IRVING, Texas – After the Dallas Cowboys traded their first- and second-round picks in April to move into position to draft Morris Claiborne, owner Jerry Jones claimed he would walk to New York to get back his No. 2 selection.
The Cowboys ended up sitting out of the second round entirely, significantly frustrating for Jones because of the depth of the talent pool available when the team’s original pick, No. 45 overall, rolled around. After the round ended, Jones confessed the team would’ve taken Utah State’s Bobby Wagner in that spot. The inside linebacker was chosen by Seattle two picks later, at No. 47 overall, and is now starting for the Seahawks.
While the Cowboys will get a vision of what could’ve been when they face Seattle’s defense on Sunday, it’s doubtful there is any regret on Jones’ part right now.
Bruce Carter, the 2011 second-round linebacker, has done just as the club had hoped another year off the torn ACL that dropped him out of first-round contention, winning the starting job and playing effectively.
Carter beat out free agent addition Dan Connor in training camp for the opportunity to play next to Sean Lee, another first-round talent, according to the Cowboys’ evaluation. After starting his rookie season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, he became a special teams contributor down the stretch in 2011.
“Carter, that’s like having another first-round draft pick,” Jones told The Fan (105.3-FM) in Dallas on Friday. “I know that when we trade, we trade a two on draft day for somebody’s one, that’s the equivalent of somebody’s one. That’s just in draft pick evaluation. So, he comes in here, he’s certainly at the level that you’d be looking at, at a No. 1 pick, and he had a camp and (is) playing like it.”
VIDEO: Rob Ryan – I Don’t Want To Be A Distraction (Click on picture or HERE to watch)
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talks about the improvement the defense from last year to this year, and what changes he has made personally that he thinks will help the team. (Duration: 3:57)
Jerry Jones has said Rob Ryan had a “come to Jesus” year in 2011, which forced him to make changes. The Cowboys defensive coordinator agreed some things have changed.
“I’m lighter. Feel good,” Ryan said. “I’m only talking to the media once a week now. I guess hopefully I change for the better.”
Ryan, who is in his second year with the Cowboys, is 55 pounds lighter after surgery with Dr. Adam Smith at Fort Worth Lap-Band in February. He is less talkative, too, vowing to submit only to the once-weekly sessions required under the NFL’s media access policy. The outspoken Ryan said it was his idea to talk less.
“I’m just trying to do the right thing,” Ryan said. “I don’t think I need to be distraction for this football team. There is a way the Dallas Cowboys do things, and I think that’s a professional way to do it. I don’t need to be outspoken out there. I’m going to let our players do our talking. It’s time to quit talking and start doing something. That’s what we all buy into as a defense. That’s what I buy into, and that’s what we’re all believing in.”
The Cowboys blew five fourth-quarter leads last season. They allowed 3,906 passing yards, the second-most in team history. Worse, the Cowboys finished only 8-8 and missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
“I still stand behind the job I did last season,” Ryan said. “I wasn’t horrendous. I know everybody says I was, but I wasn’t. Believe me.”
He does, however, expect he and his defense to be better this season. The Cowboys are ranked seventh overall, including fifth against the pass, after one week.
"We plan on being an excellent defense, and if everything goes right, then we will be,” Ryan said. “But we’ve got a lot to prove.”
IRVING — Cowboys Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff and starting center Phil Costa won’t play Sunday at Seattle. Rookie safety Matt Johnson has also been ruled out.
Ratliff and Costa haven’t practiced all week because of injuries. Ratliff suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason and didn’t play in the season opener at the Giants.
“He’s making progress. He’s getting better every day and trying to do more and more,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Friday. “He’s done a real good job with his treatment and his rehab. We’re hopeful as it goes he’ll get some work in practice and be back sooner rather than later.”
Ratliff will be replaced by a combination of Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore, who just signed a three-year contract extension with the Cowboys on Thursday.
“We certainly love his work ethic and what he brings to our team,” Garrett said. “He’s just a good football player. He’s a very versatile guy for us on the defensive line. He plays a couple of different spots for us in our base defense. He’s a good run defender. He can rush the passer at different times. He’s the right kind of guy.”
Costa aggravated a lower back injury in the first series against the Giants on Sept. 5 and didn’t return. He was replaced by Ryan Cook, who will start Sunday at Seattle.
Shy Anderson, the son-in-law of owner Jerry Jones, sparked this Jerry Wipes craze when he took the owner’s glasses and cleaned them during the Cowboys victory over the New York Giants on opening night. He doesn’t care how much fun is made of this idea as long as people buy it.
People have. The microfiber cloth designed to wipe down glasses _ at a price of $2.99 _ is a hit. The product temporarily disappeared from the team’s website Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after it appeared, because the Cowboys sold their complete inventory. A second order has been placed and is now available for purchase.
“I thought I had ordered more than we would ever need, and we sold out in one night,” said Anderson, who politely declined to provide numbers.
All proceeds go to the Salvation Army’s back to school initiative that provides eye screening for children.
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