‘BOYS BROKEN BRAND: Jason Garrett believes Greg Hardy can become a second-chance success | Troy Aikman advocates action | Moose calls for redemption plan
FALLOUT FOLLOW-UP: Hansen on Hardy–Wife thinks he went too far | Charlotte Jones Anderson not afraid of 2nd chance opportunity | Diggin’ Deeper | Mark Cuban Chimes in | Hot Air Hansen | Salary Break-down | Greg Hardy poll
WFAA’s Dale Hansen joined the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday to discuss his comments on Greg Hardy. Here are some highlights from the interview. Continue reading →
THE GREAT HORNYGATE SCANDAL: Jerry Jones addresses recent off-the-field issues | Photos are a misrepresentation | Women lawyer up | “Son of God” exposes “Sins of Jerry Jones” | Story is weirder than the photos
Jerry Jones – Off the field issues & more | 7:07 | Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones discusses recent off the field issues as well as the play of the defense and Tony Romo. (Watch | Listen)
OXNARD, Calif. – Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones spoke to the media and addressed several off-field issues that have faced the organization recently. Continue reading →
POST-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE: DeMarcus Lawrence will help Dallas Cowboys bolster defensive trenches | Secret Call from War Room | 2nd round NFL Draft 2014
IRVING — A Dallas Cowboys team that patiently sat and let talent come to them to open the 2014 NFL Draft took a much different approach on the second night.
While the selection of guard Zack Martin in the first round was hailed as a sound approach, it increased the urgency to come out of Friday night’s proceedings with a defensive lineman who could make an immediate impact.
The Dallas Cowboys wasted no time addressing what owner Jerry Jones called an acute need. The team jumped from the middle of the second round to take Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence at No. 34.
“This was a need pick,” Jones said. “The need to have a player that either could put some pressure on the outside or a unique complement, give us two players that have to be blocked.
“He was the only one left on the board we saw that could draw two blocks. The question, in my mind, was just how much you pay for it.”
The team traded its second- and third-round picks (Nos. 47 and 78) to Washington to jump up 13 spots to select Lawrence. Washington responded by taking Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy and Nebraska guard Spencer Long with the two picks.
The Cowboys could have held those picks and had their choice of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan or left defensive ends Kony Ealy or Scott Crichton in the third round. Defensive tackle Will Sutton and defensive end Kareem Martin were still available in the third round after Long was taken by Washington.
All of those players visited Valley Ranch and would have addressed the team’s defensive line deficiencies.
But none of those players line up at right defensive end. The Dallas Cowboys had Lawrence rated as the third-best pass rushing end in this draft behind Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr. They gave him a first-round grade as a pass rusher and a high second-round grade overall.
That’s why they were willing to give up a third-round pick to acquire him, a price chief operating officer Stephen Jones concedes is higher than the draft value chart states.
“We really like him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s a right end candidate for us. There are only a handful of right end guys in this draft. We felt like we needed to come up with an impact player in the front seven in this draft, and those impact players are high. They are the first- and second-round players.
“He’s got very good pass rush ability. He has a quick get-off. He can bend. He shows that he can get after the quarterback and make plays when you combine his sacks and tackles for loss. He’s just a very productive player over a two-year career over there in Boise.”
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is an advocate. The Dallas Cowboys need him to provide the edge rush that was lacking last season.
“What we’re looking for is somebody that has first and foremost natural pass rushing instinct,” Jerry Jones said. “Not necessarily speed. Speed alone doesn’t get it. It’s got to be somebody that has a knack of bending, maybe a way a couple of techniques.
“Rod is high on this guy. Real high on this guy.”
Jones notes the irony of replacing one DeMarcus (Ware) with another. Lawrence isn’t as fast as Ware. But he’s stronger.
“It’s unfair to compare players,” Garrett said. “That’s not what we’re in the business of doing. We want to choose players who are our kinds of guys.
“He was the guy on the board who best did that for us. This was a way to improve in the front seven.”
No one expects Lawrence to come in and duplicate the kind of production Ware gave the Cowboys before his release this off-season. But Lawrence knows the comparisons are inevitable.
“I know it’s some big shoes to fill, but I’m going to work my butt off,” Lawrence said. “I’m going to do all I can to become the best and fill their shoes.
“I’m my own Demarcus. I don’t like this trying to be nobody else. I’m going to be me.
“I’m going to do it well.”
Courtesy: David Moore | DMN staff
IN THE KNOW
DeMarcus Lawrence | Position: Defensive end | College: Boise State
Pick: No. 34 overall (second pick in the second round) | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 251
Notable: Lawrence, one of the Dallas Cowboys predraft visitors, is an exceptional athlete who projects to be a right defensive end, replacing seven-time Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. In two seasons at Boise State, Lawrence recorded 20 sacks and 34 tackles for loss. Following high school, he played one season at Butler Community College, where he finished with 12 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. The Cowboys had Lawrence ranked as the third pass rusher on the their board, Jerry Jones said.
Quote: Lawrence on filling DeMarcus Ware’s shoes: “I know it’s some big shoes to fill, but I’m going to work my butt off and give it my all. I’m going to do all I can to become the best and fill those shoes.”
Courtesy: Jon Machota | DMN staff
Related Videos …
2nd/3rd Round Post-Draft Press Conference | 16:45 | Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett discuss their move to trade up and selection of DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive end from Boise State. (Watch | Listen)
Secret Audio: DeMarcus Lawrence Selection Call | 2:17 | Listen in as the Dallas Cowboys executives call their second round 2014 NFL Draft selection DeMarcus Lawrence. (Watch | Listen)
THE QUARTERBACKUP PLAN: Kyle Orton absent from first day of ‘voluntary’ offseason workout program
IRVING, Texas — Before people get carried away with Kyle Orton’s absence from the Dallas Cowboys offseason program, two factors need to be put out there: the workouts are voluntary and he missed just one day.
But the Cowboys should not look at Orton’s absence as a one-day deal. They need to determine whether Orton really wants to play football in 2014, despite what they heard from the player’s agent and the fact Orton would be walking away from $3.25 million.
