and he was clearly more explosive in the exhibition games.

Wilson wasn’t given this job, he won it.

TA: Is there any buyer’s remorse on Matt Flynn if he’s not the starter?

DO: What, doesn’t every team want to pay its backup $8 million while starting a rookie? But seriously, there’s not necessarily remorse. Seattle wanted to come out of this with a starting quarterback capable of taking the team to the playoffs. If it’s Flynn, great. That was money well spent. If it’s Wilson, that’s fine, too.

Consider the Cardinals: They paid more in a contract for Kevin Kolb (five years, $63 million) than Seattle paid to Matt Flynn (three years, $26 million). Not only that, but the Cardinals gave up a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to get the privilege of playing that money while Seattle chose Wilson with a third-round choice. Seattle certainly appears to have acquired more talent at quarterback for a lesser investment.

TA: The Seahawks finished the year 5-3 after losing to the Cowboys last year and all of the losses were by less than a touchdown. Obviously, they started with a close loss to Arizona in Week 1. How does Pete Carroll get this team over the hump in close games?

DO: Let Wilson mature. This team is built to play to the strengths of a big, physically imposing defense and a punishing ground game. Wilson is the guy they’re depending on to be able to pull a game out in the fourth quarter. He came closer in Week 1 than Tarvaris Jackson ever did last year so that time may be coming.

TA: People really like the Seattle secondary, but where does the pass rush come from? How is Bruce Irvin’s progress going?

DO: Bruce Irvin has not been the immediate-impact pass rusher the Seahawks predicted when they chose him. Chris Clemons remains this team’s best pass rusher. Irvin will get a chance to see if Seattle’s home crowd can help give him an advantage in rushing off the edge.

TA: I can’t go without asking a Terrell Owens question even if he’s not on the roster. How did he look and why didn’t the Seahawks keep him?

DO: He was in great shape, still had the speed to get deep, but had two significant drops. He was acquired to provide a veteran alternative in case Sidney Rice wasn’t ready when the season began. Rice was ready, and Owens wasn’t so impressive the team was willing to carry him as a fourth or fifth wide receiver given the fact he doesn’t play special teams.

If Rice were to get hurt again, the Seahawks wouldn’t hesitate to bring Owens back.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Dallas Cowboys success with 10 days of rest, preparation

GAMEDAY - Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks - The Boys Are Back blog

Riding the high of a monumental win over the defending Super Bowl champs in their own home, the Dallas Cowboys must now prepare for a road tilt with the Seattle Seahawks. By all accounts, this is a “trap” game for Dallas. The ’Boys will be on the road for the second straight week, visiting a Seahawks team that went down against a lackluster Arizona Cardinals squad.

On paper, the Cowboys will be the favorites. In reality, they’re entering a hostile environment – CenturyLink Field is known for being one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL – to face a motivated ball club. The game won’t be a piece of cake for Dallas, and Jason Garrett will make sure his players understand that.

One of the things the Cowboys have on their side is time. After playing in a rare Wednesday night contest, Dallas will have 10 days off to prepare for the Seahawks. In addition to allowing some bodies to heal, the extra rest provides the coaches with a whole lot of time to break down Seattle – their offensive tendencies, their blitzes, and their young, mobile rookie quarterback. 96 extra hours, to be exact.

I’m a big believer in the value of game preparation. Ever watch a college bowl game and notice how prepared the teams look to face one another? Gadget plays, exotic blitzes, perfectly-timed calls. Some of these teams have a month to get themselves ready for their bowl game – a month in which they can uncover just about every possible opponent weakness – and it shows.

And the stats prove that extra time off is of great value in the NFL, too. Although teams were only 16-16 coming out of their bye weeks last year, 2011 was really just an aberration. Since 1990, teams coming off of their bye have compiled a .542 winning percentage. Since the overall winning percentage is obviously an even .500, that’s a pretty substantial jump in 704 total games.

