Category Archives: Ft Worth Star-Telegram

THESE BOYS AREN’T BACKING DOWN: It’s a love-hate relationship between offense and defense | Dez Bryant and Tyler Patmon draw national headlines | 2015-2016 Dallas Cowboys training camp

THESE BOYS AREN’T BACKING DOWN - It’s a love-hate relationship between offense and defense - Dez Bryant and Tyler Patmon draw national headlines

You’ve undoubted heard, late in Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys training camp practice, Dez Bryant got into a spat with cornerback Tyler Patmon. Continue reading →

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DALLAS COWBOYS OTA UPDATE: McClain in Pain, Hitchens Hobbled | Press-Packed Presser | Green in the green | Cowboy Buzz–Live sideline OTA reactions & comments | Purple Proposition

Jason Garrett press conference - 2015 Dallas Cowboys OTAs - Media packed - The Boys Are Back 2015

There was a packed house for Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s OTA’s opening press conference. Listen (or download) the full MP3 from the new Dallas Cowboys Audio Archives page featured here on your The Boys Are Back website.   Continue reading →

2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS: The bargain-‘boys bag sack-artist Greg Hardy with bonuses | Free-Agent fortifies Front-Four | Suspension status safeguards second-chance signing

2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS - Bargain ‘boys bag bewildered sack-artist Greg Hardy

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2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS: ROSTER ROUNDUP N REVIEW | Free-Agency Finally Fueled | Backfield Bullies Jed Collins & Ray Agnew III | LBs Jasper Brinkley & Andrew Gachkar | Cover Corner Corey White

2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS - ROSTER ROUNDUP N REVIEW - Free-Agency Finally Fueled - Jed Collins & Ray Agnew III - Jasper Brinkley & Andrew Gachkar - Corey White

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DALLAS’ DREADED DEAD-MONEY DEALS: Winds of change–The Dallas Cowboys transition of power is shifting | Stephen Jones Era–From Texas Hold’em 2 Texas Fold’em | NFL salary cap leads to philosophy shift

DALLAS’ DREADED DEAD-MONEY DEALS - Winds of change–The Dallas Cowboys transition of power is shifting - Stephen Jones Era–From Texas Hold’em 2 Texas Fold’em - NFL salary cap leads to philosophy shift

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THE NFL’S GURU OF COACHES: Jason Witten appreciates the honesty of tight ends coach Mike Pope | 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

THE NFL’S GURU OF COACHES: Jason Witten appreciates the honesty of tight ends coach Mike Pope | 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

New tight ends coach Mike Pope is “nit-picking” with him, but Jason Witten said it’s for his own good.

“He’s been honest with me in trying to really push me to ‘Let’s even take this to another level,’ ” Witten said of his new coach, a 32-year veteran NFL assistant who started with the Giants under Bill Parcells in 1983 and was on the staff of all four of the franchise’s Super Bowl championship teams.

“I appreciate that challenge and the way he’s gone about it,” Witten said. “I know he’s kind of the guru of tight end coaches.”

THE NFL’S GURU OF COACHES - Jason Witten appreciates the honesty of tight ends coach Mike Pope - 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

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CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Monte Kiffin’s role has changed, but the Dallas Cowboys defense is in good hands | 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

Cowboys Football

Monte Kiffin doesn’t hold the title of Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator anymore, but he’s as fired up as ever. Just ask him.

“I’m really excited. I’m really fired up,” Kiffin said. “I’m not down one bit. I’m really not. I can’t coach that way. I wouldn’t stay here. If I didn’t feel right, if I knew I wasn’t going to contribute, and it wasn’t going to be a good situation, I promise you I would have moved on. I like it here. I like the head coach. But Rod Marinelli is the guy.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD - Monte Kiffin’s role has changed, but the Dallas Cowboys defense is in good hands - 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff c

Kiffin was hired a little over a year ago to oversee the team’s transition from the 3-4 to the Tampa Two 4-3 style (commonly referred to as the Texas-2 Defense on this site).

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THE TOUGH-LOVE DEFENSE: Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli focused on teaching | Dallas Cowboys rookie mini-camp 2014

THE TOUGH-LOVE DEFENSE - Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli focused on teaching - Dallas Cowboys rookie mini-camp 2014

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli: Time For Teaching | 2:54 | Rod Marinelli talks about why it’s an important time for teaching instead of competition. He also talks about where he could envision Tyrone Crawford playing on the defensive line. (Watch | Listen)


Former Marine, and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s not into nursing anyone’s confidence, or lack thereof.

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HAPPY TRAILS COWBOY: Miles Austin finally roped by Cleveland Browns

dallas cowboys wr miles austin nearly breaks free for a td vs cleveland browns - the boys are back blog

IRVING, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin is now a member of the Cleveland Browns.

Austin agreed to terms today with the Browns, who are in need of receiver help, considering the looming suspension of top receiver Josh Gordon.

dallas cowboys wide receiver miles austin (19) jumps above cleveland browns cornerback trevin wade for a first down reception - the boys are back blog

Cleveland also passed on taking a receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Browns added Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins, but many believed they needed more help at the position, and Cleveland hopes Austin can provide that.

Austin’s success will largely be determined by his health, which was the issue in Dallas. The Cowboys designated Austin a post-June 1 cut to free $5.5 million from the salary cap this year, after he was limited to just 11 games and 244 receiving yards in 2013.

The receiver’s recurring hamstring issues limited what Austin, who was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2009 and 2010, could do the rest of his tenure in Dallas. Austin caught 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2009 and 69 passes for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010.

He played in every game in 2012, but the Cowboys admitted he was not 100 percent in all of them.

He signed a six-year, $54 million deal with the Cowboys in 2010, but he never reached the 1,000-yard mark again after that 2010 season.

Despite the decline the last few years, Austin, 29, will  go down as one of the best undrafted free agents in Dallas Cowboys history. He ranks ninth in team history with 301 catches, seventh with 4,481 yards and 10th with 34 touchdowns. He also had a kickoff return for a touchdown in a playoff game at Seattle as a rookie.

He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to signing with the Browns, head coach Jason Garrett wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Austin returning to the Cowboys, but it was certainly not a given after the selection of fifth-round pick Devin Street. The Cowboys appeared ready to turn the page after watching the receiver fight through injuries every year toward the end of his time in Dallas.

“The economics of his situation really factored into the decision we made with him, coupled with his injuries,” Garrett said after the draft. “We’ll look at the landscape when we get done. Miles is a guy that we have great respect for as a person and as a player.”

In Cleveland, Austin will be the most experienced of the receivers available for Manziel, the celebrated Texas A&M quarterback drafted by the Browns in the first round last week.

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: Dissecting the Dallas Cowboys 2014 2015 regular season schedule | Dallas Cowboys Schedule 2014

2014 2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015 - Print 2014 2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015 Print - The Boys Are Back website

The 2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule doesn’t have the mostly home-road-home-road pattern of the 2013 season, or the home opener and closer.

