IRVING, Texas – Not much has changed for Cole Beasley as he enters his second season in the NFL, apart from his appearance.
The former SMU receiver shaved off the long locks and added 10 pounds to his frame, but on the football field it’s a lot of the same, as he attempts to once again make the team and make a difference out of the slot.
“After a year, you start to know what to expect,” Beasley said. “It kind of helps your thought process on how you’ve got to get your mind ready and focused to go into practice every day and getting better each day. That’s what you have to do to make it in this league.”
Terrance Williams is now added to the fold, while Kevin Ogletree is subtracted. Alterations happen within an offense and the personnel every season, and Beasley knows everyone who comes in to compete at receiver possesses talent every year.
He’s not worried about the competition around him, because it’s not changing any time soon. Instead of concentrating on his potential for playing time, he focused on a personal goal for the offseason.
“Mine was mostly to put weight on,” he said. “I had a little setback with my shoulder injury the last game last year. That threw me off a little bit. But I came back pretty quick, and I probably gained 10 more pounds than what I was last year.”
Beasley injured his AC joint going out for a pass in the final game of the season against the Redskins. He couldn’t lift weights for two months after the season and could barely do a pushup seven weeks in. Once he could start lifting, it didn’t take long for him to recover. But the entire healing process took longer than he would have expected.
“I kind of slowly came back into it,” he said. “I probably started doing stuff a little before I was supposed to, but it was just light bands stuff. I was just trying to get it strong. That’s probably why it was sore for a little bit longer. It was sore enough to where I could feel it but it wasn’t too bad. Then I just started lifting weights, and now it’s just completely gone.”
Now, he enters the season healthy and ready to find a role in the offense with a new receivers coach in Derek Dooley. He can already tell this year’s Organized Team Activities are more focused on the basics and keeping things simple to let the players use their talents and make plays without overthinking.
Other than that, not much is different for Beasley, apart from his knowledge of the offense and, of course, his new appearance. As for the newly shaved head, those who liked his old curls are still in luck.
“It’s really simple, it just got hot,” Beasley said. “I practiced one day with it, it was too long though. I’ll let it grow back.”
NBA legend Michael Jordan had four words for Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant when he met him for the first time in February at the NBA all-star game in Houston: stay out of trouble.
Bryant, who recently signed an endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand, plans to oblige.
“Whenever you represent a guy like Michael Jordan you got to be right,” Bryant said. “I don’t know one guy who doesn’t admire him. It’s very rare to be a part of that group (a Jordan Brand athlete endorser). Just to be blessed to be part of that group means a lot to me. Before I was even signed to the brand all I rocked were Jordans. I’m blessed to be part of that. I’m going to stay focused and do my job and hold myself accountable with my actions.”
Bryant recalled meeting Jordan for the first time at his birthday party and being nervous before getting a stern edict from his idol.
“The only thing he told me was “stay out of trouble”, Bryant said. “Hearing it from him, he is a strong voice. His opinion matters. It just adds fuel to trying to do things great at all times, that’s something you don’t want to mess up. Now, I do pay attention to that, just because of the fact of who he is and what he is about. Everybody knows Michael Jordan is about his business, so that makes you want to be about yours.”
RELATED: Dez Bryant working for free, first year of deal
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is so confident in his abilities to not only adhere to Jordan’s advice of staying out of trouble but also continuing to develop as one of the league top game breakers that he will not get paid the first year of his three-year endorsement deal with Jordan Brand at his request.
It was Bryant’s idea to work for free the first year of the deal outside of athletic gear/apparel and prove himself worthy of the Jordan Brand.
“He told Jordan, let me show you,” the source said.
Of course, if you know Bryant, the Jordan gear is like money to him.
Bryant is the seventh NFL player to join the apparel group and will be part of a new marketing campaign coming this summer.
DeMarco Murray’s injured hamstring continues to keep him sidelined at the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason practices, but the absence of the team’s top running back isn’t keeping coach Jason Garrett up at night.
Speaking at a news conference in Irving, Garrett dismissed the notion that injuries to Murray and several other players are a pressing issue at Valley Ranch. Murray has missed nine games due to injuries over his first two NFL seasons.
“I just think with all the guys with any kind of hint of injury this time of year, we’re very cautious,” Garrett said. “We don’t want to take any backward steps. They’re all progressing well in their rehab. They’re all working hard. So, we just want to keep them moving forward, and (Murray) falls into that category as well as a number of other guys.”
Other players limited by injuries include:
- safety Will Allen,
- wide receiver Tim Benford,
- linebacker Justin Durant,
- rookie safety Jakar Hamilton,
- defensive end Anthony Hargrove,
- quarterback Tony Romo,
- running back Joseph Randle and
- fullback Lawrence Vickers.
Injuries decimated the Cowboys’ defense last season, but Garrett said it’s way too early to think the team won’t be healthy this season.
“You want to keep injuries to a minimum, obviously – and kind of injuries,” he said. “If you look around the league, there are probably a lot of teams that are going through the same kind of things we’re going through, and you’ve just got to manage the right way.