And the Cowboys have been one of the league’s most successful teams following a bye. While the ’Boys have won 55.8 percent of their regular season games since 1990, they’ve notched a victory 69.6 percent of the time following their bye.

Of course, the Cowboys don’t have a full two-week hiatus this time around, but it probably won’t matter. See, Dallas is also quite successful after Thanksgiving Day games, a period when they generally have nine days of rest prior to their next outing.

In the entire history of the organization, the Cowboys have posted a .574 winning percentage. In the week following Thanksgiving, however, they’ve managed a .628 winning percentage, suggesting they’ve benefited from the added rest.

In his short career as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett is just 1-2 when given nine or more days off between contests. Three games is hardly a substantial sample size, though, and the Cowboys actually played extremely well in their post-bye 20-16 loss to the New England Patriots last year.

Stats aside, the Cowboys know what’s on the line against the Seahawks: A chance to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2008. With that as their focus, you know the ’Boys will be prepared to play this Sunday in Seattle.

GRINDING THROUGH ADVERSITY: Dallas Cowboys rewarding players that don’t quit, even after setbacks

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett vs Philadelphia Eagles

IRVING, TexasLast year, when the Cowboys won a game, head coach Jason Garrett awarded the outstanding player of the game with an authentic Louisville Slugger. The “swing the bat” award was a metaphor for adversity, reminding players to keep grinding.

For example, kicker Dan Bailey won the first bat in 2011 for kicking the game-tying and game-winning field goals against San Francisco after having missed a chip shot on the first drive of the game.

This season, the bats have been replaced by a new souvenir, hard hats worn underground by real coal miners.

DeMarcus Ware received the first honor after recording two sacks, six tackles and a quarterback pressure against the Giants while playing through a bum hamstring that has continued to limit him in practice this week.

“Really it’s about putting your hard hat on, regardless of circumstances and going down there and doing your job,” Garrett said. “We told them some stories about coal miners early on in training camp, and what they do each and every day, and how they get paid for what they do. And DeMarcus Ware demonstrated that more than anybody else in our win against the Giants.”

SPOTLIGHT – THIRD ROUND STAR: DeMarco Murray’s physical play motivates offense, demoralizes defenses

Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks reaches out to tackle DeMarco Murray

IRVING — Before they drafted him, the Dallas Cowboys wondered if DeMarco Murray could be a tough inside runner.

They know now.

His performance in the season opener against the New York Giants, on top of the promise he showed last year as a rookie, has them so convinced, they’re no longer even pretending they have a committee or co-starter approach at running back.

"DeMarco Murray is our starter at tailback," coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday at Valley Ranch.

Murray ran for 131 yards on 20 carries against the Giants. Felix Jones got 12 snaps, no carries, two targets, no catches.

"There’s definitely a role for Felix, and we like what he does for our offense both in the run game and in the pass game," Garrett said. "Depending on how the game goes, he’s going to get more touches or fewer touches."

It’s probably going to be fewer as the Cowboys go with the wear-them-down mentality that worked ideally against the Giants.

Murray ran for 111 of his 131 yards in the second half, including a 48-yard run that demonstrated both his bullish power and his open-field dynamic.

"I love it how he explodes into the guy who is trying to tackle him at the end of the run," Garrett said. "His pads are always down, and he’s always finishing forward. I think it’s good to get yards that way, but I also think it sends a message to the guy who’s trying to tackle him."

Murray shrugs.

He came from a spread offense at Oklahoma. He’s known as a speed guy. But he’s also 6-foot and 215 pounds.

The words are almost visible on his face: Why would anyone wonder if he was a physical player?

"At the end of the day, I’d rather go north and south than go east and west and try to shake and make someone miss," he said. "But it just depends on the situation. There are a lot of good defenders in this league, so there aren’t too many times when you can make guys miss, and there aren’t too many games when you’re one-on-one. But I just try to finish as much as I can."

The running style radiates confidence. Murray has it in himself. He is transferring it to everyone else.

