Daily Archives: January 21st, 2014

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.

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