“If we were playing on Sunday, we might handle these things a little bit differently. But, again, you want to err on the side of caution this time of year, and we have to do everything we can as an organization to keep these guys healthy.”
RELATED: DeMarco Murray determined to play all 16 games this season
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray knows he can’t win the battle of perception.
He joined the Cowboys as a third-round pick in 2011 with a reputation of being injury prone in college at Oklahoma, despite owning the school records for points, touchdowns and all-purpose yards.
Murray then missed nine games his two seasons combined, prompting the Cowboys to draft Oklahoma State star Joseph Randle in the fifth round this year to help shoulder the load going forward.
Now Murray is sidelined for the start of OTAs with a tweaked hamstring. He missed all of last week and Tuesday.
While he said he doesn’t worry about the injury-prone label, he does plan on changing the perception in 2013 by doing something he has never done before: play all 16 games.
“That’s something I can’t control,” Murray said of the critics. “I can’t control if anything happens. All I can do is go out there, play hard, play fast, play physical. Once I’m out there, I don’t think there’s any question about anything. “…I am going to play all 16 (games) this year, and I’m excited. It’s going to be a great year for us.”
If Murray plays all 16 games, it should be a great year for the Cowboys.
One thing he has proved over his first two years is that the Cowboys are better when Murray is in the lineup and running well. He has 218 carries for 1,100 yards in Cowboys’ wins in 2011 and 2012 compared to 107 carries for 466 yards in losses.
His importance is not lost on the Cowboys, who support the decision by Murray and the trainers to take it slow during OTA workouts so he can be ready to live up to his promise of a full season on the field.
“DeMarco, he’s going to be good,” receiver Dez Bryant said. “The thing about it is, we’re in OTAs and we don’t want to get him out there when he’s not ready and something comes up. We need him throughout the whole year. Not only for DeMarco but for every player, we don’t want to rush anybody. He’s a great player and he’s probably one of the biggest pieces to this puzzle. He’s doing fine.”
Said tight end Jason Witten: “I think it’ll be huge for us. He’s a guy that plays hard and runs hard. I think we’ll do a better job offensively running the ball. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on that. He’s a dynamic back who can create a lot of things for you. He’s got to be healthy and out there. He’s worked hard to get there, and hopefully we’ll get to see him here in these OTAs. A lot of that has been tightened up. We can’t be in those situations that we were last year. It’s just too hard to overcome.”
The second week of organized team activities started for the Dallas Cowboys today (on Tuesday). As expected, Tony Romo remained out of the mix.
Romo is unable to practice after having a cyst removed from his back in April. The quarterback hasn’t started working with the Cowboys’ 2013 NFL Draft picks: center Travis Frederick, tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Terrance Williams.
Romo was asked what he misses by being forced to sit out early practices.
“I think sometimes timing,” Romo said Tuesday. “But at the same time, I’m going to wear that out with them, too. I’m sure they’ll want to get out of here a little bit in June and July, but I’ll probably force the hand a little bit to keep them around and it’ll be a good thing for us. It’ll be just a bonus, time wise.”
Meanwhile, the quarterback said he watched film on Escobar and Williams prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, per the request of general manager Jerry Jones.
Romo would like to take part in the Cowboys’ June 11 to 13 minicamp. He can fret about timing, but time remains on his side.
The NFL draft is moving two weeks later than usual, at least for 2014.
The league announced today (Tuesday) that the 2014 NFL Draft will be held May 8 to 10 at Radio City Music Hall. The league also was considering moving the draft to May 15 to 17 because of scheduling issues at Radio City Music Hall, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed last week at the NFL Spring Meeting.
“The decision was made after discussions with club personnel and key NFL business partners. No decision has been made regarding the dates of the NFL Draft in 2015 and beyond. A variety of alternatives are being explored, teams were told, including holding the draft at Radio City or at other locations, either in the New York area or in other cities,” the league said in a statement Tuesday.
There have been discussions about dramatically changing the offseason calendar including the dates of the NFL Scouting Combine and the start of free agency, but those possible changes won’t happen until 2015 at the earliest. The NFL announced the 2014 dates of those events, which are at the same time as previous years.
The National Combine in Indianapolis will be held from February 18 to 25. The new league year and free agency will begin March 11, 2014. The NFL Annual Meeting will be held in Orlando, Fla., on March 23 to 26.
The NFL’s original preference was for the combine to happen in March, with the league year beginning in April and the NFL draft in May. However, no (required) agreement was reached with the NFL Players Association on changing the start of the league year.
The NFL’s release pointed out that the change in the date of the draft won’t have any effect on when rookies will be able to report to their clubs or the length of the offseason program in 2014. They also don’t plan to reduce the number of practice days for 2015.
This looks like a “trial” year for the draft in May. If it goes well, we can expect the already-long “draft season” to add a few more mock drafts.