It’s back-loaded with road games.

But there are small advantages within it.

For one, the Dallas Cowboys don’t face any rested team coming off its bye week. No team will get the extra week to prepare for new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli or play-caller Scott Linehan.

For another, the Dallas Cowboys don’t have to travel to a home opener in a rabid environment like last year, when they went to Kansas City and got ambushed. This season, the Cowboys are the home opener for Tennessee.

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers will be on equal footing, schedule-wise, when they open the season at AT&T Stadium. But when the Cowboys host the Saints on a Sunday night game in Week 4, it will be the third road game in four weeks for the Saints. The Saints will have opened with two on the road, at Atlanta and Cleveland, before their home opener.

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WAR ROOM SNEAK PREVIEWS: Annual NFL Pre-Draft visits are a window into most of the Dallas Cowboys recent draft picks

NFL Draft - Dallas Cowboys war room - Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas — In the coming weeks you will hear about NFL teams bringing in college players from around the country for the annual pre-draft visits. Each club is allowed to bring 30 players into their complex up until the week before the actual NFL draft.

These players will have the opportunity to visit with the front office and coaching staff for group or one-on-one meetings, tour the complex and take a physical if necessary. The clubs are not allowed to work these players out unless it is that player’s hometown, or if the school they attended is in the metro area of that team’s complex.

Earlier in the year, teams had the opportunity to visit with most these players for just fifteen minutes while they were in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. During these official visits, the clubs are allowed to keep the players overnight and then meet with them the entire next day if necessary.

In the case of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett and Will McClay, along with the coaches and scouts will be able to interact with these players in a more comfortable setting. They can sit down and watch game tape with the players, as well as test them on X’s and O’s to see their ability to retain information.      

Coaches always welcome the opportunity to sit down with players and see what makes them tick. There were numerous times in my experiences preparing for a draft where a coach did or did not like what he heard from a player in one of the pre-draft visits.

I remember an example from Randy Moss’ pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch. The wide receivers coach at the time, Dwain Painter, brought up in a final draft meeting with Jerry Jones that he was turned off by Moss and his attitude. That feedback ultimately affected Jones’ decision not to draft him.

In these pre-draft visits you will hear about names like Aaron Donald and Kony Ealy, who are likely first round picks. But there will be other names on these visits that will be considerations much later in the draft. Maybe these players didn’t have a chance to go to the Combine and the club needs a physical on them before the draft. During this period, this is where you will see those physicals take place.

Along with the annual Dallas Day, these pre-draft visits are vital to working toward building the final draft board that the Cowboys will use. Impressions good or bad will shape that board and ultimately shape this team. As we start to bring you news of who is visiting Valley Ranch, pay close attention who they are because trust me, other teams around the league sure are.   


RELATED: Dallas Cowboys’ pre-draft visits headlined by top defenders

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh, 97 - NFL Draft 2014

To get a clearer understanding who the Dallas Cowboys might take with their 16th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, keep an eye on who their bring in for pre-draft visits, starting today and running through Wednesday.

The Cowboys are allowed to bring in 30 top prospects for national visits and considering the names reportedly already here or on the invite list for the up close and personal meet and greet, targeting the defense is the obvious focal point.

Many of the prospects came in Sunday night.

The expected visitors include Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald (pictured above), Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Arizona State defensive end Davon Coleman, Southeast Louisiana State defensive tackle Jerrod Black, Northwest Missouri cornerback Brandon Dixon, Northern Illinois strong safety Jimmie Ward.

These visits are important considering that DeMarcus Ware in 2005 and Morris Claiborne in 2012 were the only top picks taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the past nine drafts who didn’t make pre-draft visits to the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters.

Travis Frederick in 13, Tyron Smith in 2011, Dez Bryant in 2010, Jason Williams in in 2009, Felix Jones in 2008, Anthony Spencer in 2007 and Bobby Carpenter in 2006 were among the pre-draft visitors the year they were taking first by the Dallas Cowboys.

THE TRUE BLUE ROSTER TEST: Name all ten of the Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen currently on the roster | Special Feature

SAINTS EXPOSED INEXPERIENCE - DeMarcus Ware wants his starters back for 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys playoff push - DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher

You know the Dallas Cowboys don’t have Jason Hatcher or DeMarcus Ware on their defensive line anymore.

Do you know who they do have?

Hint: There are currently 10 defensive linemen under contract.

Another Hint: Three of them are defensive tackles and seven are defensive ends.

How many can you name off the top of your head?

STOP READING NOW AND THINK ABOUT IT …

SPOILER ALERT!

THE ANSWERS ARE BELOW … NO PEEKING!!!

EVALUATING THE TEXAS-2 DEFENSE - Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli coaching havoc and reaping rewards - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule - Dallas Cowboys Selvie and Hayden

George Selvie? That’s a start. Nick Hayden? That’s two. Tyrone Crawford? On a roll.

dallas cowboys defensive end tyrone crawford (70) applies pressure to tampa bay buccaneers quarterback josh freeman - the boys are back blog

And? Maybe Ben Bass?

How about the two new signeesJeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain?

FOUR TO GO …

Give up?

Martez WilsonTristan OkpalaugoCaesar Rayford, and Frank Kearse are the others.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

The 10 defensive linemen currently on the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys roster have combined to play in 268 games, making 457 tackles and 39.5 sacks. Ware and Hatcher combined to play 260 games with 779 tackles and 144 sacks.

Editors note: This post inspired by Charean Williams of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Current Dallas Cowboy unrestricted free agents Anthony Spencer, Edgar Jones, and Jarius Wynn are not included in this count … but you get bonus points for naming them!


True Blues, keep up with the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys roster 2014-2015 right here, on The Boys Are Back

website …

dallas cowboys roster -The Boys Are Back website 2014

DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP: Team under 2014-2015 cap after releasing Phil Costa and renegotiating Mackenzy Bernadeau contract | DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin decisions pending

DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP - Team under 2014-2015 cap after releasing Phil Costa and renegotiating Mackenzy Bernadeau contract - The Boys Are Back website

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are now under the salary cap after cutting the center many thought could be the starter prior to last year’s draft.

The Cowboys cut Phil Costa and renegotiated the contract of Mackenzy Bernadeau on Friday, putting themselves in better position financially prior to the start of free agency on March 11, which is the beginning of the new league year and the time all teams must be under the cap.

The restructuring of Tony Romo, Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee already saved the Cowboys more than $16 million in cap space, and the move to release Costa saves another $1.5 million. Despite their continual cap restraints, the Dallas Cowboys will have no issue being under the new cap figure next week.

Costa appeared in only six games the last two seasons after starting all 16 games at center in 2011. He started three games at center in 2012 before injuries cut his season short. Costa, who signed a two-year deal worth $2.7 million last year, appeared in three games in 2013, but rookie Travis Frederick started all 16 games at center.

