Category Archives: Rainer Sabin

‘BOYS BROKEN BRAND: Jason Garrett believes Greg Hardy can become a second-chance success | Troy Aikman advocates action | Moose calls for redemption plan

NFL Draft - Dallas Cowboys draft - Filling the holes in the roster

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BIG D BRINGS BIG DOLLARS: Dallas Cowboys, the NFL’s two billion dollar ‘boys | Texas now has a billion-dollar MLB team | Former Microsoft CEO buys Clippers

Jerry Jones endzone - small - The Boys Are Back blog website 2014

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday (Thursday) that the Los Angeles Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling had stated in a cover letter Tuesday responding to NBA charges that he had “received offers in excess of $2.5 billion” to purchase the team, which would have set a new record in U.S. pro sports.

The reported winning bid for the Clippers is a bit less than the Dallas Cowboys were valued at by Forbes in 2013. The business magazine appraised America’s Team’s value at $2.3 billion in 2013, up $200 million from the previous year, when it became the first American sports franchise to be worth more than $2 billion.


Related …

$2.3 billion Forbes appraisal keeps Dallas Cowboys ranked No. 1 among NFL teams

Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium - Plush lawn - Arlington, TX - 2014

OXNARD, Calif. — Fresh off the announcement that the Dallas Cowboys will build a new headquarters and practice facility in Frisco with the expectation it will open in 2016, Forbes announced that America’s Team is the NFL’s most valuable.

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THE SHADOWS OF VALLEY RANCH: Will McClay has emerged as one of Jerry Jones’ most prominent voices

THE SHADOWS OF VALLEY RANCH - Will McClay has emerged as one of Jerry Jones’ most prominent voices - The Boys Are Back website 2014

Will McClay, the Dallas Cowboys assistant director of player personnel who has recently ascended to one of the top positions in the organization.

As the scope of McClay’s role has increased, so has the intrigue surrounding him. In short time, McClay has become the mythic figure of the Cowboys’ off-season.

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IN CAREER RELAUNCHING MODE: Dallas Cowboys re-sign DE Anthony Spencer to one-year contract | NFL Free Agency 2014

dallas cowboys outside linebacker anthony spencer (93) sacks washington redskins quarterback robert griffin iii - the boys are back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys answered one of their final lingering questions of this offseason this afternoon.

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SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Kony Ealy | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Kony Ealy - NFL Draft 2014

The Dallas Cowboys aim to improve their roster through the draft. With the 16th pick, the team hopes to select a player that will be an immediate contributor and help the Cowboys for years to come. Here is a look at a prospect who may make sense for Dallas:

Kony Ealy | Position: Defensive End | School: Missouri | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 273

What he’s done: Overshadowed by teammate Michael Sam in recent months, Kony Ealy performed well in his final season at Missouri. He was a first-team All-SEC selection after collecting 9 ½  sacks and 14 ½ tackles for loss in 2013. He also led Missouri with 16 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. Ealy opted to forgo his senior season after his strong performance as a junior. At the NFL combine, Ealy didn’t wow scouts or coaches. He completed the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds and did 22 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press. He did produce the best time among defensive ends in the three-cone drill, showing agility.

Why he makes sense for the Cowboys: With the departure of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys are in the market for a defensive end who can be a reliable impact player. George Selvie performed well last season, but it’s not clear yet whether he can sustain that level of productivity. New acquisition Jeremy Mincey, has a similarly spotty track record. With the Cowboys unable to lure Jared Allen to Dallas, they still have a need for a defensive end. Ealy, who proved an able pass rusher in the nation’s toughest conference, may be just what the Dallas Cowboys are looking for as they try to fill the mammoth void left by Ware.


How ‘bout a quick look?

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Kony Ealy - NFL Draft 2014 - making the case Video

Making A Case For Kony Ealy

Join Talkin’ Cowboys as they weight the positives and negatives between two of the top defensive players in the draft. (Watch | Listen)

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER: Jason Garrett on new roles throughout his coaching staff | Stephen Jones on why team retained Bill Callahan

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Jason Garrett on new roles throughout his coaching staff - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Head coach Jason Garrett doesn’t expect discourse among coaches, nor does he worry about having too many voices offensively after the various changes this offseason. 

Garrett spoke at length today (Watch Video | Play Audio) at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine about the new roles throughout his coaching staff, and he said he values the input each coach can bring.

“We feel really good about that,” Garrett said. “We believe in having good coaches. We have a philosophy on offense, we have a philosophy on defense we believe in. We have good coaches to implement that. We expect them all to work together like we have. We emphasize team so much with our players, it’s the same thing with our coaches. If you have the right kind of guys, they will certainly do that.”

Bill Callahan was stripped of the play-calling duties and will move back to his original role with the team, helping out with the offensive game-plan and coaching the offensive line. The Cowboys made room for Scott Linehan, who will call the plays and move into a role similar to Garrett’s before delegating the play-calling duties last year.

Garrett said the circumstances aren’t much different from how the Cowboys or other teams have operated in the past.

“Scott’s role will probably be very similar to the role I had for a number of years – passing game coordinator, play caller, working with the run game coordinator and offensive line coach,” Garrett said. “It’s been Tony Sparano. It’s been Hudson Houck. It’s been Bill Callahan.

“The situation on offense will be probably very similar to the first year Bill Callahan was here. It’s very conventional and something our guys understand.”

Callahan wasn’t let go, despite other teams’ interest in him as an offensive coordinator and play-caller. Garrett said he values what Callahan can bring as a football coach and said he’s as good a coach as he’s been around. Callahan will move back to working more closely with assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack.

Garrett said every decision is made in the best interest of the team and that everyone understands that. Callahan’s coached the offensive line for most of his career, and he thinks that’s a great role for him working alongside assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack.

“We’re going to back to the structure that Bill was comfortable with originally when he was hired,” Garrett said. “That’s just something we all have to embrace. It’s going to take a little time to work through that and that’s what this offseason is for. You work through the things we did well last year, the things we’ve got to improve upon and everybody has their role and the responsibility to embrace it and try to become a really close staff and a really close football team.”

The addition of Linehan gave Garrett a coach he was familiar with from their time together in Miami in 2005. Garrett said he learned a great deal from Linehan during that time and that the two share a similar offensive philosophy. In addition to his role as play-caller and passing game coordinator, Linehan will also be asked to work with Callahan and the rest of the offensive staff in putting the running game and the whole package together in preparation.

“His quarterbacks have always played well,” Garrett said. “He’s had teams where his runners…They’ve been a top five rushing team. He seems to always get a big-play receiver to play very well for him. So we feel like philosophically we are on the same page. We’ve worked together. I understand what he’s trying to get accomplished, how he works day to day, how he calls a game. So for a lot of reasons, we felt this was a really good fit for us.”

It doesn’t sound like the roles will evolve much throughout the year. Garrett said he expects the transition from Monte Kiffin to Rod Marinelli to be a smooth one, given their shared philosophies, and he believes he has the right people in the building on the coaching staff.

“We feel like we have a good idea of what we want to do. we have outlined those by title and by responsibility. We have a clear idea of that. Guys are working together throughout the spring, implementing the plan is an important thing for us. We are in midst of that plan right  now.

Here are some other notes Garrett touched on Thursday in Indianapolis.

  • Garrett still anticipates Tony Romo to be ready for the spring and be involved in “a lot of the stuff we do in the spring with OTAs and on field work.” He said Romo looks good in his rehab.
  • Most of Tony Romo’s energy and attention has gone into rehabbing his back, according to Garrett, but Romo has met with Linehan and had conversations about the season. Linehan’s spending more of his time getting acclimated with the coaches.
  • The future of Jason Hatcher remains in the balance, but Garrett’s not giving up hope in getting the defensive lineman back next year. He praised the work Hatcher did last season and said when NFL free agency starts, he wants the Cowboys to be there for him.
  • Garrett raved about the addition of Mike Pope as the tight ends coach and said he’s as good a coach he’s been around in his career after spending time with him in New York. He also said Jason Witten’s excited about the addition.
  • The head coach reiterated that he was happy with the team’s decision to move back in the first round and believes every one of their 2013 draft picks has a bright future with the team.
  • Linehan also favored the pass in his previous stops, but Garrett said Linehan’s also been around teams that have run well, particularly in Minnesota. He said the offense is stronger up front and the Cowboys have to play to that advantage, giving the team a chance to control the line of scrimmage.


RELATED: Cowboys VP Stephen Jones explains why team retained Bill Callahan

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Stephen Jones on why team retained Bill Callahan - The Boys Are Back website 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — When it was announced that Scott Linehan would be the new offensive play-caller last month, many wondered how Bill Callahan would take the news.

After all, this past season Callahan had handled the role Linehan would now assume. Outsiders saw the move as a demotion, and some wondered why the Cowboys were reluctant to allow Callahan to pursue other opportunities. Requests made by Baltimore and Cleveland to interview Callahan were denied.

“Everybody thinks the world of Bill,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that he gets caught up in the, well, he got something taken away from him or whatever it’s going to be portrayed as. But Bill Callahan is an unbelievable football coach. We just weren’t going to give him up and Jerry [Jones] and I have a great relationship and the coaches have a great relationship with him.

“Everybody wants to go sometimes and try to do what they were doing or whatever. But when we signed him, contracts are two-way streets. They are not just for us to deal with if it doesn’t work out. And Bill is a professional;. Are you kidding me? He is working his butt off. Was he disappointed? Everybody has disappointments. I have had it. I’m sure you have had disappointments. Everybody has them.”

Jones views Callahan as an asset who helped transform the offensive line — the position group he oversees — from a weakness into a strength.

“That offensive line really shaped up and came our way,” he said.

Jones now feels similarly about the staff head coach Jason Garrett has assembled, which now features three men — Garrett, Linehan and Callahan — who have been play-callers in the NFL.

“As I think Jason used the words, I think you have to make sure everybody is in the right seat on the bus to really make the team hum,” Jones said. “I think that’s what we ended up doing. I think we got everyone in the right seat. And obviously added a big one in Linehan. But I really think we have given ourselves, with our staff, a great opportunity to improve.”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Scott Linehan’s offenses

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

Year

Team

Job Title

Run pct.

Rank

Pass pct.

Rank 

2002

Minnesota

OC/QBs

43.8

15

56.2

18

2003

Minnesota

OC/QBs

46.7

12

53.3

21

2004

Minnesota

OC/ QBs

39.3

28

60.7

5

2005

Miami

OC

43.3

19

56.7

14

2006

St. Louis

Head coach

39.8

28

60.2

5

2007

St. Louis

Head coach

39.4

26

60.6

7

2008

St. Louis

Head coach*

42.5

21

57.5 

12

2009

Detroit

OC

39.4

27

60.6

6

2010

Detroit

OC

38.0

28

62.0

5

2011

Detroit

OC

33.6

32

66.4

1

2012

Detroit

OC

33.7

32

66.3

1

2013

Detroit

OC

40.4

19

59.6

14


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linehan hired Garrett 10 hours after meeting him.

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

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

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett teaching in classroom with players

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

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

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

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

NFL PRO SCOUTING REPORT: A closer look at your newest Dallas Cowboy – DT Corvey Irvin | DE Caesar Rayford brought back

2013-2014 ROSTER UPDATE - Meet your newest Dallas Cowboy, DT Corvey Irvin - DE Caesar Rayford brought back

Corvey Irvin   DT, Georgia   6-3   301  4.96 (40 time)

Selected by Carolina Panthers in 3rd round of 2009 NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys have added another defensive tackle to the roster, by signing tackle Corvey Irvin, a former third-round pick of the Panthers in 2009. Former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus checked a few of his recent games this past preseason as a member of the Chicago Bears.

Games Viewed: Chicago Bears (Preseason 2013) vs. Carolina & San Diego

  • Played both as a one and three technique in a 4 – 3 scheme, would say that he is better suited to play as the three.
  • Really nice initial quickness off the snap but needs to win on that first move.
  • Tends to play high and upright, when he gives up his chest, he struggles to get off the block.
  • When he is free, can get up the field and make things happen, keeps moving and working, did a nice job of working down the line.
  • Thought he was a bit hit-and-miss when it came to finding the ball, there were times where he was too tied up with blocker and by him.
  • Better when he was on the move, twist, slant, will use pass rush moves to try and free himself, will even try to spin, active here.
  • Thought he was much better as a pass rusher than he was as a run player, times where he got too high and washed on the play.
  • Needs to do a better job of using his hands when it comes to getting off blocks when playing against the run, again needs to win on that first move.
  • Fits the scheme because of his ability to quickly get off the ball, attacking the blocker, but needs to play with better stoutness.


ROSTER RELATED: Cowboys bring back DE Caesar Rayford to practice squad

The Dallas Cowboys added 6’ 7” defensive end Caesar Rayford to the practice squad today. Rayford was cut from the active roster Tuesday to make room for DT Corvey Irvin.

He had originally been acquired Sept. 3 in a trade with Indianapolis. The Dallas Cowboys sent a 2015 conditional pick to the Colts in exchange for him. Rayford appeared in seven games, playing 147 snaps. He made six tackles and contributed one quarterback pressure.

SCHOOLED IN THE BIG EASY: Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath wants to redeem himself after bad Saints game

SCHOOLED IN THE BIG EASY - Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath determined to redeem himself after bad Saints game

IRVING — The guys at Pro Football Focus analyzed the tape. And in the end, Jeff Heath’s performance in the Dallas Cowboys blowout loss to New Orleans was as ugly as everybody thought it was after witnessing it. In Week 10, Heath turned in the second-worst game among NFL safeties, according to the website.

“I did have a few bad plays,” said Heath, an undrafted rookie from Saginaw Valley State. “I had a couple of good plays as well. Sometimes, when you have bad plays, those good plays go unnoticed by everyone. But I learned a lot from the film.”

As he reviewed the game he saw that he missed four tackles and allowed five of the six passes thrown his way to be completed for 104 yards and three touchdowns. In other words, Drew Brees produced a perfect passer rating while targeting Heath.

“There were some things in that ballgame and other games that he obviously has to get better at,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “Some of those are the result of him not being in those situations before. Hopefully, he’ll learn from them. There have been some plays down the field where he hasn’t made them a few times in the last few weeks. He’s got to do a better job of that.

“He didn’t tackle as well in this game. He’s tackled very well, both as a team’s player and when playing safety. He didn’t tackle quite as well in this ballgame and we’ll look at the reasons why and hopefully he can learn from the experience.”

Heath, though, may not get the chance to redeem himself as a starter. The Cowboys brought in several safeties for a workout, including Irving native Michael Huff.

“It’s never as bad as you think. It’s never as good as you think,” Heath said. “It’s all fixable, coachable things. I’ve just got to work hard and improve in those areas.”

HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUP: Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints in 2013-2014 Game 10

image

The Dallas Cowboys got past the hapless Minnesota Vikings last Sunday at home. Now they face a powerful New Orleans team on the road. The subplots in this game are intriguing, particularly the matchup between Dallas’ offense and ex-Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan’s Saints defense. Ryan figures to want this victory badly after he was canned last January. But even if quarterback Tony Romo gets the better of Ryan’s bunch the Saints’ potent passing game may be too much for Dallas to handle. Here is a look at how the Cowboys and Saints match up:

When the Cowboys run

DeMarco Murray returned last Sunday in the Cowboys’ victory over Minnesota. But his contribution was minimal as Dallas ran the ball only nine times. It was the lowest number of rush attempts in franchise history. The Cowboys don’t have a fearsome ground attack and don’t seem eager to develop one. The Saints may be giving up 4.95 yards per carry – the second-highest average in the NFL – but will the Cowboys try to take advantage of their weak run defense?

Edge: Saints

When the Cowboys pass

In the last four games, Tony Romo has completed only 59.5 percent of attempts while throwing seven touchdown passes and four interceptions. The Cowboys’ air attack hasn’t looked nearly as proficient as it did in an October loss to Denver, when Romo was at his best. Now they face the Saints, whose pass defense has experienced dramatic improvement under the supervision of ex-Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan and is allowing 211.9 yards per game.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Saints run

Much like the Cowboys, the Saints treat their ground game like an accessory. They’ve run the ball 191 times – eight more than the Cowboys have. And they average only 79.8 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys, who allowed their first 100-yard rusher this season last Sunday, should be able to limit New Orleans when it goes away from their passing game.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Saints pass

Four different quarterbacks have thrown for more than 400 yards against the Cowboys this season. Drew Brees could be the fifth. The Saints have a dynamic passing attack. Their contingent of receivers is a handful. So is tight end Jimmy Graham, who has already caught 10 touchdown passes this season. The Cowboys don’t figure to be able to stop the Saints, who are averaging 317.6 yards per game through the air – the third-highest average in the NFL.

Edge: Saints

Special teams

Dan Bailey continues to perform at a high level. The third-year veteran has made his last nine field-goal attempts, including two from beyond 50 yards. Bailey’s steady performance has helped the Cowboys as they’ve played in one close game after the other. Bailey’s counterpart, Southlake Carroll product Garrett Hartley, hasn’t been nearly as consistent. He’s converted only 76.2 of his tries – the sixth-worst average in the NFL.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

Rob Ryan will be out for revenge. The Cowboys’ former defensive coordinator, who was fired in January, will want to shut down Dallas in a game that will be played in front of a national television audience. Perhaps no person on the field or the sidelines will be more motivated than Ryan, who will feed off the energy supplied by the boisterous crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Cowboys will face perhaps the toughest road test of the season.

Edge: Saints

NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings vs Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys 2013-2014 schedule - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys - NFL helmets - Button

Following a crushing defeat to Detroit, the Cowboys return home to face Minnesota on Sunday. The Vikings are bad. They are 1-6, having been victimized by poor quarterback play and a porous pass defense. Not even Adrian Peterson, the league’s best running back, has been able to put a charge in the listless Vikings. As a result, Vegas has the 4-4 Cowboys as 10 ½-point favorites in this game. Dallas can’t afford to lose this with a game against New Orleans looming. Here is a look at how the Cowboys and Vikings match up:

When the Cowboys run

DeMarco Murray appears ready to return to action. He’s listed as probable. But at this point it’s hard to invest any faith in the Cowboys’ running game. Dallas produced only 62 rushing yards last week in a loss to Detroit, a team that was surrendering the highest average yards per carry before Week 7. The Cowboys feature the sixth-worst ground attack in the NFL and the loss of guard Brian Waters won’t help their effort to improve.

Edge: Vikings

When the Cowboys pass

Since throwing for 506 yards against Denver, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has played average football. In the last three games, he has completed just 56.1 percent of his attempts and posted a 79.7 passer rating. The Cowboys need better production out of Romo and they could get it this week against a Minnesota defense giving up an average of 287.9 yards per game through the air.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Vikings run

The Vikings have Adrian Peterson, one of the best runners the NFL has ever seen. But the Vikings’ ground attack is producing 103.3 yards per game, the 18th-highest average in the league. Early deficits and the absence of a legitimate passing game have conspired against Peterson, who is still the fifth-leading rusher in the NFL. This will be a tough test for the Cowboys after Detroit averaged 4.9 yards per carry against Dallas last Sunday.

Edge: Vikings

When the Vikings pass

No team this season has given up more yards through the air than the Cowboys. But they should be able to limit Minnesota’s unimpressive passing offense. Christian Ponder, who will start Sunday, has been unimpressive, throwing two touchdown passes and five interceptions this season. While the Vikings feature a playmaking receiver, Greg Jennings, they don’t pose the type of threat that Denver, Detroit, San Diego and the New York Giants do. All of those teams roasted the Cowboys. It’s not expected Minnesota will do the same.

Edge: Cowboys

Special teams

The battle that could develop between Dwayne Harris and Cordarrelle Patterson could be an interesting one. Patterson, a rookie, has become one of the most dynamic specialists in the game. This season, he’s scored twice on kick returns, including one of 109 yards that resulted in a touchdown last week against Green Bay. Harris, meanwhile, is second in the league in kick return average, just behind Patterson. But unlike Patterson he’s one of the NFL’s best punt returners, too.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

The Cowboys suffered a crushing defeat last Sunday and it’s uncertain if the team has gotten over it. Now they face the Vikings, who have won seven of the last eight games they’ve played against Dallas. While Minnesota is 1-6 this season, the Vikings still have Adrian Peterson, the Texas native who should be motivated in his return to his home state. He could do damage to a Dallas team still smarting from its loss to Detroit.

Edge: Vikings

 


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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on network TV, tune to:

KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas | KMSP-TV/FOX 9 Minneapolis

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Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)

Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX

Watch on TV: Local FOX affiliate | DirecTV

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NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions

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After victories over Washington and Philadelphia in consecutive games, the Dallas Cowboys head to Detroit alone in first place in the NFC East. A victory over the Lions on Sunday will give Dallas its first winning record at the midpoint of the season since 2009, which also happens to be the last time the Cowboys made a run to the playoffs. This game will be appointment viewing because of the receiver battle that will take place between Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Dallas’ Dez Bryant. Here is a look at how both teams match up:

When the Cowboys run

It’s been a long time since the Cowboys have had a reliable rushing offense. Lineup changes and a wavering commitment to the run have prevented Dallas from consistently producing yards on the ground. The knee injury suffered by DeMarco Murray and the promotion of rookie Joseph Randle to a starting role hasn’t helped. But Murray, who is listed as questionable, could be back. And if he is he will face a Detroit defense allowing 5.13 yards per carry, the highest average in the NFL.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Cowboys pass

Since throwing for 506 yards against Denver, Tony Romo’s combined output in victories over Philadelphia and Washington has fallen short of that single-game total. But if he can stay upright against Detroit’s strong front, he should be able to pick apart the Lions’ pass defense that is surrendering 282 yards per game, the fifth-highest average in the NFL.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Lions run

Reggie Bush was one of the key acquisitions the Lions made this off-season. But the running back has rushed for more than 100 yards in game just once in 2013. Injuries along the offensive line and the Lions’ pass-heavy philosophy have hindered Detroit’s ground game. The Lions will have their work cut out for them if the Dallas Cowboys’ defense can duplicate their performance against Philadelphia, when it held the Eagles’ potent rushing attack to 84 yards on the ground.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Lions pass

Through Week 7, no player had attempted more passes this season than Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Highland Park (Dallas) alum has thrown for 2,129 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has also been sacked only nine times. The Lions will move the ball through the air. After all, they have the league’s premier receiver, Calvin Johnson. The Dallas Cowboys’ defense, which has looked shaky against accomplished passers, will be challenged to stop Stafford and his favorite target.

Edge: Lions


Special teams

Dwayne Harris has established himself as one of the premier returners in the NFL this season. He is second in the league in both punt and kick return average. Harris is a weapon and he gives the Dallas Cowboys an advantage against the Lions, who haven’t given up much yardage when they’ve had to punt. In a game in which kickers Dan Bailey and David Akers are evenly matched, Harris may make the difference on special teams.

Edge: Cowboys


Intangibles

The Dallas Cowboys are riding high after defeating two divisional opponents in consecutive weeks. Another victory this weekend will ensure Dallas a winning record in the first half of the season. The Cowboys can make a statement if they go on the road and beat Detroit, a quality team with a potent passing attack. Dallas will be motivated to get the job done.

Edge: Cowboys

 


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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on network TV, tune to:

KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas | WJBK-TV/FOX 2 Detroit

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Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, October 27th, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)

Where: Ford Field | Detroit, MI

Watch on TV: Local FOX affiliate | DirecTV

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NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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When the dust settles this afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, one team will have sole possession of first place in the NFC East and an undefeated record in the division. Will it be the Cowboys or Eagles? Dallas heads into this high-stakes game aiming to slow down the Eagles’ potent offense, which is averaging more points than all but one team. If the Cowboys can do that, they’ll stand a good chance of prevailing because Tony Romo and Co. are capable of shredding the Eagles’ vulnerable secondary. Here is a look at how both teams match up:

When the Cowboys run

DeMarco Murray is injured again and he’s listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report. He’s dealing with a sprained MCL in his left knee. And his backup Lance Dunbar won’t play because of a strained right hamstring. The Cowboys are expected to turn to rookie Joseph Randle, who gained 17 yards on 11 carries in a 31-16 victory over Washington. But Dallas, which is averaging 84.8 rushing yards per game, isn’t expected to feature Randle in a potential shootout.

Edge: Eagles

When the Cowboys pass

Against Washington, Tony Romo had his worst performance this season from a statistical standpoint. Not surprisingly the Cowboys’ offense sputtered at times against the Redskins. But Romo should get back on track against the Eagles, who are allowing 314.5 passing yards, the second-highest average in the NFL. Expect Cowboys receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams to take advantage of Philadelphia’s mediocre secondary.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Eagles run

Before Chip Kelly arrived as head coach, Philadelphia already had the necessary components for a formidable rushing attack. So it’s no surprise Kelly has taken those pieces and made them better. Led by running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles own the league’s best ground offense, averaging 178.5 yards per game. The Cowboys, who allowed 216 rushing yards to Washington last Sunday, will be challenged to stop them.

Edge: Eagles

When the Eagles pass

Quarterback Nick Foles is expected to be behind center for the second consecutive game as Michael Vick continues to recover from a pulled hamstring. Last Sunday, in a victory over Tampa Bay, Foles threw for 296 yards and made a case for remaining the starter. The Cowboys, who are ranked 30th against the pass and have a depleted defensive line, will face a tough task trying to stop receiver DeSean Jackson if they can’t pressure Foles.

Edge: Eagles

Special teams

Dwayne Harris has emerged as quite the special teams weapon for the Cowboys. Against the Redskins, he accumulated 222 return yards and ran a punt back for a touchdown. Now Harris faces the Eagles, a team he victimized last season. In a November 2012 victory over Philadelphia, Harris returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles’ Donnie Jones, whose net punting average of 37.7 yards is 26th best in the NFL, won’t want to give Harris many opportunities to strike.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

When Eagles coach Chip Kelly and Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin last faced each other, the offensive wizard won. Kelly’s Oregon team racked up 730 yards in a 62-51 victory over Kiffin’s USC Trojans. That kind of dominance has to inject Kelly with optimism at the same time it raises doubt among Kiffin and his players heading into Sunday. That may give Philadelphia an edge at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles have lost their last eight games.

Edge: Eagles

 


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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on TV, tune to:

KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas | WTXF-TV/FOX 29 Philadelphia

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Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, October 20th, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)

Where: Lincoln Financial Field | Philadelphia, PA

Watch on TV: Local FOX affiliate | DirecTV

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SOUVENIR ROCK SIGNED: Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle asks Travis Frederick to sign touchdown ball

SOUVENIR ROCK SIGNED - Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle asks Travis Frederick to sign first touchdown ball

ARLINGTON — At Joseph Randle’s locker, where he was surrounded by reporters, a football was tucked in his stall. It was a little memento from the first touchdown he scored in the same game he got his first NFL carry.

“That’s the rock, right there,” he said. “I’ve got to keep that one.”

Of course, Randle’s 1-yard dive into the end zone during the fourth quarter of Dallas’ 31-16 victory didn’t come without assistance. Randle, while in a crowd of Redskins defenders, was pushed across the goal line by rookie center Travis Frederick (photo below). As a way of acknowledging Frederick’s contribution, Randle asked Frederick to autograph the football that is now his souvenir.

SOUVENIR ROCK SIGNED - Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle asks Travis Frederick to sign touchdown ball - Frederick pushing Randle into endzone to score

“I told Travis to sign it for me,” said Randle, who finished with 17 yards and the touchdown. “But he was like, ‘Nah, I can’t do that. I can’t sign your ball.’”

Randle laughed along with the reporters near him. He seemed surprised by the attention he received.

“We wanted to see him play in a real game, get him a couple of snaps,” Dallas Cowboys running back coach Gary Brown said. “And he responded well…I’m looking forward to seeing him practice some more.”

Randle, meanwhile, will savor his first touchdown, and that rock, as long as he can.

NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

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After a crushing loss to Denver in which their offense played spectacularly, the Dallas Cowboys must regroup as they prepare to face division rival Washington tonight. The Redskins beat Dallas twice last season and could win three straight games against the Cowboys first time since the late-1980s. Washington, at 1-3, hasn’t looked nearly as formidable as it did in 2012 after it beat out the Cowboys for the NFC East title. But a bye week before this game could help the Redskins and their quarterback Robert Griffin III as he continues to recover from reconstructive knee surgery. Here is a look at how both teams match up:

When the Cowboys run

Three of the Cowboys’ five games have been decided by a total of nine points. Yet Dallas has run the ball only 33.9 percent of the time. Dallas has repeatedly shown it isn’t willing to make a strong commitment to its ground game. Last Sunday, the Cowboys had only 14 rush attempts and tailback DeMarco Murray has been a non-factor since he gained 175 yards against St. Louis last month. This would be the week to run the ball, however. Washington is allowing 142.3 rushing yards per game – the second-highest average in the NFL.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Cowboys pass

Regardless of how Tony Romo’s performance ended Sunday, he showed he can be one of the best passers in the league with a 506-yard, five-touchdown effort. Dallas’ air attack looked explosive in the 51-48 loss to Denver as Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten each posted impressive stat lines. Romo and Co. should do well again this week against Washington’s defense, which is allowing an average of 298.3 passing yards per game. Only four teams are conceding more.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Redskins run

What happened to Washington’s running game? That’s a question being asked inside the Beltway. The Redskins’ rushing offense, which led the league in 2012, is ranked 17th. The limitations of Robert Griffin III after knee surgery and early deficits have conspired to weaken one of the Redskins’ strengths. A bye week may have given Washington a chance to sort things out against a Cowboys defense that yielded 200 yards to running back Alfred Morris in a December loss last year.

Edge: Redskins

When the Redskins pass

Robert Griffin III remains the centerpiece of Washington’s offense. But the quarterback is much more likely to attack defenses through the air than on the ground. The Redskins are averaging 284.8 passing yards per game, the eighth-highest average in the NFL, despite having only one receiver – Pierre Garcon — among the top 50 in catches. The Cowboys, who allowed at least 400 passing yards in three games this season, will be tested again.

Edge: Redskins

Special teams

Kai Forbath has experienced more disappointment than excitement since he burst on the scene in 2012 and led the NFL in field goal percentage. Because of a groin injury, Forbath hasn’t played since the opener, when he missed a 40-yard attempt. He expects to be back on the field Sunday. He will be matched up against his old teammate, Dan Bailey, who has made 9 of 11 field goal tries this season.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

The two losses to the Redskins the Cowboys suffered were arguably the most gut-wrenching defeats Dallas endured last season. Rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris tore up the Cowboys’ defense, prompting Dallas to make changes in the off-season to stop them. But until they prove they can, Griffin, Morris and the Redskins will have the mental edge in this age-old rivalry.

Edge: Redskins

 


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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on TV, tune to:

KXAS-TV/NBC 5 Dallas-Ft. Worth | WRC-TV/NBC 4 Washington, DC

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Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, October 13th, 2013 at 7:30 (Dallas time)

Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX

Watch on TV: Local NBC affiliate | DirecTV

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DOUBLE DOWN ON DEZ: Jones’ agree on Bryant’s ability to beat coverages

Dez Bryant has been targeted 36 times, more than any Dallas Cowboys player this season. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen, the team’s executive vice president, believe Bryant should get more opportunities even when he’s covered by more than one defender.

“I do think sometimes he’s going to win the battle even if he’s doubled,” Stephen Jones said Monday on KRLD-FM. “He deserves those shots.”

His father echoed thoughts on Tuesday during his KRLD-FM radio segment.

“He can make that catch with two people on him,” Jerry Jones said.

As for Bryant, he professes he doesn’t care about the number of chances he gets each week.

“It’s not about me,” said Bryant, who has made 23 catches for 282 yards and four touchdowns. “We got too much talent on this team. That’s the great thing about it. Everybody can make a play.”

Editors comment: Defenders paranoia over Dez Bryant’s playmaking ability should be tested occasionally. That type of mental pressure could lead to one or two DPI (defensive pass interference) calls … which is as good as a catch! If the flag is thrown, the only thing it risks is the RAC (run, after catch) factor. If the result is an INT, it’s generally in the range of punt/kickoff territory … which is manageable. Not suggesting that Dallas forces the issue constantly, but it should be tested at opportune or strategic moments. The advantages of a run game threat can be duplicated with a Deep to Dez threat. Keep these defenses off balance and guessing! The Jones’ are right … Dez can win those match-ups … if it’s timed properly and the ball is thrown accurately.

NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. San Diego Chargers

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After a convincing victory over St. Louis at home, the Cowboys head to San Diego to face the Chargers with designs on improving their record to 3-1 for the first time since 2008. Dallas will hope to take advantage of the Chargers’ weak pass defense and beat-up offensive line. Here is a look at how both teams match up:

When the Cowboys run

Before DeMarco Murray rushed for 175 yards – the second-highest total of his career – the Cowboys spent the previous week fending off criticism of their woeful ground attack. Now that it appears their running game has been resuscitated, the Cowboys have to prove their performance in their 31-7 victory over St. Louis wasn’t a fluke. They’ll have a good chance to do that against the Chargers, who are yielding 130 rushing yards per game – the fifth-highest average in the NFL.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Cowboys pass

It seems to have gone largely unnoticed, but Tony Romo is off to a nice start in 2013. Only Peyton Manning has completed a higher percentage of his pass attempts than Romo, who also has thrown one interception. Romo was particularly effective in a 31-7 victory over St. Louis last Sunday, contributing three touchdown passes. The Chargers have conceded 340.7 passing yards per game – the highest average in the league. They have also allowed 16 completions of 20 yards or more.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Chargers run

San Diego’s rushing attack hasn’t been great. The Chargers have gained 102.7 yards per game on the ground – an average that is 18th-best in the NFL. But they have had only four negative running plays – the lowest total in the league. That bodes well for the Chargers against a Dallas defense that has yielded 199 rushing yards – the second-fewest in the NFL this season. Whether San Diego can get any big gains out of its running game remains in doubt. So far, they’ve produced only one carry of 20 yards or more.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Chargers pass

Philip Rivers has looked great the first three weeks of the season. He has avoided the costly mistakes that bit him in years past, throwing eight touchdown passes and only one interception. He’s also completed 70 percent of his passes. Rivers is only as good as his protection is. And the Chargers’ line will have its work cut out against a Cowboys defense that has produced 13 sacks – the second-highest total in the NFL this season.

Edge: Chargers

Special teams

The Cowboys’ special teams reverted to the poor form they showed in the preseason last Sunday in their victory over St. Louis. Dwayne Harris fumbled away a punt and Dan Bailey missed a 35-yard field goal. The coach who presides over these players, Rich Bisaccia, returns to San Diego, where he worked the previous two seasons. He’ll want the Cowboys to have a better showing than the one they had against the Rams. They may be able to take advantage of the Chargers’ Nick Novak, who has produced only one touchback in 17 kickoffs.

Edge: Chargers

Intangibles

The Cowboys seems to like Southern California. It’s a place where they have trained in the preseason. And it’s also one where they’ve won. In San Diego, Dallas is 4-1. In fact the Cowboys haven’t lost there since November 1983. It’s a surprising fact considering the Chargers have the 11th-highest home winning percentage since 2000. But the Cowboys appear to be comfortable in San Diego.

Edge: Cowboys


GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network - 105_3 The Fan KRLD

Click HERE. Don’t live in the Dallas area? Click HERE.

Also on XM/Sirius 85, 137

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on TV, tune to:

KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas | KSWB-TV/FOX 19 San Diego

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Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, September 29nd, 2013 at 3:25 (Dallas time)

Where: Qualcomm Stadium San Diego, CA

Watch on TV: FOX and DIRECTV: 709

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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Cowboys vs. Chargers pregame/postgame shows

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NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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After a strong performance in their victory over the New York Giants in the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys head to Kansas City.

Defensive end Anthony Spencer is expected to play. So too is newly-acquired guard Brian Waters. They should help a Cowboys team that will look to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Here is a look at the Cowboys’ keys to victory in their game against the Chiefs:

Protect Romo

Jason Garrett lauded the offensive line’s pass protection the Cowboys’ victory over the Giants last Sunday. But Tony Romo was still sacked twice and hit so hard he suffered bruised ribs that seemed to affect his performance in the second half. Considering Romo will be only seven days removed from the injury, shielding him from further harm is a priority. The Cowboys depend on Romo. He’s their biggest asset and Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, one of the better pass rushers in the NFL, will be hunting him.

Pressure but don’t blitz

The player with the second-best passer rating last season in the face of blitzes wasn’t Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or even Aaron Rodgers. It was Alex Smith, the Chiefs quarterback who started nine games for San Francisco in 2012. When teams sent at least one extra defender to harass him, Smith completed 50 of 69 attempts for 611 yards and seven touchdowns against only one interception. Only Washington’s Robert Griffin III fared better than Smith when the pressure was cranked up. Smith, who is mobile, must be contained. But he has shown he can beat the blitz.

Contain Jamaal Charles

Kansas City coach Andy Reid has a reputation as a quarterback guru. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to run the ball. In 2011, when he was running the show in Philadelphia, the Eagles were fifth in rushing as Reid leaned heavily on LeSean McCoy. It can be argued that Charles is an even more dynamic running back than McCoy is. If the Cowboys can limit Charles, they know they can stymie Reid’s West Coast offense.

Create Takeaways

The Cowboys defensive coaches were beaming after their victory over the New York Giants. From the moment off-season practices began they had been preaching the importance of making interceptions and retrieving fumbles. So what did the Cowboys do? They forced six turnovers, five on defense. Still, the Cowboys beat the Giants by less than a touchdown, and that margin of victory shows how important those takeaways were. The Cowboys need more of them to show their turnover bonanza wasn’t a fluke.


GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards

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When: Sunday, September 15th, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)

Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Watch on TV: FOX; check local listings

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GAMEDAY MATCHUP: Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs

GAMEDAY MATCHUP - Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs - Arrowhead Stadium

After a strong performance in their victory over the New York Giants in the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys head to Kansas City.

Defensive end Anthony Spencer is expected to play. So too is newly-acquired guard Brian Waters. They should help a Cowboys team that will look to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Here is a look at how the Cowboys and Chiefs match up:

When the Cowboys run

The Cowboys’ commitment to their ground game remains in question after they attempted 49 passes and only 23 runs in a 36-31 victory over the New York Giants last Sunday. But at least there seemed to be signs of improvement from last season. DeMarco Murray rushed for 86 yards – a higher total than he produced in all but two games in 2012. Murray will be challenged by the Chiefs, who had three linebackers – Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston – selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

Edge: Chiefs

When the Cowboys pass

Tony Romo’s condition is a concern after he suffered bruised ribs in Dallas’ victory over the Giants last Sunday. Romo, after all, remains the engine of the offense. He threw 49 times against the Giants, accounting for 263 passing yards and two touchdowns. Jason Witten and Miles Austin thrived, making a combined total of 18 catches. But Dez Bryant was held in check and he is dealing with a sprained left foot. Now he’ll face a Chiefs defense that surrendered the fewest passing yards – 107– of any NFL team in Week 1.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Chiefs run

Kansas City received a bit of a scare when Jamaal Charles suffered a bruised quadriceps last Sunday in the Chiefs’ 28-2 victory over Jacksonville. But Charles is expected to play and that is good news for Kansas City. Charles, a two-time Pro Bowler, has three 1,000-yard rushing seasons since being drafted out of Texas in 2008. Dallas, which allowed only 50 rushing yards against the Giants’ weak backfield, will face a stiffer test Sunday.

Edge: Chiefs

When the Chiefs pass

Quarterback Alex Smith’s debut with the Chiefs wasn’t spectacular. But it was efficient as he completed 21 of 34 pass attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Smith did a good job of distributing the ball as nine different Chiefs players made receptions. The Cowboys, who yielded 450 passing yards to Eli Manning but made three interceptions, hope to be stingier than they were against the Giants but just as opportunistic as they were last Sunday.

Edge: Cowboys

Special teams

The Cowboys’ special teams looked much better than they did in the preseason. They recovered a fumble on a punt and Dan Bailey made each of his three field goal attempts. That’s no surprise for Bailey, who was the second-most accurate kicker in the NFL last season. Ryan Succop, Bailey’s counterpart on the Chiefs, wasn’t nearly as good, making only 82.4 percent of his tries in 2012. Of course the Chiefs have Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, who surprisingly has the worst net average in the NFL through one week.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

Much is made of the supposed home-field advantage Kansas City’s crowd creates for the Chiefs. Arrowhead is regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. But visiting teams have had success there. Since 2000, the Chiefs are 54-50 at Arrowhead. Twenty teams, including the Cowboys, have better winning percentages on their home field during the same period. Dallas, which is 2-2 against the Chiefs at Kansas City, shouldn’t be intimidated.

Edge: Cowboys

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’: Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’ - Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce 

ARLINGTON – Jerry Jones will outlive us all. Some wonder if Jerry Jones is slowing down. He’s 70 years old. But the Dallas Cowboys owner insists he is as mentally sharp as he was when he bought the team in 1989.

This has always been a working theory around these parts, admittedly rooted in a gut feeling rather than tangible medical evidence.

stephen jones and jerry jones - the boys are back blog

But now … now we have something to work off. The Dallas Cowboys owner received some very unusual news during a recent visit to the doctor. He shared said unusual news with the media.

The doctor convinced him he has the perspicacity of someone nearly half his age.

“I’ve been told that I have, by CAT Scans, that it’s like the brain of a 40-year-old,” Jones crowed. “…The guy really did not know it was me. I was there anonymously. He said, ‘And so I just wanted to come down. I saw your chart. I know how old you are. That part is really impressive.’”

Jones remains confident in his abilities to manage the organization and earn another Super Bowl title.

“I know more about what I’m doing than hopefully I did 25 years ago,” he said, referring to the time he entered the NFL as an owner.

Jones’ comments came, of course, one day after his son, Stephen, the team’s executive vice president, declared, “We’re convinced we’ve got the secret sauce to put this thing back together again and win championships.” (see below)

By promoting Jerry’s 40-year-old brain and Stephen’s secret sauce this week, the Jones Family seems to think the Dallas Cowboys have what it takes to return to glory.

RELATED: Stephen Jones says Cowboys have the ‘secret sauce’ to win championships again

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’ - Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce - Stephen Jones and Jerry Jones

IRVING — What’s going to make the Cowboys better than 8-8 this year? The “secret sauce,” says executive vice president Stephen Jones.

Answering a question from reporters about whether his father, owner Jerry Jones, hears criticism, Stephen said it is motivation.

“Obviously we feel like we have a great organization in the Cowboys, but we can always be better. We look for ways to be better,” Stephen said. “We do that both on the field and off the field. We’re convinced we’ve got the quote-unquote ‘secret sauce’ to ultimately put this thing back together again and win championships.”

The sauce includes making the playoffs, and Stephen was asked if the Cowboys’ record will be better than 8-8.

“We certainly expect it to be,” he said. “We want people to be accountable. Our commitment when we started was no more 8-8s. I think we’ve got good personnel. I think we’ve got a great staff. I think we can do that. We need to stay healthy. We need to stay focused. We need to get better every day. And I think we’ll be better than 8-8.”

Stephen said his father still has a drive to work and succeed, even at age 70.

