Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys Free Agency

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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2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS: GM swaps DM’s–From DeMarco Murray 2 Darren McFadden | Scouting Report–Then & Now | The Fiscal Free-Agency Formula | Jerry Jones official statement | RB ROPES RIVAL–DeMarco Murray officially a wealthy Philadelphia Eagle

2015-2016 DALLAS COWBOYS - The GM DM swap–From DeMarco Murray 2 Darren McFadden - Scouting Report–Then & Now

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COWBOYS DOLLARS AND SENSE: Dez, from Tags to Riches | DeMarco Deal of Fortune | The Timeframe Temptation with Tony Romo’s contract | Jerry Jones extensive interview | Bonus MP3 audio download

COWBOYS DOLLARS AND SENSE: From Tags to Riches | DeMarco Deal of Fortune | The Timeframe Temptation with Tony Romo’s contract | Jerry Jones extensive interview | Bonus MP3 audio download

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MEET YOUR NEW DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Pro scouting report on DT Henry Melton | Tuning up Marinelli’s Motor | Dallas Cowboys free agency 2014

MEET YOUR NEW DEFENSIVE TACKLE - Professional scouting report on DT Henry Melton - The motor that will drive Marinelli’s defense - Dallas Cowboys free agency 2014

Henry Melton | Defensive Tackle | Texas | Height/Weight: 6-3, 295

Drafted: Fourth round, No. 101 overall, 2009 NFL Draft by Chicago

Games Studied: 2013: Cincinnati, Minnesota 2012: Dallas, Houston, San Francisco

Melton was a much better player in his 2012 film than he was in 2013. He didn’t show the same explosive quickness and get-off that he did two seasons ago. Under Rod Marinelli as the defensive coordinator, he was on the move more, and this is where Melton thrives. When he can get on the outside shoulder of the guard and attack the gap, he can be difficult to block. Before his knee injury against the Steelers in 2013, you didn’t see this type of use in the scheme. He played slow and sluggish.

Simply put, he didn’t even look like the same player. There were too many snaps where he didn’t come off the ball, and where he put that pressure on the blocker. There were times where he was washed out of the play, knocked to the ground and was a non-factor.

When Melton is really on a roll, you can see blockers have to reach for him to try and block. He can put them in bad positions with just his first step. He’ll make blockers overextend and lose their balance. He has a feel for how to make himself small when he is on the move in the pass rush.

He’s one of those players you want to play line games with because of this ability. The second you get him a little space, he is tight to pick and around the edge. In 2012, he had a sack against the Dallas Cowboys in that exact situation.

This is one of those defensive tackles that can throw pass-rush moves as he is going up the field. He makes a quick arm-over move and then he is gone. He’s slippery when working toward and through the hole. He’s also a really nice space player, and he can change directions with the best of them.

The tape also shows that Melton’s lateral movement and quickness are outstanding. If the ball goes away from him, can really flatten down the line and chase after it. He makes it hard for blockers to keep up with him, and he shows the ability to beat the reach block with his quickness. In that sense, he does a nice job of reading blocks on the move.

If there’s one big problem to his game, it’s when he gets caught rushing down the middle of the blocker and he gets stuck. Where blockers have success against him is when they can get him to stop his feet –then he gets in a bind. Movement is such a big part of his game, it’s hard for him to get going again once he stops.

This happened to him more in 2013 than 2012. He’s not the type of player who plays with the power to beat double team blocks. He will extend his hands, but he’s not going to be able to stand in there toe-to-toe with blockers and slug it out.

Where he might get in trouble is when he tries to jump around blocks and he will leave holes.  

It was amazing how different Melton’s film was between the two seasons. In talking with him on Wednesday, he spoke about Rod Marinelli working with him to get himself right again, so even in his own mind, he knows that he was a better player and that is the level he needs to play at for this to all work. 

Henry Melton eager to become the motor that drives Marinelli’s defense - Dallas Cowboys free agent signing DT Henry Melton 2014


RELATED: Henry Melton eager to become the motor that drives Marinelli’s defense

Henry Melton eager to become the motor that drives Marinelli’s defense - Dallas Cowboys free agent signing DT Henry Melton 2014 sidelines

IRVING, Texas – From the time it became clear the Dallas Cowboys might need a new three-technique defensive tackle, Henry Melton seemed like a logical option.

The Chicago Bears Pro Bowler was a free agent, was coming off an ACL injury and he was from the Dallas area – it made sense. But perhaps Melton’s most-discussed tie to the Cowboys was his relationship with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Melton enjoyed the best seasons of his career under Marinelli’s watch in Chicago, posting a combined 13 sacks in 2011 and 2012 and earning his only trip to the Pro Bowl.

It’s one thing to suppose the Dallas-area native would want to reunite with his old coach – it’s another thing to hear it from the man himself.

“Once I reconnected with Rod – he did some good recruiting. It was a pretty easy decision,” Melton said.

One need only look at the Cowboys’ roster to see why Marinelli was so set on reuniting with his former star. Jason Hatcher signed a free agent deal that left the Cowboys without those 11 sacks and it left them without a true three-technique defensive tackle.

In Marinelli’s system, the three-technique is referred to by many as the motor that drives the defense – a crucial element of the pass rush. Melton’s familiar with the role, and he said he’s ready to take it on once again.

“I’m familiar with the system, I know what it demands and they want me to be the guy. I’m accepting the position,” he said.

Who Melton will line up with is still a matter of some speculation. The Cowboys have now replaced one Pro Bowl defensive tackle with another, but there’s still the absence of All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware to consider.

Dallas signed journeymen Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain to free agent deals last week, and Tyrone Crawford and Ben Bass are set to return from injury in 2014. Two of last season’s starters, Nick Hayden and George Selvie, also return. But it remains to be seen how all of those pieces, including potential draft picks, will translate to a productive defensive line.

That didn’t seem to faze Melton, however, who said he’s eager to embrace the challenge – starting with a return to his Pro Bowl form from 2012.

“I think if I’m dominant and playing the way I know I can, and Rod gets me right and the defense is flying around, this team is really close to doing something special,” Melton said.

If there was any doubt about Melton’s excitement about the reunion, his conversation gives it away. The University of Texas standout mentioned Marinelli at nearly every turn, even allowing that he went to dinner with Marinelli on Monday night, the day before he and the Cowboys agreed to terms.

“He’s tough on you, but the thing about Rod is he cares about you as a person,” Melton said. “He wants to see you succeed, and you can sense that about him. I’m just happy to be here and work with him.”

The expectation is Melton will be healthy and ready to go when the Dallas Cowboys report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Having Marinelli alongside to push him can only raise those expectations higher.

“It gives me great confidence,” Melton said. “I know what the position demands, I know what the schemes are and I know Rod – how demanding he is. It’s going to be fun.”

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: 1-on-1 interview with DT Henry Melton, your newest Dallas Cowboy | NFL Free Agency 2014

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL - 1-on-1 interview with DT Henry Melton, your newest Dallas Cowboy - NFL Free Agency 2014

Meet Henry Melton | “This Was The Best Fit For Me” | 3:41

Insider Mickey Spagnola caught up with the Dallas Cowboys newest defensive lineman Henry Melton right after he signed his contract at Valley Ranch. (Watch Video | Play Audio)


UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL - 1-on-1 interview with DT Henry Melton, your newest Dallas Cowboy - NFL Free Agency 2014 - Melton signing contract with Dallas Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – Henry Melton officially signed his one-year contract with a three-year team option today in Dallas at Valley Ranch.

The Dallas Cowboys new three-technique defensive tackle, who agreed to terms with the Cowboys on Tuesday, believes he should be ready to roll fully by training camp after an ACL injury ended his 2013 season early.

“Anybody that checks me out and looks at my knee, they’re all saying training camp is a good day,” Melton said.

That’s good news for the Cowboys, who just picked up the defensive tackle widely regarded as the best player left in free agency at his position.

The Cowboys signed Melton believing he can get back to being the player who accumulated seven sacks in 2011 and six sacks in 2012, but the unique contract Melton signed gives the team some protection. Melton, who’s from the Dallas area and went to high school in nearby Grapevine, Texas, will only count $2.75 million against the cap with a $1.25 base salary in 2014 and can earn up to $5 million this year.

If Melton proves himself worthy by getting back to his Pro Bowl level of play and is on the roster by the start of the 2015 season, the team can exercise their three-year option. That’ll raise Melton’s price tag, give him reportedly $9 million in guaranteed money and allow him to get paid on par with some of the top defensive tackles in the league.

Melton knows he has to earn that three-year option or risk returning to free agency, and that doesn’t bother him. He said this year in Dallas is a proving ground, and pairing back up with Rod Marinelli, his former defensive coordinator during his best years in Chicago, adds to his faith he can return to form.

“It’s like you’re betting on yourself,” Melton said. “I feel like with me and my rehab and coming back with Rod and the good defense that’s here, I can get back to that form. I believe in that, and obviously they believe in me to get it done.”

Melton had surgery on his knee in October, but he’s already sprinting and lifting and gradually working his way back into shape. He’s five and a half months removed from the surgery, and he said every team he visited, including the doctors in Dallas, said he’s on track with where he needs to be to return for training camp.

Despite the injury, Melton still garnered significant interest in free agency and made visits to the Vikings and the Seahawks before coming to Dallas. He said he didn’t know what to expect in terms of offers from teams when he entered free agency off the knee injury, but he wasn’t worried about it.

“God has a plan for everybody,” Melton said. “It was all out of my hands. My agent really didn’t know what the market value was. We were just going to visit some teams, see where everyone’s heads were at. I came here and pretty much fell in love, so that was the end of that story.”

Melton also had a visit set up with the Rams after leaving Dallas with no deal, but he said he knew when he visited the Cowboys that he wanted to be in Dallas.

“They really wanted me to come,” Melton said. “I looked at what I can do here and what they’re trying to build here.”

Melton said Dallas felt familiar, from the actual surroundings to the defensive system he’ll be playing in. After losing DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher in free agency, the Cowboys need to rely on Melton as the primary disruptive force in the middle.

The Dallas Cowboys saw at home, in first person, what Melton was capable of doing to an offensive line. Melton began his Pro Bowl 2012 season with four sacks in the first three games, including one on Tony Romo at AT&T Stadium.

“I had about 30 people there,” Melton recalled. “The atmosphere there is just crazy. I was back home and everything was just clicking. It was a great game.”

At only 27, The Dallas Cowboys hope he’s still got many more of those left in the tank.

ROD MARINELLI WANTS YOU: Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator helps land free agent Henry Melton

ROD MARINELLI WANTS YOU - Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator helps land free agent Henry Melton - Uncle Sam Wants You

IRVING, Texas – In Rod Marinelli, the Dallas Cowboys believe they have one of the best coaches in the NFL.

It appears he might be a pretty good recruiter, too.

The Cowboys’ ability to land free-agent defensive tackle Henry Melton was a lot about the contract, a lot about Melton possibly wanting to play at home, and a lot about Marinelli.

“I’m excited to come back home and work with Rod [Marinelli] and get back to my Pro Bowl form,” Melton told Calvin Watkins.

Melton developed into a Pro Bowl defensive tackle under Marinelli with the Chicago Bears from 2010-12. Melton had 15.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl after a six-sack season in 2012. He also had 71 tackles and nine tackles for loss with Marinelli as his mentor.

He might talk softly, but Marinelli has a way of forging relationships with defensive linemen. He did it with Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did it with Melton and Julius Peppers with the Bears. He did it with Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware with the Cowboys.

ROD MARINELLI WANTS YOU - Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator helps land free agent Henry Melton - Walking off football field

The Cowboys were forced to use 20 defensive linemen in 2013 and were one game away from making the playoffs. Marinelli was able to make it work to a certain degree with guys such as George Selvie, Nick Hayden, Jarius Wynn, Corvey Irvin, and Frank Kearse

He never had Jay Ratliff or Tyrone Crawford. He had Anthony Spencer for 34 snaps in one game. He was without Ware for three games and Hatcher for one.

Melton becomes the third defensive linemen to join the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain signed with the Cowboys last week.

Mincey was coached with the Jacksonville Jaguars by Joe Cullen, who coached under Marinelli with the Detroit Lions.

“Genuine and a believer,” Mincey said last week. “He believes in what I believe: Going out there and giving your all and trusting the process and seeing what happens. You never know what’s going to happen, especially with a bunch of guys who are hungry, who are dedicated and motivated for a larger purpose.”

The job is not over. The Dallas Cowboys concluded a visit with Jared Allen today and the veteran could be the next one added to the Marinelli mix.

MELTON REUNITES WITH MARINELLI: Dallas Cowboys add defensive tackle Henry Melton | NFL Free Agency 2014

MELTON REUNITES WITH MARINELLI - Dallas Cowboys add defensive tackle Henry Melton - Dallas Cowboys Free Agency 2014

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with defensive tackle Henry Melton late tonight.

The contract is reportedly a one-year deal with a club option for three more, depending on Melton’s performance in 2014. The price figures to be a bit lower than expected for one of the league’s top defensive tackles, as Melton missed the majority of 2013 with an ACL injury. Financial details have not been disclosed, but Melton’s price tag would increase if he is brought back.

The deal brings Melton to Dallas from the Chicago Bears, who drafted him No. 101 overall in 2009.

chicago bears defensive tackle henry melton (69) celebrates after sacking dallas cowboys quarterback tony romo - the boys are back blog

The news makes Melton the Cowboys’ first big acquisition of free agency, after a tumultuous week saw the team part ways with Pro Bowlers DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, and Miles Austin at the outset of free agency.

The move means Melton, who is from nearby Grapevine, Texas, and is a University of Texas product, is not just returning to his home state, but is reuniting with former coach Rod Marinelli. The Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator held the same position with the Chicago Bears, where he oversaw Melton’s lone Pro Bowl season in 2012.

Melton will take Hatcher’s place as the three-technique defensive tackle in Marinelli’s 4-3 defensive front. The five-year veteran enjoyed the best years of his career from that spot, compiling a total of 68 tackles and 13 sacks in 2012 and 2013.

The injury ended Melton’s 2013 season in Week 3, as he was carted off the field during Chicago’s 40-23 win against Pittsburgh on Sept. 22.

The three-technique is the motor of Marinelli’s pass rush, to paraphrase the man himself. His purpose is to collapse the pocket and get to the quarterback, as evidenced by Hatcher in his first season playing for Marinelli and then-defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

With Hatcher entering free agency, it was widely speculated the Cowboys would pursue Marinelli’s old player, who many thought could be added for a lower price because of the injury. When the Cowboys released Ware and Hatcher signed a four-year, $27 million contract with Washington, the pressure to secure a pass rusher increased.

It remains to be seen how the addition of Melton affects the team’s pursuit of All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen, who visited Valley Ranch today. The Cowboys have roughly $7 million in salary cap room to work with, so signing both could be feasible given the right deals.

Allen returned to Minnesota on Tuesday to be with his family, as his wife is expecting the couple’s second child.


RELATED: Dallas Cowboys agree to one-year deal with DT Henry Melton

Dallas Cowboys agree to one-year deal with NFL Free Agent DT Henry Melton - Dallas Cowboys free agency 2014

The Dallas Cowboys and Henry Melton have agreed to a one-year deal with an option. Melton’s signing will ease the sting of losing Jason Hatcher last week.

The Grapevine product arrived for a visit yesterday. He had dinner with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli last night. Though he left for St. Louis today without a contract, it didn’t take the Dallas Cowboys long to get him in the fold.

Melton revealed his choice on Twitter, “Thank you Chicago for the best 5 years of my life!…. I can’t wait to begin the next chapter of my life… With a star on my helmet.”

Melton, 27, played only three games last season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee in October. But in four seasons, he has 15.5 sacks.

Melton replaces Hatcher, who signed with the Redskins last week, having played the three-technique for Marinelli when Marinelli was defensive coordinator of the Bears. Melton earned Pro Bowl honors in 2012 playing for Marinelli, and the Bears used the franchise tag on Melton in 2013, paying him $8.45 million.

The former UT product’s signing is good news for the Cowboys.

Jarod Allen left Valley Ranch without a contract and returned home to discuss his options with his wife. But with Melton on the defensive line, the Dallas Cowboys chances of improving their pass rush, and their defense, have improved.

HURRY UP AND WAIT BIG D: Dallas Cowboys (and fans) awaiting decisions from NFL free agents Jared Allen and Henry Melton

HURRY UP AND WAIT - Dallas Cowboys (and fans) awaiting decisions from NFL free agents Jared Allen and Henry Melton - The Boys Are Back website 2014

IRVING, Texas – The visits are finished for the time being, and now the Dallas Cowboys will wait for further news from free agent targets Henry Melton and Jared Allen.

Allen commanded headlines today with a scheduled visit of Valley Ranch. The five-time Pro Bowler arrived in Dallas last night and spent today at the facility with Dallas Cowboys coaches and executives.

Familial obligations with his wife, who is expecting the couple’s second child, called Allen back to Minnesota, where he played six seasons with the Vikings. The visit reportedly went well, however.

Melton made his visit with the Cowboys, including his old defensive coordinator in Chicago, Rod Marinelli, yesterday. The 2012 Pro Bowler has been the most widely-discussed possibility to replace Jason Hatcher as the Cowboys’ three-technique defensive tackle since Hatcher signed a four-year deal with Washington last Thursday.

The former Bears defensive tackle moved on to a meeting with the St. Louis Rams today after spending Monday at Valley Ranch. All indications are that the visit went well, but it remains to be seen where or when Melton – widely considered the best defensive tackle left on the market – will decide to sign.

It’s expected that Melton’s availability would be one of the storylines of the offseason for a Cowboys defensive line that has been ravaged by injuries and departures. Melton tore his ACL in October of last season and has been preparing for free agency ever since. His connection to Marinelli’s time in Chicago, combined with the potential for a lower price tag because of the injury, made him a no-brainer for free agency speculation.

The courtship of Allen comes as a bit of a more surprising development – at least up until the past week. The 2004 fourth-round draft pick is one of the bigger names on the free agent market, and reports indicate he has been in contact with several teams. Given Allen’s pedigree, it seemed like too high of a price tag when the Cowboys already had an All-Pro in DeMarcus Ware.

Ware’s release and subsequent signing with the Broncos added even greater need for pass rushers on an already-thin defensive line, bringing Allen into the forefront.

The Cowboys have roughly $7 million in salary cap room following Ware’s release, which should give them the space to strike a deal with one or potentially both Pro Bowlers. The team has only added three free agents to this point in 2014 – journeymen defensive linemen Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, as well as quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2012 before being released last week.


RELATED: Dallas Cowboys remain in play for Jared Allen and Henry Melton

Dallas Cowboys remain in play for Jared Allen and Henry Melton - Dallas Cowboys free agency 2014

Two days ago, this was considered a big week for the Dallas Cowboys.

With visits on tap with defensive tackle Henry Melton and defensive end Jared Allen, it was considered a golden opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys to gain some off-season momentum and an improve their team for next year with free agents at key need positions. 

Now that the visits are over, Melton and Allen both left without deals. The Cowboys remain unfulfilled though still clinging to a hard line they established last week when they cut defensive end DeMarcus Ware and let Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jason Hatcher bolt in free agency.

Signing guys at their price would come first and foremost over being fiscally irresponsible and possibly costing them against the cap in future years.

The visits went well, with Melton and Allen, and the Cowboys remain in play for both players.

Melton left his visit with the Cowboys and flew to St. Louis for a visit with the Rams. He visited the Vikings and Seahawks before coming to Dallas and is weighing offers from several teams.

Allen returned home to discuss the decision over with his wife. He visited the Seahawks before coming to Dallas. He must decide if he will take an offer with Dallas or Seattle, visit other teams or continue to wait.

The Cowboys remain interested in both players and made pitches how each would fit in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme.

The remaining question is at what price.

Melton, a Pro Bowler in 2012 with the Bears, is coming off season-ending knee surgery. His knee checked out fine with the Cowboys and he will be ready for the start of the season but not the start of training camp in late July. The latter is not considered something that would preclude the Cowboys from signing him, but it is something to consider when talking contracts.

Allen, an 11-year veteran, has averaged 14.5 sacks over the past seven seasons. But he will be 32 next season and is reportedly looking for a contract similar to the three-year, $30 million deal the Ware signed with Denver after being cut from the Dallas Cowboys last week.

MEET YOUR NEW QUARTERBACK: Scouting report on new Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden | Dallas Cowboys free agency 2014

MEET YOUR NEW QUARTERBACK - Scouting report on new Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden - Dallas Cowboys free agency 2014 - Weeden in Cleveland

Brandon Weeden | Quarterback, Oklahoma State | Height/Weight: 6-4/220

Drafted: First round, No. 22 overall, 2012 NFL Draft by Cleveland

Games Studied: 2013 Miami, Baltimore, Green Bay, Jacksonville.

As a scout you always try and go into a situation with an open mind when you are studying a player — regardless of what people tell you about his body of work — and come to your own conclusions about his fit on your roster.

When Brandon Weeden was released by the Browns, I knew there was a chance a team might take this opportunity to bring him in for a low risk, low money deal and get an idea why he failed. Scouts are always curious about what happens to these high draft picks, especially at quarterback, when they don’t make it initially

For Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, Weeden sat on the Cowboys draft board near the bottom of the second round, so I understand their curiosity. Though you might not have seen the talent with the Browns, here is an opportunity for a free look. There is no pressure for Weeden to have to start or even be the backup as he comes into camp. He is not young in his age, but he is young in his football experience — two years as a starter at Oklahoma State and two more with the Browns.

There is a possibility that he could develop some of those traits that you believed he could be a bridge as the backup, or, like I have seen plenty of times in my career, he could be a trade possibility if a club needs a quarterback in the preseason.

In the games I was able to study with Weeden, I was surprised how up and down that he played. When he could take the snap and throw the ball without having to read the defense, he was a much better quarterback. There were times where Norv Turner had him do just that. Whether it was the slant or quick out, if he didn’t have to think much about it, there was no problem. It was when the ball didn’t leave his hand on time when he struggled the most, and this is where, mechanically, he would break down.

As a defense, if you make him hold the ball, you have a chance to get him on the ground because he is not the most mobile player. But there was one common theme in the tape that I observed: the Browns were terrible at guard with Shawn Lauvao and John Greco. The majority of the pressure Weeden faced came from the inside over those two players, and anyone that knows football knows the best way to cause a quarterback problems is to attack him in the middle of the pocket.

There were plays where Lauvao completely whiffed on the block and Weeden was down before he hit his fifth step. Against the Packers, Greco was driven so far into the backfield Weeden had no place to even plant his front foot to make the throw. I am not putting all the blame on these guards, because Weeden tends to be slow footed, but if you are getting sacked 27 times in eight games, there are issues that need to be addressed.

To Weeden’s credit, he was more than willing to stand in middle of that pocket and deliver the ball with everything breaking down around him. But he also made some throws where you have to cover your eyes — again, it’s the clock in his head. The longer than ball is in his hand, the more likely he is going to panic and try to horse the ball into a crowd of defenders instead of taking the check down and fighting another day. 

He was all over the place against the Packers in poor weather conditions and missed several open receivers. When he gets in a situation where things become tough, you can see him start to aim the ball instead of making a good confident throw.  He really struggles with his decision-making as things begin to fall apart.  When he can play pitch and catch, he looks very comfortable, but in the Green Bay game, he was far from comfortable.  He was late on his reads and it hurt several of his throws. He missed an open “curl” and was way too high on an “out”. 

Not all his throws are poorly thrown. There are times again, when he can catch the ball and get rid of it like he did at Oklahoma State — with some accuracy. The second snap of the game against the Ravens, he slides to his right and delivers a strike to Jordan Cameron for a 53-yard gain.  There was a crossing route to Greg Little that was on the money, that allowed a run after the catch. He even showed some touch on a red zone fade for a touchdown against Jacksonville, with Josh Gordon out of the slot.

You have heard me say this plenty of times about the job of a scout in this league — it is about trying to find players. At one time, Brandon Weeden, whether it was right or wrong, was a highly though-of player by this organization. This league is filled with players that started on one team, then landed on another to have outstanding careers.

I remember my time in Green Bay where we had Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, Ty Detmer and a quarterback named Kurt Warner on the roster for camp. In that 1993 season, Favre, Brunell and Detmer were all on the roster and we let go of Warner, who made his way to Arena Ball, then later a Hall of Fame career. I am not saying Brandon Weeden is going to have a Hall of Fame career like Warner. But like the St. Louis Rams did, it never hurts to give a player a look.

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Professional Scout

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BACK TO THE 3-4 DEFENSE: Jason Hatcher departs 4-3 system; signs 4-year deal with rival Redskins | Dallas Cowboys Free Agency 2014

BACK TO THE 3-4 DEFENSE - Jason Hatcher departs 4-3 system; signs 4-year deal with rival Redskins - Dallas Cowboys Free Agency 2014

IRVING, Texas – A third Pro Bowl player has now departed Valley Ranch in as many days, as defensive tackle Jason Hatcher signed with the Washington Redskins on Thursday afternoon.

Hatcher, who was the NFL’s sack leader among defensive tackles with 11 last season, signed a four-year deal worth roughly $27.5 million with the Washington Redskins – the Dallas Cowboys oldest rival.

The news ends days (actually months) of speculation about the veteran’s future, as Hatcher made several visits around the NFL to potential suitors. Hatcher visited with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders earlier in the week, and he reportedly had visits with the Redskins and the Tennessee Titans lined up.

“My hard work paid off. I just left a great organization and now I’m with a great organization,” Hatcher said. “Things change. I just have to take it all in stride.”

Hatcher said he didn’t close the door on returning to the Dallas Cowboys, but said it was clear to him he wouldn’t be returning.

“Once me and my agent met and they didn’t show no signs they wanted me back,” Hatcher told 105.3 The Fan Thursday afternoon. “So I know the fans are upset, they should be. But I made the right decision for me. If we could’ve made it work out, we could’ve, but I’m in a great place with the Redskins, a great organization.”

Hatcher was a third round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2006 NFL Draft, going No. 92 overall out of Grambling State. He played in at least 13 games in every year of his career, from 2006 to 2013. He didn’t start his first game until 2010, and he didn’t become a regular starter until 2011.

In 2012 and 2013, Hatcher became a full-time starter for the Cowboys, starting in 31 of a possible 32 games.  He featured primarily as a 3-4 defensive end in the final year of Rob Ryan’s tenure as defensive coordinator. Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli made Hatcher the three-technique defensive tackle in their 4-3 scheme upon arriving in Dallas last spring.

It’s safe to say Hatcher flourished in that role.

Prior to 2013, Hatcher had 16 career sacks with his career highs being 4.5 in 2011 and 4.0 in 2012. He nearly tripled that during the 2013 campaign, earning his first-ever Pro Bowl selection in the process. He posted two-sack performances in three different divisional games – Oct. 13 against Washington, Nov. 24 against New York, and Dec. 29 against Philadelphia.

Hatcher said during the season he planned to test the market when the NFL’s free agency window opened in March. He played the final years of his Cowboys career on a three-year $6 million contract he signed following the 2011 NFL lockout.

“I’m going to test the market – I’m going to test the market. But you guys just leave me alone about my contract. I just once to focus on – I’m a Cowboy,” Hatcher said in December. “I’ve got a star on my helmet. I’m not trying to think about that. I’ll let it take care of itself when it happens. I’ve got four games to play, to be the best three-technique in the league and help my team go to the playoffs. That’s my approach.”

That clearly won’t be the case going forward, as the Dallas Cowboys have now parted ways with their all-time sack leader in DeMarcus Ware and their 2013 sack leader in Hatcher. New free agent acquisition Jeremy Mincey is now the team’s sack leader with 20 career sacks. George Selvie is behind him with 10 career sacks, seven of those coming last season.


RELATED: Career stats for former Dallas Cowboys DE Jason Hatcher

DEFENSIVE
Tackles Interceptions
Year Team G Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int TDs Yds Avg Lng
2013 Dallas Cowboys 15 41 34 7 11.0 3 0.0
2012 Dallas Cowboys 16 51 27 24 4.0 0 1 0.0
2011 Dallas Cowboys 13 28 20 8 4.5 2 1 0 16 16.0 16
2010 Dallas Cowboys 13 13 9 4 1.0 0 0.0
2009 Dallas Cowboys 16 13 9 4 1.0 1 0.0
2008 Dallas Cowboys 16 17 11 6 1.0 0 0.0
2007 Dallas Cowboys 16 27 22 5 2.0 0 0 0.0
2006 Dallas Cowboys 14 15 11 4 2.5 0 0.0
TOTAL 119 205 143 62 27.0 0 7 1 0 16 16
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