Monthly Archives: January, 2014

TIPPING THE BALANCING ACT: New playcaller Scott Linehan was pass heavy in Detroit because he had to be | Dallas Cowboys roster may allow Linehan to attack all parts of the field

POINT AND COUNTERPOINT - Dallas Cowboys playcaller Scott Linehan was pass heavy in Detroit because he had to be - Video

Former Dallas Cowboys fullback Daryl ‘Moose’ Johnston commented on the team’s recent coaching change regarding playcaller Scott Linehan …

Daryl Johnston: When Scott was in Detroit, Scott had a tendency to be very, very pass heavy with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. But I think you go back and watch them this year. When he had Reggie Bush and when he had Joique Bell – we did a Detroit game late in the year – it was fun to see him starting to come back. He just didn’t have the running game there. I think people have to be careful – when you go back and look at the history of how Scott called the games in Detroit – understand that they didn’t have to running game to lean on. They were very, very one dimensional because they had to. I think it’s going to be fun seeing how he transitions in now, having a team that has a good running back behind him. I think the offensive line is going to take another step next year.

Click HERE to watch the short video (pardon the increasingly familiar and annoying ad delay)


TIPPING THE BALANCING ACT: Now, Linehan can truly attack all parts of the field

TIPPING THE BALANCING ACT - Now, as the Dallas Cowboys playcaller, Scott Linehan can truly attack all parts of the field

In 2012, the Dallas Cowboys offense was out of whack. The rushing attack had no teeth, accounting for 1,265 yards, the lowest total recorded during a 16-game season in franchise history. To move the ball, Dallas relied predominantly on Tony Romo. He attempted the most passes and threw for the most yards in team history.

Still, Dallas didn’t feature the most unbalanced offense in the league that season. Detroit, under the direction of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, did.

Less than two years later, Linehan has been hired by the Dallas Cowboys. He will take over the play-calling role that offensive coordinator Bill Callahan assumed last season. The Cowboys have retained Callahan, who often faced criticism for cramming pass plays into his game plans while ignoring the ground game.

Callahan was ripped in the aftermath of a close victory over a dreadful Minnesota team last November, when Romo threw 51 times and the Dallas Cowboys executed eight called running plays. A month later, Callahan was identified as scapegoat after Dallas managed to surrender a 23-point advantage and lose to Green Bay. The historic collapse happened, in part, because the Cowboys attempted three times as many throws as runs in the second half, allowing for time to be preserved as its lead disappeared.

“We have to be more balanced,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said last year.

It was a common refrain — one that he repeated in September, November and December.

But will Linehan help restore equilibrium to the Dallas Cowboys offense?

During any of his five seasons in Detroit, the Lions never ran the ball more than 40.4 percent of the time. Former Highland Park standout Matthew Stafford and All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson were the primary engines of the Lions’ offense. In nine of the 16 games he started in 2013, Stafford threw 40 or more passes. Johnson, meanwhile, was targeted 156 times — the ninth-highest total in the league. Leaning on Stafford and Johnson, Linehan proved aggressive in his play-calling. Stafford attempted 56 passes of 21 or more air yards last season. Romo, meanwhile, threw 42.

Under Callahan’s supervision, the Dallas Cowboys were reluctant to stretch the field vertically. Linehan has never been hesitant to do that. When he was hired as the offensive coordinator in Miami and served on Nick Saban’s staff with Jason Garrett in 2005, Linehan proclaimed he wanted the Dolphins to throw downfield.

“It’s fair to say there’s going to be some deep threat incorporated into every read,” Linehan told the Palm Beach Post then. “The coverage will dictate where the ball goes. But we’re going to attack all parts of the field.”

A quarterback at Idaho, Linehan’s allegiance to the pass was established under Dennis Erickson, who popularized the one-back offense. In his first NFL stop, with Minnesota, Linehan showed his commitment to throwing the ball by maintaining the strong connection between Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. From 2002-04, when he was the offensive coordinator, the Vikings finished in the top 10 in offensive points scored. During Linehan’s first NFL campaign, Minnesota also had the top rushing attack in the NFL.

The Lions’ best running game during his tenure was ranked 17 in the league as Linehan presided over an offense that, at times, was more unbalanced than the Dallas Cowboys.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Scott Linehan’s offenses

At each of his coaching stops as offensive coordinator (OC) or head coach, Scott Linehan’s offenses have passed more than they ran. The rundown:

Year

Team

Job Title

Run pct.

Rank

Pass pct.

Rank 

2002

Minnesota

OC/QBs

43.8

15

56.2

18

2003

Minnesota

OC/QBs

46.7

12

53.3

21

2004

Minnesota

OC/ QBs

39.3

28

60.7

5

2005

Miami

OC

43.3

19

56.7

14

2006

St. Louis

Head coach

39.8

28

60.2

5

2007

St. Louis

Head coach

39.4

26

60.6

7

2008

St. Louis

Head coach*

42.5

21

57.5 

12

2009

Detroit

OC

39.4

27

60.6

6

2010

Detroit

OC

38.0

28

62.0

5

2011

Detroit

OC

33.6

32

66.4

1

2012

Detroit

OC

33.7

32

66.3

1

2013

Detroit

OC

40.4

19

59.6

14


Editors comment: Yes, historically Scott Linehan leans towards the pass. With Tony Romo, and this core of Dallas Cowboys receivers, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The ratios above are not as important as Linehan’s aggressive style and philosophical compatibility with Jason Garrett regarding attacking all parts of the field. Garrett repeated stated his desire to establish and maintain a run threat during the 2013 season. If Linehan can build 25-30 runs into each 2014-2015 gameplan, the Cowboys can achieve 20 or so runs per game. This allows for Romo audibles and pre-snap kills … based on coverage shown by opposing defenses. The key, is remaining in a run threat formation … regardless of Romo’s preconceived, intended, or emerging target during each snap. With DeMarco Murray and this young emerging offensive line, it’s fair to expect more balance in the upcoming season.

SHAME BY THE FAME: Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley worthy of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction

SHAME BY THE FAME - Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley worthy of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction - The Boys Are Back 2014

NEW YORK — Peyton Manning’s legacy is a recurring theme in the buildup to this Super Bowl. If the quarterback stands victorious Sunday evening, if he helps lead his second franchise to a title …

Well, then he’ll be only three rings behind Charles Haley.

The night before Denver and Seattle take the field, the Hall of Fame will announce its class of 2014. Haley is a finalist for the fifth time.

Two of those rings came as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. The final three came as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys.

Receiver Michael Irvin and quarterback Troy Aikman played with Haley on those Super Bowl teams. Both have busts in Canton.

They believe it’s time for Haley to join them.

“I think Charles should be in,” Irvin said. “We’re willing to give Peyton Manning credit, so much credit, if he wins this game because we’re going to say he led two different teams to Super Bowl championships. He deserves the credit.

“But we won’t give Charles Haley any of that credit? He led two different teams to Super Bowls, but we won’t give him any kind of credit?”

Haley was part of 10 division championship teams in his 12 years in the NFL. He played in six NFC Championship Games in a span of seven seasons. He was voted to the NFL Pro Bowl five times, was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice and finished his career with 100 1/2 sacks.

Credit isn’t the issue. No one can discredit those numbers. What Haley lacks is the historical affirmation only the Hall of Fame can provide.

Irvin is no stranger to off-the-field issues. Those didn’t prevent him from enshrinement in his third year as a finalist.

But Irvin can’t help but wonder if Haley’s well-documented troubles have worked against him in the committee’s discussions. Haley’s abusive behavior during his playing days won few friends in the media.

Aikman has the same questions.

“I don’t like the process,” said the quarterback who joined the Hall in 2006 in his first year of eligibility. “I don’t like the way that it’s done.

“I do believe he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’ve said that. I’m biased because I watched him every weekend. I’m amazed that he’s not in the Hall of Fame.

“I’m sorry, but if him being rude to some writers or not being accommodating to those in the media keeps him from being in the Hall of Fame, then I really disagree with the process, because that’s not what this is about. I don’t know what happens, but I know he was largely responsible for a big amount of the success that we had during those years.”

Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson is curious as to why Haley has yet to be enshrined.

“I’ve said many, many times that Charles Haley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago,” Johnson said. “No offense to any of the players in there, but I coached and coached against a lot of the players that are in the Hall of Fame, and Charles Haley is better than them.

“Again, I don’t know the rhyme or reason by some of the voting.”

Aikman, Irvin and Johnson hope someone is listening to them when it comes to Haley.

“A man that holds as many rings as digits on a hand,” Irvin said, “he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

COACHES REALIGNED AND DEFINED: Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett provides insight into 2014 coaching changes

COACHES REALIGNED AND DEFINED - Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett provides insight into 2014 coaching changes - The Boys Are Back 2014

IRVING, Texas – So the Dallas Cowboys will make major staff changes after all, especially on defense.

Through a press release sent last night, the Cowboys announced several coaching moves, including the switch at defensive coordinator. Rod Marinelli, who served as defensive line coach, will replace Monte Kiffin as the DC. Kiffin has been moved to the assistant head coach/defense. The Cowboys finished with the worst statistical season in franchise history, allowing 415.3 yards per game, the fourth-worst season total in NFL history.

Marinelli served as defensive coordinator in Chicago under Lovie Smith for three seasons. The Bears ranked ninth, seventeenth, and fifth in total defense during his three years.

“Rod’s responsibilities will be those typical for a defensive coordinator,” Garrett said Tuesday evening. “He’ll be the point person on defense all throughout the offseason and game-planning and certainly on game plan when he calls the defense.”

While Kiffin’s role has changed, Garrett said the veteran coach will take on a larger role as the assistant head coach and remains a big part of the team’s transition in defenses.

“Kiff has been such an instrumental piece for us transitioning from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense,” Garrett said. “No better guy than Monte Kiffin to help us do that and spearhead that transition. And that transition continues. He’ll oversee the coaches coach and providing a different perspective than he had last year. He has invaluable experience as our defense continues to grow.”

As for the offense, the Dallas Cowboys officially hired Scott Linehan as the team’s passing game coordinator. Linehan, who coached one season with Garrett in Miami in 2005, will be the third play-caller in three seasons, replacing Bill Callahan in that capacity.

However, Callahan will remain as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach. Callahan reportedly has received offers from Baltimore to become the OC and perhaps Cleveland, although the Cowboys decided not to grant those teams permission to interview Callahan, who is under contract another season.

“We’re excited about Scott Linehan,” Garrett said. “He’s one of the best coordinators in this league and has been for a number of years. I had the good fortune of working with him in 2005 in Miami. He was our coordinator and I was the quarterback coach. I worked very closely with him and have a great deal of respect for him. His track record speaks for itself. We think he’s a great addition to our staff.”

The Dallas Cowboys are no strangers to having a passing game coordinator. In fact, Garrett said he sees this current setup as very similar to what was in place two seasons ago when Garrett called the plays and Callahan remained the OC and coached the line. Now, Linehan will be the play-caller but will work alongside.

“The roles and responsibilities will be similar to what we had a couple of years ago with Scott being in the role I was in,” Garrett explained. “As passing game coordinator, he will call the plays and work closely with Bill Callahan and the rest of the offensive staff in a role we’re comfortable with. He has a comfort level with our system and the language and terminology of our system. That transition we think will be fairly smooth. The perspective and ideas he brings, we think will be a positive thing for our team.”

While in Detroit, Linehan directed an offensive unit that finished the past three seasons ranked sixth, third, and fifth respectively in the NFL in total offense. The Lions ranked 17th in rushing as Reggie Bush had 1,006 rushing yards.

Linehan also served as head coach of the Rams from 2006-08, making him the third assistant with NFL head coaching experience along with Marinelli and Callahan.

While there is a natural perception that both Callahan and Kiffin have been demoted, yet remain on staff, Garrett said it will be his responsibility to make sure every coach is on the same page and has the same goal.

“Embracing your role is a critical piece to this,” Garrett said. ”As coaches and players, we do that all the time. We’re excited to get going and build on positive things we’ve done. You’re always trying to build chemistry on your football team. Every day is an opportunity to do that.”

In other coaching staff news, Garrett said Marinelli is expected to oversee the defensive line but Leon Lett and Ben Bloom will also work closely with that position. 

COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS: With Scott Linehan hiring, the Dallas Cowboys have a proven play-caller more compatible with Jason Garrett’s offensive philosophy

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys beat St. Louis Rams 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys apparently have hired a play-caller that Jason Garrett trusts.

Sure, other teams hire general managers, who hire head coaches, who hire assistants. There’s usually not much intrigue. If they win, they stay. If they lose, they get fired. You don’t need an MBA to figure out the business model.

Here, the GM has a lifetime contract. He can do whatever he wants. He can hire assistants before he hires the coach, or he can hire assistants after he hires the coach. The head coach must be flexible.

Jason Garrett is slowly asserting himself as head coach.

Consider the evolution of Garrett’s staff. Last year, Jerry gave him his second defensive coordinator and first play-caller. Midway through the season, Garrett asserted himself. With the offense struggling, he could have fired Callahan or stripped him of his title. Instead, he inserted himself in the Romo relay. He made his point without contradicting his boss.

Make no mistake: Jerry hired Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin, and he wanted both back this year. Frankly, it’s OK. Change either or both, and it means three coaches in three years in those roles. Constant change is rarely the trademark of excellence.

You could argue that Kiffin did a lousy job with the defense. But you may also remember that Tony Dungy, who won a lot of games with the defense Kiffin employs, said it would take two or three years before the Dallas Cowboys had the proper personnel to run the Tampa Cover-2. And that was before so many players got hurt that Kiffin should have resorted to police tape and barricades.

DIVINE INTERVENTION - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggest changes, but not in the coaching ranks - Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin

The offense had its moments, too, even with the dysfunctional chain of command on play-calling and an apparent lack of understanding that, in football, you run the ball 1.) until somebody stops you, and 2.) when you’re trying to burn some clock. The offensive line was better than it’s been in years, no doubt contributing to Jerry’s desire to keep Bill Callahan under contract.