Costa’s been with the Cowboys since signing in Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Maryland, playing in a total of 26 games with 20 starts. He didn’t take a pay cut, and the Cowboys decided to part ways with the center to help get under the cap.

The Cowboys also saved cap space by renegotiating Bernadeau, who came on strong at the end of the 2013 season after getting replaced by Brian Waters. Bernadeau started the first three games of the season before the change was made, and the offensive line remained a strong point of the team when Bernadeau returned to the starting lineup for the final eight games of the season. Bernadeau will challenge for a starting guard spot in 2014.

The Dallas Cowboys sat high above the projected cap figure just weeks ago but figured out a way to get under the cap relatively smoothly and much more easily than many (in the media) anticipated.

They still have decisions to make on the futures of DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin, among others, and could make more moves and restructures to free up space for free agent signings.

If nothing changes, Ware will count $16 million against the cap and Austin will count $8.25 million against the cap. The Cowboys can save $7.4 million by releasing Ware and $5.5 million by designating Austin a post-June 1 cut. Of course, the Dallas Cowboys could also rework Ware’s deal to save cap space if he’s willing to cooperate on a reduction.


RELATED: DeMarcus Ware will listen to Dallas Cowboys offer

Demetress Bell trying to stop Dallas Cowboys pass rusher DeMarcus Ware as a Philadelphia Eagle - The Boys Are Back blog

Former Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware doesn’t want to take a pay cut but will listen to the Dallas Cowboys thoughts about a restructured deal.

He also hopes for a quick resolution.

The Cowboys informed Ware and representatives earlier this week about their need to lower his salary and cap figure. Ware is due a base salary of $12.25 million in 2014 with a salary cap hit of $16 million. The team would save $7.8 million if they cut Ware.

However, the Cowboys say they want the team’s all-time leading sacker back in 2014.

Ware will be 32 next season and recently underwent surgery for second consecutive off season. He had a career-low six sacks in 2013 when he has hampered by neck, quad and elbow injuries.

Ware expects to be back to his old dominant ways after surgery to repair nerve damage in his elbow last month. He will listen to the Cowboys thoughts on a restructured deal but remains hesitant about taking a major shave in salary.

Ware, who is shoo-in for the Cowboys’ hallowed Ring of Honor and likely future Hall of Famer, is expecting to draw a lot of interest on the free-agent market if he is released.

A decision on Ware would allow them to set a game plan for the start of free agency.

The Cowboys must address the defensive end position in the draft and free agency. Without Ware, it makes the situation even more acute because there are no players on the roster with his talent or prior production.

Even during an injury-plagued and limited 2013 campaign, Ware was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the ninth-most productive 4-3 defensive end as a pass-rusher and third in run-stop percentage. Ware was picked 11th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 NFL Draft. He has 117 sacks in nine years to rank first in team history and 18th in NFL history.

DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL CLUB: Looking back at Jerry Jones’ 25 year ownership of America’s Team | Special Feature

DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL CLUB - Looking back at Jerry Jones’ 25 year ownership of America’s Team - The Boys Are Back website 2014

IRVING, Texas – Man, 25 wild and crazy years, zigging and zagging, laughing and crying, running and running faster, trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Never, ever – ever – a dull moment, from the one win of 1989 that kept the Dallas Cowboys from an unprecedentedly poor 16-game NFL season to the eight wins – again – of 2013, one short of acceptable for the third straight year.

Who knew 25 years ago this past Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1989, sitting in the Dallas Cowboys team meeting room out here at what we then were referring to as Cowboys Ranch late that Saturday night, that so many lives would irrevocably change when the then-Arkansas stranger Jerral Wayne Jones was being introduced as just the third owner of the world-renowned Dallas Cowboys.

His life, along with those of his wife Gene’s and their three kids: Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry Jr.

The lives of so many who had worked for the Cowboys – made the Dallas Cowboys – from Day One or for the majority of those first 29 years of the NFL’s first expansion franchise’s existence.

The lives of those who would follow the Joneses to Dallas.

And our lives, too, those of us in the media crammed into a room big enough to house a team of football players but bursting at the seams with nearly everyone already on deadline when the long-awaited announcement began sometime after 8 p.m.

Mine especially.

Tex Schramm Jerry Jones Bum Bright - Dallas Cowboys history - Jerry Jones announcement as owner general manager Dallas Cowboys

Me, I have mental snapshots of that evening, seeing on one hand the pure joy and excitement laced with some anxiety of the Jones Family and all of Jerry’s partners when he was introduced as the next owner of the Dallas Cowboys. But on the other hand, there was basically the team’s godfather, Tex Schramm, standing off to the side, with the glum look of a man attending his own funeral, realizing then the fact he no longer had a seat on center stage was symbolic of what was to come.

Hey, if Tom Landry was no longer needed, and he wasn’t since Jimmy Johnson was coming along with Jones in a package deal and had already been told by Jones what previous owner Bum Bright should have since he more or less resented Landry, surely the appropriately named Tex was not long for his world of 29 years either.

There was Jones, with almost preacher-like enthusiasm, rapidly talking of immediately winning with the 3-13 team he was inheriting, emphasizing his positivity with a fist pounding the air.

There were the arched eyebrows of the skeptical media, wondering what in the world … realizing the 29 years of Cowboys stability was being rattled as if the ground beneath an Apollo capsule launching into space.

A new day was dawning at dusk.

The last snapshot: After the final 30 was put on however many stories we could pound out by midnight, several writers gathered in Tex’s office, soon to be Jerry’s and still is. Sitting-on-the-floor room only. Again, a day of celebration on one hand, and rightfully so when you pledge $140 million you didn’t really have for an NFL franchise and accompanying stadium that were losing money hand over fist, and on this other hand a somber gathering, reminiscing about the good old days that were mostly great but now suddenly just good and old, growing more feint by the minute in the rearview mirror.

It was as if with these stories Tex was giving away his final possessions over drinks – stiff ones I might add – with the very people he had heartily laughed with yet angrily sparred with oh the many years.

“This is a very sad night for me,” Tex said needlessly.

And I distinctly remember this too: My Dallas Times Herald teammate, Frank Luksa, who had covered the Cowboys and Tom and Tex from nearly their 1960 inception, a man who thought he had seen it all, sitting on the floor next to me. He began to rise, held up his near-empty drink in a toast, saying unbeknownst to the rest of us, “Well, time to go home to celebrate what remains of my birthday.”

Will never forget his birthdate, singed into my mind.

And this, too, I’ll never forget, ever. A few days later, March 1, my life, as I perceived at the time, was turned upside down. A guy who was the sports department’s general assignment writer, handling an assortment of jobs, from helping out on the Cowboys to the Rangers to the Mavericks, college football, basketball and baseball, writing lengthy features and having just come off the previous year of covering the Olympics in Calgary and then Seoul, was told the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones were your beat, buddy.

jerry jones sits with then university of miami coach jimmy johnson at a dallas restaurant. jones would hire johnson to replace tom landry soon after - the boys are back blog

You have been chosen to inherit the tradition set by such esteemed writers as Sherrod, Perkins, Luksa and Dent. No way, I said, not me. I’m not cut out for this. They told me I was perfectly fit, having helped out since the middle of the 1984 season and having covered nearly every game over what turned out to be the final four and a half seasons of Landry’s coaching career.

So there I went kicking and screaming, into what seemingly was a daily towering inferno. Every day – every day – there was something, starting with Jimmy Johnson’s introductory press conference on Monday, the Port Arthur native apologizing with hat in hand if he somehow had danced on Landry’s coaching grave, saying to those who had perceived so, “I’m sorry,” and me finishing my story that night with one line:

And so the Cowboys new era begins apologetically.

Then there came all the coaching changes. Jimmy’s new assistants being hired. Tom’s old assistants being fired.

Then there was Jerry, armed with the first pick in the NFL Draft saying, “Troy Aikman should play for half the price” just to get to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys organization. Oh my.

Next day having to do a long profile on Jimmy.

Next day Cowboys lower ticket prices for end-zone seats.

Then the start of Plan B free agency.

Then the owners meetings, along with the start of implementing instant replay and the league’s initial crackdown on steroids.

Then there was no vote on approving the Dallas Cowboys sale to Jones, leaving the deal hanging.

Then 29-year NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle’s retirement, he having just compared Landry’s dismissal with “the death of Lombardi.”

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - Tom Landry joins team in 1960

Then Jimmy’s first minicamp, along with the real possibility of Randy White and Danny White not being back with the team, which eventually came to fruition a few months later. Then the contract struggle with quarterback Steve Pelluer.

Let’s see, then Too Tall staying, Doug Cosbie leaving, Jimmy playing coy on Aikman being their No. 1 pick, Mike Sherrard leaving, Nate showing up at 358 pounds for offseason workouts, Barry Sanders challenging the NFL’s draft rules, petitioning as an unheard of underclassman for the draft. Landry throwing out the first pitch at a Rangers game. A Landry parade downtown Dallas. The schedule released, at New Orleans becoming the new era’s opener.

Tex Schramm resigning to head up the NFL’s Worldwide American Football League. Cowboys vice president Joe Bailey resigning to join him. Then eventually business manager Billy Hicks, too, to head across the pond. Then the NFL at a meeting in New York finally approving the sale to Jones. Then negotiations began with Aikman’s agent Leigh Steinberg. Then Aikman signing a six-year, $11 million deal, the richest contract for an NFL rookie to date as the Cowboys No. 1 pick. Then the draft.

Oh, we’re just getting started, and these moves were expected, Jerry wanting to get his own people in place, people he could trust not relying solely on those with allegiances to Tex and Tom. Sort of like if you’ve ever been to an Italian wedding or seen an old-day Italian restaurant run. Only the immediate family handles the money, you know, and immediate means wife, husband, kids, mother, father or grandparents. Seriously.

Then longtime Cowboys employees being let go: Day-Oner Gil Brandt, treasurer of 18 years Don Wilson, public relations man of 18 years Doug Todd, 22-year ticket manager Ann Lloyd. All hard to watch.

Gosh, and it wasn’t even May yet.

And remember, back in those days there were three daily newspapers in the Metroplex: ours, The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The competition was fierce. And remember, too, no internet. Ha, internet. No social media. No cell phones. Dimes and quarters were important commodities for payphones. You had one shot to get every story every night. And if you were a competitor you wanted the impossibility of every story every night, so that meant working to 11 nearly every night. Anxiety filled your sleep.

Then, well, mornings were hell. You were scared to death to grab those other papers for fear of getting beat in black and white. Remember, too, no updating if you didn’t have it all until the next day. Trying to keep up with Jerry and Jimmy was exhausting. They weren’t letting any grass grow under their feet. Blowin’ and goin’ was the slogan. Theirs was an immediate program, not some three-year plan.

By the first of June, felt as if my head was being centrifuged. We had a meeting of sorts, me and the sports editor, who told me I was doing a fine job. Maybe, I said, but I want out. I want my old job back. This is going to kill me. He said no way. I said I can’t. He said we’re eliminating your old position anyway.

I said, well, of course I’ll cover the Dallas Cowboys. Who wouldn’t want to, right? But again, not before agreeing kicking and screaming, having wanted desperately to run for cover.

So here it is 25 years later, and still covering the Cowboys in some form or fashion every single day since, and well, let’s see. By my count, the last game I missed was the season finale in 1988, 23-7 loss to Philadelphia. And swear, I’ve never done this before, so hang with me, that’s 25 seasons times 16 regular-season games a season, equaling, no way, an even 400 straight, along with the majority, but not every preseason game during that span of time.

Seen 1-15 and 13-3. Seen three Super Bowl victories and three consecutive seasons of 5-11. Seen a plane ride home from Philadelphia in 1991 after the Cowboys clinched their first playoff berth in six seasons – first winning season, too, in those six – that barely needed jet fuel to get off the ground, and now three consecutive seasons of 8-8.

Seen a losing franchise, both financially and athletically, become the richest in the United States and first to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Seen Hall of Fame coronations and the Jerry-Jimmy spat. Seen Switzer make me laugh until I thought I’d cry and Bill leave me in stitches even when he wasn’t trying to be funny. Seen Jimmy cry How ‘bout dem Cowboys! and smack those lips hard as he could losing those opening two games in 1993.

bill bates was the ultimate free agent for dallas cowboys - the boys are back blog

Seen triplets born to Bill Bates and Triplets land in the Ring of Honor. Seen Dave Campo come and go, and then come back again. Seen a free-agent quarterback rise into becoming the head coach and another rookie free-agent quarterback rise out of nowhere to become the franchise’s all-time leading passer. Seen Texas Stadium come crumbling down and AT&T Stadium rise from that gigantic hole in the ground.

Watched every carry of the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Saw Michael Irvin the day he arrived hugging the life-sized cardboard cutout of Tom Landry and similarly hugging Jerry Jones the day he retired. Seen tragedies and attended funerals.

Seen it all for 25 years, every step of the way only because someone forced me to take that first step running after a guy I had never met until 25 years ago this past Tuesday. Exhausting, yes. Exhilarating, you bet.

Who knew?

And maybe the best part: 25 years is but a milestone. Got a feeling there’s still much more to come.

Courtesy: Mickey Spagnola | Columnist


RELATED: 25th Anniversary of Jerry Jones’ ownership of the Dallas Cowboys

Tex Schramm Jerry Jones Bum Bright - Dallas Cowboys history - Jerry Jones announcement as owner general manager Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back website 2014

25 Years – Jerry Jones reflects on buying Dallas Cowboys; Replacing Tom Landry

This day, 25 years ago, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys. Listen to the Jerry Jones himself talk about the trials of the purchase, and the journey through the last twenty-five years.

(Watch Video | Listen Audio)


former dallas cowboys coach jimmy johnson and barry switzer - the boys are back blog

Tuesday, Feb. 25 marked the 25th anniversary of Jerry Jones franchise purchase of the Dallas Cowboys from Bum Bright in 1989.

Jones spent more than an hour Sunday on the Cowboys bus outside Lucus Oil Stadium in Indianapolis reminiscing about the historic transaction and the days leading up to it _ the nervousness and excitement that caused him to develop a heart condition called Arrhythmia and the huge risk he took, considering the Cowboys were not only a mess on the field at the time but where swimming in debt, losing $1 million per month.

“It was quite a trying time for me. I get emotional talking about it and I’ve asked a professional about why I get emotional talking about it in public or private and they said, well, that was a traumatic time for you. It was a pretty significant reach risk-wise and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, so it was a nervous time for me. I developed arrhythmia, and I had never had an unhealthy day in my life. Arrhythmia is called by a lot of people and a lot of med students get it. It was from not resting and never sleeping and then getting up just after you lay your head down. So that kind of describes for me that period of time.”

On the warning his father told him about what would happen if he failed:

“I didn’t know, but I quickly found out the visibility that was involved there. My father called me about 10 days, two weeks into this thing and he said, ‘Jerry, I had no idea this thing would have the visibility it’s got and he said, I don’t care you are a young guy, and he said, ‘I don’t care whether you do it by mirrors, smoke or what, if you are not successful, you’ve got to make it look successful or you will be known by a loser and you won’t be able to do anything else for the rest of your life in terms of getting people to go along with you.’ “

On his biggest regret:

“If I had a chance to do it over again I would’ve waited a year and just got my feet on the ground a little bit more and probably just gone with the staff that we had and then later made the ultimate changes that I made. If I had to do that over again, I probably would do it because probably it was the urgency with how fast we had to move. That got a lot of the criticism that the changes that were made with the staff.”

So you regret hiring Jimmy Johnson and firing Tom Landry so callously:

“I don’t regret what I said was looking back because that contributed to the seemingly insensitive way that coach Landry was changed out and that contributed to it, the fact that it was done at the same time that we made the announcement there 25 years ago, that we made the announcement that I was buying the team, that I was going to be the general manager and all of that was done almost the same night. As a matter of fact, that was done the same night. So if I look back at the criticism, that’s one where you might have taken more time.”

Was Jimmy Johnson always going to be the guy to replace Landry:

“I thought of Barry (Switzer). I did think of Barry. But Jimmy is, of course, more active. He probably had more proximity. I kept up with Jimmy. My oil and gas partners were in Oklahoma City and I spent a lot of time around them. They were very prominent in OSU, Oklahoma State’s athletic department.  So that all fit real good. When I called Jimmy to tell him that I was looking at it, that I was interested — what would you think about joining me? His quote was: ‘I always wanted to be with you, work with you. If you called me to sell insurance, I’d sell insurance.’ So actually Jimmy came on and we officially – not officially – but we announced he was going to be the head coach and it was a significant period of time after that before we every got around to doing an agreement about money, before we even talked about money. He committed and left Miami and came to the Cowboys before we even talked about money.”

Jones on the nervousness of the financial risk because of the state of the Cowboys and NFL:

“I was excited. I was very nervous. I knew I had huge financial obligations. I knew they were ahead of me and I didn’t have all the answers as to how we were going to address them. I knew there were a lot of pitfalls in just the buying of the Cowboys, not necessarily clean. I bought 13 percent of the Cowboys from the FDIC. They had been foreclosed on. And so it was not in a nice complete operational routine. The franchise was not. All that made me extremely nervous. But had I not had the just sheer positiveness of just getting to be involved in the NFL, knowing that when I got up in the morning I would be in the NFL, knowing that I would be part of the Cowboys then those would have been issues in normal business that might have buckled my knees. But because it was so exciting to me to be part of the Cowboys I give that a lot of credit for working through those things. That was 25 years ago.”

Is the passion and excitement still there:

“Yes, of course. It is. Its actually there more than it was because I’m able to think more offense. I’m not as concerned as I was financially about the state of the franchise, about the NFL, about the game. The future is significantly brighter than it was in 1989 for the NFL, for pro football and for that matter pro sports today.  I never thought Gene (his wife) would be waiting tables over this deal. But I did think it had the potential to really knock my stuff in the dirt. I knew that it did. Lamar Hunt got up at one of our NFL owners meetings maybe 12 to 13 years ago. He got up and told the entire ownership that the greatest risk I have ever seen taken in sports was the one the Jerry took when he bought the Cowboys, financial risk. He was well aware of the situation with Cowboys. He was well aware of the lay of the land”

Jones blames his reputation as an owner who only cares about making money on his aggressiveness of being an agent of change in the NFL because of the poor financial state of the Dallas Cowboys organization and the league at time. 

“That’ll motivate you to be an agent of change. That’ll motivate you to want to change some things, and that was a part of the driving thing that early on in the NFL that I wanted to change for the benefit of everyone, but for the benefit of the clubs, for the benefit of the fans, I felt that we could do some things that would create more strength, more energy, and that was one of the reasons that I initially was as aggressive, and the other things was timing. I didn’t have time to sit there and wait on some of these changes 15 years or 10 years, you know the days and the time was burning, and so it had to be really, you had to move on it. So that’s one of the reasons that the perception of aggressiveness, or the perception of, for that matter, one of the things that I regret is that the perception about financial, the facts are I had financial security and gave it up to buy the Cowboys, and I didn’t buy the Cowboys to go make money. But once you get in the chair, once you get in the position, then you want to be as good and do as good as you can do. So that’s kind of how things have evolved over the years.”


RELATED – There’s MORE about Jerry Jones:

SPOTLIGHT – Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones

To see all articles related to Jerry Jones click HERE

SACKED FOR FIFTH TIME: Dallas Cowboys living legend Charles Haley again denied induction into NFL Hall of Fame

Charles Haley won’t be included in NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2014 - The Boys Are Back

IRVING, Texas – Once again, Charles Haley’s been left out of the latest Hall of Fame class.

This marked the fifth year Haley, who’s the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings, was a Hall of Fame finalist without getting in. Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Aeneas Williams, Claude Humphrey and Ray Guy all were named into the Class of 2014.

Haley ranks 12th in Cowboys history with 34 sacks and had 100.5 for his career.  He would have been the 13th former Cowboys player who accrued at least five years with the team to be named to the Hall of Fame.

Haley, who was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career, joined the Cowboys in 1992 in a trade from San Francisco. Many believe Haley was the difference-maker on defense to put the team over the hump. Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were already in place and leading a high-octane offense, but it was Haley’s presence that added a needed piece.

The converted defensive end had six sacks in his first season but played a big role in the Cowboys having the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL in 1992. In Super Bowl XXVII, Haley made a game-changing play when he sacked Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and forced a fumble, which was recovered in midair by Jimmie Jones for a touchdown. The Cowboys eventually pulled away for a convincing 52-17 win.

Haley had four sacks in 1993 but his most memorable moment came after a Week 2 loss to Buffalo, which dropped the Cowboys to 0-2. Haley emphatically slammed his helmet through a locker room wall at Texas Stadium and voiced his anger in the Cowboys’ not having signed Emmitt Smith, who was two games into a contract dispute with Jerry Jones and the organization. Haley’s comment, “We can’t win with a rookie,” in reference to Smith’s backup Derrick Lassic, might have been the final straw as the Cowboys and Smith came to terms the next week. Smith went on to have an MVP season and the Cowboys won another Super Bowl.

The Cowboys went back to the No. 1 defense in 1994 and Haley had his first double-digit sack season with the club with 12.5, including four in the season opener in Pittsburgh.

Haley had 10.5 sacks in 1995, battling through a bad back all season. He had a sack against the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, which helped him earn his league-best fifth Super Bowl ring.

In three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, Haley had 2.5 sacks and he had 4.5 sacks in his five Super Bowl games played


RELATED: Charles Haley won’t be included in NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2014

SACKED FOR FIFTH TIME - Dallas Cowboys living legend Charles Haley denied his induction into NFL Hall of Fame - The Boys Are Back 2014

NEW YORK – Charles Haley’s wait continues.

The fifth time was not the charm for the former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, who again was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey form the Class of 2014, announced Saturday night. Brooks and Jones earned enshrinement as first-year eligible candidates, and Strahan made it after missing last year in his first year of eligibility.

Williams and Reed have waited longer, with Reed in his ninth year of eligibility and Williams in his fifth. Guy, the first punter to earn induction and only the second true specialist, and Humphrey were seniors nominees.

The seven-man class will be enshrined in Canton this summer.

The 46 selectors met for a record 8 hours, 59 minutes, with Haley’s discussion taking 25 minutes. Discussion on Tony Dungy lasted 47 minutes, the longest of the day, with Brooks taking only 10 minutes.

Haley made the cut to 10, but he, Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison and Will Shields were eliminated in the reduction to five. Morten Andersen, Tim Brown, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Tony Dungy and John Lynch were eliminated from consideration in the first reduction ballot from 15 to 10.

Haley, whose final retirement came following the 1999 season, has been eligible for enshrinement for 10 years. In that time, he has watched seven teammates inducted into the Hall of Fame.

It had seemed this might be Haley’s year.

He remains the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning two with the San Francisco 49ers and three with the Cowboys.

Haley’s teams went 153-66, including 19-6 in the postseason. Only once in 12 regular seasons did his team have a losing record. That was in 1999 after he had retired and then unretired.

His teams won 10 division titles, and he played in seven NFC Championship Games. His teams missed the playoffs only twice.

COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS: Veteran Scott Linehan added to Dallas Cowboys coaching staff | Coaches role’s realigned and defined

COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS - Veteran Scott Linehan added to Dallas Cowboys coaching staff - Coaches role’s realigned and defined

The Dallas Cowboys elevated Monte Kiffin to position of assistant head coach/defense, elevated Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator, hired Scott Linehan to be passing game coordinator/play-caller, and announced that Bill Callahan will remain as offensive coordinator/offensive line coach.

The team made the official announcement in an emailed press release tonight.

It provided this statement from Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett:

“Our responsibility is to bring quality people into our organization and find the best fit for them. That applies to players, and it applies to coaches. Rod Marinelli’s production in terms of creating turnovers and changing field position as a defensive coordinator is well documented. Monte Kiffin’s overall knowledge and understanding of this defensive scheme will be put to use in mentoring all of the players and coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Monte was brought here to direct a transition in philosophy to the 4-3 scheme, and he will continue to oversee the development of our defense in this scheme.

“The opportunity to add someone of Scott Linehan’s expertise and experience will benefit our offensive unit, and we believe the combination of him and Bill Callahan working closely together will give us a great chance to build upon the strides we made offensively last year.”

Scott Linehan is a former head coach in the NFL, with the St. Louis Rams in 2006-08, and was the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions for the past five seasons. Linehan will take on the role of the Dallas Cowboys offensive play caller for the 2014 season. While in Detroit, Linehan directed an offensive unit that finished the past three seasons ranked sixth, third, and fifth respectively in the NFL in total offense.

NO LOVIE IN CHICAGO - Rod Marinelli gave up a chance to be Bears defensive coordinator to reunite with Dallas Cowboys DC Monte Kiffin - The Boys Are Back blog

Rod Marinelli, the Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach in 2013, was most recently the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith from 2010 to 2012 where the Bears units finished ninth, 17th, and fifth, respectively. In 2012, the Chicago Bears led the NFL in interceptions (24), takeaways (44), and were third in points allowed (17.3 points per game).

STAND-UP MOMENT: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo makes it to team meeting

STAND-UP MOMENT - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo makes it to team meeting - 2013 Dallas Cowboys

Three days after back surgery, Tony Romo made it to Valley Ranch for the final team meeting.

“I think that just speaks to what he is,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Going to find a way to come in, see the guys. It was obviously an emotional time. No team stays the same. It’s just what he’s all about. I thought it was great of him to come and be here and just share this time. It’s tough, and he’s a big part of this team. That was very stand-up of him to be here in the midst of the pain I’m sure he’s in.”

Asked if he is worried about Romo’s future, Witten said the quarterback will come back better than ever next season.

“Obviously, it’s been a tough eight months for him physically,” Witten said. “But I feel confident in him. I know what he’s made of. I know how he works, I know how he competes, I know how he trains. But he’ll bounce back and be even better next year. He’ll use this time to evaluate and get healthy and provide perspective and be a better quarterback because of it. I’m confident he’ll come back. I know what he’s made of. I’ve seen it for a long time, how he goes about it, and he’ll bounce back and be better than he’s ever been. I believe that to the bottom of my heart.”

Witten said it was also an emotional week for Romo.

“Obviously, it was difficult not having him out there,” he said. “You know, it was an emotional week for him. Fighting with him every week, you go into that last game, I know it was tough for him not to be in that moment with us, leading that charge. But yeah, he’ll be back. Better than ever.”


This article contains a portion of information contained in the following video:

video - jason witten postgame interview - 2013 Dallas Cowboys season finale - press play

Jason Witten: Talks about the Cowboys 2013 seasons end

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten spoke to the media for the final time this season while cleaning out his locker at Valley Ranch. (Watch Video | Listen Audio)

TIPPING THE BALANCE: DeMarco Murray is ready and willing to carry a bigger load

dallas cowboys rb demarco murray runs against the philadelphia eagles - the boys are back blog

With quarterback Tony Romo sidelined with a back injury and backup Kyle Orton set to start in his place, there is no question the Dallas Cowboys will lean heavily on the running game in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Running back DeMarco Murray, who is in the midst of the best stretch in what has already been the best season of his career, said he is ready and willing to carry a bigger load.

“If they do, then great,” Murray said. “If they don’t, then so be it. I’m preparing like I do any other week. I’m working hard, making sure I know my assignments and knowing my keys and things of that nature, so I’ll be ready.” 

Murray has 1,073 yards in 13 games, becoming the first Dallas Cowboys running back to top 1,000-yard mark since 2006.

He has rushed for 376 yards the past three games combined, averaging a whopping 6.4 yards carry during those contests.

“We’ve been really jelling together,” Murray said. “I think the offensive line, they’re doing a great job of blocking and I’m doing a great job of running and making guys miss …. Since I’ve been here this is the best [it’s been].” 

Coach Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan are both on record saying they are not going to change up the offense much with Orton at helm. But both acknowledge that balance is important and being successful on the ground would be a great help to a new quarterback, especially one with only five pass attempts this season and just 15 the past two seasons combined.

Again Murray said he is ready for whatever. His only goal is a successful game plan to win the game and reach the playoffs.

“I just want to win, run the ball or not,” Murray said. “I just want to win the game.”

TOO PAINFUL TO WATCH: Dez Bryant explains why he walked off the field

TOO PAINFUL TO WATCH - Dez Bryant explains why he walked off the field - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers - Dez Bryant crying cry cries

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant took to Twitter last night to explain why he walked to the locker room with 1:21 left in the 37-36 loss to the Packers.

It came after the game-sealing interception from quarterback Tony Romo. Bryant walked off after the replay officials reversed the call on the field that the pass was incomplete, giving the interception to cornerback Tramon Williams.

Bryant, after declining to speak with reporters after the game, later explained his actions in a tweet on @dezbryant: 

“I walked back to the locker room because I was emotional…it had nothing to do with my teammates we had it… We fought and didn’t finish.”

Bryant was the only Cowboys player to leave the field early, but quarterback Tony Romo refused to criticize him for his actions.

“It’s an emotional game,” Romo said. “You get to the end there, obviously, it’s not fun for any of us to lose a football game. It’s not an enjoyable process the way it ends, no matter how it ends. It’s always tough emotionally so it is what it is.”

Bryant had a solid game, finishing with 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdowns. However, he could have had better numbers as Romo underthrew him on two deep balls and overthrew him on another in the end zone.

“I think the worst thing you can do sometimes with Dez is overthrow him,” Romo said. “Obviously, you’d like to hit him perfectly in stride. He’s such a great athlete, he comes down with most of them. I look back and I wish I had one or two where I gave it a little bit more. But usually, I make sure if I err ever it’s slightly less because he always goes up and gets it. Obviously, I look back, I’ll push those down the field if I have that opportunity.”

RELATED: Dez Bryant couldn’t stand to watch Green Bay kneel the ball down

TOO PAINFUL TO WATCH - Dez Bryant explains why he walked off the field - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers - Dez Bryant remarkable TD touchdown 2

Dez Bryant regrets it. He wishes he wouldn’t have walked off the field with 1:21 left and the Green Bay Packers a couple kneels away from a 37-36 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Bryant spoke about the incident Monday morning as the Cowboys were on their annual visits to area children’s hospitals, which included Bryant visiting Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

“I was wrong,” Bryant said. “It didn’t have anything to do with my teammates. I just … I couldn’t watch Green Bay kneel the ball down on the field after a tough loss like that.

“I was very emotional. I cried when I got into the locker room. I didn’t want to show that stuff on the sideline.”

The Cowboys blew a 23-point halftime lead and wasted an impressive performance by Bryant. He had 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. The TD catch might have been the most remarkable of all, as he grabbed the ball away from several Green Bay defenders and kept his feet inbounds near the back of the end zone.

TOO PAINFUL TO WATCH - Dez Bryant explains why he walked off the field - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers - Dez Bryant remarkable TD touchdown

But that catch was overshadowed by Bryant’s early exit.

“Whenever I’m out on the football field, it’s all about the team,” Bryant said. “I’m a team guy and that’s what I think about and that’s what I focus on. I extremely, extremely apologize for leaving, but my teammates and coaches understand. I am a very emotional player and we didn’t finish.”

The hospital visit, though, did provide some comfort for Bryant and the other players to get away from the tough loss by bringing smiles to children’s faces.

“This is something I really enjoy doing,” Bryant said. “Whenever you’re able to make someone’s day, you should feel good about it.”

TOO PAINFUL TO WATCH - Dez Bryant explains why he walked off the field - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers - Dez Bryant charity

Editor’s Comment: I’m going to share my own opinion of this situation. If you have one, I encourage you to express it in the comment section below. The media at large is making light of Dez Bryant’s emotional and tearful reaction to this loss. No, he shouldn’t have left. No, he will not do it again.

If you follow the Dallas Cowboys closely (like most regular visitors on this site), you already know how emotional Dez Bryant is. That’s a big part of his personality. HE’S DETERMINED TO WIN! The coaches and players are quick to point out that his emotions are one of the key elements that make his such a valuable member of the team. Most of the players that Jason Garrett has kept with his team, or brought in, have the same type of workmanlike traits. The thing with Dez is that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s outwardly expressive. I think that’s a good thing and also believe it’s something that this locker room needs. A player that HATES losing that bad needs to be heard. With only two games remaining, this could be something that ignites or unites this team. They sure need it. The players on this roster want to win for Jason Garrett, the coaches … and veterans Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and DeMarcus Ware. You can add Dez Bryant to that list.

Photo above: Dallas Cowboys on their annual visits to area children’s hospitals, which included Bryant visiting Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

THE NEXT MAN UP: Jason Garrett’s 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys find a way to win, even without centerpiece Sean Lee on the field

Dallas Cowboys helmet - The Next Man Up - The Boys Are Back

The Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 without Sean Lee in the middle of the defense, but it’s not like his influence has not been felt.

DeMarcus Ware said Lee remains a big presence everywhere except the field, continuing to work with his replacement, Ernie Sims, like a coach.

“When you have guys like Lee still in there, in the meeting rooms, still teaching Ernie what to do – everybody in this league is athletic – but if you can instill what you do mentally first, especially like Sean Lee, he’s showing them so many things and what to key on, and they’ve gotten better,” Ware said after the Thanksgiving Day victory against Oakland. “He’s still there, but just in another person’s body, of Ernie’s or whatever.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Lee has been missed, but there have been benefits.

“It caused us to do some moving around a little bit,” he said. “It’s probably caused us to see Wilber, who was steady against the Giants and again tonight. That may be a blessing for us.”

Lee said the defense has played “fantastic” without him.

“I think it shows you have a lot of guys who have worked hard, who have stepped up – guys like Kyle Wilber and Ernie Sims, who put in a ton of work,” he said. “And you have to give them a ton of credit, because they’ve been a huge reason why we’ve been able to win these two football games.”

Sean Lee said he is on track to play in the next game, Dec. 9 at Chicago.

