Category Archives: Rick Gosselin – DMN

EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT: NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season | Kickers moved back 15 yards | Defensive scoring opportunity created

EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT - NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season - Kickers moved back 15 yards - Defensive scoring opportunity created

The NFL has been tinkering with the PAT in hopes of making it a more difficult and therefore entertaining play for spectators.  Continue reading →

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WALL OF SHAME TO HALL OF FAME: Flashback–Change of scenery worked for Charles Haley; he thinks Dallas will help Hardy | Counseling was key to smarter decisions, funneling rage and leaving aggressiveness on the field

WALL OF SHAME TO HALL OF FAME: Flashback–Change of scenery worked for Charles Haley; he thinks Dallas will help Hardy | Counseling was key to smarter decisions, funneling rage and leaving aggressiveness on the field

Greg Hardy isn’t the first player the Dallas Cowboys have ever brought in with baggage.

“Bags?” Charles Haley mused, “I had suitcases. Full suitcases.”

Haley was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers at the turn of the 1990 decade. He hit double figures in sacks in four of his first six seasons and went to three Pro Bowls. He was San Francisco’s dominant pass rusher on back­-to­-back Super Bowl champions in 1988­-89.

But Haley had issues. Anger issues. There were confrontations with his coaches and teammates. Continue reading →

2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS: Racing the clock with that heavy rock–The Murray age factor | Running Back options without DeMarco | Young bucks on the NFL Draft board | Free Agent RBs on the market

2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS: Racing the clock with a heavy rock–DeMarco Murray age factor

Continue reading →

COWBOY CONTRACTS: Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb inks his four-year deal with Dallas

Dallas Cowboys CB B.W. Webb speaks with Dallas media for the first time after being selected in the 4th round of the NFL draft - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb signed a four-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday worth approximately $2.5 million.

A fourth-round pick from William & Mary, Webb is the third member of the team’s seven-play draft class to sign. Sixth-round linebacker DeVonte Holloman and fifth-round running back Joseph Randle signed last week.

Webb, who recorded 11 interceptions while starting a school-record 48 games for William & Mary, was one of the standout-performers at rookie minicamp, which ended Sunday. He’s expected to back up slot corner Orlando Scandrick.

“He has quickness and playmaking ability,” coach Jason Garrett said Webb. “He’s a guy we would describe as a football player who can come in and compete.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined Sirius XM’s Late Hits show this week to talk about the draft and the Cowboys’ rookie mini-camp. He said, “Certainly, one of the players that Gil [Brandt] noted to me when I was out at practice… B.W. Webb, the corner that we got in the fourth round, we basically really liked what we saw of him this weekend. He’s got such confidence… He really did show the skills and the quickness and really comes in as a real, legitimate candidate to come in and compete for a lot of playing time, especially in our money packages.”


More on Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback B.W. Webb …

 

GRADUATION GOAL ACHIEVED: B. W. Webb excused from final day of mini camp

Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb has been one of the more impressive players in the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie minicamp so far. But the fourth-round pick, who is expected to compete with Orlando Scandrick for the starting spot at nickel cornerback, will miss the final day of camp on Sunday to return to William and Mary for graduation.

Webb counts his family as his biggest motivation for wanting to succeed in the NFL. They are also the reason why he had to go back to attend graduation.

“If it was up to my parents, it’s graduation before football,” Webb said. “They are more happy about that than [me] being in the NFL.”


Columnist Rick Gosselin answered questions in a chat on Monday. Here’s a highlight.

Can B.W. Webb take Orlando Scandrick’s spot despite Scandrick having a bigger contract?

If Webb proves to be the better player this summer, he will supplant Scandrick as the nickel corner. The Cowboys need to win games this season to save some jobs and you do that by putting the best players on the field — not necessarily the most expensive ones. Webb will wind up starting for this team at some point in the future. The Cowboys believed they stole him in the third round. This player probably had second-round skill but slid to the third because of his quality of college competition. He’s coming from a small school and the NFL will be a huge step up in competition. He’s not going to challenge either Carr or Claiborne any time soon, but Scandrick better bring his A-game to training camp.


