Category Archives: Around the NFL

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.”

TOP NFL FREE AGENTS 2014: Pro Bowl bound Dallas Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher among NFL’s top 25 Free Agents

dallas cowboys defensive end jason hatcher (97) sacks washington redskins quarterback robert griffin iii - the boys are back blog

As the NFL’s 2013-2014 season comes to a close, let’s take a first glance at the 2014 NFL free-agent market.

It’s early in the offseason process. Franchise tags have yet to be discussed. There’s still time for clubs to lock up young stars to long-term contracts. Many of these names will be removed from consideration by the time the upcoming 2014 NFL free agents list is compiled in early March.

This list places the highest value on ascendant players with little or no reason to expect a dropoff in production over the next few years.

Here’s the Top-25 NFL Free Agents for 2014:

1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints tight end
2. Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers defensive end
3. Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins linebacker
4. Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills safety
5. T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns safety
6. Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans cornerback
7. Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs left tackle
8. Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end
9. Lamarr Houston, Oakland Raiders defensive end
10. Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins cornerback
11. Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens left tackle
12. Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts cornerback
13. Linval Joseph, New York Giants defensive tackle
14. Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle
15. Jared Veldheer, Oakland Raiders left tackle
16. Aqib Talib, New England Patriots cornerback
17. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver Broncos cornerback
18. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns center
19. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos wide receiver
20. Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks defensive end
21. B.J. Raji, Green Bay Packers defensive tackle
22. Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers cornerback
23. Walter Thurmond, Seattle Seahawks cornerback
24. Donald Butler, San Diego Chargers linebacker
25. Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins defensive tackle

RELATED: Jason Hatcher added to NFL’s Pro Bowl 2013-2014 Roster

new york giants quarterback eli manning is sacked by dallas cowboys defensive end jason hatcher - the boys are back blog

IRVING, Texas – And now the Dallas Cowboys have three Pro Bowlers. And once again, it’s a first-timer headed to Hawaii.

Jason Hatcher has been added to the Pro Bowl roster, replacing the spot of Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata, who will not play for injury reasons.

Hatcher is set to join Cowboys’ teammates Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith in the game.

Hatcher led all NFL defensive tackles in sacks last year with a career-high 11 as just edged out Tennessee’s Jurrell Casey with 10.5.

Hatcher had the most sacks by a Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle since Randy White had 12.5 in 1984.

He was the first player other than DeMarcus Ware to have the team’s outright sack title since 2004 when Greg Ellis had nine. Hatcher’s 11 sacks was the first double-digit finish other than Ware since Tony Tolbert’s 12 in 1996.

Along with his team-high in sacks, Hatcher was second on the team with 33 quarterback pressures, just behind Ware’s 35. Hatcher and George Selvie tied for the team lead with seven tackles for loss and his 48 tackles ranked eighth on the defense.

Hatcher, who is an unrestricted free agent, has openly said he will test the free-agent market come March, so it’s very likely this game in Hawaii could be his last in a Dallas Cowboys helmet. However, he also said he thought he wouldn’t return to the Cowboys in 2011, but signed a three-year deal to remain in Dallas.

NFL COACHES CAROUSEL: Dallas Cowboys TE coach Wes Phillips joins Washington Redskins

NFL COACHES CAROUSEL - Dallas Cowboys TE coach Wes Phillips joins Washington Redskins

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have lost another coach. Tight ends coach Wes Phillips is heading to the Redskins after meeting with the club in Washington on Thursday.

Wes Phillips will no longer be coaching tight ends for the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

Club officials at Valley Ranch have confirmed Phillips is leaving. Phillips even changed his Facebook profile picture to a Washington Redskins logo.

Phillips joined the Cowboys in 2007 on his dad’s first staff in Dallas. Wade Phillips made his son a quality control coach but Wes eventually worked his way up to assistant offensive line coach and then tight ends coach this past offseason, long after Wade Phillips was fired as head coach in the middle of the 2010 season.

Wes Phillips’ contract expired after the 2013 season so he was technically a coaching “free agent.” He will likely become the Washington Redskins tight end coach after Sean McVay was promoted from that position to offensive coordinator by new head coach Jay Gruden.

Wes Phillips coaching tight ends for the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

Phillips’ seven years with the Cowboys will likely be a great asset to a new coaching staff unfamiliar to the NFC East. Not only does Phillips know the Dallas Cowboys offense inside and out, along with most of the defensive personnel, but he’s also studied the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles closely as well in his preparations to play these division rivals twice a year.

So far this offseason, the Cowboys have lost four coaches whose contracts had expired – assistant special teams coach Chris Boniol, offensive assistant Dave Borganzi, and assistant coach Mikal Smith. Borganzi and Smith, the son of new Bucs coach Lovie Smith, both went to Tampa Bay. Boniol said it was a “mutual decision” to part ways with the Dallas Cowboys.

Other coaches whose contract have expired include Ben Bloom, Joe Baker, and Keith O’Quinn, who could be a candidate to replace Phillips as tight ends coach.

RUNNING FOR THE RING: NFL teams revert to smashmouth football in the postseason

RUNNING FOR THE RING - NFL teams revert to smashmouth football in the postseason -  NFL playoffs 2013 2014

It happens a lot in the NFL: The dazzling revolutions of September and October — the promise of a new-fangled Wildcat or read-option or run-and-shoot paradigm that will change everything — often fall by the wayside in the bitter rain and snow and cold of January, when football returns to the eternal verities of truth and reality.

RUNNING FOR THE RING - NFL teams revert to smashmouth football in the postseason -  NFL playoffs 2013 2014 - Run to Daylight - Vince Lombardi

So it is this year.

In a season during which passing and scoring records fell, all four Championship Sunday participants (including the one that set those records) relied on the timeless formula last weekend: run the ball effectively, control the clock, play solid defense and make the other team earn every point it scores.

 

You could see evidence of the back-to-basics approach in every divisional-round game:

  • Russell Wilson’s passing was mostly grounded, and the oft-injured Percy Harvin was knocked out of the action with a concussion, but the Seahawks still took down the Saints. Seattle won behind tackle-breaking machine Marshawn Lynch (in postseason Beast Mode, evidently) and a suffocating defense that rattled New Orleans’ top weapon, Jimmy Graham.
  • New England, decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball (along with, it has to be said, the murder charge against tight end Aaron Hernandez), has fewer difference-makers than it has had at any time in recent memory. But LeGarrette Blount was the blunt force that the Patriots used to pound the Colts’ defense into submission. Meanwhile, the Pats’ myriad defensive looks frustrated Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, who threw four interceptions.
  • San Francisco won its second road playoff contest in eight days, thanks in large part to a defense that stonewalled Carolina’s running game (Cam Newton was the only Panther to eclipse 20 yards rushing) and snagged two interceptions. Offensively, the 49ers employed a balanced attack: Frank Gore led the charge on the ground while Colin Kaepernick made some timely plays through the air, leaning heavily on veteran gamer Anquan Boldin.
  • Denver used San Diego’s own formula from the regular season — control the ball, shorten the game, manage the clock (35:27 of possession) — to keep the Chargers on their heels all day long. Denver’s defense missed Von Miller’s havoc-wreaking presence but stiffened enough to allow the Bolts just 65 yards rushing, less than half of what the Broncos churned out in a winning effort.

Each one of the four divisional-round winners exceeded 125 yards rushing. After setting the single-season record with an astounding 5,477 passing yards, Peyton Manning threw for just 230, with the other three winning quarterbacks failing to reach 200. Glamour QBs Tom Brady and Wilson didn’t even throw a single touchdown pass.

RUNNING FOR THE RING - NFL teams revert to smashmouth football in the postseason -  NFL playoffs 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith

There is, of course, a long tradition of returning to the run game in the postseason. Go back 45 years to the New York Jets’ memorable defeat of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. New York was led by Joe Namath, who was one season removed from becoming the first quarterback in pro football history to throw for 4,000 yards, but the Jets ran more than they passed on that day (logging 43 carries and 29 throws), to control the clock and the Colts. (A year later, the Kansas City Chiefs — another team known for offensive daring and innovation — rushed the ball 42 times for 151 yards to dominate the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.)

These things were true 45 years ago, and they still might be true 45 years from now.

In recent years, we’ve seen running backs de-emphasized on draft day. Yet, by the time the playoffs roll around, the best teams almost always have a solid run game in place.

RUNNING FOR THE RING - NFL teams revert to smashmouth football in the postseason -  NFL playoffs 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith

The star of the divisional weekend, Blount, went undrafted out of college and was pawned off by the Buccaneers this past offseason — yet he’s been unstoppable for the Patriots of late. Marshawn Lynch was a first-round draft choice, but the Bills gave up on him before the Seahawks recast him as their most reliable offensive threat. Knowshon Moreno’s demise had been rumored for years in Denver, but this season he’s been a steady all-around back who doesn’t fumble (and a strong blocker, to boot). Frank Gore is a former third-round pick — thanks in part to some injury baggage from college — who has developed a reputation as a tough inside runner, and his efficiency boosts both the passing game and Kaepernick’s devastatingly effective keepers.

So why does this happen so often? Why do the gaudy passing numbers of the regular season frequently get supplanted by the meat and potatoes of old-school football in the new year? Simple reasons, mostly:

Better defense: Playoff teams are generally more accomplished defensively, meaning each opponent has a formidable pass rush. The best way to neutralize this is to have a running game that the defense has to take seriously.

Weather: So Peyton Manning isn’t as good in cold-weather games? Guess what: He’s not alone — not by a long shot. Show me a quarterback who consistently overperforms in freezing temperatures and snow, and I’ll show you an anomaly. Cold weather leads to numb hands, making it very difficult to execute the touch throws that separate the great quarterbacks from the good ones. And while receivers enjoy a slight advantage over defensive backs in terms of footing — because they know where they’re going — it’s much harder to catch a rifled pass in sub-freezing weather than it is on a room-temperature day. (If you’ve never tried it, just trust me.)

Dangerous opposing quarterbacks: You can get away with a quick, drive-killing string of incompletions — or even a turnover — when the quarterback on the other side is an untested rookie/journeyman who lacks pocket presence. But do that in a playoff game against a Manning or Brady, and you’re going to get burned. That’s why it’s all the more important to control the football and minimize mistakes.

Throwback football will be on full display in the NFC Championship Game, as the style fits the personalities of the coaches very well. A physical running game is a large part of the DNA both Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh used to build their respective teams.

It’s a bit different on the AFC side. New England’s commitment to the run is simply Bill Belichick’s adaptation to a roster that’s currently short on difference-making receivers and tight ends. The Pats very well could go back to being a top-five passing attack and the league’s top-ranked offense next season if they can come up with the right group of receivers for Brady. On the other hand, Denver is only committed to the run as long as you stay in a loose shell defense that begs the Broncos to use it.

NFL Super Bowl xlviii - Super Bowl 48 - Super Bowl 2013 - Super Bowl 2014

In each game, though, both teams will look to assert their will by establishing a ground attack. And the ones that do so best will likely meet in New Jersey in February.

NFL COACHES CAROUSEL: Dallas Cowboys ST coach Rich Bisaccia interviewing for NFL’s final head coaching vacancy

NFL COACHES CAROUSEL - Dallas Cowboys ST coach Rich Bisaccia interviewing for NFL’s final head coaching vacancy - The Boys Are Back 2014

IRVING, Texas – For the third time already this offseason, special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will interview for a head coaching job.

This time, it’s for the Cleveland Browns job, the only remaining head coaching vacancy at this time.

Bisaccia also interviewed for the Redskins and Titans positions last week. Washington has since hired Jay Gruden and Tennessee gave the job to Ken Whisenhunt.

WORK IN PROGRESS - Rich Bisaccia’s Special Teams squad not ready for primetime - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Bisaccia has been with the Dallas Cowboys just one season overseeing the special teams – a unit that had its share of good moments. Dwayne Harris finished third in the NFL with a 12.8 punt return average and second in the league with a 30.6 kickoff return average.

Dan Bailey finished the year with 21 straight field goals and ranked fourth in the NFL with 52 touchbacks.

Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia - 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaches

The coverage teams also fared well, despite a new cast of characters. Three of the four top tacklers on special teams – Jeff Heath (13), Cam Lawrence (12) and Kyle Bosworth (12) were not on the roster last year. Even Bosworth wasn’t on the team at the end of the season, getting cut late in the season. Harris also improved his coverage game with 12 special teams tackles.

The Browns fired Rob Chudzinski after just one season, including a 4-12 record.

While Cleveland’s president is Alec Scheiner, who spent eight years in Dallas, including the five as the Dallas Cowboys Senior VP and General Counsel. He left the Cowboys before Bisaccia joined the team in January.

NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Road to the Super Bowl | 2013-2014 NFL Divisional Round Playoffs

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Road to the Super Bowl - Superbowl XLVIII - Super Bowl 48 - Super Bowl 2013 2014 - 8 teams NFL Playoffs

The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop watching NFL games.

There are four games on tap this weekend:

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots on Saturday and San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos on Sunday.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - 2013-2014 NFL Divisional Round - NFL Playoffs Schedule 2013 2014 - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs schedule

Will home-field advantage be established this weekend?

A thrilling Wild Card Weekend saw three road teams prevail in hostile environments — setting up another enticing batch of games. Noting the surprising success enjoyed by visitors this past weekend, which road team is most likely to prevail in the divisional round?

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - New Orleans Saints - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Divisional Round GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Seattle Seahawks - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Divisional Round
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Indianapolis Colts - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend GAMEDAY RESOURCES - New England Patriots - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Divisional Round
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - San Francisco 49ers - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Carolina Panthers - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Divisional Round
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - San Diego Chargers - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Denver Broncos - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Divisional Round

The divisional round pits eight of the best quarterbacks in the NFL against one another.

Drew Brees versus Russell Wilson. Andrew Luck against Tom Brady. Colin Kaepernick battles Cam Newton. To top it all off, Philip Rivers will once again take on Peyton Manning in the final game of the weekend.

Whether it’s two young quarterbacks battling to prove who is the better dual-threat signal-caller, a showdown of sophomores versus veterans or two of the most experienced minds in the game facing off, this weekend packs a lot of offensive punch.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - 2013-2014 NFL Divisional Round - NFL Playoffs Schedule 2013 2014 - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs schedule - 8 teams

Which teams will survive this hurdle in the race toward Super Bowl XLVIII 48?

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Superbowl XLVIII - Super Bowl 48 - Super Bowl 2013 2014 - 8 teams

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Road to the Super Bowl | 2013-2014 Wildcard Weekend

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Road to the Super Bowl - Superbowl XLVIII - Super Bowl 48 - Super Bowl 2013 2014 - 12 teams NFL Playoffs

The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop watching NFL games.

There are four games on tap this weekend: Kansas City at Indianapolis and New Orleans at Philadelphia on Saturday and San Diego at Cincinnati and San Francisco at Green Bay on Sunday.

GAMDEDAY RESOURCES - 2013-2014 Wildcard Weekend - NFL Playoffs Schedule 2013 2014

Can home-field advantage can be established this year?

In the NFC, the 49ers and Saints are considered better teams than their home opponents, but both teams travel into tough weather conditions. In the AFC, the Colts were 6-2 at home in the regular season, but they’ve shown signs of being vulnerable.

And then there’s Green Bay. Since 2002, the Packers are 3-4 at Lambeau Field in the playoffs. That mark was 13-0 before ’02.


GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Kansas City Chiefs - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Indianapolis Colts - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - New Orleans Saints - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Philadephia Eagles - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - San Diego Chargers - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Cincinnati Bengals - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS CINCINNATI BENGALS
GAMEDAY RESOURCES - San Francisco 49ers - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Green Bay Packers - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs 2013 2014 Wildcard Weekend
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS GREEN BAY PACKERS

So how wild will this weekend’s wild-card playoff games be?

 

A high-scoring game is expected Saturday night when the New Orleans Saints visit the Philadelphia Eagles. An Ice Bowl-like game is expected when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Can the Indianapolis Colts repeat their 16-point win from Week 16 over Kansas City on Saturday in Lucas Oil Stadium? Anything can happen in the San Diego-Cincinnati game Sunday.

GAMDEDAY RESOURCES - 2013-2014 NFL Wildcard Weekend - NFL Playoffs Schedule 2013 2014 - 2013 2014 NFL Playoffs schedule

Which teams will survive the first hurdle in the race toward Super Bowl XLVIII?

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Superbowl XLVIII - Super Bowl 48 - Super Bowl 2013 2014 - 12 teams

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

SNIDER’S SNIFFING AROUND: Dallas Cowboys ST coach Rich Bisaccia interviewing for Washington Redskins head coaching position

Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia - 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaches

IRVING, Texas – The Washington Redskins search for a new head coach will go through the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff.

Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is interviewing for the vacancy in Washington, where he’s got history with Redskins general manager Bruce Allen dating back to their time together in Tampa Bay.

Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia - 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

The Washington Redskins asked for permission to speak with Bisaccia and were granted by the Cowboys. NFL rules state that teams must allow all assistant coaches to interview for a vacant head coaching position. Teams can block assistants under contract to meet with other teams for any other coaching position.

Bisaccia coached primarily special teams while working with the Buccaneers from 2002-10. After working with special teams from 2002-07, he then added the responsibilities of associate head coach and running backs in 2008 before spending his last two seasons as the associate head coach and special teams coach.

He then coached the San Diego Chargers special teams units for two seasons, adding assistant head coaching duties in 2012, prior to a brief stint in January 2013 at Auburn. The Tigers allowed Bisaccia to return to the professional ranks and go to the Dallas Cowboys, where he replaced former special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who’s now in Chicago.

Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia - 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff - Instrumental in development of Dwayne Harris and Dan Bailey

Head coach Jason Garrett always preaches the necessity to be good in all three phases of the game, and one could easily make the argument special teams was the team’s best phase this season. Dwayne Harris ranked in the top three in the league in both kick return and punt return average, and Dan Bailey’s leg strength increased while his pinpoint accuracy stayed consistent.

Bisaccia had a lot of familiarity with the coaching staff in Dallas, particularly with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. They all coached together previously in Tampa Bay, and Bisaccia stayed in touch with Marinelli even after the trio left.

In the offseason, Bisaccia recalled a story about going to grab a casual cup of coffee with Marinelli after their time together in Tampa Bay before leaving with two notebooks full of notes after a three-hour visit.

“I’m fortunate to be back with Rod, and certainly be with Monte, but my respect for Rod and the way he coaches on the field and his demeanor and the way he handles his meetings, I’ve learned so much from him,” Bisaccia said in the offseason. “Whatever he said about me, I’m going to try to live up to it. If that’s what I am, then that’s great. I’m going to do that the best I can.”

It’s always been important to Bisaccia to be around coaches and staff members that he knows. Bisaccia spent four years with Marinelli and seven years with Kiffin in Tampa Bay.

“The three of us love football,” he said.” I’ve been married to the same gal for 29 years. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I have ball and I go home. This is my hobby, it’s my passion, it’s a calling to some degree, and really those two guys are the same way.”

Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia - 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff - Interviewing for Washington Redskins head coaching position

Editors note: True Blue’s already know, Daniel Snyder is the owner of the Washington Redskins.

2014 NFL DRAFT ORDER: Houston Texans hold first pick, Dallas Cowboys in a coin flip for Sweet #16

2014 NFL DRAFT ORDER - Houston Texans hold first pick, Dallas Cowboys in a coin flip for Sweet 16 - Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft 2014

The top-20 order for the 2014 NFL Draft is now set with the regular season complete. The Houston Texans will pick No. 1 overall for the third time in franchise history.

The order of picks 21-32 will be based on the outcome of the NFL playoffs. Updated first-round mock drafts can be found here.

NFL DRAFT ORDER 2014 – Top 20 picks
2014 NFL DRAFT ORDER - NFL DRAFT ORDER 2014 - Houston Texans hold first pick, Dallas Cowboys in a coin flip for Sweet 16 - 2014 Dallas Cowboys Draft order 2014
NFL DRAFT ORDER 2014 – Playoff Teams
2014 NFL DRAFT ORDER - NFL DRAFT ORDER 2014 - Houston Texans hold first pick, Dallas Cowboys in a coin flip for Sweet 16 - 2014 Dallas Cowboys Draft order 2014 - NFL Playoff Teams

Above is the order with the strength of schedule (SOS) numbers to indicate the tiebreaker. For the NFL Draft, the first tiebreaker rule is SOS, the easier SOS earning the earlier selection. Division and Conference tiebreakers are next and if teams are still tied, a coin flip will determine the team that picks first (** Indicates a coin flip to break ties).


2014 Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft picks 2014

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Round 1 16 or 17 Coin flip will determine
Round 2 15 (47 overall)  
Round 3 14 (78 overall)  
Round 4 19 (115 overall)  
Round 5 18 (146 overall)  
Round 6 17 (177 overall)  
Round 7 14 (206 overall) From Chicago (Rosario)
Round 7 16 (208 overall)  

These picks are subject to trade and do not include any compensatory picks awarded by the NFL in the later rounds. Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.


For constantly updated NFL Dallas Cowboys Draft coverage, click on the buttons below:

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NFL PLAYOFFS: National Football League announces 2013 2014 playoff schedule

AFC WILD-CARD ROUND

NFC WILD-CARD ROUND

SATURDAY, JAN. 4, AND SUNDAY, JAN. 5, times TBA

SATURDAY, JAN. 4, AND SUNDAY, JAN. 5, times TBA

No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs at

No. 4 Indianapolis Colts

No. 5 San Francisco 49ers at

No. 4 Green Bay Packers

No. 6 San Diego Chargers at

No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals

No. 6 New Orleans Saints at

No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

SATURDAY, JAN. 11, AND SUNDAY, JAN. 12, times TBA

SATURDAY, JAN. 11, AND SUNDAY, JAN. 12, times TBA

TBA at

No. 1 Denver Broncos

TBA at

No. 1 Seattle Seahawks

TBA at

No. 2 New England Patriots

TBD at

No. 2 Carolina Panthers

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

SUNDAY, JAN. 19, time TBA

SUNDAY, JAN. 19, time TBA

TBA at TBA

TBA at TBA

SUPER BOWL XLVIII

SUNDAY, FEB. 2, 6:30 p.m. ET

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

COWBOYS HEADED TO HAWAII: Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith both named to NFL Pro Bowl for first time

HEADED TO HAWAII - Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith both named to NFL Pro Bowl for first time - Dallas Cowboys roster 2013 2014

IRVING, Texas – Two Dallas Cowboys players will be heading to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith have both been named to the 2014 Pro Bowl for the first time in their respective careers.

Bryant recorded his second straight 1,000-yard receiving year this season, and it’s also his second straight season with 12 receiving touchdowns.

He’s hauled in 85 catches for 1,134 yards through 15 games and would need seven catches and 248 yards in the finale to tie his numbers from last season. But Bryant’s been more efficient and rarely seemed out of sync or out place with Tony Romo’s passes. 

His 12 receiving touchdowns this season tie him with Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas for most in the NFL among wide receivers. Tight end Jimmy Graham leads all players with 15 receiving touchdowns.

Bryant’s recorded three games this season with at least 140 receiving yards and four games with at least 100 receiving yards. He’s also got a touchdown in each of his last four games.

Smith began as a right tackle before switching over to the left side last season, and his play dramatically increased toward the middle portion of the 2013 season, turning quickly into the elite player the Dallas Cowboys envisioned when they used their first-round pick on him in 2011.

Smith’s rise and the addition of Travis Frederick and Ronald Leary  in the middle helped bolster the Cowboys’ line and turn it from the weak link in 2012 to one of the team’s strong suits this year.

This is the first time since DeMarcus Ware’s rookie season he hasn’t been named to the Pro Bowl. Jason Witten, who’s made eight Pro Bowls, including every year from 2004-2010 and another last season, also didn’t make it this year.

This marks the first time since 2010 the Dallas Cowboys have sent a receiver to the Pro Bowl, when Miles Austin went. It also marks the first time since 2010 the Cowboys took an offensive lineman to the Pro Bowl, when they sent Andre Gurode. It’s the first time since 2008, when Flozell Adams made the Pro Bowl, that a Cowboys offensive tackle was selected.

Unlike previous years, this year’s Pro Bowl offers something much different. There’s no more AFC lined up against the NFC. The all-stars will be drafted without conferences, but it will be back in Hawaii on Jan. 26, 2014, at Aloha Stadium.

The Pro Bowl players were determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counted a third toward determining the Pro Bowl selections announced today. Two additional “need” players will be chosen by each head coach and must be long snappers.

The “unconferenced” Pro Bowl player draft will be held Jan. 22 in Hawaii. Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will be team captains. Once again, players competing in the Super Bowl won’t be involved and more Cowboys could be asked to join the event as alternates in the future. 

The Chiefs and 49ers sent a league-best eight players each to the Pro Bowl. Dallas and Philadelphia, which sent LeSean McCoy and Jason Peters, were the only two NFC East teams to send two players to the Pro Bowl. In all, 27 teams had at least one player selected and 22 had multiple players selected.

LOCAL VOICE MAKING NATIONAL DEBUT: Fox’s rookie play-by-play voice, Kevin Burkhardt to call the Cowboys-Redskins game tomorrow

LOCAL VOICE MAKING NATIONAL DEBUT - Fox's rookie play-by-play voice, Kevin Burkhardt to call the Cowboys-Redskins game tomorrow - Dallas Cowboys Radio Network Compass

PHOTO: Ex-Cowboys quarterback Danny White (right) working with play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt (left) on the national broadcast of Dallas Cowboys games for Compass Media Networks.

Six straight games the TV play-by-play voice working the Dallas Cowboys game has been a network first-teamer.

Beginning Nov. 3 against the Vikings, the voices have belonged to Fox’s Joe Buck, NBC’s Al Michaels, Buck again, CBS’ Jim Nantz, ESPN’s Mike Tirico and Buck once more.

Should the Cowboys manage to beat the Washington Redskins in Sunday’s noon game, it likely will be Al Michaels for Week 17’s NFC East showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.

LOCAL VOICE MAKING NATIONAL DEBUT - Fox's rookie play-by-play voice, Kevin Burkhardt to call the Cowboys-Redskins game - Dallas Cowboys Radio Network Compass - KB and Danny White

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Bucking the trend this week, Fox has assigned rookie Kevin Burkhardt (far right, photo) to call the Cowboys-Redskins on Sunday.

Who? That’s right, Kevin Burkhardt, a former radio voice of your Dallas Cowboys.

What? Yep, Burkhardt worked the last two seasons calling Cowboys games alongside analyst Danny White for Compass Media. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Compass is a company that put together a network to relay games to markets beyond the more familiar Dallas Cowboys Radio Network.

While the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network includes flagship “The Fan” KRLD-FM (105.3) and outlets around Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma, Burkhardt broadcast the brand to stations in Alaska, Hawaii, New York and 31 other states.

When Burkhardt heard Fox was creating a national cable network to be known as Fox Sports 1, he figured he’d apply for work as a college football announcer. After all, he had plenty of high school radio play-by-play experience and had been a last-minute fill-in for the radio call of the 2009 Texas Bowl between Navy and Missouri.

Kevin Burkhardt serves as the play-by-play announcer for Dallas Cowboys broadcasts on Compass Media Networks - Westwood One - Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

When the Fox folks studied Burkhardt’s work, they called his agent to say that he wouldn’t be working college football. But how would he like calling NFL play-by-play?

It was an incredible offer. Network NFL play-by-play gigs come along maybe once a decade. Look up “ensconced” in the dictionary. There’s a picture of Dick Stockton alongside.

And so Fox paired Burkhardt, 39, with up-and-coming analyst John Lynch, 42, who played 15 Hall of Fame-worthy seasons of safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.

“They put me in a position to succeed,” Burkhardt said in a telephone interview this week. “My partner is the easiest person to work with.”

Working with Burkhardt and Lynch is ubiquitous sideline reporter Erin Andrews, whom Fox lured from ESPN with much accompanying fanfare.

The crew has morphed into a Fox favorite. It will work a playoff game, a plum assignment the weekend of Jan. 11-12. Buck and Troy Aikman, the network lead team, will work the other game before advancing to the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.

Last year, Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick worked Fox’s “other” playoff game. Previously, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa called a playoff game for the network dating to 2008.

Calling the second playoff game at Fox is a big deal.

A good effort in their playoff game and Burkhardt, Lynch and Andrews establish themselves as Fox’s No. 2 crew.

“I’m thrilled by all of this,” Burkhardt said. “I’m flattered by the playoff game. This whole thing has been nuts.”

AROUND THE NFL–HISTORY: Many kickers have tried to break Dempsey’s 63-yard field-goal record

AROUND THE NFL–HISTORY - Many kickers have tried to break Dempsey’s 63-yard field-goal record - NFL Record - NFL History

NFLN: Prater’s NFL-Record 64-Yard FG | Watch Video

Kicker Matt Prater set a new NFL record when he kicked a 64-yard field goal through the uprights at the end of the first half against the Tennessee Titans in Week 14.

Last Sunday, kicker Matt Prater took down Tom Dempsey and the legendary 63-yard field-goal record when he banged a 64-yard attempt through the uprights in Denver.

Dempsey’s regular-season mark stood for exactly 43 years and one month. Three men in history tied the 1970 record: Jason Elam (1998), Sebastian Janikowski (2011) and David Akers (2012).

None until Prater could surpass the legend.

No kicker in four decades of football could muster that extra yard to outdo Dempsey. In honor of Matt Prater and all the men who went before him in the valiant effort to kick balls from deep, we give you a look at the failed attempts to break the record.

FG attempts of 64-plus yards
Player Team Date Quarter Length of miss
Sebastian Janikowski Oakland Raiders 9/28/2008 2 76
Joe Danelo New York Giants 10/28/1979 2 74
Mark Moseley Washington Redskins 11/25/1979 4 74
Fred Steinfort New England Patriots 9/29/1980 2 73
Phil Dawson San Francisco 49ers 9/26/2013 2 71
Mark Moseley Washington Redskins 9/2/1979 4 70
Mason Crosby Green Bay Packers 12/28/2008 2 69
John Hall New York Jets 10/19/1997 2 68
Neil Rackers Arizona Cardinals 11/23/2008 2 68
Jan Stenerud Kansas City Chiefs 9/21/1975 2 67
Steve Cox Washington Redskins 12/20/1987 4 67
Ali Haji-Sheikh New York Giants 10/24/1983 4 66
Jason Elam Denver Broncos 12/10/1995 2 66
Sebastian Janikowski Oakland Raiders 12/13/2009 2 66
Robbie Gould Chicago Bears 12/1/2013 4 66
Greg Zuerlein St. Louis Rams 10/14/2012 4 66
Steve Christie Buffalo Bills 11/2/1992 2 65
Jason Elam Denver Broncos 9/10/2001 2 65
Jason Hanson Detroit Lions 10/14/2001 2 65
John Kasay Carolina Panthers 10/29/2006 2 65
Jeff Reed Pittsburgh Steelers 10/21/2007 2 65
Raul Allegre Baltimore Colts 12/11/1983 4 64
Steve Cox Cleveland Browns 12/2/1984 4 64
Jason Elam Denver Broncos 12/19/1997 2 64
Neil Rackers Arizona Cardinals 10/31/2004 2 64
Sebastian Janikowski Oakland Raiders 11/4/2007 2 64
Sebastian Janikowski Oakland Raiders 10/21/2012 4 64

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Aaron Rodgers listed as out for Sunday’s game vs. Dallas Cowboys | Green Bay Journal Sentinel

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - Aaron Rodgers listed as out for Sunday's game vs. Dallas Cowboys - Green Bay Journal Sentinel

Green Bay – Highlights from Mike McCarthy‘s Friday news conference …

  • (On Rodgers) Frankly it’s been a difficult morning going through conversation with Dr. McKenzie and Aaron. He feels ready to play. …He’s very disappointed. He’s frustrated. Speaking with Dr. McKenzie, this is the right decision. He was not scanned this morning — whens, ifs, buts will continue to go on . The hurdle Aaron wanted to get over, he felt he achieved it. Listening to all the facts, it’s in our best interest as a team for him not to play.
  • (On Flynn’s week) Thought Matt had his best practice today. Matt Flynn was very sharp today and he obviously took the reps.
  • (On Lacy) Ready. Looks good. All of those guys look good.
  • (On maybe letting this play out for strategy) I’m not very good at that. …Minnesota last year with Christian Ponder not playing was about as well-kept as I’ve ever seen. Had researched Joe Webb earlier.
  • (On if he was OK with decision) I’m definitely OK with it. …Aaron feels he’s ready to play. With what he did Wednesday and Thursday, he feels ready to go. It’s not easy to tell your franchise quarterback he can’t play. But this is in the best interest of Aaron Rodgers.
  • (On Starks maybe seeing reps) I have no problem giving the ball to James 20 times if that’s the way it worked out. Like our running back situation.

Courtesy: Tyler Dunne | Journal Sentinel


RELATED: Green Bay Packers official website announcement

GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers will not play in Dallas on Sunday - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY–Aaron Rodgers will not play in Dallas on Sunday.

“Aaron Rodgers is declared out for Sunday’s game. It’s been a difficult morning going through the conversation with Aaron and Dr. McKenzie. He’s very disappointed. He’s frustrated. He was not scanned this morning. He felt like he was ready to play. It’s in our best interests as a football team for Aaron not to play,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday.

“I’m definitely OK with it. (Aaron) feels he’s ready to play,” McCarthy said.

More from McCarthy:

“(Rodgers) feels based on what he’s accomplished physically, what he was able to do at practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he’s ready to go. Hey, it’s not the easiest thing to sit there and tell your franchise quarterback he can’t play in the game when he wants to play in the game. This is clearly a decision that’s made in the best interests of Aaron Rodgers.”

Matt Flynn, obviously, will start his third straight game on Sunday.

“I thought Matt had his best practice today of the two weeks of preparation,” McCarthy said. “I thought Matt was very sharp today, and he obviously took all the reps.”

Other than Rodgers and DE C.J. Wilson (knee), who is also out, everyone else on the Packers’ injury report is probable. That includes RB Eddie Lacy (ankle) and inside LBs Brad Jones (ankle) and Jamari Lattimore (knee), who practiced for the first time this week on Friday.

“I felt like we got healthy as the week went on,” McCarthy said. As for the inside LB situation, which looked tenuous all week, McCarthy said, “We have different packages. We feel we’re prepared to do what we need to do.”

Based on Lacy’s limited practice work, it’s possible RB James Starks will play a larger role in the offense on Sunday, though McCarthy remains confident Lacy will be ready to go.

“I have no problem giving the ball to James 20 times if that’s the way it shakes out. I like our running back situation right now.”

Courtesy: Green Bay Packers website

NFL SCHEDULE CHANGE 2013 2014: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears flexed to NBC’s Sunday Night Football in Week 16

Eagles Football

Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles and Marc Trestman’s Chicago Bears have emerged as two of the more entertaining teams in the league, late this season.

The NFL acknowledged as much today, announcing that the Week 16 Bears at Eagles game on December 22 will be flexed to 7:30 p.m. CT on NBC. That tilt will replace the New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens game, which will move to 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS.

It’s a minor surprise that two traditional AFC powerhouses are being displaced, but this change is a nod to the potential ratings edge of two fresh teams with innovative offenses. There’s also the possibility of the Eagles or Bears clinching the NFC East and NFC North respectively.

Both games are attractive matchups. The big winner might just be CBS, which is granted the premier AFC battle of the afternoon.

If the NFC East isn’t decided until the season finale, the Eagles could find themselves being flexed into the Sunday night game in back-to-back weeks.

Get your popcorn ready.

DALLAS COWBOYS GAME 13 PRIMER: Chicago Bears preparing to face former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli

DALLAS COWBOYS GAME 13 PRIMER - Chicago Bears preparing to face former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli

IRVING, Texas – Bears coach Marc Trestman had a decision to make when he replaced Lovie Smith in Chicago. For his part, he wanted to retain Rod Marinelli as the team’s defensive coordinator.

It was an understandable decision. The Bears led the league in takeaways in 2012 with 44, and they finished fifth in total defense. Chicago maintained a fearsome reputation on defense during Marinelli’s four-year stay – one season as defensive line coach, and three as defensive coordinator.

But after a talk with Trestman, Marinelli opted to leave.

“I have tremendous respect for Rod, and I’m sure he would tell you that we had a great conversation, Trestman said. “I laid it all out for him and certainly wanted him to stay. We certainly respected his decision to move on.”

That decision may have had more to do with loyalty than any other issue. Marinelli and Smith both got their NFL starts in 1996 for Tampa Bay, under Tony Dungy and current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. During the Cowboys’ bye week, Marinelli told reporters he had only gone to Chicago to reunite with his close friend.

“I’ll say this – he is one of my very best friends,” Marinelli said of Smith. “I went there because of him, not for any other reason. We had a long tenure together in Tampa, and I just – I believe in him.”

Marinelli added that he feels similarly about Kiffin, which helps explain why he chose to make his way to Dallas after leaving the Bears in January.

“I just think, for me, that was Lovie’s defense,” he said.

In Dallas, Marinelli’s influence as defensive line coach has been hard to miss. With a constantly rotating cast of characters, he has coaxed the Dallas Cowboys to 28 team sacks, including a career-high nine from Jason Hatcher.

“I have so much respect for him. I’ve said that so many times, but I’ll say it again – he’s a special guy. He’s an icon at what he does” Kiffin said. “He isn’t just a defensive line coach — he was a head coach, he was a coordinator. He can be whatever he wants to be.”

That also includes intangibles, in addition to mechanics. Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett praised Marinelli’s ability to teach fundamentals, but he said there’s an extra quality to his expertise.

“He also does a good job of coaching the guys emotionally — where your emotions need to be to play this game at a high level,” Garrett said. “I think he does that in practice, he does that in the game. He’s just an awfully good coach. I’ve learned a lot from him.

None of that is to say the Cowboys are dominating statistically. But it wasn’t lost on Trestman that Dallas is one of the best in the league at creating takeaways – which was Chicago’s specialty under Marinelli.

“Their ability to create turnovers has been their number one asset. They’ve got approximately, what, 25 turnovers right now,” Trestman said. “It’s enabled their offense to play on a short field and help them out at times.”

Marinelli’s role isn’t limited to just defensive line, as Kiffin said. It also isn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball. Marinelli’s three-year stint as a head coach in Detroit, which saw the Lions post the NFL’s only winless campaign, gave the veteran some valuable experience to bring to future staffs. 

“He had a tough go in Detroit with the players, and no disrespect to Detroit, but just the whole situation,” Kiffin said. “But this guy – and not just myself — I know the head coach leans on him a lot, too. We all do.”

From one stop to another and on to the Cowboys, that seems fine with Marinelli, who said confidence is key during the highs and lows of a coaching career.

“When I was in Detroit that was a great experience for me, because it’s what I believed in. It didn’t work, but I never lost confidence, I never lost faith – I went to Chicago and kept working,” he said. “If you have a belief and it’s tested, and you crack with that, then it’s not a belief. So you better get a big semi to run over me, and you’d better do it three times.”


Related articles from The Boys Are Back archives:

NO LOVIE IN CHICAGO: Rod Marinelli gave up a chance to be Bears defensive coordinator to reunite with Monte Kiffin

MASTERMINDS REUNITED: Monte Kiffin thrilled to work again with “An Icon” in Rod Marinelli

COACHING ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys sign Rod Marinelli to help teach new defense

AGING KIFFIN ON CAGING GRIFFIN: At 72, this ‘new’ defensive coordinator could bring the ‘Grampa 2 Defense’ to the Dallas Cowboys

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY: The Great Wall of Dallas | Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run | Special Feature

A Football Life series - NFL - The Great Wall of Dallas - Couresy NFL Films - Dallas Cowboys - America's Team

As we sit four weeks from what might be the first Dallas Cowboys playoff run in a few years, it’s time to take a look back at a little Dallas Cowboys history. If you’re a regular reader on this website you may remember that “trenches” is a common theme. We all know that winning teams (and subsequently NFL clubs with postseason) success usually comes down to the walls (trenches) they’ve built. Obviously it takes time for these men to coalesce and become cohesive as a single unit. I’m not suggesting that the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys offensive line compares to the 1990’s line that helped win three titles in four years. However, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys organization has added key components in recent years. This five part video series from NFL Films reminds us all of what can happen with the right mix of trench men. Enjoy!

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen huddle

The Great Wall of Dallas- The Perfect Unit | (4:20) | (Watch this Video)

See which players comprised “The Great Wall of Dallas”.  Check out the guys who came out of nowhere to form one of the best offensive lines in NFL history. They helped pave the way for three NFL Hall of Famers.

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - The Triplets


DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - Super Bowl Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Great Wall of Dallas- Their First Super Bowl | 5:54 | (Watch this Video)

Actor Gary Busey used to hang around the Dallas Cowboys. Learn about Busey’s fandom and check out how the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl with “The Great Wall of Dallas.”. Buffalo Bills fans may want to skip to the next video.


DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton

The Great Wall of Dallas- Nate the Kitchen | 7:00 | (Watch this Video)

Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton was known for being extremely overweight, but that does not mean he did not make light of the situation. See how he compared to former Chicago Bear William ‘the refrigerator” Perry and gained stardom thanks to John Madden.


DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - Mark Tuinei

The Great Wall of Dallas- The End of the Line | 5:36 | (Watch this Video)

Mark Tuinei and Erik Williams had very interesting roads to success. See how the two became a big part of the Dallas Cowboys and also how Nate Newton overcame drug issues to help give back to the community.


DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - 1990's Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman huddle

The Great Wall of Dallas- Where Are They Now? | 10: 52 | (Watch this Video)

Find out what Nate Newton, Mark Stepnoski, John Gesek and Kevin Gogan are doing now. Also, see which former member of the great offensive line passed away, but left lasting memories for all of his teammates.

Courtesy: NFL | NFL Films | NFL: A Football Life series | Dallas Cowboys


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REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S: Aaron Rodgers might not face the Dallas Cowboys

REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S - Aaron Rodgers might not face the Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

When Green Bay visits Dallas on Dec. 15, it could be a crucial game for the Cowboys’ playoff hopes.

And the Packers might come to Texas without their star quarterback.

REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S - Aaron Rodgers might not face the Dallas Cowboys - Rodgers in love with Vick - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers

There’s speculation (from the drama queens at NFL.com) that if Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) can’t play next week against Atlanta, Green Bay might shut the quarterback down for the season, if the Packers are out of the playoff race.

Rodgers, who did not play in Thursday’s loss to Detroit, was cleared to practice on a limited basis earlier this week and did some throwing on the field Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Packers are 5-6-1 and in third place in the NFC North.

When asked Friday whether Rodgers has a chance to play against Atlanta, coach Mike McCarthy replied, “I don’t know that.”

“I just know when we came off the field Wednesday that he wasn’t ready to play yet,” McCarthy added. “So, we’ll see how the testing goes. But it needs to be the right thing. I know he wants to play, I know he’s trying to gear up each and every week to play, but we’ll see what happens next week.”

Feeling the sting of the Packers’ most lopsided loss since they fell 35-0 at home against New England in McCarthy’s first season as coach in 2006, at least one frustrated player commented on how much Rodgers has been missed.

REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S - Aaron Rodgers might not face the 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

Green Bay didn’t have a victory in its five November games after Rodgers went out after the first series of the loss to Chicago on Nov. 4. The last time the Packers were winless in a full month of games was December 1990, when they went 0-5.

“It definitely made things a lot more difficult without Aaron,” left guard Josh Sitton said Thursday. “I think we all know that. There’s no denying that. You can’t say, ‘Hey, we can go and play just as good without Aaron.’ We haven’t won a game without him in five weeks. He’s the best player on this team. Yeah, we need him, but there’s a lot more going on than just that.”

AROUND THE NFL: Leader of the Navajo Code Talkers defends Redskins name

AROUND THE NFL - Leader of the Navajo Code Talkers defends Redskins name

Navajo Code Talkers Attend Game

The Legendary Navajo Code Talkers attended the Monday night game at FedExField, here is a tribute. (Watch Video | Play Audio)

A leader of the Navajo Code Talkers who appeared at a Washington Redskins home football game said Wednesday the team name is a symbol of loyalty and courage — not a slur as asserted by critics who want it changed.

Roy Hawthorne, 87, of Lupton, Ariz., was one of four Code Talkers honored for their service in World War II during the Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Hawthorne, vice president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association, said the group’s trip was paid for by the Redskins. The four men met briefly with team owner Dan Snyder but did not discuss the name, Hawthorne said. Still, he said he would endorse the name if asked, and the televised appearance in which three of the Indians wore Redskins jackets spoke for itself.

“We didn’t have that in mind but that is undoubtedly what we did do,” Hawthorne said when asked if he was intending to send a statement with the appearance. “My opinion is that’s a name that not only the team should keep, but that’s a name that’s American.”

Monday night’s brief, on-field ceremony came as some Indians and civil rights leaders wage a “Change the Mascot” campaign that targets the term redskins as a racial epithet.

Jacqueline Pata, head of the National Congress of American Indians, called the appearance “a political play rather than a heartfelt recognition of the Code Talkers.”

Pata, a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Alaska, said she reveres the Code Talkers for the work they have done but added that people often fail to recognize that the origins of the term “redskin” date to a period when Indians faced efforts to annihilate their culture.

“We were outlawed during that same period the mascot was created from practicing our own religion and our own cultures,” she said. “That term is associated with getting rid of the Indians.”

Snyder has called the team name and mascot a “badge of honor.” The name dates to the team’s first years in Boston in the 1930s and has survived numerous outside efforts to change it. The team has been in the Washington, D.C., area since 1937.

Redskins senior vice president Tony Wyllie said there was no truth to suggestions that the Code Talkers were used to bolster the team’s resistance to a new name.

“They’re American heroes, and they deserved recognition,” he said.

Also attending Monday’s game were Code Talkers president Peter MacDonald Sr., George Willie Sr. and George James Sr.

The Navajo Code Talkers used codes derived from their native language to shield military communications from interception by Japanese troops. Hawthorne said there are now about 30 surviving Code Talkers.

