Tag Archives: Leon Lett

DALLAS’ DEFENSIVE FOOD CHAIN: Cowboys linemen will get to ‘eat first’ with new defense

big cat - dallas cowboys leon lett - the boys are back blog

The Dallas Cowboys’ move back to the 4-3 defense is music to Leon Lett’s ears. He’s going to get a chance to teach what he knows.

“In a 3-4 you did more of a read-and-react. This is more of a react-on-the-run – rush the quarterback and then react to the run on the way to the quarterback,” he said last week as the Cowboys’ assistant coaches met with reporters. “Kind of the same thing I did as a football player, so I’m kind of used to it, and I’m looking forward to teaching it and coaching it.”

Lett collected 22.5 sacks and 229 tackles in a 10-year career with the Cowboys, twice making the Pro Bowl. He played at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds.

“I think we have players all across the board that have the instinct for that defense,” Lett said. “DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lissemore – I think all our guys can adapt and play this 4-3 scheme. They’re fast, they’re quick, they’re big, they’re athletic, and that’s what you need.”

Lett was retained as assistant defensive line coach, and he’ll get a chance to work with respected NFL veteran Rod Marinelli, who is now in charge of the Cowboys’ defensive line.

“We just have to get them to adjust to a different technique,” Lett said. “In a 3-4 scheme, you were a little bit more two-gap, head-up. We’re going to get them to shade on the shoulder and penetrate and get up field. So I’ve been talking to Coach Marinelli about that, and we’re looking forward to retraining the guys in that scheme.”

Lett said it was the focus on penetrating into the backfield that made the position fun for him when he played.

“Some guys just love to play the 3-4, head up, but the 4-3 is more about a penetrating, we-get-to-eat-first type of deal. That’s what we’re calling it. We’re at the front of the food chain.”

DEFENSIVE CONFIRMATION: Monte Kiffin verified switching defense to 4-3; his coaches set for new season

Ex-players recall Dallas Cowboys Monte Kiffin as a football junkie - The Boys Are Back blog

MOBILE, Ala. – The second day of Senior Bowl practices are underway, with several coaches and scouts filling up the grandstands at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett has addressed the media. It does appear the defensive coaching staff has been set.

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin not only confirmed what we all expected in the team will be switching over to his 4-3 scheme, but said after meeting with several candidates, the defensive coaches are locked in.

“We’ve been trying to get our staff together and get the right players in the right place,” Kiffin said.

The biggest change will be defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who was the Bears defensive coordinator the last three years and has worked with Kiffin in Tampa Bay. But the Cowboys are also planning to keep linebackers coach Matt Eberflus and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, two coaches who came with Rob Ryan from Cleveland.

The Cowboys are also expected to retain assistant defensive backs coach Joe Baker, assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett.

“It’s exciting,” Kiffin said Tuesday morning. “It happened really quick. We put together the staff and I think the staff is real important. The Joneses and Coach Garrett, they like certain people there they wanted me to interview. It was real good to put our heads together – Coach Garrett and myself. But there’s some real good coaches there right now. To bring in Rod Marinelli as our defensive line coach, he’s an icon.”

As for the offensive side of the ball, there are still holes to fill. The Cowboys will need to hire coaches for the running backs, tight ends and possibly wide receivers.  

RELATED: Jerry Jones says Cowboys won’t complete staff during Senior Bowl week

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he does not expect to complete the coaching staff before the Cowboys leave the Senior Bowl.

He said the Cowboys, who have assistant coaching vacancies in at least four positions – tight end, defensive line, running backs and special teams – are interviewing this week at the all-star game but that there is no deadline.

“No, not at all. We have no timetable pressures here,” he said after watching the South team practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where the Senior Bowl will be played Saturday. “I don’t look for anything such as a finalization of decisions on staff while we’re here.”

Asked about Houston Nutt’s visit to Valley Ranch last week, Jones declined to comment but promised to talk more about staff decisions later in the week.

“It’s going to be real limited on staff because we’re not going to sum it all up for competitive reasons and negotiating reasons,” Jones said. “We just are going to let that come out as we make those decisions about adding any new staff members.”