It could be as simple as him not wanting to play anymore. He is the second-highest paid backup quarterback in the NFL behind Matt Moore ($4 million) of the Miami Dolphins, so money wouldn’t seem to be an issue. He has been content in his role as a backup to Tony Romo, so opportunity wouldn’t seem to be an issue.
Undoubtedly the Cowboys have spoken directly to Orton this offseason with the whispers of him thinking about retirement. What was discussed is not known. Did he tell them he would play or not play?
Orton holds the cards here because he does not have to show up until the mandatory June minicamp. If he does not report for that, then he would face fines up to close to $70,000. If he does report, what kind of condition is he in?
The Cowboys can trade him or release him. What kind of return would they get for a player who may or may not report to a new team? If they release him, then they would forfeit the right to pick up $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus he received in 2011.
They could keep him and hope he arrives at the June minicamp in good shape and is ready to go when the team reports to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp. Hope, however, should not be their strategy.
Yet there is a more immediate question raised from Orton’s absence. Does it push quarterback up the ladder when it comes to the draft?
The Dallas Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal in the offseason with no signing bonus. They liked him coming into the 2012 draft, but not as much as the Cleveland Browns liked him. He had more interceptions than touchdown passes, but the Cowboys have taken a no-risk look at him.
What can they learn about Weeden before the draft? Not much. Coaches are not allowed on the field with the players until Phase 2 of the offseason program, which comes the week of the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys attended Aaron Murray’s workout at Georgia last week. They talked with Jimmy Garoppolo and David Fales at the NFL scouting combine. They had a number of quarterbacks at their Dallas Day workouts last week in Garrett Gilbert, Casey Pachall and James Franklin, but they did not have a quarterback among their national visitors.
The Cowboys aren’t exactly being held hostage by Orton, but his decision (or indecision) could go a long way in how they plan to attack the draft.
IT’S ANOTHER (COW)BOY: Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo and wife Candice have second son, Rivers Romo
Tuesday was an eventful day for the Dallas Cowboys.
The starting quarterback added a son and the defense added a starting tackle.
Quarterback Tony Romo and his wife, Candice, got the excitement underway with the birth of their second child.
Rivers Romo, all eight pounds, 12 ounces of him, was the first addition. He joins older brother Hawkins, born two years ago, in the Romo backfield.
Later in the day, Henry Melton tweeted that he had agreed to play for the Cowboys. He will replace Jason Hatcher, who signed with Washington in free agency. He signed a one-year contract with a club option for three more.
Rivers Romo agreed to a lifetime deal.
Editors note: It is unknown if Tony Romo lost a bet with Phillip Rivers on naming rights. haha
VALLEY RANCH TRIAL SEPARATION: Despite his release, it’s still possible that the Dallas Cowboys could re-sign DeMarcus Ware
DeMarcus Ware is convinced he can make more money in free agency than the Dallas Cowboys are willing to pay, but is open to returning to the club if the market doesn’t support his stance.
Call it a trial separation.
Will that scenario unfold? It appears unlikely. There are quality teams with enough room under the salary cap to believe at least one of them will come up with the money that Ware seeks. Philadelphia is one potential suitor.
But today’s parting was described as amicable and no doors have been shut.
Ware and owner Jerry Jones met this afternoon at Valley Ranch in an attempt to avoid the player’s release. That didn’t happen. But the two men parted with this understanding:
Ware knows to get the sort of contract he expects the offer will likely come in the first few days of free agency. If that offer doesn’t come he has told the Dallas Cowboys he would be willing to return. The source said Ware also indicated that before he signs with another team he will inform the Cowboys of the offer.
The club has told the seven-time Pro Bowler they want him on the roster in 2014 but at a base salary significantly less than the $12.25 million he was scheduled to receive.
Neither side has ruled out that they will be able to find an acceptable middle ground. Jones acknowledged as much in the release the club issued this afternoon announcing Ware’s release.
“DeMarcus and I agreed on an understanding that would allow him to explore the options he will have for the 2014 season and beyond,’’ Jones said. “We were also in very strong agreement that playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be one of the options we would both be exploring.’’
It will not be a prolonged exploration. Both sides recognize the need to move swiftly. If Ware doesn’t return, the Dallas Cowboys must use the $7.4 million freed up by Ware’s release and the $1.1 million it already had to find his replacements at defensive end.
The relationship may continue. But for now, the two have parted ways.
SUPER BOWL XLVIII RECAP: Seahawks victory has feeling of the young 1990’s Dallas Cowboys team
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Too much of the discussion in the days leading up to this game had to do with Peyton Manning’s legacy.
Now that another NFL season has come to a close, let’s shift the focus to where it rightfully belongs.
A young, brash Seahawks team did more than beat Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII. Seattle’s 43-8 victory delivered a message to the rest of the league.
Beware. This isn’t a team catching fire late to win the title as Baltimore did last February. This isn’t the New York Giants or Green Bay Packers slipping into the playoffs on the final day and then beating the odds.
No, this is something different. It has the feel of Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 when the young, brash Dallas Cowboys burst on the scene with a 52-17 win over Buffalo.
That was the first of three Lombardi Trophies in four years for the Cowboys. It’s premature to suggest the Seahawks will enjoy that sort of success. But their dominance was sobering.
“It’s all about making history,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. “This was a dominant performance from top to bottom.”
Seattle has been building for this moment ever since head coach Pete Carroll arrived four years ago. The Seahawks are young, fast, and deep on defense. They have a quarterback of poise and leadership beyond his years in Russell Wilson, a hammer for a running back in Marshawn Lynch, and a refusal to accept the limitations of inexperience.
Not one player on the Seattle roster appeared in a Super Bowl before Sunday’s game. The last team to make that claim was Buffalo in ’90.
Unlike that franchise, the Seahawks came away champions.
“This is an amazing team,” Carroll said. “It started a long time ago, I’m talking four years ago. They never took a step sideways or backward to get to where they are now.
“These guys would not take anything other than winning this game. They didn’t think anything else would happen.”
It quickly became evident that nothing other than a Seattle win would be the outcome. The Seahawks defense came up with a safety 12 seconds into the game. Two plays later, on a crossing pattern to Demaryius Thomas, safety Kam Chancellor leveled the Denver receiver with a hit that registered on the Richter scale.
“All of my teammates came up to me and said that set the tone,” said Chancellor, the man who puts the boom in the defense’s Legion of Boom moniker.
Seattle controlled the ball for 14:41 of the first 18 minutes on its way to a 15-0 lead. The Seahawks later added a 69-yard interception return for touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith, the game’s Most Valuable Player, and opened the third quarter with an 87-yard kickoff return for touchdown by Percy Harvin.
About that time, the audience for Downton Abbey on PBS experienced a significant spike.
Injuries sidelined Harvin for all but 19 snaps during the regular season. The receiver rewarded the organization’s patience with that kickoff return and by leading the team in rushing with 45 yards on his two end-around runs.
“I was finally able to give my team something for four quarters,” Harvin said. “That meant a lot to me.”
This game was supposed to represent an intriguing clash of styles. It never did because Seattle’s No. 1 defense smothered Manning and the No. 1 offense of the Broncos.
The Seahawks forced four turnovers and held the Broncos’ high-octane offense to one meaningless touchdown once the lead ballooned to 36 points.
Yes, what happened Sunday was unexpected on several fronts. That doesn’t mean the Seahawks lacked faith. When the season got underway Wilson told his teammates, “Hey, why not us?”
“We’re not sleeping tonight,” Carroll said of the impending celebration. “We’re staying up all night.”
There will be lot of sleepless nights around the NFL in the months and years to come figuring out how to compete with this young, brash Seattle team.
SHAME BY THE FAME: Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley worthy of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction
NEW YORK — Peyton Manning’s legacy is a recurring theme in the buildup to this Super Bowl. If the quarterback stands victorious Sunday evening, if he helps lead his second franchise to a title …
Well, then he’ll be only three rings behind Charles Haley.
The night before Denver and Seattle take the field, the Hall of Fame will announce its class of 2014. Haley is a finalist for the fifth time.
Two of those rings came as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. The final three came as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys.
Receiver Michael Irvin and quarterback Troy Aikman played with Haley on those Super Bowl teams. Both have busts in Canton.
They believe it’s time for Haley to join them.
“I think Charles should be in,” Irvin said. “We’re willing to give Peyton Manning credit, so much credit, if he wins this game because we’re going to say he led two different teams to Super Bowl championships. He deserves the credit.
“But we won’t give Charles Haley any of that credit? He led two different teams to Super Bowls, but we won’t give him any kind of credit?”
Haley was part of 10 division championship teams in his 12 years in the NFL. He played in six NFC Championship Games in a span of seven seasons. He was voted to the NFL Pro Bowl five times, was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice and finished his career with 100 1/2 sacks.
Credit isn’t the issue. No one can discredit those numbers. What Haley lacks is the historical affirmation only the Hall of Fame can provide.
Irvin is no stranger to off-the-field issues. Those didn’t prevent him from enshrinement in his third year as a finalist.
But Irvin can’t help but wonder if Haley’s well-documented troubles have worked against him in the committee’s discussions. Haley’s abusive behavior during his playing days won few friends in the media.
Aikman has the same questions.
“I don’t like the process,” said the quarterback who joined the Hall in 2006 in his first year of eligibility. “I don’t like the way that it’s done.
“I do believe he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’ve said that. I’m biased because I watched him every weekend. I’m amazed that he’s not in the Hall of Fame.
“I’m sorry, but if him being rude to some writers or not being accommodating to those in the media keeps him from being in the Hall of Fame, then I really disagree with the process, because that’s not what this is about. I don’t know what happens, but I know he was largely responsible for a big amount of the success that we had during those years.”
Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson is curious as to why Haley has yet to be enshrined.
“I’ve said many, many times that Charles Haley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago,” Johnson said. “No offense to any of the players in there, but I coached and coached against a lot of the players that are in the Hall of Fame, and Charles Haley is better than them.
“Again, I don’t know the rhyme or reason by some of the voting.”
Aikman, Irvin and Johnson hope someone is listening to them when it comes to Haley.
“A man that holds as many rings as digits on a hand,” Irvin said, “he should be in the Hall of Fame.”
UNCOMFORTABLE VALLEY RANCH VIBE: Former Detroit Lions OC Scott Linehan’s role with Dallas Cowboys publically undefined
IRVING, Texas – After weeks of speculation, it appears some type of change may be coming to the Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff.
One week after affirming the job security of offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, the Dallas Cowboys look set to add former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to their coaching staff. Linehan was at the Dallas Cowboys Valley Ranch facility this morning and took part in staff meetings.
|Coach Scott Linehan||Coach Bill Callahan|
It’s been suggested that Linehan may serve as a passing game coordinator for Tony Romo and a Dallas passing offense that finished No. 14 in the NFL last year. Coach Bill Callahan’s role in the new hierarchy remains to be seen.
If hired, this will be the second time Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan have worked together. Linehan was the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins in 2005, when Garrett was hired as the team’s quarterback coach. Current receivers coach Derek Dooley was also on that staff as the tight ends coach, all under then-head coach Nick Saban. Linehan was hired as the head coach of the Rams after that season and went 11-25 in three years with St. Louis.
He joined the Lions in 2009 as the offensive coordinator. Linehan’s offense in Detroit finished No. 6 in the league overall and No. 3 in passing in 2013, before coach Jim Schwartz’s staff was released following a 7-9 finish. Linehan looks likely to take over as play caller for Callahan, who assumed that duty last season.
The development falls more or less in line with what Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett hinted at from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last week. Jones confirmed then that both Callahan and Monte Kiffin, widely speculated to be fired after a disappointing season, would stay on staff in 2014. What the two coaches’ roles would be going forward wasn’t so clearly defined, though.
“Those guys are under contract, and we feel good about that,” Garrett said last week. “We’re always going to try to do things that are in the best interest of our football team, so we’ll keep looking at how we can be better as a staff and what roles everybody is in and what we’re asking them to do.”
If Linehan does in fact take over playcalling duties, it would be the Cowboys’ third play caller in as many seasons. Garrett managed that responsibility from his initial hiring as offensive coordinator in 2007 up until last season, when he ceded the job to Callahan.
Halfway through the 2013 season, Garrett changed the organization of his staff to give himself a role in the process. Rather than Callahan calling plays to quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who then relayed the call to Romo, Garrett moved Wilson into the coaches booth and relayed the calls himself.
Despite that change, Garrett maintained that Callahan held playcalling responsibilities for the duration of the 2013 season.
Linehan served as offensive coordinator for Detroit from 2009 until this past season. The Lions finished 26th in overall offense in 2009, Matthew Stafford’s rookie season, and subsequently improved to 17th in 2010, fifth in 2011 and third in 2012.
The Dallas Cowboys plan to retain play caller/line coach Bill Callahan. Callahan is considered one of the better offensive line coaches in the NFL, and the improvement of Cowboys’ blocking front has improved since his arrival in 2012.
Recently, the Baltimore Ravens requested to speak with Callahan but were denied permission by the Cowboys. Similarly, the Cleveland Browns have been told they won’t be allowed to speak with Callahan either.
FLASHBACK 2005: Troy Aikman’s hand in Jason Garrett-Scott Linehan relationship
You may know that Scott Linehan was the first person to hire Jason Garrett as a coach in the NFL, selecting him to be Miami’s quarterbacks coach when he was the Dolphins offensive coordinator in 2005.
Did you know a call from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman preceded the hire?
“Jason was looking for a job and hadn’t coached yet,’’ Aikman said. “I called Scott and left him a voicemail and told him if I was starting a business, no matter what the business was, Jason would be one of the first guys I would call to be a part of it. I talked about how smart he was.
“I don’t recommend very many people for anything, but I told him if he made the hire that he would probably be thanking me in a short period of time.’’
Linehan hired Garrett 10 hours after meeting him.
Later, when Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams, Aikman asked him if he ever saw Garrett moving on to be a head coach.
“You know,’’ Linehan replied, “several years ago I got a call from a guy who strongly recommended him.’’
Troy Aikman relayed that story Tuesday afternoon as he other Fox analysts were made available at the media headquarters for Super Bowl XLVIII. Now Garrett has returned the favor, adding Linehan to the Dallas Cowboys staff.
Does Aikman believe that Garrett and Linehan will be on the same page more than Garrett and Callahan?
“I don’t know,’’ Aikman said. “I’d like to think he and Bill were on the same page. They had been together already. I’d like to believe that they were in agreement in what they were doing on the offensive side of the ball. I couldn’t say if they will be more on the same page.
“But I think Scott has been doing it longer, he’s been calling plays for a long time and has had a lot of success doing it.’’
COWBOYS VS. VIKINGS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson still after Emmitt Smith’s NFL record
Adrian Peterson is on Emmitt Smith’s pace. Peterson has 9,420 yards seven games into his seventh season. Smith had 9,488 to this point.
But Peterson would have to play five-plus seasons after this one, averaging the 1,475 he has averaged per season in his career, to break Smith’s all-time rushing record of 18,355.
Peterson, a Palestine and Oklahoma product, thinks it’ll be sooner than that. He predicted last summer that he would become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher in Week 16 of 2017.
He stuck by that prediction in the conference call with Dallas media today.
“I definitely have to keep my game up to par.. and that record can be broken,” Peterson said. “But I’m not focusing on that. I set goals, and I just go out and play and if happens, it happens and if doesn’t, it doesn’t. I don’t harp on it.”
Peterson, 28, nearly set the single-season rushing record last season with 2,097 yards. He is behind that pace this year with 571 yards.
“Coming off last year, MVP, 2,000 yards, guys are coming in to stop the run, and this is how they’ve always played the Vikings for the past seven years — come in and stop the run,” Peterson said, “definitely with a more emphasis on it now. So you’re going to have those. Then again, you’re going to have the opportunity to break the long one, too. I just take them when it comes.”
Here’s the math:
He would need to rack up 8,936 yards over the next 73 games to break Smith’s record. That comes to an average of 122.4 yards a game. Peterson currently averages 98.1 yards a game for his career.
Know The Enemy: Adrian Peterson (3:12)
Film break down on Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. (Watch Video)
COUNTDOWN TO GAMEDAY: Cowboys have rival New York Giants on their radar
IRVING — Cincinnati is next up on the schedule.
That doesn’t mean the Bengals have the Dallas Cowboys’ undivided attention.
The regular season opens in less than three weeks. While the coaches get the players ready to face Cincinnati this weekend, they are also starting to prepare for the game against New York on Sept. 8.
“Yeah, we’re watching some of the Giants tape,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Obviously, they’re a big division opponent. We know them well. They know us.
“Everything’s moving that way.”
The Cowboys aren’t overlooking the Bengals. This and the final preseason game are chances to clean up what’s not working as the team gets ready for the regular season.
Saturday’s game is significant because the starters will play into the second half.
“This is the game we’ll get most of our work for the preseason,” Witten said. “I think it’s been a good, productive camp. We just got to continue to build it here down the stretch.”
And cast an eye toward the Giants.
“We’ve started doing a little in the card drills, going over what they run,” defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said of New York. “But we’re still in training camp mode.”
Jones: Cowboys can compete: Jerry Jones isn’t going to make any grandiose claims. But the owner is confident of how his team stacks up going into the season.
“If you look at the fact that these teams are pretty equal in the NFL and you look at where we are, you know we can compete,” Jones said Tuesday on KRLD-FM (105.3). “We really can compete.
“Now, will injury decimate that? Will injury impact that? Who knows? The bottom line is, we can compete.
“Over the last two years, a lot of people would say, ‘I don’t call 8-8 competing.’ They’d be justified in saying that. But we were real close there, getting down to the end of the year. We were close to getting in the tournament and doing some good things.”
Practice update: Morris Claiborne will miss Saturday’s dress rehearsal against Cincinnati.
The cornerback jammed his knee two weeks ago and hasn’t practiced since. Head coach Jason Garrett said he doesn’t anticipate Claiborne will do much in practice this week or play this weekend.
Receiver Cole Beasley (foot) and safety Matt Johnson (foot) are also expected to miss the game, but Garrett is hopeful the two will be able to work into practice next week and play in the preseason finale against Houston.
Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (groin injury) returned to practice after a one-week absence and hopes to play against the Bengals. Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox, who has been excused from the team following the death of his mother, is scheduled to return.
“I have not spoken to him,” Garrett said. “We have texted back and forth with him, and we anticipate him coming back [Wednesday] to hopefully practice on Thursday.”
OT Bell shaping up: OT Demetress Bell tipped the scales at 350 pounds when he reported to Oxnard. He is down to 328 and would like to drop another 10 or so pounds.
“I can’t say nothing bad about the Cowboys,” Bell said. “It sounds like they love me. I’ve just got to do my job, do my part to stick.”
VACATING VALLEY RANCH: Dallas Cowboys in negotiations to move practice facility
As the Dallas Cowboys players and coaches prepare in Southern California for the upcoming season, club officials are in the final stages of negotiations to move their practice facility to Frisco.
Work remains before the team severs ties with its home of 28 years to travel north. It’s doubtful an announcement will be made in the next few days or weeks.
But those who privately acknowledge the discussions speak in terms of when, not if, the club departs Valley Ranch.
It appears the new facility could be part of the Frisco Station project, located on the Northwest corner of Warren and the Dallas North Tollway. Houston-based Hines recently unveiled plans to develop office, shopping and residential space on the 317-acre site.
Preliminary indications are the Cowboys would make the move before the start of the 2016 season.
Frisco officials had no comment.
The Dallas Cowboys stance has been to explore all options. But the deal Frisco officials have put in place and their persistence to get something done have left competitors Irving and Arlington in their wake.
Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne said Monday that city negotiators have suggested several locations for a new facility, including the land where Texas Stadium once stood. When she last spoke to club officials two weeks ago, she said the organization was seriously eyeing the Frisco deal.
“It’s hundreds of millions of dollars in brand new infrastructure, brand new product, that the Cowboys are basically going to fit into,” Van Duyne said.
There have been discussions of building an indoor facility the Cowboys would share with the Frisco Independent School District. The Cowboys have been without one at their current site since their practice bubble collapsed during a storm more than four years ago.
ROSTER RESOLUTION: Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free agrees to pay cut (updated)
Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free has agreed to a pay cut that will allow him to remain with the team.
Free’s new deal calls for him to receive $7 million over two years, but only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed.
Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2011.
Free struggled out of the gate last season, prompting the Cowboys to force him to split time with Jeremy Parnell.
RELATED: Tackle Doug Free agrees to pay cut to stay with Cowboys
The impasse between the Dallas Cowboys and maligned left tackle Doug Free is over.
Free will remain with the Cowboys as he has agreed to a pay cut as part of a new two-year contract that will pay him $7 million in 2013 and 2014, per multiple sources.
Only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed making it essentially a one-year deal.
Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of a four-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2011.
He has started 48 games with the Cowboys but struggled mightily last season _ so much so that he forced to share snaps with Jeremy Parnell.
The Cowboys have been clear that they wanted Free to return to the team in 2013 and continue to compete with Parnell at right tackle. But they were also clear that they weren’t going to pay him $7 million to do so.
If Free hadn’t agreed to a pay cut, he would have been released.
In the end both sides got something out of deal as it was unlikely Free would have gotten $3.5 million guaranteed for next season on the free agent market, especially at this late date.
The Cowboys were able to clear salary room to so they could possibly pursue other free agents or even give one of their players a contract extension.
RELATED: Doug Free reworks contract to stay with Cowboys
The Doug Free saga is over.
The right tackle has agreed to a substantial pay decrease in his final two seasons to remain with the Dallas Cowboys.
Free was scheduled to make $15 million in base salary over the next two seasons — $7 million in 2013 and $8 million next season. That total has been reduced to a total of $7 million, meaning the offensive linemen will make $3.5 million in base salary in each of the next two seasons.
The $7 million figure this season made Free the league’s highest paid right tackle. This restructured contract falls in line with the current market.
Tyson Clabo, the former right tackle from Atlanta who graded out much higher than Free last season, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Miami earlier this month.
The Cowboys had kicked the tires on Clabo along with right tackle Eric Winston in free agency in case a deal could not be reached with Free. The club held the threat of a post June 1 cut over Free’s head. But the longer this dragged on, the more clear it became that the Cowboys preferred to keep Free and avoid the salary cap hit that would have been forced to absorb in 2014 by releasing him.
Free gave up seven sacks and was hit with 13 penalties last season. His grades in the run game were poor and he finished the season splitting snaps with Jermey Parnell.
RELATED ROSTER NEWS:
Dallas Cowboys sign defensive end Anthony Hargrove
In other news, Dallas signed defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who missed last season because of an eight-game NFL-imposed suspension for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
To make room for Hargrove on the 90-man roster, the Cowboys cut recently signed guard D.J. Hall, a Texas State product.
Editors comment: Click HERE for more information on this signing.
VACATING VALLEY RANCH: Dallas Cowboys explore options for a new practice facility (updated)
The Dallas Cowboys have called Valley Ranch home for 28 years.
That’s about to change.
The club is looking to move from what has become one of the NFL’s more outdated practice facilities. Those same sources say that Frisco is one of the cities ready to welcome the Cowboys with open arms. But they aren’t the sole suitor as club officials actively discuss a move.
Arlington officials met with the Cowboys earlier this year about building a practice facility near Cowboys Stadium. And Irving officials have made it known they don’t want to lose a franchise that has been part of the city’s fabric since Texas Stadium opened its doors and roof in 1971.
It’s difficult to pinpoint a timeframe at this stage of discussions. There are too many moving parts to project when the club will leave, although it’s clear the team will continue to practice at its current location for the 2013 season.
Still, there is no doubt about the Dallas Cowboys intention to build another practice facility.
Ground was broken on the team’s Valley Ranch practice site in November of ’83. Cowboys players and coaches reported to the practice facility in August of ’85.
Nearly three-quarters of the league’s teams have opened practice facilities since that date.
The current complex sits on 30 acres and is roughly 110,000 square feet. Renovations and additions, such as an MRI facility, have taken place periodically.
But the Cowboys do not have an indoor facility to use in inclement or freezing weather, choosing not to erect one after their practice bubble collapsed during a storm four years ago. The club also does not have the space or infrastructure for a full service dining hall, a luxury the majority of teams in the league possess.
SOMEWHAT RELATED: Nip and tuck – Cowboys Stadium to get new field
Cowboys Stadium is ready for her first nip and tuck as she approaches her fourth birthday.
A new artificial field will be in place before the Dallas Cowboys play their first home pre-season game in August. The installation will unfold in stages after the Taylor Swift concert at the stadium on May 25.
Club officials said a final decision has not been made on what to do with the existing field.
TRAINING CAMP UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys won’t scrimmage with San Diego this preseason
After the Dallas Cowboys played a pre-season game in San Diego last summer, the team stayed in southern California an additional three days to work out against the Chargers. San Diego did the same the previous year after a pre-season game in Dallas.
That won’t happen this year.
Mike McCoy has replaced Norv Turner as San Diego’s head coach. While he’s receptive to practicing with the Cowboys or any other team during camp, it’s not in the works.
“It’s something we always explore,’’ McCoy said. “We don’t have plans of doing that right now.’’
The Cowboys will have five pre-season games since they will face Miami in the Hall of Fame Game. The team will open the pre-season in Canton, Ohio, return to California for two pre-season games then break camp and return to Cowboys Stadium for their final two games.
COACHING ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys sign Rod Marinelli to help teach new defense
The Dallas Cowboys have spent the day trying to convince Rod Marinelli why he needs to stay and join Monte Kiffin’s staff.
They were successful. Marinelli has agreed to join the Cowboys staff as its defensive line coach.
Marinelli was given the option to stay in Chicago as its defensive coordinator after Lovie Smith was fired, but his devotion to Smith led him to leave. He interviewed at Valley Ranch Friday. Marinelli and Kiffin worked together in Tampa Bay, and Kiffin wants his friend to join him again as he implements the Tampa 2 defense in Dallas.
That friendship is one of the reasons Marinelli would consider what would be viewed as a step down at this stage of his career. But those who know Marinelli say it’s never been about job titles with him.
But the Cowboys aren’t the only team to express an interest. Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley has also worked with Marinelli, and he would like to talk to Marinelli about joining his staff.
That’s why the Cowboys wanted to receive a commitment before Marinelli left the building.
RELATED: Tony Dungy – Rod Marinelli a ‘big step forward’ for Cowboys
GRAPEVINE — Tony Dungy, who will receive the Theodore Roosevelt Award tonight at the NCAA Convention in Grapevine, said new Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin wants to have Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach. The former Bears defensive line coach may be close to getting hired by the Cowboys.
Dungy, former Tampa Bay head coach, said he talked to Kiffin, his former defensive coordinator, on Friday morning.
“I know that’s what Monte would like to do,” Dungy said. “I don’t know if it will come to fruition. But the big part of playing the defense this way is getting people who really, really believe in it. Because you have to sell it. You have to sell it to your group. And when you have other people that believe, that makes it easier. And what we had back then, we had Monte, Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli. And they all believed … in how we were doing it. That’s critical. I think if Monte could get Rod, it would be a big step toward that. Toward getting another guy who really believes in that way of doing it and selling it to the players.”
OFFSEASON SURGERIES: DeMarcus Ware scheduled today; Dez Bryant’s called a success
Dallas Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware set for surgery
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware has scheduled surgery on his shoulder for today (Thursday).
Ware said before the season was over that he would likely need two separate surgeries, one on his shoulder and another for his hyperextended elbow. Thursday is for the only shoulder.
No date has been set for the elbow surgery and there is a chance that won’t be done. Doctors will take a little more time to assess the injury before that determination is made.
Ware is expected to miss the majority of the team’s off-season program but chances are he will be cleared for training camp
Dez Bryant undergoes successful surgery for left index finger
The surgery Dez Bryant put off until the end of the season, occurred Tuesday morning. The Cowboys’ wide receiver had a successful procedure that will likely keep him out for parts of the offseason conditioning program.
Obviously, the Cowboys won’t rush Bryant back this summer, but the hope is he will be 100 percent ready for training camp in Oxnard, Calif. in late July, if not sooner for a possible June mini-camp.
Bryant sustained the injury in the fourth quarter of the memorable Bengals game on Dec. 9. Bryant not only played through the injury, but caught two more passes, including a 27-yard touchdown that ignited a Cowboys’ comeback win.
The following Monday, there were discussions that Bryant’s season could be over, but after meeting with two hand specialists, the receiver made the decision to play through the injury for the rest of the season. He caught a touchdown pass the next week against Pittsburgh to extend his streak of six games with a score.
And then against New Orleans, Bryant had arguably the best game of his career, scoring on two straight 58-yard touchdown passes and ended up with a career-best 224 receiving yards in the Cowboys’ 34-31 overtime loss. The seven straight touchdown catches tied with three others for the franchise best.
But in Washington, Bryant’s streak came to an end, along with the Cowboys’ season. After catching four passes for 71 yards, Bryant couldn’t finish the game after sustaining a back injury that included spasms. He had to be helped off the field and even needed assistance going to the team charter on the return flight, in which he sat up in first class, normally used for coaches and front-office personnel.
Bryant spent last Monday in the hospital after returning from Washington, but no structural damage was found.
TRADING PLACES: Dallas Cowboys activate C Kevin Kowalski and place S Matt Johnson on IR
The Dallas Cowboys have activated center Kevin Kowalski. To make room for him on the roster, they moved safety Matt Johnson to injured reserve.
Kowalski underwent surgery for severe tendinitis in his ankle and was placed on the physically unable to perform list to open the season. He returned to practice only last week.
The move is a strong indication that the club does not believe starting center Ryan Cook, who has a hyperextended knee, will be able to play in Sunday’s game against Cleveland. Mackenzy Bernadeau will slide over to start at center while veteran Derrick Dockery will assume Bernadeau’s job at right guard.
Kowalski will likely be active for the game as a backup center, since it’s clear the club has no faith in reserve guard/center David Arkin.
Johnson had been carried on the active roster the entire season even though a series of hamstring injuries meant he never played in a regular season game and rarely practiced. This move means he can now focus on getting ready for the 2013 season.
88 ON 88: Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant’s route running is limited
Despite how he comes across to some, former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson told The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore he still has faith Dez Bryant will grow into that elite player.
“I feel confident that it will happen for him,” Pearson said. “I hope it happens here.
“Dez understands the situation he’s in and really wants it. Maybe it will all come to him at one time.
“Maybe he’s just a late bloomer.”
But Pearson still has plenty to nitpick about the Cowboys’ third-year receiver.
What stood out recently was the Monday Night Football blunder when Bryant was fooled into thinking the Bears were in press coverage. He adjusted his route and went deep rather than run the hitch that was designed. Cornerback Charles Tillman picked off the pass from Tony Romo and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
“It was a bad read,” Pearson said. “Those are the kind of things that defenses, defensive backs especially, will give you a false look initially. If you’re not cerebral, if you’re not experienced enough to make adjustments, cornerbacks will play those games with you.
“You can’t get fooled by that in your third year in the league. If you made that mistake with coach [Tom] Landry in your third year, that would have been a cardinal sin.”
“When the game is on the line, that is the time No. 88 needs to step up, not take a back seat, not take a step back. That is when No. 88 is expected to shine.”
Part of being consistent is having a few signature routes the quarterback knows he can complete to you in virtually any situation. Pearson had three: the 12-yard sideline route, the 15- to 20-yard turn-in and the 15- to 20-yard end route. Those were his bread and butter.
What does Bryant have? Is he consistent enough with any of them?
“His route tree is limited to the slant, the fade, the go route and the end route,” Pearson said. “That is it. I’ve never seen him run a counter, a post corner, a slant-and-go, a sideline takeoff where he stutters and takes off the way Kevin Ogletree did so successfully in the opener.”
Pearson had been critical of Bryant throughout his first two years with the Cowboys, and Year Three looks to be more of the same. This obviously stems from Bryant wearing the same jersey number that Pearson did during his 11 seasons with the franchise.
“He’s not living up to the expectations that were placed on him by wearing that number,” Pearson recently told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “Drew Pearson took it to the Ring of Honor level and Michael Irvin took it way beyond that to the Hall of Fame level.
“When Michael and I had a chance to talk to Dez when he came in his rookie year we told him, ‘Don’t do what Drew Pearson did in it. Don’t do what Michael did in it. Do more than that.’ I know that’s a lot to live up to, but what else is there? You live up to those expectations and people will cherish you for the rest of your life.”
Bryant dropped three passes in the Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears Monday night. Two of those incompletions cost the Cowboys first downs and the third might have gone for a touchdown.
Even though Bryant finished with a career-high 105 receiving yards, the mistakes overshadowed his eight catches.
Pearson focused on Bryant’s mistakes during a Tuesday interview that aired on ESPN.
“You should know your plays. You should know where to be. You should know your adjustments that you need to make,” Pearson said. “You know what your value is to this Cowboys offense. You should be making the big plays to help the offense when they need it. To me, that’s what the 88s are all about. That’s what I did in the 88s, that’s what Michael (Irvin) did in the 88s. I’m not saying Dez needs to be us. But we’d just like to see him carry that tradition on with the 88s a little better.”
ARMOR ALL NEXT FALL: Barry Church injured without thigh pads; will be required in 2013
In the season opener last year, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant took a hard hit on a punt return. He wasn’t wearing thigh pads, and the thigh contusion kept him out the next week against the 49ers and slowed him for several weeks after. This year, the same thing already has happened to Barry Church.
Church wasn’t wearing a thigh pad when he took a knee to his quadriceps against Seattle. The Cowboys starting strong safety played only 13 plays.
The NFL will make hip and knee pads mandatory equipment in 2013, with players facing fines for not using them.
"That’s going to suck," said Church, who expects to play, with a thigh pad, this week. "I mean, it feels real restricting when you have all those pads in. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, I guess."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he emphasizes the importance of wearing all the protective equipment provided, but as a former NFL quarterback he understands why players don’t.
"It’s an age-old thing for players," Garrett said. "You want to be as light as possible, so there’s always a balance there. You look at the receivers through the years. Very few receivers wear their thigh pads or knee pads, or if they do, it’s a real light version of it. They wear smallish shoulder pads. As a former player, i know that issue, because it’s a confidence factor. You don’t want to be slowed down by anything."
Church went through practice, taking all of his work with the first team defense and special teams, and said “I felt pretty good.’’ But he admits that if he had worn thigh pads against the Seahawks, he wouldn’t have been forced to leave the game.
The girdle along with the thigh pads will give him a little extra protection for this game, a game he can’t afford to miss since it appears safety Gerald Sensabaugh will.
NFL HITS SEAHAWK: Golden Tate fined $21,000 for block on Sean Lee
Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate has been fined $21,000 by the NFL for a "blindside block" on Sean Lee.
The amount is the designated minimum for a blindside block, which is what the league is calling it.
The NFL won’t announce the amount until later in the week, but a first offense in this category carries a $21,000 fine under the collective bargaining agreement.
Tate was not flagged for a penalty on the play even though it was a hit on a defenseless player. In fact, the Cowboys were assessed a 15-yard penalty at the end of Russell Wilson’s scramble when Bruce Carter was called for pushing the quarterback out of bounds.
After the hit, Tate stood on the field and flexed his muscles.
The Seahawks were up 20-7 early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Russell Wilson got flushed from the pocket. As Lee ran toward Wilson, Tate blindsided him with a vicious block that repeatedly was shown on the replay board in the stadium. The Cowboys were sure the flag on the field was against Tate, though it instead was against Bruce Carter for a push out of bounds on Wilson. Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former director of officiating who now works for Fox, agreed on Twitter at the time that Tate should have been penalized.
"It’s up to the NFL," Lee said today. "I don’t really care. The part I don’t like is the celebrating after the hit. … To me, a crack-back block isn’t tough. Anyone can do that. Toughness is about being able to take a hit and getting back up and doing it again."
RELATED: Golden Tate – ‘I’d be upset if I was on that highlight, being crushed’
Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate said Monday that he was praying he didn’t get fined by the NFL for the blindside hit he delivered Sunday on Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee.
Tate posted the following statement on his official Twitter page Sunday evening:
“I hope Sean Lee is ok. I never have intentions on injuring another player. It’s football which means Its physical, dirty hit would be if I went for his head or neck area.”
Well, the NFL saw things differently, fining Tate $21,000 on Wednesday.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong, but only time will tell,” Tate said Monday on Sports Radio KJR in Seattle. “We’ll see what the NFL office says and we’ll go from there.”
Tate also said during the Monday interview that he aimed lower to avoid a helmet-to-helmet collision because he “had no interest in hurting” Lee.
But Tate wasn’t too remorseful when he heard that Lee said the Seattle receiver wouldn’t be celebrating the way he did if the two players met up one-on-one.
“He has his own opinion of what he thinks,” Tate said Monday. “I’d be upset if I was on that highlight, being crushed. But I’m a lover not a fighter so if it came to one-on-one we’ll deal with that whenever that time comes.
“Like I said, I never have any intentions on hurting another player. The way I see it, this is a big fraternity. I was just playing hard and got caught up in the moment. At that point I thought the game could go either way. It was a momentum changer. It sprung us, and that was my only intentions, was putting this offense in better position to score and win the game. And that was an opportunity that I feel like, at the end of the day, any defensive player would be licking their chops to get a hit on a quarterback. So I felt like maybe this is a legal block I was going to get on a defensive player versus them always trying to knock us out.
“So, I wasn’t trying to be vicious at all. But it is what it is.”
INJURY UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys C Phil Costa’s availability for Seattle game in doubt
Phil Costa’s tenuous hold on the starting center position was not strengthened by his latest MRI.
No definitive timeframe has been established for his return. Costa will be considered week to week as he recovers from a lower back strain, leaving his status for next week’s game against Seattle in doubt.
This is the position the Cowboys center was in for the majority of training camp. Costa played only 12 snaps during the pre-season, all of them coming in the finale against Miami. He started against the New York Giants in Wednesday night’s opener but was forced to leave the game after only three snaps because he back tightened up.
Ryan Cook, who joined the Cowboys only five days earlier, played the rest of the game at center.
The Cowboys like Costa. But he is an undersized center with a bad back that has missed the majority of practice time since camp began in late July. Cook must be considered a threat to take his job.
“I don’t want to get into that right now,’’ head coach Jason Garrett during his Thursday press conference. “We want Costa to get back.
“Costa’s been our starting center for a reason. We like him a lot. But at the same time, we want to make sure he’s healthy.’’
It’s unsure how long that will take given the results of the latest MRI.
PRESEASON WEEK THREE: 2012 Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster projection
Here’s the third installment. Will the final, 53-man roster look exactly like this? Probably not. Injuries make this a moving target. But here’s the latest stab on what the roster will look like on opening night.
Tony Romo Kyle Orton
Comment: Can the Cowboys afford to carry a third quarterback with there injury issues at so many other positions? It’s unlikely.
Running backs (4)
DeMarco Murray Felix Jones Lawrence Vickers Lance Dunbar
Comment: Jamize Olawale has made the most of his opportunity with Dunbar and Phillip Tanner out. He’s an intriguing prospect. But Dunbar has looked good in his two days back and intrigued the coaches before Olawale was on the radar screen.
Wide receiver (6)
Diamond Dez Bryant Miles Austin Kevin Ogletree
Andre Holmes Cole Beasley Danny Coale
Comment: Still believe the No. 3 receiver will come off the waiver wire. That will reduce this list by one.
Tight ends (4)
Jason Witten John Phillips James Hanna Andrew Szczerba
Comment: Witten’s injury creates a scenario where the team carries an extra player here for the first week or two of the regular season.
Offensive line (9)
Tyron Smith Doug Free Mackenzy Bernadeau Nate Livings Phil Costa
David Arkin Ronald Leary Jermey Parnell Pat McQuistan
Comment: Going with 10 remains a possibility here.
Defensive line (7)
Jay Ratliff Jason Hatcher Kenyon Coleman Tyrone Crawford Sean Lissemore
Josh Brent Clifton Geathers
Comment: Hard to envision a scenario where Coleman and Marcus Spears both make this group. If the coaches see enough promise in another young player, it’s not out of the question that both are gone.
DeMarcus Ware Anthony Spencer Sean Lee Bruce Carter Dan Connor
Victor Butler Alex Albright Kyle Wilber Adrian Hamilton
Comment: You haven’t heard a lot about Hamilton. But the Cowboys like his upside.
Brandon Carr Morris Claiborne Barry Church Gerald Sensabaugh Orlando Scandrick
Mike Jenkins Mario Butler Matt Johnson Danny McCray
Comment: Butler’s versatility is a big plus here.
Dan Bailey Chris Jones LP Ladouceur
Comment: If the Cowboys want to save money and get younger, Charley Hughlett has a chance
Courtesy: David Moore