The trip to Washington was the second this month for Hawthorne, who last week joined Code Talkers from other tribes who received Congressional Gold Medals for the role they played in World War I and World War II. Members of the Navajo were recognized in 2000.

AROUND THE NFL - Leader of the Navajo Code Talkers defends Redskins name. - Redskins Nation Report - Native Americans

Redskins Nation Report

Native American Heritage Month (Watch Video | Play Audio)

2014-2015 DALLAS COWBOYS SCHEDULE: NFL announces three London dates for 2014 season

NFL INTERNATIONAL SERIES - League doesn't anticipate London Super Bowl despite U.K. success - 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys to play in London

LONDON — The NFL has announced the dates of its three regular-season games in London next year, with the Dallas Cowboys playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10 on Nov. 9.

The first game will be played in Week 4 on Sept. 28, with the Oakland Raiders facing the Miami Dolphins.

A month later, in Week 8, the Atlanta Falcons will play the Detroit Lions on Oct. 26.

All the games will be played at Wembley Stadium.

The teams and matchups had been previously announced. The Raiders, Falcons and Jaguars are the designated home teams.

The NFL has been playing regular-season games at Wembley since 2007.

There were two games in London this year, with Minnesota beating Pittsburgh 34-27 on Sept. 29 and San Francisco defeating Jacksonville 42-10 on Oct. 27.

UPDATE APRIL 9, 2014: The NFL released this year’s preseason schedule, with many specific dates still to be determined. None of the Cowboys’ preseason games this year are scheduled to be nationally televised.

Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule

Week 1: @ San Diego Chargers

Week 2: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 3: @ Miami Dolphins

Aug. 28: vs. Denver Broncos

Stay up-to-date with the latest Dallas Cowboys schedules and calendars on the page below … 

NFL Dallas Cowboys 2014 2015 schedules - 2014 2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015

NFL Dallas Cowboys 2014 2015 schedules – 2014 2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015

REFLECTIONS – A CITY/NATION IN MOURNING: Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys (Special Feature–Revised)

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - President John F. Kennedy

To understand how difficult it was to make the decision about whether or not to play NFL games on Nov. 24, 1963, you must understand how different news and television were 50 years ago.

I had just started working as a radio newswriter in Minneapolis. Radio was the primary source for breaking news for most people, and newspapers still had huge circulations. Television news primarily consisted of two programs — the Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC and the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. ABC was not a serious competitor. Everything was in black and white, and if you wanted to change the channel, you had to get out of your chair and turn a knob on the set.

News was shot on film, meaning it had to be physically transported to the television station, developed and edited before it could air — a process that took a minimum of one hour and could take several. Sound film cameras were big — think about carrying around a couple of cement blocks — and could record a maximum of 12 minutes before changing the film was required. The only videotape machines were massive items, and tape had to be physically edited, a cumbersome process. To transmit news from anywhere, you had to order — well in advance — physical lines from AT&T. Most news was distributed by two wire services — AP and UPI — on machines that printed 60 words per minute. The news sat on the machine until someone went to read it. If you were in the field and wanted to make a call, you had to find a pay phone or talk someone into letting you use a private phone. And if you called someone and they were not there, there were no answering machines — you had to keep calling until someone answered.

JFK Assassination

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - President John F. Kennedy 1963 in Dallas

Why is all this important? The coverage and dissemination of news was slow (although the facts probably were more accurate) and this made the decision-making process slow as well. Parts of JFK’s visit to Dallas were being covered locally only because the local stations decided to pool their resources. But NBC and CBS were not carrying the coverage. In fact, the networks were not even on the air — stations were carrying their own local programming. It took some time for the national coverage to begin, but when it did begin, it went commercial-free for four days, the first time that had happened.

JFK was, for my generation, the first president who didn’t look like he could be my father. He was young, he was funny and he had a beautiful wife. JFK also was the first “sports” president anyone of my generation knew. Eisenhower played golf, Truman walked and Roosevelt was limited by his paralysis due to polio. The Kennedy family played touch football on the lawn, sailed on Nantucket Sound and went on lengthy hikes. Kennedy actually played golf but refused to let that be filmed to draw a contrast with the Republicans.

Kennedy had intervened with the National Guard in 1961 to allow Paul Hornung to play for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL title game. He was conscious of his image as a young, sports-minded male, and people bought it.

Kennedy was assassinated around noon on a Friday. Nothing like this had ever happened in my lifetime. No one knew if this was an isolated incident or if there was a plot to assassinate other government officials (both the president and vice president were in Dallas); rumors were flying. In fact, the announcement of JFK’s death was delayed to let Johnson get on his way to the airport and Air Force One. Even after Johnson was sworn in and back in D.C., no one was sure what was happening.

So, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle had to weigh all this and make a decision in a short amount of time, consulting with a number of people who gave him differing opinions. In the end, NFL games were played, although there was no television coverage of them. And Rozelle later said he had made the wrong decision.

RELATED VIDEOS: A look back, fifty years after the JFK Assassination

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07:12 – When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, it impacted the entire world. See how the Dallas Cowboys were affected by the death as Gil Brandt looks back into history and recounts the JFK experience. (Watch Video)

A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys history - NFL decides to play games Sunday following JFK assassination

A NATION IN MOURNING: Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s NFL

04:12 – When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, it impacted the entire world. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle later regrets deciding the league will play games the following Sunday. (Watch Video)

The NFL has been part of America’s recovery, more than once - Dallas Cowboys history

A NATION IN MOURNING: The NFL has been part of America’s recovery, more than once.

04:12 – When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, it impacted the entire world. The NFL has faced a nation in crisis several times throughout it’s history, including the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, and 911 attacks. This video takes a look at how the NFL, and Americans, moved forward during these difficult times. (Watch Video)

Special thanks: Bob Eaton; Gil Brandt;


November 22, 1963 – Looking back at that moment in American history

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - JFK in Ft Worth Texas 1963

Though he was nearly a year away from the 1964 election, President John F. Kennedy knew it was campaign season even in November of 1963. And one of the most important states he needed to win was Texas. Kennedy along with his wife, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, boarded Air Force One on Nov. 21 for a two-day, five-city trip through the state. Starting with San Antonio, then Houston, they eventually visited Fort Worth. With Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy exits the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. On Friday, Nov. 22, he will greet crowds and make a speech. It’s 8:45 am.

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PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: NFL fans can select their top 15 candidates to make it as 2014 HOF finalists

NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame - Fan Vote - NFL HOF - Charles Haley Jimmy Johnson

The list of 126 nominees has been trimmed to 25 modern-era semifinalists and it includes a former Dallas Cowboys head coach that won two Super Bowls and the key defensive player who helped him get there.

cowboys' owner jerry jones and former dallas coach jimmy johnson visit in a suite during the concert at the new cowboys stadium saturday afternoon - the boys are back blog

Jimmy Johnson is one of the first-year eligible nominees to make the list of 25 semifinalists. The only other with Cowboys ties is Charles Haley, who has been a finalist each of the last four years.

Johnson, who replaced Tom Landry as Dallas Cowboys head coach in 1989, spent five years in Dallas and guided the team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993.

Johnson left coaching after that season, only to return in 1996 for a four-year run in Miami.

Charles Haley is the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning two with the 49ers, where he played from 1986-91 and three in Dallas.

Haley joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and is often considered the last key ingredient to those Super Bowl winning teams that included the “Triplets” on offense with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

Other first-year nominees include Marvin Harrison and Steve Wisniewski, who was actually a Cowboys’ second-round pick in 1989 but was traded to Oakland for more picks, including one used to draft Daryl Johnston just 10 selections later.

Charles Haley is the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning three with the Dallas Cowboys

Here’s the complete list of modern-era semifinalists is as follows:

  • Morten Andersen, K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings

  • Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

  • Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Derrick Brooks, LB – 1995-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Dallas area)

  • Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers 

  • Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

  • Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos

  • Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers

  • Tony Dungy, Coach – 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts

  • Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

  • Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

  • Marvin Harrison, WR – 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts

  • Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins

  • Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins 

  • Walter Jones, – T – 1997-2008 Seattle Seahawks

  • John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

  • Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

  • Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

  • Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

  • Michael Strahan, DE – 1993-2007 New York Giants

  • Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League 

  • Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

  • Steve Wisniewski, G – 1989-2001 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

  • George Young, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

    • The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists.  That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are:

      • Ray Guy – Punter (1973-86 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders)
      • Claude Humphrey – Defensive end (1968-78 Falcons, 1979-81 Eagles)

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      COWBOYS GIANTS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Jersey boys want to give Dez Bryant some of his own medicine | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

      awakening the sleeping giant - dez bryant dominating in second half of games (and season) - the boys are back blog

      Talk doesn’t necessarily equate to action, but the New York Giants sure are talking a big game ahead of their key matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

      Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said the game is “like a Super Bowl to us,” which actually kind of makes sense. At 4-6, the Giants are working with a razor-thin margin of error. It’s not win-or-go-home, though it might as well be.

      Yesterday, Giants safety Will Hill turned his attention to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Hill offered up the defense’s strategy on how to unsettle the All-Pro.

      “Get your hands on him,” Hill said, via NJ.com. “He doesn’t like to be touched, like most receivers in this league. But really him. He doesn’t like to be touched.”

      “You just have to be physical with him,” cornerback Prince Amukamara agreed. “He’s a big guy. You just have to use his medicine against him. I think that is the key.”

      Consider Bryant a sleeping giant right now. The Dallas Cowboys targeting their best player a grand total of two times, in what should have been a shootout with the New Orleans Saints.

      You can safely assume coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan have drawn up a game plan this week that calls for Tony Romo to look Bryant’s way early and often. We’ll see if the Giants’ handsy game plan has any effect.


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      COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday | New York Daily News | Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry

      The Boys Are Back editor comments: This is an example of the crap spread around by clueless so-called NFL experts. This homers point of view is complete with quotes and opinions from unnamed sources. It includes all of the standard talking points used by jealous and bias sports reporters jockeying for attention and headlines from more respected sports journalists.  

      A former NFL general manager who is identified as someone who helped his team to a Super Bowl told the New York Daily News reporter that Jerry Jones is a “horrific” GM who “undermines his head coaches with his antics.”

      “What makes him bad is everything he does is based on perception, star power, making a splash. Fourth or fifth on the list is soundness. Everything revolves around him,” the unnamed GM said.

      In the story, Daily News columnist Gary Myers suggests Jones should relinquish his GM duties and stick to his strengths as an owner and marketer, a common theme among pundits.

      Dallas, who’s 5-5 this season, plays at the New York Giants (4-6) on Sunday at 3:25 p.m.


      COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - New York Daily News - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - Cowboys Giants rivalry - NYG vs DAL rivalry

      PHOTO: While the Cowboys owner is a shrewd business man, some of his football moves leave many scratching their heads. With owner Jerry Jones calling the football shots, it is no wonder the Cowboys struggle to regain their Super Bowl championship form of the 90s.

      Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an incredibly bright and creative businessman, a real marketing genius, and he has helped turn Dallas into the most valuable franchise in American sports. So many of his ideas have contributed to the NFL now being a $9 billion-a-year industry.

      But if the Cowboys ever want to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy, then Jones must shake up his front office.

      He needs to call himself in for a little talk.

      “Sit down Jerry,” says Jones the owner.

      “Yes, sir, Mr. Jones,” says Jones the GM.

      COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - New York Daily News - Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry - Eli Manning

      PHOTO: Eli Manning and the Giants find much more success than their division rivals in recent years.

      You’re fired,” says Jones the owner.

      See, it’s that easy. Painless.

      America’s Team is the best nickname in sports, but it no longer fits the Cowboys and needs to be revoked until they get back to a Super Bowl — if they ever get back to a Super Bowl.

      Of course, they are worth $2.3 billion according to Forbes, the television networks can’t get enough of them, they have the best stadium in the world, but, as one executive with another team (who?) laughed Monday about the nickname, “America likes winners,” and the Cowboys just don’t win championships anymore.

      The Dallas Cowboys will be at MetLife Stadium to play the New York Giants on Sunday in a game with big implications on the mediocre NFC East race. Dallas is 5-5, which is not unusual since they are 109-109 since the turn of the century. The Giants, after their 0-6 start, have won four straight as Tom Coughlin implores his players “to keep the dream alive.” They are both chasing the Eagles, who have won three in a row to get to 6-5.

      COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - New York Daily News - Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry - Tony Romo

      PHOTO: Since taking over as GM, Jones has seen more than his share of flops from Tony Romo.

      But, really, how ‘bout them Cowboys?

      They have endured 17 consecutive seasons without making it to the Super Bowl after winning three in a four-year period. During the Dallas drought, the longest in franchise history, longer than its expansion years, 20 different teams have been to the Super Bowl, including the Patriots six times and the Giants, Steelers and Packers three times each. In that time, the Cowboys have made the playoffs seven times and have two wild-card victories.

      I was there on Feb. 25, 1989, in the Cowboys team meeting room at their Valley Ranch headquarters, when Jones announced he had bought the team, fired the legendary Tom Landry and replaced him with Jimmy Johnson. It was called the Saturday Night Massacre and it was an unforgettable moment in NFL history.

      The most famous line that came out of that news conference was when Jones proclaimed he would be in charge of everything from “socks to jocks.”

      Maybe Jones was running just about every department including the laundry department back then, but Johnson was running the personnel department and he brought in enough great players to win the Super Bowl following the 1992 and 1993 seasons and then left when he and Jones fought over who deserved the credit. There was enough of the core remaining that the relatively clueless Barry Switzer came off his couch to win a Super Bowl with Johnson’s players in 1995.

      COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - New York Daily News - Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry - Jason Pierre-Paul

      PHOTO: Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants should be happy to see the Cowboys late in the year.

      Yet, once Johnson and then his players eventually departed, Jones was on his own to restock as the undisputed general manger. And while nobody in the NFL is better at making money, the Cowboys can’t compete in the front office. Jones hired a bunch of puppets as head coaches following Johnson — Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Wade Phillips and now Jason Garrett — with one exception.

      Jones tried to get it right when he hired Bill Parcells in between Campo and Phillips, and he allowed Parcells more input in their four seasons together than anybody since Johnson. But he still forced malcontent Terrell Owens on Parcells and Dallas was the only one of Parcells’ four head coaching jobs where he didn’t win a playoff game.

      It’s startling that Jones the owner has put up with Jones the GM this long.

      “As a general manager, he’s horrific. Just horrific,” said a former GM who once helped his team get to a Super Bowl. “What makes him bad is everything he does is based on perception, star power, making a splash. Fourth or fifth on the list is soundness. Everything revolves around him. He undermines his head coaches with his antics. They don’t have a lot of real harmony and he creates a lot of the storms.”

      Jones gave Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million contract in March even though he’s won just one playoff game in seven years as the starter. He dumped defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after last season and replaced him with Monte Kiffin, who was one of the best — 10 years ago.

      After the Saints torched the Cowboys for 625 yards in their 49-17 victory with Ryan on the opposite sideline as the New Orleans defensive coordinator, Jones admitted the switch “doesn’t look good right now.” He initially called a 51-48 loss to the Broncos a “moral victory,” which was then refuted by his son Stephen, a team vice president, and Garrett.

      Jones is ultra-competitive and is willing to spend to win. He is clearly one of the smartest people in the NFL. So why isn’t he smart enough to fire himself as GM and hire somebody as good at making football decisions as Jones is at making money? “His ego is so big,” one personnel director said. “He’s had so many chances to do it and won’t. He’s going down with the ship.”

      How ’bout them Cowboys?

      Written by: Gary Myers | New York Daily News

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