THROWBACK 1934: Detroit Lions begin an NFL tradition–hosting annual Thanksgiving Day game (Special Feature)

The Lions battled the Bears on Thanksgiving Day in 1934 - The Boys Are Back blog

Thanksgiving Day football, once a tradition among the high schools and colleges of America, has more or less faded into oblivion in most sections of the country.

But it is still alive in the National Football League in two franchise cities, Detroit and Dallas, where Thanksgiving Day football has become a normal, expected way of life.  Beginning in 1966, Dallas has missed playing on the holiday only in 1975 and 1977.

However, when it comes to Thanksgiving Day football, NFL style, most fans first think of the Lions and the tradition that was started in 1934. It was their first year in Detroit after a local radio executive, George A. Richards, had purchased the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans and moved the team to Detroit. The Spartans were members of the NFL from 1930 to 1933.

NFL's first Thanksgiving Day game - G.A. Richards - The Boys Are Back blog

With the Spartans, not only was Richards bringing a proven, quality team to Detroit, he was also bringing at least one super-star, Earl "Dutch" Clark, one of the most versatile backs ever to play the game. Clark had an outstanding supporting cast in the Detroit backfield with a big, talented line anchored by Frank Christiansen.

Even though he knew there was some risk in scheduling a game on Thanksgiving Day, Richards also recognized that his Lions were taking a back seat to the baseball Tigers on the sports pages. So as one way of attracting Motor City fans during the team’s first season, he opted for the Thanksgiving Day contest.

The matchup between the Lions and the World Champion Chicago Bears proved to be an all-time classic. The 1934 Lions had not allowed a touchdown until their eighth game and entered the game with the Bears with a 10-1 record. But with 11 straight wins, Chicago had an even better record. Still a win would put the Lions into a first-place tie with the Bears with only a game left, a repeat clash with the Bears in Chicago, just three days later on December 2.

The 26,000 tickets for the Turkey Day clash in the University of Detroit Stadium, were sold out two weeks in advance of the game. It was estimated that another 25,000 would have attended had there been seats available.

The Bears edged out the Lions 19-16 in the classic holiday struggle and then prevailed 10-7 three days later to clinch the NFL Western Division crown.

Not despondent over the last two losses, Richards reasoned that his team had done well in its first year in Detroit. His confidence was rewarded the next year when the Lions won the 1935 NFL Championship. The key game in the title drive came on Thanksgiving Day, when the Lions defeated the Bears 14-2 to clinch the West championship.

Thus the football-on-Thanksgiving tradition became firmly established in Detroit. With the exception of a six-season gap from 1939 to 1944, the Thanksgiving Day game has been played with no interruptions.

The Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day heritage gained national attention in another way, starting with the very first game in 1934. Knowing the publicity potential of radio, Richards along with NBC Radio, set up a 94-station network to broadcast the Lions-Bears showdown. The famous announcing team of Graham McNamee and Don Wilson described the action.

RELATED: NFL HISTORY – Thanksgiving Day game results 1920-2011

NFL History - Thanksgiving Day games and results - The Boys Are Back blog

NFL games on Thanksgiving have included some great performances and memorable moments over the years. The legendary Harold "Red" Grange (left) made his pro debut for the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving 1925. In 2008, quarterback Tony Romo (right) led the Dallas Cowboys to a convincing 34-9 win over the Seattle Seahawks by throwing for 331 yards and 3 TDs.