FORMER NFL SCOUT: Dallas Cowboys rookie B.W. Webb ‘has playing traits like Asante Samuel’

After reading a story about Senior Bowl standouts in January I decided to save the article in case any of the players mentioned were drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Going through some old stories earlier today I came across that particular piece written by CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang — and B.W. Webb was on the list.

Webb, a William & Mary cornerback the Cowboys drafted in the fourth round, was one of five prospects who improved their stock according to NFL scouts who Rang interviewed.

“Scouts knew Webb could cover, as he had shown quick feet, speed and route recognition on tape,” Rang wrote. “Needless to say, however, the jump in competition from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Senior Bowl was significant. But Webb certainly proved up to the task. The 5-10, 183-pounder showed improved physicality in Mobile and stepped up his play against the bigger receivers he faced on the South squad, showing the feistiness necessary to make the significant jump to the NFL.”

Rang also linked to a CBSSports.com article where former NFL scout and coach Pat Kirwan wrote that Webb “has playing traits like Asante Samuel.”

“He looks like a solid cover two corner with 48 college starts,” Kirwan wrote. “He holds up well in the man-to-man drills and has good anticipation in his zone drops.”

Webb should enter the 2013 season as the No. 4 corner on the Cowboys’ roster, behind Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. Pretty good depth if Webb can be anything close to Samuel, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion who has intercepted 50 passes in his 10-year NFL career.

CORNERBACK ATTACK: Dallas Cowboys will need Morris Claiborne to beat Saints

Dallas Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne scores on a 50 yard fumble recovery vs Philadelphia Eagles - The Boys Are Back blog

The Dallas Cowboys were able to get by in pass coverage last week without Morris Claiborne against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They’ll need him this week against the New Orleans Saints.

Ben Roethlisberger was still showing the effects of a rib injury that kept him sidelined for three weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday. His passes lacked their usual crispness against the Cowboys, sailing high, low and behind his receivers a good portion of the afternoon.

That’s never been a problem for Saints quarterback Drew Brees, one of the most accurate passers ever to play the game. He has completed 65.57 percent of his career throws, second best in NFL history. He hits his receivers in stride, which allows them to add yardage after the catch.

The Saints rank second in the NFL in passing, and Brees leads all quarterbacks with 4,335 yards. All four of his primary targets at wide receiver — Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Joseph Morgan — have 100-yard receiving games this season, as does tight end Jimmy Graham.

In addition, Darren Sproles leads NFL running backs with 60 receptions, and fellow halfback Pierre Thomas ranks third in the NFL in yards after the catch at 10.1.

The Saints force defenses to cover every patch of earth on the football field. Brees has Henderson deep, Graham on seam routes and Colston and Moore on slants and outs all day.

If a defense elects to sit back in zones, Brees will feed Sproles and Thomas with screens and swings — so even your defensive ends need to be involved in pass coverage.

The way to beat the Saints is to keep Brees and this explosive passing attack off the field, and opponents have done a superb job of that this season.

New Orleans has only played offense an average of 28 minutes per game this season, which explains why they are out of the playoff hunt at 6-8.

But for those 28 minutes, the Cowboys are going to need Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Mike Jenkins, Sterling Moore and Michael Coe on their A games. The Saints are going to give them a workout.

Brees has thrown 50 passes in a game three times this season. He has a 400-yard passing game and seven 300-yard games. His 36 touchdown passes lead the league, and he’s been sacked only 24 times.

Bring your track shoes.

RELATED: Claiborne expects to play Sunday against Saints

Morris Claiborne said that as of Wednesday, he feels fine and he expects to play on Sunday against the Saints. He said he passed his concussion tests and was cleared.

He knows the Cowboys will need every defensive back they can get against Drew Brees and his five big-play targets, although he was encouraged by the secondary’s showing without him against the Steelers last week.

“I feel like it’s way better the depth that we have, and the guys that are behind someone, they’re still playing,” said Claiborne, who practiced Wednesday. “So if someone were to happen to get out – for instance, I didn’t play last week, but we had a guy who could step in, and we didn’t lose anything.”

Claiborne said he is impressed by the way the team continues to find players who can come in and play. Cornerbacks Michael Coe and Sterling Moore each played days after arriving, and safety Eric Frampton has taken on a big role since originally being signed to help the special teams depth.

“Everybody comes in with some football smarts,” Claiborne said. “To get in here and to focus, to be able to learn this defense, you see guys staying after, just trying to get help and learn their position. It lets us know that it’s important to them because it’s important to us.”

On top of that, Claiborne said the new players have fit in personality-wise.

“Everybody that comes in here, it seems like he connects with us right like that,” Claiborne said. “I think the coaching staff does a great job of the guys they select to be in the locker room.”

SPECIAL FEATURE: Dallas Cowboys 2012-2013 Roster – An in-depth look at … depth.

Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones (28) breaks through the Philadelphia Eagles defense - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – Boy, isn’t it a good thing the Dallas Cowboys didn’t dabble in reckless fantasy football roster machinations before this season began?

         Remember? Remember all the suggestions?

         Man, go ahead, trade Felix Jones. He’s in the last year of his contract. DeMarco Murray will carry the load, and he can be backed up by Phillip Tanner and rookie free agent Lance Dunbar. Hmmmm …

         Or, now that they have Brandon Carr and Mo Claiborne, along with Orlando Scandrick, no need for the disgruntled Mike Jenkins. Trade the guy. Right?

Marcus Spears, too. Why, Kenyon Coleman is going to be the starter and you got Sean Lissemore and drafted Tyrone Crawford in the third round. What do you need an eight-year veteran in a backup role for? See what you can get for the guy.

         Oh, and let’s go one more. How many of you wanted Anthony Spencer out of here? Now come on, don’t be shy, raise your hands high. Get ’em up.

         Scary the bind the Cowboys could be in had the team’s coaching staff and front office resorted to these kneejerk reactions, as if there would be something wrong with having a little depth on this roster littered with 23 guys in no more than their third NFL season. And because they didn’t, check this out:

         Jones is preparing to start his fifth consecutive game of the season since Murray’s foot sprain, which nearly needed surgery, is still keeping him out of practice. And not only is he doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, but with only one semi-tough practice available during the short week prior to the Thanksgiving tradition, he’s possibly out for the Washington game four days later, too.

         Spears will start at his old left defensive end position Sunday against the Browns since Coleman has been placed on injured reserve following surgery to repair the torn triceps muscle he suffered in the win over Philadelphia. Crawford will be the next guy up there, since Lissemore still isn’t practicing thanks to the high ankle sprain he suffered against Baltimore a month ago. And the guy they kept on the practice squad, rookie free-agent Ben Bass, an after-thought signee just because they needed another body on the defensive line for that first rookie minicamp – and he was close, having grown up in Plano, Texas – he’s now their sixth defensive lineman for Sunday and will get some snaps.

         Then there is Jenkins. You know what? Wouldn’t it have been nice this past Sunday in Philadelphia, with Claiborne suffering from rookie-itis, becoming grabby and of all things for a corner, jumping off sides, if the Cowboys could have turned to the veteran cornerback to give the kid a series or two to collect himself? But no, Jenkins’ back was still weak, having suffered spasms, leaving him a game-day inactive. And the way things are going this week – he still hasn’t practiced – he’s likely inactive again.

           Looking at defensive stats, Spencer, the guy everyone wailed over after the Cowboys franchised him at $8.8 million to reserve his rights, is fourth on the team in tackles, his 53 behind only Sean Lee (77), Bruce Carter (66) and DeMarcus Ware (54). These stats also say he is second on the team (just where he finished last year) with 3.5 sacks, behind only Ware’s 9.5; tied for second with Ware with three tackles for losses (behind only Carter’s eight); and his 15 QB pressures is second behind Ware’s 20. And if not for Claiborne unnecessarily grabbing on the other side, Spencer would have had an interception this past Sunday against the Eagles, and maybe even returned it for a touchdown.

         The lesson, loud and clear?

         In football – and remember this isn’t basketball or baseball, it’s football – there is nothing wrong with having a couple of good guys at the same position since there usually is enough plays to go around. And, as you’ve been reminded when watching the Cowboys this season, people do get hurt. A lot.

“I mean all that is foresight from the Joneses, their communication,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. “People say whatever they say, they run the team, sure, but they are also smart. It’s unbelievable.

         “We kept depth on the roster, we kept the right guys, we kept the best players for this very reason. Sometimes you want to keep a young kid, he’s got promise, but you let a big-time veteran go. Well, that’s not the right thing to do. We did the right things. We kept these guys around and it’s helped us.”

         Inject the word “immensely.”

         With seven games remaining, the next two in a five-day span, the Cowboys already have three season-opening defensive starters on injured reserve (Barry Church, Lee and Coleman). They are just getting Lee’s backup, Dan Connor, back after missing two games with nerve damage in his neck (stinger) and have placed one of his called-up backups, former practice squadder Orie Lemon, on IR.

         And how about this? Nine games into the season, 11 defensive players have missed a total of 37 games, and that total will skyrocket since Lee, Church and Coleman definitely will miss seven more each. That’s 58, and it doesn’t appear at this point that Lissemore is ready to return and who knows about Jenkins? Rookie Matt Johnson? The fourth-round draft choice has missed all nine games and was just placed on IR.

         On offense, three guys, Murray, Phil Costa and his backup Ryan Cook have totaled 11 missed games, and Murray could miss two more. Costa (high ankle sprain) will also miss at least two more and the Cowboys are highly uncertain if Cook (knee), who has yet to practice this week, will be ready to play Sunday.

         And by the way, let’s not forget punter Chris Jones also landing on IR four games ago, assured of missing a total of 11 this season. I mean, the punter for heaven sakes.

         Catching my drift?

         The Cowboys are ridiculously testing this next guy up notion, but hey, what you going to do? And guarantee you they aren’t the Lone Rangers when it comes to injuries in the National Football League. They are rampant, and why you never, ever should consider depleting a position of strength … if … you happen to be lucky enough to have a couple three at the same spot and can afford them with the salary cap.

         “We have been recycling guys all year,” Spears said the other day, realizing Jay Ratliff missed the first four games of the season, Spencer missed Games 4 and 5, Lee, the defensive captain, along with its heart and soul, will end up missing 10 of 16, Church will finish with 13 missed games, Lissemore likely with at least six and now Coleman the final seven.

         But so far defensively, the Cowboys have been duck-taping these positions with multiple solutions. Take safety. Danny McCray was the next guy up, but they also have relied on Carr and Jenkins to move from their corner positions at times on the nickel and dime packages, and also have brought on veterans Eric Frampton and Charlie Peprah to play roles.

         At linebacker, without Lee and then immediately Connor, they sign Orie Lemon from the practice squad and Ernie Sims off his couch.

         “To lose Lee was a big blow,” Spears said, “but we have the guys to get it done.”

         At defensive end, they now return Spears to his starting spot, play Crawford more and sign Bass off the practice squad, a guy another team came calling for a few weeks back.

         At running back, the Cowboys simply insert Felix Jones, but with him trying to play through a bum knee and shoulder, they lean on Tanner and sign Dunbar off the practice squad and get the rookie ready for snaps.

         At center, the team first for Cook when Costa was injured – the first time – when it became obvious David Arkin wasn’t good enough to sufficiently back up the position. Cook can’t go Sunday (listed as doubtful), the Cowboys activated Kevin Kowalski off PUP, which necessitated placing Matt Johnson on IR to make room.

         At punter, Brian Moorman fortuitously was released by Buffalo when Chris Jones first injured his knee, and is signed the next day.

         And at corner, with Jenkins missing last week, they sign Vince Agnew off the practice squad and basically let Claiborne take his lumps at Philly.

         This is exhausting, isn’t it? And still there are seven games to go?

          Fortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, they have a few good men with quality heads on their shoulders.

“My mindset from the beginning is you need to know all three positions,” said Mackenzy Bernadeau, who realized when he returned from offseason hip surgery of his own a couple of weeks into training camp that he needed to learn both guard positions and the center position as well, which he has only played in a preseason game.

And then there is Spears, who could have pouted after Ryan brought Coleman with him to Dallas, immediately bumping Spears off the position where he started in his first six seasons with the Cowboys into a backup role. Didn’t happen.

“You have personal feelings, you get angry not being in there, but if you’ve been around long enough you know you’re going to get your chance to play,” Spears said, and best of all, he’s not being vindictive toward this opportunity. “Not trying to beat my chest and prove I should have been playing. I just want to help this team win.”

That’s some right stuff there, all of it, including every one of those insightful decisions made nearly 12 weeks ago to preserve the depth now available for this current excavation project from that 3-5 hole.

RIVAL GAMEPLAN: Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson is teams best shot vs. Dallas Cowboys

cleveland browns rookie rb trent richardson vs dallas cowboys 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cleveland Browns asked rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to win games for them through the first seven games of the NFL season.

But a 1-6 start convinced the Browns to shift the offensive focus to another rookie — running back Trent Richardson.

Richardson joined the Browns as the third overall pick of the 2012 draft but missed the preseason following an arthroscopic scope of his left knee in early August. Richardson was ready for the start of the season, but the Browns brought him along slowly, never handing him the ball more than 19 times in any of those first seven games.

Richardson did post a 100-yard game against the Bengals in September. But Weeden was the focal point of the offense, throwing 50 passes against the Ravens, 40 more against the Bills and Colts and in the 30s against the Eagles, Giants and Bengals.

Brandon Weeden impressing fans in Cleveland - The Boys Are Back blog

But in the last two games, the Browns have returned to their rushing roots. This is a franchise that sent running backs Marion Motley, Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Cleveland handed Richardson the ball 24 times against San Diego and 25 times against Baltimore. The second best running back ever to come out of Pensacola (Fla.) Escambia High School rewarded the Browns with a pair of 100-yard games — and he scored the game’s only touchdown in a 7-6 victory over the Chargers.

The Browns are coming off a bye, and you can bet Richardson will be the feature attraction when they visit Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.

The Cowboys have been stout against the pass but pedestrian against the run this season. They rank 13th in the NFL in run defense, allowing an average of 105.2 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry. Marshawn Lynch and Michael Turner rushed for 100 yards in victories over the Cowboys this season.

The Cowboys also will be down two of their best run defenders, end Kenyon Coleman and linebacker Sean Lee, who are on injured reserve.

The Browns like to pound the 5-9, 230-pound Richardson inside — much like the Cowboys pounded their Escambia product Emmitt Smith inside during their Super Bowl era. Richardson left Alabama as the school’s all-time leading rusher and this season ranks third among rookie NFL rushers with his 575 yards and second among rookie scorers with his six touchdowns.

If the 2-7 Browns have a shot against the Cowboys, it’s with the ball in Richardson’s hands.

Related: MATCHUP – Cowboys Dez Bryant vs. Browns CB Joe Haden

Browns Get CB Joe Haden Back Following Four-Game Suspension - The Boys Are Back blog

HADEN
Haden is the Browns’ best cornerback and will likely see his fair share of Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant on Sunday. Haden played in Cleveland’s season opener against Philadelphia – he had an interception and made six tackles – and then was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. Haden (5-11, 190), who reportedly tested positive in the off-season for the stimulant Adderall, has made 27 tackles. The Cowboys have four interceptions as a team. The Browns have four players who have made two interceptions apiece, including Haden. The former Florida standout has eight interceptions in only 27 career starts over three seasons.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) celebrates after back judge Greg Yette (38) signals a touchdown - The Boys Are Back blog

BRYANT

Bryant doesn’t have a catch in the fourth quarter of five of his nine games this season, but unlike last year when he didn’t consistently impact games in the second half, it hasn’t been an issue. That’s because Bryant is making big plays at key times, such as his diving 30-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the third quarter Sunday at Philadelphia that tied the score at 17. Bryant has 45 catches for 590 yards and three touchdowns, but the Cowboys would like to see him be more consistent. The Cowboys just concluded a five-game stretch in which they played four road games, and Bryant was either hit or miss every other game.

Brandon George | DMN contributed to this post

RICK GOSSELIN: LaDanian Tomlinson’s ranking among his Top 10 All-Time Running Backs

LaDanian Tomlinson hit by Dallas Cowboy Sean Lee - The Boys Are Back blog

LaDainian Tomlinson has retired, so let the debate begin. Where does the NFL’s fifth all-time rusher rank in the pantheon of great running backs?

I’ve been watching the NFL for better than a half century and covering it professionally for the last 38 years. In my educated opinion, Tomlinson does not belong in the Top 5 but I do have a place for him in my Top 10. Barely.

I don’t judge runners based on statistics or rings. Only three of my Top 10 backs ever played on championship teams and four of them don’t even rank statistically in the Top 10 in rushing.

But they all passed my eye test. I know greatness when I see it. I saw it in these 10.

With apologies to some backs I’ve seen (Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk and Tony Dorsett) and some that I haven’t (Steve Van Buren, Ollie Matson and Marion Motley), here’s my pantheon of the Top 10 all-time running backs:

1. Barry Sanders. The most dazzling runner the NFL has ever seen — averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 100 yards per game — then retired in his prime. His moves were an optical illusion, tricking many a defender’s eyes.

2. Jim Brown. The best fullback in NFL history, also retired in his prime. Won eight NFL rushing titles in his nine seasons.

3. Gale Sayers. Knee injuries prevented Sayers from ever reaching his prime, cutting short his career after seven seasons. A big back with speed, second only to Sanders in dazzle.

4. O.J. Simpson. Third to Sanders and Sayers in dazzle. First back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and did it when the NFL was playing only 14 games.

5. Walter Payton. The most complete back in NFL history – running, catching, blocking.

6. Emmitt Smith. Played more games, gained more yards and scored more touchdowns than any back in NFL history.

7. Curtis Martin. Put him on the 1990 Cowboys and he’d have become Emmitt Smith.

8. Earl Campbell. Second-best power back in NFL history after Brown.

9. Thurman Thomas. Backbone of a team that went to four consecutive Super Bowls, the Bills were an incredible 48-4 when Thomas rushed for 100 yards in a game.

10. LaDainian Tomlinson. Second to Payton in his completeness, could run, catch or throw for scores.

What’s YOUR Top-10? Leave a comment. How can any list not have Emmitt at #1?

 Emmitt Smith - Career stats - 4409 rushes, 18355 yards, 164 touchdowns - Gosselin comment - Played more games, gained more yards and scored more touchdowns than any back in NFL history. - The Boys Are Back blog

Courtesy: RICK GOSSELIN | SportsDayDFW 

RELATED: Emmitt Smith reacts to the retirement of Ladainian Tomlinson  

Legendary Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith - The Boys Are Back blog

Legendary Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was not just an accidental tourist in the career of former TCU great LaDanian Tomlinson, who is retiring today as a member of the San Diego Chargers.

Smith, the league’s all-time leading rusher, was Tomlinson’s inspiration as a little boy growing up a Cowboys fan in Waco, and then moreso when he went on to have an outstanding college career at TCU.

There is no question Tomlinson, who finished his 11-year career with the Chargers and the Jets as the league’s fifth all-time leading rusher, had his sights set on Smith at the top spot.

He didn’t quite make it but what he accomplished was enough to make him a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and it earned him the respect and admiration of his idol.

"I have known LaDanian since he was 13 years old," Smith said. "When you know someone when they are very young, and you watch that person grow into being a man and one of the very best to ever play the game, it is inspirational for me personally. He was a pleasure to watch play football. He did it with pride and passion and he was a true professional from his very first day in the NFL. I am extremely honored to know that I have had a positive influence on him. What he accomplished in his career gives me great pride."

And although Tomlinson didn’t get the rushing title or a coveted Super Bowl, Smith said LT leaves the game with dignity and a respect that few enjoy.

"LaDanian has had a tremendous impact on the league, not only as a player but also as a person with great character, and it shows by the respect his peers have for him and how well-known he is to the public," Smith said. "He accomplished many great things as a player, but I don’t know of any player recently who has left the game with as much admiration and respect from his peers as LT enjoys.  And that might be an athlete’s most cherished accomplishment."

Clarence Hill Jr. | Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

RICK GOSSELIN: Rob Ryan hasn’t raised his coaching to level of his opponents

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob-Ryan focusing

Rick Gosselin, sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News and SportsDayDFW.com, answered readers’ questions about the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL.

Click on Read More to read the entire transcript.

Note: The links are disabled.