A lot was said (and implied) last week about Tony Romo’s lack of participation in the teams OTA’s. The fact is, Romo was very involved in the activities with coaches and teammates … both on the practice fields and in the clubs meeting rooms.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo directs teammates during the Dallas Cowboys first OTA practice at Valley Ranch
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo directs teammate Jason Witten after he runs a pass route.
Tony Romo warms up arm during the Dallas Cowboys first OTA practice
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tries not to collide with Dez Bryant as he runs a pass route
IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo wants to take part in the June 11-13 mini-camp.
Romo had a small cyst removed from his back in April and has been limited in his conditioning work for most of the offseason. He has only recently done some light jogging to go with work on the bike and elliptical machines. He has not done any sprinting.
Over the next few weeks, he will be able to make progress in his conditioning to get on the field for full-speed practices.
Romo’s experience has been touted for his ability to be more involved with the game planning and instillation means so much, then OTA’s in May will not be a great deal of help.
Let him work through some individual drills the way DeMarcus Ware is doing. Ware is coming off major shoulder surgery. He could take part in full practices if necessary, but the Cowboys are being conservative with his comeback.
There are $108 million reasons why the Cowboys must do the same with Romo.
SPRINTS, NOT SQUATS: Dallas Cowboys safety Matt Johnson adjusts fitness program to reduce hamstring issues
IRVING — In examining why he had reoccurring hamstring injuries last year, Dallas Cowboys second-year safety Matt Johnson said he realized it could have had something to do with his weight room routine. Johnson said he cut back this off-season on the amount of weight he was squatting.
“We’ve done more hamstring work instead of putting on 400 pounds and squatting,” Johnson said Tuesday after the Cowboys’ first organized team activity practice. “When I was in college, I did that some. When you get to the pros, and playing at safety, I don’t need to squat 500 pounds. We did more position specific and more dynamic work. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to play football. I was big enough.”
Johnson said he’s lost three or four pounds and weighs about 212 now.
“I feel better at that weight. This league is all about running,” Johnson said. “Obviously you have to be big, too, but on the back end, you have to run a lot.”
Johnson – a 2012 fourth-round pick out of Eastern Washington – is competing this off-season for a starting safety spot against veteran Will Allen, who joined the Cowboys as a free agent addition after starting seven games for Pittsburgh last year, and rookie third-round pick J.J. Wilcox from Georgia Southern.
Johnson injured his left hamstring in June last year and missed most of training camp. He did get in a few padded camp practices and was in for about a dozen plays in the Cowboys’ third preseason game against St. Louis.
However, on his first play against the Rams, Johnson felt pain in his right hamstring.
Johnson’s right hamstring injury kept him out until mid-October. He returned to practice and was set to appear in his first NFL regular-season game Oct. 21 at Carolina when – two days before the game – he again injured his right hamstring in practice.
Last year at this time, Johnson wasn’t allowed to participate in the Cowboys’ OTAs because he was still finishing school at Eastern Washington.
In mid-March, Cowboys radio announcer Brad Sham called Johnson “the greatest safety to ever play” in an interview on KRLD-FM.
“The reason I know that is I’ve been doing this 35 years,” Sham said, “and he’s the only guy I’ve ever seen make the team practicing once, so he must be the greatest safety to every play.”
Through all the hamstring injuries, the Cowboys stuck with Johnson last season. They carried him on the active roster most of the year before finally putting him on injured reserve in mid-November.
Johnson, however, wouldn’t have survived on the Cowboys’ roster if they didn’t believe in his potential.
“His ball skills are incredible,” Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “When the ball is in the air, he knows how to go up and play it.”
OK, I was going to write an article and got distracted! Here are some photos of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders from their scuba excursion … calendar shoot in Mexico. Enjoy!
DON’T WRITE HIM OFF, JUST YET: Doug Free spent the spring putting in time for training despite the uncertainty about his future
IRVING, Texas – The question of whether Doug Free will be a Dallas Cowboy has mercifully been answered – what about the question of what to do with him?
Free agreed to a new, smaller contract last week after an offseason of speculation brought on by a forgettable 2012 season. The former $8 million offensive tackle severely underplayed his four-year contract from 2010 after a move to the right side of the line, and the result was an uncertain few months of contract re-negotiation.
Throughout that time period – a rare case of an offensive lineman being a team’s most-discussed asset – offensive line coach Bill Callahan said Free never strayed away from his dedication to the job. The 29-year-old spent the spring reporting to Valley Ranch and putting in time for training despite the uncertainty about his future.
“I’m really proud of the way Doug has handled everything that has transpired in the offseason,” Callahan said. “He’s been very positive, he’s been forthcoming, he’s been hard working and he’s not let the business side affect the playing side, which I think has been tremendous, so in that regard I just have the utmost respect.”
That much has been made evident by Free’s presence at events like the Reliant Home Run Derby and last week’s Cowboys annual golf social. Even in the midst of speculation about his future, Free made enthusiastic team appearances alongside team favorites like Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee.
“I’m proud of what he’s accomplished, to maintain his focus and still go out and practice and work and keep his focus as a pro just speaks volumes for me,” Callahan said.