Nov. 25, 1920
  AKRON PROS 7, Canton Bulldogs 0
  Decatur Staleys 6, CHICAGO TIGERS 0
  ELYRIA (OH) ATHLETICS* 0, Columbus Panhandles 0
  DAYTON TRIANGLES 28, Detroit Heralds 0
  CHICAGO BOOSTERS* 27, Hammond Pros 0
  All-Tonawanda (NY) 14, ROCHESTER JEFFERSONS 3
* Non-league team. Games between league teams and non-league teams counted in standings in 1920.
Nov. 24, 1921
  Canton Bulldogs 14, AKRON PROS 0
  Buffalo All-Americans 7, CHICAGO STALEYS 6
Nov. 30, 1922
  Buffalo All-Americans 21 ROCHESTER JEFFERSONS 0
  CHICAGO CARDINALS 6, Chicago Bears 0
  RACINE LEGION 3, Milwaukee Badgers 0
  Oorang Indians 18, COLUMBUS PANHANDLES 6
  CANTON BULLDOGS 14, Akron Pros 0
Nov. 29, 1923
  CANTON BULLDOGS 28, Toledo Maroons 0
  CHICAGO BEARS 3, Chicago Cardinals 0
  GREEN BAY PACKERS 19, Hammond Pros 0
  Milwaukee Badgers 16, RACINE LEGION 0
  AKRON PROS 2, Buffalo All-Americans 0
Nov. 27, 1924
  AKRON PROS 22, Buffalo Bisons 0
  Chicago Bears 21, CHICAGO CARDINALS 0
  FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 32, Dayton Triangles 7
  CLEVELAND BULLDOGS 53, Milwaukee Badgers 10 (at Canton, Ohio)
  Green Bay Packers 17, KANSAS CITY BLUES 6
Nov. 26, 1925
  CHICAGO BEARS 0, Chicago Cardinals 0
  Kansas City Cowboys 17, CLEVELAND BULLDOGS 0 (at Hartford, CT)
  Rock Island Independents 6, DETROIT PANTHERS 3
  POTTSVILLE MAROONS 31, Green Bay Packers 0
Nov. 25, 1926
  New York Giants 17, BROOKLYN LIONS 0
  Los Angeles Buccaneers 9, DETROIT PANTHERS 6
  CHICAGO BEARS 0, Chicago Cardinals 0
  FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 20, Green Bay Packers 14
  POTTSVILLE MAROONS 8, Providence Steam Roller 0
  CANTON BULLDOGS 0, Akron Pros 0
Nov. 24, 1927
  Chicago Cardinals 3, CHICAGO BEARS 0
  POTTSVILLE MAROONS 6, Providence Steam Roller 0
  Green Bay Packers 17, FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 9
  Cleveland Bulldogs 30, NEW YORK YANKEES 19
Nov. 29, 1928
  Providence Steam Roller 7, POTTSVILLE MAROONS 0
  DETROIT WOLVERINES 33, Dayton Triangles 0
  FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 2, Green Bay Packers 0
  CHICAGO BEARS 34, Chicago Cardinals 0
Nov. 28, 1929
  New York Giants 21, STATEN ISLAND STAPLETONS 7
  FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 0, Green Bay Packers 0
  Chicago Cardinals 40, CHICAGO BEARS 6
Thanksgiving Day game results 1930’s
Nov. 27, 1930
  STATEN ISLAND STAPLETONS 7, New York Giants 6
  BROOKLYN DODGERS 33, Providence Steam Roller 12
  Green Bay Packers 25, FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 7
  CHICAGO BEARS 6, Chicago Cardinals 0
Nov. 26, 1931
  Green Bay Packers 38, PROVIDENCE STEAM ROLLER 7
  STATEN ISLAND STAPELETONS 9, New York Giants 6
  CHICAGO BEARS 18, Chicago Cardinals 7
Nov. 24, 1932
  CHICAGO BEARS 24, Chicago Cardinals 0
  Green Bay Packers 7, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
  STATEN ISLAND STAPELETONS 13, New York Giants 13
Nov. 30, 1933
  Chicago Bears 22, CHICAGO CARDINALS 6