“You don’t run across many people like him that are driven to be successful, not only in business, but I think he’s equally driven for the Cowboys to win championships,” Stephen said. “We’ve won them. He certainly doesn’t want to think we’re through winning them. I don’t think we’re through winning them. … I think it’s still out there for us to go get. We just have to keep working hard and keep holding everyone accountable to one another. I think good things will come.”

UPDATE: Dallas County judge declines revoking bond for Josh Brent after ‘reports’ of alcohol use

Josh Brent with his attorney at a May 24, 2013 hearing - Ron Baselice DMN Staff Photographer - The Boys Are Back blog

A Dallas County judge this morning decided to not revoke or increase the bond for Dallas Cowboys lineman Josh Brent after he was called into a hearing to answer allegations of repeatedly violating the terms of his bail.

As part of his release, Brent was ordered to wear a SCRAM ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol levels and ordered to maintain a curfew. The hearing included testimony from a bond supervisor, the CEO of Brent’s rehab center and a SCRAM device supervisor, who said Brent hasn’t logged his data 22 times, which makes monitoring difficult, but there were no signs of alcohol being detected or the device being tampered with.

As part of a new arrangement, the ankle monitor worn by Brent will randomly sample for alcohol and will also take a picture of his environment at the sampling time.

Follow Selwyn Crawford’s tweets from the hearing below:

.

Tweets

24 May

Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford

Josh Bret’s bond not increased. He is not jailed.

24 May

Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford

On cross examination, SCRAM supervisor said “there’s nothing” to indicate josh Brent consumed alcohol.

24 May

Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford

SCRAM device supervisor testified that #joshbrent failed to download necessary info to device “22 times,” making monitoring difficult.

24 May

Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford

SCRAM supervisor said he doesn’t believe @dallascowboys #joshbrent consumed alcohol.

24 May

Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford

Report shows no alcohol or tampering detected by SCRAM alcohol monitoring advice on #joshbrent.

24 May

Selwyn Crawford @DMNSCrawford

Josh Brent’s bond supervisor acknowledges handling off case by Dallas Co. DA’s office is “unusual.”

.

Original report: Dallas Cowboys lineman Joshua Brent could be in trouble again. The Dallas County District Attorney’s office has filed a motion to revoke Brent’s bond on intoxication manslaughter charges, alleging that Brent violated his bond by either drinking alcohol or being around it.

Brent, 25, was indicted for a December drinking and driving one-car crash in Irving that left his best friend and fellow Cowboy, Jerry Brown Jr., dead. Brent, who was driving the car and had a reported blood alcohol level of .18 — more than twice the legal driving limit of .08 — was placed on $100,000 bond. He was also ordered not to drink or be around alcohol. A so-called SCRAM monitor measures whether Brent has been exposed to alcohol.

Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Heath Harris on Thursday told Jennifer Emily, courthouse reporter for The Dallas Morning News, that the device shows that Brent has either been drinking alcohol or has been around it.

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at the Dallas County Criminal Courts building. Harris said that Brent will be brought before a judge who will either warn him or revoke his bond. Harris told Emily that Brent has already been reprimanded once for violating the terms of his bond.

Regardless of what happens Friday, Harris said that the district attorney’s office hopes to move forward with Brent’s case soon.

“We want to get that case tried” Harris said.

Continue reading →

RAVE REVIEWS: Former Cowboys DE Marcus Spears lands in Baltimore (Special Feature)

Numbers Can’t Define Marcus Spears Worth - The Boys Are Back blog

Marcus Spears wasn’t out of work for long. The defensive end, who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, announced Friday on Twitter he is now a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

The contract Spears finalized with the reigning Super Bowl champions, a two-year, $3.55 million deal, was reported by multiple outlets.

Spears, 30, was one of the Cowboys’ longest tenured players. He was set to make $2 million in base salary this season and count $2.7 million against Dallas’ salary cap.

The Cowboys will designate Spears as a post-June 1 cut, meaning they can spread the $2.1 of dead money — a total equivalent to the guaranteed bonus remaining on his contract — over the next two years. The savings, $2 million this year, won’t be credited until after that date, and as a result the Cowboys are still roughly $175,000 below the payroll ceiling set by the NFL.

Selected in the first round of the 2005 draft with the 20th overall pick, Spears became a fixture in the Cowboys’ defensive line. He started 89 games with Dallas and recorded 10 sacks, 50 quarterback pressures, and 19 tackles for loss. In 2011, he signed a five-year, $19.2 million contract. But soon thereafter he was demoted and used mostly as a reserve.

Eventually Spears, who started only six games last season, became expendable when the Cowboys hired Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator in January and decided to switch to a 4-3 scheme. Once picked by former coach Bill Parcells to be one of the linchpins in the team’s 3-4 system, Spears now didn’t have a role that suited him.

In Baltimore, where the defending Super Bowl champions predominantly deploy a three-man front, he should find fit in more comfortably.

RELATED: Spagnola – Numbers can’t define Marcus Spears worth

player spotlight - dallas cowboys de marcus spears - the boys are back blog

IRVING, Texas – This one has to hurt, at least emotionally.

From Day 1, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has preached the importance of building your team with “the right kinds of guys,” meaning guys with high character, guys who love to play football, guys who understand the importance of team.

So for sure, releasing eight-year veteran Marcus Spears on Wednesday just had to strike at his core beliefs.

Continue reading →

GIANT LEAP: Former Cowboys LB Dan Connor agrees to deal with NFC East rival

dallas cowboys linebacker dan connor (52) stops a touchdown attempt by cleveland browns running back trent richardson - the boys are back blog

Cut by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Dan Connor has latched on with one of Dallas’ NFC East rivals. The 27-year-old linebacker signed a one-year contract with the New York Giants, a league source confirmed today (Saturday).

Connor was released by Dallas earlier this week in a wave of moves to clear room under the NFL’s $123 million salary cap. By parting with Connor the Cowboys saved $3 million, a total equivalent to his base salary. Connor’s tenure with Dallas ended less than a year after it began, when he signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal last March.

This past season — his only one with the Cowboys — Connor made 56 tackles and started eight games after Sean Lee suffered a season-ending toe injury last October.

In November, Connor did not play against Atlanta and Philadelphia because of a stinger he incurred in a loss to the Giants. Connor’s value to the Cowboys appeared to be tied to the considerable experience he has in the 4-3 defense, which Dallas adopted after hiring Monte Kiffin as a coordinator in January. The Giants employ a similar scheme and for that reason Connor should fit well with his new team.

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