Jason Garrett knows the ground rules by now. If he didn’t learn them when he played for Jerry, or when Jerry hired him as offensive coordinator (even before hiring Wade Phillips), he learned every time his boss reupholstered his staff.

Slowly but surely, though, Jason Garrett is asserting himself. Derek Dooley, the wide receivers coach hired last year, is a Garrett guy. So is Mike Pope, the new tight ends coach. And Scott Linehan, too.

COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS: Veteran Scott Linehan added to Dallas Cowboys coaching staff | Coaches role’s realigned and defined

COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS - Veteran Scott Linehan added to Dallas Cowboys coaching staff - Coaches role’s realigned and defined

The Dallas Cowboys elevated Monte Kiffin to position of assistant head coach/defense, elevated Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator, hired Scott Linehan to be passing game coordinator/play-caller, and announced that Bill Callahan will remain as offensive coordinator/offensive line coach.

The team made the official announcement in an emailed press release tonight.

It provided this statement from Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett:

“Our responsibility is to bring quality people into our organization and find the best fit for them. That applies to players, and it applies to coaches. Rod Marinelli’s production in terms of creating turnovers and changing field position as a defensive coordinator is well documented. Monte Kiffin’s overall knowledge and understanding of this defensive scheme will be put to use in mentoring all of the players and coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Monte was brought here to direct a transition in philosophy to the 4-3 scheme, and he will continue to oversee the development of our defense in this scheme.

“The opportunity to add someone of Scott Linehan’s expertise and experience will benefit our offensive unit, and we believe the combination of him and Bill Callahan working closely together will give us a great chance to build upon the strides we made offensively last year.”

Scott Linehan is a former head coach in the NFL, with the St. Louis Rams in 2006-08, and was the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions for the past five seasons. Linehan will take on the role of the Dallas Cowboys offensive play caller for the 2014 season. While in Detroit, Linehan directed an offensive unit that finished the past three seasons ranked sixth, third, and fifth respectively in the NFL in total offense.

NO LOVIE IN CHICAGO - Rod Marinelli gave up a chance to be Bears defensive coordinator to reunite with Dallas Cowboys DC Monte Kiffin - The Boys Are Back blog

Rod Marinelli, the Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach in 2013, was most recently the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith from 2010 to 2012 where the Bears units finished ninth, 17th, and fifth, respectively. In 2012, the Chicago Bears led the NFL in interceptions (24), takeaways (44), and were third in points allowed (17.3 points per game).

UNCOMFORTABLE VALLEY RANCH VIBE: Former Detroit Lions OC Scott Linehan’s role with Dallas Cowboys publically undefined

UNCOMFORTABLE VALLEY RANCH VIBE - Former Detroit Lions OC Scott Linehan’s role with Dallas Cowboys publically undefined - Dallas Cowboys coaching staff 2014 - Linehan with Stafford

IRVING, Texas – After weeks of speculation, it appears some type of change may be coming to the Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff.

One week after affirming the job security of offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, the Dallas Cowboys look set to add former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to their coaching staff. Linehan was at the Dallas Cowboys Valley Ranch facility this morning and took part in staff meetings.

UNCOMFORTABLE VALLEY RANCH VIBE - Former Detroit Lions OC Scott Linehan’s role with Dallas Cowboys publically undefined - Dallas Cowboys coaching staff 2014 - Linehan UNCOMFORTABLE VALLEY RANCH VIBE - Former Detroit Lions OC Scott Linehan’s role with Dallas Cowboys publically undefined - Dallas Cowboys coaching staff 2014 - Bill Callahan
Coach Scott Linehan Coach Bill Callahan

It’s been suggested that Linehan may serve as a passing game coordinator for Tony Romo and a Dallas passing offense that finished No. 14 in the NFL last year. Coach Bill Callahan’s role in the new hierarchy remains to be seen.

If hired, this will be the second time Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan have worked together. Linehan was the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins in 2005, when Garrett was hired as the team’s quarterback coach. Current receivers coach Derek Dooley was also on that staff as the tight ends coach, all under then-head coach Nick Saban. Linehan was hired as the head coach of the Rams after that season and went 11-25 in three years with St. Louis.

He joined the Lions in 2009 as the offensive coordinator. Linehan’s offense in Detroit finished No. 6 in the league overall and No. 3 in passing in 2013, before coach Jim Schwartz’s staff was released following a 7-9 finish. Linehan looks likely to take over as play caller for Callahan, who assumed that duty last season.

The development falls more or less in line with what Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett hinted at from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last week. Jones confirmed then that both Callahan and Monte Kiffin, widely speculated to be fired after a disappointing season, would stay on staff in 2014. What the two coaches’ roles would be going forward wasn’t so clearly defined, though.

“Those guys are under contract, and we feel good about that,” Garrett said last week. “We’re always going to try to do things that are in the best interest of our football team, so we’ll keep looking at how we can be better as a staff and what roles everybody is in and what we’re asking them to do.”

If Linehan does in fact take over playcalling duties, it would be the Cowboys’ third play caller in as many seasons. Garrett managed that responsibility from his initial hiring as offensive coordinator in 2007 up until last season, when he ceded the job to Callahan.

Halfway through the 2013 season, Garrett changed the organization of his staff to give himself a role in the process. Rather than Callahan calling plays to quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who then relayed the call to Romo, Garrett moved Wilson into the coaches booth and relayed the calls himself.

Despite that change, Garrett maintained that Callahan held playcalling responsibilities for the duration of the 2013 season.

Linehan served as offensive coordinator for Detroit from 2009 until this past season. The Lions finished 26th in overall offense in 2009, Matthew Stafford’s rookie season, and subsequently improved to 17th in 2010, fifth in 2011 and third in 2012.

The Dallas Cowboys plan to retain play caller/line coach Bill Callahan. Callahan is considered one of the better offensive line coaches in the NFL, and the improvement of Cowboys’ blocking front has improved since his arrival in 2012.

Recently, the Baltimore Ravens requested to speak with Callahan but were denied permission by the Cowboys. Similarly, the Cleveland Browns have been told they won’t be allowed to speak with Callahan either.


FLASHBACK 2005: Troy Aikman’s hand in Jason Garrett-Scott Linehan relationship

FLASHBACK 2005 - Troy Aikman’s hand in Jason Garrett-Scott Linehan relationship - The Boys Are Back website 2014

You may know that Scott Linehan was the first person to hire Jason Garrett as a coach in the NFL, selecting him to be Miami’s quarterbacks coach when he was the Dolphins offensive coordinator in 2005.

Did you know a call from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman preceded the hire?

FLASHBACK 2005 - Troy Aikman’s hand in Jason Garrett-Scott Linehan relationship - Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Jason Garrett The Boys Are Back website 2014

“Jason was looking for a job and hadn’t coached yet,’’ Aikman said. “I called Scott and left him a voicemail and told him if I was starting a business, no matter what the business was, Jason would be one of the first guys I would call to be a part of it. I talked about how smart he was.

“I don’t recommend very many people for anything, but I told him if he made the hire that he would probably be thanking me in a short period of time.’’

Linehan hired Garrett 10 hours after meeting him.

Later, when Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams, Aikman asked him if he ever saw Garrett moving on to be a head coach.

“You know,’’ Linehan replied, “several years ago I got a call from a guy who strongly recommended him.’’

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett teaching in classroom with players

Troy Aikman relayed that story Tuesday afternoon as he other Fox analysts were made available at the media headquarters for Super Bowl XLVIII. Now Garrett has returned the favor, adding Linehan to the Dallas Cowboys staff.

Does Aikman believe that Garrett and Linehan will be on the same page more than Garrett and Callahan?

“I don’t know,’’ Aikman said. “I’d like to think he and Bill were on the same page. They had been together already. I’d like to believe that they were in agreement in what they were doing on the offensive side of the ball. I couldn’t say if they will be more on the same page.

“But I think Scott has been doing it longer, he’s been calling plays for a long time and has had a lot of success doing it.’’

ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: NFL Senior Bowl 2014 recap | Ten players that shined in Mobile, AL

ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

Bryan Broaddus, the official The Boys Are Back draft scout takes a look at 10 Players that Shined in the NFL Senior Bowl:

  • Aaron Donald/DT/Pitt

      Broaddus: Not many teams will like his lack of height but there is no questioning how he played this week. He was the most disruptive player for either squad. His film and work here gives him a nice platform into the Combine.

      Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #21 overall | Position rank #2 | Projected Round 1

      • Zach Martin/OT/Notre Dame

          Broaddus: Didn’t matter who he was facing, he was up to the task. Played left tackle but also took reps at guard where he was just as good. Plays with power and mobility.

          Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #12 overall | Position rank #4 | Projected Round 1

          • Josh Huff/WR/Oregon

              Broaddus: Love how this player physically looks. He carries himself well. Knows he is a good player and plays like it. Was always at the side of Falcons receivers coach Terry Robiskie after every play. Can tell this game matters to him.

              Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #108 overall | Position rank #16 | Projected Round 3-4

              • Derek Carr/QB/Fresno State

                  Broaddus: Physically is a good looking player. Was clearly better than any of the quarterbacks at this game. Has a command and presence while he is leading the team. Can make all the throws, quick with the ball and accurate.

                  Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #29 overall | Position rank #4 | Projected Round 1-2

                  • Jared Abbrederis/WR/Wisconsin

                      Broaddus: This guy catches everything thrown his way. Has deceptive speed and quickness with the ability to separate. Makes plays all over the field. Not afraid to catch the ball in traffic, love his toughness.

                      Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #96 overall | Position rank #14 | Projected Round 3

                      • Dee Ford/DE/Auburn

                          Broaddus: I really do like this player a great deal but I do worry about his lacks of bulk. He measured in weighing 243 pounds but he has those types of traits that these defensive coaches are looking for with his ability to go get the ball.

                          Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #18 overall | Position rank #3 | Projected Round 1

                          • Stanley Jean-Baptiste/CB/Nebraska

                              Broaddus: It was a game with nice sized corners and he was one of the biggest at near 6-3. Really thought he did a much better job when he could play press coverage than zone. Was able to move with and handle these receivers. Made plays on ball.

                              Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #86 overall | Position rank #11 | Projected Round 3

                              • Jordan Matthews/WR/Vanderbilt

                                  Broaddus: Doesn’t have the best speed or quickness off the ball but finds ways to get open. Very consistent in his route running and even better hands. Plays with some nastiness as a blocker. Is always going to be prepared as a player. Receivers coach told me that you can play him inside or out and it doesn’t matter.

                                  Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #49 overall | Position rank #8 | Projected Round 2

                                  • Jack Mewhort/OT/Ohio State

                                      Broaddus: There was a reason why that the rushers on the North squad didn’t have the most productive practices this week because of Zack Martin and Jack Mewhort. Showed nice balance and base. Plays with power. Can get movement. Not a slow footed blocker at all. Helped himself each day with work.

                                      Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #61 overall | Position rank #8 | Projected Round 2

                                      • Michael Sam/DE/Missouri

                                        • Broaddus: I honestly don’t know where you play him but you need to find a place for him. He is not a linebacker which they tried him at this week during these practices. He is a put his hand on the ground get after the passer. Not athletic enough to drop but when he rushes, he is hard to block. Might be the defense’s version on a 3rd down receiver. Relentless.

                                          Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #90 overall | Position rank #9 | Projected Round 3


                                          BUTTON - NFL Draft Prospects - The Boys Are Back website

                                          NFL ALL-STAR GAME: New NFL Pro Bowl format creates drama

                                          VIDEO - 2013 2014 NFL PRO BOWL 2013 2014 - New NFL Pro Bowl 2014 - Team Rice Team Sanders

                                          HONOLULU — The NFL wanted Pro Bowl drama. The NFL got Pro Bowl drama.

                                          Alex Smith, the final pick in last Wednesday’s Pro Bowl Draft, led Team Rice on the final touchdown drive on a rain-soaked field. Then Jerry Rice and Riverboat Ron Rivera went for two and clinched a 22-21 win over Team Sanders in the first unconferenced Pro Bowl.

                                          This was the best Pro Bowl in a long, long time.

                                          Here’s what else we learned from Sunday’s game (Watch highlight video):

                                          1. Even if the banter was manufactured by the 2014 Pro Bowl Draft, players after the game said they enjoyed the process and the opportunity to play with guys they never had a chance to team with before. It was a theme all week.

                                          2. Teammates hitting each other didn’t seem like a big deal. Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson laid the wood on teammate Jamaal Charles early. Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward later flipped Josh Gordon to the ground. We never did get that teammate-on-quarterback sack, though.

                                          3. Speaking of quarterback sacks, the defensive lines dominated. The two teams ended up with nine sacks. Early in the contest, we wondered if Sean Payton would call Team Rice’s coach (and division rival) Ron Rivera and ask him to sit Drew Brees. The Saints quarterback was sacked twice and battered often. The QB pressures were a big reason for all the turnovers.

                                          4. J.J. Watt was a beast. Playing next to Ndamukong Suh and later Greg Hardy, Watt was unblockable. With Team Rice double-teaming Watt, Hardy picked up a sack. Don’t think management in Houston didn’t see that and ponder what Jadeveon Clowney would look like next to Watt.

                                          5. The playful teammate trash talk was constant and likely will linger in texts and tweets the next couple days. Mike Tolbert’s SuperCam mock-celebration after his two-point conversion was emblematic. “I told Cam I was going to mess with him if I got in the end zone, so I had to,” Tolbert said laughing.

                                          6. The lack of continuity on offense clearly hurt the product. Not only were there fewer teammate combinations due to the draft, the new format also lessened the practice time by one day. There were a multitude of miscommunications between quarterback and receiver.

                                          7. Speaking of teammates, Drew Brees hit Jimmy Graham for an early touchdown pass. On the play, Brent Grimes (all 5-foot-10 of him) ended up on the 6-foot-7 tight end. That, friends, is a mismatch.

                                          8. What was going through Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe’s mind as he rumbled toward the end zone after his second-quarter interception? “I was thinking of a touchdown celebration dance,” Poe said after the game. “I didn’t get there, but next time I will though.”