  New York Giants 10, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
Nov. 29, 1934
  CHICAGO CARDINALS 6, Green Bay Packers 0
  Chicago Bears 19, DETROIT LIONS 16
  New York Giants 27, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
Nov. 28, 1935
  New York Giants 21, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
  CHICAGO CARDINALS 9, Green Bay Packers 7
  DETROIT LIONS 14, Chicago Bears 2
Nov. 26, 1936
  DETROIT LIONS 13, Chicago Bears 7
  New York Giants 14, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
Nov. 25, 1937
  Chicago Bears 13, DETROIT LIONS 0
  BROOKLYN DODGERS 13, New York Giants 13
Nov. 24, 1938
  DETROIT LIONS 14, Chicago Bears 7
  BROOKLYN DODGERS 7, New York Giants 7
Nov. 23, 1939#
  PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 14
Thanksgiving Day game results 1940’s
Nov. 28, 1940#
  Pittsburgh Steelers 7, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 0
# In 1939 and 1940, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving one week earlier. Various states celebrated on the date declared by the President, while other states recognized the traditional fourth Thursday of the month. In 1941, Thanksgiving was sanctioned by Congress to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November which it has been ever since.
Nov. 22, 1945
  Cleveland Rams 28, DETROIT LIONS 21
Nov. 28, 1946
  Boston Yanks 34, DETROIT LIONS 10
  (AAFC) – New York Yankees 21, BROOKLYN DODGERS 7
Nov. 27, 1947
  Chicago Bears 34, DETROIT LIONS 14
  (AAFC) – San Francisco 49ers 21, BROOKLYN DODGERS 7
  (AAFC) – Cleveland Browns 27, LOS ANGELES DONS 17
Nov. 25, 1948
  Chicago Cardinals 28, DETROIT LIONS 14
  (AAFC) – Cleveland Browns 31, LOS ANGELES DONS 14
  (AAFC) – Buffalo Bills 39, CHICAGO ROCKETS 35
Nov. 24, 1949
  Chicago Bears 28, DETROIT LIONS 7
  (AAFC) – Cleveland Browns 14, CHICAGO HORNETS 6
  (AAFC) – Brooklyn-New York Yankees 17, LOS ANGELES DONS 16
Thanksgiving Day game results 1950’s
Nov. 23, 1950
  DETROIT LIONS 49, New York Yanks 14
  Pittsburgh Steelers 28, CHICAGO CARDINALS 17
Nov. 22, 1951
  DETROIT LIONS 52, Green Bay Packers 35
Nov. 27, 1952
  DETROIT LIONS 48, Green Bay Packers 24
  DALLAS TEXANS 27, Chicago Bears 23 (at Akron, Ohio)
Nov. 26, 1953
  DETROIT LIONS 34, Green Bay Packers 15
Nov. 25, 1954
  DETROIT LIONS 28, Green Bay Packers 24
Nov. 24, 1955
  DETROIT LIONS 24, Green Bay Packers 10
Nov. 22, 1956
  Green Bay Packers 24, DETROIT LIONS 20
Nov. 28, 1957
  DETROIT LIONS 18, Green Bay Packers 6
Nov. 27, 1958
  DETROIT LIONS 24, Green Bay Packers 14
Nov. 26, 1959
  Green Bay Packers 24, DETROIT LIONS 17
Thanksgiving Day game results 1960’s
Nov. 24, 1960
  DETROIT LIONS 23, Green Bay Packers 10
  (AFL) – New York Titans 41, Dallas Texans 35
Nov. 23, 1961
  Green Bay Packers 17, DETROIT LIONS 9
  (AFL) – NEW YORK TITANS 21, Buffalo Bills 14
Nov. 22, 1962
  DETROIT LIONS 26, Green Bay Packers 14
  (AFL) – New York Titans 46, DENVER BRONCOS 45
Nov. 28, 1963
  DETROIT LIONS 13, Green Bay Packers 13
