THE BOYS ARE BACK ON TRACK: Both Dallas Cowboys player suspensions resolved | Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain to return in week 5 | 2015 Dallas Cowboys
After weeks of inactivity at Valley Ranch due to offseason vacation breaks … there is news to report today.
The NFL announced that Greg Hardy‘s suspension was reduced from 10 games to four games this afternoon. Continue reading →
The NFL is starting over with the Pro Bowl.
The NFL originally announced radical changes to the format of the All-Star game back in May, eliminating the traditional AFC vs. NFC matchup in favor of a fantasy draft-like roster selection.
Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will serve as alumni captains, choosing two rosters with the help of two NFL.com fantasy users.
The NFL and NFLPA distributed a joint press release, explaining that the changes are designed to make the Pro Bowl “the ultimate fan-friendly celebration of the game.”
“As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” said NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth, who proposed the changes to the game. “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”
Under the new format, players will be selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
Players will be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft, which will air (tonight) on Wednesday, Jan. 22, on NFL Network.
The 2014 Pro Bowl will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
- Game within the Game: A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.
- No Kickoffs: The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.
- Rosters: The rosters will continue to consist of 43 players per squad. The kick return specialist will be replaced by an additional defensive back.
- Cover Two and Press Coverage: The defense will be permitted to play “cover two” and “press” coverage. In previous years, only “man” coverage was permitted, except for goal-line situations.
- Stopping of the Game Clock: Beginning at the two-minute mark of every quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the clock will stop as if the play were an incomplete pass. This rule will make the team with the ball attempt to gain yardage toward the end of each quarter.
- Game Timing: The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
- Play Clock: A 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the typical 40-second/25-second clock.
- Sacks: The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game. Currently, the game clock stops in these situations outside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.
Check out the new NFL Pro Bowl page for much more detailed information about the NFL’s All-Star game!
COWBOYS GIANTS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Jersey boys want to give Dez Bryant some of his own medicine | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said the game is “like a Super Bowl to us,” which actually kind of makes sense. At 4-6, the Giants are working with a razor-thin margin of error. It’s not win-or-go-home, though it might as well be.
Yesterday, Giants safety Will Hill turned his attention to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Hill offered up the defense’s strategy on how to unsettle the All-Pro.
“Get your hands on him,” Hill said, via NJ.com. “He doesn’t like to be touched, like most receivers in this league. But really him. He doesn’t like to be touched.”
“You just have to be physical with him,” cornerback Prince Amukamara agreed. “He’s a big guy. You just have to use his medicine against him. I think that is the key.”
Consider Bryant a sleeping giant right now. The Dallas Cowboys targeting their best player a grand total of two times, in what should have been a shootout with the New Orleans Saints.
You can safely assume coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan have drawn up a game plan this week that calls for Tony Romo to look Bryant’s way early and often. We’ll see if the Giants’ handsy game plan has any effect.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’: Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce
ARLINGTON – Jerry Jones will outlive us all. Some wonder if Jerry Jones is slowing down. He’s 70 years old. But the Dallas Cowboys owner insists he is as mentally sharp as he was when he bought the team in 1989.
This has always been a working theory around these parts, admittedly rooted in a gut feeling rather than tangible medical evidence.
But now … now we have something to work off. The Dallas Cowboys owner received some very unusual news during a recent visit to the doctor. He shared said unusual news with the media.
The doctor convinced him he has the perspicacity of someone nearly half his age.
“I’ve been told that I have, by CAT Scans, that it’s like the brain of a 40-year-old,” Jones crowed. “…The guy really did not know it was me. I was there anonymously. He said, ‘And so I just wanted to come down. I saw your chart. I know how old you are. That part is really impressive.’”
Jones remains confident in his abilities to manage the organization and earn another Super Bowl title.
“I know more about what I’m doing than hopefully I did 25 years ago,” he said, referring to the time he entered the NFL as an owner.
Jones’ comments came, of course, one day after his son, Stephen, the team’s executive vice president, declared, “We’re convinced we’ve got the secret sauce to put this thing back together again and win championships.” (see below)
By promoting Jerry’s 40-year-old brain and Stephen’s secret sauce this week, the Jones Family seems to think the Dallas Cowboys have what it takes to return to glory.
RELATED: Stephen Jones says Cowboys have the ‘secret sauce’ to win championships again
IRVING — What’s going to make the Cowboys better than 8-8 this year? The “secret sauce,” says executive vice president Stephen Jones.
Answering a question from reporters about whether his father, owner Jerry Jones, hears criticism, Stephen said it is motivation.
“Obviously we feel like we have a great organization in the Cowboys, but we can always be better. We look for ways to be better,” Stephen said. “We do that both on the field and off the field. We’re convinced we’ve got the quote-unquote ‘secret sauce’ to ultimately put this thing back together again and win championships.”
The sauce includes making the playoffs, and Stephen was asked if the Cowboys’ record will be better than 8-8.
“We certainly expect it to be,” he said. “We want people to be accountable. Our commitment when we started was no more 8-8s. I think we’ve got good personnel. I think we’ve got a great staff. I think we can do that. We need to stay healthy. We need to stay focused. We need to get better every day. And I think we’ll be better than 8-8.”
Stephen said his father still has a drive to work and succeed, even at age 70.
“You don’t run across many people like him that are driven to be successful, not only in business, but I think he’s equally driven for the Cowboys to win championships,” Stephen said. “We’ve won them. He certainly doesn’t want to think we’re through winning them. I don’t think we’re through winning them. … I think it’s still out there for us to go get. We just have to keep working hard and keep holding everyone accountable to one another. I think good things will come.”
Dallas Cowboys the most popular pick in wide-open division
Around the League predicts NFC East
|Chris Wesseling||Marc Sessler||Dan Hanzus||Gregg Rosenthal|
|Cowboys (10-6)||Cowboys (9-7)||Redskins (10-6)||Eagles (10-6)|
|Redskins (10-6)||Redskins (9-7)||Giants (9-7)||Giants (9-7)|
|Giants (9-7)||Eagles (8-8)||Cowboys (8-8)||Redskins (8-8)|
|Eagles (7-9)||Giants (6-10)||Eagles (5-11)||Cowboys (6-10)|
The NFC East is the “SEC of the NFL,” but it is the most wide-open division in football. Two Around the League writers picked the Cowboys to win the division, and our podcast special guest Henry Hodgson also took Dallas for the top spot.
I (Gregg Rosenthal) have the Cowboys in dead last at 6-10 because the changes on their defense make no sense. Monte Kiffin hasn’t had a lot of success in college or the NFL for a long time, and some of Dallas’ aging talent might not fight in a 4-3 scheme. Kiffin may need time to implement his changes, but this is a win-now year for coach Jason Garrett. Chris Wesseling believes the Cowboys have the best offense and defense in the division.
Big disagreements on Eagles
I (Gregg Rosenthal) have Philadelphia winning the division. Everyone else has them in last place. The case for the Eagles: Coach Chip Kelly and plenty of latent offensive talent. Philadelphia’s offensive line should be a weapon; there isn’t a more imposing tackle duo than Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. Kelly’s offensive concepts will be difficult for defenses to handle in year one, and he has two quarterbacks that can run his system.
All the last-place votes for Philadelphia were primarily because of the defense. The secondary is a collection of castoffs and disappointments. It’s not clear where their pass rush is going to come from.
Will Robert Griffin III take a step back?
Only one of us — Dan Hanzus — took the Redskins to repeat as division champions. There is great reason to doubt their defense, especially the secondary. (This is a trend throughout the division.) But we also wondered if RGIII is going to take a step back.
It’s not just about Griffin’s mobility or lack of practice time heading into his second season. It’s his accuracy. Tom Brady wasn’t the same right away after his ACL surgery. He wasn’t as comfortable in the pocket or as accurate. It took Brady half a season to look like himself. This Redskins team just isn’t that deep unless Griffin is all the way back sooner than later, and that’s a lot to ask.
Little love for Big Blue
No one took the Giants to win the division, although three of us had them at 9-7. (Just like the last two years, including their last Super Bowl title.) It’s hard to imagine the Giants’ defense playing worse this year, but it’s also hard to imagine it being a difference maker again.
Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers are a shaky starting linebacker trio. The secondary had big questions even before injuries were suffered on Saturday night. The offensive line is similarly banged up with trouble spots. Eli Manning has elevated his play overall the last two years, but he’s not the type of quarterback that consistently puts a team on his back month-after-month.
Listen to our entire NFC East podcast preview right here. (Note: 40 minute show, half of it dedicated to NON-NFC East related teams)
Gregg Rosenthal | NFL Around The League Editor
The Boys Are Back blog editors comment: Gregg Rosenthal is a dipshit. This staff is largely clueless and out-of-touch with the inner workings, philosophy, and capabilities of the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys organization. If this article (or Gregg Rosenthal, in general) pisses you off … check out their idiotic NFC East podcast preview for even more insight into their bias. The official NFL website is the absolute LAST place a true fan should go for reliable information, or objectivity, regarding the Dallas Cowboys. Every (Dallas Cowboy) article has a negative cheap shot or slam in one regard or another. Ridiculous.
Technology can be a wonderful thing.
In the old days, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr would have missed the Monday birth of his son, Austin.
Carr had just returned to Los Angeles with teammates from the Hall of Fame Game when he received the word that his fiancée was in labor. He packed a bag and headed back to the airport. He was able to watch the birth on FaceTime.
“I saw everything I needed to see,” Carr said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (see below). “I saw it all. Technology is wonderful these days. Sometimes you can’t control what’s going to happen. You’ve just got to go with the flow. I made the most of it.”
Carr spent two days with his family — he also has a daughter — before rejoining teammates at practice Thursday. He is expected to see some playing time against the Oakland Raiders on Friday night.
“No sleep at all, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Carr said. “It was a good feeling to be there and actually see your first son. I’m still trying to gather my thoughts and bring it all in. The last two days have been good. It’s a blessed feeling.”
That’s good Dad Work right there.
RELATED: Brandon Carr returns to camp after welcome his first son, Austin
Brandon Carr hasn’t been in camp the past two days, but he is the player who is the most weary. He spent two days at home with his fiancée and his newborn son, Austin, who was born Monday.
“No sleep at all, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said the Cowboys cornerback, who returned to practice Thursday. “It was a good feeling to be there and actually see your first son. I’m still trying to gather my thoughts and bring it all in. The last two days have been good. It’s a blessed feeling.”
Carr, who also has a daughter, Sidney, flew back with the team from the Hall of Fame Game, arriving at LAX early Monday morning. He packed a bag and headed back to the airport after getting news that his fiancée was in labor. He watched the birth on FaceTime.
“I saw everything I needed to see,” Carr said. “I saw it all. Technology is wonderful these days. Sometimes you can’t control what’s going to happen. You’ve just got to go with the flow. I made the most of it.”
Now, he’s ready to play. The Cowboys starters are expected to play a series or two against the Raiders on Friday night.
“I’m ready to get it on,” Carr said. “I’m pretty fresh and ready to get out there and run around and get some action finally and get ready for the season.”
Tarell Brown left $2 million on the table this offseason. This hardly was part of the plan.
The San Francisco 49ers cornerback was due to earn $2.925 million in 2013, the final year of his contract. To collect $2 million of that salary, he was obligated to attend offseason workouts with the team. Unaware that his attendance was contractually mandatory, Brown worked out on his own in Texas.
He didn’t realize he had cost himself dearly until Thursday, when he saw reports on Twitter. He immediately fired his agent, Brian Overstreet.
“No one wants to leave money on the table,” Brown said Thursday, via The Associated Press. “If I would have known the clauses in my contract — that’s what agents get paid to do, to orchestrate the contract and to let you know what you can and can’t do as far as workouts and OTAs and things of that sort. That’s what he got paid to do. He didn’t do that, so in my opinion, you have to be let go. We all are held accountable for our actions. This is part of the business.”
After finishing what we imagine was a tremendously pleasant conversation with Mr. Overstreet, Brown reached out to the 49ers. Unfortunately for the 28-year-old, “there wasn’t too much I really could say.”
“It had nothing to do with not being in shape, not wanting to work out, no contract problems, it just had to do with me wanting to go back home and train,” Brown said. “It’s something I’ve been doing for the past few years.”
Brown said he plans to sit down with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in an effort to work out a compromise of some kind.
“Hope for the best,” Brown said. “Pray for me.”
The NFL draft provides football fans with a peek into the exhilaration that comes with entering the league. Far less publicized is a player’s exit from the game, which carries its own emotional weight.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the NFL Spring Meeting in Boston that he had met with league officials about ways to better service players when their careers are over. Those talks Tuesday included discussions with NFL senior vice president Troy Vincent, Goodell said.
“We look at our players from a total wellness standpoint,” Goodell said. “It’s not just a physical wellness, it’s a mental wellness. And what can we do to try and make sure that we’re helping our players make the transitions through life and to make sure they’re getting the kind of help they need at any point.”
Goodell added: “And today one of the focuses was the cutdown process as an example. How do we make the process more dignified? It is in some cases the last experience a player has with a team or any team in the NFL. So we have to do a better job of doing that in a humane way and a way that will make sure they understand the respect we have for them and the pride we have in what they accomplished.
“Make sure they understand what they’ll be experiencing as they separate from an NFL team and make sure they have the services that are available to them, which we provide and we think can be incredibly valuable to them.”
If you’ve ever watched HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” you know the process of cutting players gives that series some of its most heart-wrenching moments. It’s a traumatic time for any player, and exploring ways to help them through that process makes sense for the NFL.
Dan Hanzus | NFL Around the League Writer
DeMarcus Ware is the latest NFL player to make the switch to an enhanced facemask.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive end on Wednesday gave fans on Facebook a look at his new helmet, which includes a facemask with eight horizontal bars. Ware’s previous helmet had four bars.
“Getting my armor ready for the season,” Ware wrote. “Will be suited up for battle!”
The facemask is similar to the one used by Justin Tuck. The New York Giants defensive end added the extra bars last year to make it harder for opponents to grab his facemask. Tuck suspected offensive linemen were yanking on his facemask in an attempt to aggravate a neck injury.
Ware likely seeks similar protection. The Cowboys star has dealt with recurring neck stingers going back to an injury caused by a helmet-to-helmet collision in December 2009.
So yes, the facemask gives off a subtle Bane vibe — which is obviously solid. But it also has practical value.
PHOTO: Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware unveils his eight-bar facemask he’ll wear in the 2013-2014 season