 

Continue reading →

RICK GOSSELIN: Chat replay–Dallas Cowboys discussion with fans (Bonus Video)

Rick Gosselin, sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News and SportsDayDFW.com and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, answered questions about the Cowboys and the NFL in a live chat at 11 a.m. Monday.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Rick Gosselin and David Moore discuss the weary Dallas Cowboys

VIDEO - SportsDay On-Air show - Press play

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Live chat: Rick Gosselin answers your Cowboys/NFL questions (12/12/2011)

Monday December 12, 2011 9:32 SportsDayDFW

10:58 SportsDayDFW: Welcome to the chat room. I sense another hostile crowd… So let’s get started.

 

Monday December 12, 2011 10:58 SportsDayDFW 10:58 [Comment From stu k: ]

After playing the whole game without a sack of manning, how do you continue to blitz and leave their horrible cornerbacks without help?

11:02 SportsDayDFW: Here’s the final line of my column after the Arizona game: "If the quarterback stays up, the Cowboys will go down." Eli Manning threw 47 passes without a sack. That’s a formula for success against the Cowboys. Rob Ryan’s entire scheme is based on pressure, the pass rush and blitzing. If his troops can’t get there, there are too many overmatched defensive backs left in one-on-one situations. It doesn’t appear Ryan has a Plan B, so he continues to send pass rushers. Here’s a stat for you — in five of the seven home games for the Cowboys this season, they have one sack or less. And you wonder why this team struggles? It’s an average team that needs an overhaul on defense.

Monday December 12, 2011 11:02 SportsDayDFW 11:02 [Comment From john: ]

the ref’s of this game was the worst i have ever witnessed, but the fact of the matter is the def could not hold of a 12 point lead with 6 min to go. for the remaining games we should take the buccaneers , but with the way the defense has been playing i don’t see us beating the eagles or the giants, what is your take rick, thanks

11:09 SportsDayDFW: Seems to me that every team that loses in the NFL wants to put some part of the blame on the officiating. The bottom line is the Cowboys have been a high penalty team for some time now. They have been penalized at least 100 times in six of the last seven seasons — and were flagged 99 times in the one year they didn’t hit the century mark. High penalty teams don’t get the benefit of doubt from the officials. So you see the Cowboys getting 8-10 penalties every week. In the meantime, teams like the Patriots and Saints get penalized 4-6 times every week. You have to earn the respect of the officials to get calls and the benefit of doubt. They Cowboys have not done that. There needs to be a culture change at Valley Ranch. Players need to be held accountable for penalties, especially the pre-snap flags.

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THE VILLAGE IS BURNING: DMN columnist Rick Gosselin chats with readers after the Cowboys vs Eagles game

Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin chatted with readers Monday in the aftermath of the Cowboys-Eagles game to talk about a number of Cowboys-related items. Here are some highlights from the chat:

QUESTION: How is it that I can seemingly call exactly what they are going to do on offense about 70% of the time? Am I a football genius or are they truly that predictable?

Rick Gosselin:  Until Dez Bryant learns how to run routes, this will be predictable offense. Hand it to Murray, throw short crossing routes to Jason Witten   and work the intermediate areas with Miles Austin. Bryant is the wild card. He can make plays short, medium and long. But until he develops some discipline in his route running, Romo isn’t going to trust him. Bryant also better figure out how to beat press coverage by a defensive back. Nnamdi Asomugha schooled Bryant last night. When Bryant doesn’t have his way with defensive backs, he gets frustrated. Asomugha was so deep into Bryant’s head last night he became a non-factor.

QUESTION: Did the eagles figure out their problems and become a dominant team or was that more of an example of Dallas laying an egg against a 2-4 team?

Rick Gosselin: All of the above. The Eagles were the most talented team in the NFC East on opening day, and they remain the most talented team today. I believed the Eagles would have their struggles early and they might lose a few games as all the new pieces were attempting to fit together. I never expected them to lose four of their first six, though. Still, they have nine new starters, a new defensive coordinator and two new line coaches, one on offense and one on defense and it was going to take time for all of them to mesh. It appears the entire package came together last night and you saw what a juggernaut the Eagles could be. Still, the Cowboys played timid. Had they won, they would have all but ended Philadelphia’s season. The Eagles would have had to go 8-1 the rest of the way to win the division. With the rugged schedule the Giants face, I think the Eagles may have put themselves in a position to win the division last night. The Cowboys could have done the same with a victory. The Eagles succeeded, the Cowboys failed.

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