THROWBACKS THROWN BACK: Dallas Cowboys won’t be wearing throwback uniforms on Thanksgiving Day

Raiders Cowboys Football

The Dallas Cowboys had planned to wear their throwback blue jerseys and their throwback helmets for today’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Raiders.

But that was before the NFL sent out memo in September banning throwback helmets because of safety concerns regarding concussions because may not be broken in properly.

Without the throwback helmets, the Cowboys decided against the throwback jerseys and will go with the regular blue road jerseys against the Raiders.

Vice-president Stephen Jones said it’s all about “putting player safety first and foremost.”

“I don’t know that it’s a given by moving from one helmet to another that it’s an issue but we haven’t proven that it’s not either,” Jones said. “So anytime we’re always going to err on the side of safety, so it’s going to give us a new look this year, but some times there’s nothing wrong with that either. We’ll continue to look at that. It doesn’t mean you won’t see alternative helmets in the future but we want to make sure right now we always err on the side of payer safety until we’ve really dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s.”

This will be the first time since 1964 that the Cowboys will wear their blue jersey at home and it not be a throwback.

POSITIVE CHANGE IN PLAYCALLING: Jason Garrett wanted return to sideline relationship with Tony Romo

POSITIVE CHANGE IN PLAYCALLING: Jason Garrett wanted return to sideline relationship with Tony Romo

Bill Callahan said coach Jason Garrett wanted to return to the relationship he used to have with Tony Romo on the sideline, one reason the Dallas Cowboys changed their play-calling mechanism.

“He’s had that relationship with him on the sideline in his career, and he wanted to get back to that a little bit more,” Callahan said Wednesday in his weekly meeting with reporters. “And he should, and rightfully so, as the head coach.”

Callahan, the offensive coordinator and play-caller, was joined in the coaches box by quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson last week. Wilson used to be on the sideline, receiving the play calls from Callahan and sending them to Romo. Now Garrett receives the calls and passes them to Romo.

But Callahan said that does not mean Garrett changes the calls.

“We’re all on the same page. Nothing’s changed in terms of the play-calling, whatsoever,” he said. “There’s not changes of plays, or anything like that. Here is what I think everyone needs to understand: that there’s great communication among the offensive coaches. Jason’s a part of this process, of game-planning, and being on the sideline during the game, I think he’s just become more active with Tony in that regard.”

Callahan said the changes wait until halftime.

“Then we’ll tweak it or we’ll look at what we want to amend or maybe bring up or possibly showcase a little bit more,” he said. “But really, there’s no changing of plays. There’s no power struggle or anything like that. I have this responsibility, and we communicate, I think, really well, as we have been. But anything that gets us going is always positive. If Coach feels it was a good change, we’re all for it. I was all for it.”

Asked for specifics on what Garrett communicates to him, Callahan said, “It’s more like,  ‘What are you thinking on this series, Bill? What are your thoughts going into this next drive? What do you have going?’ He just wants to know, and that’s communicated. ‘We’re gong to do this, we’re going to try to get to this personnel grouping, we’re going to try to get to this run or this group of passes.’ That’s what’s communicated, essentially, on the headset during the course of the game.”

BRACED FOR THE RACE: Dallas Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher will play with a neck brace

BRACED FOR THE NFC EAST RACE - Dallas Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher will play with a neck brace - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said he’s been outfitted with a neck brace that will reduce the chance he gets another stinger. It’s so restrictive, it keeps him from moving his neck back.

“I can’t even see in my stance, hardly,” he said Thursday, smiling about it with reporters. “I have to get down super low.”

But he said he’ll take part of the brace off down the line so he can have more range of movement.

“I’ll take that off eventually, in about three or four weeks from now, I’ll take that off so I can get my neck back,” he said.

Hatcher was limited again in practice Thursday. The native of Jena, La., missed the New Orleans game two weeks ago because of a stinger.

“That hurt me bad, just going home to my home state and not being able to help my team,” he said. “I’m not saying the outcome would have been different or whatnot, but I’m pretty sure knowing me, a healthy me, I could have done some stuff to help my team. So I’m excited to be back, just excited to see how this game is going to go for me, as well as my team.”

COWBOYS VS. GIANTS GAME PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | Thursday practice | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Dallas head coach Jason Garrett - Dallas Cowboys news

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett had the expected response when told owner Jerry Jones guaranteed his return for next year.

The man, who preaches “process” and taking it “one day at a time, one game at a time”, said his focus is only on Sunday’s game against the Giants.

“We’re talking about practicing well today,’’ Garrett said. “That’s what we’re going to focus on, and that’s something we emphasize to our team. That’s something we have to live as a coaching staff. We understand we have a great challenge this week and we’re trying to get ready for it.’’

As a long-time player and son of a former coach and a scout, Garrett understands the nature of the business. No matter what Jones says, he knows that if the Cowboys don’t get in the playoffs, anything could happen. His approach of always doing your best every day has been the same since he took over the Cowboys and it won’t change now with Jones’ vote of confidence. 

“I think it’s the nature of the league,’’ Garrett said. “You have to focus on what you’re doing each and every day to play your best football on Sunday. That’s what the focus is.’’ 

Garrett certainly has the support of the Cowboys locker room. The players greeted news of Garrett’s job security with excitement.

Said quarterback Tony Romo of Garrett’s impending return: “It’s good. I think he is a fantastic coach. We are lucky to have him. He is doing a great job here right now. We’re continuing to try and win games and Jason’s done a great job putting us in position to have that opportunity and I think he’s done a great job. Anytime that happens, it’s always just a positive.”

Receiver Dez Bryant was in full agreement, saying Garrett is the best coach he has been around.

“He’s the guy. Coach Garrett is the guy,” Bryant said. “This stuff is a process. Don’t count us out quick, because we’re still here. We believe we’ve got a shot at doing something good this year. Coach Garrett does a great job. I pay attention to him. I listen to him. I love him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around.”


JASON GARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE - Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett - watch video - button Cowboys Giants - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants practice (8:18)

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media before his team takes the practice field for the upcoming game with the 2013-2014 New York Giants. (Watch Video | Play Audio)

Garrett discussed:

  • Matching intensity of the outspoken New York Giants players
  • Preparations for playing in windy, cold environments this time of the year
  • Linebackers DeVonte Holloman limitation and addition of Orie Lemon
  • Precautions with DeVonte Holloman’s neck injury
  • Expectations for 3-4 LB Orie Lemon coming back to play in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme
  • Dez Bryant’s handling of the New York Giants comments in the past week
  • Troy Aikman’s radio comments about line of scrimmage delay’s vs. Saints
  • Mindset of the New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys mindset this week
  • Tailored player motivation through overcoming adversity and rewards for playing time
  • Running short high percentage plays to Witten/Dez in slumps; vs. broad list plays
  • How the recent NY Giants have changed their attack; two-back base offense
  • DeMarcus Ware and Morris Claiborne’s practice yesterday

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