                                          Button - NFL Pro Bowl

                                          NEW NFL ALL-STAR GAME: DeMarco Murray’s late TD lifts Team Jerry Rice to 2014 NFL Pro Bowl win

                                          NEW NFL ALL-STAR GAME - DeMarco Murray’s late TD lifts Team Jerry Rice to 2014 NFL Pro Bowl win - Watch Video

                                          The NFL wanted a better Pro Bowl. And it got it.

                                          Criticized in recent years for players not giving full effort and for the games getting too high-scoring and too different from the regular product we see each Sunday, this year’s Pro Bowl was a different story.

                                          Whether it was the unconferenced format, which pitted regular-season teammates against each other for the first time, or the competitive draft from alumni captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, or maybe just the threat from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last year that the players needed to pick it up or the game could be discontinued, the 2014 Pro Bowl was a lot more entertaining.

                                          In the end, Team Rice defeated Team Sanders 22-21 with a late touchdown from DeMarco Murray with just 41 seconds to play. A two-point conversion run Carolina’s Mike Tolbert gave Team Rice the lead. A 67-yard field goal attempt by Baltimore’s Justin Tucker fell short, giving Rice the win.

                                          Eagles QB Nick Foles was named Offensive MVP and Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson took home the Defensive MVP honors.

                                          The Dallas Cowboys originally had only two players – Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant – voted into the game. But in the last two weeks, three players were added as alternates. The Cowboys had a total five on the field tonight.

                                          Here’s a quick look how each player fared in the game.

                                          Dez Bryant – Playing in his first Pro Bowl, the receiver wasn’t a huge factor for Team Sanders. He had two catches for 12 yards but did have a chance to score in the third quarter but dropped a fourth-down pass right at the goal line.

                                          Jason Witten – For most of the game, Witten was a non-factor but he did have two catches – his only two – in the final minute of the game as Team Sanders drove for the win. Although he did start, he gave way to Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron, who ultimately caught the game-winning score late in the fourth. Witten has now played in nine Pro Bowls in his 11-year career.

                                          Tyron Smith – The first-time Pro Bowler started for Team Rice but played the entire game at right tackle after playing the season on the left side. Smith had a false start penalty early in the game but clearly had some issues blocking Houston’s J.J. Watt and a stiff pass-rush by Team Sanders, which had four sacks and four turnovers. Smith played most of the game without much substitution.

                                          Jason Hatcher – Also a starter for Team Rice, Hatcher had a fourth-quarter sack on Eagles QB Nick Foles on third down. Hatcher also had an offside penalty but played fairly well, coming up with a huge QB pressure in the final seconds in what could be his final game with a Cowboys helmet.

                                          DeMarco Murray – The third tailback for Team Rice, Murray wasn’t much of a factor until the final drive. Murray caught a dump-off pass from Alex Smith and scurried in for 20-yard touchdown to pull his team within one point. A two-point conversion by Tolbert on the next play gave Team Rice the win. Murray had four carries for 25 yards and four catches for 37 yards.


                                          DeMarco Murray scores game winning TD in 2014 NFL Pro Bowl (WATCH)

                                          Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray scores for Team Rice with less than a minute to play, and alumni captain Jerry Rice makes the bold decision to go for the game winning 2-point conversion.


                                          Team Jerry Rice
                                          Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
                                          A. Smith 9/22 116 1 1
                                          P. Rivers 8/13 94 1 2
                                          D. Brees 9/19 81 1 1
                                          Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
                                          M. Forte 6 31 0 11
                                          D. Murray 4 25 0 12
                                          L. McCoy 3 14 0 8
                                          M. Tolbert 3 14 0 7
                                          J. Gordon 1 13 0 13
                                          A. Smith 1 13 0 13
                                          D. Brees 2 4 0 4
                                          Receiving REC YDS TD LG
                                          J. Gordon 6 66 1 24
                                          J. Graham 5 51 1 16
                                          T. Gonzalez 3 50 0 31
                                          D. Murray 4 37 1 20T
                                          M. Forte 3 24 0 13
                                          A. Jeffery 2 22 0 14
                                          B. Marshall 1 21 0 21
                                          L. McCoy 1 18 0 18
                                          D. McCluster 1 2 0 2
                                          Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS
                                          D. Brees 1 0 1 -6
                                          L. McCoy 1 1 0 0
                                          D. Johnson 0 0 0 0
                                          A. Verner 0 0 1 0
                                          Kicking FG LG XP PTS
                                          S. Gostkowski 0/1 0 2/2 2
                                          Punting NO AVG I20 LG
                                          J. Hekker 4 47.0 2 56
                                          Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG
                                          Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG
                                          D. McCluster 5 11 0 26
                                          Defense T-A SCK INT FF
                                          D. Johnson 8-1 0.0 0 1
                                          V. Burfict 5-0 0.0 1 0
                                          M. Dareus 4-0 2.0 0 0
                                          R. Mathis 4-0 0.0 0 0
                                          A. Rolle 3-1 0.0 0 0
                                          J. Byrd 2-0 0.0 0 0
                                          B. Flowers 2-0 0.0 0 0
                                          J. Hatcher 2-0 1.0 0 0
                                          C. Jordan 2-0 1.0 0 0
                                          K. Williams 2-0 0.0 0 0
                                          J. Abraham 1-0 0.0 0 0
                                          J. Haden 1-0 0.0 1 0
                                          R. Quinn 1-0 1.0 0 0
                                          Team Deion Sanders
                                          Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
                                          C. Newton 8/17 95 0 1
                                          N. Foles 7/10 89 1 0
                                          A. Luck 5/7 80 1 1
                                          Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
                                          J. Charles 5 43 0 17
                                          E. Lacy 7 14 0 8
                                          A. Morris 2 4 0 4
                                          C. Newton 2 1 1 1T
                                          A. Luck 1 0 0 0
                                          Receiving REC YDS TD LG
                                          A. Morris 4 69 0 27
                                          D. Jackson 3 40 1 36T
                                          A. Brown 1 39 0 39
                                          M. Reece 2 31 0 21
                                          J. Cameron 3 27 1 12T
                                          J. Witten 2 26 0 15
                                          D. Bryant 2 12 0 10
                                          E. Lacy 1 9 0 9
                                          A. Green 1 7 0 7
                                          J. Charles 1 4 0 4
                                          Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS
                                          A. Luck 1 0 0 -10
                                          A. Morris 1 1 0 0
                                          C. Newton 1 0 1 -7
                                          E. Berry 0 0 1 0
                                          D. Jackson 0 0 1 0
                                          L. Kuechly 0 0 0 0
                                          Kicking FG LG XP PTS
                                          J. Tucker 0/2 0 3/3 3
                                          Punting NO AVG I20 LG
                                          B. Fields 5 38.0 0 59
                                          Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG
                                          Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG
                                          C. Patterson 2 0 0 1
                                          A. Brown 1 7 0 7
                                          Defense T-A SCK INT FF
                                          L. Kuechly 11-1 0.0 0 1
                                          E. Berry 4-0 0.0 1 0
                                          P. Posluszny 4-0 0.0 0 0
                                          T. Suggs 4-1 0.0 0 0
                                          T. Jennings 3-0 0.0 0 0
                                          B. Grimes 2-0 0.0 1 0
                                          T. Hali 2-0 0.0 0 0
                                          G. McCoy 2-1 2.0 0 0
                                          D. Revis 2-0 0.0 0 0
                                          T. Ward 2-1 0.0 0 0
                                          G. Hardy 1-0 1.0 0 0
                                          B. Orakpo 1-1 0.0 0 0
                                          P. Peterson 1-0 0.0 1 0
                                          M. Reece 1-0 0.0 0 0
                                          N. Suh 1-0 0.0 0 0
                                          J. Watt 1-0 1.0 0 0
                                          E. Weddle 1-1 0.0 0 0
                                          D. Poe 0-0 0.0 1 0
                                          Team Jerry Rice | Team Deion Sanders
                                          Total First Downs 24   Total First Downs 14
                                          By Rushing 7   By Rushing 4
                                          By Passing 16   By Passing 10
                                          By Penalty     By Penalty  
                                          Third Down Efficiency 6/16 – 37%   Third Down Efficiency 2/11 – 18%
                                          Fourth Down Efficiency 2/4 – 50%   Fourth Down Efficiency 1/2 – 50%
                                          Total Net Yards 384   Total Net Yards 285
                                          Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 78   Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 56
                                          Average Gain per Offensive Play 4.9   Average Gain per Offensive Play 5.1
                                          Net Yards Rushing 114   Net Yards Rushing 62
                                          Total Rushing Plays 20   Total Rushing Plays 17
                                          Average Gain per Rushing Play 5.7   Average Gain per Rushing Play 3.6
                                          Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 1–1   Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 1–3
                                          Net Yards Passing 270   Net Yards Passing 223
                                          Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 4 – 21   Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 5 – 41
                                          Gross Yards Passing 291   Gross Yards Passing 264
                                          Pass Comp-Att-Int 26 – 54 – 4   Pass Comp-Att-Int 20 – 34 – 2
                                          Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 4.7   Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 5.7
                                          Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 0 – 0 – 0   Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 0 – 0 – 0
                                          Punts (Number-Average) 4 – 49.0   Punts (Number-Average) 5 – 49.2
                                          Blocked 0   Blocked 0
                                          Net Punting Average 47.0   Net Punting Average 38.0
                                          FGs Blocked – PATs Blocked 0 – 0   FGs Blocked – PATs Blocked 0 – 0
                                          Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs) 56   Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs) 109
                                          Punt Returns (Number-Yards) 5 – 56   Punt Returns (Number-Yards) 3 – 8
                                          Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 0 – 0   Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 0 – 0
                                          Interception Returns (Number-Yards) 2 – 0   Interception Returns (Number-Yards) 4 – 101
                                          Penalties (Number-Yards) 4 – 20   Penalties (Number-Yards) 2 – 10
                                          Fumbles (Number-Lost) 2 – 1   Fumbles (Number-Lost) 3 – 1
                                          Touchdowns 3   Touchdowns 3
                                          Rushing 0   Rushing 1
                                          Passing 3   Passing 2
                                          Interceptions 0   Interceptions 0
                                          Kickoff Returns 0   Kickoff Returns 0
                                          Fumble Returns 0   Fumble Returns 0
                                          Punt Returns 0   Punt Returns 0
                                          Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3   Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3
                                          Kicking (Made-Attempted) 2 – 2   Kicking (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3
                                          Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 1 – 1   Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0
                                          Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 0 – 1   Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 0 – 2
                                          Red Zone Efficiency 2/4 – 50%   Red Zone Efficiency 2/3 – 66%
                                          Goal To Go Efficiency 2/3 – 66%   Goal To Go Efficiency 1/2 – 50%
                                          Safeties 0   Safeties 0
                                          Final Score 22   Final Score 21
                                          Time of Possession 32:47   Time of Possession 27:13

                                          NFL Pro Bowl 2014


                                          Button - NFL Pro Bowl

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Dallas Cowboys 2014 Mock Draft 1.0 | Analyzing the Dallas Cowboys position

                                          2014-NFL-Draft - Dallas Cowboys draft 2014 Jerry Jones - 2014 Dallas Cowboys draft - NFL Draft 2014

                                          The 2014 NFL Draft order is not yet official. Selections Nos. 21-32 are determined by the results of the playoffs. A coin flip between the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys will determine picks No. 16 and No. 17. Please note, the Ravens are penciled in to draft a wide receiver. If that works out, It could actually benefit the Dallas Cowboys (financially) to pick below them.

                                          How might the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft shake out? The debate starts right at the top with several prospects in contention to become the first player selected on May 8 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Let’s take a stab at projecting the first round.

                                          2014 NFL Mock Draft Central - ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT 2014 - Dallas Cowboys 2014 Mock Draft 1.0 - as of 01-26-2014

                                          Let’s run through this particular NFL Mock Draft (expect a variety of mock drafts from reputable sources in the coming months).

                                          My contention, shared with many others, is that this should be remembered as the Dallas Cowboys Trenches Draft. Overall, the Dallas Cowboys have numerous weapons offensively in the key “” positions …. anchored by Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, returner Dwayne Harris, clutch Dan Bailey, and emerging players such as Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Gavin Escobar, and speedy Lance Dunbar showing promise. Sure, an argument could be made that the Cowboys need depth at running back and possibly another wide receiver. I’m ok with a lower round back or receiver being taken if the staff is confident enough to pull that trigger. Personally, I believe the ‘boys have plenty of weapons offensively … and if properly coordinated should continue to be a Top 10 ranked unit in the NFL.

                                          If I’m sitting in the Dallas Cowboys war room on May 8, 2014 and the top ranked offensive linemen (guard) falls into my lap, I’m likely drafting him. In that scenario, I spend the rest of the 2014 NFL Draft on the defense. My reasoning is this. If the Cowboys have a dominate young offensive line, the defense will also benefit from extended drives and less pressure because the Dallas offense is scoring and building leads. If that standout, difference-making guard is sitting there … he’s mine. He’s suiting up at right guard with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Ronald Leary, and redemption seeking Doug Free. Next draft, I’m placing a promising right tackle is on my wish list to compete against Free and push backups Jeremy Parnell and Darrion Weems

                                          The overwhelming flaw in the Dallas Cowboys roster is on the defense, particularly along the front seven. That issue has been beaten to death, so let’s move on and take a look at the most glaring needs.

                                          Defensive tackles, defensive ends, linebackers and a Kiffin prototype safety.

                                          If the draft plays out as illustrated above, let’s get in the head of Jerry Jones and cover the options. Check out the #17 picks predicted in this mock draft:

                                          2014 NFL DRAFT - NFL DRAFT 2014 - Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft 1.0 - 2014 Dallas Cowboys Draft order 2014 - As of 01-26-2014

                                          Two analysts predict the Dallas Cowboys will select FS Calvin Pryor, while the other two are split between DE Kony Ealy and S Ha Ha Clinton Dix. Let’s get familiar with each player:

                                          CALVIN PRYOR | FS |  LOUISVILLE | 6’ 2” | 208 lbs

                                          Calvin Pryor might be the most physical football player in the entire draft. Against the run, he is very quick to diagnose and he explodes to the alley. He takes correct angles and he doesn’t need to gear down before securing the tackle. He uncoils his hips on contact and he’s produced several impressive hits this season. Against the pass, he has the instincts and ball skills to play over the top, and he has enough speed/agility to match up in man coverage. He’s a complete safety.

                                          Official The Boys Are Back Rankings:

                                          #29 Overall | #2 Position (behind Clinton-Dix #15 Overall | #1 Position)

                                          Perceived value: Predicted to fall to #22 (Eagles) by two analysts. Could the Cowboys trade down a few spots to #21 and still pick him up? If so, that could translate into ammunition in later rounds to move up or pick up additional talent. 

                                          KONY EALY | DE | MISSOURI | 6’ 5” | 275 lbs.

                                          Kony Ealy is a versatile, athletic player with strong production (9.5 sacks, 14.5 TFL, three FF in 2013). He lines up all along the defensive line and will also stand up at times on the outside. Against the run, he uses his quickness to penetrate and is very disruptive. He flashes the ability to violently stack and shed blocks, but there are other times when he gets washed down the line of scrimmage. As a pass rusher, he creates pressure with a slap/swim move as well as a club/rip move. When he’s lined up on the outside, he shows the ability to convert speed to power. He has the athleticism to drop in coverage and might be best suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

                                          The top DE in the 2013 NFL Draft is widely believed to be Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina. Many think he’ll be the top overall pick (Texans) … or as low as #4 (Browns).

                                          Official The Boys Are Back Rankings:

                                          #11 Overall | #2 Position (behind Clowney #2 Overall | #1 Position)

                                          Perceived value: Predicted to fall to #27 (Saints) or #31 (Broncos) by two analyst and slide completely out of the first round by the other. Could the Cowboys trade down a few spots to #26 and still pick him up? That would be reminiscent of last years move to pickup Frederick at the bottom of the first round and get the extra 3rd round draft pick (used to draft WR Williams). As of this date, its hard to believe Dallas would be targeting Ealy as their first overall pick.  

                                          HA HA CLINTON-DIX | S | ALABAMA | 6’ 1” | 208 lbs.

                                          Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has the versatility to play the high or low safety. He has the physicality to be a box run defender and the athleticism to roam the deep middle. He’s picked off a total of seven passes during the last two seasons. His ability to cover athletic tight ends will be a huge asset at the next level.

                                          Clinton-Dix is the top ranked safety in this years draft.

                                          Official The Boys Are Back Rankings: 

                                          #15 Overall | #1 Position

                                          Perceived value: In this mock draft, he’s predicted to fall to #21 (Packers) or #11 (Titans) or #15 (Steelers) by the other three analysts. If this is Kiffin’s guy, should the Cowboys move up to #10 or let fate decide if he falls into their laps?


                                          What is your opinion? Comments always welcome!


                                          BUTTON - NFL Draft Prospects - The Boys Are Back website

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | NFL Draft Prospects showcased in today’s game on NFL Network

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          Future stars of the NFL will hit the field in Mobile, Ala. for the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl at 3:00 this afternoon. Check out the pro football talent scouted by the Cowboys and imagine how some of these young men might fit on the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 roster.

                                          Last year’s Senior Bowl class produced a whopping 10 first-rounders, three top-five selections and the No. 1 overall pick.

                                          1. Injuries forced many top prospects to pass on the Senior Bowl: Top talents like Michigan OT Taylor Lewan and UCLA LB Anthony Barr were among the 19 invited players that weren’t healthy enough to participate.

                                          2. Nine invited prospects made a “business” decision to stay at home: Alabama QB AJ McCarron made headlines prior to the week when he announced he would pass on the Senior Bowl opportunity on the advice of his agent. He wasn’t the only player to make that choice. Top prospects C.J. Mosley and Khalil Mack were among the other healthy prospects that elected to pass on the Senior Bowl experience.

                                          3. The upcoming draft will feature a record number of underclassmen: This Senior Bowl crop will be competing for draft positioning with one of the most talented underclassmen groups we’ve seen in a few years.

                                          Potential first-rounders

                                          While there likely won’t be any top-10 picks to emerge from this year’s game, don’t be surprised if six players hear their name called in the first round of the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft.

                                          Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin (70) - 2014 Senior Bowl - NFL Draft 2014

                                          1. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame #70): He was outstanding all week long. He has enough athleticism to play tackle, but he has Pro Bowl potential as a guard.

                                          2. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: His combination of quickness and power was a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive lineman. He doesn’t have ideal size, but he held up well in the team and run periods.

                                          3. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: He has ideal size and quick feet. He’s not a great knee bender, but he held up well in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills. He creates a lot of space in the run game.

                                          4. Ra’Shede Hagemen, DT, Minnesota: He had an up-and-down week, but he flashed enough to keep his name in the first-round conversation. He’s a size/speed freak with a huge upside.

                                          5. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: He was the best quarterback in Mobile, and teams that met with him really like what they heard. He has a big arm and he was accurate throughout the week.

                                          6. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: He was the most explosive edge rusher throughout the week. Most teams I’ve spoken with have him rated as a second-round prospect, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he snuck into the bottom of the first round because of his pass-rush skills.

                                          Odds and ends

                                          Best position group: Offensive line

                                          Worst position group: Running back

                                          Stock on the rise: Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

                                          Stock on the decline: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

                                          Wildcard player: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami

                                          Three to imagine in a Dallas Cowboys jersey

                                          The Reese’s Senior Bowl is regarded as the crown jewel of the college all-star season, with elite prospects dotting the rosters at every position. Given the importance scouts place on the performance of players in highly competitive matchups, the practice week and game tape provide the answers to many of the questions evaluators have about the top prospects in the 2014 class. With that in mind, here are three guys with a lot riding on their performance this weekend:

                                          Ra'Shede Hageman - DT - Minnesota - 2014 Senior Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Draft 2014

                                          Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, #99 Minnesota (photo above)

                                          It’s hard to find a talented interior defender blessed with Hageman’s size and athletic gifts. Measuring 6-foot-6, 311 pounds, Hageman glides across the field like a gazelle, yet flashes explosive strength and power at the point of attack. While scouts are certainly fascinated by his physical tools and unlimited potential, Hageman’s marginal production and inconsistent motor keep him from rating as an elite prospect at the point. Now, Hageman has changed the perception of his game by dominating the competition in practice this week, but scouts need to see him take it to another level when the lights come on to solidify his standing as a mid-to-late first-round selection.

                                          Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

                                          The league is trending toward bigger corners on the perimeter after watching the Seattle Seahawks make their way to Super Bowl XLVIII behind a physically imposing secondary that features long, rangy athletes on the outside. Jean-Baptiste is a former wide receiver turned cornerback with impressive physical dimensions (6-3, 220) and ball skills. He has been the top cornerback in attendance, displaying a refined game that is ideally suited to play in a scheme that features press-man coverage extensively. Although Jean-Baptiste has made a strong case to be in the discussion as a borderline Day 1 selection, a spectacular performance in the game could send the Nebraska star flying up the charts.

                                          Dee Ford - DE - Auburn - 2014 Senior Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Draft 2014

                                          Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn (photo above)

                                          Scouts pay close attention to players who dominate the practice week at the Senior Bowl. Ford has not only thrashed opponents in drills, he has produced a number of disruptive plays that would qualify as game changers at the next level. Although he flashed that kind of potential occasionally at Auburn, no one expected him to destroy the competition with his speed, burst and athleticism off the edge. In doing so, Ford has convinced several scouts and coaches that his skills translate well to the NFL as a designated pass rusher. If Ford can continue to display the quickness, burst and rush skills in the game that he has shown throughout the week, Ford will be one of the fastest risers up the charts heading into the combine.

                                          Two quarterbacks to watch

                                          Derek Carr - QB - Fresno State - 2014 Senior Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Draft 2014

                                          Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

                                          The NFL scouting community has been buzzing about Carr’s potential as a franchise quarterback since his emergence as a standout playmaker the past two seasons. He has lit up the Mountain West Conference for 9,086 yards and 87 touchdowns against only 15 interceptions. Most impressively, he has displayed a lively arm to match his superb athleticism and improvisational skills. Yet, some scouts still question his poise and composure within a muddied pocket. This was one of his biggest flaws discovered in his 2012 tape (junior season), and it reappeared in a disappointing showing against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl. With another opportunity to show his wares against a squad with NFL-caliber players at every turn, Carr needs to show scouts that he can deliver pinpoint throws with defenders in close proximity. In addition, he must show coaches that he has the poise to work through his progressions to find an open receiver with the pocket crumbling around him. If he can withstand the pressure, while making a few accurate throws downfield, Carr could leave the Senior Bowl rated as the top senior quarterback in the draft.

                                          Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

                                          There are some scouts who believe Thomas is better suited to play tight end at the next level, but his combination of size and arm talent makes him too enticing to disregard as a quarterback. Thomas has enjoyed an up-and-down week of practice, but his flashes have been impressive enough to keep his name in the mix as a developmental quarterback prospect. With the NFL ushering in a new wave of athletic quarterbacks, Thomas’ performance in the game could significantly impact his chances of getting a legitimate shot to play his preferred position as a pro.

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE: What’s next for former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent (extensive coverage)

                                          LENIENCY GRANTED BY JURY - Former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation, now what - The Boys Are Back 2014

                                          IRVING, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent was sentenced today to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation after the jury found him guilty two days prior of driving drunk in a car crash that resulted in the death of his teammate and friend, Jerry Brown Jr.

                                          Brent was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine after being convicted of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday for the December 2012 wreck.

                                          The jurors were sequestered Tuesday before Brent was convicted a day later. The sentencing phase began Thursday to determine the punishment for Brent, who faced up to 20 years in prison. Police said Brent’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit at the time of the incident. Brent was driving at least 110 miles an hour on an Irving service road when he flipped his white Mercedes. Neither man wore a seatbelt and the momentum if the crash threw Brown on top of Brent and cushioned Brent from serious injury.

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next for former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent - attorneys

                                          Photo: The jury in the Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial came in with sentencing after deliberations this morning, January 24, 2014. The former Dallas Cowboys player received 180 days and 10 years probation. Defense attorneys George Milner III, center, Kevin Brooks, left, and David Wells, right, spoke with the media following the jury’s decision. (Mona Reeder/DMN)

                                          Prosecutors Heath Harris, Jason Hermus, Becky Dodds and Gary McDonald are asking jurors for prison time. Brent faces up to 20 years in prison but is also eligible for probation.

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next - Assistant District Attorney, Heath Harris, spoke to the media following the sentencing of former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent.

                                          Photo: Assistant District Attorney, Heath Harris, spoke to the media following the sentencing of former Dallas Cowboys player, Josh Brent. (Mona Reeder/DMN)

                                          Defense attorneys George Milner III, Kevin Brooks and Deandra Grant made a plea for probation.

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next - Josh Brent stands with lawyer Kevin Brooks while his punishment for his intoxication manslaughter conviction is read in court

                                          Photo: Josh Brent stands with one of his lawyers Kevin Brooks while the punishment for his intoxication manslaughter conviction is read in court. Dallas, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Pool/LM Otero, Pool)

                                          The the jury deliberated less than an hour before being sequestered for the night at a hotel.

                                          The trial has attracted national attention and has lasted longer that most trials in Dallas County except for those where prosecutors are seeking death in a capital murder case. Jury selection began Thursday, Jan. 9. Testimony began the following Monday.

                                          After reading the sentence, state District Judge Robert Burns scolded Brent for his actions. “You are not the first Dallas Cowboy to kill someone with a vehicle,” the judge said, “but I hope you’re the last.”

                                          Dallas Cowboys players Barry Church and Danny McCray were among the people to testify during the trial. Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, also testified during the sentencing phase and has repeatedly stated she’s forgiven Brent for what took place.

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next for former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent - LaTasha Brent, the mother of Josh Brent

                                          Photo: LaTasha Brent, the mother of Josh Brent, is helped from the courtroom following the punishment decision. (Mona Reeder/DMN)

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next - Josh Brent is lead away from court into custody after his sentencing

                                          Photo: Former Dallas Cowboys NFL football player Josh Brent, center, is lead away from the Dallas courtroom into custody after his sentencing. (AP Photo/Pool/LM Otero, Pool)

                                          Brent, who last played with the Cowboys in 2012 and totaled 1.5 sacks in 12 games, has retired since the incident. The Cowboys still retain his rights. Executive vice president Stephen Jones wouldn’t address the possibility of Brent returning to the team as he spoke from a Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Ala., prior to Wednesday’s conviction.

                                          Linebacker Sean Lee attended the trial Tuesday and was in the courtroom to provide support for Brent. Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett have also offered their support for Brent since the accident occurred.

                                          “We understand the very serious nature of this situation and express our concerns for all of the families and individuals that have been affected by the tragedy of Jerry Brown’s death,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said in a statement after the conviction.


                                          THE PATH BACK TO VALLEY RANCH: Josh Brent’s to return to the NFL, and the Dallas Cowboys rights

                                          THE PATH BACK TO VALLEY RANCH - Josh Brent’s to return to the NFL, and the Dallas Cowboys rights - game

                                          Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent will have the chance to restart his NFL career one year after he retired if he chooses to pursue professional football again.

                                          And it’s possible Brent could again play with a star on his helmet less than two years after he was responsible for the death of a teammate.

                                          Brent retired from the NFL on July 18 with an NFL suspension looming and less than 24 hours before the Dallas Cowboys were to report to training camp.

                                          Brent could face some hiccups in his path back to the NFL. He’d have to apply for reinstatement, and any request has to be reviewed and approved by the league. If he were reinstated, Brent could still be suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his conviction under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.

                                          Such a decision would hinge on how the league ultimately views Brent’s one year away from football. If Brent returns, he would have missed a year by his own choice, and the league could decide not to pursue a suspension. Or, because Brent is a repeat offender with a previous DWI arrest in Illinois, his suspension could be longer than that of a first-time offender.

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next for former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent - will he return to the nfl

                                          The Dallas Cowboys retain Brent’s contract rights, however, and he should be out of jail before the team reports for training camp in late July in Oxnard, Calif. Brent’s time served began Friday, and 180 days from today would put his release date at July 23.

                                          Whether the Cowboys would welcome Brent back isn’t clear. But they’ve fully supported him since the tragic crash, even helping him get a job at a warehouse after he retired from the league. And, on Wednesday, before Brent was convicted of the second-degree felony, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones didn’t exactly close the door on Brent.

                                          Asked if he’d ever consider Brent playing again for the Cowboys, Jones said, “I wouldn’t address that right now.”

                                          The Dallas Cowboys declined to comment today after Brent was sentenced.

                                          Peter Schaffer, Brent’s agent, was asked today if his client has completely closed the door on a future in the NFL.

                                          “Haven’t thought about that,” Schaffer said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brown family.”

                                          Defense attorneys George Milner III and Kevin Brooks acknowledged that Brent could play pro football again. But Milner said Brent has never mentioned playing again and doesn’t talk about football unless he’s asked about it. They did not know if Brent still worked out.

                                          “That road is not foreclosed,” Brooks said.

                                          First Assistant District Attorney Heath Harris, the lead prosecutor in the case, said he would not begrudge Brent for returning to football. But he said Brent needs to get treatment and serve as an example to other players about the consequences of drunken driving.

                                          “As long as he’s not out drinking and driving, I don’t have a problem with anybody doing his occupation,” Harris said. “Everybody has a right to earn a living.”

                                          Other NFL players have continued their pro careers after being responsible for someone’s death.

                                          Cleveland Browns receiver Donte’ Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian in March 2009 while driving drunk. Five months later, Goodell suspended Stallworth the entire 2009 season without pay. Stallworth, who received 30 days in jail and eight years’ probation, was reinstated by the NFL the next season and went on to play in 20 games from 2010 to 2012 for three different teams.

                                          After leaving a birthday party in 1998, then-St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little crashed into and killed a woman in St. Louis while driving drunk. Little received four years’ probation before going on to a 12-year career with the Rams.

                                          Brent will spend his 26th birthday Thursday in jail. Though still young, what kind of shape he’s in when he’s released will play a part in teams’ possible interest in him. And he isn’t exactly an ideal fit for the Cowboys since they’ve switched defensive schemes.

                                          Also, he had only 31 career tackles in three seasons with the Cowboys before his arrest.


                                          ATTORNEY’S LIVE INTERVIEW: Testimony from Jerry Brown Jr.’s mother brings leniency in sentencing for Josh Brent

                                          GETTING BACK ON THE SADDLE - What’s next - Josh Brent stands with lawyer Kevin Brooks while his punishment for his intoxication manslaughter conviction is read in court

                                          Photo: A packed courtroom listens to Judge Robert Burns III, right, admonish former Dallas Cowboys Josh Brent as he stands with his lawyers after Brent’s sentencing for his intoxication manslaughter conviction was read in court Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Dallas. Brent was sentenced for a drunken car crash that killed his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown Jr. He could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. (AP Photo/Pool/LM Otero, Pool)

                                          One of Josh Brent’s attorneys, Kevin Brooks, joined KRLD-FM today. Here are some highlights from the interview. 

                                          Audio - Josh Brent attorney Kevin Brooks - 1053 the fan krld - The Boys Are Back 2014

                                          CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW

                                          On Josh Brent’s feelings right now:

                                          “Josh is not the person that some folks have made him out to be. The people that know Josh will tell you that and if you ever spend any time around him you would see that he’s a very private person. In a lot of ways he’s an extremely shy guy, which would be surprising for someone his size and his physical presence. When we went back in the holding cell after the verdict Josh wasn’t jumping up and down happy. He was still extremely somber. I told him, ‘You’ve got a lot to process,’ because as I said during closing arguments this is something that he has lived with since December 8.”

                                          On how this has changed Josh Brent:

                                          “I can only go — in terms of how he was before this accident — by what people have told me. They described him before this accident as a very upbeat, positive, happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Since then they’ve noticed that he’s become extremely reserved, which is not surprising knowing that he’s had this thing hanging over head for almost a year a half. But he is still a fairly reserved, quiet, private individual.”

                                          On the 10-year probation:

                                          “For him to get probation in this case the jury had to come back with a sentence of 10 years or less. Anything above 10 years, they could not recommend probation so the 10 years was the starting point. And obviously the next point was do they recommend probation, which they did. The judge sentenced him to 10 years of probation. In the state of Texas that’s the maximum amount of time a person can be placed on probation is 10 years. If he were to violate he’s looking at 10 years.”

                                          On returning to football:

                                          “As far as the Cowboys or going back to the Cowboys or anything like that, that’s never been part of our discussions.”

                                          On people saying Josh Brent got off light:

                                          “They weren’t privy to the evidence that the jury saw and heard, particularly during the punishment phase. They were not there to witness the real grace and forgiveness that Jerry Brown’s mom came across with it. It’s pretty clear from here testimony to the jury that she did not want Josh going to prison and Josh was a second son to hear. And then the other thing that I think most citizens don’t know is there are people on probation for that same offense and one of the things that we brought out during the punishment phase is that presently there are 34 people on probation for that offense. One of the things we did not bring out, the year before there was 55 people on probation for that same offense. So in terms of painting this probation as something that’s unusual or unheard of, I think we were able to show that’s simply not the case.”

                                          On the terms of Brent’s probation:

                                          “There are a lot of terms and conditions. Generally there are 17 that are standardized and they can be as simple as pay your probation fee each month, perform a number of community service hours as determined by the judge, attend alcohol or drug treatment classes, restitution payments if necessary. Things of that nature. Any of those things are what you called technical violations. They rarely result in a person’s probation being revoked. The main thing would be continuing to test positive for any drugs or committing a new offense whether it’s alcohol-related or not.”

                                          On what his restrictions are on driving:

                                          “Those are the types of things that fall under terms and conditions of probation for him and those are things that the judge can add or takeaway. I have no doubt that at the point he’s released at the end of the 180 days, he’s going to put him on a monitor. He’s going to put him on what’s called a ‘SCRAM’ which will let the court know if he’s using alcohol. He’s not going to be allowed to drink alcohol while on probation, so there’s going to be a lot of restrictions on him and there’s going to be a lot of technical devices to monitor him and what he’s doing or consuming.”


                                          Media Coverage immediately following the sentencing of Josh Brent

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                                          Try this link for Dallas/Ft Worth breaking news coverage (NBC DFW)


                                          COWLISHAW EDITORIAL: Will fans be as forgiving if Dallas Cowboys bring Josh Brent back?

                                          dallas cowboys josh brent - the boys are back blog

                                          A light sentence handed to Josh Brent on an intoxication manslaughter charge Friday — 180 days in jail plus 10 years’ probation — was no great surprise. This is Texas. If you’re going to be convicted of manslaughter on a drinking-and-driving charge (after you have already been convicted of another DUI), this is one of the better states to avoid doing hard time.

                                          A recent case in which a 17-year-old was basically deemed too spoiled to be responsible for having killed four people while driving drunk — he received no jail time — still boggles the mind. Against that backdrop, finding a jury quick to sympathize with Brent after he had jeopardized the holiest of careers — playing for the Dallas Cowboys — must not have been overly difficult.

                                          And yet I believe the idea of Brent jumping right back into a Cowboys uniform and playing next season — he will be free from jail in plenty of time — would repulse much of the fan base. Cowboys fans have long accepted a reasonable amount of aberrant behavior from their heroes as long as they produced titles. Such a quick willingness to forgive and forget here could be the last straw for many struggling to maintain ties with a team so far removed from its championship glory.

                                          A DMN survey suggests a majority of fans will be ready to see Brent back in cleats this fall. We shall see on that.

                                          The problem for me is that giving Brent probation has proved to be a failed cure. He received probation for a DUI charge at the University of Illinois and, yet, there he was in the wee hours of Dec. 8, 2012, finishing off about 17 drinks (according to the evidence) before climbing into his Mercedes, driving recklessly and killing his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown Jr.

                                          Brown’s mother forgave Brent long ago. Is that really all that matters? If the victim’s family forgives, does that mean a serious crime was not committed?

                                          A disturbing but not overly surprising sentence was handed down by a jury Friday.

                                          Time will tell whether the Cowboys — desperate for anyone to play the role of defensive lineman — forgive as quickly and how their fans cope with that decision.

                                          LENIENCY GRANTED BY JURY: Former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation

                                          LENIENCY GRANTED BY JURY - Former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation - The Boys Are Back 2014

                                          DALLAS – A Texas jury sentenced former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent to 180 days in jail and 10 years’ probation today for causing a fiery one-car crash that killed his teammate after a night of heavy drinking in 2012.

                                          The same jury that convicted Brent, 25, earlier this week of intoxication manslaughter for the death of Jerry Brown Jr., could have sentenced him to as much as 20 years in jail.

                                          In testimony in the sentencing phase on Thursday, the mother of the victim pleaded for leniency for Brent, saying her son would have agreed with her.

                                          “He’s still responsible, but you can’t go on in life and hold a grudge. We all make mistakes and have to be forgiven. I’m sure that’s what Jerry would have wanted,” Stacey Jackson said.

                                          After a night of drinking at a private club in December 2012, Brent was driving his Mercedes at 110 mph when it slammed into a curb on a state highway, flipping the car, which caught on fire, and killing Brown, then 25.


                                          Editors comment: Expect more detailed information and the teams response shortly


                                          PONDERING PRISON OR PROBATION: Ex-Cowboy Josh Brent awaits sentencing for intoxication manslaughter of friend Jerry Brown Jr.

                                          PONDERING PRISON OR PROBATION - Ex-Cowboy Josh Brent awaits sentencing for intoxication manslaughter of Jerry Brown Jr. - Dallas Cowboys 2013 2014

                                          DALLAS, TX. – Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent was found guilty today of intoxication manslaughter after a car crash in December 2012 that resulted in the death of his teammate and friend, Jerry Brown Jr.

                                          The sentencing phase will begin Thursday to determine Brent’s punishment. He could face up to 20 years in prison, but he also could get probation.

                                          “We understand the very serious nature of this situation and express our concerns for all of the families and individuals that have been affected by the tragedy of Jerry Brown’s death,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said in a statement.

                                          Brent was found guilty by the jury early this afternoon. The jurors deliberated Tuesday and were sequestered that night before coming back with the decision the following afternoon.

                                          Police said Brent’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit at the time of the wreck. Dallas Cowboys players Barry Church and Danny McCray testified during the trial.

                                          Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, has repeatedly said she’s forgiven Brent and stood by him after the incident. Family members and those closest to Brent could testify during the sentencing period.

                                          Brent has since retired from the NFL since the incident. He last played with the Cowboys in 2012, totaling 1.5 sacks in 12 games. He would have challenged for a starting spot during the 2013 season. Executive vice president Stephen Jones wouldn’t address the possibility of Brent coming back to the team before Brent was found guilty Wednesday.

                                          After Cowboys players had already testified, linebacker Sean Lee arrived at the courthouse Tuesday to offer support to Brent. That move didn’t surprise Stephen Jones, who described Lee as a class act and admired Lee’s ability to lead and be there for his teammates.

                                          Prior to the announcement of the verdict, Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett offered their support for Brent at the Senior Bowl on Monday and Tuesday.

                                          “Our support for Josh has been unwavering since the start of this thing,” Garrett said Tuesday. “Obviously, a very tragic situation for Jerry Brown and his family and for Josh Brent.”


                                          Most recent posts regarding Josh Brent:

                                          THE JURY VERDICT IS IN: Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent found guilty of intoxication manslaughter

                                          LAW AND ORDER: Dallas Cowboys teammates testify in Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial | Brent’s defense rests | Jury to deliberate next week

                                          For all posts (and pictures) related to Josh Brent, click here


                                          THE JURY VERDICT IS IN: Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent found guilty of intoxication manslaughter

                                          Former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent stared out the window during deliberations Wednesday at the Dallas County courthouse - The Boys Are Back 2014

                                          Jurors found former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent guilty of intoxication manslaughter this afternoon.

                                          The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for more than two hours this morning. That followed 3 1/2 hours of discussions Tuesday about the case against Brent, who is accused of killing his teammate Jerry Brown Jr. in a December 2012 car crash in Irving. The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for a total of about nine hours before reaching the verdict.

                                          Earlier in the morning, jurors asked to take another look at video of Brent in Club Privae, where he had allegedly been drinking.

                                          The five biggest revelations in trial of ex-Cowboy Josh Brent - 7 - Josh Brent is found guilty of intoxicated manslaughter and put into handcuffs at Crowley Criminal Courts Building in Dallas

                                          After the verdict was read, the former Dallas Cowboy was handcuffed and led from the courtroom in the custody of the Dallas County sheriff’s office.

                                          The trial’s punishment phase will begin Thursday. Brent faces up to 20 years in prison for the December 2012 crash that killed teammate and best friend Jerry Brown Jr.


                                          The five biggest revelations in trial of ex-Cowboy Josh Brent - 1

                                          Josh Brent, a 320-pound defense lineman, had been drinking champagne and cognac on the night of the crash. To register a blood alcohol level of 0.18 meant he had to have had 17 standard-sized alcoholic beverages. Brent told police at the crash scene that he had an alcohol “buzz.” He blamed the wreck on having trouble slowing down, not alcohol. Photo: Ron Baselice

                                          The five biggest revelations in trial of ex-Cowboy Josh Brent - 2

                                          Brent was drinking straight out of a bottle inside Privae, a private club in Dallas. Surveillance video from the club shows Brent raising his arms with a bottle in each hand. Customers must purchase a bottle to have a table. Waitresses from the club and a Dallas restaurant, Eddie V’s, testified they did not think Brent was intoxicated. Defense attorneys rebutted video footage, saying he could have been drinking from glass water bottles that only appeared to be alcohol. Photo: Rex C. Curry

                                          The five biggest revelations in trial of ex-Cowboy Josh Brent - 3

                                          Brent was driving at least 110 mph on the service road of State Highway 114 when he flipped his white Mercedes. The posted speed limit was 45 mph. It threw Brown, 25, on top of Brent and cushioned him from serious injury, said Irving Police investigator James Fairbairn. Photo: Ron Baselice

                                          The five biggest revelations in trial of ex-Cowboy Josh Brent - 4

                                          Defense attorneys attacked the validity of tests that determined Brent’s blood alcohol level. They said the testing procedures were flawed. Partial data on water used as a control substance showed trace amounts of ethanol, an alcohol. But prosecutors submitted complete data that showed no ethanol in the water. Photo: Ron Baselice

                                          The five biggest revelations in trial of ex-Cowboy Josh Brent - 5

                                          Jerry Brown Jr’s blood alcohol level was just below the legal limit to drive. It was 0.079 when he died, said Dallas County medical examiner Jeffrey Barnard. Brown died of blunt force injuries to his neck and head. Neither player was wearing a seat belt. Photo: LM Otero/AP


                                          Related article … posted here on January 18, 2014:

                                          LAW AND ORDER: Dallas Cowboys teammates testify in Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial | Brent’s defense rests | Jury to deliberate next week

                                          For all posts (and pictures) related to JOSH BRENT, click here


                                          NEW NFL ALL-STAR GAME: Significant changes to the NFL Pro Bowl format designed to be fan-friendly

                                          NFL Pro Bowl 2014 - New NFL All-Star game - New NFL Pro Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Pro Bowl Draft - NFL Pro Bowl logo - Team Sanders - Team Rice

                                          The NFL is starting over with the Pro Bowl.

                                          The NFL originally announced radical changes to the format of the All-Star game back in May, eliminating the traditional AFC vs. NFC matchup in favor of a fantasy draft-like roster selection.

                                          Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will serve as alumni captains, choosing two rosters with the help of two NFL.com fantasy users.

                                          The NFL and NFLPA distributed a joint press release, explaining that the changes are designed to make the Pro Bowl “the ultimate fan-friendly celebration of the game.”

                                          “As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” said NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth, who proposed the changes to the game. “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”

                                          Under the new format, players will be selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.

                                          Players will be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft, which will air (tonight) on Wednesday, Jan. 22, on NFL Network.

                                          The 2014 Pro Bowl will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

                                          NFL Pro Bowl 2014 - New NFL Pro Bowl All-Star game - New NFL Pro Bowl 2014 uniforms on NFL Network - 2014 NFL Pro Bowl Draft - Team Sanders - Team Rice

                                          The 2014 NFL Pro Bowl will feature new uniforms from Nike

                                          • Game within the Game: A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.
                                          • No Kickoffs: The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.
                                          • Rosters: The rosters will continue to consist of 43 players per squad. The kick return specialist will be replaced by an additional defensive back.
                                          • Cover Two and Press Coverage: The defense will be permitted to play “cover two” and “press” coverage. In previous years, only “man” coverage was permitted, except for goal-line situations.
                                          • Stopping of the Game Clock: Beginning at the two-minute mark of every quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the clock will stop as if the play were an incomplete pass. This rule will make the team with the ball attempt to gain yardage toward the end of each quarter.
                                          • Game Timing: The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
                                          • Play Clock: A 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the typical 40-second/25-second clock.
                                          • Sacks: The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game. Currently, the game clock stops in these situations outside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

                                          Button - NFL Pro Bowl Check out the new NFL Pro Bowl page for much more detailed information about the NFL’s All-Star game!

                                           


                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | NFC Championship Game should help steer 2014 Dallas Cowboys draft

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 - NFC Championship Game should help steer 2014 Dallas Cowboys draft

                                          Most of the Dallas Cowboys brass arrived in Mobile, Ala. for the 2014 Senior Bowl on Monday.

                                          We’d like to think Jerry Jones and the team’s front-office personnel was watching closely when the 49ers and Seahawks slugged it out for the NFC Championship the night before.

                                          During the game, it was pretty clear what needs to be done in the upcoming draft and even free agency.

                                          Actually, it has been clear to everyone just by watching the Dallas Cowboys 2013 regular season.

                                          This team needs Dee-fense. And plenty of it.

                                          It’s not just because they were the worst in the NFL and worst in team history. Those are reasons enough to go draft defense in the first three to four rounds. This team needs a defensive tackle, a pass-rusher, an outside linebacker and a safety. And a good cornerback wouldn’t hurt either – you can never have too many.

                                          After watching the 49ers and Seahawks it was very clear that the Cowboys have plenty of offense to win a Super Bowl. Sure, there are some natural improvements that need to be made, but that’s with any team.

                                          The direction the offensive line is going is very positive and the running game went from a liability early in the year, to average by the middle of the season to pretty much becoming a team-strength by seasons’ end.

                                          People love what the 49ers and Seahawks did to get young, athletic and cheap (for now) quarterbacks. But they can do that because they’ve got a defense and running game to lean on.

                                          Russell Wilson is a good, young quarterback, but he fell into the perfect situation for him. I don’t think he could go win the game if he was on the Bucs or the Browns or even the Cowboys. Russell Wilson had the No. 1 defense in the NFL on the other side. Imagine if he had the worst.

                                          Ask yourself if you’d rather have Wilson and the Cowboys’ team or Romo and the Seahawks’ team. Do the same with the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick. That one might actually be a little different because there are some fans who wouldn’t mind seeing Kaepernick in Dallas.

                                          Either way, the point is that if those teams can get to the Super Bowl – or really close – with that type of offense, the Dallas Cowboys can do that as well.

                                          Just give them some help on defense.

                                          Those defenses are nasty. The only thing nasty about the Dallas Cowboys defense is the stats and the yards it gives up.

                                          The front four of the 49ers or Seahawks, you’ll see brute strength that seems missing with other squads, particularly this one here in Dallas. You don’t see arms and triceps like you see with those teams and players.

                                          That was a very physical football game and we knew it would be. Jason Pierre-Paul said something about blood being shed in the Cowboys-Giants game back in late November. But that one had nothing on this past battle between the 49ers and Seahawks, which has arguably become the best rival in football right now.

                                          The Cowboys are going to keep all of their defensive assistants. That’s what’s coming out of Mobile this week at the 2014 Senior Bowl.

                                          Monte Kiffin is returning for his second year, at least give him some help. You can draft defense in the first three picks, if not four or five and you’d be OK.

                                          The only exception I could see to that is taking an offensive guard in the first round.  That would be the only position to consider with that 16th or 17th pick. Guards have good value there and you’ve seen the benefits of taking Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick early and really building something from the ground up.

                                          Dallas can get by with Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau, and maybe Brian Waters if he decides to come back. But you can’t get by with plucking guys off their couch and into the defensive-line rotation.

                                          If Sunday’s game in Seattle showed us anything, it’s that defense really does win championships – at least conference ones. But it also showed this offense is plenty good enough to win.

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | Checking out defensive linemen is the top priority

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 - Checking out defensive linemen is the top priority

                                          MOBILE, AL — My plan was to follow three defensive linemen on the North squad to try and get a better feel for how they moved around live. The three players that I chose were: Aaron Donald, Ra’Shede Hegaman, and Rasheed Martin.

                                          After the team broke from stretching, I knew I was following the right group because Will McClay was doing the very same thing. My seat was in the press box, while McClay was within four feet of the drills that the Falcons coaches were putting the players through.

                                          It was interesting to see how these players went through the drills. Donald and Martin were the smoothest and moved the best. Hageman was better straight ahead and struggled a little more with the side to side stuff.

                                          When the group went to the one-on-one drills as they worked against the offensive line, all three did a nice job of playing with some power. Donald for his lack of height and bulk, played with outstanding leverage against Cyril Richardson, who can be a load to deal with. Donald didn’t give an inch against Richardson and that was impressive.

                                          Rasheed Martin measured well this morning at 272 pounds and despite his long build, he battled the massive tackle, Seantrel Henderson to a stalemate on several reps. I remember studying these two last week when Miami and North Carolina hooked up during the season, with Henderson getting the best of Martin plenty that day. It was a nice bounce back for Martin with a ton of eyes on him.

                                          There is no doubt that Ra’Shede Hageman looks the part. At 6-6 318 pounds, he is a full grown man. What I was worried about was his ability to get off the ball quick enough. His first few reps were not impressive than the defensive line coach, got on his rear and you saw a different player. He can be a very hard man to block and there were times when Richardson and Brandon Linder really struggled with him.

                                          Like Donald because of Mike Nolan’s scheme, they both saw action playing as the one and the three. Where Hageman did struggle is when he did get up the field and had problems finding the ball. He would make a great move, look to be in position, than the ball would go right by him. Thought he could have shown more awareness there. 

                                          When Mike Smith took his squad to the team period, this is where Donald really shined. His quickness and power were difficult to block. Centers Weston Richburg and Tyler Larsen had a handful to try and slow him down. He played the majority of the day on the offensive line side of the ball. It didn’t matter run or pass, he was in the middle of the action. I thought his technique was spot on the entire day, arm over, rip move, two hand bull, he was on.

                                          Of the three, Aaron Donald looked the most ready to play from the opening snap of practice and I am sure that Will McClay noticed that. His motor was running and he was on a mission. I did like some things that I did see from Ra’Shede Hagaman once the coach got in his face and his intensity picked up. Kareem Martin needs to do a better job of not rushing down the middle when getting after the quarterback, because then he has no shot. Martin is a better player when he can attack the edge and I sure they will point that out tonight in the film sessions.

                                          Overall it was a good start to the week for Ra’Shede Hegaman and Kareem Martin but a great one for Aaron Donald. It will be up to Donald to build on that and he could separate himself from the others because tomorrow morning, we get to all come back to the field and do it again.


                                          SEE FOR YOURSELF – VIDEO:

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 - Checking out defensive linemen is the top priority - Video - Three to Watch

                                          Senior Bowl | Three To Watch | Defensive Line (Watch Video)

                                          Check out three of the top defensive lineman from the North roster during Monday’s Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama.

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | What to be looking out for this week

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – With the Dallas Cowboys staff in Mobile for the Reese’s 2014 Senior Bowl, here are some things that us scouts (you) should be looking out for …

                                          Pro Coaches

                                          What I have always loved about the Senior Bowl from a scouting point of view, is how both squads are being coached this week by current NFL coaches. Part of having poor records during the season, Mike Smith from the Atlanta Falcons and Gus Bradley from the Jacksonville Jaguars staffs will lead the North and South squads this week. What is outstanding about this is that you get to observe these players out of their college element and functioning during the practices run by these coaches. 

                                          I was reminded this week from Monte Kiffin how when he was on Jon Gruden’s staff in Tampa and were coaching the game in 2005, when coaches on Bill Parcells staff in Dallas asked if Kiffin a 4-3 coach, could give DeMarcus Ware some reps during the practice at outside linebacker to see if Ware who was a 4-3 end at Troy could stand up and play on the outside. Kiffin had no problem with the request and the Cowboys were able to get a good look at Ware which helped them in their draft evaluation of him.

                                          Outstanding Competition

                                          Of all the college all-star games that are played after the season, the Senior Bowl does the best job of putting these rosters together. Phil Savage the director of that game is a former NFL general manager having worked in Baltimore and Cleveland. Savage and his staff have an outstanding eye for talent and when you go through these rosters, you will see a nice mix of players.

                                          What Savage has done is not only assemble talent from the major conferences around the country, but also he has players from schools like Lindenwood, Saginaw Valley, Eastern Illinois and North Dakota State. It was always interesting to see how the players from these schools work with these coaches and players from the major programs. Keep an eye on players like cornerback Pierre Desir, wide receiver Jeff Janis, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and offensive tackle Billy Turner. Garoppolo seems to be the player that most draft fans have interest in.

                                          There are always two or three players that might not be on your radar now but by the time this week is over, you will have a pretty clear understanding if these kids can play or not. Scouts will be tracking these players this week to see how they are responding to this experience.  

                                          Defensive Line On Review

                                          This will be a good week, for the scout’s around the league to get a good look at this current group of college defensive linemen. I remember very well this time last year, when defensive end Ziggy Ansah of BYU impressed all those that watched him practice and play in this game. Matter of fact, it was the Lions that were coaching in the game, that ended up drafting him in the 1st round.

                                          Looking at this current group, this is an important week for guys like Will Sutton, Ra’Shede Hageman, Aaron Donald, Marcus Smith, Kareem Martin, Trent Murphy, and DaQuan Jones. What I have learned from these Cowboys defensive coaches is that with the defensive line, it’s all about the quick twitch more so than the overall size. Kiffin told me that it was rare this season to have a guy like Jason Hatcher with his height to play as a one technique in this scheme.

                                          The player that has that Hatcher like size would be Hageman but on tape, I don’t believe that he has that quick twitch that Kiffin would be looking for, but we will see if that might have changed as he goes through this week. Aaron Donald will be measured Monday morning as will Will Sutton, who both would be perfect three techniques. What is interesting about Donald and Sutton is that they both are right at 6 foot tall and that is not a problem for Kiffin, as long as they both have that quick twitch that we have talked about.

                                          Two guys that I will be keeping my eye on in this group, is Marcus Smith and Kareem Martin. When I studied Smith this past week, he is a player that Will McClay (Head of the Dallas Cowboys Pro Scouting Department) and his group will be looking to project him to end from an outside linebacker. I believe that Smith can put his hand down in this scheme and rush the passer plus handle in the edge in the running game. He should get some reps this week rushing the passer in various drills and I am sure that this trait will show.

                                          Martin is a straight defensive end, that has the length and the range to be effective in this Kiffin scheme. He can chase the ball, he gets up the field and he can defeat blockers one-on-one. Trent Murphy is a guy that has a very similar skill set and I would expect people to be talking about his play as the week goes along. 

                                          There will be players in this game that other teams will not want because of their schemes but this Cowboys scouting staff and coaches will covet and how they view these players will be critical.

                                          Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl week begins today - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule - Senior Bowl logo button

                                          IRVING, Texas – Members of the Dallas Cowboys hit the road Sunday for the 2014 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

                                          It’s time to check out some of the best and brightest players from college football’s senior class as they prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft.

                                          Expect detailed notes, features, and videos throughout the week including a wrap-up after each day of practice. We’ll attempt to keep everyone well-informed on players to look at.

                                          Last year, Dallas Cowboys NFL draft picks Terrance Williams, J.J. Wilcox, and B.W. Webb were all members of the South squad at the Senior Bowl. The annual event features a plethora of players who will undoubtedly be selected in the top few rounds of the upcoming draft. It’s where tackle Eric Fisher helped his draft stock, eventually going as the first pick in the draft last year.

                                          With needs across the defense and particularly on the defensive line, defensive tackles such as Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Arizona State’s Will Sutton, and Penn State’s DaQuan Jones will all be players Dallas Cowboys fans should take note of.

                                          Outside pass rushers such as Auburn’s Dee Ford, North Carolina’s Kareem Martin, and Arkansas’ Chris Smith will also garner a lot of attention, in addition to the quarterback class which features Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, and San Jose State’s David Fales, among other notable players.

                                          There are sure to be more surprises in store and players that jump off the field and catch scouts eyes, as we cover the Senior Bowl action through Thursday.

                                          The full schedule for the week of the 2014 Senior Bowl, which culminates in the game Saturday, Jan. 25, can be found here and below. Players weigh-in is followed by the North and South team practices. The teams will practice through Monday – Thursday before getting ready for the game with a walkthrough Friday.


                                          2014 Senior Bowl calendar and schedule

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          Monday, January 20

                                          8:30am-10:00am Weigh-In Mobile Convention Center
                                          Exhibit Hall
                                          INFORMAL INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE OUTSIDE EXHIBIT HALL AFTER EACH PLAYERS’ WEIGH-IN PROCESS IS COMPLETED
                                          1:00pm-3:00pm South Team Practice Fairhope Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          3:00pm-5:00pm North Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          6:30pm-8:00pm Player/Media Night Battleship USS Alabama
                                          MEDIA EATS AT 6PM
                                          7:30pm-8:30pm FCA Coaches Fellowship Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          8:30pm-11:00pm NFL Club/Player Interviews Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          First floor meeting rooms
                                               

                                          Tuesday, January 21

                                          9:30am-11:30am North Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          1:30pm- 3:30pm South Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          5:00pm News Conference
                                          COACHES/SELECTED PLAYER
                                          Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          6:30pm-8:00pm AT&T Seafood Jubilee Mobile Convention Center
                                          MEDIA INVITED
                                          7:30pm-8:00pm FCA Coaches Fellowship Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          8:30pm-11:00pm NFL Club/Player Interviews Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          First floor meeting rooms
                                               

                                          Wednesday, January 22

                                          9:30am-11:30am North Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          11:30am-1:30am PNC Bank Senior Boil Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          Corporate Tent Village
                                          1:30pm-3:30pm South Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          5:00pm News Conference
                                          COACHES/SELECTED PLAYER
                                          Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          6:30pm-8:00pm FCA Rally
                                          Mobile Convention Center
                                          8:30pm-11:00pm NFL Club/Player Interviews Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          First floor meeting rooms
                                               

                                          Thursday, January 23

                                          9:00am-11:00am Community Service Project Selected Schools/Hospitals
                                          WILL ALERT MEDIA TO LOCATIONS FOR PHOTO/STORY OPPORTUNITIES
                                          2:30pm-4:30pm North Team Practice Fairhope Stadium
                                          2:30pm-4:30pm South Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          6:30pm-8:30pm Player Banquet BattleHouse Renaissance Hotel
                                               

                                          Friday, January 24

                                          10:30am- 11:30am North/South Team Walk Through Mobile Convention Center
                                          COACHES HAVE OPTION TO CLOSE/CHECK DURING WEEK
                                          3:00pm-7:00pm Coca-Cola Meet The Players Mobile Convention Center
                                          INTERVIEWS/TV LIVE SHOTS MAY BE CONDUCTED AS PLAYERS SIGN
                                          3:00pm-7:00pm al.com/Press-Register
                                          Reese’s Senior Bowl Experience
                                          Mobile Convention Center
                                               

                                          Saturday, January 25

                                          10:00am-1:00pm Baumhower’s Restaurant
                                          Tailgate Challenge
                                          Stadium Parking Lot
                                          11:00am-2:00pm Food For Less Tailgate Party
                                          MUST HAVE PASS TO ENTER
                                          East Parking Lot
                                          Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          1:00pm Stadium Gates Open Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                            IBERIABANK Corporate Tent
                                          Village opens
                                           
                                            PRESS BOX OPENS  
                                          2:30pm Pre-Game Show Begins Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          3:00pm Kickoff Senior Bowl 2014 Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          Post Game Postgame interviews Under West stands near lobby entrance (approx. 50yd line)

                                          BUTTON - NFL Draft Prospects - The Boys Are Back website

                                          DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER: Jerry Jones moving forward with both coordinators in 2014 | Jason Garrett focusing on filling empty coaching staff positions

                                          DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Jerry Jones moving forward with both coordinators in 2014 - Monte Kiffin and Bill Callahan remaining as Dallas Cowboys coordinators

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff roaming the sidelines at the Senior Bowl will look familiar.

                                          Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said nothing has changed with his coordinators and “there’s nothing there at all” regarding potential changes. He added that he plans on all the coaches still under contract staying aboard.

                                          “The status of it is nothing,” Jones said. “The status is the contracts that are there, everybody’s here. That’s the way you ought to read it, not anticipate anything. I wouldn’t anticipate a thing.”

                                          Jones stuck by Jason Garrett throughout the 2013 season and even after the end of a third straight 8-8 season, but the Cowboys’ head coach is entering the final year of his contract and it doesn’t appear that deal will be extended hastily. Jones said he hasn’t had any thought about that at this point in the year.

                                          “I don’t pay any attention to lame duck status, what you call lame duck status,” Jones said. “I don’t have that term, because I don’t know that there’s such a thing. We’ve got huge, a lifetime, of work ahead of us over the next few weeks. To even consider that needs anything more than an agreement to do this year is not a big thing to me. It’s just too much takeaway from what we’re trying to do right now, which is just get cranked up for 2014.”

                                          Then again, that doesn’t mean he’s lost belief in his head coach or that the pay day won’t come. He said he wants to be there when it does happen.

                                          He gave, and has continued to give, Garrett multiple years to develop his system and get it in place. The same may be going for his coordinators with another year to make adjustments.

                                          “I had a guy tell me one time how to be successful, that no human can be right over 50 percent of the time on any decision, but it’s the ones that cut their bad ones off quick and let their good ones run long (that work out),” Jones said. “That’s hard to do. That’s hard to accept quickly to cut a bad decision off quick.

                                          “We all know the adage of the gold miner that walked away and the other one that took one more swing and hit the pick and found the gold stream. So, you don’t want to quit. It’s easier said than done to let your mistakes go short and your good decisions long.”

                                          It’s getting close to decision time with many veteran Cowboys players and staff members. Most of the focus this offseason has centered on defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, who don’t appear to be going anywhere.

                                          Jones said he doesn’t have to convince people on staff that it’s a good decision to keep Kiffin. He only had to convince “the man in the mirror.”

                                          “Did we discuss and get input on a lot of things? Absolutely,” Jones said. “But what we did not do is have a big debate or management session regarding Monte Kiffin. We didn’t do that. That decision was made last year.

                                          “When you look at the fundamentals of a Monte Kiffin and you look at the fundamentals of his work and you look at what he is and you look at the fact that you decided scheme wise that you liked that competing in the NFL today, then that weighs you from cutting that short. The answer is I didn’t want to cut it short over on defense and some of the same principles are true with cutting it short on Jason, on going on when I talk about I want to be here for the pay day, and this is pay day time for Jason.”

                                          Everything appears to be status quo regarding the coaches still under contract in Dallas, from the head coach down to the assistants.

                                          At some point this offseason, the focus will begin to turn to the contracts of players. But Jones said the team isn’t working on any restructures yet and it’s too early at this point in the year to focus on that. 


                                          RELATED: Jason Garrett focusing on filling empty staff positions

                                          DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Jerry Jones moving forward with both coordinators in 2014 - Jason Garrett focusing on filling empty coaching staff positions

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – The Dallas Cowboys coaching situation seems to be clearer.

                                          Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spoke about the job security of Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin today, just one day after team owner/general manager Jerry Jones affirmed that the offensive and defensive coordinator were still under contract for 2014.

                                          Garrett, who is beginning his fourth year as head coach, reiterated Jones’ stance from Monday afternoon, though he added that staff evaluations are still ongoing following the 2013 season.

                                          “Like he said, those guys are under contract. We’re always trying to figure out ways to do better, and that starts with us as a coaching staff,” Garrett said. “We’ll keep looking at what everyone’s roles are and how everything settles down.”

                                          Whether or not those roles would change going forward, though, Garrett declined to say. There has been some (media) speculation that Kiffin and Callahan’s positions could change despite remaining with the Cowboys, but Garrett did not add to it.

                                          “Those guys are under contract, and we feel good about that,” he said. “We’re always going to try to do things that are in the best interest of our football team, so we’ll keep looking at how we can be better as a staff and what roles everybody is in and what we’re asking them to do. But those guys are really good football coaches.”

                                          Instead, Garrett said the current focus was on filling the empty positions on his staff. The Cowboys lost tight ends coach Wes Phillips to the Redskins last week, and they parted ways with assistant special teams coach Chris Boniol after the season.

                                          “We do have some coaches who are out of contract, and we’re trying to get those things settled,” he said. “We’re just in the process of those conversations right now.”

                                          Reports indicated earlier in the week that the Cowboys would replace Boniol with Carlos Polk, who served as an intern under special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia last season. Polk, who also worked with Bisaccia on the Chargers’ coaching staff, confirmed Tuesday that looks to be the case – though his contract isn’t finalized.

                                          “It has not been finalized, but he’s someone who really was a good addition to our team this year. Bisaccia has some history with him in San Diego, and he really came in and played a very prominent role for us on that special teams unit,” Garrett said.

                                          Former Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope has also come up as a potential replacement for Phillips. Pope coached in New York for 23 seasons and was a member of all four of the team’s Super Bowl staffs before the Giants fired him last week.

                                          Pope was coaching in New York when Garrett was a quarterback with the Giants from 2000-03, providing a logical connection.

                                          “There are a number of guys that we’ve talked about in that situation. Mike is a good friend of mine and obviously a very good coach,” Garrett said.

                                          COWBOYS HEADED TO HAWAII: DeMarco Murray becomes fifth Dallas Cowboy added to 2014 NFL Pro Bowl roster

                                          COWBOYS HEADED TO HAWAII - DeMarco Murray becomes fifth Dallas Cowboy added to 2014 NFL Pro Bowl roster

                                          IRVING, Texas –  The Dallas Cowboys initially had just two Pro Bowlers heading to Hawaii. Now they have five.

                                          The latest addition is yet another first-timer as running back DeMarco Murray has been added, replacing San Francisco’s Frank Gore, who was injured in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks.

                                          Murray makes his first Pro Bowl trip of his three-year career after enjoying his first 1,000-yard season. He rushed for 1,124 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns during the 2013 season. He also scored six of his nine touchdowns in the second half of the season.

                                          Murray becomes the first Cowboys running back since Marion Barber in 2007 to make the Pro Bowl and just the second since Emmitt Smith’s eighth and final selection in 1999.

                                          Murray joins a running back group of Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, and LeSean McCoy, who were all initially selected. Adrian Peterson was also picked but won’t play because of injury and Marshawn Lynch is out because of the Super Bowl. Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris have been added as replacements for those two but Murray now replaces Gore.

                                          Originally, the Cowboys only had two Pro Bowl selections – Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith, a pair of first-round picks who are going for the first time. Last week, Jason Hatcher was added to the roster as a replaced for Baltimore’s injured nose tackle Haloti Ngata. And on Sunday, Jason Witten made it to the Pro Bowl after Denver’s Julius Thomas had to be replaced after the Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl.

                                          The first ever “Unconferenced” Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, airing on NBC at 6 p.m. (CST). The first-ever NFL Pro Bowl draft will be nationally-televised on NFL Network Wednesday, Jan. 22 (7 p.m. CST) as alumni captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will pick the teams.

                                          RELATED: TE Jason Witten fourth Dallas Cowboy added to 2014 NFL Pro Bowl

                                          Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten added to 2014 NFL Pro Bowl

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will now be heading to his ninth career Pro Bowl.

                                          Witten was added to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday to replace Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, who’s now Super Bowl bound.

                                          Wide receiver Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith were initially the only two players selected to the Pro Bowl from the Dallas Cowboys, but Jason Hatcher (and now Witten) were additions this week. Witten’s ninth Pro Bowl appearance ties him with Randy White for the fourth-most in team history, behind only Bob Lilly, Larry Allen and Mel Renfro.

                                          Jason Witten started all 16 games this year for the Cowboys and played in all 16 games for the 10th straight season. He finished with 73 catches for 851 yards and eight touchdowns, which marked his second-highest touchdown total of his career behind only the nine he scored in 2010.

                                          He finished the 2013 season placing fifth in catches and yards and tied for fourth in touchdowns among all tight ends around the league.

                                          Witten made the Pro Bowl every year from 2004-2010 and made the Pro Bowl after the 2012 season, in which he recorded a career-high 110 catches. All the other three Cowboys will be going to the Pro Bowl for the first time.


                                          Button - NFL Pro Bowl

                                          ROAD TO SUPER BOWL XLVIII: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks to faceoff on February 2, 2014

                                          NFL NFC CHAMPIONSHIP - Seattle Seahawks parlay 49ers mistakes into Super Bowl trip - Super Bowl XLVIII 48 - 2014 Super Bowl - button

                                          NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Seahawks parlay 49ers mistakes into Super Bowl trip

                                          SEATTLE — All season long, the Seattle Seahawks’ defense carried them at times the offense sputtered. Its biggest challenge yet will come in Super Bowl XLVIII.