"When we see DeMarco attack, it gets us going, too," left guard Nate Livings said. "You see what kind of mindset he’s in. You’ve got a back that’s laying it on the line, too. It kind of makes you feel appreciated for laying it on the line. It just all comes together. It’s real appreciated to see that."

Garrett said Murray’s physical play allows him to squeeze more out of his runs.

"I don’t know if any of us really, really saw how physical he was at the end of plays," Garrett said. "All the great runners that I’ve been around are guys that finish runs. You think it’s a 4-yard run; boy, he made 6. You think it’s an 8-yard run; aw, he made a first down. He has that ability. You see that in space. There were a number of plays where he caught the ball in space, made a guy miss, and before you know it, I’m calling a second-and-4 play."

Murray had only one carry over 5 yards in the first half against the Giants. In the second half, he had runs of 9, 48, 9, 15 and 7 among his 15 touches. The Cowboys put the ball in his hands to get the final first down they needed, although it was called back by a penalty.

"It’s demoralizing for a defense to get a back that is going to give more to you than you give to him," owner Jerry Jones said. "I think that pays off."

Livings said he didn’t hear a peep from the Giants’ defense last week.

"No, you didn’t hear anything," he said. "You just heard the pop. The pop says a lot."

For Murray, the 6.6 yards per rush against the Giants marked the seventh time he averaged 4.0 yards or more per rush in a game in his young NFL career. In 14 games with the Cowboys, he has rushed for 1,028 yards.

Can’t do that without being both a good outside runner and a tough inside runner. The Cowboys used to wonder.

"Now they know," Murray said.

DeMarco Murray - Carrying the Load - The Boys Are Back blog

SPECIAL TEAMS BOOST: Newly signed CB LeQuan Lewis happy for regular season opportunity

LeQuan Lewis played both cornerback and wideout at Arizona State - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, TexasLeQuan Lewis was not brought into the organization with defensive reps in mind. Lewis is expected to prove his worth as a special teams contributor, head coach Jason Garrett confirmed Wednesday morning.

“He was actually released by the Jets, but he was a guy that we targeted as a special teams guy,” Garrett said. “So we brought him in here, see how he fits on our 53-man roster and then our 46-man roster.”

Lewis, who has never play in a regular season NFL game, after being cut by the Titans in 2011 and by the Raiders and Jets this summer, talked about how excited he is to be given an opportunity with the Cowboys. He said he plans to take full advantage of every moment of practice and any snaps he might get against Seattle.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Lewis said. “I really appreciate what this organization is doing with me. Everyone’s being welcoming and it feels great.”

The Cowboys are coming into Sunday’s game with an increased emphasis on special teams due to Seattle’s success in that area under coach, Pete Carroll. Specifically the Cowboys have to worry about the danger of kick returner Leon Washington, who holds three separate franchise records for kick returns.

Garrett talked about the danger that Leon Washington can pose.

“He’s a great returner,” Garrett said. “Has been a great returner since day one in this league. He’s a difference-making player for them.”

If Lewis’ name is indeed called on come Sunday, he will be expected to help contain Washington’s return game. Lewis talked about the potential of coming in and making an immediate impact in a game.

“I definitely want to set a footprint in and just go out there and make plays right away,” Lewis said. “I’m going out there to prove them right for bringing me here.”

As someone who has always played the position of cornerback, Lewis discussed the mindset of making special teams his focus.

“Go out there and make plays,” Lewis said. “They brought me over to play special teams right away, and so I have to learn that system and make plays. Corner will come when it comes … special teams will be the emphasis.”

With one mistake by the coverage team, Washington can change a game, so it may pay off for the Cowboys to bring in a special teams player with the right attitude.

“I have no fears whatsoever,” Lewis said. “I have nothing to lose. I’m going to go down there and play my heart out.”

RELATED POSTS ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG:

ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys sign CB LeQuan Lewis for special teams missions

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