Category Archives: Jerry Jones – Dallas Cowboys

LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings postgame show

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NFL LEGACY LESSONS FROM THE PAST: Winning the ‘big one’ comparison of Tony Romo to John Elway

NFL LEGACY LESSONS FROM THE PAST - Mike Shanahan agrees with Jerry Jones’ comparison of Tony Romo to John Elway - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys - Super Bowl 32 Elway helicopter

IRVING, Texas – Not many figures in the NFL landscape are more familiar with the importance of “winning the big one” than Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.

As offensive coordinator, and eventually head coach of the Denver Broncos, few people were closer to Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway during his struggles and eventual success in winning a championship.

It makes sense then that Shanahan would field questions this week about the comparison of Elway, now the executive vice president of football operations for Denver, to Tony Romo. In the moments following Dallas’ 51-48 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones compared Romo’s hardships in delivering big victories to Elway’s career.

Said Jones: “The guy standing over on the other sideline or up in the box, John Elway, had those things said about him his entire career. He was a great player and we all know that, and he ultimately got his Super Bowls and they don’t say that about him anymore.”

Shanahan said today that the comparison was a fair one.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it. That’s everybody’s goal, to win the Super Bowl, and unless you do it, you’re always going to have people second-guessing yourself,” he said. “John had that as well, and when he did win the two his last couple years, back-to-back, that quickly goes away. But until you do it, you’re always going to have that tag.”

Elway was the poster child for big game disappointment for much of his legendary career. Prior to winning two Super Bowls in his final two seasons, he managed a so-so 7-8 postseason record for the Broncos.

Most notable among those eight losses were a trio of lopsided Super Bowl defeats. Elway led Denver to the Super Bowl after the 1986, 1987 and 1989 seasons, where the Broncos were defeated by a combined score of 136-40.

Shanahan was Elway’s offensive coordinator for the first two Super Bowl losses, and he was the Broncos’ head coach for the two wins, after the 1997 and 1998 seasons. (Editors comment: Think of Jason Garrett’s legacy with his ‘potential’ comparison to Shanahan. Garrett has been Tony Romo’s offensive coordinator and/or head coach from the beginning of Romo’s career).

“I think the people that see Tony practice every day and the teammates know what he can do. But you do it as a team. Everybody’s got to do it together,” Shanahan said. “When I was with John, going into the 15th, 16th year, you had the same people saying that he couldn’t do it throughout his whole career. Then when he does do it, everybody says ‘Ah, yeah. We knew he could do it.’ I mean, it’s the same old thing.”

Of course, Romo still has a bit of catching up to do. The Cowboys’ quarterback has appeared in just four playoff games with one victory, and consequently has not reached the Super Bowl. That said, Shanahan said the process remains the same.

NFL LEGACY LESSONS FROM THE PAST - Mike Shanahan agrees with Jerry Jones’ comparison of Tony Romo to John Elway - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys - Super Bowl 32 Elway carry on shoulders

“You’ve just got to fight through it, you can’t listen to the critics and you’ve got to believe in yourself, and I’m sure that’s what Tony’s doing,” he said.

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Related post …

TWO SIDES OF THE FENCE: Tony Romo’s NFL legacy is still being written


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VOCAL VALLEY RANCH: Dallas Cowboy players praise Tony Romo, the NFC’s top rated quarterback

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IRVING, Texas – The typical criticism poured down on quarterback Tony Romo after Sunday’s awe-inspiring start and ultimately disappointing loss, but none of it’s coming from within the organization.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones described Romo’s 506-yard, five-touchdown performance as the best game he’s ever seen his franchise quarterback play, and the rest of Romo’s teammates echoed similar sentiments, despite the fourth quarter interception.

VOCAL VALLEY RANCH - Dallas Cowboy players praise Tony Romo, the NFC’s top rated quarterback - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys - Sean Lee and Dallas D

“Just what I’ve been saying, he’s just a premier quarterback and he played his butt off for us,” said defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. “The defense didn’t do a good enough job to win. We should have got off the field on third down and made plays.”

The defensive players placed the blame of the game entirely on their own shoulders for letting up 51 points in a three-point defeat.

They don’t blame the quarterback who set the franchise record for passing yardage in a single game. Romo is currently No. 1 in the NFC in completion percentage (71.8), touchdown passes (13), interceptions thrown (2) and quarterback rating (114.3).

He’s in the top five of every major passing category in the NFC besides attempts, where he resides in sixth place. The only player beating him in all those categories is the AFC quarterback he went toe-to-toe with Sunday, Peyton Manning, who’s having an unprecedented start to the season.

VOCAL VALLEY RANCH - Dallas Cowboy players praise Tony Romo, the NFC’s top rated quarterback - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys - Sean Lee

“Tony played fantastic in the game,” said linebacker Sean Lee. “The defense let us down in the game. It starts with a guy like me. I didn’t play well enough. I didn’t make enough plays. The offense played fantastic. It should squarely be on the defense.”

The defense never forced the Broncos to punt once. Denver was, however, forced into three field goals, a fumble and an interception, which gave the Cowboys’ offense a fighting chance.  Three Cowboys players went for more than 100 yards receiving, including Jason Witten, whose 10-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter gave the Cowboys a three-point lead at the time.

VOCAL VALLEY RANCH - Dallas Cowboy players praise Tony Romo, the NFC’s top rated quarterback - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys

“They’ve got a great quarterback across the way, maybe the best ever, but No. 9 played pretty well today,” Witten said. “Probably the best game I’ve seen him play in a long time – if not the best. I’m proud of him.”

Even when Romo plays one of the best games of his career, the late interception is still what will resonate for many pundits across the nation. That will typically happen for the most polarizing quarterback in the league, particularly when his best game ever is also a loss.

“I thought Tony played a fantastic football game,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “You know, we were up and down the field, he made critical throws throughout the game all over the field. Unfortunately, in that particular case, they made the play and that was the difference-making play.”

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE: Jason Garrett, Tony Romo, and Jerry Jones reaction to Dallas Cowboys 51-48 loss to Denver Broncos

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE - Jason Garrett, Tony Romo, and Jerry Jones reaction to Dallas Cowboys 51-48 loss to Denver Broncos - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett Postgame Press Conference (11:17)

Head coach Jason Garrett talks to the media following the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys loss to the Denver Broncos.

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$10.63 MILLION MICROFRACTURE: Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer could miss remainder of 2013-2014 season

$10.63 MILLION MICROFRACTURE - Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer could miss remainder of 2013-2014 season

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys will be without Anthony Spencer for several more weeks and possibly the rest of the season, according to owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who said the defensive end could need microfracture surgery.

“It’s a real setback,” Jones told 105.3 “The Fan” in Dallas this morning. “It could be out for the season.”

Spencer, who has played only one of three games this year, is expected to have his second surgery on his left knee that has given Spencer problems since the first days of training camp back in mid-July. Spencer underwent what was believed to be a minor arthroscopic procedure and the timetable was to return by the first game of the season against the Giants.

Spencer missed that game but returned the following week in Kansas City. However, he wasn’t able to practice much this week and was held out Sunday against the Rams.

“Here’s a case of a guy you almost have to tie him up to get him off the field,” Jones said of Spencer. “He was so diligent in his rehab. The individual that I have the most empathy for is Spencer because of the type of person he is.

In the offseason, the Cowboys cleared enough cap space to put the $10.63 million franchise tag on Spencer for the second straight year. Spencer made his first trip to the Pro Bowl last year when he had a career-high 11 sacks.

The Cowboys are fortunate to have veteran George Selvie, a late-camp addition who has started the last three games.

TWO SIDES OF THE FENCE: Tony Romo’s NFL legacy is still being written

TWO SIDES OF THE FENCE - Tony Romo’s NFL legacy is still being written - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

On a picture-perfect Southern California afternoon, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo took a break from the daily grind of training camp to chase 16-month-old son Hawkins around the field.

A few days after Romo’s family left training camp, news broke that his wife, Candice, is expecting the couple’s second child after the season.

TWO SIDES OF THE FENCE - Tony Romo’s NFL legacy is still being written - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - 3

Five months ago, Romo signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension to make him the highest-paid Cowboys player in franchise history. In Jerry Jones’ office that day at Valley Ranch, a photographer captured Hawkins taking a pen out of the Cowboys owner’s hands, with Hawkins’ smiling parents holding him.

For Romo, it seems, life couldn’t get much better. He has it all: faith, family, football, fame and fortune.

But one dream has proved elusive for Romo: a Super Bowl.

He hasn’t even taken baby steps to approach the milestone. He has one playoff win in his 6 1/2 seasons as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback.

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At 33, the oldest player in the Cowboys’ locker room, Romo knows he must strike quickly. He has never wanted it more, but not just for himself.

“When you’re young, you want to be the best, you want to be the starter, you want to do these things to get to that point to win a championship,” Romo said. “And when you’re older, you want all those same things, but you want it for a lot of other people as well, because you see all the people that have put so much into it and it really matters to them as well.

“That’s where I’m at. It’s not just for me. It’s about a lot of other people. I see it with the fans.”

Recent history says Romo isn’t likely to lead the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl win since the 1995 season.

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Only one starting quarterback in the last 14 seasons has won the Super Bowl at 33 or older. That was 34-year-old Brad Johnson in 2003, but he was just a game manager for Tampa Bay’s defensively led team.

Romo isn’t paid to be a game manager.

Only 11 quarterbacks in NFL history have won a Super Bowl at 33 or older. One of those happens to be an unabashed Romo supporter: legendary Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.

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When he was 35, Staubach led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win in 1978.

Thirty-five years later, Staubach believes Romo can do the same.

“If you’re in your 30s and you’re a quarterback, it’s not like other positions,” Staubach said. “He’s at the prime of his career right now.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on NFL Network in May 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cowboys have gone all-in on Romo. They’re not only paying him as an elite quarterback, they’ve given him more say-so than ever in the offensive game plan.

In training camp, Romo often held teaching sessions with receivers and running backs. During the season, he’ll be in coaching meetings early in the week to help formulate game plans.

Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who spent 19 years as a quarterback in the NFL, said Romo has “always had input on things” but never to the point that he was side-by-side with coaches.

In fact, Wilson said he’s never been involved with a similar situation in his almost 35 years in the NFL as a player and coach.

dallas cowboys quarterbacks coach wade wilson laughs with quarterback tony romo during practice - the boys are back blog

Wilson said Romo always offered ideas, but now the process is streamlined.

“Any ideas that he’s had, they may show up later in the week,” Wilson said. “But now, with him in those meetings, he’s watching it with us and we’re talking about things. Maybe those ideas come earlier in the week and we get a chance to practice them.”

The Cowboys view Romo as a “young” 33 by NFL standards, because most starting quarterbacks his age have more mileage on their throwing arms. The Cowboys signed the undrafted Romo in 2003, but he didn’t attempt his first NFL pass until midway through the 2006 season.

“He started later and he takes real good care of himself,” Wilson said. “He plays the different sports in the off-season. He’s in great condition and he’s very instinctive, and those things will stay with you throughout your career.”

Sure, Romo’s arm is fine. But he’s withstood much abuse over the last six seasons — particularly the last three — because of the team’s poor offensive line play.

Romo didn’t participate in the Cowboys’ off-season workouts because he had back surgery to remove a cyst. Two years ago, he played a game with a broken rib and a punctured lung.

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Soon to be 71, Jones has said he doesn’t have time to wait for the Cowboys to show improvement.

That also holds true for Romo. But for better or worse, Jones is committed to Romo, thanks to the quarterback’s new contract.

Romo is 1-6 in win-or-go-home games, and hasn’t been able to get it done in the regular-season finale the last two seasons in games that could have given the Cowboys the NFC East title.

For one of the league’s most talented quarterbacks, Romo is aware his legacy will ultimately be defined by his playoff success.

“It’s not fair, but that’s just the way it is,” Staubach said of how Romo will be judged. “I really feel it’s important to him. The most important thing for him is to win and to get to that playoff level where he can win some playoff games. But you can’t do it by yourself. It’s not a one-man game. It’s a team game. Dallas has a quarterback who can be a franchise quarterback. But you need other pieces, too.”

What will be Romo’s legacy? Will he be the next Staubach or Troy Aikman — who have combined for five Super Bowl wins — or will he fall woefully short?

Aikman has said Romo is a better quarterback than he was and believes Romo will lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win one day.

Pro Football Hall of Famers Aikman and Staubach believe in him. But time is running out on Romo to make believers out of his critics.

“This team is going to win a Super Bowl at some point. It’s going to be exciting when that time comes,” Romo said. “And when we look back, we know who was on what side of the fence during the tough moments.”

TWO SIDES OF THE FENCE - Tony Romo’s NFL legacy is still being written - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - 5

NO TERMS OF ENDEARMENT: Plaintiff attorney in NFL concussion suit calls Jerry Jones a “hard-ass”

NO TERMS OF ENDEARMENT - Plaintiff attorney in NFL concussion suit calls Jerry Jones a “hard-ass” - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

There was a humorous, Dallas Cowboys-related moment today during a media conference call to announce terms of the concussion lawsuit settlement between the NFL and 4,500 former players.

Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, was asked if he is concerned the players left money on the table by settling the suit.

“I think you all can assume that the NFL and the NFL owners are pretty tough individuals,” he said. “In fact, you’ve got one down in Texas who I would call a hard-ass. I think that’s a fair characterization.

“These are not easy people to negotiate with, and these were contested, hard-fought battles. And I believe we got everything we could possibly get out of the NFL in this litigation.”

Seeger was asked to clarify the Texas owner to which he was referring _ not that there was much doubt about the answer. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a power-broker on several key owner committees, so it seems likely that he was directly involved in negotiations.

“Oh, oh, oh, sorry,” Seeger said. “I don’t even know who the owner in Houston is, frankly. I hope I didn’t offend him. I’m talking about the one in Dallas.”

STUD REMAINS SIDELINED: Dallas Cowboys DT Ratliff out at least six weeks

STUD REMAINS SIDELINED - Dallas Cowboys DT Ratliff out at least six weeks - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys had been optimistic about Jay Ratliff’s chances of returning to the field for the season opener against the Giants.

Now, the earliest they will see the defensive tackle on the field will be Oct. 20 against the Eagles.

Ratliff was placed on Reserve/PUP today (on Tuesday) in an effort to trim the roster down to 75 players. The Cowboys also put Tyrone Crawford (torn Achilles) and Ryan Cook (back) on injured reserve, along with releasing nine players.

Ratliff is dealing with both a hamstring and groin injury, a possible re-aggravation from his sports hernia surgery he underwent last December.

The defensive tackle missed all of training camp nursing what was believed to be only the hamstring injury he sustained on July 20 at the conditioning test in Oxnard, Calif. He stayed with the team for the remainder of camp when other injured players were sent back to Dallas early for rehab.

Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, the team’s director of player personnel was asked Tuesday if he thought Ratliff would even play at all in 2013.

“I feel confident that he will. I believe in Jay. I think he’s a competitor,” Jones said. “There’s some things that can be frustrating when you have injuries. Jay has a real injury. Those things happen. I’m convinced that we’ve got a (rehab) program now — he’s had a few setbacks — that hopefully will put him on the road where he can play for us at some point this season.”

The four-time Pro Bowler missed 10 games last year – the final six games with the groin injury and the first four because of a high ankle sprain. He also missed most of camp with a nagging foot injury.

The last 12 months have also included a heated exchange with Jerry Jones in the locker room last December and then a DWI arrest in January. His hearing was recently pushed back to February 2014.

Until Ratliff gets back, the Cowboys will likely start Nick Hayden and Jason Hatcher at tackle with a backup rotation of Sean Lissemore, Ben Bass, and perhaps Landon Cohen, a journeyman vet who has taken advantage of extra snaps with Ratliff out.

RELATED: Jerry Jones on Jay Ratliff starting season on PUP

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted the obvious today (Tuesday) when he confirmed on his radio show that defensive tackle Jay Ratliff could start the season on the physically unable to perform list, sidelining him for the first six games of the season.

Ratliff has been sidelined since the start of training camp with hamstring and groin injuries. The Cowboys had long held out hope that he could return for the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.

But Ratliff has yet to take his rehab to the point where it’s realistic he could be ready by then. Jones is still holding out hope but he can’t deny that sitting Ratliff for the first six weeks of the season might be the best move and the Cowboys only move.

“It’s certainly more of a possibility than I would’ve ever thought two to three weeks ago,” Jones said Tuesday on the New School show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “But we’ve got to look at the next two weeks, carefully look at his progress over the next two weeks.”


Editors test … click on button below to download the MP3 file (Box.com)

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COUNTDOWN 2013-2014 NFL SEASON: New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys in race to get healthy for opener

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Two big bits of injury news pertaining to the Cowboys’ season opener is grabbing attention.

As many people no doubt saw on Saturday night, the Giants lost safety Stevie Brown for the season during their loss to the New York Jets. Brown made a textbook interception of an awful pass thrown by rookie quarterback Geno Smith, and he tore his ACL while being tackled on the return.

It’s a devastating blow, especially as the Giants were so close to wrapping up their final test of the preseason. However, since the loss of Brown, the team has received several bits of good news in anticipation of the opener against the Dallas Cowboys in 13 days.

Safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Corey Webster are slated to return to the field this week ahead of New York’s preseason finale against New England. It’s pretty crucial timing, as the Giants were set to take the field without three of their starting four defensive backs.

Rolle rolled his ankle – no pun intended — several weeks ago, but he has been adamant he would be fit for the start of the regular season. Webster has been battling groin and MCL injuries for most of training camp, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters on Sunday he would return this week, as well.

Perhaps the bigger news coming out of New Jersey on Monday is that injured defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, whose return from back surgery has dominated Giants training camp headlines, was activated from Physically Unable to Perform list Monday.

Pierre-Paul doubtless has plenty of work to do before he’d be cleared to line up against the Cowboys on Sept. 8, but with 13 days to spare, he can now begin that process.

It’s a bit of the opposite scenario for the Cowboys. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to practice on Monday, which further solidifies his confidence that he’ll be good to go for the opener. With any luck, the Cowboys just might have four healthy starters in the secondary to start the year.

On the other hand, defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff – particularly Ratliff – don’t look like the locks for Week 1 action that they once were. Neither player has returned to practice, but Spencer said last week he has not yet started running on his convalescing knee.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has typically been steadfast in his belief that Ratliff would be ready for the Giants game. But Jones didn’t sound so sure when asked about it on Saturday night after the Bengals game.

It’s not quite September yet, so there’s still time for more developments for both teams. But the window of recovery time is closing rapidly.

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED: Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Fumble

ARLINGTON, Texas – As his defense continues to force turnovers, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has to hope he got his message across about committing them.

Garrett created one of the dominant storylines of Saturday nights’ 24-18 win against Cincinnati when he benched running back DeMarco Murray for fumbling during the Cowboys’ second possession of the night.

“We took DeMarco out in the first half because he put the ball down,” Garrett said. “So we gave Phillip Tanner the chance to play with the ones in the first half.”

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Jason Garrett on sidelines

It was a nightmare start for Murray, who was slated to see his biggest chunk of playing time this preseason. He had three carries for just five yards when he lost a fumble – which was eventually recovered by right tackle Jermey Parnell – in the first quarter.

When Murray was yanked for Tanner, he had just four carries for six yards.

“I don’t know why De Mo got benched, you know, but we’re a real close family. So when they said another guy go in, that’s what I was going to do,” Tanner said. “De Mo is really supportive, you know, he’s my guy. Everything that I was able to do out there tonight I give all credit to him.”

Murray didn’t speak to reporters, so it’s uncertain to know how he felt as Tanner rumbled for 39 yards on 14 carries to finish out the first half. But whatever his opinion was on the benching, he put it into a torrid third quarter.

Murray lined up behind second-string quarterback Kyle Orton and the starting offensive line after halftime, and he quickly atoned for his problems. He carried eight times on the opening drive of the third quarter, including four in a row to start the possession, tallying 45 yards.

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Murray effort leads to TD

He capped off his return when he evaded three different tacklers en route to a seven-yard touchdown reception from Orton.

“There is no question that we had a little in-house resolve about what we would do if we should turn the ball over, and I think he came back with that resolve,” said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “I still think he had an attitude after he finished that third quarter. I think he still had an attitude when he hid over there, but I think Jason’s making a point.”

Tanner wasn’t the only one who wasn’t sure why Murray left the field. Wide receiver Dez Bryant didn’t know until after the game why Murray had been replaced, but he wasn’t surprised at the response.

“DeMarco is a great back, and he always has that chip on his shoulder. That’s what makes him who he is,” he said.

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Murray touchdown

Murray finished the night with 12 carries for 51 yards – the best average on the team – and two receptions for 14 yards and the touchdown.

It appears as though the message was received, much to Garrett’s satisfaction.

“I thought he did a good job. He’s a pro, and he’s a damn good football player,” Garrett said. “You can’t let not taking care of the football when you’re a running back diminish you as a player. And he’s just not going to do that – he’s not going to put the ball on the ground. I thought he responded well to it.”

POSTGAME WRAP-UP: Jerry Jones – Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys preseason game

POSTGAME WRAP-UP - Jerry Jones press conference–Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys preseason game

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Special Teams Not A Concern

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones talks to the media following the 2013 Cowboys preseason win over the Bengals. (Duration – 3:45)

  • Thoughts and planned strategy regarding the preseason Special Teams units
  • Parnell/Free right tackle experiment
  • DeMarco Murray benching by Jason Garrett
  • Tanner’s effort and inspirational value to other backs
  • Randle cuts and instincts
  • Postgame interview ends, short.

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POSTGAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS – Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys
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HOMERS POINT OF VIEW: The Walkthrough – Dallas Preview Edition (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Bengals - Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys

It will be wheels up this afternoon for Team Enquirer as photographer Jeff Swinger and I head to Dallas for tomorrow night’s game against the Cowboys.

This will be my second trip to JerryWorld. Yes, it is an impressive stadium and you can catch yourself watching most of the game on the big screen instead of down on the field. When it comes to sheer size and scope, it is tops in the NFL but if you are grading it on fan experience and watching a game, to me it would be fourth. I think Seattle, Kansas City and Baltimore are better.

Weather wise, this should be a better trip compared to two years ago when I went to Dallas for the Super Bowl. During the early part of Super Bowl week, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was hit with snow and ice storms, which made the highways treacherous. That wasn’t good since it was billed as a North Texas Super Bowl and everything was far flung.

ONE NOTE ABOUT SATURDAY

Due to our deadlines, the game will not be completed in time for Sunday’s paper. A game story and notebook will be available on Cincinnati.Com following the game and there will be more coverage in Monday’s paper.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON SATURDAY

How much will A.J. Green play? Probably not as much as the rest of the first unit. As Lewis noted on Thursday, he has a number of snaps in mind for each position group depending on the depth and a player’s experience. Plus, Green doesn’t need much work in game conditions. Just kick the tires, get out there for a couple series, catch a pass or two and call it a day.

Bengals - Can the defense get a pass rush

Can the first-team defense get a sack? There hasn’t been much pressure on the quarterback during the first two games. Geno Atkins has applied some pressure but they have yet to get a sack. The line though has not been at full strength in the preseason, particularly at defensive end. Carlos Dunlap has missed both games and Michael Johnson was out against Tennessee. Both should play against the Cowboys but Robert Geathers has not practiced this week.

Bengals - Does Shawn Williams emerge at safety

Does Shawn Williams emerge at safety? With George Iloka doubtful for tonight’s game, Shawn Williams and Taylor Mays will get another prime opportunity to show what they can do. Williams led the Bengals with 10 tackles last week and continues to show progress. Mays has had flashes of good play but also some painful lapses in coverage. Iloka still has the advantage for the starting spot at strong safety, but the gap is starting to close.

Bengals - Offensive bubble player to watch

Offensive Bubble Player to keep an eye on: Running back Rex Burkhead grew up in nearby Plano and is used to playing in AT&T Stadium. Burkhead is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has two runs of 15 yards or more during the preseason. He remains in a battle with Dan Herron for the final running back spot but might the edge based on if Burkhead were to be waived, the odds are pretty good that he would get claimed by another team.

Bengals - Defensive bubble player to watch

Defensive Bubble Player to keep an eye on: Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris has had a good training camp, but the highest exposure he has received came during the fourth quarter of last week’s game when he bit on a double move by Michael Preston that resulted in a 46-yard touchdown. If the Bengals keep 10 defensive backs, it will likely come down to which DB plays best over the final two games – Lewis-Harris or Mays.


Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys

Kickoff: 8 p.m., AT&T Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, TX
Local TV: WKRC-TV (Channel 12)
Local Radio: WCKY-AM (1530), WEBN-FM (102.7).
Series: Second preseason meeting. Dallas won the 2010 Hall of Fame Game 16-7.
Note: Bengals are 22-20 in preseason games under Marvin Lewis.
Not expected to play: OT Andrew Whitworth (knee), DE Robert Geathers (unspecified), CB Brandon Ghee (concussion), LB Sean Porter (shoulder), WR Andrew Hawkins (ankle), FB Chris Pressley (PUP/knee), QB Zac Robinson (PUP/elbow), HB Bernard Scott (PUP/knee).


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Taylor Mays has had plenty of camera time on Hard Knocks as he faces another reality — life on the roster bubble.

There is something of interest related to Adam Jones’ case. The attorney representing the alleged victim in the case was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday.

Coming Sunday, Paul Daugherty tells the story of Reggie Williams who, after 24 knee surgeries and years of pain, won’t accept losing his leg.

Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Cincinnati Enquirer

(Photographs courtesy: Cincinnati Enquirer)

 

Joe Reedy - Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

About Joe Reedy

Joe Reedy took over as The Enquirer’s Bengals beat writer in 2009 after covering the University of Kentucky and doing an NFL picks column. Reedy’s previous NFL experience includes covering the Jets for The Post-Star in Glens Falls, NY (1997-98) and Jaguars for The Gainesville Sun (1999). The Youngstown native lives in Burlington and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors.

COWBOYS CONTRACT EXTENSION: Dallas linebacker Sean Lee signs six-year $51 million deal

COWBOYS CONTRACT EXTENSION - Dallas linebacker Sean Lee signs six-year $51 million deal

IRVING, TexasSean Lee has been a lock at inside linebacker for three years with the Dallas Cowboys. Tonight, the team locked him up through the 2019 season.

The Cowboys inked Lee, who is set to begin his fourth NFL campaign next month, to a six-year contract extension worth roughly $42 million, but could escalate as high as $51 million depending on play-time incentives.

Lee reportedly will get more than $16 million guaranteed over the life of the contract.

Lee had one year remaining on the original four-year contract he signed as the No. 55 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. In three seasons, he has started 21 games, including just six last year when toe surgery cut his season short.

Injuries were taken into consideration in negotiating the deal, which has a few play-time incentives to protect the Cowboys in case Lee misses more time due to injury.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee prepares to catch the ball during afternoon practice at Dallas Cowboys training camp - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Lee is the Cowboys’ middle linebacker and centerpiece of the 4-3 scheme under new coordinator Monte Kiffin.

“When we look at things we need to do, short and long term, his agreement is on that list,” Jones said earlier this month. “Those things have to fit and we certainly, in terms of planning and management of our cap dollars and our future, we’re planning on having him on the team.

“He’d be at the top of the list. Yeah, I’d say he’d be at the top.”

The two sides had discussions this off-season.  Lee was in the final year of a contract that pays him $630,000. He counts about $930,000 against the salary cap.

The club had about $10 million in cap room, meaning the extension with Lee will move more money into this season and ease the cap hit somewhat moving forward.

“Next year is going to be a tight year for us with the cap,” Jones said. “We’ve got to really be pretty resourceful.”

SCATBACK SIDELINED: Cowboys lose ‘juice’ with Lance Dunbar injury

SCATBACK SIDELINED - Cowboys lose 'juice' with Lance Dunbar injury - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys’ offense loses some “juice” with scatback Lance Dunbar sidelined by a sprained foot.

That’s the term coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo use to describe Dunbar’s dynamic quickness and explosiveness. It’s what makes Dunbar, a second-year player who was undrafted out of North Texas, unique among the four running backs likely to make the Cowboys’ roster.

Never mind the unimpressive numbers from Dunbar’s rookie season, when he gained 75 yards on 21 carries and caught six passes for 33 yards. He had carved out a significant role as a change-of-pace and third-down back behind DeMarco Murray.

Lance Dunbar RB Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

The Cowboys envision Dunbar as their version of Darren Sproles, the New Orleans Saints’ undersized spark plug. They are especially enamored by his receiving skills and ability to make plays in space, a couple of attributes Dunbar displayed on his 43-yard catch-and-run that unfortunately ended with a fumble inside the Arizona 5 in Saturday’s preseason loss.

“Totally forgive him,” Jerry Jones said after the game. “I’m so glad our fans got to see him. He’s quick, fast and makes plays.”

That will be the last fans see of Dunbar making plays for at least three or four weeks. The season opener against the New York Giants is scheduled for three weeks and a day after Dunbar suffered the injury.

Murray missed six games with a sprained foot last season. If Dunbar takes that long to recover, he’s in jeopardy of missing the first three or four games of the season.

A sprained foot is especially a concern for a player whose best trait is his quickness. The Cowboys can only hope that Dunbar recovers quickly and brings the juice when he comes back.

IRVING ERA ENDING: Dallas Cowboys moving world headquarters to Frisco, Texas

Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters will be moving to Frisco, TX - The Boys Are Back blog

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys formally announced Tuesday they are moving their headquarters from suburban Irving to suburban Frisco after winning overwhelming approval for a $115 million development that includes an indoor stadium for practice and use by area prep teams.

Jerry Jones moving Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters to Frisco, TX - The Boys Are Back blog

Accompanied by cheerleaders and city officials, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, made a quick trip home from training camp in Oxnard, Calif., to celebrate Frisco officials. The multi-use sports facilities, which will be shared with Frisco Independent School District’s sports teams, are expected to open in 2016.

“Frisco is a city (that) they think big and they act bold. They have a vision and they act on it,” Stephen Jones said. “It gives us great comfort to do business with people who think like this.”

Dallas Cowboys - new Frisco indoor training facility

The stadium will be paid for mostly through a city sales tax, with the school district funding part of the construction. The deal, which was approved late Monday, calls for the Cowboys to manage the facilities and pay operating costs.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shakes hands with Frisco Mayor - The Boys Are Back blog

School district officials said they already were planning on building a football stadium before singing onto this private-public deal.

“We could in no way duplicate a stadium of this caliber on our own, spending the same amount for construction,” said Jeremy Lyon, Frisco ISD’s superintendent.

Lyon said the partnership will save taxpayers money in the long run by splitting costs after the stadium is open.

Jerry Jones press conference announcing the relocation of the Dallas Cowboys headquarters and practice facility to Frisco - The Boys Are Back blog

Frisco is already the home of the FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, a minor league affiliate of baseball’s Texas Rangers and the training facility for hockey’s Dallas Stars. It is about 30 miles north of Dallas and about 45 miles from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Young fans welcome the Dallas Cowboys to the team's future headquarters in Frisco - The Boys Are Back blog

John Classe, a board member with the city who voted for the deal, said FC Dallas had a similar deal to what the Cowboys are getting, with the city funding its stadium but leaving leasing and management costs to the team.

“Just like that deal, it’s anticipated that the Cowboys will put more money into the facility above and beyond the city’s commitment,” Classe said. “Therefore we will end up with a nicer facility.”

Dallas Cowboys new facility in Frisco Texas - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

The 91-acre development includes 25 acres for the Cowboys’ facilities, while the remaining 66 acres will be used for stores, restaurants and a luxury hotel. According to city officials, the development will generate $1.26 billion in tax revenue with an estimated economic impact of $23.4 billion over the next 30 years.

This deal ends a four-decade relationship between the Cowboys and the City of Irving.

DALLAS COWBOYS FAMILY NEWS: Mother of safety J.J. Wilcox looses long battle with Lupus

DALLAS COWBOYS FAMILY NEWS - Mother of safety J.J. Wilcox losses long battle with Lupus

OXNARD, Calif. – Cowboys Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox will rejoin the team next week in Dallas after all arrangements are taken care of for his mother, who passed away after a long battle with Lupus. 

Wilcox left camp after the second preseason game against the Raiders to be with his mother, Marshell, and had been excused by the team for as long as he needed. He’ll be with his family this week and will not rejoin the team in California.

Head coach Jason Garrett said it’s a tough situation for anyone, let alone a 22-year-old rookie just beginning his dream of playing in the NFL. 

“It’s obviously a very difficult time, and we have complete respect for what is going on in his life right now and want to give him all the opportunity to make sure he takes care of that the way he needs to,” Garrett said. “All the support systems are available to him. I think it’s just a really difficult thing.”

Wilcox’s mother managed to be by her son’s side when Wilcox was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round this year, despite her sickness which had her going back and forth from the doctor’s office for treatment. Wilcox said after the draft how much it meant (see below) that he could share that moment with her.

“She’s way tougher than I am,” Wilcox said after the draft. “She’s a strong young lady. I’m just blessed to have her in my life.”

The safety from Georgia Southern has been one of the top rookies in camp, leading the team with six combined tackles in the Raiders game, while also picking off a pass in the end zone.

RELATED: Wilcox thinking of his mother as he lives out his NFL dream

DALLAS COWBOYS FAMILY NEWS - J.J. Wilcox thinking of his mother as he lives out his NFL dream - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas (May 17, 2013) – It took longer for J.J. Wilcox to gather himself and respond to the voice on the other side of the phone than it did to realize the area code the call came from.

The former Georgia Southern safety couldn’t explain all the emotions enveloping him when he answered the phone call from a Texas number to hear owner/general manager Jerry Jones’ voice on the other end. His dream became a reality in just a few seconds, and his mother, Marshell Wilcox, was by his side to watch it all unfold.

SECRET PHONE CALL - J.J. Wilcox drafted by the Dallas Cowboys 2013 NFL Draft - The Boys Are Back Blog

“It meant a lot, just to see her right there fighting and standing strong,” J.J. said. “It brought tears to my eyes. I cried. Y’all probably heard it on that draft call. It was touching. It was emotional.”

Wilcox told himself he wouldn’t shed a tear when or if he got the call. But he couldn’t prepare himself for the emotions.

A year ago, he didn’t think he’d get drafted after playing on offense the first three years of his college career. When a terrific season at safety reeled in more scouts, he thought he might get picked up somewhere in free agency. Then his draft prospects started soaring after the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

All the while, Wilcox’s mother was travelling back and forth from the doctor’s office for treatment.

Marshell, 49, continues to fight her battle with lupus and the lung problems associated with it. Wilcox said the disease began affecting his mother’s lungs more seriously three or four years ago. He’s always wanted to get her better treatment, but hasn’t had the means to do so.

Wilcox is accustomed to the aches, pains and jolts of playing an entire football season, but he can’t fathom the pain that his mother has endured for years.

“She’s way tougher than I am,” Wilcox said. “She’s a strong young lady. I’m just blessed to have her in my life.”

Marshell, who lives where J.J. grew up in Cairo, Ga., was strong enough to head home from the doctor to watch her son get drafted. Wilcox said nothing was going to hold his mom back from watching her son live out his dream.

A selection in the third round, and the multi-million dollar contract that will ensue, should allow him to help his mother tremendously. Wilcox’s focus on the field is fighting for a starting spot at safety, as one of the most inexperienced defensive players on the roster. His focus off the field is on fighting to get his mother the best treatment she deserves.

“She’s comfortable and she doesn’t have to worry about me any more,” Wilcox said. “So that’s my plan when I’m here, help her and get her health back up to par. She’s a strong young lady, and she’s the reason I’m here now and push the way I do and fight.”

It didn’t take long for Wilcox to see the enormous jump from the Southern Conference to the NFL, participating in the Cowboys’ rookie minicamp last weekend.

“The speed is two times faster than college,” he said. “Some players like I said in college, you could slack off one or two plays. Not here. Not in this game. The speed, the intensity and the atmosphere of this whole NFL is different.”

But picking up and adapting is nothing new for Wilcox, who switched from receiver to running back and, finally, to safety.

That was a process that took some convincing.

“One day my coaching staff came to me, my head coach, Jeff Monken, he came to me and said, ‘Hey, I need the leadership in the secondary,” Wilcox said. “I need somebody that’s going to be physical, aggressive and a leader back there. He said I fit that description the best. He gave it to me and I ran with it from there.

“I was kind of hesitant at first. I talked to my parents, and my parents told me just be the best team player you can be. That’s my attack and that’s what I hope to bring here to the Cowboys, be a good team player and hopefully bring a Super Bowl here.”

Despite his history on the offensive side, Wilcox has never been bashful about laying out his opponents. He loves the physical nature of the safety position, and his new secondary coach would agree.

“A lot of times when you see offensive guys make the jump, it takes them a little while to figure that part out,” said Jerome Henderson. “That came natural for him. When you watch him play, you’re like, ‘Oh God, he’s going to kill somebody.’”

Any initial reservations switching over to defense are now gone. Wilcox said all the ball skills, footwork and route recognition he’s gained over the years from playing on both sides of the ball should be able to help him moving forward.

Wilcox admitted when he was watching the draft he looked at his fits with every team as each pick and each round passed. He quickly found out after he was drafted that both safety spots are potentially up for grabs in Dallas.

He admits he plays more off instincts right now, considering his lack of experience at the position, but that doesn’t mean he feels incapable of starting immediately.

In fact, he thinks he’ll be ready to compete for a starting spot in Week 1.

“No doubt about it,” Wilcox said. “With this coaching staff, anything is possible.”

The novice safety from Georgia Southern has already surpassed many expectations by getting drafted in the third round. He said getting drafted was a nice Mother’s Day gift, but he’s still got a lot left to do, both for her and for his NFL future.

“The journey just begins,” Wilcox said. “It doesn’t end here. That’s the main thing, and that’s how I’m going to attack it.”

FLASHBACK 2010 NFL DRAFT: Take a look at a REAL Dallas Cowboys draft board

Shortly after the 2010 NFL Draft, a couple photos of the Dallas Cowboys’ big board were published (by Jonathan Bales) . The photos have been leaked for quite some time now, but I thought it would be cool to take a look back at the board to judge the Cowboys’ accuracy.

Here are the images (click on images for a larger view):

FLASHBACK 2010 NFL DRAFT - Take a look at a REAL Dallas Cowboys draft board - Board 1

Since Jerry Jones’ arm is blocking out some of the board, we can’t get a completely comprehensive list of the Cowboys’ 2010 rankings.

FLASHBACK 2010 NFL DRAFT - Take a look at a REAL Dallas Cowboys draft board - Board 2

For the most part, though, it looked as though the Cowboys’ board was as follows:

  • FIRST ROUND

1. Sam Bradford
2. Gerald McCoy
3. Ndamukong Suh
4. Russell Okung
5. Trent Williams
6. Eric Berry
7. Rolando McClain
8. Joe Haden
9. CJ Spiller
10. Mike Iupati
11.  Blocked by Jerry’s arm, but likely Earl Thomas or Dez Bryant
12.  Blocked by Jerry’s arm, but likely Earl Thomas or Dez Bryant

13. Bryan Bulaga
14. Sean Lee
15. Jared Odrick
16. Jason Pierre-Paul
17. Derrick Morgan
18. Kyle Wilson
19. Maurkice Pouncey
20. Navarro Bowman
21. Jahvid Best
22. Tyson Alualu
23. Jermaine Gresham

Continued …

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THE PICKENS PICK FACTOR: Oklahoma State Cowboys RB Joseph Randle drafted by the Dallas Cowboys

Oklahoma State Cowboys RB Joseph Randle drafted by the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Entering the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys were looking for a No. 2 running back to get carries behind DeMarco Murray. What they landed in the fifth round was a three-down runner that compares well to the team’s starter.

Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle was selected by the Cowboys with the 151st overall pick, making him the 10th running back drafted. With free agent Felix Jones’ time likely done in Dallas, the Cowboys needed someone to compliment Murray, the team’s leading rusher but also someone who has missed nine games over the last two years.

Last season, Murray carried 161 times. Jones was next in line with 111 rushes, followed by Phillip Tanner with 25 and Lance Dunbar with 21. Even if Murray avoids injury, Randle should be stepping into a significant role.

“I can’t envision Murray carrying the entire load for an entire game,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Saturday night. “In Dunbar, we’ve got a back that we really like a lot, and he’s very natural in what he does, but he’s your third back. He’s not the guy that comes in and carries a big part of that load.”

The Cowboys are hoping Randle is capable of taking on that workload. And Jerry Jones’ relationship with Oklahoma State athletic booster T. Boone Pickens might’ve provided the Cowboys with some additional intelligence.

Dallas Cowboys draft Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

“We had a lot of great information about his entire Oklahoma State [career],” Jerry Jones said. “I respect and know the coach over there really well. Boone’s one of my three or four best friends there are, and Boone gets you some information over there.”

Randle rushed for 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore and 1,417 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. So why did he last until the 18th pick in the fifth round? Well, it could be because he’s dealing with a thumb injury.

Jerry Jones said Randle will wear a club-like cast and be limited in OTAs and minicamp but it won’t prevent the 21-year-old from participating in training camp.

“He’s been a real productive player as a runner,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Not only as a runner, but as a receiver, and he certainly has all the physical traits you want. But you also feel like he’s a guy who is going to get bigger and stronger. He’s a six-foot 205-pound guy now, and he can probably be even bigger than that as he grows into his body even more. You see quickness, explosiveness in a fairly big body, and some versatility.”

THIRD ROUND HIT: Dallas Cowboys draft Georgia Southern punisher J.J. Wilcox

Dallas Cowboys draft Georgia Southern safety JJ Wilcox - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

J.J. Wilcox, one of the Dallas Cowboys’ two third-round picks Friday night, is a project after starting only one season as a safety at Georgia Southern.

Previously a wide receiver and slot back, Wilcox needs plenty of work coverage-wise. But the 6-foot, 213-pound Georgia native has already earned a reputation as a powerful hitter known for exploding into ball carriers.

“Wilcox is an interesting guy,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He was a running back and a receiver for most of his career and became a safety this past year. If you watch him play, he leaps off the screen at you. He’s physical, he can run, he loves to hit. He just plays with great explosiveness.”

Garrett said the Cowboys were impressed with how quickly Wilcox adapted to playing safety.

“You could seem him grow through the course of the year,” Garrett said. “We liked his athletic ability, we liked his potential and we liked the demeanor with which he played. He’s a hard-playing guy, a physical guy, and that’s what you want from your safety. He can tackle, but we also feel he can grow into a back-end player.”

Growing up in Cairo, Ga., Wilcox said he was a fan of hard-hitting Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety John Lynch.

“When you talk about hard hitters and guys that play with enthusiasm, you have to mention John Lynch,” Wilcox said. “He just had a great style of play, he was dominant and he put fear in guys’ hearts.

“Every safety wants to have that type of spirit and that type of reputation around the league. I definitely don’t want to leave him off my list because he’s one of the ones I watched growing up in my backyard playing in the woods back there with the guys.”
So did Wilcox lay guys out while “playing in the woods?”

“I laid a couple of guys out,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I got laid out a couple of times, too. But I was one of the ones that was usually on top often.”

All that sounds great, but after a ho-hum effort in free agency due to salary cap issues, the Cowboys needed to draft walk-in starters in the third round. Wilcox seems more like a project than someone who can compete right away for a starting job with Barry Church, Matt Johnson and Will Allen.

Garrett, though, said that isn’t necessarily the case.

“We certainly feel he’s an outstanding special-teams player,” Garrett said of Wilcox, “but we’d like to think he can compete for one of those safety spots right off the bat.”

Said Jerry Jones, “Third-round pick, by definition, is a starter. Not necessarily the first year, but is a starter and you shouldn’t have drafted him if he is not capable of being a starter.”

RELATED:  J.J. Wilcox loves him some Jerry Jones

IRVING, Texas — On his pre-draft visit with the Dallas Cowboys, safety J.J. Wilcox came away enamored with owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

“Mr. Jerry Jones is one of the best general managers and best owners I’ve met,” Wilcox said. “He’s calm, collected and energetic. You don’t see that much from an owner. They’re mostly laid back.”

Thin at safety, the Cowboys are hoping Wilcox can contribute his first year with designs on him starting I the future if not immediately. The team’s other forays into small-school safeties in recent years include Akwaski Owusu-Ansah (Indiana, Pa., fourth round, 2010) and Matt Johnson (Eastern Washington, fourth round, 2012).

Wilcox has played one year of safety but caught attention from the Senior Bowl.

“There’s a lot of household names in the NFL from smaller schools,” Wilcox said.

AUDIO: Understanding the Dallas Cowboys first-round trade with San Francisco

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks to the crowd at the Cowboys Draft Day Party

DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – The first round of the NFL Draft was an emotional night or many Dallas Cowboys fans who didn’t see the logic in the decisions that were made by the team’s management.

On 105.3 The Fan the Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones not only explained his decision to trade down (from the 18th pick to the  31st) to get Wisconsin Center Travis Frederick, but he told Elf & Slater (with guest host Mike Bacsik) the Cowboys had Frederick rated higher than LSU Safety Eric Reid, who was taken at #18 by the San Francisco 49ers.

Jerry also gave his insight to his approach for the upcoming 47th, 74th and 80th selections.


video - watch now - the boys are back blog - press play

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MEET THE STUDS: Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference (Special Feature)

MEET THE STUDS - Dallas Cowboys' top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference

MEET THE STUDS - Dallas Cowboys' top three 2013 Draft picks inside Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks inside Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference

Dallas Cowboys' top three 2013 Draft picks meet Jerry Jones and staff at Valley Ranch NFL Draft war room - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys’ 2013 Draft pick WR Terrance Williams is greeted by Jerry Jones at the Dallas Cowboys Valley Ranch NFL Draft war room

MANY more photographs below …

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2013 NFL DRAFT SPOTLIGHT: New Dallas running back Joseph Randle will play with chip on his shoulder

2013 Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING – Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle made it clear he has a chip on his shoulder after going to the Cowboys in the fifth round.

Randle said in a conference call he is “extremely excited” that Dallas selected him, but he expected to go higher.

“I will use it as fuel to my fire,” the 6-foot, 200-pound underclassman said in a conference call Saturday afternoon. “I will work harder and remember this day, all the teams that passed me up…When I hit the weight room again, I will definitely be hungry and determined to show my worth, my value.”

Randle gives the Cowboys a valuable insurance policy in case DeMarco Murray is injured again.

“The NFL is a two-back system now,” Randle said. “Guys need other guys to come in and you don’t want to drop the tempo off much, so I think we will work well together. I am just going to come in and work hard and see where that gets me. I respect (Murray’s) game a lot.”

Randle led the Big 12 in rushing last season with 1,417 yards on 274 carries with a14 TDs. He also caught 28 catches for 224 yards.

Randle is also known as a strong, willing blocker and a good leader.

RELATED: Cowboys grab running back Joseph Randle from Oklahoma State

Dallas Cowboys draft Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

The Dallas Cowboys, in need of a backup running back, drafted Joseph Randle from Oklahoma State with the 18th pick of the fifth round.

Randle is the running back ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper targeted in the last couple of weeks as “the back late in the draft that could be this year’s Alfred Morris.” Morris was taken in the sixth round last year by the Washington Redskins and wound up second in the NFL in rushing with more than 1,600 yards.

Randle is the third recent Cowboys to Cowboys player acquired by Dallas, joining wide receiver Dez Bryant and kicker Dan Bailey as Oklahoma State alums on the roster.

He projects to compete as a backup to DeMarco Murray, and maybe more, given Murray’s injury history. Murray is a former Oklahoma Sooners standout, so he and Randle will have to talk their way through that rivalry.

The Star-Telegram’s Jimmy Burch, “Cowboys score real value with RB Joseph Randle as their 5th round pick. Great value at that point in draft. Versatile, talented RB”.

RELATED: RB Randle might be slowed by thumb injury in rookie minicamp

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said fifth-round pick Joseph Randle has a thumb problem that might limit him in rookie minicamp, mainly catching the ball.

Jones said Randle will wear a “club” to protect the thumb, but that it shouldn’t slow him down in anything except pass-catching.

Randle described himself as versatile and considered his pass-catching a strength.

“I do everything well: running, blocking. I take pride in my blocking. I take pride in being able to catch, and I take pride in being able to make tough yards and make people miss one-on-one,” he said. “That’s just my game in a nutshell right there.”

DALLAS COWBOYS 2013 DRAFT RECAP: Post-Draft press conference with Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett

VIDEO - 2013 Post NFL Draft press conference - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

2013 NFL DRAFT: Post-Draft Press Conference (Click HERE to watch/listen)

See (or hear) what Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett, and Stephen Jones had to say about the Dallas Cowboys 2013 Draft class

RELATED: Cowboys considered moving up, but players went in Top-10

The Dallas Cowboys were bound and determined to improve the offensive line in the 2013 NFL Draft. They believe they did so with Wisconsin center/guard Travis Frederick with the 31st overall pick in the first round.

But there were two other players the Cowboys were eyeing earlier in the draft that they would have moved up from the 18th pick to get but both went in the top ten, according to Jones. 

Clearly, Jones was talking about North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, who went seventh to the Arizona Cardinals and Alabama guard Chance Warmack, who went 10th to the Tennessee Titans. Both had been linked to the Cowboys in many mocked drafts leading up to the draft.

With those two gone and then Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro and Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richarsdon also gone by the time the Cowboys were ready to pick at 18, Jones decided to pull the trigger on a trade with the San Francisco 49ers that moved them back 31 and netted them an extra third round pick. In the end, Jones was satisfied with getting Frederick and the extra pick.

“We had two players but that was over by the time we got to the eighth pick, ninth pick, that we might have considered moving up for,” Jones said. “We ended up getting a player that I don’t know if I would’ve wanted to give up a three rather than to have the player we might have moved up for and had Frederick and gained a three. We’re two threes better off by having not moved up and picked another guard to move up and go get him.”

But there is no doubt the focus was on getting quarterback Tony Romo some help by improving the offensive line. The Cowboys believe they did that with Frederick.

“What is the very best thing we can do for this team? We’re in pretty good shape with defensive personnel,” Jones said. “Buy [Tony] Romo a half a second. Better than a ‘wow’ receiver to add to our receivers. Better than a ‘wow’ tight end, have a lot of three tight end, two tight end sets. Candidly, our consensus was after everything we’ve done in this draft, the best thing we could do to help us win football games is to get him another half a second. I’m talking about for the next 36 months, 48 months. That’s really the meat of where we are.”

RELATED: Frederick’s 40 time and low reps don’t show ability, game tape does

The Cowboys’ first-round draft pick, center Travis Frederick, had a very slow 40 time and low reps on the bench at the combine, and it may have caused his stock to drop.

But he said neither says anything about his playing ability.

“I think the film really shows how I play,” he said Thursday night in a conference call with reporters. “I’m a tough player who run blocks really well … I think that I do a good job of anchoring in against a bull rush or even somebody that’s a zero nose technique.”

Frederick said Wisconsin does not stress high rep numbers in its lifting.

“Wisconsin is not known for doing well at the reps because we’ve always been trained to do low reps, high intensity,” he said. “So we do single reps or double reps, and I do very well on those areas. So I don’t think the 21 reps on the bench was truly indicative of my strength.”

He also said he could have run another 40 at his pro day and might have improved it a little.

Frederick confessed that he thought he would be an early second-round pick, but he knew the Cowboys needed help at guard and center and that they had talked to him a lot.

“I do feel very comfortable at both positions, so I think that’s what helps me out, is being able to play both positions,” he said. “I’m sure that they have some sort of idea for me, but I’m looking forward to getting down there and just seeing where I fit in.”

He said the Cowboys liked his toughness and intelligence.

“I’m a tough player, a tenacious player. I’m also a player who plays with a high football IQ,” he said. “I think that I’m able to pick up on the offense very quickly, and I’m going to be able to make adjustments at the line and be able to help direct everybody, and I think that those are things that they really liked.”

He said he is proud of Wisconsin’s tradition of turning out offensive linemen.

“That tradition is one of the reasons why I chose to go to Wisconsin, just knowing that such great offensive linemen have come out of there and would probably or hopefully give me the opportunity if I worked as hard as I could, to be in the situation that I’m in today,” he said. “I’m excited to join that long line.”

2013 NFL DRAFT: Random pre-draft and post-draft tidbits

Jerry Jones and Tony Romo on sidelines - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys still haven’t come to a final decision with right tackle Doug Free.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the two parties need to get something resolved, but they haven’t heard an answer back yet about whether or not Free will accept a pay cut.

“We want him,” Jones said. “We’d love to have him here. I think he’d love to be here. Now the question is, it’s got to work for him and it’s got to work for us.”

Free agent veteran tackles Tyson Clabo and Eric Winston are still available for the taking if the Cowboys choose to make a move after a down year for Doug Free, who ended up splitting time with Jermey Parnell.

“He wants to play better than he played,” Jones said. “I think he’d be the first to tell you that. I think he played better toward the end.”

The Cowboys have thrown around the idea about moving him to guard, but as of this point that doesn’t appear likely.

Editors comment: I’d like to see Doug Free’s agent and the Dallas Cowboys work out a new contract that has incentives that allows Free to keep his money with productivity incentives while allow the Cowboys to reduce his salary cap numbers with lower productivity. The current contract can have a lowered cap number, while providing substantial incentive dollars if Doug Free returns to form.

Tony Romo offers pre-draft opinions

Much was made of the tidbit, revealed on Friday,  that Romo himself came to Valley Ranch to evaluate Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams ahead of their eventual selections.

Apparently, Romo visited with both Jerry and Stephen Jones for about an hour during the tight end meeting room late Friday afternoon.

But Jones was quick to point out that Romo hasn’t been hard to find this offseason.

“Make no mistake about it, Romo has been all over this place,” Jones said. “He hasn’t been in here every day in this draft room, but he has been all over this place back here with the coaches. He’s in the building; it’s not much effort to bring him in.”

Editors comment: I believe we’re going to see a major transformation within Tony Romo and the organization beginning this offseason. Expect him to be much more involved in “all things” offensive. He’s reached a point in maturity and experience were his input can really help with aspects seen on the field and those decision made behind closed doors.  

The Wilcox factor – The More You Can Do …

For three seasons at Georgia Southern, J.J. Wilcox played running back and receiver. Not until late August did he get the chance to move over to defense.

Less than a year later, he’s a third-round pick of the Cowboys (80th overall) with a shot to compete for a starting job.

Wilcox said he believes switching positions didn’t hurt his chances of becoming a higher pick, but probably enhanced them. And more importantly, will allow him to compete for a spot.

“It doesn’t make you limited. You come in and the team can use you anywhere,” Wilcox said. “ I think it helps out a lot with ball skills, foot work, hips and dictation that you need to be a good safety such as good route running and understanding how the receivers run their routes and how they come out and what their stems are, and stuff like that. Playing offense for three years helped me out back at safety this year and hopefully this will transfer over to the NFL and I’ll become one of the best safeties in the NFL.”

Despite not playing the position until his senior season, Wilcox said he always eyed the safety spot.

“I always wanted to be a safety. I had love for the game from day one,” Wilcox said. “Some of my favorite players are from the safety position and I grew up watching the Cowboys. It’s just a blessing to just put a star on the side of my helmet.”

Editors comment: The local media has had their eyes on J.J. Wilcox for quite some time now. He is very highly regarded in local football circles. I think we can expect big things from Wilcox on the field and locker room. He is a smart diversified player with great leadership qualities.

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