                                          The Seahawks forced turnovers on the San Francisco 49ers’ final three drives, the last an interception by Malcolm Smith on a deflection by Richard Sherman in the end zone with 22 seconds to go that sealed a 23-17 victory in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

                                          Next up: a title date with Peyton Manning and the high-powered Denver Broncos on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

                                          Colin Kaepernick fumbled and threw an interception on the 49ers’ previous two drives. But the Seahawks scored only one field goal off those turnovers, keeping the game alive.

                                          Given the ball once more with 3 minutes, 15 seconds to go, Kaepernick completed four consecutive passes, including a fourth-and-2 strike to crossing Frank Gore as the 49ers drove to the Seattle 18.

                                          But Sherman got a piece of Kaepernick’s jump-ball throw to the corner of the end zone and Smith corralled the ball in bounds, allowing Seattle to run out the clock and set off a celebration during which Sherman leaped into the stands at CenturyLink Field.

                                          It’s the second George Halas Trophy and Super Bowl trip in the 38-year history of the Seahawks, who also won the NFC title after the 2005 season before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL.

                                          No players remain from that team, and no one on Seattle’s roster has appeared in a Super Bowl. Neither has coach Pete Carroll, who did take the University of Southern California to two BCS championship games before becoming the Seahawks’ coach in 2010.

                                          Sunday’s win was the Seahawks’ third straight against the 49ers in Seattle, where they rolled 42-13 on Dec. 23, 2012, and 29-3 on Sept. 15 before San Francisco won this regular season’s rematch 19-17 on Dec. 8 at Candlestick Park. This one was far tighter.


                                          AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Peyton Manning passes Broncos past Patriots into Super Bowl

                                          NFL AFC CHAMPIONSHIP - Peyton Manning passes Broncos past Patriots into Super Bowl - Super Bowl XLVIII 48 - 2014 Super Bowl - button

                                          DENVER — Two years ago, the NFL world was wondering if Peyton Manning might ever throw another pass. Even he wasn’t sure.

                                          Yet there were a gaggle of Mannings in a jubilant Denver Broncos locker room on Sunday, celebrating the Broncos’ 26-16 win in the AFC Championship Game and Manning’s third trip to the Super Bowl. Manning has a chance to win a second Super Bowl ring — his first with the Broncos and his first since having four surgeries on his neck.

                                          “One of my favorite things to tell him is, ‘Enjoy the journey.’ I tell him that all the time. And it’s been a good journey,” Manning’s father and former NFL quarterback Archie Manning said.

                                          Archie was joined by his other two sons, New York Giants quarterback Eli, who made the trip to Denver to surprise his brother, and Cooper, whose two sons scampered around the locker room in their orange No.18 jerseys, taking pictures of the AFC championship memorabilia and posing in their uncle’s locker.

                                          “Oh, we’re proud. Obviously we’re proud of Peyton, but we’re just like all the other parents of Broncos that are going to the Super Bowl,” Archie said.

                                          Peyton Manning was brilliant in leading the Broncos to their first Super Bowl since his boss, John Elway, retired after the 1998 season. Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns, both at the end of drives lasting more than seven minutes. He was clearly the best player on the field in his 15th meeting with longtime nemesis Tom Brady.

                                          Manning will be joined in East Rutherford, N.J., at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2 by a suddenly stout defense that held the New England Patriots to 320 yards. The Broncos shut down the Patriots running game (64 yards) and held Brady to 277 passing yards. Brady was sacked twice, including a 10-yard loss on fourth-and-3 from the Broncos 29-yard line in the third quarter with Denver leading 20-3. That sack, by defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, killed the Patriots’ 13-play drive and drew some of the loudest cheers of the day from a sold-out crowd at Sports Authority Field.

                                          “We knew it would take a dominant performance on defense. We knew our offense was going to go out there with a rhythm. I knew Peyton would throw for all that, and we just wanted to do our part,” Knighton said. “We didn’t want to be the missing link.”

                                          Fans relished the Broncos’ first AFC title game since the 2005 season (when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers), and the resurgence of a team that was 4-12 three years ago. But the brief and disastrous tenure of coach Josh McDaniels, now New England’s offensive coordinator, led to the hiring of Elway as executive vice president of football operations. Elway has rebuilt the team and was a key element to the signing of Manning in March 2012.

                                          Denver has gone 13-3 in the two seasons since, while Manning and the offense shattered records this season with 55 passing touchdowns and 606 points scored. But none of that would have really mattered without a trip to the Super Bowl.

                                          The Broncos, the preseason favorites to win the AFC, did not get here easily. They played the first six games of the season without their star pass rusher as Von Miller served a suspension, lost all-pro left tackle Ryan Clady in Week 2, lost defensive starters Miller, defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, defensive end Derek Wolfe, safety Rahim Moore and cornerback Chris Harris to season-ending injuries and played four weeks without coach John Fox, who had heart surgery in early November.

                                          “Every Super Bowl team that has held up that trophy has been through some type of adversity,” Knighton said. “We just wanted to respond.”

                                          LAW AND ORDER: Dallas Cowboys teammates testify in Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial | Brent’s defense rests | Jury to deliberate next week

                                          LAW AND ORDER - Dallas Cowboys testify in Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial Jerry Brown - Brent’s defense rests - Jury to deliberate Josh Brent fate next week

                                          Dallas Cowboys players who were reportedly with Brent earlier in the night of the accident have been called in to testify. Current members of the Dallas Cowboys are now testifying in Josh Brent’s intoxication manslaughter trial.

                                          The trial began Monday, but it wasn’t until Thursday that Cowboys players Barry Church, and Danny McCray took the stand. Orlando Scandrick was also at the courthouse for the trial but did not testify. 

                                          Brent has been accused of driving drunk and crashing his vehicle, resulting in the death of his Dallas Cowboys teammate and friend, Jerry Brown, on Dec. 8, 2012. A forensic toxicologist estimates that ex-Cowboy Josh Brent consumed 17 drinks the night he crashed his Mercedes along an Irving highway. 

                                          He faces up to 20 years in prison but could also be sentenced to probation.

                                          Brent, who played in 12 games in 2012 and would have competed for a starting spot as a defensive tackle last season, has since retired.


                                          Toxicologist estimates Josh Brent had 17 drinks before fatal crash

                                          Law and Order - Toxicologist estimates Josh Brent had 17 drinks before fatal crash

                                          DALLAS –– A forensic toxicologist estimates that ex-Cowboy Josh Brent consumed 17 drinks the night he crashed his Mercedes along an Irving highway, resulting in the death of friend and teammate Jerry Brown Jr.

                                          Justin Schwane is the man who tested a sample of Brent’s blood after the crash and determined his blood alcohol content to be .18, more than twice the legal limit of .08. He was the first witness to take the stand Wednesday at the Frank Crowley Courthouse, the third day of testimony in Brent’s trial.

                                          “I estimate approximately 17 standard size drinks in a 320 to 325 pound man like him,” Schwane said.

                                          Brent told police he drank fewer than five.

                                          Schwane works for the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science or SWIFS. Under cross-examination defense attorney Deanna Grant questioned Schwane on his credentials and on the integrity of the blood alcohol testing.

                                          She questioned how Brent’s blood was stored, what additives were used to test the blood and about the testing equipment used.

                                          Grant is trying to show the equipment was contaminated. During test runs, she said, a trace of alcohol showed up in a vial of pure water.

                                          Schwane stood firm on his testimony, saying the tests met industry standards, the vials were properly stored and the equipment is not contaminated.

                                          The wreck occurred on Dec. 8, 2012 after the two men left Club Privae in northwest Dallas. Prosecutors say a drunken Brent hit a curb and flipped his Mercedes. Brown died after the crash. 

                                          On Tuesday, the jury saw video of his arrest. Brent was aggravated that an officer was drawing his blood to test for alcohol. Irving officer Travis Huckaby testified the retired Cowboy seemed “more concerned about getting home” than the fate of his friend. He said Brent’s “eyes welled up with tears and for the first time showed real emotion” upon being told his friend was dead.

                                          Testimony is continuing Wednesday afternoon. Waitresses at the restaurants and clubs where Brent and other Dallas Cowboys players were partying in the hours leading up to the crash are expected to take the stand.

                                          In addition to the intoxication manslaughter charge, Brent was also indicted for manslaughter. If a jury finds he was not intoxicated, he can still be convicted on the second count.

                                          Brent’s attorneys do not deny he was driving too fast when he flipped his car.


                                          Defense rests in manslaughter case of former Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent

                                          LAW AND ORDER - Dallas Cowboys testify in Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial Jerry Brown - Josh Brent Trial

                                          DALLAS (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent‘s case in a fatal wreck that left his close friend and teammate dead will soon head to a jury, after his attorneys finished their case in one day, arguing again that he wasn’t drunk during the crash.

                                          Brent’s defense called several witnesses Friday to make the case they laid out from the very beginning: The blood tests implicating him for drinking were wrong, and photos and video of him appearing to be drunk are misleading. Brent’s lead attorney, George Milner, rested his case Friday afternoon, and lead prosecutor Heath Harris said his case was finished shortly afterward.

                                          If convicted of intoxication manslaughter or manslaughter, Brent could get anywhere from probation to 20 years in prison.

                                          The December 2012 wreck in the Dallas suburb of Irving killed Jerry Brown, a practice squad linebacker who played football with Brent at the University of Illinois. Milner has argued that his client was guilty of poor judgment and bad driving, but not of causing the crash by drinking beforehand.

                                          Laboratory expert Janine Arvizu sought to poke holes in a key part of the prosecution’s case — the blood tests that showed Brent to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.189 percent, more than twice the legal limit. A toxicologist estimated the 320-pound Brent would have had to have 17 drinks to get that drunk.

                                          But Arvizu accused the Dallas County crime lab of using potentially spoiled fluid to process Brent’s blood samples, something she compared to a person drinking milk past its expiration date.

                                          “Just because a result is precise doesn’t mean it’s accurate,” Arvizu said.

                                          Judge Robert Burns would not let her testify about other problems she identified with the crime lab, calling them “pure speculation.”

                                          A waitress at the Dallas nightclub where Brent, Brown and other Cowboys players visited that night testified that the club served water in bottles that looked like Champagne — part of Milner’s argument that security video of Brent holding the bottles might not have meant he was drinking alcohol.

                                          Milner also argued Brent wasn’t a skilled driver and could have caused the wreck without being affected by liquor. Aya Matsuda, a restaurateur and close friend of Brent’s, recalled giving him rides to practice after finding out that he was taking the bus because he didn’t have a car.

                                          Asked about his drinking at the nightclub, Matsuda said: “He didn’t have a single drink in his hand the whole, entire night.”

                                          But Irving Police Officer James Fairbairn, under questioning by Milner, said Brent swerved and caused the wreck after initially hitting a curb because he was under the influence.

                                          “Had he not been intoxicated, he probably never would have ended up at that point,” Fairbairn said.

                                          The trial so far has taken a week. With the prosecution and defense both wrapping up their cases, the closely watched trial that’s included testimony from two Cowboys players could finish sooner than the two weeks originally expected.


                                          Jury to deliberate in Josh Brent case next week

                                          Law and Order - Josh Brent's attorney George Miller talks with media during the lunch break

                                          A Dallas County jury is expected to decide next week whether former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was drunk the night of a car crash that killed his best friend and teammate, or whether he was sober and simply driving too fast.

                                          In the defense’s only day of testimony Friday, Brent’s attorneys tried to undermine the validity of his blood alcohol test and offered other explanations for his behavior. Prosecutors maintained that Brent was drunk at the time of the crash.

                                          These diverging arguments have been at the center of the contentious, weeklong trial in which Brent is charged with intoxication manslaughter for the crash that killed 25-year-old Jerry Brown Jr. The jurors will decide which version of events they believe after final arguments that begin Tuesday morning.

                                          The defense called on a lab quality auditor Friday to testify that the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences didn’t follow industry protocols when testing Brent’s blood for alcohol in December 2012.

                                          The tests showed that he had a blood alcohol level of 0.18, more than two times the legal driving limit of 0.08.

                                          Janine Arvizu testified that water used as a control substance in one of the tests contained trace amounts of ethanol, an alcohol. She also testified that the institute wasn’t accredited by rigorous international standards in December 2012.

                                          But before Arvizu took the stand, prosecutors took issue with her expertise and questioned her extensively about her qualifications. Judge Robert Burns III allowed only part of her testimony before the jury.

                                          Earlier in the week, a toxicologist testified that defense attorneys were presenting incomplete blood test data and that the test was accurate.

                                          Also Friday, defense attorneys rebutted video footage that showed Brent drinking inside a nightclub before the crash and argued that he could have been drinking from glass water bottles that only appeared to be alcohol.

                                          Aya Matsuda, a friend who was with Brent before the crash, testified she didn’t see him consume alcohol.

                                          The defense also portrayed Brent as an inexperienced driver who was prone to speeding, and suggested that these factors alone could explain the crash.

                                          Matsuda, who works at a Japanese restaurant near where Brent lived in Irving, said Brent often walked to get takeout because he didn’t have a car. When he later got one, she said, she’d see his car “flying by” the restaurant.

                                          The prosecution countered with records that show Brent’s Illinois driver’s license was issued in 2004.


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                                          dallas cowboys nt josh brent and teammate jerry brown - 2012 - the boys are back blog

                                          2008: In 2008 as a sophomore, he recorded 34 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 10 games with eight starts.

                                          2009: In 2009 as a junior, he started all 12 games, recording 29 tackles (7 for loss) and three sacks.

                                          2009: Brent pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence on June 2, 2009, as a result of an incident from the previous February.

                                          2012: Brent received his first career starts in 2012, replacing an injured Jay Ratliff and was coming on strong as a key player on the defensive line.

                                          2012: On December 8, 2012, he flipped his car on the Texas State Highway 114 at 2:21 a.m. while driving under the influence, killing his passenger, college and Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown.

                                          2012: On December 26, 2012, a grand jury indicted Brent on one count of intoxication manslaughter.

                                          2013: On May 24, 2013, the Dallas district attorney requested to revoke Brent’s bail for not adhering to the monitoring conditions and send him to jail to await trial.

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