It will be interesting to see how that professionalism translates to the playing field. Free is the logical starter at right tackle for 2013 at this point, although it’s important to remember that he was basically platooning with backup Jermey Parnell by the tail end of last season. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett touched on that when discussing his excitement at bringing Free back.
“We were rotating those guys in almost series by series,” Garrett. “Doug ended up playing a lot more snaps each game than Jermey did, but I really think that was a positive situation for both guys and for our football team. Jermey responded well to it, and Doug responded well to it.”
That seems to be applicable all over the offensive line, as the Cowboys boast plenty of depth but not many established starters. Returning a veteran like Free to the competition is something Callahan said should benefit the line in the long run.
“We like the fact that everyone has been here in this system for at least two years now,” he said. “(Continuity) is important but we also want to make sure we have the right guys playing. We like how the progress has gone so far and I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen.”
Free should probably be considered the favorite to retain his old role at the outset of training camp. But it’s clear from the coaches that his presence is a valuable one regardless – especially at his new discounted value.
“He’s a veteran player,” Garrett said. “He’s been a good player for us on the left side and the right side, and he’s got some position flex. He’s smart. He’s a leader.”
The St. Louis Rams added some, um, size to their offensive line this offseason in the form of 400-pound Terrell Brown out of Ole Miss.
The tackle, who was officially listed as 385 pounds by Ole Miss, tipped the scales in St. Louis at 403 pounds, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.
“We had him in for a rookie tryout and he had some issues we had to clear up from a physical standpoint. But we put that behind us. We worked him out on both sides of the ball and decided that his best position would be offensive tackle,” Fisher stated.
Brown certainly has size, but experience, not so much. He played in only ten games in two seasons at Mississippi after a redshirt year and an injury during his two JUCO seasons.
Brown’s sheer size forced NFL.com to try to recall anyone in the league larger than Brown, which is an accomplishment in itself.
Below, is a series of videos published this week about the Dallas Cowboys. Some shows are long, which are ideal for lunch breaks or listening to something while you work around the house (or yard). You’ll hear from coaches, players, and staff …directly. Check em out:
Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick Travis Frederick joins Jeff and Josh, as do Sean Lissemore and fourth-round rookie B.W. Webb
More videos …
Remember the lawsuit filed by two massage therapists alleging that Brett Favre sent sexually suggestive text messages?
The lawyer for the two women announced Friday that the case has been settled out of court. There’s no word on how much money Favre had to shell out to make the lawsuit disappear.
Massage therapists Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole alleged that Favre sent the racy texts to another therapist when he played for the New York Jets in 2008. The lawsuit claims the two women lost their jobs when they blew the whistle on Favre’s behavior.
Favre has denied the allegations and unsuccessfully requested that the case be thrown out last year. Now that the case is settled, Favre can go back to riding his lawn tractor, coaching high school football and staying out of the NFL news cycle.
A Dallas County judge this morning decided to not revoke or increase the bond for Dallas Cowboys lineman Josh Brent after he was called into a hearing to answer allegations of repeatedly violating the terms of his bail.
As part of his release, Brent was ordered to wear a SCRAM ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol levels and ordered to maintain a curfew. The hearing included testimony from a bond supervisor, the CEO of Brent’s rehab center and a SCRAM device supervisor, who said Brent hasn’t logged his data 22 times, which makes monitoring difficult, but there were no signs of alcohol being detected or the device being tampered with.
As part of a new arrangement, the ankle monitor worn by Brent will randomly sample for alcohol and will also take a picture of his environment at the sampling time.
Follow Selwyn Crawford’s tweets from the hearing below:
Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford
Josh Bret’s bond not increased. He is not jailed.
Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford
On cross examination, SCRAM supervisor said “there’s nothing” to indicate josh Brent consumed alcohol.
Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford
SCRAM device supervisor testified that #joshbrent failed to download necessary info to device “22 times,” making monitoring difficult.
Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford
SCRAM supervisor said he doesn’t believe @dallascowboys #joshbrent consumed alcohol.
Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford
Report shows no alcohol or tampering detected by SCRAM alcohol monitoring advice on #joshbrent.
Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford
Josh Brent’s bond supervisor acknowledges handling off case by Dallas Co. DA’s office is “unusual.”
Original report: Dallas Cowboys lineman Joshua Brent could be in trouble again. The Dallas County District Attorney’s office has filed a motion to revoke Brent’s bond on intoxication manslaughter charges, alleging that Brent violated his bond by either drinking alcohol or being around it.
Brent, 25, was indicted for a December drinking and driving one-car crash in Irving that left his best friend and fellow Cowboy, Jerry Brown Jr., dead. Brent, who was driving the car and had a reported blood alcohol level of .18 — more than twice the legal driving limit of .08 — was placed on $100,000 bond. He was also ordered not to drink or be around alcohol. A so-called SCRAM monitor measures whether Brent has been exposed to alcohol.
Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Heath Harris on Thursday told Jennifer Emily, courthouse reporter for The Dallas Morning News, that the device shows that Brent has either been drinking alcohol or has been around it.
A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at the Dallas County Criminal Courts building. Harris said that Brent will be brought before a judge who will either warn him or revoke his bond. Harris told Emily that Brent has already been reprimanded once for violating the terms of his bond.
Regardless of what happens Friday, Harris said that the district attorney’s office hopes to move forward with Brent’s case soon.
“We want to get that case tried” Harris said.
The NFL draft provides football fans with a peek into the exhilaration that comes with entering the league. Far less publicized is a player’s exit from the game, which carries its own emotional weight.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the NFL Spring Meeting in Boston that he had met with league officials about ways to better service players when their careers are over. Those talks Tuesday included discussions with NFL senior vice president Troy Vincent, Goodell said.
“We look at our players from a total wellness standpoint,” Goodell said. “It’s not just a physical wellness, it’s a mental wellness. And what can we do to try and make sure that we’re helping our players make the transitions through life and to make sure they’re getting the kind of help they need at any point.”
Goodell added: “And today one of the focuses was the cutdown process as an example. How do we make the process more dignified? It is in some cases the last experience a player has with a team or any team in the NFL. So we have to do a better job of doing that in a humane way and a way that will make sure they understand the respect we have for them and the pride we have in what they accomplished.
“Make sure they understand what they’ll be experiencing as they separate from an NFL team and make sure they have the services that are available to them, which we provide and we think can be incredibly valuable to them.”
If you’ve ever watched HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” you know the process of cutting players gives that series some of its most heart-wrenching moments. It’s a traumatic time for any player, and exploring ways to help them through that process makes sense for the NFL.
Dan Hanzus | NFL Around the League Writer
METAIRIE, La. — Rob Ryan figures his firing in Dallas will only help him relate to a Saints defense humbled by a historically bad season.
“I don’t like getting fired,” Ryan said Thursday during his first meeting with reporters since Sean Payton hired him in February to revamp New Orleans’ last-ranked defense. “I know I got my feelings hurt and so did our players. We’re looking to do something about it.”
The Saints gave up 7,042 yards in 2012, the most ever in a single season in the NFL. Payton has said that performance forced him to make a change at defensive coordinator, even though he felt bad letting Steve Spagnuolo go after only one highly unusual season.
Spagnuolo never got to coach with Payton, who was suspended all of last season in connection with the NFL’s bounty probe. Yet shortly after Payton was reinstated, the relatively calm, analytical Spagnuolo, who favored a read-and-react 4-3 defense, was replaced by Ryan, who runs a pressure-heavy 3-4 scheme (three down linemen, four linebackers).
Ryan also has been known to exhibit a brash demeanor more akin to that of Gregg Williams, the Saints’ defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011.
“Personality-wise they are very similar,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “They’re cut from the same cloth in that they know that players and matchups are what defense is all about and they have a lot of personality and they’re aggressive in their play-calling.”
Williams often referred to himself as a disciple of retired coach Buddy Ryan, who ran the defense of Chicago’s 1985 Super Bowl championship team and later was a head coach for Philadelphia and Arizona. Rob Ryan is Buddy Ryan’s son, and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s brother.
“They’re all from the same school, the Buddy Ryan defense, so there are a lot of similarities between what Gregg was running and what Rob is bringing,” Jenkins said. “But I think Rob has a few more wrinkles with the 3-4 and everything, and I think we’re going to have fun.”
Williams used to boast brazenly of how nasty he wanted his defenses to be, and wound up being a central figure in the NFL’s investigation into the Saints’ bounty program. The league said Williams administered the program, which paid cash bonuses for big plays, including heavy and sometimes injury-causing hits.
Ryan’s approach also fosters toughness, Jenkins said, and that is something Saints players embrace, even as they are mindful of the scrutiny they faced from the league in the past.
“There’s a line and you don’t cross it, but you want to get as close to that line as you can,” Jenkins said. “We definitely want to be a physical, feared defense.”
Because the Saints’ offense, designed by Payton and orchestrated by quarterback Drew Brees, is perennially among the NFL’s best, New Orleans has not always had to be good on defense to win.
They ranked 25th of 32 teams in 2009, when they won their only Super Bowl. They ranked 24th in 2011, when they went 13-3 and advanced to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs before falling to San Francisco in a thriller.
So Ryan, whose defense in Dallas ranked 19th last season, doesn’t need to work miracles, but he does need to make the Saints’ defense a little closer to average.
“It was bad last year,” Saints safety Roman Harper said. “There’s no sugar coating or anything like that, so we’ve got a lot of room to improve.”
Payton said he did a lot of research on Ryan, interviewing players and coaches who have worked with him, before concluding he would be right for the job.
“I like his passion,” Payton said. “I like the way players respond and I think he’s a perfect fit.”
Ryan has studied some of the schemes the Saints executed well under Williams and brought some of them back, even with the same terminology.
“I know our successes, where that’s been. It’s been a pressure team, I know that,” Ryan said. “But I also know we can do more with our coverage, and we have to.”
Jenkins said Ryan’s scheme better suits the strengths of Saints defenders, noting that the roster includes cornerbacks who can hold their own in single coverage long enough for Saints safeties, who’ve been effective blitzers, to disrupt quarterbacks.
If successful, Ryan could for the first time serve as a defensive coordinator on a winning team, something he never did while holding that post in Cleveland, Oakland and Dallas. However, he did win Super Bowls as a defensive assistant in New England.
“I’m fortunate enough to be with great program like the Saints, led by Sean Payton. I haven’t felt this way since I was in New England with Bill Belichick,” Ryan said. “I just feel like a sense of urgency. I can’t wait to give everything I have to this organization. I know everybody is on the same path.”
Mark your calendar …
Sunday Night Football matchup …
The Dallas Cowboys vs New Orleans Saints – November 10, 2013:
The Dallas Cowboys Week-1 OTA’s wrapped up today, with three days of practices and exercises. The team will have a total of ten days of these activities … three more next week, and four in the final week. Click HERE to see the full off-season NFL calendar for the Dallas Cowboys.
Bill Jones and Mickey Spagnola wrap up the first week of Dallas Cowboys OTA’s on The Blitz.
Morris Claiborne had to do a couple of things this spring.
One, get bigger.
Two, get stronger.
So far, so good.
“I feel like I’ve had a tremendous offseason with getting in the weight room and trying to get stronger,” the second-year cornerback said Tuesday after the Dallas Cowboys’ first OTA practice at Valley Ranch. “Actually, I put on a couple of pounds. Last year, I was at 187. Now I’m at 193. So I’m just trying to learn how to move with that weight and just get comfortable.”
Claiborne and the Cowboys figure he can use the extra weight to become a stronger tackler, a skill that will be required more from the cornerbacks under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Last year as a rookie, Claiborne never got up to speed with his strength because he spent the spring recovering from wrist surgery.
“There were times last year where he wasn’t strong enough to execute a certain technique,” secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. “So he had to get stronger to do that. He’s done the work to do that.”
Claiborne has known all spring about the physical style that will be required of him and fellow corner Brandon Carr. But he believes he is ready for it and feels confident as he enters his second pro season.
“I told someone the other day, I feel a difference when I pull up in the facility than I did a year ago,” Claiborne said. “I feel like nothing’s too much new to me. I expect everything how it was last year. We’ve got a couple of coaching changes, but nothing stopping. I’m just trying to continue to get more comfortable, continue to get more established in this system, so I can go out and play and have fun.”
WASN’T NEED-TO-KNOW: Why the Cowboys waited until OTAs began to tell everyone about Tony Romo’s cyst
The Dallas Cowboys waited until OTAs began to tell everyone about Tony Romo’s cyst and that he wouldn’t be practicing since he had it removed from his back.
So why the big secret? Why not announce the procedure when it was performed on the $108 million quarterback, who would be held out the entirety of OTAs, not just for a practice or two? Routine stuff — surgery successful, expect a full, quick recovery, yada yada yada.
Romo’s reasoning: if it doesn’t help the team, why bother?
“I don’t feel it’s in anyone’s best interest just to come out and talk about anything that goes on,” he told reporters Tuesday at Valley Ranch. “It doesn’t help your football team. Predominantly, most of the decisions you make are about helping the football team, and that’s what you fall back on in those decisions.”
So Romo and the Cowboys decided not to say anything until they had to. They figured a 20-minute gaggle with reporters after the first practice would get the news just as well as a quick email blast.
“Well, I don’t talk to you guys very often,” Romo said. “I figured it was just easier than to schedule a press conference and say, ‘Hey, I had a minor procedure. All right. Goodbye.’
“It seems silly, honestly.”
The Dallas Cowboys’ play-caller isn’t undecided. It’s unannounced.
The mystery has been ongoing since the Senior Bowl when Jerry Jones hinted that coach Jason Garrett no longer would call the offensive plays, a role Garrett has held since 2007 when he became offensive coordinator. Bill Callahan, who became offensive coordinator/offensive line coach in 2012, is expected to have a bigger hand in the offense regardless whether he is actually calling the plays. Quarterback Tony Romo also will have more say.
Garrett, though, repeatedly has refused to definitively say how the mechanics will work on game day. He was asked again Tuesday if the Cowboys still were working on the mechanics of the play-calling.
“Yeah,” Garrett answered. “I think that’s a fair way to say it. …I think we have a pretty good plan, and we’ll execute it as the offseason progresses.”
For his part, Romo said he doesn’t care who calls the plays.
“That’s a big topic for you guys,” Romo said of the media. “I’m sure you’ll wear that one out until [it’s announced]. I mean, I’m just the quarterback, and I’m just trying to continue to get better and improve and help this team.”
Dez Bryant is coming off his most quiet offseason as a pro. No family problems. No being asked to leave a mall. No complaints about unpaid bills.
His offseason has been peaceful and enjoyable.
“I’d say I found myself. I’m comfortable in my life,” the fourth-year Cowboys receiver said Tuesday on the first day of OTAs at Valley Ranch. “I’m enjoying being in the NFL. I wish it could have been a couple years back, but I had to go through a couple of things to figure it out.
“I think I’ve got it. I’m just more focused on my job and doing what I love to do, and I just play football.”
Bryant, 24, is coming off his best season with the Cowboys. Last year, he caught 92 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, playing in all 16 games for the first time.
Bryant said he became more comfortable as a pro by being around pros – players who have succeeded in the NFL for years.
“Listening and looking at people who do it right,” he said. “I had to get around people who do it right. I feel like that’s been my steppingstone – the older guys.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said it makes sense that Bryant struggled with his personal life early in his NFL career because many young players do.
“Picture yourself as a 21-year-old coming into this environment, with all the hype and the circumstance around being a No. 1 draft pick in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys,” Garrett said. “He had to work through that like a lot of guys have to work through that, and he had to mature and understand what’s important. I think he’s done all of that. … He’s gotten some of these other things in his life kind of organized, and together, it reflects in his play.”
Join Bryan Broaddus from Dallas Cowboys practice as he takes questions from fans and offers observations of the Cowboys first OTA of the offseason.
Secondary link: Click HERE
Editors note: If this video is removed from the Dallas Cowboys site, you can check out an alternative video by clicking HERE. Shows highlight from today’s practice/drills.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had surgery last month to remove a cyst from his back. It’s not considered serious, but Romo may miss the organized team activities scheduled in the next few weeks.
Of course, it’s only May, so the Dallas Cowboys are being cautious with Romo.
Romo has endured numerous injuries and ailments in his career — a broken pinkie, punctured lung, cracked ribs and sore back among them. He has returned from all of these injuries and played well.
Tony Romo speaks to the media LIVE from the Dallas Cowboys practice field about his medical procedure, expanded role in the offense, and other news topics from this offseason.
… Secondary audio link … click HERE.
Editors note: The audio volume is very low from both the video and audio sources.
RELATED: Tony Romo expected to return for minicamp June 11-13
Tony Romo is ready to get back on the field, but the Dallas Cowboys quarterback isn’t likely to get his wish until the team’s minicamp next month.
Romo had a minor procedure last month, getting a small cyst removed from his back. The stitches are out, and the area is healed, but the Cowboys are holding him out of the team’s organized team activities as a precaution.
“Like with all of our players, we’d rather have him out there participating than not, but we’ve always been very cautious with this time of year with our players, making sure they’re 100 percent healthy and get them back when they’re ready to go,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “So Tony’s going to be out the OTAs. I think there’s a possibility he could participate in the minicamp three or so weeks from now. He’ll certainly be ready for training camp.”
Romo, 33, began experiencing some discomfort in his back last month and had the area examined. Dr. Drew Dossett, a team orthopedic, performed the procedure to remove the cyst before the NFL Draft.
“We just had a minor procedure to remove a cyst. Just had to go get that done,” Romo said. “I feel a lot better. It was something that was there a little bit, kind of annoying. I’d rather feel 100 percent here. Hopefully I’ll be back for minicamp and be ready to go, but we’re just being smart now for the next couple of weeks.”
Romo is itching to get back. He has been given a bigger hand in the offense after requesting more responsibility.
“I think just through experience, the older you get as a football player and a quarterback. I think you gain a little bit of an understanding about the game and how you can almost develop, through experience, over time,” Romo said. “When you are a guy in your first few years, and I’ve probably been starting now for 6, 6 1/2 years maybe, you start to understand the game differently as time passes. Some of the things that are positive and can help your team win.
“For me, I believe in some things that I think can help us win football games. You have great communication with the coaches. We all talk about things and we go from there. Everyone is just trying to help the football team win.”
Kyle Orton is getting first-team reps in Romo’s absence. Young quarterbacks Nick Stephens and Dalton Williams are getting more work as well.
EDITORS NOTE: Tony Romo is present and actively involved on the field and is also working with teammates and coaches from the sidelines.
IRVING, Texas – Whether it’s a new contract or a new role in the offense, Tony Romo has been the center of attention this offseason. But when the OTAs kick off Tuesday at Valley Ranch, the Cowboys quarterback won’t be on the field.
Romo underwent surgery last month to remove a cyst from his back. The procedure will likely keep him out of the next three weeks of OTA practices and possibly the three-day minicamp in June. The Cowboys are confident their starting quarterback will be ready for training camp when the club leaves for Oxnard, Calif. on July 19.
Romo has not been participating in the Tuesday/Thursday throwing sessions that began last month. And he also hasn’t played recreational golf or basketball like he normally does this time of year.
Holding him out most of the summer would be a precautionary move by the Cowboys, who dealt with a plethora of injuries last year, including a back injury to Phil Costa. The Cowboys’ center missed most of training camp and returned for the season opener in New York, only to play three snaps and had to miss that game and three others to rest the injury.
Romo reportedly suffered a broken rib in the season finale against the Redskins, taking several hard hits in the second half.
The Cowboys have yet to officially address Romo’s injury but it’s expected the quarterback, along with coach Jason Garrett and possibly owner/GM Jerry Jones will discuss the situation Tuesday following the OTA practice.
Romo signed a $108 million contract extension back on March 29 that included $55 million guaranteed and a $25 million bonus.
In the last few weeks, there has been talk of Romo having a more vocal role in the offensive game-planning with even suggestions he might be included in the play-calling duties.
When Romo missed last week’s annual golf social held at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Stephen Jones joked with the media his absence was a result of being back at Valley Ranch watching film like the other “coaches.”
This injury explains the Cowboys signing Aaron Corp for a few days earlier this month. Romo hasn’t been throwing during the week and when backup Kyle Orton wasn’t available one day to deal with a family matter, the Cowboys were left with only Nick Stephens. Corp signed to help throw and then after being released, participated in the three-day minicamp on a tryout basis.
For this week’s OTAs, Orton is expected to handle most of the first-team work, while Stephens and Dalton Williams, a rookie free-agent from Akron, will handle the rest of the reps.
With Organized Team Activities kicking off today for the next three weeks, I thought I would take a few moments to give you some of my thoughts:
- Despite all the questions that will be asked of Tony Romo on Tuesday about the comments made by Jerry Jones during the offseason, I honestly believe that nothing will change in his approach to how he gets ready to play these games and his interactions with Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan. Starting quarterbacks around the league have input to the type of plays that the club is going to run each week. When Brett Favre was a first year starter for us in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren would go through each play that week and ask Brett what he felt comfortable with. Tony Romo has always been a hard worker in his preparation and knowledge of what the plan was going into the game. I can speak from experience in visiting with him after games and being amazed with his ability to recall play by play, read by read of what happened to him in a game. You don’t do this by accident, you have this ability because you are really locked into what is happening on the field but also what the coaches are trying to do and this will never change.
- Two weeks ago, these rookies got a big taste of what will be expected of them each day they step on the practice field under this coaching staff. In my years in the NFL, I have always been a huge fan of bringing in the rookies early before the veterans just for this reason. Let the rookies get that feel of the pace and let them make mistakes that can be corrected then and there. In training camp coaches are teaching with the thought of getting ready to play games and don’t always have the time to go back and make major corrections. In these OTAs and mini camps, it’s easier to take a step back and coach these rookies using the examples of these veteran players as examples. Terrance Williams didn’t have the best start to his rookie camp but now he can study how Dez Bryant and Miles Austin run their routes and with that mental picture it can help him get a better understand of what he is going to have to do to be successful going forward.
- Injuries made things very difficult for this squad last season. In this first OTA practice, there will be a few players that will not take part in the action, but guys like Sean Lee, Barry Church, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff and Matt Johnson will be in the mix. These camps will be especially important for a guy like Johnson who lost his entire rookie season to a hamstring problem that never healed. When this camp opens it will be Johnson and Church at safeties to start.Kyle Wilber is another player like Johnson that will also be looking for a second chance to show better at defensive end. Players that will be limited in the camp will be DeMarcus Ware, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Danny Coale, who will have his hands full in an attempt to make this squad at wide receiver.
- It was this time last year where I noticed several players that appeared to make that jump from one season to another. Dez Bryant physically looked in better shape and his routes were run with purpose. Dwayne Harris played with better quickness and Barry Church stepped up and begun his quest to win the starting job. Players that I am going to keep an eye on that could possibly make that jump are: Jermey Parnell, Tyrone Crawford, Ronald Leary and James Hanna. Of these four players, Crawford has the most experience and he was only a rookie. Parnell will be given every opportunity to start over Doug Free. I feel like Leary is most likely a year away but Hanna is very intriguing to me. Just watching him play during training camp and then going back and talking to folks about how he practiced each week gives me a great deal of hope that he could develop into something special. I like what I am hearing about using this “12” personnel group but my gut tells me that Hanna will be the one that takes advantage of the situation to work with Witten. I do like Gavin Escobar a great deal but he doesn’t move up the field like James Hanna does. Keep an eye on these four players and see who makes that jump in 2013.
- I will be very interested to see how much progress that cornerback B.W. Webb is going to make the next three weeks. He was clearly the best corner on the field during the rookie mini-camp and with the veterans in the mix will he be able to carry that over now that they are here? Webb did play mainly on the right side and on the depth chart as it sits, he is behind Mo Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. He will not start ahead of Claiborne but can he show enough ability to work ahead of Scandrick not only on the depth chart but in the role of the nickel corner. Webb has the talent to put pressure on Scandrick but he doesn’t have the experience. I see this competition as a good thing because last season it just wasn’t there and Scandrick knew that but with Webb on the squad, it’s going to make him have to elevate his level of play to keep his job.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout
Today, kicks off the first of three OTA’s scheduled by the Dallas Cowboys …
|May 21-23||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
|May 28-30||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
|June 3-6||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
For more information about upcoming calendar events, click on the button below: