Daily Archives: December 26th, 2012

OFF THE FIELD NEWS: Dallas Cowboys NT Josh Brent indicted in fatal wreck

Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent, center, is surrounded by media after leaving court Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 in Dallas - The Boys Are Back blog

DALLAS — A Dallas County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent on one count of intoxication manslaughter in a Dec. 8 wreck in Irving that killed teammate Jerry Brown.

Brent is free on $100,000 bail. No court dates have been set, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office said.

The maximum sentence on the charge is 20 years in prison.

According to news reports, before the crash Brent and Brown had been at a Dallas club. About 2:15 a.m., Brent was driving his Mercedes-Benz on a service road of Texas 114 when the car hit a curb, flipped and caught fire. Brown was pronounced dead at a hospital. Brent had minor injuries.

Brent had an Illinois driver’s license that was reported to have been suspended and expired.

Last week, a judge ordered Brent not to drive until he gets a Texas license and ordered him to wear an ankle monitor that detects alcohol consumption. Brent has a previous DWI conviction.

LOOKING FORWARD: The future of the NFL Pro Bowl could incorporate the NCAA Senior Bowl (Special Feature)

NFL Pro Bowl 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

The Pro Bowl will go on this year, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made no secret of the fact that the all-star game may not continue in future years.

So what would a Pro Bowl-less NFL calendar look like? According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, one possibility would be replacing the game with a college all-star game.

Breer writes that the AFC and NFC’s all-star team could be recognized at the NFL Honors award show on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, with the college players hitting the field after.

"That game would likely be an existing college event, most likely the Senior Bowl, which would be moved to be part of the NFL calendar, with the thought that it could kick off draft season and highlight prospects on a bigger stage, though the league would certainly be careful about NCAA rules entanglements," Breer writes.

The concept would be to mix today’s stars with future stars. Breer’s well-researched piece has comments from NFL executive vice president of business ventures Eric Grubman, who sounds like he doesn’t see a traditional Pro Bowl in the future.

Continue reading →

SALARY HAT (INSIDE JOKE): Franchise tag numbers tentatively set; 2013 salary cap near $121M

The 2013 salary cap is tentatively slated to be at or just below $121 million, according to NFL sources.

The values for restricted free agent designations and franchise tenders have also been set. Below are the tentative franchise tag and transition tag numbers for each position, in millions.

These figures were distributed in early December at the annual meeting of team owners in Dallas. They will likely be finalized in March.

CB: Franchise: $10.668         Transition: $8.939

DE: Franchise: $10.984         Transition: $8.994

DT: Franchise: $8.306           Transition: $6.919

K/P: Franchise: $2.926         Transition: $2.654

LB: Franchise: $9.455           Transition: $8.216

OL: Franchise: $9.660           Transition: $8.560

QB: Franchise: $14.642         Transition: $12.845

RB: Franchise: $8.079           Transition: $6.851

S: Franchise: $6.798             Transition: $5.899

TE: Franchise: $5.962            Transition: $5.105

WR: Franchise: $10.357        Transition: $8.716

THE HALF GRAND SCHEME: Decision to play Zone vs. Man, yields 560 yards from Dallas Cowboys defense

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan walks the sideline during the game against the New Orleans Saints - The Boys Are Back blog

Here are more thoughts from Sunday’s game with the Saints and how it might affect the Cowboys’ game plan moving forward this week in Washington with the division on the line.

Zone Or Man

Much like all of you I watch the games but have the same questions of why this team plays certain schemes over others. When this club opened training camp last July, I was excited by the prospects of Rob Ryan having the potential to play more man coverage with Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Mike Jenkins. There were plenty of days in Oxnard where we did see Carr and Claiborne when he was on the field running with Bryant and Austin.  

These corners just seemed better suited to play this style of defense than playing seven yards off and driving on the ball. As the season has progressed, Ryan still has Carr and Claiborne in the lineup but you have observed him using them more in zone coverage. In studying my notes from the Saints game, I wrote the word “Zone” several times and plenty of those notes were after Brees had a completion down the field. There is a side of me that believes that all the injuries across this defense has taken away a lot of the packages that Ryan would like to run. Generally when you play zone, you are trying to protect or hide a flaw. Safety play, corners that can’t really cover, or lack of a pass rush.

Let’s be real honest here when we look at this defense, DeMarcus Ware is one of your best players but these injuries that he is playing with have reduced him to a player that is similar to say Victor Butler. I really don’t mean that as a slam on Butler but when he is in the game, you get an occasional pressure, maybe a sack or a tackle that results in a three yard gain. It’s okay work but it’s not Ware when healthy. Ryan and this staff are trying to do things to keep this defense from totally falling apart and I understand as you read this, you are saying could it get any worse, they gave up over 560 yards?

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws against the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog

I understand in theory what Ryan is trying to do here but there were points in the Saints game in the second half where he did play some man coverage with his secondary and the results were favorable helping him get off the field which gave me hope that he could play more of it. There are very few offenses in this league that can present the problems the Saints are going to cause you matchup wise. It’s a league of big plays and they make a ton of them.

Sure I would like to see Ryan play more man coverage and make these receivers fight for contested balls because I really believe he has players that can do that but again I understand what he is trying to protect here. This is not an easy job he has here with the current state of this defense and Ware not healthy makes it even more difficult. Ryan is not the idiot that the majority of you believe, but he is one if he runs into me in the hallway at Valley Ranch and asks me what I think he should do scheme wise. Then you should question him.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore (16) dives into the end zone for a touchdown - The Boys Are Back blog

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

Editors note: This subject was raised, by me, on the Dallas Cowboys forum Monday. Check it out:

http://boards.dallascowboys.com/topic/9869-rant-rob-ryan-wake-up-dude-this-defensive-scheme-is-a-joke/

LOOKING AHEAD TO GAMEDAY: Scouting the Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins chose to take it easy on Robert Griffin’s injured knee last week, scratching most of the running out of the playbook for the rookie quarterback.

With a sore knee, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III only ran twice in last week's win over the Eagles - The Boys Are Back blog

And now they know he can win that way, too.

Griffin ran only two times for 4 yards but still put up a 102.4 passer rating, completing 16 of 24 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception (that went off the receiver’s hands) in a win last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

It gives the team confidence that Griffin, even if he is slowed down a bit, still can be a weapon against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

"We did not do everything that we would normally do," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan told Washington reporters. "I didn’t want to put that pressure on that LCL."

The ligament strain caused Griffin to miss a game two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns. He came back last week with a bulky knee brace that hampered him.

"My mobility was down a little bit just because of the brace, but at the same time, I was still able to do everything a quarterback is supposed to do," Griffin said. "It didn’t necessarily slow me down by any means, and I was able to protect myself out there."

Rivalry talk

Tight end Chris Cooley has played the Cowboys 13 times, so he appreciates the rivalry.

"This game is going to be unbelievable," he said. "This is what should be one of the best rivalries in all of football, one of the top two or three games in all of football … but it hasn’t been Redskins-Cowboys where we both have great teams."

Winning feeling

The Redskins’ six-game winning streak included a stretch of three games decided by one score, and four in all. But that’s good, Mike Shanahan said.

"You’ve got to get used to winning those tight games," he said. "I think that’s where our football team is right now. They expect to win."

The Redskins escaped Cowboys Stadium with a one-score margin, winning 38-31. They also beat the New York Giants 17-16, the Baltimore Ravens 31-28 and the Eagles 27-20.

Injuries

Right tackle Tyler Polumbus did not play last week because of a concussion. The Redskins are optimistic he can play on Sunday.

Safety DeJon Gomes sprained a knee against Philadelphia. The Redskins were waiting to see how the knee responded today.

Center Will Montgomery played with a sprained knee against the Eagles, and defensive end Stephen Bowen suffered a torn biceps, but both are expected to play Sunday.

Briefly

Ryan Kerrigan had two sacks and a forced fumble last week, giving him the team lead in sacks with 8.5.

Kai Forbath, who spent time on injured reserve with the Cowboys last year, has made 17 field goals to start his career, an NFL record.

Rookie Alfred Morris (1,413 yards) needs 105 yards to break Clinton Portis’ single-season club rushing record.

The Redskins haven’t won the NFC East since 1999.

NFC EAST REVIEW: Division race comes down to week 17

Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins - NFC East rivals play for division title - The Boys Are Back blog

With just one week left in the regular season the NFC East comes down to one game between the Redskins and Cowboys.

Washington Redskins 9-6

Dallas Cowboys 8-7

New York Giants 8-7

Philadelphia Eagles 4-11

Redskins:

It didn’t seem possible six weeks ago, but the Washington Redskins are currently the sole leaders atop the NFC East after winning their sixth straight game. Last Sunday they welcomed back Robert Griffin III from a leg injury and the rookie quarterback didn’t look like he had missed a beat.

Griffin was able to post a 102.4 passer rating while throwing two touchdowns in a 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins continued to do what they do best: run the ball well on offense. They rushed for 128 total yards and made the big plays when it mattered. At this point in the season the Redskins are very comfortable running their college-like offensive scheme and few teams have had any success stopping them.

The Redskins will be champions of the NFC East if they defeat the Cowboys at home on Sunday night. If they lose they could still potentially make the playoffs as a wildcard assuming that both Chicago and Minnesota lose their final game.

Cowboys

Perhaps the most exciting game the Cowboys have played all season turned out to be completely irrelevant. After the Giants were defeated by the Baltimore Ravens the Cowboys’ 34-31 loss to the Saints earlier in the day became meaningless.

But that doesn’t take away any of the thrill (or concerns) that came with the game. The Cowboys came back from down 14 points with less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. After getting the first touchdown, the Cowboys still needed a 4th and 10 conversion with 15 seconds left in the game. They not only converted the 4th down, they scored a 21-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin to force overtime.

In the end, a controversial fumble by Marques Colston that bounced 22 yards forward until being recovered by Jimmy Graham set up a field goal to win the game for the Saints.

Tony Romo was nearly flawless in the game throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns, while posting a passer rating of 123.8. He was helped out by the career performance of Dez Bryant who recorded 224 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Despite the loss, the Cowboys can win the division with a win over Washington on Sunday. That is their only chance at making the playoffs.

Giants:

It was hard not to assume that the Giants would just “turn it on” when they really truly needed a win. Well, the past two weeks New York has needed wins and they have been blown out each week. After being shutout by the Falcons the previous week, the Giants lost 33-14 to the Ravens.

At a time when they needed their best players playing their best, the Giants received poor performances from Eli Manning (only 150 yards passing), Ahmad Bradshaw (only 39 yards rushing) and their much heralded defensive line was unable to record a single sack on the immobile Joe Flacco.

The Giants’ weakness all season has been their secondary and they once again struggled as Flacco was able to throw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns on the Giants’ defense.

They’ve been inconsistent all season and now the Super Bowl champions find themselves in a position where they will need a miracle to make the post season.

Eagles:

The Eagles have been able to get a good look at some of their younger players the past few weeks. Unfortunately for them, at 4-11, that’s about the only positive to come from this season.

In a 27-20 loss to the Redskins, rookie quarterback Nick Foles threw for 345 yards but suffered a broken right hand that will likely force him to miss the season finale. That will put Michael Vick back into the lineup, likely for the last time with the Eagles.

McCoy returned to the lineup, which meant less carries for rookie Bryce Brown and together they were only able to combine for 63 yards.

The Eagles are obviously looking towards the future as they finish the season Sunday against the Giants.

Injuries:

Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware has been dealing with elbow and shoulder injuries all season and he was forced to miss significant portions of the Cowboys’ loss to the Saints. Jason Garrett claimed that he believes that Ware will be ready to suit up and play the season finale despite his injuries. The Cowboys also lost Ernie Sims in the first quarter against the Saints after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. There is no word on his availability for Sunday and will likely be a game-time decision.

New York Giants: The Giants’ defensive line was out of sorts on Sunday after Chris Canty reinjured his knee against the Ravens. There is no word on his status for next Sunday. Justin Tuck was already inactive in the game due to a shoulder injury.

Philadelphia Eagles: McCoy returned to the field after missing a few weeks with a concussion, but was largely ineffective rushing the ball. With Nick Foles (hand) out, Michael Vick is expected to start.

Washington Redskins: There was some concern leading into Sunday’s game over whether or not Robert Griffin III was fully healed and prepared to comeback after only missing a week from his leg injury. Griffin not only returned, but looked as sharp as ever. However, he refrained from running the ball like he normally does.

Playoff Scenarios:

-Dallas (@Washington) clinches NFC East title with a win over Washington.

-Washington (vs. Dallas) clinches NFC East division title with a win or tie against Dallas.

-Washington clinches a playoff spot with a Chicago loss and a Minnesota loss.

-New York Giants (vs. Philadelphia) clinches a playoff spot with a win and a Dallas loss or tie and a Chicago loss and a Minnesota loss.

Week 17 Schedule:

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants

Sunday, December 30th, 12:00 CT (FOX)

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

Sunday, December 30th, 7:20 CT (NBC)

BOYS ON THE BALLOT: Pro Bowl teams to be announced tonight

2012 NFL Pro Bowl - Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog

The NFL will announce the Pro Bowl teams tonight. The Cowboys won’t have a lot of players, especially judging by fans’ balloting, but they will have a handful.

Receiver Dez Bryant deserves his first; tight end Jason Witten likely will make his eighth; linebacker DeMarcus Ware hasn’t had his best year but could make his seventh on reputation; and kicker Dan Bailey probably won’t make it though he has a case.

Only Witten and Ware ranked in the top five in fan balloting. Witten was third and Ware second at their respective positions.

Witten should be one of two tight ends, along with Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez. He has set the NFL record for most catches in a single season for a tight end with 103. New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, who kept Witten out last year, leads the league in dropped passes.

Ware has only 11.5 sacks this season, tying him for third in the NFC. He might not play in the game, even if selected, because of injuries he has played through this season. Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer has played better than Ware, and deserves it more, and could end up going as an alternate.

Bryant, who is in his third season, is the most deserving of the Cowboys. He should be one of the four receivers selected, with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Chicago’s Brandon Marshall and one other, probably Atlanta’s Roddy White. Bryant ranks third among NFC wideouts with 88 catches and fourth in yards with 1,311. His 12 touchdowns ranks second among NFC wideouts. Balloting for players and coaches took place last week, though, before Bryant had nine catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints.

Bailey has missed only two field goals, though he ranks only sixth in the NFC in scoring with 128 points. His .933 field-goal percentage is tops among NFC kickers who have played all season. (Washington’s Kai Forbath is a perfect 17-for-17, but he has played only 10 games.)

The Pro Bowl teams are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches, with each group’s vote counting a third. The 43-man rosters for the AFC and the NFC will be announced at 6 p.m. on The NFL Network.

MOTHER NATURE VISITS DALLAS: Cowboys move practice to Cowboys Stadium

Dallas Cowboys practice before St Louis Rams game - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cowboys nearly made it through a whole season without having to move a practice indoors, but they now have had to do it twice in three practices. Last Thursday, high winds forced the Cowboys to move their practice to Highland Park High School’s indoor facility. That was the first time Dallas had a practice moved from their outdoor practice facility at Valley Ranch.

Today, the Cowboys will practice at Cowboys Stadium because of slick conditions on their outdoor practice fields. The Cowboys were unable to practice at Cowboys Stadium last week because of the state championship football games played there.

In 2010, the Cowboys moved four practices — three to Cowboys Stadium and one to TCU. In 2011, Dallas moved three practices to the stadium. The Cowboys used indoor facilities at Coppell High School and at Southlake Carroll in 2009 when 13 practices were moved.

The Cowboys have not had an indoor facility since theirs blew down during a severe thunderstorm on May 2, 2009.

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