  (AFL) – Oakland Raiders 26, DENVER BRONCOS 10
Nov. 26, 1964
  Chicago Bears 27, DETROIT LIONS 24
  (AFL) – Buffalo Bills 27, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 24
Nov. 25, 1965
  DETROIT LIONS 24, Baltimore Colts 24
  (AFL) – SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 20, Buffalo Bills 20
Nov. 24, 1966
  San Francisco 49ers 41, DETROIT LIONS 14
  DALLAS COWBOYS 26, Cleveland Browns 14 (Dallas Cowboys first annual game)
  (AFL) – Buffalo Bills 31, OAKLAND RAIDERS 10
Nov. 23, 1967
  Los Angeles Rams 31, DETROIT LIONS 7
  DALLAS COWBOYS 46, St. Louis Cardinals 21
  (AFL) – Oakland Raiders 44, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 22
  (AFL) – SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 24, Denver Broncos 20
Nov. 28, 1968
  Philadelphia Eagles 12, DETROIT LIONS 0
  DALLAS COWBOYS 29, Washington Redskins 20
  (AFL) – OAKLAND RAIDERS 13, Buffalo Bills 10
  (AFL) – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 24, Houston Oilers 10
Nov. 27, 1969
  Minnesota Vikings 27, DETROIT LIONS 0
  DALLAS COWBOYS 24, San Francisco 49ers 24
  (AFL) – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 31, Denver Broncos 17
  (AFL) – San Diego Chargers 21, HOUSTON OILERS 17
Thanksgiving Day game results 1970’s
Nov. 26, 1970
  DETROIT LIONS 28, Oakland Raiders 14
  DALLAS COWBOYS 16, Green Bay Packers 3
Nov. 25, 1971
  DETROIT LIONS 32, Kansas City Chiefs 21
  DALLAS COWBOYS 28, Los Angeles Rams 21
Nov. 23, 1972
  DETROIT LIONS 37, New York Jets 20
  San Francisco 49ers 31, DALLAS COWBOYS 10
Nov. 22, 1973
  Washington Redskins 20, DETROIT LIONS 0
  Miami Dolphins 14, DALLAS COWBOYS 7
Nov. 28, 1974
  Denver Broncos 31, DETROIT LIONS 27
  DALLAS COWBOYS 24, Washington Redskins 23 (Clint Longley’s famous comeback win)
Nov. 27, 1975
  Los Angeles Rams 20, DETROIT LIONS 0
  Buffalo Bills 32, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 14
Nov. 25, 1976
  DETROIT LIONS 27, Buffalo Bills 14
  DALLAS COWBOYS 19, St. Louis Cardinals 14
Nov. 24, 1977
  Chicago Bears 31, DETROIT LIONS 14
  Miami Dolphins 55, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 14
Nov. 23, 1978
  DETROIT LIONS 17, Denver Broncos 14
  DALLAS COWBOYS 37, Washington Redskins 10
Nov. 22, 1979
  DETROIT LIONS 20, Chicago Bears 0
  Houston Oilers 30, DALLAS COWBOYS 24
Thanksgiving Day game results 1980’s
Nov. 27, 1980
  Chicago Bears 23, DETROIT LIONS 17 (OT)
  DALLAS COWBOYS 51, Seattle Seahawks 7
Nov. 26, 1981
  DETROIT LIONS 27, Kansas City Chiefs 10
  DALLAS COWBOYS 10, Chicago Bears 9
Nov. 25, 1982
  New York Giants 13, DETROIT LIONS 6
  DALLAS COWBOYS 31, Cleveland Browns 14
Nov. 24, 1983
  DETROIT LIONS 45, Pittsburgh Steelers 3
  DALLAS COWBOYS 35, St. Louis Cardinals 17
Nov. 22, 1984
  DETROIT LIONS 31, Green Bay Packers 28
  DALLAS COWBOYS 20, New England Patriots 17
Nov. 28, 1985
  DETROIT LIONS 31, New York Jets 20
  DALLAS COWBOYS 35, St. Louis Cardinals 17
Nov. 27, 1986
  Green Bay Packers 44, DETROIT LIONS 40
  Seattle Seahawks 31, DALLAS COWBOYS 14
Nov. 26, 1987
  Kansas City Chiefs 27, DETROIT LIONS 20
  Minnesota Vikings 44, DALLAS COWBOYS 38 (OT)
Nov. 24, 1988
  Minnesota Vikings 23, DETROIT LIONS 0
  Houston Oilers 25, DALLAS COWBOYS 17
Nov. 23, 1989
  DETROIT LIONS 13, Cleveland Browns 10
  Philadelphia Eagles 27, DALLAS COWBOYS 0
Thanksgiving Day game results 1990’s
Nov. 22, 1990
  DETROIT LIONS 40, Denver Broncos 27
  DALLAS COWBOYS 27, Washington Redskins 17
Nov. 28, 1991
  DETROIT LIONS 16, Chicago Bears 6
  DALLAS COWBOYS 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
Nov. 26, 1992
  Houston Oilers 24, DETROIT LIONS 21
  DALLAS COWBOYS 30, New York Giants 3
Nov. 25, 1993
  Chicago Bears 10, DETROIT LIONS 6
  Miami Dolphins 16, DALLAS COWBOYS 14 (Leon Lett slide – Snow covers Texas Stadium)
Nov. 24, 1994
  DETROIT LIONS 35, Buffalo Bills 21
  DALLAS COWBOYS 42, Green Bay Packers 31
Nov. 23, 1995
  DETROIT LIONS 44, Minnesota Vikings 38
  DALLAS COWBOYS 24, Kansas City Chiefs 12
Nov. 28, 1996
  Kansas City Chiefs 28, DETROIT LIONS 24
  DALLAS COWBOYS 21, Washington Redskins 10
Nov. 27, 1997
  DETROIT LIONS 55, Chicago Bears 20
  Tennessee Titans 27, DALLAS COWBOYS 14
Nov. 26, 1998
  DETROIT LIONS 19, Pittsburgh Steelers 16 (OT)
  Minnesota Vikings 46, DALLAS COWBOYS 36
Nov. 25, 1999
  DETROIT LIONS 21, Chicago Bears 17
  DALLAS COWBOYS 20, Miami Dolphins 0
Thanksgiving Day game results 2000’s
Nov. 23, 2000
  DETROIT LIONS 34, New England Patriots 9
  Minnesota Vikings 27, DALLAS COWBOYS 15
Nov. 22, 2001
  Green Bay Packers 29, DETROIT LIONS 27
  Denver Broncos 26, DALLAS COWBOYS 24
Nov. 28, 2002
  New England Patriots 20, DETROIT LIONS 12
  DALLAS COWBOYS 27, Washington Redskins 20
Nov. 27, 2003
  DETROIT LIONS 22, Green Bay Packers 14
  Miami Dolphins 40, DALLAS COWBOYS 21
Nov. 25, 2004
  Indianapolis Colts 41, DETROIT LIONS 9
  DALLAS COWBOYS 21, Chicago Bears 7
Nov. 24, 2005
  Atlanta Falcons 27, DETROIT LIONS 7
  Denver Broncos 24, DALLAS COWBOYS 21 (OT)
Nov. 23, 2006
  Miami Dolphins 27, DETROIT LIONS 10
  DALLAS COWBOYS 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10
  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 19, Denver Broncos 10
Nov. 22, 2007
  Green Bay Packers 37, DETROIT LIONS 26
  DALLAS COWBOYS 34, New York Jets 3
  INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 31, Atlanta Falcons 13
Nov. 27, 2008
  Tennessee Titans 47, DETROIT LIONS 10
  DALLAS COWBOYS 34, Seattle Seahawks 9
  PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 48, Arizona Cardinals 20
Nov. 26, 2009
  Green Bay Packers 34, DETROIT LIONS 12
  DALLAS COWBOYS 24, Oakland Raiders 7
  DENVER BRONCOS 26, New York Giants 6
Nov. 25, 2010
  New England Patriots 45, DETROIT LIONS 24
  New Orleans Saints 30, DALLAS COWBOYS 27
  NEW YORK JETS 26, Cincinnati Bengals 10
Nov. 24, 2011
  Green Bay Packers 27, DETROIT LIONS 15
  DALLAS COWBOYS 20, Miami Dolphins 19
  BALTIMORE RAVENS 16, San Francisco 49ers 6

HOME TEAM IN CAPS
(AAFC) – All-America Football Conference, 1946-49
(AFL) – American Football League, 1960-69

Source: National Football League | Pro Football Hall of Fame archives | NFL archives

Editors Note: If you enjoyed this Special Feature on The Boys Are Back blog, please use the LIKE and SHARE buttons below. Happy Thanksgiving Day 2012!

DALLAS COWBOYS TIDBITS: Cowboys rookie from California feels right at home

Dallas Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale - University of North Texas UNT - The Boys Are Back blog

Being at Cowboys training camp is like being at home for rookie fullback Jamize Olawale, who grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and went to junior college at El Camino in Torrance. He’s trying to make the team as a blocking back and on special teams. He might get a chance to showcase his running and catching ability in Monday night’s game because of injuries to Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar. But being at an NFL training camp is an eye-opening experience for any rookie. The former North Texas receiver talks about five things that make rookie life in the NFL an experience to remember.

1 The environment. "Just getting to know all the fans, all the attention that the Cowboys get, is interesting. It’s fun."

2 Learning how to prepare. "You bring your hard hat to work every day, as coach [Jason] Garrett says. Come to work. Have that mindset every day when you wake up."

3 The apartment setup. "It’s nice. It’s nicer than what I stay in at home, so I have no problem with that. And they feed us well. We’re taken care of."

4 Initiations, like carrying the veterans’ pads in after practice. "It’s not the first time. It’s cool, it’s fine. It’s part of the game, part of being a rookie. I’ll take it in stride."

5 It’s tough. "I expected it to be hard. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. So far, Coach has been helping us get through it and prosper."

Beasley fans

Cole Beasley, the tiny undrafted receiver from SMU, has a ton of fans already at Cowboys training camp. And why not? He keeps making catches — and tough catches. After he went to the ground for one ball, grabbing it and holding on as he went down in the arms of cornerback Lionel Smith, a fan yelled out: "Pay attention, coaches! We need a Welker!"

091107-F-4859J-240

Star glazing

Fox Sports reporter and MMA entrepreneur Jay Glazer visited the Cowboys sideline for Friday’s practice. He has an eye for MMA talent, and he said DeMarco Murray is excellent. "He’s got great knees," Glazer said.

Extra photographer

Brill Garrett, the wife of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, spent practice on the sideline with her trusty camera. She’s a photography enthusiast, and collecting her own camp pictures is a tradition.

They said it

"If we weren’t in the system we are in, I’d probably wreck this thing trying to spend money to get players to win a Super Bowl. But that’s not the system we are in. We’ve got to do it other ways." — Jerry Jones

Sideline eye

Former Cowboys defensive tackle Tony Casillas got away from three days at Disneyland to make it to Friday’s practice. He liked the shape the players are in, and he said he’s down to about 240 from his playing weight of 295. But he said that’s nothing compared to how Leon Lett, coaching for the Cowboys, looks like a different person.

Courtesy: Carlos Mendez

LETT THREAT: Dallas Cowboys Tyrone Crawford has a bull rush but looking to Leon Lett for another move

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford - The Boys Are Back blog

Rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford said he’s got a good bull rush, but he needs to find another pass rush move to pair with it.

For that, he’s turning to Leon Lett.

“He’s forgotten more moves than I know,” Crawford said after Monday’s practice, when he talked about his showing the Blue-White scrimmage. Coach Jason Garrett said he liked what he saw of Crawford’s pass rush in the live part of the scrimmage.

“I feel like I have a pretty decent pass rush as far as bull rush, but I definitely need to work something off my bull rush,” he said. “That’s definitely something me, Coach Baker and Big Cat have been working on. Hopefully, I can do that in this first game.”

Crawford was slowed a little last week by a calf injury. And he missed the OTAs and minicamp with a calf strain.

But he didn’t miss a day with the latest injury.

“Just coming off that calf, the physical side of it is a little hard,” he said. “But I felt like I was more mentally prepared than maybe I would have been if I was in there playing. I don’t know. The mental part of it, I feel better about. But the physical part, I definitely got to work on some things.”

BIG CAT - Dallas Cowboys Leon Lett - The Boys Are Back blog

Lett was an intern with the Cowboys last year, and they decided to bring him back for another year after the positive influence he had on another end, Clifton Geathers.

“He really grew as a player,” Garrett said of Geathers. “He was kind of flapping around in his career, and he really grew as a player. I think Leon had a lot to do with that.”

Crawford said Lett is understanding as a coach, but pushes hard.

“When you’re doing something wrong, he’ll tell you, and then he’ll get you right on what you’re doing,” Crawford said. “He likes to rep things. Back when I was injured, my calf was still a little bit sore and everything, and he had me out there going 100 times on the sleds.”

So does Crawford see himself in anything Lett did as a player?

Crawford smiled.

“I cannot even compare myself to Big Cat,” Crawford said. “He’s a great pass rusher. I’m just going to take everything in. Everything he says, I’m going to take it in, learn from him as much as I can. Hopefully, I can become the pass rusher that he was.”

Courtesy: Carlos Mendez | FWST

BIG CAT’S BACK: Dallas Cowboys add Leon Lett to coaching staff

Dallas Cowboys Leon Lett

The Cowboys have picked up a defensive tackle with three Super Bowl rings to add to the defensive line.

As a coach.

Leon Lett has been hired as the team’s defensive assistant/defensive line coach. He will assist defensive line coach Brian Baker, especially when it comes to the development of some of the group’s younger players.

Lett was with the team in training camp last year as part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program and would periodically work with players at Valley Ranch during the season. Head coach Jason Garrett was impressed with how Lett worked with Clifton Geathers and others and decided to create the position.

Known as Big Cat by his teammates, Lett spent the first 10 years of his NFL career with the Cowboys from 1991-2000. The defensive tackle from Emporia State was named to the Pro Bowl in 1994 and ’98 and finished his career with Denver in 2001.

Lett went back to school and graduated less than three years ago from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in university studies and a concentration in sociology and history. He was the defensive tackle coach for the University of Louisiana at Monroe before he went to camp last season with the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys top Miami Dolphins in final second; stay atop NFC East standings

Dallas Cowboys WR Laurent Robinson (80) celebrates his second-quarter TD pass reception with teammates Martellus Bennett (80) and John Phillips (89) during the Miami Dolphins vs. the Dallas Cowboys NFL football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Thursday, November 24, 2011
Photo courtesy: Louis DeLuca / DMN Staff Photographer
 
Dallas Cowboys WR Laurent Robinson (80) celebrates his second-quarter TD pass reception with teammates Martellus Bennett (80) and John Phillips (89) during the Miami Dolphins vs. the Dallas Cowboys NFL football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Thursday, November 24, 2011.
.

ARLINGTON — Tony Romo doesn’t care about winning in style. He’s leading the Dallas Cowboys to victories, and that’s all that matters.

Romo overcame a pair of early interceptions by throwing two touchdown passes to Laurent Robinson and rookie Dan Bailey made a 28-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Dallas Cowboys a 20-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.

The Cowboys (7-4) were never able to grab control, but also never trailed by more than six points. The defense gave up scores on four straight series, but limited the damage because three of those were field goals. They finally got a stop with Dallas trailing 19-17.

Romo took over on his 36-yard line with 2:59 left. He completed a few passes, then rookie DeMarco Murray kept grinding out yards and winding down the clock to set up Bailey’s winner.

“We did enough to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

This was the second straight game that Bailey ended with a field goal, and the fourth time he’s done it this season. The kick was his 26th straight made field goal, matching the second-best in club history.

It also was a measure of redemption for Cowboys fans, coming 18 years after the Dolphins won a Thanksgiving game on a last-second field goal following Leon Lett’s memorable gaffe on a snowy afternoon. This time, conditions were so balmy that the glass end-zone doors at Cowboys Stadium were opened for the first time all season.

Dallas won its fourth straight, continuing its best streak since a division championship season in 2009. The Cowboys also grabbed sole possession of first place in the NFC East, moving a half-game ahead of the Giants. New York plays at New Orleans on Monday night.

Continue reading →

%d bloggers like this: